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Garuda Panchami

From: muralidhar rangaswamy (
Date: Mon Jul 27 1998 - 18:03:27 PDT

Dear Bhaktas,

I wish to share a few thoughts on Periya Tiruvadi for the occassion of 
Garuda Panchami. Garuda is commonly referred to as Pakshiraja, 
Vainateya, Suparna, Garuthman, Periya Tiruvadi, Vinatasuta, 
Vishnuvahana, Nagantaka and Kashyapeya. Last year, I covered the 
Vaibhavam of Garuda in a series of posts. One of the questions that 
came up at that time was the reason for the names Periya Tiruvadi 
and Siriya Tiruvadi. 

Garuda is engaged in eternal service to Lord Narayana at Sri Vaikuntam, 
whereas Hanuman performed exalted Kaimkaryam for Lord Rama only in the 
Vibhava Avataram of Rama. As a result, of his SharaNagati 
to Lord Narayana (Narayana Sayujyam), Garuda enjoys the benefit of 
Sameepyam (constantly being beside the Lord), SarUpyam 
(Shuddha Satvam) and SalOkyam (residence in Vishnu Lokam). Garuda 
serves as the eternal chariot of Bhagavan Vishnu. Therefore, this 
confers upon him the status of "Perumai mikka Stithi" (that which is 
worthy of great praise). Consequently, Garuda received the name Periya 
Tiruvadi as against the comparitively smaller role played by Hanuman 
as the Vahana for Lord Rama. Hence, Hanuman received the title 
Siriya Tiruvadi.

Garuda is eulogized by Swami Desikan as Veda Swaroopi. Lord Narayana, 
the Veda Purushan, is seated on Garuda, who is in the form of Vedam. 
Sthoman is the Sama Vedic passage dealing with Sama. This Sthoman is 
the Atma of Garuda. The eyes of Garuda denote the Gayatri Saman. 
Note: It is recommended that the Ashtakshara Mantram be recited 
upon completing the recitation of the sacred Gayatri Mantram. This 
is indicative of the fact that the powerful Gayatri Mantram leads one to 
the path of Lord Narayana. In a similar fashion, it is pointed out that 
worship offered to Garuda confers the boon of AdhyAtma Vidya 
(realization of Lord Narayana). A case in point is the Anugraham of 
Bhagavan Hayagriva to Swami Desikan upon receiving Upadesham from 
Garuda. Garuda's head denotes the Trivruth Saman. His name is verily the 
Yajur Vedam. Garuda's limbs (hands and feet) denote the Gayatri 
Chandas. Garuda's body is the Vamadevya Saman. Of his wings, one 
forms the Bruhat Saman and the other forms the Radantara Saman. 

Thus various parts of Garuda's body denote the Vedas. The Vedas 
exemplify Dharma and Garuda embodies the Vedas. Therefore, Dharma 
Swaroopi Garuda paves way for all victories. It is interesting to note 
that Lord Narayana always has the banner of Garuda. Garuda has never 
been vanquished. Consequently, Lord Narayana too is ever victorious. 
Among the Vyuha Murthis, Garuda is Sankarshana. Among 
the six auspicious qualities (JnAna, Bala, Aishwarya, Shakti, Tejas and 
Vatsalya) associated with Lord Narayana, Sankarshana denotes 
JnAna and Bala. Garuda rules over the five forms of Vayu 
(Garuthman Marut PanchakAdIsha SatyAdimUrthE), i.e., PrAna, Apana, 
Samana, Udanan and Vyana. Garuda controls these five types of Vayus
and is thus regarded as the life-giving source of one's body. Recitation 
of the Garuda Mantram confers the benefits of victory in 
arguments and debates, destruction of enemies, petrification of  
opponents, unmitigated eloquence of speech and happiness.   

Lord Narayana takes the form of four Vyuha Murthis, i.e. Vasudeva, 
Pradyumna, Aniruddha and Sankarshana. Similarly Garuda's body is 
made up of four colours. His face is black, his arms are red in 
colour (vermillon), his thighs are white like the Sun and his feet 
are of the HiraNya VarNa (yellow like gold). Among the birds, Garuda is 
Indra. Garuda Drushti and Garuda Dvani are extremely auspicious. 
These shall be discussed in the next post on this subject. 

Everything correctly stated is entirely due to the grace of my 
Acharyan, H.H. Srimad Andavan Swamigal of Srimad Paundarikapuram 
Ashramam and my mentor, H.H. Sri Rangapriya Mahdesikan Swami. All errors 
and shortcomings are mine alone.

Namo Narayana,

Muralidhar Rangaswamy

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