Garuda, aka: Garuḍa, Gāruḍa; 15 Definition(s)


Garuda means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Āstika (orthodox philosophy)

A bird capable of assuming any form at will, going everywhere at will, and calling any measure of energy to his aid at will.

"... Garuda of great splendour, enkindling all the points of the universe ...

... Effulgent like a heap of fire, he shone terribly. Of lustre equal to that of the fire at the end of the Yuga, his eyes were bright like the lightning-flash."

Mahabharata, Book I, Section XXIII

Compare with the Pali Garuḷa (mythical birds, eternal enemies of the Naga).

(Source): Wisdom Library: Indian Philosophy
context information

The term āstika refers to six mainstream schools of Hindu philosophy, accepting the Vedas as authorative. They are: Nyāyá (logic), Vaiśeṣika (atomism), Sāṃkhya (enumeration), Yoga (Patañjali’s school), Mimāṃsā (Vedic exegesis) and Vedanta (Upaniṣadic tradition). Together they also go by the name ṣaḍdarśana (‘six systems’).

Nāṭyaśāstra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

One of the saṃyutta-hastāni (Twenty-four combined Hands).—Garuḍa: Ardha-candra hands are held with palms askew, and the thumbs interlocked. Usage: Garuḍa.

(Source): The mirror of gesture (abhinaya-darpana)
Nāṭyaśāstra book cover
context information

Nāṭyaśāstra (नाट्यशास्त्र, natya-shastra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition of performing arts, (e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nāṭya) and poetic works (kāvya).


Garuḍa (गरुड)—Garutmat or Garuḍa had four wives, viz.

  1. Bhāsī,
  2. Krauñcī,
  3. Śukī
  4. and Dhṛtarāṣṭrī.

Śukī gave bbirth to sons who are the enemies of snakes who occupy various regions such as the Śālmali-dvīpa, and Devakūṭa and other mountains. Following are the progeny of Bhāsī: ulūkas, kākas, kukkuṭas, mayūras, kalaviṅkas, kapotas and lāvatittiras. Krauñcī gave birth to the vārdhīṇasas and the progeny of Dhṛtarāṣṭrī is as follows: haṃsas, kalahaṃsas, cakravākas and various other kinds of birds.

Garuḍa as the vehicle of Viṣṇu is also mentioned (Vāyu-purāṇa 97.22). Viṣṇu is called garuḍa-dhvaja and Śiva too is mentioned as the lord of Garuḍas. Garuḍa is the “consecrated lord” of the birds.

(Source): Google Books: Cultural History from the Vāyu Purāna

1a) Garuḍa (गरुड).—(Garutmat)—a son of Tārkṣya (Kāśyapa) and Vinatā (Suparṇā), and vehicle of Hari.1 Has abode in Śālmalidvīpa.2 Took Kṛṣṇa to Madhuvana;3 Identified with Hari, and regarded as the embodiment of the Vedas.4 Attacked Asura followers of Bali, and knowing Hari's mind, he bound Bali with cords of Varuṇa.5 Serves as a watch for Kṣīroda. When he saw Bali carrying away Hari's crown-jewel, he pursued him and recovered it after a fight. When he saw on his return from Gomanta, he placed it on His head and belauded him, requesting him for opportunities of service to Him, who ordered him to go back and come whenever He thought of him.6 His winning nectar is compared to Kṛṣṇa winning Vaidarbhī in svayaṃvara.7 Kālīya, the enemy of snakes, freed from fear of; entered into an agreement with snakes of Ramaṇaka to give him bali every fortnight. Kālīya failed to do this, and after a fight escaped to the river Kālindī where Garuḍa could not go, as he was under a curse. It happened once that Garuḍa took a kingfish from the river against the wish of the sage Saubhari who cursed that Garuḍa's coming again there would mean the end of his life.8 Attacked by Mura,9 killed all elephants of Naraka,10 carried Kṛṣṇa to Indra's city. Defeated Varuṇa attacking Kṛṣṇa, flung Śiva and his bull to a distance of a hundred dhanus. Discomfited Airāvata of Indra, and took Kṛṣṇa and Satyabhāmā safely to Dvārakā.11 Garuḍa standard of Hari.12 Praise of Hari.13 Took nectar for mother's sake to Somaka hill of Plakṣa; married five daughters of Tāmra and became father of birds in all the world.14 Younger brother of Aruṇa.15 Worship of, on the Bhīmadvādaśi, and in the Lakṣa homa of Grahabali. Icon of.16 In the Tārakāmaya: in the war with Kālanemī: performed tapas at Kanakhala.17 had a number of wives, sons and grandsons; the eater of all cruel snakes—his descendants spread over largely the whole of Śālmalidvīpa, and the mountains Devakūṭa, Maṇimanta, Sahasraśikhara, Parnamala, Sukeśa, and Sataśruga, the five-peaked Kauraja, Hemakūṭa etc.18

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa VI. 6. 22: III. 19. 11. Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 7. 29: 8. 11. Matsya-purāṇa 6. 34: 146. 22. Vāyu-purāṇa 49. 10; 69. 66: 70. 11: 72. 45. Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 21. 18.
  • 2) Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 20. 8.
  • 3) Ib. IV. 9. 1.
  • 4) Ib. VI 8. 29. VIII. 3. 31.
  • 5) Ib. VIII. 21. 16 and 26.
  • 6) Ib. X. 53 (V) 10-19.
  • 7) Ib. X. 52. 17.
  • 8) Ib. 16. 63; 17. 1-11. Viṣṇu-purāṇa V. 7. 78.
  • 9) Bhāgavata-purāṇa X. 59. 7-8.
  • 10) Ib. 59. 19. Viṣṇu-purāṇa V. 29. 14.
  • 11) Bhāgavata-purāṇa 65 (V) 1: 66 (V) 22-25, 48; 67 (V) 11-14, 38-39, Matsya-purāṇa 150. 219 Viṣṇu-purāṇa V. 30. 64-70. XI. 30. 44.
  • 12) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 71. 248.
  • 13) Bhāgavata-purāṇa IV. 30. 6. XI. 27. 28.
  • 14) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 19. 11-12: III. 7. 448-51: Matsya-purāṇa 122. 15.
  • 15) Matsya-purāṇa 150-53.
  • 16) Matsya-purāṇa 53. 41; 69. 26; 93. 99: 258. 11 and 12.
  • 17) Matsya-purāṇa 152. 6-7, 36: 153. 181: 171. 50: 178. 32 and 50: 193. 70: 249. 35
  • 18) Vāyu-purāṇa 69. 328-335.

1b) A son of Viśveśā.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 171. 50.

2) Gāruḍa (गारुड).—The Purāṇa of 19000 verses narrated by Kṛṣṇa in the Gāruḍa kalpa; the origin of Garuḍa from the mundane egg; a gift of, takes one to Śiva loka, see Gāruḍa Purāṇa.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 53. 53-4.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purāṇa book cover
context information

The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

Pāñcarātra (worship of Nārāyaṇa)

Lord Vishnu’s vehicle is Garuda which means ‘Wings-of-speech,’ in the Vedas he is also known as Garutman. He represents the Vedas which carry the Lord of Sacrifices. Garuda is the mantras of the Veda which travel with the speed of light from one world to another.

Garuda is also taken as the personification of courage (Satapatha Brahmana 6;7;2;6.)

According to the Puranas, Garuda is the son of Kaśyapa (vision) and Vinata (She-before-whom-knowledge-bows).

Garuda’s wife is Unnati (progress) also called Vināyakā (queen-of-knowledge). He has six sons;

  1. Summukha (Beautiful-face),
  2. Sunāma (Beautiful-name),
  3. Sunetra (Beautiful eyes),
  4. Suvarcas (Beautiful vigour),
  5. Suruk (Beautiful brightness)
  6. and Subala (Beautiful strength).
(Source): SriMatham: Vaiṣṇava Iconology based on Pañcarātra Āgama
Pāñcarātra book cover
context information

Pāñcarātra (पाञ्चरात्र, pancaratra) represents a tradition of Hinduism where Nārāyaṇa is revered and worshipped. Closeley related to Vaiṣnavism, the Pāñcarātra literature includes various Āgamas and tantras incorporating many Vaiṣnava philosophies.

Śilpaśāstra (iconography)

Gāruḍa (गारुड) refers to one of the forty-seven tānas (tone) used in Indian music.—The illustration of Gāruḍa (as a deity) according to 15th-century Indian art is as follows.—The colour of his body is yellow. His face is similar to the face of a bull. His right hand is in Pravacana-Mūdra and a viṇā is in his left hand.

The illustrations (of, for example Gāruḍa) are found scattered throughout ancient Jain manuscripts from Gujarat. The descriptions of these illustrations of this citrāvalī are based on the ślokas of Vācanācārya Gaṇi Sudhākalaśa’s Saṅgītopaniṣatsāroddhāra (14th century) and Śārṅgadeva’s Saṅgītaratnākara (13th century).

(Source): Illustrations of Indian Music and Dance in Western Indian Style

Garuḍa (Viṣṇu’s vehicle).—Viṣṇu rides upon a creature half-human & half-eagle known as Garuḍa or Garutman which means “wings-of-speech”. Garuda in the mythical and colourful Hindu scriptures is the King of the Birds and acts as messenger between Gods and Humans. He is the manifestation of the triple Vedas.

Garuḍa is depicted as the mortal enemy of snakes — he thus represents courage. Snakes represent all those factors that obstruct the spiritual path. His wife's name is Unnati or “progress” also called “queen-of-knowledge”.

(Source): Red Zambala: Hindu Icons and Symbols | Trinity

Garuḍa (गरुड) is depicted as a sculpture on the fourth pillar of the southern half of the maṇḍapa of the temple of Lokeśvara.—Garuḍa is shown at the extreme right end of the panel. He first fights with a serpent and then there are series of divine beings including Indra on his elephant, Yama on the buffalo. After facing all these hurdles, Garuḍa reaches the spot where the nectar is kept. At the extreme left of the panel is shown Viśvakarman surrounded by flames. In the Mahābhārata, it is told that Garuḍa took the form of a being with hundred and eight mouths. He extinguished the fire by spitting water on the fire from his hundred and eight mouths. (Mahābhārata, Ādiparvan, adhyāya 32). But in the image under study, Garuḍa is shown pouring water from a pot on the fire.

(Source): Archaeological Survey of India: Śaiva monuments at Paṭṭadakal (śilpa)
Śilpaśāstra book cover
context information

Śilpaśāstra (शिल्पशास्त्र, shilpa-shastra) represents the ancient Indian science of creative arts such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vāstuśāstra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

Vāstuśāstra (architecture)

Garuḍa (गरुड):—The Sanskrit name for a classification of a ‘temple’, according to the 2nd century Matsyapurāṇa and the Viśvakarmaprakāśa, both featuring a list of 20 temple types. In the Viśvakarmaprakāśa, the name for this temple category is Suparṇa. This list represents the classification of temples in South-India.

Garuḍa is also mentioned in a list from the Samarāṅgaṇasūtradhāra chapter 56, in the first the group named Lalita (containing 25 unique temple varieties) and in the second the group named Sāndhāra (containing 25 unique temple varieties).

Garuḍa is found in another list in the Samarāṅgaṇasūtradhāra, chapter 63, where it is listed in the group named Nāgara, containing 20 different prāsādas (temples/buildings).

Garuḍa is also listed in the Agnipurāṇa which features a list of 45 temple types. It is listed under the group named Maṇika, featuring oval-shaped temples. This list represents a classification of temples in Nort-India.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Vāstu-śāstra
Vāstuśāstra book cover
context information

Vāstuśāstra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vastu-shastra) refers to the knowledge of architecture. It is a branch of ancient Indian science dealing with topics such architecture, construction, sculpture and their relation with the cosmic universe.

Kathā (narrative stories)

Garuḍa (गरुड) is the “king of the birds”, and mentioned as the son of Vinatā (one of the two wives of Kaśyapa), according to a story called “the dispute about the colour of the sun’s horses” in the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 22.

The Kathāsaritsāgara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Garuḍa, is a famous Sanskrit epic story revolving around prince Naravāhanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the vidyādharas (celestial beings). The work is said to have been an adaptation of Guṇāḍhya’s Bṛhatkathā consisting of 100,000 verses, which in turn is part of a larger work containing 700,000 verses.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Kathāsaritsāgara

The Garuḍa bird is the vehicle of Viṣṇu. It is described as half-man and half-bird, having the head, wings, beak and talons of an eagle, and human body and limbs, its face being white, its wings red and its body golden.

Garuḍa is the son of one of the daughters of Dakṣa. The account of its miraculous birth and how it became the vehicle of Viṣṇu is given at the beginning of the Mahābhārata (I, xvi). Other adventures in its life, such as the attempt to stop Rāvaṇa from abducting Sītā, are described in the Rāmāyaṇa and the Viṣṇu Purāṇa.

(Source): The ocean of story, vol. 1
Kathā book cover
context information

Kathās (कथा) are special kind of Sanskrit literature: they are a kind of a mix between Itihāsa (historical legends) and Mahākāvya (epic poetry). Some Kathās reflect socio-political instructions for the King while others remind the reader of the historical deeds of the Gods, sages and heroes.

General definition (in Hinduism)

Garuḍa (गरुड).—Lord Viṣṇu's eternal carrier, a great devotee, the son of Aditi and Kaśyapa who takes the form of an eagle and is the bird carrier of Lord Viṣṇu. He is often found atop a pole facing the entrance of Viṣṇu temples. The emblem of Garuḍa is always on the chariot of Lord Kṛṣṇa.

(Source): ISKCON Press: Glossary

Gāruḍa (गारुड) medicine;—The method of treating envenomation and poisoning with mantra systems and herbal or mineral cures expounded in the Gāruda Tantras.

(Source): ZORA: Gāruḍa Medicine: A History of Snakebite and Religious Healing in South Asia

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

garuḍa (गरुड).—m (S) The bird and vehicle of viṣṇu, the king of birds. He is represented as a being something between a man and a bird. 2 A large kind of vulture.

--- OR ---

gāruḍa (गारुड).—n (S The mantra of garuḍa, the bird of viṣṇu) A charm against venom or poison.

--- OR ---

gārūḍa (गारूड).—n (gāruḍa S) Juggling or leger de main. 2 Arts, tricks, chicanery, evil devising and scheming.

(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

garuḍa (गरुड).—m An eagle.

--- OR ---

gāruḍa (गारुड).—n Juggling. Arts, tricks, chicanery. Evil devising and scheming.

(Source): DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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