Garuda (from Sanskrit गरुड / garuḍa , meaning ” eagle “) is a fabulous bird-man of Hindu and Buddhist mythology , son of Kashyapa and Vinatâ and brother of Aruna , the driver of the chariot of the god Sûrya . It is the vâhana , or mount, of the god Vishnu 1 . He is also considered the king of birds .


Garuda can also be seen as a mythical Giant Eagle, natural air enemy of the nagas , snakes water and Earth 2 . But Naga and Garuda are in fact only two incarnations of Vishnu , the two aspects of the divine substance, in which they reconcile.

In Buddhism, garudas were seen as evil animals; however, after the arrival of the Buddha , he converted them; and they then protected his teachings 3 .

He is present on the Buddhist temples of Cambodia . During the colonization since the French Empire of Indochina , France published, a postage stamp illustrating Garuda for the Kingdom of Cambodia in 1957 4

Garuda is the emblem of Indonesia . The character, like many other Indian cultural references, is still alive in traditional culture in Java , the most populous island in Indonesia . The royal and princely courts of Java, after the rulers converted to Islam , preserved a culture steeped in Indian elements and models. The national airline is Garuda Indonesia .

It is also the emblem of the monarchy in Thailand ; a yellow flag with a red Garuda (called in Thai : ครุฑ , Khrouth ) floats on the palace when the king is present. It is also considered a national emblem, as it adorns the official buildings, passport and banknotes (see Baht ). In recognition of the services rendered to the nation, the king grants some large commercial companies the right to use it to decorate their facades and their official documents.

The Garuda, called in Mongolian Khangarid ( Mongolian : ᠬᠠᠨᠭᠠᠷᠤᠳᠢ , Cyrillic : хангарьд ; literally, khan Garuda ), is the symbol of the capital of Mongolia , Ulaanbaatar 5 , which can be found on the coat of arms and the flag of the city. According to popular Mongolian belief, Khangarid is the spirit of the mountain of Bogd Khan Uul who became a supporter of Buddhism. Today he is considered the guardian of this mountain and a symbol of courage and honesty. The bird also gives its name to Hangard Aviationand Khangarid is a team participating in the Mongolian Football Championship .

In Tibet , Khyung (ཁྱུང) is the Tibetan name for Garuda 6 . Coming from India, he was likened to khading religion Bon , eagle golden horns 7 . The black garuda is a divinity school Nyingma of Tibetan Buddhism that we take to remove the conditions caused by the naga and earth spirits 8 . He is figured on the Lungta . He is represented in the iconography of Shambhala by Chogyam Trungpa for whom he is associated with a great speed and power. Like the phoenix , it arises from the ashes of destruction, it is indestructible9 .


Notes and references

  1. ↑ ( in ) CA Jones and JD Ryan, Encyclopedia of Hinduism , Checkmark Books ( ISBN  0816073368 ) , pp.  164
  2. ↑ ( in ) BM Sullivan, The A to Z of Hinduism , Vision Books ( ISBN  8170945216 ) , pp.  81
  3. ↑ ( in ) Robart E. Buswell Jr. and Donald S; Lopez Jr, The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism , Princeton University Press ( ISBN  0691157863 ) , p.  314-315
  4. ↑ ( in ) ” Stamp catalog: Stamp> Garuda ”  [ archive ] , on
  5. ↑ ( in ) Michael Kohn, Mongolia , Lonely Planet ,p.  52
  6. ↑ The Mother Essence Lineage, by Ngakpa Chogyam Rinpoche  [ archive ]
  7. ↑ The Handbook of Tibetan Buddhist Symbols  [ archive ] , p. 76
  8. ↑  [ archive ]
  9. ↑ Chogyam Trungpa, Great Eastern Sun: The Wisdom of Shambhala  [ archive ] , p. 235