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Saagar Manthan

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Saagar Manthan
See also   Bhaagvat Puraan, 8/3;    Padm Puraan, 1/5;    Padm Puraan, 5/37;    Vishnu Puraan, 1/3;

It is said that 14 Ratn (Gems) came out from Saagar Manthan. But sources describing this event list different lists of those Ratn. A Collection of  those lists is given here.

Once Indra lost His kingdom to Daitya because of showing disrespect to Muni Durvaasaa (see Durvaasaa and Indra Vishnu Puraan, 1/2). He gave Shaap to Indra that "You will loose your all wealth, grace and kingdom." So He lost His kingdom and wealth. He went to Vishnu as what he should do now to get His kingdom back. 

Vishnu said - "This time of yours is bad for you, so wait for your good times. In the meantime you extend friendship with Daitya and plan to extract Amrit (divine elixir, or Ambrosia, or nectar) from Ksheer Saagar then I will see. You put everything - straws, creepers, medicinal plants etc in the sea and then use Mandaraachal Parvat as churning rod and Vaasuki Naag as churning rope. Daitya will get only labor and sorrow and you will get Amrit. You should not be greedy to take everything coming out of Ksheer Saagar. Whatever Daitya want, give those things to them. First of all the poison will come out, but you don't be afraid."

Hearing this Devtaa went to Daitya Raaj Bali and extended friendship with them. When Daitya saw Devtaa coming to them, they wanted to arrest them but Raajaa Bali stopped them doing so. Indra was welcomed, He told Bali His plan and they talked about it. Daitya got ready to churn the sea after hearing about Amrit. They made plans to churn it for a long time. As instructed by Shree Hari Mandaraachal Parvat was chosen as the churning rod and Vaasuki Naag was taken as the churning rope.

When both Devtaa and Daitya were taking Mandaraachal to the sea, it was so heavy that they could not bear its weight and it fell down and many Devtaa and Daitya died under it. Then Bhagvaan appeared, He made Devtaa alive with His words only, kept the Parvat on the neck of Garud and put it on the sea shore.

Both Devtaa and Daitya started churning the Ksheer Saagar. Ajit (Bhagvaan's Avataar) came first to hold the Naag from his mouth side. Daitya thought that maybe the head is a good thing to hold that is why they are holding him from his head side. We are not less than Devtaa, so they  came towards his mouth side to hold the Naag. Ajit immediately dropped the head and held him by tail, and Daitya took him by his mouth. That is how Bhagvaan saved Devtaa from the difficulties of holding Naag's mouth.

Churning of the Sea
Now the churning started. But there was so much turbulence in the sea that Mandaraachal Parvat could not stay stable because it didn't have any base. It was shaking like anything and this was creating trouble in churning the sea. So they went to Vishnu and asked His help. He took the form of a Kashchap (tortoise incarnation, 11th Avataar) and lifted the Parvat on His back. His back was like Jamboo Dweep - 100,000 Yojan wide. Now He felt as if somebody was scratching his back so He entered Daitya in Daitya Roop (form), in Devtaa in Devtaa Roop to increase their power of churning; and in Vaasuki in Nidraa (sleep) Roop so that he doesn't get hurt much. Then He pressed the Parvat from top so that it doesn't move much. Thus He secured everything from below, from top, from Devtaa, from Daitya and from Vaasuki Naag.

Churning was started again. Vaasuki Naag was emitting poison from his thousand mouths that was burning Daitya's bodies from its heat. But everybody was putting his best efforts in the expectation to get a drop of Amrit.

What Came Out From the Sea?
Then first came out the (1) Halaahal Poison: It was given to Shiv Jee. He kept it in His throat. It made His throat blue that is why His another name is Neelkanth (blue throated). (2) Kaamdhenu cow: It used to produce things related to Agnihotra (worship) so it was given to Brahmarshi. (3) Uchchshraivaa horse: It was of white color like Moon, Raajaa Bali took it. (4) Airaavat elephant: It had very large tusks, Indra took it. (5) Kaustubh Mani: Ajit Himself took it. (6) Kalp Vriksh: It fulfilled every desire so it was planted in Nandan Van, Swarg Lok. (7) Apsaraa: Indra took them.

(8) Lakshmee Jee: Everybody wanted to take her as she was very beautiful. Indra brought an Aasan for Her to sit on, rivers brought water in gold pitchers for Her Abhishek, Prithvi offered all medicines, cows gave milk, Vasant (spring) brought all kinds of flowers and fruits. Rishi performed Her Abhishek, Gandharv sang, Apsaraa danced and clouds played orchestra. Lakshmee sat on her Aasan with a lotus flower in Her hand. Samudra gave Her yellow silken clothes to wear, Varun presented Her Vaijayantee Maalaa. Prajaapati Vishwakarmaa brought various jewelry, Saraswatee brought Her pearl necklaces, Brahmaa gave Her a lotus flower and Naag gave Her a pair of ear-rings. After Braahman finished Her Abhishek etc, She took the lotus flower garland to put in the neck of the best man. She thought - some are Tapaswee but they have not won the anger, somebody is knowledgeable but he is not completely free of desire, some are very important but they have not won Kaam Dev. So it is only Vishnu who is the treasure of all qualities, but does He like me? Still She put the garland in Vishnu's neck. 

(9) Vaarunee Devee (liquor): She was taken by Daitya.; (10) A strange man but handsome - Dhanvantari (13th Avataar), the Ansh Avataar of Vishnu: carrying the pitcher of Amrit. As Daitya saw the pitcher of Amrit they snatched that pitcher from him and ran away. Devtaa got very sad, but Bhagvaan consoled them.

Bhavishya Puraan, 1/21 says that five cows came out of the Saagar Manthan - Nandaa, Subhadraa, Surabhi, Sumanaa and Shobhanaavatee.

Mohinee Avataar
Then everybody saw a beautiful woman coming to that side. Everybody got enchanted with her beauty. She went to Daitya to attract them. This is Bhagvaan's 13th Avataar: Mohinee Avataar to distribute Amrit to Devtaa. She took the pitcher of Amrit from Daitya and started distributing it herself. She asked Devtaa to sit at one side and Devtaa on other side. But She gave Amrit to Devtaa and liquor to Daitya. One Raahu named Daitya noticed this, so he took the form of a Devtaa and joined Devtaa's group. He sat in between the Sun and Moon Devtaa.

As Mohinee gave him the Amrit, Sun and Moon recognized him as a Daitya and told Mohinee about him. Mohinee immediately used Her Chakra (Divine disc) which cut the throat of Raahu. But till then he had already drank Amrit, so he didn't die, rather he stayed alive and was divided into two - head and tail. His head was Raahu and the tail was named Ketu and both stayed alive.

Since the Sun and the Moon complained about him, he comes to eat the Sun by his head (Raahu) which is called solar eclipse; and the Moon by his tail (Ketu) which is called lunar eclipse.

The Aftermath?
When all this happened, Daitya came to know that Mohinee was deceiving them, so they starting fighting with Devtaa to get their own share of Amrit. As they were fighting, Jayant, Indra's son, or some say it was Garud Jee, ran away with the Kalash of the Amrit. Raahu followed him instantly. Before ringing Amrit back, Shani Dev had to take rest at four places where he set down the Kalash on Kush grass, and after taking some rest again resumed his flight. During this process, some drops of Amrit splashed over the Kush grass. Wherever he set the Kalash, those places became sacred for the humankind. Since he completed his journey in 12 Divine days - for humans it was 12 years, and he stopped at those four places every three Divine days, a Kumbh Melaa (fair) is held there now. Those places are - Haridwaar (UP) at Ganga River, Naasik at Godaavaree River, Allahaabaad (UP) at Sangam, and Ujjain at Kshipraa River.

Since Daitya held the mouth of Vaasuki Naag, they can withstand the poison.
When Mandaraachal Parvat was shaking, Vishnu took Korm or Kashchap Avataar
Shiv Jee saved the world from Kaalkoot Vish by drinking it and Paarvatee Jee saved Shiv by holding his neck.
Vishnu took Dhanvantari Avataar to bring the Amrit Kalash out of the sea.
When Daitya snatched the Amrit Kalash, Vishnu saved it by assuming Mohinee Avataar.
Thus, in this process four Avataar took place - Koorm or Kashcap, Lakshmee, Dhanvantari, and Mohinee

Spiritual Meaning of Saagar Manthan
This story represents the spiritual endeavor of man to gain of immortality. How to attain it? For that Bhagavaan advised -

Ksheer Saagar (The Milky Ocean) is he mind or human consciousness. The mind is always compared to an ocean while the thoughts and emotions are waves. Sometimes they are very high then they can shake a person, sometimes they are so low that the man cannot even feel them.

Mandaraachal (Man + Daraa + Achal) - This Parvat represents the concentration of thoughts in one straight line.
Keep your Man (scattering thoughts) in Daraa (a single line) - i a single line means "do nogt allow them to scatter; "Achal" means stable, so that other evil thoughts cannot move them.

Koorm Avataar (Tortoise Incarnation) - Tortoise represents in our Dharm for withdrawl of senses from the world, so that the mind (Man) can surrender itself to Divine will. Tortoise was Vishnu - God, so this symbolizes that whatever you undertake to do, must be supported by God

Vaasuki Naag - This serpent represents for worldly desires. Desires always have thousands of ways to fulfill them, so Devtaa and Asur held it as a rope and churned the mind with the help of concentration and withdrawal of the senses. One can manipulate your senses when you have control on your desires. The rope symbolizes for the string of cooperation.

Halaahal (Vish or poison) - It represents suffering and pain. When we do any kind of Saadhanaa, first we feel lots of pain. When the mind is subjected to intense churning by opposite forces we feel intense suffering and turmoil. [Shankar was the only person who could tolerate this suffering] Lord Shiv represents the ascetic principle, one who is innerly detached. By following Shiv's qualities - courage , initiative, discipline, detachment, pure love and general welfare (Shiv = Kalyaan), one can overcome early problems of spiritual life of such as instability of mind.

The various objects which came out of the Sea, and for the spiritual powers or Siddhi. One should be careful about these powers as they may disturb your progress, thatt is why they did not keep anything except one -

Mohinee Avataar (Mohhinee Incarnation) - Mohinee stands for delusion of the mind in the form of pride. Asur lost their right to get Amrit or to be immortal because they were proud of their achievement. pride and egoism are the last hurdles one has to overcome before experiencing self-realization.



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Created by Sushma Gupta On 5/27/04
Modified on 04/25/13