Garuda Panchami is a festival celebrated to commemorate the birth of Garuda, an ardent devotee and the bird carrier of Lord Vishnu. The fifth day of the waxing moon in the month of Shravana, is celebrated as Garuda Panchami. Garuda is the son of Vinata and Kashyapa Muni and lives on the planet known as Salmalidvipa where he is constantly offering prayers to Lord Vishnu.

garudo bhagavan stotra-stobhash chandomayah prabhuh
rakshatv ashesha-kricchrebhyo vishvaksenah sva-namabhih

Lord Garuda, the carrier of Lord Vishnu, is the most worshipable lord, for he is as powerful as the Supreme Lord Himself. He is the personified Vedas and is worshiped by selected verses. May he protect us from all dangerous conditions, and may Lord Vishwaksena, the Personality of Godhead, also protect us from all dangers by His holy names. (SB 6.8.29)

Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita – vainateyash ca pakshinam, “Among the birds, I am Garuda.” Garuda carries Lord Vishnu on his back always and therefore he is considered as the transcendental prince of all carriers.

In the Vedic literature it is stated that the two wings of the transcendental bird Garuda, are two divisions of the Sama Veda known as brihat and rathantara. When Garuda flaps his wings, one can hear the chanting of the hymns from Sama Veda. Garuda is engaged in eternal service to Lord Vishnu in Vaikuntha. Every temple of Lord Vishnu has a Deity of Sri Garuda sitting in front of the Lord with folded hands.

Garuda is also known by the names: Pakshiraja, Vainateya, Suparna, Garuthman, Periya Tiruvadi, Vinatasuta, Vishnuvahana, Nagantaka and Kashyapeya.

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