Waiting for Garuda

I’ve been finding it difficult to post anything much lately because my time is much more taken up with scanning the skies. I’m looking for an eagle… a very special sort of eagle. I think if you read this through, you might understand why:

In the Vedic literature on Oriental alchemy, there is a famous star story called The Churning of the Ocean of Milk. This great white sea is, of course, what we call the Milky Way. But to the Vedics it was known as the Garbhodaka Ocean or Ocean of Milk, and they regarded it as the source of all fertility in the known universe.

One day, the devas and the daemons decided to churn the Ocean of Milk in order to bring up to the surface the Elixir of Life, which is known in the Western Mysteries as the Holy Grail or the Philosopher’s Stone.

Both the devas and the daemons want this great treasure, and so initially there is cooperation between the two normally opposing sides.

They decide to use a huge serpent as the rope, and they tie this “rope” around a holy mountain, Mount Kailash, for it to act as the churning rod. And then they began their tugging and pulling, first to one side, then to the other.

It has to be said that the devas, who were fully behind the notion of a “fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay”, worked hard at their end of the rope. Whereas the daemons hadn’t worked a day in their lives, and were much more inclined to lazing around and devising cunning ways to steal from others their hard-earned wealth. But they did their best to join in and at least, show willing.

During the early stages of the churning, all sorts of weird and wonderful stuff was dredged up from the depths – the good, the bad and the ugly: old boots, rusty kettles, an odd sock and so on. After this, healing herbs began to surface, which were welcomed. But, at the same time, a highly poisonous plant also bobbed up on the waves. So in order to protect everyone, the god Shiva rose up to swallow the deadly herb, and this turned his throat blue.

The churning of the Ocean of Milk went on for many days until eventually, Dhanvantari, the god of healing, suddenly appeared on the surface, holding a golden goblet containing the Elixir of Life.

Instantly, all the daemons leap up as one into the air, to steal it.

However, just at that moment, the great god Garuda the Eagle appeared in the skies above. He swooped down and grabbed, with his claws, the goblet from Dhanvantari’s hand, and then instantly soared off again into the skies. But as he flew along, drops from the cup fell on to the ground below and wherever those drops of the elixir fell, the Earth and all the people on it bloomed and thrived.

So I hope this explains why I’m spending so much time skywatching, looking deep into my inner landscapes. I’m not so much waiting for Godot as waiting for Garuda. He must surely be on the way. Please let me know if you see him!