Deva who sustains and protects the Universe. His abode is Vaikunta where He is usually depicted with his consort Lakshmi, as resting on a giant snake, Adisesha, which is itself floating in an ocean of milk.
Garuda – King of the birds. Represents courage, birth and heaven.
Kadru and Vinata were the wives of sage Kashyapa. Kadru bore 1000 snakes as children whereas Vinata bore a winged child after waiting for a long time. This was none other than Garuda.
Long time before Garuda was born, Vinata had lost a bet with Kadru (albeit was deceived) and was reduced to being a slave to Kadru. Naturally Garuda had to adhere to the chores assigned by the snakes without any rest. Garuda was tired of this slavery of his mother and wished to set her free. The snakes agreed to set the mother-son free if Garuda brought to them the pot of elixir, Amrutha.
Garuda decided to help themselves and take this chance. Vinata advised her son to go to the sea shore and feed on the tribe of Nishadha (fishermen) to gain strength for this difficult mission. Garuda was still not satiated yet and ate up an elephant and tortoise who were sages in previous birth as per his father, sage Kashyapa’s advice. Now, Garuda felt full and proceeded towards the abode of Indra, to get the Amrutha.
A fierce battle ensued between the Gods and Garuda. But the Gods were defeated quite easily and Garuda proceeded towards the place where the elixir was kept. The path to the pot of Amrutha was guarded by a huge flame of fire. Garuda went to the ocean and gulped so much water that the fire was doused. Next was a spinning wheel sort of device with sharp edges. Garuda became very small in size and squeezed himself between the blades.
Next guarding the pot were two ferocious animals who were slit into two pieces by Garuda. He flew back taking the pot of Amrutha to the snakes without touching even a drop for himself. His honesty and sole determination to free his mother from slavery won Lord Vishnu over. Vishnu appeared and gave him the boon of immortality even without drinking the nectar and the king of birds. In return, Garuda agreed to become a mount for Lord Vishnu.