Posts Tagged ‘Indra’

It is a known fact that Lord Vishnu traveled on the back of his favorite vehicle Garuda, the eagle. Garuda always carries a snake in his talons. This story is about how and why Garuda began carrying this snake wherever he went.
Once upon a time there was a man by name Madali who was the charioteer for Indra. He had a daughter by name Gunakesi who was of marriageable age. He wished to get his daughter married to Sumukha, a prince from the netherworld. He went and met Sumukha’s parents and asked for their consent. But Sumukha’s parents said that they weren’t lucky to take her as their daughter-in-law, as Garuda had pledged to kill Sumukha and his father.
Hearing this Madali told them not to worry and that Indra would help them in this regard. Madali took them to Indra and told them what happened. Indra assured them that he would talk to Garuda. Indra also conducted the wedding of Sumukha and Gunakesi.
Meanwhile, Garuda heard about the wedding and was angered. He immediately went to kill Sumukha. Sumukha scared beyond his wits sought refuge with Adhisesha . Garuda arrived there and told Adhisesha not to give refuge to Sumukha. Adhisesha told Garuda not to harm Sumukha as it didn’t befit his status to do such a heinous crime.
Livid with rage Garuda said that he was vehicle of Vishnu and that he was greater of the two. Adhisesha told him that they should go to Vishnu and ask him to decide who was greater.
Both of them took Sumukha to Vishnu and related what happened. Vishnu said that he would test the valor of both Adhisesha and Garuda and then decide. Garuda was the first to take the test. Vishnu said “If you are able to carry my right arm effortlessly you would be considered greater of the two.”
Garuda thought “If I am able to carry Vishnu’s weight on my back all the time, why not just an arm.” So thinking he got ready.
Vishnu placed his right arm on Garuda’s shoulder. Unable to bear the weight of the Lord’s arm, Garuda fainted.
Soon he awakened to the Lord’s touch and fell at his feet begging for forgiveness. Vishnu told Garuda to make friends with the Nagas in the Netherworld. He also told him to carry sumukha in his talons at all times to prove that he is friends with the snakes of the netherworld.
Thus Sumukha’s life was saved.


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There is another tale related to the place mentioned in the Virajadevi story. Once there was an asura named Gaya. He was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu. He prayed to the Lord that he should not be killed by anyone other than the Trimurthis.

He was also given the opportunity to rule the three worlds. Afraid of losing his place among the devas, Indra complained to the Trimurthis that people and the sages were finding it difficult to perform their yagnas peacefully under Gayasura’s rule and that the demon should be vanquished soon.

The Trimurthis assured Indra that they would tackle Gayasura. The met Gayasura in the disguise of three Brahmins. They told Gayasura “Oh Asura! There has been no rain in the earth for a long time and the lands are parched. So we plan to do a yagna for seven days on a pure part of the earth, which we believe is on your own body.” Gayasura gladly agreed to the idea of performing the yagna on his person.

However, the Brahmins told him that for those seven days he should lie supine on the ground without moving a bit. If he did move a little, they would be forced to kill him. Gayasura agreed.

While lying supine Gayasura is said to have increased in size, His head was in Gaya in Bihar, navel was in Jajpur in Orissa and legs extended up to Pitta puram in Andhra Pradesh.

Vishnu did his yagna on the head of Gayasura, Shiva performed his yagna on his legs and Brahma on his stomach. With the beginning of the rooster crowing at dawn on a Sunday the first day of the yagna began. It went on for six days without interruption. On the end of the sixth day Indra reminded the Trimurthis that if the yagna went smoothly they would not be able to kill Gayasura. So on the seventh day during the yagna, Shiva crowed like the rooster. Gayasura thought that the seventh day was over and stirred. The Brahmins immediately told him that their yagna was not complete and the day was not yet over and that they would now have to kill him. Gayasura knew now that the Brahmins were none other than the Trimurthis and he was happy that he would die in their hands.

He agreed to be killed and urged them to give him a boon. He requested them to declare the places where the yagna was done on his person, would be places of worship and that people could pray there for the well being of their ancestors.

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