<< Part 2 of the story >>
Thus, the gods and the asuras began churning the sea of milk with the hope of obtaining the nectar of immortality. However, since the sea-bed was muddy, mount Mandhara kept sinking into the soft mud making it almost impossible to churn effectively. Seeing this predicament, Lord Vishnu assumed the shape of a giant tortoise (Kurma) with a shell bigger than the base of the mountain. The tortoise then made its way on the sea-bed and went under the mountain and supported the same on its back. This enabled the churning of the sea of milk. However, unseen by the asuras, Vishnu used one portion of his energy in sustaining Vasuki, the serpent, and another portion to infuse vigor into the gods.
Thus churned, the following rose from sea of milk.
Surabhi, the fountain of milk and curds, which was worshipped by the gods. The gods beheld the fountain with wondrous eyes.
The Goddess Varuni, the diety of wine, her eyes rolling with intoxication.
The celestial Parijatha tree, perfuming the world with its blossoms.
The troop of Apsaras, the nymphs of heaven, endowed with celestial beauty and taste.
The cool rayed moon, which was seized by Lord Shiva.
Poison engendered by the sea, which the snake gods, the Nagas, took possession of.
Dhanwantari, wearing a white robe holding a pot of nectar in his hands. Both, the gods as well as the asuras were delighted when they saw the nectar.
Seated on a full blow lotus, the Goddess Lakshmi, rose from the waves.
The great sages prostrated before her and sang hymns in her praise, Ganga and the other rivers performed ablutions to her, the elephants of the skies taking up water in their golden vases poured pure water on her, the sea of milk in person presented her with a wreath of never fading flowers, Viswakarma, the artist of the gods, decorated her person with heavenly ornaments.
Thus, bathed, attired and adorned, in full view of the gods and asuras, Lakshmi reclined herself on Vishnu’s chest, and turned her gaze upon the gods. Since Vishnu was turned away from the asuras, they were abandoned by the goddess of prosperity, Lakshmi.
Incensed by this treatment meted out to them, the asuras forcibly seized the pot of nectar from Dhanwantari’s hands, but before they could drink the same, Vishnu assuming the form of an extremely beautiful lady, Mohini, deluded them from drinking the same. Enchanted by her beauty and demeanor, the asuras didn’t realize that Mohini not only prevented them from drinking the nectar, but instead gave all of it to the gods who drank them to obtain the power of immortality.
Invigorated by the nectar, the gods then defeated the asuras in battle and drove them away to the subterraneous realms of Patala. Thus after regaining their previous glory thanked Vishnu for his assistance and resumed their reign in heaven. The sun shone with renovated splendor, the celestial bodies resumed their original orbits around him, fires blazed with power, and the minds of all living beings were filled with devotion. In a nutshell, the world was back to its happy days again.
Indra, back in his place as king of the gods, thanked Lakshmi and sang hymns in her praise. Gratified by this praise and his devotion to her, Lakshmi granted him a boon. Indra then made two requests of the goddess, one that she would never leave the three worlds ever again and two that she would not forsake anybody who sang praises of her in the manner in which he had done just then. Lakshmi granted both boons to Indra.
Thus ends the story of the samudra manthan from the Puranas of which the Kurma avatar is an integral part of. However, the more important part of this story deals with how the gods became immortal and how Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity becomes a permanent part of the three worlds.