Churning of the Ocean in Hindu Mythology
by Mantra & shlokas on Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 4:34pm
In Hindu Mythology there is a story in which Gods and Demons work together. to churn the Ocean in hope of getting precious Treasures During Churning of oceans first Poison came out which threaten to contaminate every thing. Then Lord Shiva Drank that poison and saved them from the disaster
After the poison, Lakshmi (Goddess of prosperity and beauty, Goddess of wine, Moon, Rambha the nymph , White Horse, Kaustubha a jewel, Parijata the Celestial tree, Surabhi the cow of Plenty, Airavata a white elephant, Dhanus a mighty bow, Sankha a conch shell came
All these things demons and Gods distributed among themselves. But they didn’t stop here to enjoy all these treasures. They went on and on to churn the ocean till divine nectar (Amrit ) appear. Who ever drank divine nectar became immortal. Through this symbolic story sages are teaching path to enlightenment
<span>When we start doing meditation then lots of thoughts come and these thoughts trouble us more. As we go more deep in meditation then all hurtful feelings, anger, hate, jealousy resurface in our mind. This is the Poison which came during the churning of the Ocean</span>
After we have accepted all these Hurtful Feelings and we are calmly progressing in meditation. Then Powers arises in a Meditator. But a Meditator need not get stuck at powers and should not use them. Slowly the energy which has manifested in form of Powers will also be used in taking us towards our true nature
The Meditator need to go deeper and deeper in to its own being and at Last the nectar comes that is Enlightenment. The symbol Churning of ocean is very meaningful because our unconscious is very deep.From so many lives we are asleep and so many desires we are carrying in it
Our Mind is a vast reservoir of memories and desires. So in Meditation we churn our Mind to drink divine the nectar of immortality.
Samudra Manthan literally means: The Churning of the Ocean. The story of the Samudra Manthan narrated in the Shrimad Bhaagvad is interesting
Let us first understand the terms : Devas and Daityas. Devas Represent 'Good', and Daityas represent 'Evil'. But Hindus believe that the good people have a little of evil in them. Also the evil have some good tendencies in them. It is interesting to note that, it is mentioned in the Bhaagvad that both, Good and Evil or Devas and Daityas are born of the same father.
The King of the Devas is called Indra. Once the Sage Durvaasa presented Indra with a garland of flowers. Indra, having become egoistic and insensitive, disrespectfully placed the garland on the tusk of an elephant who trampled it with his feet. If someone treated a gift you gave, like that, you would also be hurt and angry. Durvaasa feeling humiliated cursed Indra that he would lose his power and position. So, Paradise, the Land of the Devas fell into the hands of the Daityas
The Devas prayed to the Lord for help. The Lord realized that though the Devas had committed an offence, it was more favorable, in the long run that the Universe should belong to the Devas. But for that victory to come to pass, a Samudra Manthan ('The Churning of the Ocean') had to be performed
The Samudra Manthan was not going to be easy, so the Devas had to take the assistance of the Daityas. The nectar that would come out of the Ocean, after all the poison that would emerge first, would make the Devas immortal. For the churning to take place, a big pole was inserted in the Ocean. But no matter what they did, the pole would continue to sink into the Ocean bed. So the Lord took the form of a tortoise. The pole was placed on His back. The latter symbolizes the fact that whatever you undertake to do, its support must be God
The rope that was used for the churning is symbolic of the string of co-operation. One end of the rope was manipulated by the Devas and the other end by the Daityas. When the churning commenced, at first an extremely potent poison emerged which threatened to destroy Creation. That venomous potion had to be discarded. But where? No place was powerful enough to contain it. The Devas and the Daityas finally decided to implore God Shiva to help them. Shivji did help them, by gulping the poison, yet retaining it in his throat. This is the reason why Shivji is called 'Neel-Kanth' the 'Blue Throated One'. Symbolically, when one is faced with troubles, take them to the Lord. He will help you out by swallowing your difficulties!
The churning of the Ocean continued. A lot of Divine gifts emerged from the Ocean. These were shared by the Devas and the Daityas.
Finally, the much coveted Amrit (Nectar) appeared. The Daityas grabbed it and ran. The Lord incarnated as a beautiful damsel named 'Mohini'. With His/Her help the potion was attained by the Devas, who got back their Paradise. But two of the Daityas managed to partake of the Amrit. And they both became immortal. Therefore the fight between good and evil continues to this day
1910s lithograph showing samudra manthan with the 14 jewels
All kinds of herbs were cast into the ocean and fourteen Ratnas (gems or treasures) were produced from the ocean and were divided between asuras and gods. Though usually the Ratnas are enumerated as 14, the list in the scriptures ranges from 9 to 14 Ratnas. Most lists include:
- Halahala, the poison swallowed by Shiva
- Varuni or Sura, goddess and creator of alcohol. As she was accepted by the gods, they are called as Suras, while the demons - Asuras.
- Uchhaishravas, the divine 7-headed horse
- Kaustubha, the most valuable jewel in the world, worn by Vishnu
- Chandra, the moon
- Lakshmi, the Goddess of Fortune and Wealth -Vishnu's consort
- Apsaras, various divine nymphs like Rambha, Menaka, Punjikasthala, etc.
- Kamadhenu or Surabhi, the wish-granting divine cow
- Parijat, the divine flowering tree with blossoms that never fade or wilt, identified with Kalpavriksha, the wish-granting tree
- Airavata, the elephant of Indra
- Dhanvantari, the doctor of the gods with Amrita the nectar of immortality. (At times, considered as two different Ratnas)
- Sharanga, the bow of Vishnu
- Shankha Vishnu's conch
- Jyestha - the goddess of misfortune
- the umbrella taken by Varuna
- the earrings given to Aditi, by her son Indra
- Tulasi plant
- Nidra or sloth
Various scenes from the samudra manthan episode
Finally, Dhanvantari, the heavenly physician, emerged with a pot containing amrita, the heavenly nectar of immortality. Fierce fighting ensued between devas and asuras for the nectar. To protect the nectar from asuras, devas hid the pot of nectar at four places on the earth - Prayag (Allahabad), Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik. At each of these places, a drop of the nectar spilled from the pot and it is believed that these places acquired mystical power. A Kumbh Mela is celebrated at the four places every twelve years for this reason.
However, the Asuras eventually got hold of the nectar and started celebrating. Frightened, devas (demigods) appealed to Vishnu, who then took the form of Mohini. As a beautiful and enchanting damsel, Mohini distracted the asuras, took the amrita, and distributed it among the Devas, who drank it. One asura, Rahu, disguised himself as a deva and drank some nectar. Due to their luminous nature, the sun god Surya and the moon god Chandra noticed the switching of sides. They informed Mohini. But before the nectar could pass his throat, Mohini cut off his head with her divine discus, the Sudarshana Chakra. The head, due to its contact with the amrita, remained immortal. To gain revenge on the sun and moon for exposing this, the immortal head occasionally swallows the sun or the moon, causing eclipses. Then, the sun or moon passes through the opening at the neck, ending the eclipse.
The story ends with the rejuvenated Devas defeating the asuras.