Kurma Avatar – 3

When the Lord himself took the avatar of Kurma and started churning the ocean, first came a fierce poison called halahala. It was so uncontrollable and fiercely that it started spreading to all the 3 worlds, engulfing them completely. The Brahman, along with demi-gods and demons went to Lord Shiva for help. Lord Sadashiva, who was in Kailash at that time, consented to help them. He held the poison in his palms and drank it. Halahala, being a poison, manifested its characteristics by marking Lord Shiva’s throat with the color of blue. After that incident, Lord Shiva came to be known as Neelakantan/Neelkanth. The day when this happened came to be known as pradosham which falls on the 13th day – tryodashi day-of every fortnight.

After the poison, came the cow called surabhi. It produced Yogurt, ghee and milk, all items necessary for performing Yagnas and other rituals as prescribed in the Vedas. Great sages, who knew everything about the Vedic way of life, took the cow for its purest ghee and curd.

Then came Uccaishrava which as white as the moon. King Bali, the king of asuras, wanted to have it. Although Indra would have protested under normal circumstances, did not do so according to the advice from Lord Vishnu.

Next came Airavata, the king of elephants. It was white in color and had 4 great tusks. Along with it came 8 great elephants, headed by Airavana and 8 she-elephants headed by Abhramu.

Generated next from the ocean were 2 gems – Kaustubha-maṇi and Padmarāga-maṇi. Lord Vishnu decided that they would adorn him.

Parijata tree came next. It is the flowers of this tree which decorate the celestial planets. The tree is also called Kalpavriksha tree. It is said that the Parijata tree is a wish fulfilling tree.

After Parijata tree, Apsaras came into being as a result of the churning of the ocean.

Then came Goddess Rama or Lakshmi. Everyone present there was bewildered on seeing the exquisite beauty and opulence of the Goddess. Lord Indra got her a seat. All the great rivers like Ganges and Yamuna got her water. The great sages who were present performed her bathing ceremony, according to the Vedic rituals. All the elephants carried sacred water and sprayed on the Goddess. All the rain clouds present there, sounded like the various instruments like mridangas, panavas, murajas, anakas and the conch shells. The sound thus generated was tumultuous and uplifting at the same time.  After the sacred bathing ceremony, Varuna gave her the silk garment along with the flower garland. Viswakarma presented her with various ornaments. After all the ceremonies, she approached Lord Vishnu and placed the garland around his neck and took him to be her husband.  Thus concluded Lakshmi Kalyanam – the main objective for which Vishnu took Kurma Avatar.

If noticed, one would observe that everything that came out of the ocean till then and everyone who was present there contributed to the celestial marriage of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi. But then, there was still no sign of amrita. Now that his original objective has been fulfilled, would Lord Vishnu continue to help the devas and asuras to achieve theirs?

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