Samudra Manthan (Sagar Manthan): Full Story, Ocean of Milk, Churning of Ocean of Milk
‘Samudra Manthana’ also known as Sagar Manthan, Amrit Manthan, Ksheer Sagar Manthan, is one of the most significant episodes that led to the birth of divine goddesses, angels, and also many precious valuables. This remarkable event of the Churning of the Milky Ocean finds its mention in the Bhagavat Purana, Vishnu Purana and the Mahabharata. The literal translation of the words ‘Samudra Manthan’ means churning of the sea. The word ‘Samudra’ means ‘ocean’ and‘Manthan’ means ‘Churning’.
Story of Samudra Manthan ( Katha)
Lord Indra is highly revered in the Vedas, as the king of heavens, thunder, storms, river flows, lightning, rains and war. Once Lord Indra was riding onHis elephant Airavata and came across Sage Durvasa. Sage Durvasa offered theking an auspicious garland which was given to him by a nymph. Lord Indra accepted the garland and placed it on the trunk of His elephant Airavata.The elephant threw the garland on the ground. On witnessing this, Sage Durvasa was angered as the garland was not an ordinary garland but it wasthe abode of Sri (fortune and riches). Outraged with this act of pride, Sage Durvasa cursed Lord Indra and all the other Gods that they would lose all their powers and would be bereft of all their energies, fortunes and strength.
Asuras Defeat Devas (demons win over gods) and secret of Amrita the Elixir:
Post this incident, devas (gods) lost all their powers and started losingall the battles to the asuras (demons). Asura Bali won all the battle against devas and soon gained control over the entire universe. This createda tensed situation amongst the gods and thus, all devas went up to Lord Vishnu to resolve this issue. Lord Vishnu advised the devas that only the elixir that resided at the bottom of the Ksheer Sagar also known as the milky ocean can restore back their lost strength and power. It was impossible for the Gods to churn such a vast ocean alone hence, devas formedan alliance of sharing the nectar of immorality with the asuras in order toconvince them to jointly churn the Milky Ocean. Scroll Down to read more
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Churning of the Ocean of Milk and Lord Kurma:
Churning the Ocean of Milk was an elaborate and tedious task. In order tochurn the ocean, mount Mandara was used as the churning rod and the Snakegod Vasuki was used as the churning rope. The demons (Asuras) demanded tohold the head of the snake, while the Devas, agreed to hold the snake’stail. Mountain Mandara began to sink when it was placed in the ocean. Afterlearning this, Lord Vishnu took the form of Kurma (turtle) and took Mountain Mandara on his back to offer support to the mountain and sothat the churning event could process with ease. The fumes that were emitted by the Snake god Vasuki poisoned the Asuras but despite of this, the asuras and the devas pulled the snake back and forth causing the mountain to rotate, which in turn churned the ocean.
Emergence of Valuables, Divine Objects and Elixir:
During the churning many things came out of the ocean. Fourteen ratnas (gems) emerged from the ocean that were divided amongst the devas and theasuras.
Some of these things comprised of the wish-granting cow named Kamadhenu, which was given to the sages by Lord Vishnu. A 7-headed horse named Uchhaishravas also emerged from the ocean which was taken by the demons/asuras.
The Parijat, tree that always blossomed was taken to heaven by the gods.Another tree which produces alcohol and wine named Varuni, was taken by theasuras, then emerged Goddess of wealth Lakshmi, who chose to marry Lord Vishnu. Also Chandra, the Moon emerged from the churning of the ocean whichwas adorned by Lord Shiva and finally, Dhanvantari, the divine physician emerged, holding a pot of nectar.
Fight For Amrita (nectar), Creation of Kumbha Mela Spots On Earth, Lord Vishnu’s Mohini Form and Story of Rahu Ketu:
Looking at the pot of elixir, devas and asuras both began to fight.Vishnu’s eagle, Garuda took the pot and flew away. A few drops of nectarfell in Prayagraj, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik, where the ‘Kumbh Mela’ iscelebrated every 12 years. One of the asuras somehow got hold of the pot.The gods now tensed turned towards Lord Vishnu for help. Lord Vishnudisguised Himself as a beautiful woman named Mohini, and distracted theasuras and said that She would distribute the nectar equally between thegods and demons. Mohini, started serving the gods with nectar first.
There was a witty asura named Rahu who disguised himself as deva and joined the line of the gods in order toreceive the nectar. As soon as Rahu drank some nectar, the Sun god Surya andthe moon god Chandra noticed that Rahu was disguised as a God and theyimmediately informed the same to Mohini who quickly beheaded the asura withSudarshan Chakra before the nectar could pass the asura's throat. But theasura had already consumed a few drops of the elixir which made his body(cut in two parts) immortal.
From that day onwards the head of the asura was called Rahu and his bodywas called Ketu. By the time the rest of the asuras realized that thebeautiful maiden Mohini was actually Lord Vishnu, the nectar had beendistributed to the devas. The rejuvenated devas were able to defeat theasuras in battle, and regained their glory.
Halahala or kālakūṭa (Deadly Poison), Shiva Saves Universes from Poison:
One of the many things that emerged from the churning of the Ocean of Milkwas the lethal poison known as Halahala. The poison was so dreadful that itcould destroy the entire creation. Fearing this, the Gods approached Lord Shiva to save theworlds from being destroyed. Lord Shiva decide to consume the poison, Assoon as he drank the Halahala, His consort Goddess Parvati placed Her handon Lord Shiva’s throat in order to prevent the poison from spreading inShiva’s body. Shiva’s throat turned blue and from then onwards He was knownas Neelakantha (the blue-throated one).
Spiritual meaning of Samudra Manthan by Neeta Singhal:
In life, we are churned through different challenges and obstacles that weface. The ultimate intention is to realise our higher consciousness throughlearning through these so called tests. Our physical self is personified bythe Mandara mountain that was used as the churning rod. The problems andobstacles are personified by the Vasuki snake which was the rope and theturtle form of Vishnu signifies the eternal dharma that forms the base ofall realisations. The jewels that came out are our good qualities that arefinally revealed and the gifts we get when we successfully face the testsand the poison is the negativity that does come out and has to be dissolvedin the throat of wisdom by our Higher consciousness personified by LordShiva.
List of things (items) that emerged from Samudra Manthan:
Along with Shiva Puja, which is the highest form of devotion, one can use spiritually energized products such as Rudraksha beads, lockets, bracelets and the like.
Fourteen valuable gemstones emerged fromthe ocean during the churning of the ocean of milk. They were dividedbetween the Asuras and the Devas.
Lakshmi emerged personifying fortune and wealth. She acceptedLord Vishnu as Her eternal consort. Later, the Apsaras various divine nymphslike Rambha, Menaka, Punjisthala etc emerged and selected the mightyGandharvas as their consorts. Then Varuni the goddess of water also emergedand accepted the Asuras.
Kamadhenu or Surabhi a wish-fulfilling cow emerged.She was taken by Lord Brahma who gave her to the sages who could use theghee from her milk for Yajna and similar rituals.
Then the Uchhaishravas a divine seven-headed powerful horse emerged and wasaccepted by King Bali.
They were Kaustubha (worn by Lord Vishnu), Parijat (a divine flowertree taken by the gods) and Sharanga (a divine bow taken up by Lord Vishnu).Lord Vishnu’s Shankh and Kalpavriksha plant also emerged.
Additional Divine Births
Chandra the Moon god that found his seat onShiva's head. Dhanvantari (the healing deity) with Amrita, the nectar ofimmortality. Jyestha the Goddess of misfortune also emerged.
The Ramayana and the Mahabharata mention the emergence of a few more divineitems such as: Shankha (Vishnu's conch), Jyestha (the goddess ofmisfortune), the chatra oe the divine umbrella (taken by Varuna), the divineearrings (given to Aditi), Kalpavriksha plant and Nidra (Sloth)