Mohini – The Femme Fatale
Mohini is one of the most popular and iconic characters of the Hindu mythology and is the only female incarnation of Vishnu. The name MohiniMohini
Mohini is one of the most popular and iconic characters of the Hindu mythology and is the only female incarnation of Vishnu. is derived from the Sanskrit word “moha” which means “illusion or enchantment” also the name Mohini literally translates to “enchantress”. She is also known by the name of JaganMohini. Mohini is one of the most widely known and revered deities of the world.
Mohini is always depicted as an extremely beautiful seductive woman with enchanting eyes and a perfect sumptuous body. She is shown to be clad in a beautiful, and quite revealing, erotic dress. In some of her depictions she is portrayed to have eight arms and holds various items like a lotus talk, a flower, a conch shell etc. in each. Sometimes, she is also shown to be seated on a lion, tiger or a prostate man.
Legends state that Indra, the king of gods, had become very arrogant and proud because of his position and powers. He left no occasion to show off his power and considered himself above all. Once he went out to roam leisurely in his kingdom on his favorite elephant Airavata- a unique, special, four tusked, white elephant. On his way, he encountered the great sage Durvasa. Durvasa was a very powerful and influential sage who was revered by all beings including gods and was known to get angry very quickly. Everyone revered him and chose their words wisely while talking to him. Indra, however, did not even greet the sage properly and displayed a very casual temperament. But Durvasa was not enraged by this. Durvasa was carrying a very special garland made of flowers which never withered away and had a strong and unique fragrance. He gifted the garland to Indra. Indra took that garland and put in on Airavata's head very carelessly. However, due to the strong fragrance of the flowers, the elephant was unable to bear it and threw the garland down. This made Durvasa very angry and his eyes became red filled with rage. At that point of time Indra remembered the true power of Durvasa and realized that Durvasa would curse him. Indra hurriedly came down and bowed down to the sage asking for forgiveness. However, Durvasa told him that he had bowed down only because he had realized that he would be cursed. Durvasa then proceeded to teach Indra a lesson and cursed that Indra along with all the Devas would lose their powers and become feeble. Indra kept on apologizing but the sage went away.
Soon the curse of Durvasa came into effect and all the Devas, including Indra, began to lose their powers and became exhausted. All of a sudden, the Asurasattacked the heaven and Indra felt extremely terrified as he could not fight the demons and protect his kingdom. Even his army had become extremely weak. Everybody then approached BrahmaBrahma
According to Hinduism, the whole creation is the work of Trimurti (the Hindu Trinity)... to seek help. However, Brahma told them to go to VishnuVishnu
Vishnu is one of the Supreme Gods of Hindus and is a part of Hindu Trinity,.. instead. They then visited Vishnu and Indra told the whole incident to him. Vishnu then looked at Brahma and asked him if Indra should be forgiven. Brahma replied that Indra had learned his lesson and should be forgiven now. Vishnu then told Indra that he along with the Devas should perform SamudraManthan i.e., churning of the great ocean. He told them that upon doing so a divine nectar called Amritwould come out of it which would provide immortality and great power to whoever consumed it. All of them then proceeded to perform it. During the SamudraManthan, the serpent king called vasuki He is one of the king serpents, given high privilege in Hindu mythology. He is depicted with a gem on his head. He is the snake of Lord Shiva and the brother of another snake named Manasa. He is the jewel of Shiva and sits around his neck. He was blessed by Shiva and thus given an important status. He was one of the main participants in the churning of the ocean. He was used as the churning rope and his one end was held by the demons and the other by Gods. His face was at the demons side and thus they were affected by his venom.
was used as a rope tied around the Mandara Mountain for the churning process. The Asuras got to know about Amrit The term ‘Amrit’ is used for the water or nectar of immortality. The word was used in Rigveda for the nectar which is drunk by Gods to gain immortality. It was one of the outcomes of samudra manthan. There was a curse on gods by Durvasa because of which they started becoming mortal and then they needed this drink for immortality. Later on the water which is given as prasadam to devotees in the temples is also called Amrit as it is believed to be blessed by Gods. It is the holy water which is sweet-tasting. It is consumed in the name of the God.
and they went for SamudraManthan as well. Eventually the churning began and the Devas and the Asuras were in a tug of war holding Vasuki as rope. Both the parties wanted to obtain and consume Amrit first. But in order to make sure that the Asuras do not get the nectar first, Vishnu created an illusion and distraction for them. He assumed the form of an enchanting and seductive beautiful woman named Mohini, which left the Asuras completely dumbfounded. They were fully hypnotized by her beauty and were distracted from consuming the nectar first. Because of the distraction the Devas were able to extract the Amrit and consume it first, thus, retaining their power and, eventually, defeating the Asuras.
Another famous legend states that once there was a demon named Bhasmasura. He was a great devotee and worshipper of Shiva. Once he performed severe austerities to please the deity. ShivaShiva
Shiva is one of the Supreme Gods of Hindu Trinity that ... was very pleased by his penance and told him to ask for a boon. Bhasmasura He was a demon who was a true devotee of Shiva. After performing great penance he asked Shiva for immortality. Shiva rejected his wish and said that he didn’t have the powers to do so. In exchange, he asked for the power of burning people by placing his hand on anyone’s head. He then wanted to kill Shiva and turn him into ashes as he wanted to marry Parvati. Shiva kept running away and the demon followed him wherever he went. Shiva then went to Vishnu for help. He took a form a woman, Mohini, and tricked Bhasmasura in keeping his hand on his own head, turning him into ashes.
asked Shiva to grant him the boon that anyone or anything which he touched with his hand would turn into ashes instantaneously. Shiva granted him the boon. However, as soon as he did that, Bhasmasura approached towards Shiva to test his new power. Shiva ran away but Bhasmasura chased him and kept running after him. In order to save himself Shiva asked Vishnu for help. Shiva narrated the whole incident to Vishnu to which Vishnu replied that he had devised a plan to help him. He told Shiva to hide somewhere while he took care of the matter. Vishnu then assumed the form of a beautiful enchantress Mohini and approached Bhasmasura. Bhasmasura was completely spellbound by the immense beauty of Mohini and asked her to marry him. Mohini replied that she would marry him only if he followed some dance steps performed by her. Bhasmasura agreed and Mohini started performing dance steps. Bhasmasura watched her carefully and repeated the dance steps precisely. Finally, Mohini performed a dance step in which she put her hand on her head. Bhasmasura, enchanted by her beauty, forgot about the boon and in an attempt to successfully repeat the dance step put his hand on his own head turning himself instantaneously into ashes. Vishnu then told Shiva the whole story and told him not to worry anymore. However, Shiva was curious to see the immensely beautiful form of Vishnu and asked him to show his manifestation of Mohini. Vishnu agreed and showed him his Mohini form. Shiva was completely charmed by her beauty and, overwhelmed with passion, unified with Mohini. It is believed that Shiva was so enchanted by the immense beauty of Mohini that he proposed to marry her. On this Mohini promised to be his wife in her next earthly incarnation. As a result Shiva’s incarnation Khandobaand Mohini’s incarnation Mahalasa, took birth on the earth. MahalasaMahalasa
Once the Asuras (demons) were fighting... was born as a daughter to a rich merchant named Timmaseth. It is believed that by the divine order of KhandobaKhandoba
Khandoba, also popularly known as Khanderao, is a Hindu god who is believed... to Timmaseth in his dream, Mahalasa was married to Khandoba.
Mohini being an incarnation of Vishnu is widely revered by the people, especially the followers of Vishnu. One of the most important festivals associated with her is Brahmotsavamin which Venkateswara, an incarnation of Vishnu, is dressed as Mohini and a special RathaYatra is performed. Mohini is regarded as one of the most significant characters of Hindu mythology and various legends of her have been enacted and adapted as feature films as well. A special dance form called Mohiniattamis named after her. Mohini symbolizes immense power, beauty and wisdom.