Garuḍa Upanisad

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

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[1] 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:
  1. Ananta
  2. Vāsuki
  3. Takṣaka
  4. Kārkoṭaka
  • Several mālā- mantras are described in detail[2] 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


  1. Garuḍa or Garutmān is the eagle-mount of Lord Viṣṇu, known for his stupendous strength and enmity towards the serpents.
  2. Mālā- mantras are very long mantras.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore