Samudra Manthan – The Churning of the Ocean
Samundra Manthan is also known as Kshirsagar manthan meaning churning of the ocean of milk. This episode was an elaborate process to gain the immortal nectar by deities and demons. During the process, various valuable items came out of the ocean that was then divided between the two sides.
Indra (God of Thunder and Lightning) was presented with a special garland by a sage named Durvasa. He was traveling with his elephant, Airavata. Indra after accepting the garland, he placed it on the trunk of the elephant. Irritated by its smell, the elephant threw the garland on the ground. Taking it as an insult, the sage cursed Indra and deprived him and all the other Gods from their powers. As soon as the demons came to know about the vulnerable condition of the Gods, they defeated them and took control over the universe.
Fourteen types of treasures came out of the ocean during the process that were kept by demons and Gods. One product was a lethal poison, Halahal, which could destroy the complete universe. Shiva then intervened and drank the poison. His wife, ParvatiParvati
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, Goddess of love, fertility and devotion, held his throat so to avoid the poison to go either in the belly or the mind. It stayed in the throat because of which Shiva’s throat became blue in color. He is also known as Neelakanta (one with a blue throat) because of this reason.
Other jewels that emerged included LakshmiLakshmi
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, the Goddess of Fortune and wealth, who chose Vishnu as her husband. Then there were beautiful Apsaras (nymphs) which chose Gods’ side. The Goddess and creator of alcohol, Varuni, became the part of the team demons. Kamadhenu (a wish-granting cow) was given to sages, Airavata (white elephant) went to deities and Uchhaishravas (a seven-headed horse) went to demons.
The Gods gained their powers and strength back and ultimately defeated demons and took over the control of the universe. The truthfulness and goodness of Gods, once again, over-powered the evil deeds and lies of demons.