As Deva Guru Brihaspathi’s entry to Court of Indra was ignored as the latter was engrossed in music and dance by Celestial damsels, the Guru cursed Indra to soon lose the splendour of Indraloka. Indra got frightened and approached Brahma who went up to Lord Vishnu in turn. Bhagavan Vishnu confirmed that those who got the Guru insulted were as bad as hurting one’s own parents. Thus justifying the curse, Bhagavan Vishnu advised Indra and Devas to take refuge from King Bali of Patala Loka. Already having learnt of the curse, Danava Guru Sukracharya asked Bali the King of Danavas of Patala to group his full strength of his army and armoury and attack Indra and Devas. But since Indra and Devas sought refuge to King Bali and as per the Rules of Ideal Aministration, Bali did not wage a battle but plundered the wealth of Indraloka. But all the valuables of Swarga brought to Patala got submerged in the Ocean since King Bali did not perform hundred ‘Aswamedha’ Yagnas as were performed by Indra. A Celestial Voice was heard by Davas and Danavas that the best way of recovering the heavenly wealth as also to materialise several objects including ‘Amrit’ (Ambrosia) would be by way of churning ‘Ksheer Sagar’ or the Ocean of Milk with Mandhara Mountain as the churning rod, requesting Maha Nag Vasuki or the Great String (in whose place Maha Garud, the ‘Vahan’ or the carrier of Maha Vishnu was allowed to bear the brunt of Three Worlds) and approaching Maha Vishnu Himself to take up the Incarnation as ‘Kurma’ or the stabiliser of the weight of the Mountain. The Super Churning of the Ocean commenced with the proud Danavas holding the Thousand Heads of Vasuki emitting poisonous flames perishing innumerable Danavas in the process while Devas were saved as they were placed at the tail of the Great Serpent. As the speed of churning caught momentum when both Danavas and Devas were engrossed in the historic mission, the whole world was engulfed by ‘Halahal’ or skywide poisonous blaze gradually swallowing up the Universe. That was the most critical juncture when Maha Deva swallowed the Halahal and avoided Universal Destruction; He kept the Halahal in His throat and hence assumed the epithet as ‘Nila Kantha’ or the Blue Throated thus ensuring the survival of the Lokas in His belly. As the churning got revived again, Chandra Deva emerged. Danava King Maha Bala roared and re-commenced the operation and in the process of churning appeared Surabhi-Kama Dhenu- the Celestial Cow followed by thousands of multi coloured cows which were requested for by Rishis. Then surfaced Celestial Trees of Four Kinds viz. ‘Kalpa Vriksha’, Parijata, Mango and Santana. The Jewel of ‘Kaustubh’which was like Suryamandal appeared and with mutual consent of Danavas and Devas it was gifted to Lord Vishnu. From the Ocean came up ‘Ucchaisva’ or the best of the Horses; ‘Iravata’, the best of the Elephants; and ‘Madira’-like intoxicants such as ‘Bhang’. Further churning resulted in Devi Maha Lakshmi- also known as ‘Anvikshaki’ (Vedanta Vidya), or Mula Vidya, Vaishnavi, Brahma Vidya, Maya and Yoga Maya- who instantly threw a ‘Varamala’or a neck lace around Bhagavan Vishnu and the whole Universe including Devas, Danavas, Rishis, Siddhas, Apsarsas, Kinnaras and Charanaganas were all immensely happy. Finally Dhanvanthari, the Demi God of Medicine, came to sight holding two pots of Amrit which were instantly snatched by Danavas and ran to Patalaloka and Devas too ran behind. King Bali asked Devas not to interfere with Amrit as he never interfered with several other valauble objects. Devas approached Lord Vishnu and the latter assured that He would personally intervene in the distribution of Amrit and assumed the incarnation of Devi Mohini. King Bali requested Mohini to help distribute and she agreed with a cautionary note the She should abide by Her own discretion, should not challenge the methodology or the Principles of distribution and that She would perform the task only next morning since everybody should consume the Ambrosia with physical and mental purity. Bali, Vrishaparva, Namuchi, Shankha, Budbud, Kalanemi, Vatapi, Kumbha, Nikumbha, Sund, Upasund, Nishumbha, Shumbha and other Danavas were lined up. Mohini said that before the distribution, some of the leading Devas like Indra and other Lokpals did deserve some charity and might be considered as their Guests of Honour. Bali was convinced that the principle of ‘Athithis’ or Guests was agreeable and the entire other lot would be given away to Danavas as per their Status.Then the whole clan of Daityas nodded their heads to the age old Theory viz. ‘Aadhou -hyabhyagathah pujyaa iti vai Vedika Shrutihi’ (Vedika Shruti says that at the very beginning, Guests be respected). Thus gradually fooling Danavas by spreading the net of Maya, Mohini gave away Amrit to all Devas, Gandharvas, Yakshas, and Apsarsas; but one Danava named Rahu sat in the queue of Devas by mischief and out of a feeling that his turn would never come otherwise.As Chandra complained to Vishnu alias Mohini, the latter cut off the head of Rahu who tried to take revenge on Chandra by swallowing him. But Chandra prayed to Maha Deva who rescued by keeping him in the lock of His hairs. Rahu chased Chandrama and Maha Deva kept Rahu’s many heads -which emerged due to the contact of Amrit- around His neck.
Sri V.D.N.Rao and Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham
Kamakoti.org presents the Essence of Puranas in English, condensed by Sri. V.D.N.Rao, devotee of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. Compiled, Composed and Interpreted by V.D.N.Rao, Former General Manager, India Trade Promotion Organisation, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India The author can be contacted at [email protected]