India is the land of Vedas, Upanishads, and many literary marvels among the oldest accounts in the world. Historic texts like Purans date from 200 CE to 1000 CE, written by sages and priests or historians. These talk about various topics and impart education from the famous legends and traditional lore. One such Purana is Garud Puran, which explains and answers many questions about life and the afterlife.
What is Garud Puran?
Garud Puran is one of the Maha Puranas, a textual form of a conversation between Lord Vishnu and Garud, the King of Birds. It is one of the Vishnu Puran that deals with death and incarnation. It discusses what happens to a soul after death. Lord Vishnu and Garud discuss death, the afterlife, hell and heaven, sin, etc. It explains funeral rites and the metaphysics of reincarnation, which is sometimes unlucky to read during the funeral and the twelve days of mourning. According to its karma, it breaks the karma of human life and decides what happens to it after death.
Also, to understand the intricacies of Garud Puran, you need to understand the relationship of Garud with Lord Vishnu. It is said that Garud was the vehicle or vahana of Lord Vishnu. Also, he is the son of Sage Kashyap and Devi Vinata. He is the enemy of snakes; there are many legends of how he fought and killed evil snakes. His physical appearance is a mixture of an eagle and a human. Mentions of his name are in the Bhagavad Gita and Ramcharitmanas.
Garud Puran was originally composed and written in Sanskrit, but it is also available in many other languages. It contains more than fifteen thousand verses. It will divide into different chapters that discuss the details of the afterlife, funeral procedures, and descriptions of sins that lead a soul to hell. A small account of Yama, his city, ways, and torments is also written in the texts. Yama is the God of Death, responsible for executing all the punishments mentioned in the Garud Puran for the sinners or sinful in his abode, i.e., a four-square city. After that, the Garud Puran gives an analogy between the macro cosmos and the human body. The last part provides an insight into the key to liberation. It is one of the most difficult texts to go through; it takes a lot of courage and peace of mind to understand the details written in Garud Puran.
You can also read about Garud Puran in Hindi.
History of Garud Puran
According to various authors and researchers like Pintchman and Gietz, the text of Garud Puran was composed over a long period during the first millennium of the common era. Gietz claimed the exact time when he wrote the first version of the text, somewhere between the fourth century CE and the eleventh century.
It also has chapters on Yoga and Tantra techniques developed in later years. So, Leadbeater claimed that the text was from 900 CE. While some other researchers claim that its development was over time, these chapters were added after the sixth century or later.
Not all the versions of Garud Puran were able to make it to the modern era; different researchers have different claims about its placement and origin. Dalal claims that it is from 800 CE to 1000 CE, with added portions from the 2nd millennium. While Pintchman suggests it is from 850 CE to 1000 CE. And Chaudhuri, Banerjee and Hazra indicate that these texts cannot be from before about the tenth or eleventh century CE.
There are different text versions available with additional chapters and some other content. Various titles have been there, like Sauparna Purana, Tarksya Purana and Vainateya Purana, mentioned in Bhagavata Purana, texts from the Persian scholar Al-Biruni who visited India and Vayu Purana, respectively.
Authors and researchers of Hindu religious studies, Ernest Wood and SV Subrahmanyam translated the published Garud puran saroddhara in the 19th and 20th centuries. Manmatha Nath Dutt also translated one version of Garud Puran published in the early 20th century.
Gemology in Garud Puran
Garud Puran contains shlokas that describe different gemstones. It discusses the characteristics of rocks, namely ruby, pearl, yellow sapphire, hessonite, emerald, diamond, cat’s eye, Blue Sapphire, coral, red garnet, jade, colourless quartz, and bloodstone. It also tells about their testing methodologies and the relation of different gemstones to astrology. Description of theories of every gemstone’s creation is available in detail. The Garud Puran text explains how to curate gemstones in jewellery and their astrological significance if worn properly.
What is the Story of Garud Puran?
The legend of Garud Puran goes way back in the time of Hindu mythology. According to the legend, Takshak Nag had decided to bite King Parikshit to fulfil the curse of Shringi Rishi. When he was going there, he met Sage Kashyap on the way, who seemed very much in a hurry. Takshak Nag decided to disguise himself as a Brahmin and ask the Sage about such impatience. The Sage replied that he would stop Takshak Nag’s poison from spreading in King’s body and give him life again.
It made Takshak reveal himself, and he told the Sage that nobody has ever survived from the effect of his poison, so the Sage should not do so as his efforts would go in vain. But the Sage was determined because he believed in his mantras to remove the poison effect. Baffled by this, Takshak challenged the Sage to save a green tree from his poisonous bite, and Takshak consumed the tree with his poison. After observing, Sage Kashyap collected the ashes of the tree and said his mantras. What happened after was a surprise for Nag Takshak; he saw new buds sprouting from the ashes and turning them into a green tree-like before. It compelled Takshak to ask the reason behind his act of saving the King. The Sage replied that by saving the life of a King, he would get wealth. Takshak decided to award the Sage himself with double the wealth of what Kind would have given him.
These powers and influence were vested in Sage Kashyap by chantings of Garud Puran. Garud Puran ki Kahani or the story of Garud Puran teaches a lot about its powers.
Who Wrote Garud Puran?
There is a story behind who wrote the Garud Puran. It is believed that Lord Vishnu narrated it to Garud. After that, the Kind of Birds gave an account of the Puran to Sage Kashyap. It spread like a fire in the mythical forest of Naimishi and reached Sage Ved Vyasa. He then compiled the 19,000 shlokas of Garud Puran in textual form.
The original script was very complex and difficult to understand. So, Navanidhirâma, son of Sri Hari Narayana, decided to curate the essence of the Garuda Purana in simpler words. It required a lot of effort to read and study the sacred books available in Hindu mythology.
Who is B. K. Chaturvedi?
BK Chaturvedi is the author who made the recent compilation of Garud Puran. He is a famous Hindi scholar who has also compiled other mythological books of Hinduism. He gives a new insight into the various concepts of Garud Puran and other books. The recompilations are readily available in bookstores online and offline for an easy buy. He has written Garud Puran in Hindi. You can get Garuda Puran in Bengali, Hindi, Gujarati and other languages.
How Many Shlokas are in Garud Puran?
There are about 19,000 shlokas present in Garud Puran. But only eight thousand of those have made it to the modern era. These are divided into two parts, namely,
- Purva Khand – It has about 229 very generic chapters. It deals in faith, good deeds, ethical acts, charity, etc. It discusses the shows that you should perform while living your life. It also gives insights into gemology and astrology.
- Uttara Khand or Preta Khand – With about 34 to 49 chapters, this Khand discusses what happens after death. This particular section makes it very unique and interesting from other Purans.
Why Should One Read Garud Puran?
The Garud Puran makes us aware of our actions. It makes us realise that good deeds in our lives will take us to heaven, and selfish acts will make us end in hell. It talks about the pains and pleasures that could be in fate depending on the karma of the last birth. It emphasises reincarnation. It explains what happens after death and how a person lands in heaven or hell, depending on his life.
Why Is Garud Puran Recited at Funerals?
In Hindu funeral rites, there is a mourning period of twelve days because it is said that on the 11th and 12th day of death, the person meets the dead relatives. And after that, on the 13th day, an important ceremony called Vaikunta Samaradhana takes place. In this ceremony, Garuda Purana is chanted for everyone in the deceased’s family.
It is said that you earn Punya by listening to or reading this Purana. In this world where we are moulding rituals and traditions according to our convenience, it is important to give a dignified departure to the deceased. By giving them a farewell with the chantings of Garud Purana, we are helping them get free of all their past sins; it offers salvation to the dead person. It is the major reason why it is recited at funeral ceremonies. The chantings of Garud Puran and Garud Puran ki Kahani tell us a lot about the good and bad deeds.
The above article answers the peculiar questions about life and the afterlife. Death has always been inexplicable; there is no one possible answer to what happens to a soul after leaving the body. Garud Puran helps in eradicating the curiosities related to death.
How many adhyay in Garud Puran?
There are about 300 Garud Puran total adhyay.
How many chapters in Garud Puran?
Garud Puran’s total adhyay is 300 chapters, but the compiled version by Ernest Wood and SV Subrahmanyam is divided into sixteen chapters.
Can we listen to Garud Puran at night?
Yes, you can read it anytime at home. You can get the Garud Puran pdf download online.
Can we read Garud Puran on normal days?
Yes. You can read it anytime with a pure mind and soul. Garud Puran pdf in Gujarati, Hindi and other languages is available online.
What is the death cycle in Garud Puran?
According to Garud Puran, the afterlife depends on the deeds of your past life. Good deeds make you go to heaven, while bad deeds make you end up in hell. You take rebirth depending on past life deeds and attain moksha if you have been a saint.
How many days of Patak should be there, according to Garud Puran?
There should be twelve days of Patak when someone dies in the family.
How should a person live according to Garud Puran?
The main purpose of Garud Puran is to make ourselves self-introspect about our deeds. The punishments mentioned in the Puran can help anyone stay on the path of righteousness for their entire life.