Thursday, April 3, 2014

Churning of the Ocean of Milk #atozchallenge

C - The Bhagavata Purana, one of the great texts of Hinduism, tells of a period in which the Hindu demigods (Devas) and demons (Asuras) waged a thousand year war with one another over Amrita, the Elixir of Life. If consumed, Amrita would make the drinker immortal, and both the demigods and the demons desperately wanted this power. They fought so long, however, they exhausted themselves.


Out of options, they went to Vishnu, who informed them they must work together to secure Amrita from the great Cosmic Ocean. But Vishnu secretly sided with the Devas and promised He would ensure only they were rewarded with Amrita.

Thus appeased, the Devas and the Asuras agreed to work together.

To do so, they needed to churn the Ocean of Milk (the Milky Way), until the treasures hidden within long ago were brought to the surface. But this wasn't exactly an easy task, so the races used Mount Mandara as a pivot, and Vasuki (a five-headed snake) as the rope. Unfortunately, when they placed Mount Mandara into the Ocean, the mountain began to sink. 

Vishnu dove into the Ocean as Kurma (a tortoise) to hold the rotating mountain upon His back. The Devas banned together to keep the mountain in place by working one end of the snake-rope while the Asuras held the other end.

In this manner, they churned the Ocean for a thousand years. As they did so, Halahal, a vicious poison, rose to the surface in a great cloud. Demigod and demon alike feared this lethal poison would destroy the Universe, so the Devas implored Shiva to help save them all. Shiva agreed to do so, and inhaled the poison into His mouth. But Halahal was so potent, Shiva began to choke on the poison. Seeing this, Parvati raced to His side and placed her hands around His throat to keep the poison from overtaking his body. The poison was effectively trapped in Shiva's throat, turning it blue, and the Universe was saved. 

The danger thus eliminated, the Devas and Asuras continued to churn the Ocean. The treasures hidden within began to rise to the surface. Among them was Amrita, Dhanvantari (physician to the Gods), Lakshmi (Goddess of riches), Chandra (the Moon), Jysetha (Goddess of poverty), Airavata (white elephant), Kalpavriksha (the Tree of desire), and Uchchaisrava (a horse). 


With the treasures thus removed from the Ocean, the Devas and Asuras once more began to battle over Amrita. As promised, however, Vishnu concealed himself as the enchantress Mohini and tricked the Asuras into handing over the Amrita. He then gave it to the Devas, and punished any Asura who attempted to drink the elixir.

And so goes the story of the Churning of the Ocean of Milk. If this sounds familiar, it was one of the three myths used in the Great and Powerful Theme Reveal here



xoxo,
Ayden

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8 comments:

  1. Oh how interesting!

    (love your blog background. It's so pretty!)

    Happy A to Z-ing!
    ~Anna
    herding cats & burning soup.

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    1. Anna, thanks so much for stopping by. I really love the background as well. Cutest Blog on the Block has some gorgeous options to choose from.

      Ayden

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  2. My goodness, they churn up all that milk and everything but the kitchen sink starts to pop out! lol

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    1. Lexa, they did manage to churn loose quite a bit, didn't they?

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  3. You taught me something new today. I like the picture you chose to post with the story and am adding it to my Pinterest collection of great pics from the 2014 AtoZChallenge.
    Gail visiting for AtoZ

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    1. Gail, I'm glad you enjoyed the artwork. I try to find a good one for each post. Some are easier than others! :)

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  4. I'm loving all these myths that I've never heard! Such a great choice for your challenge! Thanks for stopping by mine as well, and I'm a new GFC follower.

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    1. Lisa, thanks for stopping by, and for following. I'm glad I've been able to give you guys a few myths you didn't know. :)

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