By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Garuda Upanisad, GaruDa Upanisad, Garuda Upanisad
Gāruḍa Upaniṣad is a minor Upaniṣad originating from the Atharvaveda. Its main purpose is to attain freedom from the fear of all the poisonous creatures. The science taught here is called ‘gāruḍa-brahmavidyā’ and is believed to have originated from the four-faced Brahmā. The other important teachers of this Upaniṣad are Nārada, Brhatsena, Indra and Bharadvāja. It comprises of 25 mantras which are mostly in prose.
- Mantras 2 to 4 give the usual preliminaries that include:
- Ṛṣi - sage
- Chanda - meter
- Devatā - deity
- Viniyoga - usage
- Nyāsa - purification processes of hands and limbs
- Dhyāna or meditation on Garuḍa or Garutmān is emphasized in a long passage comprising seven verses in the śloka meter. It contains a picturesque description of Garuḍa who has the famous serpents as his ornaments all over his body. These serpents are:
- Several mālā- mantras are described in detail with the main purport of the destruction (or prayers for destruction) of various kinds of poisons
- The Upaniṣad ends with a phalaśruti, a statement of the favorable results got by the chanting or listening to it
- Garuḍa or Garutmān is the eagle-mount of Lord Viṣṇu, known for his stupendous strength and enmity towards the serpents.
- Mālā- mantras are very long mantras.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore