SAMUDRA MANTHAN (CHURNING OF THE OCEAN)
September 12, 2003
Friday Meeting

Once, due to false pride, the leader of the demigods, Indradev, did not watch his actions and insulted a hot-tempered saint named Durvasa Muni. Given in Garud Puran 1/240, Indradev allowed his elephant to trample upon the garland given by Durvasa Muni. Given in Bhagavat 8/5, the sage became upset and cursed Indradev and the rest of the demigods to become weakened. Soon, the curse took effect, and the demons began overpowering the demigods. With no other recourse, they approached their father, the creator Brahma, who led them to Lord Vishnu.

[Bhagavat 8/6:] After hearing their prayers, Lord Vishnu suggested that (just as butter is arrived by churning the cream of milk), by churning the massive ocean of milk (Shirsagar), the demigods could gain many priceless objects. To accomplish such a great feat, they would need to use Mount Meru[Mandara] as the churning rod and the king of the snakes, Vasuki, as the rope. The demigods alone could not do the task so Lord Vishnu instructed them to create an alliance with King Bali and the demons.

[Bhagavat 8/7:] Following Lord Vishnu, the demigods accepted the demons foolish holding of the head-end of the snake (from where fire was exhaled), while the demigods held the tail-end. But when they finally started the churning, the mountain kept sinking. Lord Vishnu thus took the form of a massive turtle (Kurma) to form the base of the mountain. First, poison came out of the oceans, but Lord Shiva consumed it, leaving a blue mark on his neck (and thus called "Neelkanth").

[Bhagavat 8/8:] A total of 14 different priceless items came out of the churning: poison (that was accepted by Lord Shiva), the Surabhi cow (or the Kamdhenu cow, which was accepted by sages that perform sacrifices), the Ucchaihshrava horse (accpeted by King Bali), Airavat (the powerful king of elephants, Indradev's vehicle) and other great elephants (8 elephants including Airavan, and 8 she-elephants including Abhramu), the Kastubh and Padmaraga jewels (which decorated Lord Vishnu's chest), the Parijat tree (or the wish-fulfilling Kalpavruksh tree), apsaraas (heavenly woman), Lakshmiji (who garlanded Lord Vishnu, who was the only one complete with qualities), Varuni (a maiden) carrying liquor (accepted by the demons), (Skand Puran 5/1/44 adds: the moon, the Panchjanya conch, the Sarang bow) and finally, Dhanvantari (the handsome heavenly doctor, who was a form of Lord Vishnu) carrying amruta (immortal nectar). When Dhanvantari emerged carrying the bowl of immortal nectar, the demons snatched it and began fighting amongst themselves. (The famous Kumbh Mela festival that takes place every 12 years in the cities of Allahabhad, Ujjain, Hardwar, and Nasik, stems from this event.) As the demons overpowered the demigods, they again turned to Lord Vishnu, who took the form of Mohini, a woman of incomparable beauty.

[Bhagavat 8/9:] When the demons saw her, they were enraptured by her and lost their sense of discretion. She convinced them to let her serve the nectar to everyone equally. They agreed and both the demons and demigods sat in a line. In this way, Mohini served the amruta only to the demigods. One demon, however, saw through the tactic and disguising himself as a demigod, sat among them. Mohini served him the nectar, but right when it passed his throat, the sun and the moon recognized him. Thus Mohini, as Lord Vishnu, used the Sudarshan Chakra to behead him. However, because he had already swallowed the amruta, his head [and body] became immortal (known in astrology as Rahu [and Khetu]).

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