G for Garuda

G for Garuda

Garuda is a humanoid bird known to be the vahana(mount) of Lord Vishnu. Garuda is depicted as a strong man with a white face, red wings, and an eagle’s beak and with a crown on his head. He is known to be massive enough to block the sun. Garuda and Naga are sons of same father Kasyapa but of different mothers. Garuda is known to be the sworn enemy of serpents is often depicted feeding exclusively on snakes. Adhering to this belief, people who fear snake attack or poison wear Garuda amulet to protect themselves. While Hindu legends say that Garuda wings chant Vedas when they flap Buddhist legends say that they create hurricane-like winds. Garuda depicted in the form of the Javanese eagle is the national symbol of Indonesia. Garuda is also the national symbol of Thailand.

Mayura is another sacred bird of Hindu mythology and is the vahana of Kartikeya, son of Shiva. Legend states that Mayura was created from the feathers of Garuda. Hamsa, an aquatic bird, is also considered as a cultural symbol in Hindu culture. Hamsa the vahana of Goddess Saraswati is said to possess the sacred knowledge of Brahman. In this way, title Paramahamsa is affixed to the name of a person who has reached a high level of spirituality and grace.

Thunderbird, the legendary creature of North American indigenous people’s history, is considered a supernatural bird of power and strength. Its name comes from a belief that the beating of its enormous wings causes thunder and stirs the wind. Native American legends also talk of another legendary bird called the Rain Bird who brought rain.

Phoenix is another mythical bird that is known to cyclically regenerate or reborn arising from the ashes of its predecessor. Legends say that the bird can live over 1400 years before rebirth. The brahminy kite and phoenix are considered the contemporary representations of Garuda.

Strix is a legendary cannibal bird in Roman and Greek mythology. Griffin is another legendary creature from Greek mythology with the body, tail, and back legs of a lion; the head and wings of an eagle; and an eagle’s talons as its front feet. Because the lion was traditionally considered the king of the beasts and the eagle the king of birds, the griffin was thought to be an especially powerful and majestic creature. The griffin was also thought of as king of all creatures. Griffins are known for guarding treasure and priceless possessions. Griffin is used as a mascot or emblem is schools, sports, and parks.

Anzu is a divine storm-bird, half man and half bird, mentioned in Mesopotamian religions. There are many other legendary birds like the Peng, Fenghuang and Lei Gong of Chinese mythology, Alkonost, Gamayun, Sirin of Russian mythology, Ekek of Philippine mythology,  and Roc and Kun.

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