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Forwarding Sri Sampath Rengarajan's Mail
Date: Tue Mar 11 1997 - 10:51:04 PST

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Subj:	RE: Garuda

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From: Sampath Rengarajan <>
Subject: Re: Garuda
In-reply-to: Mani Varadarajan <> <"Garuda">
 (Mar 10, 4:51pm)
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On Mar 10,  4:51pm, Mani Varadarajan wrote:
> Subject: Garuda
> My thanks to Murali for explaining Desika's Garuda poems
> to us. However, I ask a very fundamental question, one that
> I am surprised has not already come up.
> I do not quite understand why we as Sri Vaishnavas would
> resort to worshipping Garuda (or even the Lord for that
> matter) for the sake of obtaining something.  These are
> kaamyaartha, are they not, lower desires nowhere near
> the pursuit of jnaana, bhakti, and consequently moksha?
> For example, it is often stated that recitation of the
> Sudarshana Mantra can be used as means to ward off disease,
> that the Garuda Mantra wards off poisons and snakes, etc.
> Appeals to the fantastic mythology of Garuda and the
> popular tales concerning his obtaining of amRita are often
> told in this context.  Aside from the fact that this
> tale has nothing to do with Bhagavan Garuda's wisdom or
> devotion, these ``recite the mantra and get results''
> stories smack of a very unenlightened and selfish form
> of religion, one that is not respected very much by
> Krishna himself (recall the classification of adhikaaris
> in the Gita).
> Please note that my comments are not directed towards
> anyone in this group, in any manner.
> It seems to me that someone who has surrendered his
> very self to the Divine Lord should already be free
> from these worldly concerns, or at least try to be so.
> Is this not why a prapanna is described by Desika as
> a kRta-kRtya (one who has done what ought to be done,
> and is therefore supremely satisfied in his Self)?
> I must admit that Desika's vivid and fancy description
> of the Puranic tales of Garuda also do not hold my
> attention very much.  This is admittedly a criticism
> of me rather than Swami Desikan,

I am not sure if this is the intent of the post Sri Murali has made ie I am not
sure if he is encouraging everyone to pray to Sri Garuda to get boons that are
materialistic in nature. First of all I would like to put the facts and the
notion that many *evolved* Srivaishnavas have in their mind when they  pray to
Sri Garuda or Sri AnchanEyA. This is done in the manner of adiyaarkku adiyaar.
They are the best adiyaars of the lord as they get to serve the Lord all the
time and constantly. We as Srivaishnava must pray to such bAgawathALs who
serves the Lord all the time and without seeking any boons. When Smt Nagu
Satyan asked a question I didnot want to answer hoping that someone else can do
it that time.
I want to provide the answer known to me, i would like to give it now. Why Sri
Garuda is known as periya thiruvadi. This is a purely tamil word for these 2
bAgwathALs. 2 reasons.

Sri Garuda is many times addressed as bird in many pAsurams.  example :
"anchiRavaip paRavaikku anchi" by thirumangai. anchanEya is addressed in the
pAsuram "vaatha maamagan markku vilangu maRRoR.." Azwaars are amsams of Lord
and it is acceptable for them to address these nitya suri and chiranjevi this
way when they worship and praise periya PerumAL. When we bAgwathALs pray to our
Lord and want to address these bAgwathALs, we should not address them as a bird
or otherwise. Instead we have to address them by their feet which we belong to
serve contantly in the notion of adiyaarkku adiyaar. Thus a bird's feet which
is wide in shape came to be known as  periya thiruvadi and anchnEya's thiruvadi
which is narrow in shape came to be known as siRiya thiruvadi.

This naming convention itself provide the clues as to why we  must worship
these two bAgwathALs who serve the lord constantly.  ie We are by nature
adiyArs adiyArs and among adiyArs these two are the ones who constantly serve
the Lord all the times.  It is thus our nature to pray and serve these adiyArs.
Coming to the form praying to these agdiyArs, we always worship garuda in a
garuda vAhanam when he carries the Lord on HIS shoulders. We donot worship
garuda alone unless it is the  thirunakshathiram for this nitya suri or his
association with the Lord on this day is very desirable to the lord etc. On
those days we pray to Sri Garuda separately also. Samething for siriya
thiruvadi. We mostly pray to anchanEya as pancha muga anchanEya wherein the
four other faces are Sri Garuda, Sri Narasimha, Sri varAhaa Sri hayagreeva and
Sri anchanEya himself.

> but I fail to see how
> contemplation of the Puranic stories of Garuda (which
> are obvious mythologies from any perspective, given
> that Garuda is a nitya-sUri in our sampradAya) helps
> one in the path to God-consciousness.
> Please give me your reaction to my comments.
> Mani

I think it helped swami desikan this way. ie
Please note that Swami Desikan himself chanted Sri garuda mantram which led to
Sri hayagreeva mantra upadesam from sriGarudan and then he chanted Sri
hayagreeva mantram to get the blessings of Lord Hayagreeva which led Swami
deiska to deliver the 101 granthas of swami deiska.

>From these 101 granthas it helped us this way ie by:

we all cherish and preserve and follow and attempt to realise and attain
salvation as prescribed by swami desikan's granthams.

Besides what is wrong in chanting mantra as long as it takes us to the
destination where we wanted ie sriman narayana's lotus feet.
Swami dEsika himself chanted matram of Swami garudan and i find there is
nothing wrong in ourselves doing it. Some active writers in this group are
privy to one or the other mantrams and also attribute their knowledge to the
mantra sidhdhi.
Swami deiskan says that praying to Sri garuda helps a prapanna in many ways ire
the first is to get them the true knowledge. Whether one seek this and mediate
or not this will be one of the effect of garuda mantram anyway.
Having said all these i will conclude by saying one thing. ie I myself who is
initiated into SriGaruda mantram chant it everday and i have known the effect
of the same.

Sri periya thiruvadi pakshi Rajan  thrivadikaLE charaNam
Sampath Rengarajan