Saturday, 2 July 2011

The Story of Churning and Its Inner Meaning

At a group meeting on the day after he had produced amrita I asked Swami about its inner meaning. He related the Hindu myth about its creation, which is briefly as follows.</span>

Once in days of old a great rishi cursed Indra, the king of the lower gods (some rishis apparently had such tremendous power). As a result the gods and the three worlds began to lose their vigour. Vishnu the Preserver, one of the trinity forming the Hindu Supreme Godhead and therefore higher than Indra, offered the gods a solution. He told them that to save themselves they must churn the ocean of milk until from it they produced the invigorating elixir called amrita. This nectar would overcome the rishi's debilitating curse and renew the strength of the gods, and hence that of the three worlds over which they hold dominion. ...

Baba then spoke of the symbolic meaning in the story. The cream of truth, wisdom and immortality, symbolised by amrita, must be churned from the great cosmic ocean, the phenomenal universe in which we live and move. Because this universe is based on and must always operate on the principle of opposites, the evil forces (the demons) are as necessary as the good forces (the gods) for the churning - that is, for the continuous struggle in the lives of men. But, unfortunately, most men are like the demons: they forget the priceless product, immortality, in their chase after transient sense pleasures, symbolised by the illusion of a seductive woman.

"Once anrita, that is, 'falsehood', enters into the character", Sai Baba said, "men lose contact with amrita. He dies many deaths who is false, afraid of truth, blind to his own glorious heritage of immortality". So, he explained, when people fall a prey to pride, to attachment, to unreality, their thoughts and feelings have to be churned to bring out the dream of spiritual truth. The groups on either end of the churning rope are always the "forward-leading influences and the backward-pulling influences" - the gods and the demons, or, looked at in another way, the divine and animal forces within ourselves.

<span>hus the story has an inner meaning at two levels: worldly and spiritual. In the worldly sense, I think, it might refer to the continuous struggle between the forces of good and evil. The good and evil are simply men in this Kali Yuga, the good are those who try to develop the normal chakras and the bad are those who specialize on the nether chakras. Nature is the ocean of milk which is exploited and Science is the mountain that is used as the stick with Technology as the snake. The churning brings forth many objects, some good, most bad for the environment and human spiritual progress. The amrita is characterized by the sages who take birth to dispense wisdom and faith. The churning in the Kali Yuga, however, is lopsided, with more venom than nectar produced, though the nectar is more powerful. We are waiting for a Nilakantha to appear and consume the poison in one stroke and save humanity from destruction.</span>

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