Matsya Avatara


23    Kurmaavatara, ‘Amrita Mathan’, Kaalakuta and Devi Mohini
As Danava Guru Shukracharya secured Sanjeevani Vidya from Maha Deva after thousands of years of penance and meditation to enable Danavas and Daityas the restore their lives, especially after their killings in battles with Devas, there were series of victories of Danavas and all the like minded evil forces, while Injustice and Vice prevailed in suppression of Virtue, Justice and Peace. In response to a delegation of Devas led by Indra and Deva Guru, Brahma appealed against passion for battles and enemities. He also called King Bali the Head of Daityas and Danavas and to refrain from frequent quarrels with Devas and suggested a Master Plan for the mutual benefit of Devas, Gandharvas and like minded allies on the one hand and Daityas, Danavas, Rakshaas, Nagas and Yakshas on the other. The Plan proposed by Brahma was follows: Both Daityas and Devas should jointly organise the Project of ‘Kshira Sagara Mathana’; approach Vishnu under the leadership of King Bali to revive the Form of ‘Kurma’ (Tortoise) present in Palala loka; request Mandarachala or the Mountain of Mandara to be the churning rod; pray to ‘Sehsha Nag’or the Giant Serpent who bears the weight of the entire Universe to be the long and strong rope to be used for the churning. As planned the joint delegation prayed to Bhagavan Kurma liyng in Patala loka first and the latter agreed readily saying:
Thrailokya dhaarineynaapi na glanir-mama jaayatey,
Kimu Mandarakaat Kshudraat gutikaa samnibhaadiha/
(I have no problem in holding the Mandhara Mountain for this noble cause as this so like a pebble for me!) Later on when the delegation approached Sesha Nag, he replied:
Brahmanda veshtinaanaapi Brhahmaanda mathanenavaa,
Na mey glanirbhaved dehey kimu Mandara vartaney!
(If I could bear the brunt of the Universe what is the problem in holding it while churning and rotating it!).At that time, Kurma Deva was right underneath the Mountain, but neither Daityas nor Devas could rotate the mountain much less churn it. The delegation reached Vaikuntha and prayed to Vishnu under the Leadership of Bali, when Vishnu was in Yoga Nidra lying on Sesha Nag on Ksheera Samudra, as follows:
Namo loka trayadhaksha tejasaa jita bhaskara,
Namo Vishno Namo Jishno Namastey Kaitabhardana/
Namah sargakriyaakartrey Jagatpaalayatey Namah,
Rudrarupaaya Sharvaaya Namah Samharakaariney/
Namah Shulaayudhadhrushya Namo Daanava-ghaatiney,
Namah Trayaakranta Trailokyaayaabhavaaya cha/
Namah Prachanda Daitreyndrakulakaala mahaanala,
Namo naabhihrudodbhuta padmagarbha Mahabala/
Padmabhuta Mahabhuta karthrey hatrey Jagatpriya,
Janitaa Sarvalokesha kriyaa kaarana kaariney/
Amaraari vinaashaaya Mahaasamara shaaliney,
Lakshmi mukhaabja madhupa namah keerti nivaasiney/
Asmaakamamaratwaaya ghritayaam ghriyataa -mayam,
Mandarah Sarvashailaanaamayutaatayaayuta vistrutah/
Anantabala baahu bhyamavasht abhaika paaninaa,
Madhyataamamrtutam Deva Swadhaa Swaadhaartha kaaminam/
(Bhagavan Vishnu, Jishnu, Trilokaadhyaksha! our sincere greetings to you; You are the famed demolisher of Kaitabha; The Creator, the Presever and also the Destroyer of the whole world with Trishula in your hands; You expanded and occupied in merely three steps of yours all the Three Lokas; You are like the Agni who put the total ‘Vamsha’ or the race of the frightful of Daitya Clan into flames and ash; You materialised Brahma from the lotus of your navel; You are the Jagatkarta, Harta and Priya; the Karya, Karana and Karta or the Deed, the Doing and the Doer; Our endeavours are due to create ‘Amrit’ for ‘Amaratwa’ or everlasting life; kindly enable with your mighty arms the ‘Manthana’ or churning of the Madarachala in the Ksheera Sagara! ) As Bhagavan agreed to do so and initiated the circling of Sesha Nag around the Mountain, the Daityas and Danavas out of bravado held the head of Sesha Nag’s thousand mouths that emitted poisonous flames and many of them perished even before the process of churning; Devas on the other hand held the tail and manouvered it. As both the churning got momentum, both the Parties were extremely tried and Indra materialised cool showers to reduce the tiresomeness. Lord Brahma alerted and encouraged with cheerings and heartening remarks periodcally to both the face-drawers and tail-enders of the Sesha Nag. As the churning of the ten thousand yojana wide Mountain continued, from its top fell down several groups of elephants, eight-footed Sharabha animals, wild lions, tigers , boars and bears, crores of fearful poisonous reptiles, besides heavy and tall trees, branches, fruits, leaves, medicinal herbs and plants into the Ocean. The resultant pulp of the ‘Manthan’ of the materials dropped from the Mountain produced ‘Varuni’ and its envigorating smell pleased Devas and Danavas and became refreshed and mightier; the speed of churning pepped up and Bhagavan Vishnu held the sides of the Mountain by his shoulders-grip and the radiance of the jewels on the thousand hoods was reflected on the blue dazzle of Vishnu’s shoulders and hands looking like a ‘Brahma danda’ even as thousands of roars and lightnings emerged from the defeaning sounds of clouds above and sky-rise sea tides below. From the tail side of the Sesha Nag, Indra, Aditya, Rudragana, Vasugana, and other Devas were getting more and more active while the Rakshasa ganas including the powerful Viprachit, Namuchi, Vritra, Shambar, Dwimurtha, Vajradamshtra and Rahu, all headed by King Bali were displaying their respective energies with arrogance and self-pride. In the process countless animals, fishes, reptiles and othe varieties of Seas and the under-Sea Beings were destroyed in millions.Unfortunately however there was no indication of the much awaited ‘Amrit’ and all the Parties concerned were fully exhausted and disappointed. They all in one voice of unanimity prayed to Bhagavan Vishnu once again and the Lord assured them:
Balam dadaami sarveshaam karmaitad ye samaasthitaah,
Kshubhyataam kramashah Sarvair Mandarah parivartataam/
(To all the persons involved in this Manthana Venture, I am according ‘Shakti’herewith and all concerned should perform their maximum from now on). As the action had improved mani-fold now, there was Purna Chandra, who emerged with the illumination of hundred Suryas yet with extraordinary coolness that would readily bring about breezy freshness to the whole world. Then Devi Lakshmi was materialised with considerable grace and gorgeousness who desired to opt for Bhagavan Vishnu; she was followed by Sura Devi and Ucchaishwa and these were granted by Asuras to Indra as they were rather keen only for Amrita. Then followed the emergence of Koustubh Mani and that was gifted away to Vishnu to adorn the ornament on his broad chest. Further on, there was a Parijata Vriksha, which had bunches of flowers whose intoxicating fragrance filled up all over the gardens of Swarga. Eventually, there occurred dense and blue smoke which appeared all over the Ocean and reached the sky as well, when all the participants of the Churning were unable to increasingly bear it and had to temporarily call off the action as there were poisonous flames and fumes surrounding them, choking them all and killing several of them. Meanwhile, a highly frightful figure making terrible noises descended from the pitch dark clouds; as Daityas and Devas were frrightened to the core and Bhagavan Vishnu interrogated that horrendous figure as to who that it was! The reply came to Vishnu that it was KAALAKUTA VISHA and that could devour the whole Universe instantly, that it emerged pursuant to the huge scale churning of Ksheera Samudra and that all the participants should at once take the refuge of Maha Deva. The panicky Deva-Danavas as well as Brahma and Vishnu made a bee-line to a Golden Cave on the top of Mandara Mountain which too was a Principal participant of the Manthana Drama. At the Entry Gate of ‘Shiva Nivasa’, Ganeswara took Maha Deva’s permission to let the agitated Devotees in as they all in a chorus commended Shiva (Shiva Stuti) as follows:
Namastubhyum Virupaksha Namestey Divyachakshusey/
Namah Pinaaka hastaaya Vajrahastaaya dhanviney/
Namah trishula hastaaya Dandahastaaya Dhurjatey,
Namastrailokya naathaaya Bhutagraama shareeriney/
Namah Suraari hantrey cha Somaagnya kaaryagnya chakshushey,
Brahmaney chaiva Rudraaya Namastey Vishnu –rupeney/
Brahmaney Vedarupaaya Namastey Deva rupiney,
Saamkhya yogaaya Bhutaanaam Namastey Shaambhavaaya tey/
Manmathaayaanga vinaashaaya Namah Kaalakshayankara,
Ramhasey Deva Devaaya Namastey Vasuretasey/
Eka Viryaya Sarvaaya Namah Pinga kapardiney,
Uma bhartrey Namastubhyam Yagna Tripura ghaatiney/
Shuddha bodha prabuddhaaya Muktakaivalya rupiney,
Lokatraya vidhhatrecha Varunendraagni rupiney/
Rugyasussama rupaaya Purushaayeswaraaya cha,
Agraaya chaiva chograaya Vipraay Shurti chakshusey/
Rajasey chaiva Satvaaya Tamasey Timiraamaney,
Anintya nityabhaavaaya namo nityacharaatmaney/
Vyaktaaya chai vyaktaaya Vyaktaavyaktaanaya vai namah,
Bhaktaanaamaarti naashaaya Priyanaraayanaayacha/
Umaapriyaaya Sharvaaya Nandivaktraaschitaaya cha,
Rutu manvata kalpaaya Paksha maasa dinaatmaney/
Nanaarupaaya Mundaaya Varuutha Pruthu dandiney,
Namah Kapaalahastaaya Digvaasaaya Shikhandiney/
Dhaniney rathiney chaiva yatayey Brahmachaariney,
Ityevamaadi charitaih stutantu tubhyam namo namah/
(Virupaaksha! Divya netradhaariney! Our obeisances to you; you carry Pinaka, Vajra and Dhanush; our reverences to you! Jataadhaari! you hold Trishula and Danda in your hands, our sincere respects to you; You are the Trilokanatha and the Swarupa of all ‘Pranis’ / Beings; our greetings to you the annihilator of ‘Deva Shatrus’; the Possessor of ‘Chandraagni Surya Rupas’ as also of Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra Rupas’; You are the Swarupas of Brahma, Veda an Rudra Rupas; You are also the Sankhya Swarupa and the unique provider of Propitiousness to all the Beings; You are the destroyer of Kamadeva’s physique of love and the terrminator of Kaala Deva; You are the Vegashali, Devadhi Deva and Vasureta; Sarva Shreshtha, Vira, Sarva Swarupa and wearer of the yellow coloured ‘Jataas’/ twisted hair; Umanatha, Tripura Vinaashaa! The Epitome of Pure Form of ‘Jnaana’/ knowledge; Triloka Vidhata; The Swarupa of Varuna, Indra, Agni; the Rupa of Ruk, Yajur and Sama; Purushottama, Parameswara, Sarva Sreshtha, Bhayankara, Brahmana Swarupa; the Possessor of Satwa, Rajasa and Tamasa Gunas; Andhakaara Rupa, Achintya, Nitya, Nityacharaatma; Perceivable and Unperceivable; the demolisher of the difficulties of Devotees; the Great Friend of Narayana, the beloved of Devi Uma; The Great Terminator; The shine of Nandeswara’s countenance; the Unique Measures of Time like Manvantaras, Kalpas, Ritus, Months, Fortnights, Weeks and Days; the Activiser of Myriad Rupas / Forms; of the Shaven Head; Digambara/ Sanyasi/ Brahmachaari, Maha Shankara! Our prostrations to you; Maha Deva! You are the only Supreme Energy which could gulp the ‘Kalakuta Visha’; if uncontrolled; it could devour the Universe as a whole!). As the Deva-Daanava’s joint delegation prostrated before Bhagavan-which incidentally was a historical event of unique significance, Shankara agreed: Bhakshayishyaamyaham ghoram kalakutam Maha visham, Tathaanyadapi yatkruthyam kruchhasaadhyam Surasuraah, Tacchaapi saadhayishyaami tishthadhwam vigatajjwaraah/ (Deva Suraagana! I am no doubt consuming this terrible poison anyway; if you entrust me any other worse and more difficult deeds to be performed, they too would be executed; never worry!) By so saying, Bhagavan took the ‘Halaahala Visha’into his left hand and consumed and retained it in his throat as Devas headed by Brahma as also Asuras led by King Bali hailed Parameshwara exclaimed: Shobhatey Deva Kathastey gaatrey kundaniprabho, Bhrungaamaalaanibham Kanthepyathraivaastu visham tawa/ (Devadeva! As your Physique is white, slender and fragrant like a jasmine flower while the blue tinge of your throat has a remarkably distinct-look with the spot on your throat; please do retain it as it is!) All the concerned parties involved in the ‘Operation Amrit’ returned back to their respective positions once again anxiously awaiting the materialisation of Amrit.
In the final exercise of Churning the ‘Ksheera Sagara’, Bhagavan Dhanvantari, the Deity of ‘Ayurveda’ surfaced along with the most awaited Pot of Amrit; then followed the Large and Attractive Eyed Devi Madira the symbol of Intoxication; Kamadhenu the celestial cow which fulfilled the desires of any Living Being got materialised later on; the Celestial Elephant Iravata which Indra Deva claimed; Surya Deva accepted Dhanvatari as also the Ucchaishvraya horse that came up even earlier; Varuna Deva claimed the Celestial Chhatra (umbrella) and as Indra desired the Kundala Dwaya or the magnifecent Ear-Rings. At this juncture, Dhanvantari declared AMRITA and then commenced an all-out scuffle between Devas and Daityas making claims and counter claims. The fight assumed larger proportions as Bhagavan Vishnu materialised Mohini Devi and the demons became victims of Maya -Illusion-as they were completely enchanted by her and allowed her to distribute the Elixir. In this confusion, Mohini let Devas seize the Eternal Pot and they drank it off one by one; one Asura viz. Rahu however managed to consume the drops of Amrit upto his throat and as Surya and Chandra shouted against Rahu, Vishnu in a swift action cut off the Demon’s throat by his Sudarshana Chakra, but the damage was already done and Rahu became immortal, all though all the rest of Asuras were denied of the Divine Drink. This followed fierce battles between Devas and Danavas and there was extensive massacre and blood-bath when innumerable Danavas and Daityas suffered losses and Devas became victorious under the stewardship of Bhagavan Vishnu. The left-over Danava-Daitya Stalwarts disappeared into the Oceans to retire into Patala Loka. There after, Mandarachala was restored to its original position; so did Sesha Nag and Sudarshana Chakra too. The havoc created in the Oceans too limped back to normalcy. The Dikpalakas, Devas, Gandharvas and all the Celestial Beings got reinstated and were extremely delighted and overjoyed.
Tatomrutam sunihitameva chakrirey, Suraah Paraam tudamabhigamya pushklalaam/ Dadduscha tam nidhimamrutasya rakshitam, Kiritiney Balibhirathaamaraih saha/
(Thereafter, the Devaganas were gladdened to safeguard and hand over the ‘Amrita Nidhi’ /The Remaining Deposit of the Elixir to the custody of Bhagavan Vishnu himself.)

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