Note: Garuda of the Puranas is the vahana, vehicle, of Vishnu. The approach to Vishnu Consciousness is described in the Rig Veda as one of wideness, one who measures out the spaces for other Powers to establish themselves in the aspirant. This short story emerged from the author’s musings on how the first contact with that power of ascension to Vishnu might have been established.
Garuda — Who was I? Before, much before I beheld my mother’s eyes, near the bosom that yielded me..before luminous sights saw my form, before I was given a name..when I was almost nothing..a mere skylark amidst a vast hemisphere bare, too many to mention missed me.
But some, with minds populated with too many perceivings and too little words to describe them with, felt me. I was but a twitch in their contemplations, their mute pang when they stared at the stars and their inward musings. I was born again and again, in many minds. The places were many where I could be present then.
But I was still the skylark, a few sustained me to lift me to the cloud there or help me join a few hearts or a few tribes.
Then they arrived. Forever nameless yet the founders of Manhood, it is they who impelled us beyond the animal. It was they who birthed me first.
Three were my fathers, three who would be my children. Harā, Puru and Vayé.
It is they who willed me thus. The first speakers of speech.
I had flitted between them some days, or sometimes even at the same time.
It was one such day I had done it again. Bored I descended watching fledgling minds and entered the three, Hara, Puru and Vaye at the same time. I had not known they lay waiting, the three of them watching, waiting.
And I walked into that welcomed snare..here was thought woven like a net, criss crossing with nary a gap..this was new..a mind had never done this before..and I saw all three had done the same..as if there was but one way of weaving that net..and I stopped mid flight..and they beheld me...one who travelled far over wide spaces..I also saw them arrayed facing each other..a curious shape..half-facing other two at the same time. Seated at each corner of some invisible arrow head, these first hunters of heaven..they watched me and I them.
I left after a while, turning back a moment to see the three watch each other with their eyes open. I thought I saw words being born and exchanged but I could not be sure.
That night I saw I had grown. I was curious now, what lay beyond the clouds? What is that I saw while flying, another place yet here amidst us. I waited for dawn and flew again. Curious I ventured near and saw the three waiting, smiling to myself I shot up towards the clouds..imagining myself a bolt from the clouds, leaping to earth in a single slash..ah but I was mere skylark. I came back to my nest and I still saw them sitting there and waiting.
Then it occurred.
Vayé uttered the word, I grew vast. My wings spanned the earth. With a single flap I could heave heavenward. I grew kin to lightning that leapt to earth in a eye-blink.
Puru uttered the word. I grew mighty. My heart had packed the strength of a thousand bulls, I felt the stony silence of moutains. The mountain ranges, like earth’s shoulders massed with muscles of stone and snow quivered at my approach.
And the mightiest becoming of all was when Harā uttered the word. I grew still with humility. One knee kneeling, palms touching, eyes closed I bowed down..my strength and vastness to be forever held in service of the seers.
(Picture courtesy Artic.edu)