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Churning of the Ocean of Milk

Churning of the Ocean of Milk


The Churning of the Milk Ocean

A large statue at Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok shows the story of The Churning of the Milk Ocean.

In this Hindu legend, several treasures have been lost beneath the sea. These prizes include the nectar of immortality and are so valuable that one day the gods and devils agree to put aside their differences and work together to recover what had been lost.

To do this, they wrap Vasuki, king of the serpents, around a mountain, Mount Mandara. Then they alternately pull the snake’s head and tail back and forth in a giant tug of war, spinning the mountain as they do so, and churning the Milk Ocean. This is what the statue in the picture shows.

For a thousand years they spin the mountain round and round, churning the milk ocean, until one day the sea gives up its contents.

The first item to be released is a lethal poison known as Halahal. This poison is so powerful that it could destroy the whole of creation. But the god Shiva steps forward and swallows the poison. The universe is saved.

Next come all the other treasures that have lain hidden, including:

  • Kaustubha, the most valuable jewel in the world
  • Sharanga, a powerful bow
  • Parijat, the celestial wishing tree with blossoms that never wilt or fade
  • Three types of supernatural animal, including Surabhi, the cow of plenty
  • Three goddesses, including Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune and wealth, and finally
  • Amrita, the nectar of immortality, carried by Dhanvantari, the doctor of the gods.

This story can be seen as a metaphor for our times.

With so much change happening all around us, it is easy to feel as if we are being pulled back and forth by gods and demons — and it is not always easy to tell which is which.

The first ‘treasures’ to have appeared certainly seem to have the potential to destroy the whole of creation. For some this might be the near-collapse of the financial system in 2008. For others Halahal is the extreme climate change and destruction of the oceans and other habitat that is already happening and accelerating.

The gods and demons in this story represent aspects of our own psyches. They pull us back and forth, and their churning of our inner ocean has the potential to bring forth poison or health, wealth, and other wonders.

The best way I know to obtain whatever treasure matters most to you is to follow the path of Inner Leadership: to centre and ground, make clear sense of your situation, find more opportunities to move forward, choose the one that is best for you (most aligned with your purpose and values), and turn it into an inspiring vision. Then move to action using the tools of Chapter 7 and Outer Leadership.

With thanks to Sally Birch for sending the photo and Ramkumar Nagabushanam for alerting me to the story.


The Underlying symbolism of the Samudra Manthan

Samudra manthan or Ksheera Sagara Mathanam, Churning of the Ocean of Milk is one of the most famous episodes in Hindu mythology. The story appears in the Bhagavata Purana, the Mahabharata and the Vishnu Purana, and explains the origin of amrita, the drink of immortality.

The story of Samudra Manthan appears in the Bhagavata Purana, the Mahabharata, and the Vishnu Purana, and explains the origin of amrita, the drink of immortality. This was a significant event as after this the Devas, who were weakened by Durvasa’s curse before, were able to gain strength and defeat the Asuras, to restore order to the Universe.

The churning of the ocean was an elaborate process. Mount Mandara was used as churning rod and Vasuki, the King of Serpents, became the churning rope. Lord Vishnu himself had to intercede in so many ways to aid the Devas.

As the ocean was stirred, many valuable items were produced along with the Amrita. But Halahala, a dangerous poison which could destroy the entire Universe was also released from the ocean floor. Lord Shiva drank this poison to save the Universe and Goddess Parvati prevented the poison from going down his throat. As a result, his throat turned blue and he gained the name of Neelkantha or ‘blue-throated God’.

The Churning of the Ocean of Milk, depicted in bas-relief on the south of the east wall of Angkor Wat’s third enclosure.

In celebration of the finding of the Amrita, Lord Vishnu took the form of Mohini and started distracting the Asuras with her divine charm and distributing the Amrita among the Devas, who were seated away from the Asuras. Rahuketu, an Asura who disguised himself as a Deva drank some Amrita, but Suryadev (Sun God) alerted Mohini about it who cut off Rahuketu’s head before he could swallow it.

After drinking the Amrita, the Devas regained their powers again and defeated the Asuras easily. Thus, the Samudra Manthan played a key role in destroying the forces of evil and restoring peace in the Universe.

The story of the Samudra Manthan symbolizes the spiritual endeavor of a person, trying to achieve self-realisation by concentrating his mind, withdrawing his senses, controlling his desires and practicing severe penances.


Halahal, the poison

During the Samudra Manthan, a very toxic poison emerges out of the ocean. The devtas requested Lord Shiva to help them, else the poison may disrupt the entire ‘srishti chakra’ (creation). Shiva appeared in the scene and saw that the toxic poison was spreading all over the ocean. He gulped the poison and placed it in his throat, thereby saving the world from destruction. The ‘halahal’ represents the negative thoughts and energies that lead us astray in the initial stages of spiritual practice. It is also symbolic of the pain and suffering one has to go through to obtain the ultimate fruit. Lord Shiva, the all renouncing God represents austerity, simplicity, determination with which a ‘sadhak’ (spiritual practitioner) can transcend all the barriers and move towards enlightenment.


Samudra mantan katha- churning ocean

How are the Samudra Manthan events and symbolism relevant to our life?

Samudra Manthan teaches us how to maintain harmony between our material and spiritual lives, by placing complete faith in our Lord and accepting, within and without, both the good and the bad things that are happening in our lives.

Samudra means Ocean. Both calm and rough waves are part of the ocean. The Ocean of Milk actually represents life of Jiva in this material world.

  • There is mental and physical preparation necessary in this spiritual pursuit.
  • There has to be a plan.
  • There has to be discipline to achieve the goal.
  • There will be surprises and disappointments on our spiritual path.
  • We have to fight to overcome obstacles in life.

Churning of the Ocean is the journey of our life on this planet earth.

It represents all the moments of happiness and pain, physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual struggles that we have to face in our life.

The mind is like an ocean, where our thoughts and emotions play on it like the waves of the ocean. Waves can be provoked with even a slight wind. Winds are like many external allurements affecting our sense-perception. A person has to hold steady in moving around this world. There will always be external hindrances, just as waves hinder smooth sailing of a boat. The Mandara mountain represents the virtues of steadiness and concentration who are so important. Concentration in any spiritual path will be useless effort if we are unable to concrete.

The Mandara mountain was held steady by the Vishnu in his Kurma or Tortoise avatara. Tortoise physically withdraws its head into its shell. It therefore symbolizes the spiritual withdrawal of a person from external senses into his own internal consciousness. Just as a tortoises withdraws into their shells bhakta has to withdrawing from external senses to internal concentration upon the Lord.

In life, the most certain thingis the uncertainty surrounding it. Pain and sorrow comes uninvited to anyone . They are guest at the most unexpected times. Kalakuta poison is symbolic of unsuspecting pain and suffering that one expirience during one’s spiritual life. This is temporary. But to get free from sufferinsg we need help from divine personalitie it is out Guru. Just as demigods took help form Guru of Universe Lord Shiva, who took all posion and drink it.We should find help from our Guru. If we try to drink even drop of poison we will die, lets allow him to do his service and reliev us from sufferings of this world and take us to spiritual world. Lord Shiva also teaches us how to hold the poisonat a surface level.Dont let posion enter inside us and contaminate our all being.

There is no challenge that a sadhaka cannot face and handle. First, he or she is to recognize what hinders his pursuits. As he delves deeper into spiritual sadhana to achieve the state of intense concentration he experiences tremendous inner turmoil. It is called dark night of the soul. This has to be addressed first before proceeding far into spiritual endeavor.

Demigods surrendered to Vishnu at the instance of Brahmaji to obtain Amrita.

They then surrendered to Lord Shiva when venom emanated from Vasuki. Similarly, in order to succsess in our spiritual journey we has to surrender ourself to the Supreme Being Krishna. We have to fully depend on His mercy and only then, embark on his voyage. The support of the Lord Tortoise – is always there for us.

Vasuki acted as the rope in this lila. It is major part in the churning of the ocean. This signifies the need for cooperation in life. At any spiritual journey and the sacrifices to be done there should be planning. There would be various obligations to be met and which cannot be abandoned. One is to take into account a good balance of both spiritual and worldly life in order to attain liberation. Our worldly life dictates that we continue to live a spiritual life while being involved in this material activitis. Material world cannot be avoided, but we can use things of material world for spiritual purpose.

The Devas actually represent the ‘good’ within us. The Daityas are bad and sinful representing the ‘asat’ within us. Good and evil are two sides of the same coin. Samudra Manthan events urge us to be conscious that both, the bad and the good, are coming from the same Supreme Creator.

The Devas could not churn the Milk Ocean alone. They were in need oof help. Vishnu advised the Devas to work along with the Daityas to churn the ocean. Similarly, we have to learn to balance and harmonizing both these energies, the positives and negatives of our personalities,in this way we will attain a higher state of spirituality in our lives.

Concentration is a necessary part in our spiritual life. Asuras concentrated to snatch right about every jewel that arose from the ocean during Samudra Manthan. Vishnu advised the Devas to ignore the various precious gems and jewels but focus on acquiring the nectar. It was this focus led to the fulfillment of their goal as well.

There is also a message that those given to Siddhi powers should remain unaffected by these transient temptations and continue forward with his onward journey into spirituality. Likewise, man’s spiritual journey gives him several seemingly impressive psychic powers from time to time. A true seeker should ignore this and pursue further to reach the ultimate goal. Delving deeper into any temporary powers would actually slow down spiritual powers. This should be used for common welfare.

The emergence of Dhanvantari from ocean during Samudra Manthan is an indication that one need to remain bodily and mentally healthy. This is essential for spiritual advancement in bhakti. Absence of health can impede man’s journey towards discovering his own higher spiritual self.

Mohini symbolizes the illusion of the mind, arising out of pride and ego. Demons had pride because of their great strength and achievement. They were so blinded by their egos that they completely lost sight of their actual goal – acquiring immortality. Similarly, a feeling of pride and complacency oft times gets in the way of a man’s higher endeavor. If he were to fall prey to these petty feelings, he would immediately proceed towards nothing but total self-destruction.

No matter how much man tries to control the bad in the world, the fight between good and evil will continue for all time. That fight is external but also internal in our hearth. In our hearth there is fight like between 2 dogs. Who will win? The dog we feed. So if we feed spiritual dimension ofour life she will gain victory.

Life is like waxing and waning of the moon.A true devotee remains unaffected and undesterbed by changes in life. He is determined to achieve his supreme goal. Supreme abode of the Lord.


THE CHURNING OF THE OCEAN (Samudra Manthan) – From the Bhagavata Purana

In the fight with the Asuras, the Devas lost their lives. They fell down and did not rise up again. By the curse of Durvâsas, Indra and the three Lokas became shorn of Srî or Lakshmî (wife of Vishnu in Vaikuntha: Preservative energy). Consequently there were no performances such as Yajna. (Durvasas once saw Indra on the elephant Airavata. He gave him the garland of his own neck. Indra proud of his own Srî or wealth, placed the garland on the head of the elephant. The elephant threw it down and tore it to pieces with his feet. Durvâsas got angry and cursed Indra that he and his Trilokî were to lose Srî). Indra did not know what to do and the Devas all went over to the seat of Brahmâ on the top of Meru. Brahmâ, saw the Lokapâlas lifeless and lustreless, as it were, the Lokas beset with evils and the Asuras full of life and energy. He meditated on Parama Purasha with concentrated mind and then addressed the Devas thus.

“Purusha has resort to Rajas, Satva and Tamas respectively for Creation, Preservation and Dissolution. This is just the time for Preservation. For the good of all beings, He shall now be possessed of Satva. So let us take the shelter of the guide of the universe. He shall now befriend the Devas and do what is best for us.”

The Devas with Brahmâ then went to Ajita. Brahmâ prayed to Him as the Preservative aspect of Virât Purusha. Vishnu appeared before the Devas and addressed them thus: —

“The Asuras favored by Sukra are now victorious. Make peace with them so long as you are not strong yourselves. Lose no time in churning the Milk Ocean for Amrita in concert with the Asuras. By drinking Amrita even dead persons become immortal. Throw all creepers and herbs into that ocean. Make Mandâra mountain the churning rod and make Vasûki the rope. Then with my help, churn the ocean with all diligence. The Asuras shall have all the trouble to themselves, while you shall reap the fruits. If the Asuras ask for any concession, you had better approve of that. Do not be afraid of any poison that may arise. Have neither greed nor anger nor desire in respect of the things that will arise.”

The Serpent King Vasûki was assured of a share in Amrita and he consented to become the rope. The Mountain was then surrounded by Vasûki. Vishnu followed by the Devas held the mouth of the serpent. But the Asuras said: — “We have learned the Vedas, we know the Sâstras, it is improper for us to hold the tail of a serpent. We will not do that. It is inauspicious.” Vishnu smiled. He and the Devas gave up the mouth end and held the tail.

The churning then commenced. The Mountain was however heavy and it sank down to the bottom of the ocean. The Devas and Asuras became mournful. Vishnu then assumed the form of a Tortoise, went into the water and raised the Mountain. He then remained like a Dvipa one lakhsa Yojanas in expanse with the mountain on his back. He infused his influence all round. Energised by Him, the Devas and Asuras vigorously carried on the churning. At last fire and smoke came out from the thousand mouths of Vasûki. This overpowered the Asuras and the Devas — but the Devas were refreshed by clouds, rains, and winds sent by Vishnu.

After a good deal of churning, poison came out first. It spread out on all sides and the Prajâpatis and their progeny in terror took the shelter of Śiva. Śiva felt compassion for them and with the approval of Durgâ, he drank up the whole of the poison. It made his throat blue.

The Churning recommenced. Out came Surabhi (the fabulous cow of plenty). The Vedic Rishis took that Cow for the necessaries of Yajna. Then came the horse Uchchaih-Sravas. Bali desired to have it. But Indra as directed by Vishnu made no desire. Then came the elephant Airavata, then the 8 space elephants and their 8 female partners.

Next arose Kaustubha, the celebrated lotus-colored gem. Vishnu wished to have it as an ornament for His breast. Next came Pârijâta, then the Apsaras.

Illumining all sides with her lustre arose Lakshmî. All paid homage to her. She looked on all sides, but found none, whom she could accept. If there was an ascetic he could not control his anger. If there was a Jnâni (sophist) he could not get over attachments. There might be a Mahâtmâ, but he had not conquered his passion of love. How could he be called Îsvara, who depended on others, (and no one but Îsvara could claim Lakshmî). If there was Dharma any where, there was not friendliness for all beings. If there was sacrifice, it was not for liberation. There was power but it could not resist the flow of time. If there was one void of likes and dislikes, he did not take a companion. If there was any one long lived, he had neither good nature (Sila) nor auspiciousness (Mangala.) If one had good nature and auspiciousness, he was not long lived. If one had all the Virtues he was out of his element with her. If he was all that she wanted he did not want her.

Considering everything, Lakshmî at last accepted Vishnu for her husband. He placed her on His breast. She favored the Devas, so they became possessed of all the virtues. She showed indifference to the Asuras, so they lost their might, energy and modesty and became greedy.

Then arose a lotus eyed girl called Vâruni (Spirituous liquor.) The Asuras accepted her.

Then arose Dhanvantari, part of a part of Vishnu, with a pot of Amrita in hand. Seeing the pot of Amrita, the greedy Asuras took that by force. They quarrelled with each other, some saying “First myself,” “First myself,” others saying “Not you” “Not you,” whilst the weaker amongst them finding that they were going to be deprived, cried out in jealousy “The Devas are also entitled to an equal share. They have also toiled with us.”

At this time Vishnu became a most beautiful young woman. She filled the hearts of the Asura Chiefs with passion. They asked the tempting girl to settle their differences and to make a proper distribution of Amrita amongst them. “But how can you trust a woman,” said the girl. But the Asuras had fallen in love with her, so they made over the Amrita pot to her without further thought. She consented to distribute Amrita on the condition that the Asuras should put up with whatever she did, right or wrong. The Asuras consented. She then made the Devas and Asuras sit in two separate rows. She distributed the whole of the Amrita amongst the Devas. Only one Asura, named Râhu, sat with the Devas. The Sun and the Moon pointed him out to the girl Vishnu. Vishnu then and there severed the head from the body of the Asura, but as the head had touched Amrita, it became immortal. Brahmâ made it a planet. Râhu still pursues the Sun and Moon at eclipses out of enmity.

When the Amrita was wholly spent, Vishnu assumed His own form and in the presence of all left the place on the back of Garuda.

The Asuras found they had been deceived and they became very angry. They could not bear the success of their enemies but they instantly engaged in fight with them. The fight was personal between the chiefs of both sides. (It is interesting to note the antagonistic names, as they give the correspondences between the Deva and Asura chiefs.) Indra fought with Bali, Kârtikeya with Târaka, Varuna with Heti, Mitra with Praheti, Yâma with Kalanâbha, Visvakarmâ with Mâyâ, Tvastri with Sâmbara, Savitri with Virochana, Aparajita with Namuchi. The Asvini Kumâras with Vrishaparvan, Sûrya (Sun) with the hundred sons of Bali, Vâna and others, Chandra (Moon) with Râhu, Vâyu with Puloman, Bhadra Kali with Sumbha and Nishumbha, Vrishâkapi with Jambha, Vibhavasu with Mahisha, the sons of Brahmâ with Ilvala and Vatapi, Brihaspati with Sukra, Sani with Naraka, the Maruts with the Nivâtakavachas, the Vasus with the Kaleyas, the Visvadevas with the Poulamas and the Rudras with the Krōdhavaśas. (Those who want to make a deep study will do well to note these correspondences as they will serve to explain points which I have not touched upon as beyond the scope of the present work).

The Asuras used all the weapons of tempting Mâyâ and conquered the Devas, Vishnu then came to their rescue and they became victorious (The details of the fight might be interesting from an occult point of view, for which the reader must refer to the original.)

Śiva heard that Vishnu had assumed an enchanting female form. To satisfy his curiosity he went to Him with Bhâvanî. Vishnu assumed that form again to satisfy Śiva. The Astral Lord became passionate and ran after that female form and embraced her. The female Vishnu got out of the embrace and re-assumed His own form. Śiva was then restored to himself.

THOUGHTS ON THE ABOVE

We have already seen that the ascent of spirit commenced in the Vaivasvata Manvantara. If the fourteenth Manvantara or the second half of the Seventh Round he left out of consideration, as the Manvantara of Dissolution or Pralaya, the middle of the remaining 13 Manvantaras will be in the Vaivasvata Manvantara. But the ascent could not commence without preparation. That preparation was made in the Châkshusha Manvantara or during the latter half of the Third Round.

Srî or Lakshmî is the Sâtvic energy of preservation. This energy was so much overpowered by Materiality, that she was not to be found in Trilokî. The spiritual forces, the Devas, lost life and energy. The Asuras were at the height of their power. But as the ascending arc was near at hand, the Devas were promised Amrita i.e. immortality for the remaining part of the Kalpa. But that Amrita was to be obtained, the arc of spiritual evolution was to be raised by the churning of the ocean of Milk.

The ocean of Milk does not appertain to Jambu Dwipa, but it is the ocean of Saka Dwipa. The seven oceans are transformations of Prakriti, differing in the admixture of Satva, Rajas and Tamas and determining the character of the globe they surround. Vishnu, as the Third Purusha, is the divine source of evolution in every Jiva. The seat of that Vishnu is the ocean of Milk, the ocean where Satva prevails.

It is Vishnu who from His seat in the Ocean of Milk sends down Prânic Energy and the mineral becomes a vegetable. He sends down the power of perception and then the power of conception and the vegetable becomes an animal and at last a man. Throughout this course of evolution, there is a development of the self element in us. There is no idea of self in the mineral or in the vegetable. It faintly asserts itself or rather makes an effort to assert itself in the animal kingdom. The early history of humanity is the development of the selfish element in him. The Jiva has two sides in himself and non-self. The self side is caused by limitation due to his own senses They put him in contact with the outside world, and make him a centre of sense perceptions. He becomes lost entirely in the sense products, which form a world by themselves. The non-self side of a Jiva, is his spiritual nature. He begins with this spiritual nature. But the development of selfishness eclipses this nature, the true, the real nature of Jiva, and he identifies himself entirely with the acquired and false nature.

Then comes a crisis in the evolution of Jivas. Were men to be lost for ever to their spiritual, their real nature? Were they to be tempted away by the senses, which had done their work of training, past all chance of return?

Vishnu, the God of human evolution, willed otherwise. He caused a re-adjustment of the Daivic and Âsuric forces, and the Devas by His help got the better of the Asuras. This is the churning of the Ocean of Milk. It averted a crisis and is therefore a great event in the history of the Universe.

The Asura element could not be altogether wiped away. For the Deva or spiritual nature evolves out of Asura or selfish and material nature. Unselfishness grows out of selfishness, spirituality rises out of materiality.

In the act of churning, the Devas could not do without the Asuras. Churning itself, implies the action and reaction of two contending forces. “Make peace with them, as long as you are not strong yourselves.” The compromise of the Devas with the Asuras is the development of spiritual faculties out of the personal element in man. It is the grafting of higher Manas on lower Manas. The element of mind is in the Asuras as well as in the Devas. But the Asuric or lower mind thinks of self as separate from other selves. The Daivic or higher mind breaks through the trammels of personality and finds oneness all round.

To use a better expression, we shall say higher self and lower self, rather than self and non-self.

Jivas are carried on in their course of life evolution by the force of past tendencies, and nature unaided produces the personal man. But when the past tendencies are exhausted, there is nothing to keep on the Jivas in their course of evolution.

Kûrma comes to the help of humanity at this stage. He gives a new power to men, the power of discrimination. With this power men become free agents, and they become responsible for their actions. They then generate new Karma for themselves, which takes them through infinite births and becomes a most potent factor in their future evolution.

The three Purushas have three Oceans as their correspondences. The first ocean (Kârana) gives the materials of the Jiva body. The Second ocean (Garbhoda), gives the germs of all Jivas. The third (Kshira) is the ocean of Jiva evolution. This ocean is churned for the spiritual evolution of Jivas, and it yields all that is necessary for that evolution. Vishnu himself appears as Kûrma and becomes the sustaining force of that evolution.

It is a Kâlpic revolution. Vasûki sustains the earth and its inhabitants for one Kâlpic period. The thousand hoods represent the thousand Maha yugas of every Kalpa. The Asuras held the mouth end of the serpent king and the Devas held the tail end. And the Devas acted wisely. For as the Kalpa waned, they got the supremacy.

The tortoise thrusts out its limbs and draws them in. Man is drawn outside by his senses during material descent and he is drawn in by his spiritual ascent. It is by the power of discrimination when fully developed that a man returns to his higher nature.

Srî or Lakshmî is the divine energy of Vishnu. She is the Energy of preservation, of evolution and progress She works out all that is good, all that is beautiful, and all that is powerful in this Universe. The possibilities of purely material development or of Nature’s own evolution, are limited, and they are worked out in time. Then there is a void. There was this void in our universe and Trilokî become deprived of Sri. This was the curse of Durvasas, an Avatâra of Śiva.

The Churning took place as a remedy for this evil. Fresh forces had to be brought into requisition, fresh elements that could secure the spiritual evolution of the universe. Lakshmî herself reappeared in a most enchanting form, as the energy of a new evolution, the very best that man was capable of. The necessaries of this evolution also appeared and became powers in the hands of those that had to take part in the spiritual evolution of the universe.

All evolution is preceded by dissolution. Unless we give up the evil element in us, we can not acquire the good. The evil has to be destroyed and the Lord of destruction, in his infinite compassion, accepted this poison for himself, to do away with the evils of the Universe.

The Poison only opens the door for Amrita, the spiritual nectar. The famous Purusha Sukta says: — “He placed Amrita or eternal bliss in the higher three Lokas.” The Bhâgavata renders this famous saying into the eighteenth sloka of the 6th. chapter of the Second Skandha. Commenting on this sloka, Śridhara says, bliss in our Trilokî is only transitory and the dwellers of Mahar Loka have also to leave their abode for the higher Jana Loka, when they are oppressed by the fire of Kâlpic dissolution. Amrita was secured to the higher Lokas, as there is no selfishness in them. (III. 10-9.) Could the Asuras, the gods of selfishness, aspire to have life immortal and unlimited bliss. Vishnu decided otherwise.

The way was thus prepared for the Vaivasvata Manvantara, when men learned to discern between right and wrong. (Excerpts from “A Study of the Bhagavata Purana”)


The Churning of the Milk Ocean

This chapter describes how the goddess of fortune appeared during the churning of the Ocean of Milk and how she accepted Lord Viṣṇu as her husband. As described later in the chapter, when Dhanvantari appeared with a pot of nectar the demons immediately snatched it from him, but Lord Viṣṇu appeared as the incarnation Mohinī, the most beautiful woman in the world, just to captivate the demons and save the nectar for the demigods.

After Lord Śiva drank all the poison, both the demigods and demons took courage and resumed their activities of churning. Because of this churning, first a surabhi cow was produced. Great saintly persons accepted this cow to derive clarified butter from its milk and offer this clarified butter in oblations for great sacrifices. Thereafter, a horse named Uccaiḥśravā was generated. This horse was taken by Bali Mahārāja. Then there appeared Airāvata and other elephants that could go anywhere in any direction, and she-elephants also appeared. The gem known as Kaustubha was also generated, and Lord Viṣṇu took that gem and placed it on His chest. Thereafter, a pārijāta flower and the Apsarās, the most beautiful women in the universe, were generated. Then the goddess of fortune, Lakṣmī, appeared. The demigods, great sages, Gandharvas and others offered her their respectful worship. The goddess of fortune could not find anyone to accept as her husband. At last she selected Lord Viṣṇu to be her master. Lord Viṣṇu gave her a place to stay everlastingly at His chest. Because of this combination of Lakṣmī and Nārāyaṇa, all who were present, including the demigods and people in general, were very pleased. The demons, however, being neglected by the goddess of fortune, were very depressed. Then Vāruṇī, the goddess of drinking, was generated, and by the order of Lord Viṣṇu the demons accepted her. Then the demons and demigods, with renewed energy, began to churn again. This time a partial incarnation of Lord Viṣṇu called Dhanvantari appeared. He was very beautiful, and he carried a jug containing nectar. The demons immediately snatched the jug from Dhanvantari’s hand and began to run away, and the demigods, being very morose, took shelter of Viṣṇu. After the demons snatched the jug from Dhanvantari, they began to fight among themselves. Lord Viṣṇu solaced the demigods, who therefore did not fight, but remained silent. While the fighting was going on among the demons, the Lord Himself appeared as the incarnation Mohinī, the most beautiful woman in the universe.


ENDLESS CHURNING OF THE OCEAN OF MILK – SAMUDRA MANTHAN – THE ETERNAL QUEST FOR THE ULTIMATE TRUTH

What is … Samudra Manthan … ?

Well, to be honest, until recently I never did hear about. The research to the very core of the Vedic teaching brought me to that syntagm. They say, in ancient time, that expression was quite famous. Actually, Samudra Manthan, the Churning of the Ocean of Milk, is what Veda is. It is the quest for the Truth. Finding the truth is the essence of spiritual growth and overall progress in evolution for every individual. The quest for the truth has its realization in finding the Truth.

Fine, this essay will give some very important points in the story of finding the truth, and in finding the Truth. It will expose a few very extraordinary natal charts as well. Altogether, I am sure this essay will be equally interesting as all others … Wellcome … and enjoy the reading …

The link to read or download the PDF document is just below …

ENDLESS CHURNING OF THE OCEAN OF MILK – Version 1-0-7

Banner Photo …

Gallery Collection …

Samudra Manthan – Churning of the Ocean of Milk –
The eternal quest for the Ultimate Truth


The Churning of the Ocean of Milk.

Every culture around the world has its own version or legend of the origin of the species. Most of us are familiar with Charles Darwin ‘s theory On The Origin of Species (1859) or have at least heard of it. In Hindu, there is an origin or creation myth called The Churning of the Ocean of Milk. It is a captivating tale that is depicted in many forms in art and in particular, in the bas-relief panel at Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia.

In Hindu mythology, it is said that 13 precious objects including the elixir of immortality called Amrita were lost in the churning of the cosmic sea. Finding these cherished objects again required cooperation between the gods (devas) and demons (asuras) in an almighty dredging exercise. The scheme required the assistance of the giant serpent Vasuki, who offered himself as a rope to enable the rotating of a “churning stick.” The churning stick is depicted as Mount Mandala (pictured above). At some point in the tug of war, Mount Mandara begins to sink and has to be supported in an upright position by a giant turtle, an incarnation of the Hindu deity Vishnu. It is said that as the serpent was wrenched back and forth in this titanic tug-of-war, that lasted for a thousand years, the Sea of Milk or the Ocean of Immortality is found and released. Many other treasures are also said to be have tossed up too.

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About Robert Horvat

Robert Horvat is a Melbourne based blogger. He believes that the world is round and that art is one of our most important treasures. He has seen far too many classic films and believes coffee runs through his veins. As a student of history, he favours ancient and medieval history. Music pretty much rules his life and inspires his moods. Favourite artists include The Beatles, Pearl Jam, Garbage and Lana Del Rey.


Sagar Manthan The Churning of Oceans

An account of the churning of the oceans (sagar manthan) by devas and asuras (gods and demons) for elixir and how Shiva drank the poison to save the world. From the Hindu Puranas.

The Asuras were older than their half-brothers the Gods. They acquired great possessions in the three worlds, but because they did not sacrifice to each other, because they did not visit holy places, they did not acquire great powers within themselves. But the Gods who did not have great possessions went on making sacrifices, went on dealing truthfully with each other, went on visiting holy places until they had greater and greater powers within themselves.

The Gods and the Asuras knew that they could gain the Amrit, the Water of Life, if they churned up one of the seven oceans that, ring beyond ring, encircles the worlds. They came down to the Ocean of Milk. They took the Mountain Mandara for a churning-pole and the hundred-headed serpent Vāsuki for a churning-rope. They wound the serpent around the mountain, and pulling it this way and that way they splashed and dashed the, Ocean up and down and to and fro. And the Ocean of Milk frothed and bubbled as they churned.

For a thousand years the Gods and the Asuras churned the Ocean of Milk. All that time Vāsuki, the serpent, from his hundred heads spat venom. The venom bit into the rocks and broke them up it flowed down, destroying the worlds of Gods and men. Then all creation would have been destroyed in that flood of venom if it had not been for the act of one of the Gods.

Shiva took up the venom in a cup and drank it. His throat became blue with that draught of bitterness. But by his act, the Gods won to more powers than the Asuras had.

Still they churned. Then out of the Ocean of Milk came the wish-bestowing cow, Surabhi. Gods and Asuras rejoiced at the prosperity that came with her. Then appeared the Apsarases, the heavenly nymphs, and the Gods and the Asuras sported with them. The moon was churned up, and Shiva took it and set it upon his forehead.

But now the Asuras wearied in their toil, and more and more they sported with the Apsarases. The Gods, their powers increased through Shiva's deed, laboured at the churning, and the whole Ocean of Milk foamed and bubbled. Then was churned up the gem of gems, Kaustubha, and then white Uccaibhsravas, the best of steeds.

Now the Gods grew in strength as they laboured, and they laboured as they grew in strength, while the Asuras abandoned themselves more and more to pleasures, and they fought amongst themselves on account of the pleasures that all of them sought. And then, seated on a lotus and holding a lotus in her hand, a lovely Goddess appeared. She went to Vishnu she cast herself on the breast of the God, and, reclining there, she delighted the Gods with the glances she bestowed on them. All knew her for Shrī, the Goddess of Good Fortune. And the Asuras, in despair because Good Fortune had gone to the side of the Gods, stood around, determined to seize by force the next good thing that came out of the churning.

And then, behold! there appeared the sage Dhanvantari, and in his hands was the cup that held the Amrit, the Water of Life. The Asuras strove to seize it they would drink it all themselves, or else they would fling the Amrit where the serpent's venom was dripping on the rocks. Almost they overpowered the Gods in their efforts to seize the Amrit. Then Vishnu changed himself into a ravishing form he seemed to be the loveliest of the nymphs of Heaven. The Asuras went towards where the seeming nymph postured for them. Even then they fought amongst each other. And the Gods took the cup, and, sharing it, they drank of the Amrit.

And now they were filled with such vigour that the Asuras could not overpower them. Many they drove down into hell where they became the Daityas or Demons. That was the beginning of the wars between the Gods and the Daityas--the wars that went on for ages.

The Gods were triumphant and the three worlds became filled with radiance and power. Indra, king of the Gods, seated upon his throne, made a hymn in praise of Shrī. She granted him his wish, which was that she should never abandon the Gods.

And so they lived upon that most holy mountain which is round like a ball and all made of gold. The birds there have golden feathers. Indra stays there. The steed which he gained at the Churning of the Ocean grazes near him. Beside him is his thunderbolt winged with a thousand plumes: Tvastir made it for him from the bones of the seer Dadhica: it is hundred-jointed, thousand-pointed. With the thunderbolt is his spear and his conch. Vishnu is near. But he broods upon the waters, resting upon a serpent, and Shrī, his bride, is beside him and over him the bird Garuda hovers.

Shiva dwells in a lovely wood that is filled with flowers. Near him is the spear with which he will destroy the worlds at the end of an age. And beside him is his bow, his battle-axe, and his trident. Once, in jest, his wife Umā covered Shiva's eyes with her hands. Then was the world plunged into darkness, men trembled with fear, and all that lived came near to extinction. But to save the world a third eye appeared in Shiva's forehead: when it blazed forth the darkness vanished, men ceased to tremble, and power once more pervaded the worlds. And always Shiva's throat will be blue from the bitterness of the venom that he drank when he saved creation. Above the most holy mountain is the golden palace of the Lord of All-Brahma--a palace that is built on nothing that is substantial.

Source: From The Orpheus Myths of the World by Padraic Colum Illustrations by Boris Artzybasheff [1930, copyright not renewed]. Image: The image of samudra manthan used in this article is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.


The churning of the ocean of milk

The Churning of the Ocean of Milk (also called Samudra manthan in Hindi or Ko Samut Teuk Dos in Khmer) is one of the most well-known legends of the Hindu mythology and of the Cambodian culture. That story is depicted on a 49 meter-wide bas-relief carved on the walls of the east gallery of Angkor Wat temple, a religious site built in the 12 th century by Khmer King Suryavarman II. Indeed, that World Heritage temple was in the first place a Hindu shrine dedicated to God Vishnu that was later converted to a Buddhist one. That&rsquos the reason why nowadays, both Hindu and Buddhist rites are practiced inside.

It is said that a long time ago, Devas (Gods) and Asuras (Demons) were fighting against each other to ensure their domination over the world. After many years of war, Devas were weakened and almost vanquished so they went to see Supreme God Vishnu to ask Him for help. The latter promised to strengthen Devas by ordering them to seek for the Amrita, the sacred Elixir of Immortality. But this difficult task could not be achieved by them alone. They had to gather their forces in cooperation with Asuras in order to extract the Amrita from the depths of the cosmic sea.

To do so, they used Mount Meru as a churning stick and the King of snakes Vasuki as a churning rope. Devas and Asuras both pulled alternatively the Naga Vasuki on their respective side to churn the Ocean of Milk. As MountMeru was sinking, God Vishnu turned himself into his turtle avatar Akûpara to stabilize the mountain. Many treasures came out of the Ocean of Milk. Amongst them were celestial creatures called Apsaras coming on earth to entertain Gods and Kings.

The demons, tricked into pulling the head of the giant snake, were weakened after a thousand years of efforts by the Naga&rsquos poison. Fortunately for them, God of health Dhanvantari emerged from the Ocean of Milk with the sacred Amrita. So they seized the elixir for their own sake.

As they were frightened by this act, the Devas informed Vishnu of the situation. The Supreme God then turned into another of His avatar, Mohini, the most beautiful women on earth. Mohini charmed the Asuras and took the opportunity to steal the Elixir of Immortality and gave it to the Devas. From this moment, the Gods would rule the world and send the Demons to hell.

One of the Asuras named Rea Hu, disguised himself as a God and drank a few drops of the Amrita. He was spotted by the Sun and the Moon who immediately alerted Vishnu. The Supreme God immediately decided to cut off Rea Hu&rsquos head, however the demon had already swallowed a small quantity of the Elixir. Only his head remained alive and ever since, he swore to take revenge on the Sun and Moon. He would try to swallow both of them whenever they would come close to him but as he would have no body, the Sun and the Moon would then reappear from the bottom of his head. This is, according to Hindu mythology, the cause of lunar and solar eclipses.