“And Garuda had encounters with the Yakshas, Aswakranda of great courage, Rainuka, the bold Krathanaka, Tapana, Uluka, Swasanaka, Nimesha, Praruja, and Pulina. And the son of Vinata mangled them with his wings, talons, and beak, like Siva himself, that chastiser of enemies, and the holder of Pinaka in rage at the end of the Yuga. And those Yakshas of great might and courage, mangled all over by that ranger of the skies, looked like masses of black clouds dropping thick showers of blood.
“And Garuda, depriving them of life, and then went to where the amrita was. And he saw that it was surrounded on all sides by fire. And the terrible flames of that fire covered the entire sky. And moved by violent winds, they seemed bent on burning the Sun himself. The illustrious Garuda then assumed ninety times ninety mouths and quickly drinking the waters of many rivers with those mouths and returning with great speed, that chastiser of enemies, having wings for his vehicle extinguished that fire with that water. And extinguishing that fire, he assumed a very small form, desirous of entering into (the place where the Soma was).’”
So ends the thirty-second section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.
(Astika Parva continued)
“Santi said, ’And that bird, assuming a golden body bright as the rays of the Sun, entered with great force (the region where the Soma was), like a torrent entering the ocean. And he saw, placed near the Soma, a wheel of steel keen-edged, and sharp as the razor, revolving incessantly. And that fierce instrument, of the splendour of the blazing sun and of terrible form, had been devised by the gods for cutting in pieces all robbers of the Soma. Garuda, seeing a passage through it, stopped there for a moment. Diminishing his body, in an instant he passed through the spokes of that wheel. Within the line of the wheel, he beheld, stationed there for guarding the Soma two great snakes of the effulgence of blazing fire, with tongues bright as the lightning-flash, of great energy, with mouth emitting fire, with blazing eyes, containing poison, very terrible, always in anger, and of great activity. Their eyes were ceaselessly inflamed with rage and were also winkless. He who may be seen by even one of the two would instantly be reduced to ashes. The bird of fair feathers suddenly covered their eyes with dust. And unseen