Sage Kashyap had two wives - Kadru and Vinata. Though both
were sisters, they were jealous of each other. Kashyap offered each of
them a boon. Kadru said, "Let thousand brave and radiant sons be
born to me." Kashyap granted her the boon. At this, Vinata became
jealous and said, "Let such sons be born to me, who are braver and
brighter than even my sister's sons." Kashyap granted her the boon
After sometime Kadru gave birth to a thousand snakes. Vinata laid
two eggs and waited for them to hatch. But even after five hundred years, when they did not hatch, she get impatient. Thinking that Kadru's boon
had already been fulfilled, she broke open one of the eggs. The bird in
the egg, which was still half formed, became angry with Vinata for her
impatience and cursed her that she would become a slave. He also told her
that after five hundred years his brothers would emerge from the second
egg and would free her from the slavery.
One day Vinata and Kadru were arguing. Vinata said the divine horse
Uchaishravas was fully white in colour. Kadru said that his body was white
but his tail was black. They decided to lay a bet on this issue, Whoever
would win, would become the other's slave.
Kadru knew that the horse's tail was white and she would lose the bet,
so she asked her sons to go and twist themselves around the tail so that
it looked black. But the snakes did not want to be a part of this trick,
so they were hesitant. Kadru was very angry at the disobedience of her
sons and cursed that all of them would die in a yajna fire. When Kashyapa
came on his sons, he went to Brahama for help. Brahma said, "The
snakes are poisonous and wicked they deserve to die." After much
pleading by Kashyapa, Brahma finally granted him that the snakes that were
good would survive.
In the meantime, the snakes scared after hearing their mother's curse,
decided to follow her orders. They went and entwined around the tail of the
horse and made it look black. Vinata lost the bet and became Kadru's
After five hundred years, a huge bird named Garuda emerged from the
second egg. This bird was powerful and shone brightly.
He was even brighter than fire and his light blinded everyone. The gods
requested him to reduce his light. But like his mother, he also had to
become the slave of Kadru and her sons.
One day, Kadru ordered Garuda to find an island for her and her sons.
Garuda flew with them on his back and found a beautiful island in the
middle of the ocean. But Kadru and the snakes did not like the island.
They asked Garuda to take them to another island. Garuda then took them to another island, but he was
fed up of being servant of his stepmother and stepbrothers. He asked his
mother, "Why do we have live like slaves?" Vinata told him
about the bet and how she became the slave of Kardu. After hearing the
story, Garuda asked the snakes, "I want to free myself and my mother from your bondage. What should I do so that you will free us from your slavery."
The snakes replied, "We want you to bring amrit or the
devine drink for us that would make us immortal. Then you
and your mother will be free."
Garuda stole the amrit from the gods and rescued his mother.