Garuda

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The Garuda (Sanskrit: garuḍa गरुड, eagle; Pāli garuḷa; Burmese: ဂဠုန်, [ɡəlòuɴ]; Tamil: karutan; Thai/Lao/Khmer: khrut ครุฑ; Mongolian: гарьд) is a large mythical bird or bird-like creature that appears in both Hindu and Buddhist mythology.

From an Indian perspective, Garuda is the Hindu name for the constellation Aquila and the Brahminy kite is considered to be the contemporary representation of Garuda.[1]

Other nations adopt a more stylistic approach to the Garuda's depiction, where it depicts an eagle (being much larger than a kite).[2]

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In Hinduism

In Hindu religion, Garuda is a lesser Hindu divinity, usually the mount (vahanam) of Vishnu. Garuda is depicted as having the golden body of a strong man with a white face, red wings, and an eagle's beak and with a crown on his head. This ancient deity was said to be massive, large enough to block out the sun.

His stature in Hindu religion can be gauged by the fact that an independent Upanishad, the Garudopanishad, and a Purana, the Garuda Purana, is devoted to him. Various names have been attributed to Garuda - Chirada, Gaganeshvara, Kamayusha, Kashyapi, Khageshvara, Nagantaka, Sitanana, Sudhahara, Suparna, Tarkshya, Vainateya, Vishnuratha and others. The Vedas provide the earliest reference of Garuda, though by the name of Śyena, where this mighty bird is said to have brought nectar to earth from heaven. The Puranas, which came into existence much later, mention Garuda as doing the same thing, which indicates that Śyena (Sanskrit for Eagle) and Garuda are the same. One of the faces of Śrī Pañcamukha Hanuman is Mahavira Garuda. This face points towards the west. Worship of Garuda is believed to remove the effects of poisons from one's body. In Tamil Vaishnavism Garuda and Hanuman are known as "Periya Thiruvadi" and "Siriya Thiruvadi", respectively.

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