How can Garuda eating Nishadas be justified?


The Story of Garuda, as mentioned in Mahabharata, has roots in Rig Veda.

In Rig Veda IV.26.5-6, bringing of Soma by a swift falcon was mentioned.

This hymn was dedicated to Indra and rishi was Vāmadeva Gautama.

भर॒द् यदि॒ विरतो॒ वेवि॑जानः प॒थोरुणा॒ मनो॑जवा असर्जि । तूयं॑ ययौ॒ मधु॑ना सो॒म्येनो॒त श्रवो॑ विविदे श्ये॒नो अत्र॑ ॥५॥

ऋ॒जी॒पी श्ये॒नो दद॑मानो अं॒शुं प॑रा॒वत॑: शकु॒नो म॒न्द्रं मद॑म् । सोमं॑ भरद् दादृहा॒णो दे॒वावा॑न् दि॒वो अ॒मुष्मा॒दुत्त॑रादा॒दाय॑ ॥६॥

  1. When he brought it from there, quivering (in fear), the bird, swift as thought, was sent surging along the wide path. He traveled swiftly with the somian honey, and the falcon found fame here.

  2. Flying straight, the falcon, the bird, hanging onto the plant, brought from afar the gladdening, exhilarating drink, the soma, holding it frmly, having the gods on his side, having taken it from yonder high heaven.

This Rig Vedic tale, is to be understood in esoteric sense, Indra or BRAHMAN delivering the sweet and everlasting BLISS emanating out of SELF REALISATION.

Later this falcon was mentioned as Garutman in Rig Veda I.164.46.

In Ramayana, there was a mention of the birth of Aruna and Garuda as the sons of Vinata. However, the curse of Aruna to Vinata, the consequence of which she became slave of Kadru was not mentioned in Ramayana.

कद्रूर् नाग सहस्रम् तु विजज्ञे धरणीधरन् | द्वौ पुत्रौ विनतायाः तु गरुडो अरुण एव च || ३-१४-३२

"Kadru gave birth to a thousand-headed serpent who is the bearer of this earth, and Vinata gave birth to two sons namely Garuda and Aruna.

Later in Puranas and in interpolated areas of Mahabharata the tale was converted into Garuda bringing Amrita from Heaven for the sake of his mother.

While converting the tale into this story, the poet who added this interpolated story into Mahabharata (but not Sage Vyasa), injected the aversion the people of his times had towards nishadas.

Please don't be mislead with the interpolated stories. It is not from Original version of Jaya Samhita of Sage Vyasa.

So eating of thousands of nishadas by Garuda is an interpolated story and not to be relied upon.

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