Friday, February 22, 2008

Adi Parva - Astika Parva 20

"Sauti said, 'O foremost of Brahmanas, the gods having prepared for
battle in that way, Garuda, the king of birds, soon came upon those wise
ones. And the gods beholding him of excessive strength began to quake
with fear, and strike one another with all their weapons. And amongst
those that guarded the Soma was Brahmana (the celestial architect), of
measureless might, effulgent as the electric fire and of great energy.
And after a terrific encounter lasting only a moment, managed by the lord
of birds with his talons, beak, and wings, he lay as dead on the fields.
And the ranger of the skies making the worlds dark with the dust raised
by the hurricane of his wings, overwhelmed the celestials with it. And
the latter, overwhelmed with that dust, swooned away. And the immortals
who guarded the amrita, blinded by that dust, could no longer see Garuda.
Even thus did Garuda agitate the region of the heavens. And even thus he
mangled the gods with the wounds inflicted by his wings and beak.

"Then the god of a thousand eyes commanded Vayu (the god of wind),
saying, 'Dispel thou this shower of dust soon. O Maruta, this is indeed,
thy task. Then the mighty Vayu soon drove away that dust. And when the
darkness had disappeared, the celestials attacked Garuda. And as he of
great might was attacked by the gods, he began to roar aloud, like the
great cloud that appeareth in the sky at the end of the Yuga, frightening
every creature. And that king of birds, of great energy, that slayer of
hostile heroes, then rose on his wings. All the wise ones (the
celestials) with Indra amongst them armed with double-edged broad swords,
iron maces furnished with sharp spikes, pointed lances, maces, bright
arrows, and many a discus of the form of the sun, saw him over head. And
the king of birds, attacked them on all sides with showers of various
weapons and fought exceedingly hard without wavering for a moment. And
the son of Vinata, of great prowess blazing in the sky, attacked the gods
on all sides with his wings and breast. And blood began to flow copiously
from the bodies of the gods mangled by the talons and the beak of Garuda.
Overcome by the lord of birds, the Sadhyas with the Gandharvas fled
eastwards, the Vasus with the Rudras towards the south, the Adityas
towards the west, and the twin Aswins towards the north. Gifted with
great energy, they retreated fighting, looking back every moment on their

"And Garuda had encounters with the Yakshas, Aswakranda of great courage,
Rainuka, the bold Krathanaka, Tapana, Uluka, Swasanaka, Nimesha, Praruja,
and Pulina. And the son of Vinata mangled them with his wings, talons,
and beak, like Siva himself, that chastiser of enemies, and the holder of
Pinaka in rage at the end of the Yuga. And those Yakshas of great might
and courage, mangled all over by that ranger of the skies, looked like
masses of black clouds dropping thick showers of blood.

"And Garuda, depriving them of life, and then went to where the amrita
was. And he saw that it was surrounded on all sides by fire. And the
terrible flames of that fire covered the entire sky. And moved by violent
winds, they seemed bent on burning the Sun himself. The illustrious
Garuda then assumed ninety times ninety mouths and quickly drinking the
waters of many rivers with those mouths and returning with great speed,
that chastiser of enemies, having wings for his vehicle extinguished that
fire with that water. And extinguishing that fire, he assumed a very
small form, desirous of entering into (the place where the Soma was).'"

So ends the thirty-second section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.

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