The Churning of the Ocean

The Churning of the Ocean

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The story of how the devas discovered divine nectar and gained immortality is a popular legend that is dramatic as well as enthralling.

It was an ocean of milk that was churned by the devas and asuras to yield the celestial nectar, using the great mountain Mandara as the churning rod. The serpent Vasuki volunteered to be the cord. Lord Vishnu assumed the form of a tortoise and served as a pivot for Mandara to be whirled around on.

It took the benevolence of all the great deities to execute this complex task. Vishnu sent down cooling showers to abate the fiery smoke from Vasuki’s mouth and Shiva consumed the fearful poison that arose from the waters. The legendary Airavata, Surabhi and Uchchhaishrava arose from the churning waters, as did many beautiful apsaras and goddesses.

This popular tale is found, with minor variation, in the Puranas as well as in the two epics. Our version of this story is derived mainly from the Bhagawat Purana and the Mahabharata.
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The story of how the devas discovered divine nectar and gained immortality is a popular legend that is dramatic as well as enthralling.

It was an ocean of milk that was churned by the devas and asuras to yield the celestial nectar, using the great mountain Mandara as the churning rod. The serpent Vasuki volunteered to be the cord. Lord Vishnu assumed the form of a tortoise and served as a pivot for Mandara to be whirled around on.

It took the benevolence of all the great deities to execute this complex task. Vishnu sent down cooling showers to abate the fiery smoke from Vasuki’s mouth and Shiva consumed the fearful poison that arose from the waters. The legendary Airavata, Surabhi and Uchchhaishrava arose from the churning waters, as did many beautiful apsaras and goddesses.

This popular tale is found, with minor variation, in the Puranas as well as in the two epics. Our version of this story is derived mainly from the Bhagawat Purana and the Mahabharata.

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