Kurma Avatar – Part 3 – The churning ends


<< Part 2 of the story >>

001Thus, 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.

MohiniIncensed 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.

LakshmiIndra, 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.

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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.

Make a wish…


This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 40; the fortieth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The theme for the month is “MAKE A WISH

Setting: Ancient Greece

Person: King Midas

King Midas was a just king albeit not too wise. He had a reputation for being somebody who spoke before he clearly understood the full import of his words. That being said, he was a nice person overall.

One day Dionysius, a Greek god found his foster father, the old satyr Silenius missing. The old satyr, had been drinking away merrily and found his way to Midas’ garden where he passed out due to effects of his wine. Midas recognized him, treated him favorably and sent him on his way when he had recovered enough.

Pleased by the hospitable treatment of Silenius, Dionysius asked Midas to ‘make a wish’ which would instantly be granted. Midas, due to his force of habit of speaking without thinking wished for the first thing that popped to his mind – “whatever I touch should turn to gold”.

When the wish was granted, Midas tested it on an oak twig and a stone, both of which turned to gold. Overjoyed with his new gift, Midas ordered for a grand feast, only to realize that he couldn’t eat or drink at the same, due to the fact that whatever he touched turned to gold. Overcome with grief, Midas grew thin and weak, realizing the bane of his foolish wish that had made his life a hell

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Setting: Ancient India

Person: Bhasmasura

Bhasmasura was a powerful and strong demon, however, intelligence was not one of his strong fortes. After performing severe penance with a view of obtaining Lord Shiva’s blessings, he was granted with a darshan of Lord Shiva. Pleased with his devotion, Shiva asked Bhasmasura to ‘make a wish’. Bhasmasura replied “Lord, please grant me the wish that whichever person, place or thing that I touch with my right hand should turn to ashes.

Upon being granted the wish, the demon drunk with his newfound power wanted to test this wish on Shiva himself. When Shiva started running away from him, he chased him high and low. Wherever Shiva went, Bhasmasura followed him threatening to touch him with his right hand.

On hearing Shiva’s predicament, Vishnu took the form of Mohini with whom Bhasmasura immediately fell in love with. Mohini agreed to marry him under the one condition that she match his dance moves step by step. As he matched her every move step for step, he let down his guard and suddenly Mohini stuck a pose with her right hand on her head. And as the visibly besotted Bhasmasura matched this move  of hers, he was immediately reduced to ashes.

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Setting: Ancient India, in the epic Mahabharatha

Person: Draupadi

Draupadi prays with devotion to Lord Shiva, who pleased with her faith and devotion asks her to ‘make a wish’. She wishes for a husband who was noble, strong, skilled with the bow, handsome and wise.

Years later, Arjuna wins her hand by displaying his prowess with the bow at her Swayamvara. Arjuna then takes her home to his mother Kunti, who was busy with her housework. He says “Look mother, what I have brought home today”. Kunti without looking at him replies “Whatever it is, please share it equally with all your brothers”.

The Pandava brothers couldn’t refute their mother’s wish and thus Draupadi ended up with five husbands, each one of them epitomizing one of the ideal qualities that she had wished for in her husband. Her wish had come true.

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Moral of each of the incidents above:

Be extremely careful what you wish for when somebody asks you to ‘make a wish’. Your wish just might come true.

Image courtesy: stuffpoint.com

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