The mantras of garuDa, the vAhana of shrImannArAyaNa, are well known in the tantras. Though the upAsanA of gAruDa mantra is associated popularly with cure for snake bite or sarpabhaya nivR^itti, the mantra is used to procure various other benefits as well. gaRuDa is worshipped with different mantras in different forms such as mahAgaruDa, AshugaruDa, sarpAshana garuDa, prachaNDa garuDa, mAyA garuDa, sammohana garuDa, jvAlAmAlin, kUTagAruDa etc.
Some of the fruits ascribed to garuDopAsanA are:
dR^iShTaprayogabahuLaM dR^iShTAdR^iShTArthasAdhakam |
The primary application of the mantra is in the removal of different kinds of poison such as sthAvara, ja~Ngama, kR^itrima, sahaja, sha~NkA and hAlAhala. The upAsanA of the various garuDa mantras also bless the upAsaka with miraculous powers, mastery over snakes, health, wealth, success, prosperity, progeny, speech, victory in wars, freedom from enemies etc. The use of garuDa mantra in vashya, AkarShaNa, stambhana, mohana, ucChATana, mAraNa and unmAdana [kShudrasaptaka] are also described in the shAstras. The mantra is used for both abhichAra and pratyabhiChara. Similarly, gAruDa kR^ityA is of great might and can be used for offence or defense.
For laukika and AbhichArika prayogas, garuDa is visualized independently, with his shakti [lakShmIH, kIrtiH, jayA, mAyA] or attendants [suparNa, tArkShya, vainateya, bhIma], sporting various weapons. However, for protection or sAtvikopAsanA, garuDa is always visualized carrying shrImannArAyaNa. gAruDa mantras are classified into four types: bIja, piNDa, saMj~nA and pada and their use is based on the purpose of upAsanA. Pada mantra described in dakShiNAmUrti samhitA as also the pa~nchAkSharI mantra are popular among shrIvidyA upAsakas. In shrIkrama tantra, amR^ita garuDa is an a~Nga of dhanvantari, who in turn is the a~Nga of vAsudeva represented by the 12 syllabled mantra. The stuti mantra, which is technically a mAlA mantra, is used to offer puShpA~njali to garuDa.
The garuDa maNDala involves the worship of nine gAruDa mUrtis with their respective mantras. mahAgaruDa is stationed at the center of the maNDala surrounded by the eight mUrtis in the eight cardinal directions. mahAgaruDa is described as suvarNAbha [of golden complexion] below the knees, himaprabha [of white complexion] from waist below, ku~NkumAruNa [red like the rising sun] from neck and below and clear like the quartz above the neck. His left and right feet respectively exhibit the ku~nchita and svastika postures. His feet touch the pAtALa and head extends beyond the brahma loka. His nose is long, blue in color and terrifying whereas the ears are charming and decorated with mANikya kuNDalas. His face, shining with three eyes, is fierce due to the protruding sharp teeth. His eyes are tawny reddish in color [kapila varNa] and he is adorned with the best of ornaments. His hands are long and shoulders are gigantic. The nine great serpents form his ornaments. He wears ananta and guLika as bracelets in his two hands, vAsuki as the yaj~nasUtra, takShaka as the waist band, kArkoTaka as the necklace, padma and mahApadma as ear ornaments and sha~Nkha as the headgear. He is seated on a lotus and sports wings that extend infinitely in either direction. He shines with eight hands in which he holds sha~Nkha, chakra, sudhAkumbha, nAga, muShTi, gadA and khaDga. Two of his hands are engaged on serving the lotus feet of shrImannArAyaNa seated on his back, along with bhagavatI ramA. The garuDa pa~nchAkSharI kalpa from kAshyapa samhitA and garuDa kalpa of AkAshabhairava tantra deal extensively with the upAsanA of pakShirAja.
Aku~nchya sarvamaparaM pravisArya pAdam