Lord Vishnu took
the Kurmavataram to provide the Devas with Amirtham, which will give
them everlasting life and bliss. He also took the form of a
beautiful Mohini in the course of distributing the amirtham between
the Devas and the Asuras.
The Devas and
Asuras were constantly at war and the Devas soon began to lose their
upper hand. Further, Indran was weakened by a curse by sage Durvasar.
The Devas prayed
to Lord Vishnu who bade them to churn the ocean (Paarkadal) and
obtain amirtham, which alone could provide everlasting life and
happiness. He further asked them to involve the asuras also in the
Devas were shocked
by this, but Lord Vishnu promised them that he will make sure that
only the Devas get to drink the amirtham.
The Devas and
Asuras got together to churn the ocean. They used Mandramalai to
churn the ocean. Vaasuki, the snake agreed to form the rope for
churning, in return for some amirtham. They started churning with
Lord Vishnu and the Devas on one side (tail end) and the asuras on
the other side (head end). But soon, the Mandramalai started sinking
due to its great weight. Lord Vishnu, took the form of a tortoise (Kurmam-tortoise)
to form the base and to hold up the Mandramalai, preventing it from
sinking. As they continued to churn the ocean, Vaasuki the snake
began to tire and started spewing its poison. The Asuras who were on
the head side of the snake, suffered the most and they ran away in
fear. The Devas prayed to Lord Siva for help. Siva came and consumed
all the poison. Goddess Parvati rushed and held his neck so that the
poison would not spread to the whole of his body. Thus Siva became
blue up to his throat and is also known by the namavali "Neelakandan"
(neela-blue colour from poison, kandam-throat).
Once again the
Devas and Asuras resumed the churning, when several valuables began
to emerge. Kamadhenu (the cow), the provider of all wishes was taken
by the rishis to aid in their yagas and pooja. Uchaisiravasu (white
horse) was taken by the Asura king Bali. Iravadam (white elephant)
was taken by the Deva king Indra. Kowsthubham (red jewel stone) was
worn by Lord Vishnu on his chest. The Paarijaadha tree that grants
all wishes went to the Deva Logam. Several Apsaras emerged. Devi
Lakshmi then emerged in all her glory and beauty, stunning all. She
garlanded Lord Vishnu, who placed her in his heart. Vaaruni Devi
appeared next and she was taken by the Asuras. After this, Danvantri
Bhagavan arose with a golden pot of Amirtham.
greedily grabbed the Amirtham pot and vanished. In order to retrieve
the Amirtha kalasam, Lord Vishnu took the form of a dazzling beauty
(Mohini Avataram). The Asuras falling for her beauty, entrusted her
with the job of distributing the Amirtham. Mohini started serving
the Devas first. The Asuras waited their turn in vain. However, one
Asura called Rahu realised that they were being cheated. He changed
his form and took a place between Surya (sun) and Chandran (moon).
On learning that Rahu had consumed Amirtham, Lord Vishnu cut off his
head with his Sudarshana Chakra. Since Rahu had consumed Amirtham,
the head and the body continued to live. Brahma fitted the body of a
snake to the head of Rahu and the head of the snake to the body of
Rahu. Thus Rahu and Ketu, the two grahams were formed. The Devas
with the power of the Amirtham drove the Asuras away to the