In the previous episode, we had witnessed the detailed background of how the divine “Amrita” was born. We’ve witnessed how the Devas and the Raakshasas teamed up and drilled the ocean floor with the help of Snake Vaasuki and with the divine grace of Bhagawan Vishnu who was overseeing the entire process. As the drilling process was going on, many items including the treacherous poison came out. Thanks to Bhagawan Shiva’s divine intervention at the right time, the poison was neutralized as He volunteered to consume it! As the process was going on, Goddess Mahalakshmi herself came out of the ocean floor and repealed her curse to Indra. With this, Indra and the Devas became powerful again and finally when the “Amrita” came out, it was smartly distributed to the Devas only – Courtesy Bhagawan Vishnu, who incarnated as Mohini, a beautiful woman. Upon seeing this Mohini, the Raakshasas were carried away, and this was the chance that the Devas captured to consume the “Amrita” and become immortal. Thus, the Raakshasa camp was cheated right under their nose and with this, the significance of the “Mohini-Avatara” of Bhagawan Vishnu comes to an end.
It is this same “Amrita” which is now being chased after by Garuda, for the benefit of the snakes and his mother. Now let us come back to how Garuda obtained the “Amrita”. As Garuda reaches the Deva Lokha, he obtains the permission of Indra to take a small portion of the “Amrita” along with him for the benefit of his mother, Vinata. Indra too was impressed with Garuda’s dedication towards his mother. On the way, Garuda meets Bhagawan Vishnu, and even Bhagawan Vishnu was impressed with Garuda’s dedication towards Mother Vinata. Bhagawan Vishnu tells Garuda thus, “Oh Garuda! I’m extremely impressed with the way you’re doing service to your mother. So, I’m willing to give you a boon. Please ask me whatever you want to ask!” Upon this, Garuda was extremely happy and satisfied! He asks Bhagawan Vishnu thus, “Oh Bhagawan! It is a privilege to even talk with you, and getting a boon from you seems a dream come true for me! Oh Bhagawan! I only want one thing from you – Please keep me with you forever as your divine vehicle and as your divine flag at the top of your chariot. This is my only request. I don’t want anything else from you in terms of worldly aspects!”
Impressed by Garuda’s unconditional surrender, Bhagawan Vishnu grants Garuda the boon that he wished for. From that moment onwards, Garuda became Bhagawan Vishnu’s divine official vehicle. This is the reason why we refer Bhagawan Vishnu as “Garudadhvaja”. This means, Bhagawan Vishnu always travels on top of the Garuda to protect His devotees, wherever they are in this world. As Garuda obtained this boon thus, there was again a small competition here – Aadisesha was watching all this from the world, and the moment he knew that his cousin brother, Garuda had obtained such a high status, Aadisesha too wanted something similar. However, he hasn’t been blessed with a good mother, who only taught him how to cheat others and how to act pervertedly smart. We’ve already witnessed this, isn’t it? Kadru’s only intention was to outsmart others and enslave them. Thus, Aadisesha decided to move away from his mother, Kadru for sometime, undertook a deep penance by bringing all his senses under complete control. Aadisesha performs intense penance towards Bhagawan Brahma and with this, Bhagawan Brahma is extremely impressed.
As Bhagawan Brahma appears in front, He asks Aadisesha for a boon. In fact, Bhagawan Brahma Himself gives Aadisesha one of the biggest boons ever – “Oh Aadisesha! Just like how a mountain beholds the entire earth’s surface over and above it, from today, the entire set of fourteen “Lokhas” that are referred collectively as “Anta-Kataaha” would rest on your body, which would have a thousand heads!” We’ve already seen the concept of the “Anta-Kataaha” earlier isn’t it? There are seven “Lokhas” above us and seven below us. The seven “Lokhas” above us are “Bhoo-Lokha”, “Bhuvar-Lokha”, “Suvar-Lokha”, “Mahar-Lokha”, “Jana-Lokha”, “Tapo-Lokha” and “Satya-Lokha”. The Lokhas that are below us are “Athala-Lokha”, “Vithala-Lokha”, “Suthala Lokha”, “Rasaatala Lokha”, “Talaatala Lokha” and “Paala Lokha”. Thus, all these seven plus seven, fourteen “Lokhas” constitute the “Anta-Kataaha”.
So for today, let us understand upto this point – Garuda has obtained the divine status of being Bhagawan Vishnu’s official vehicle, and Aadisesha has obtained the divine status of being the bearer of the entire fourteen “Lokhas” of this world! We shall continue with this discussion in the next episode too! Stay tuned! 🙂