“And the son of Vinata then met Vishnu on his way along the sky. And Narayana was gratified at that act of self-denial on the part of Garuda. And that deity, knowing no deterioration, said unto the ranger of the skies, ‘O, I am inclined to grant thee a boon.’ The ranger of the skies thereupon said, ‘I shall stay above thee.’ And he again spake unto Narayana these words, ’I shall be immortal and free from disease without (drinking) Amrita.’ Vishnu said unto the son of Vinata, ‘Be it so.’ Garuda, receiving those two boons, told Vishnu, ’I also shall grant thee a boon; therefore, let the possessor of the six attributes ask of me.’ Vishnu then asked the mighty Garuda to become his carrier. And he made the bird sit on the flagstaff of his car, saying, ’Even thus thou shalt stay above me.’ And the ranger of the skies, of great speed, saying unto Narayana, ‘Be it so,’ swiftly wended on his way, mocking the wind with his fleetness.
“And while that foremost of all rangers of the skies, that first of winged creatures, Garuda, was coursing through the air after wresting the Amrita, Indra hurled at him his thunderbolt. Then Garuda, the lord of birds, struck with thunderbolt, spake laughingly unto Indra engaged in the encounter, in sweet words, saying, ’I shall respect the Rishi (Dadhichi) of whose bone the Vajra hath been made. I shall also respect the Vajra, and thee also of a thousand sacrifices. I cast this feather of mine whose end thou shalt not attain. Struck with thy thunder I have not felt the slightest pain.’ And having said this, the king of birds cast a feather of his. And all creatures became exceedingly glad, beholding that excellent feather of Garuda so cast off. And seeing that the feather was very beautiful, they said, ’Let this bird be called Suparna (having fair feathers). And Purandara of a thousand eyes, witnessing this wonderful incident, thought that bird to be some great being and addressed him thus.’
“And Indra said, ’O best of birds, I desire to know the limit of thy great strength. I also desire eternal friendship with thee.’”
So ends the thirty-third section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.
(Astika Parva continued)