Garuda

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Garuda – one of the Four dignities, which are mythical animals which represent various aspects of the Bodhisattva attitude.

Garuda symbolizes freedom from hopes and fears, the vast mind without reference point. It is a powerful antidote to the negative influences of Nagas (spirits) which can cause disease and all kinds of harm.

Garuda is daring and fearless and abides in the north. With great strength and power it soars beyond without holding back.

Associations: main quality is wisdom, dominance over the sky, and the fire element.

Deity of protection

The Garuda is considered one of the three deities of protection in some practices.

Protector of images

The Garuda is a protector of images and is often found above the head on certain statues.

Historical context

The Tibetan Khyung is somewhat different to the India Garuda inasmuch as it has an origin going back to Tibet's earliest days when it was a vehicle for deities. According to Indian myth the Garuda is the mortal enemy of serpents; Garuda images often depict the Garuda holding a serpent in its arms and beak.