Kurma Avatar: The Second Incarnation of Lord Vishnu

Why did Vishnu take the form of the Kurma Avatar? Indian mythology is an infinite ocean of stories. It has been over five years of reading Hindu mythology. And I am diving into it to find even more gems from fascinating ancient myths. I always wondered how this world came into existence. How does the Earth float in the vast universe? How does it sustain itself? It is a great puzzle that nobody can solve.

Why did Vishnu take the form of the Kurma Avatar?

In my quest to find the answers as a mere human being, I started reading Shrimad Bhagavatam. I found out how the Matsya avatar, the first avatar of Lord Vishnu, came into existence. After that, I read about Kurma Avatar, the second incarnation of Kshirodakshayi Vishnu.

Today, I am going to narrate the story of how the Kurma, or Tortoise, incarnation came into Hindu mythology.

As per the Puranas, when the Deva Asura Sangram started, Lord Vishnu intervened and suggested stopping the fight. None of them agreed. Thus, he assumed the Kurma Avatar, the second incarnation, was a tortoise.

Maha Vishnu took Kurma Avatar to Satya Yuga to resolve the conflict between the Devas and Asuras.

A Curse from Rishi Durvasa

Rishi Durvasa ecstatically visited Swarg Lok and presented a garland to Indra, the king of gods and heaven. Indra accepted his present, but in power-possessed behaviour, and put that on Airavat. It is believed that the Airavat elephant represented the mood of Indra.

As a result, the animal was too power-possessed. He did not like the garland fragrance and threw the garland in front of Durvasa.

Durvasa felt insulted. He cursed Indra, saying he would lose all his wealth, pride, and kingdom. Sage Durvasa’s curse led to the Samudra Manthan or the Churning of the Ocean.

Deva Asura Sangram: Fight Between Demi-Gods and Demons

With time, Indra weakened in power. Demons wanted to succeed his throne and began to create havoc. The devas reached the verge of defeat. They visited Brahma for a solution.

Brahma advised Indra and other devas to take shelter in Lord Vishnu. They followed the advice and went to Vaikunth to approach Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu advised them to churn the Samudra for nectar and defeat the Asuras.

Churning of the Ocean: Samudra Manthana

Samudra Manthana would produce the nectar, and by consuming it, Devas could regain their power and immortality. By churning the ocean, the devas could also triumph over the demons.

The big question popped up: how would the ocean be churned? Maha Vishnu suggested using Mount Mandarachal as a churning stick. Vasuki was used as a rope.

Both Devas and Asuras would churn the ocean together. Lord Vishnu warned Devas to be fair. He told them to be impartial and distribute things equally when that came out from Samudra.

Peace Agreement Between Bali and Indra

Demi-Gods became relaxed and thought the Asuras would not take the nectar away. They went to Bali, the king of Asuras. Bali welcomed the Devas. He was respectful of the peace agreement and the prospect of reconciliation.

Indra told Bali that it needed their help to establish peace. King Bali agreed for the good cause and to establish peace between them.

The Devas and the Asuras concluded and wanted to start immediately. They chose the best ones for uprooting Mount Mandarachal and installing it into the Samudra. Vasuki coiled himself around the mount.

At this point, Devas and Asuras gathered to decide which party would go on the side of Vasuki’s head.

The Devas deceived the Asuras with some strategy. Asuras had to hold Vasuki’s head, which was releasing venom. Devtas was holding Vasuki’s tail. On the other hand, Asuras were dying, and the Devas were rejoicing.

Removal of the Venom

The venom of Vasuki made the Asuras weak. However, Mount Mandar also stood without support and started sinking. Indra, the king of gods, prayed to Lord Vishnu for help.

Thus, Maha Vishnu took the form of Kurma and placed himself under the giant mount for the Samudra Manathana again.

Treasures from the Samudra Manthan

Kurma avatar, the second incarnation of Lord Vishnu, helped Devas and Asuras churn out the treasures from the Samudra.

Here are some of the precious treasures that emerged from the Maha Samudra:

  • The first treasure that came out of the churning of the ocean was Kamadhenu, the sacred cow. Vishnu gifted Kamadhenu to Vasistha Rishi.
  • A tree named Parijatha came out next. It is considered the most sacred tree in the whole world. Indra got the tree to adorn his park, the Nandavana.
  • The moon came out next from the ocean and got his place again in the hair of Shiva. He then takes the name Chandrashekhara.
  • A precious and shiny diamond, Kaustubha, came out after the moon.
  • The venom, Halahal, came out. It was the concentrated form of all dangerous and deadly poisons and impurities in Samudra. To save the lives of the Trilokas, Shiva swallowed the poison. His neck turned dark blue. This incident gave Shiva a name, Neelakantha, the blue-throated.
  • The next event was the emergence of Goddess Mahalakshmi and several other things. Lord Vishnu accepted Lakshmi as his other half.
  • Devas and Asuras continued churning the ocean. This time, Dhanavantari, the Lord of Ayurveda, came out holding a pot of Amrit, the nectar of immortality.

Mohini: The Female Avatar of Lord Vishnu

  • Witnessing the pot of nectar, the Asuras got impatient and snatched the Kalash from Dhanvantari. Devas got tensed and again requested Vishnu for help. Lord Vishnu took the Avatar of Mohini, the gracious woman.
  • Mohini took their hearts away with her charming beauty. She asked for the pot of nectar. They did not ask any questions and handed over the Amrita to Mohine. She assured the demons they would get the nectar equally.
  • Before the distribution of the nectar, Mohini asked the gods and demons to clean themselves and wait for their turn to get immortalized.
  • Mohini started distributing the amrit to the gods. Asuras was not happy with the start but stayed calm due to the hypnotizing beauty of Mohini. The nectar got over even before the Asuras could consume it.
  • This event angered the Demons, and they declared war against the Gods. The battle began on the seashore. The gods won due to the immortality of Amrita.
  • The curse on Durvasa lifted, and the Devas got their heaven back. Thus, the story of Kurma, the Avatar of Lord Vishnu, ended.

Significance of the Kurma Avatar Story: The Tortoise Incarnation of Lord Vishnu

Samudra Manthan represents a war between good and bad tendencies among human nature, as Gods and Demons.

The ocean represents the state of the human mind or deep awareness.

If you busy your mind with something good, it grows towards enlightenment.

If you turn your mind into bad, it grows towards bad at double speed. It makes you do unexpected things until you lose control over your mind.

Mount Mandarachal represents hard work that eventually takes you to a path of success.

Lord Vishnu appears to help you and opens up new doors for the right actions until you reach ultimate success.

Also Read:- Matsya Avatar

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