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Kurma Avatar 12th Vishnu Avatar

Kurma the Tortoise Avatar

Further to Pralaya- deluge at the beginning of the present Kalpa the Gods (devas) lost their immortality due to a curse by the short-tempered sage Durvasa.The sage had once presented a garland of flowers to Indra,king of gods, who carelessly gave it away to his elephant which trampled it. The Devas approached Vishnu for help. Vishnu then asked them to churn the ocean of milk after adding medicines into the ocean. Mt Mandara could be used a the churning stick he said. He requested them to ask them help of Asuras in lifting the mountain in exchange for offer of the share of nectar of immortality that would ensue from the churning. Both the devas and the asuras churned the ocean using the serpent Vasuki as the rope. At the start, playing a Machiavellian trick, Indra, king of the gods asked the asuras for the head end of vasuki. But asuras suspecting foul play, took the head end, only to be deceived as the poison from Vasuki was slowly weakening them. But as churning was proceeding the mountain was sinking and then Lord Vishnu took the form of the tortoise KURMA and kept the mountain afloat. As soon as the bowl of amrita, the nectar of immortality was out, the asuras grabbed it. Then Lord Vishnu took the form of an apsara, a beautiful maiden, and seduced the asuras into letting her distribute the nectar and also to abide by her order of distribution. As soon as the devas were served the maiden disappeared thus totally deceiving the asuras and making them totally weak.

It is believed that sin will increase exponentially, whilst virtue will fade and cease to flourish. People will take vows only to break them soon. People will destroy trees and gardens in the view of urbanization. People will become addicted to intoxicating drinks.

The good and the bad are balanced. However, sometimes the amount of evilness increases. God descends down into earthly form to remove injustice. Wrong doers will be punished. This is evident from the incarnation of nine avatars.

In the Matsya avatar, Vishnu-The Supreme takes the form of a fish and saves the world from destruction and reestablishes growth of life in the world by defeating a demon which stole the vedas from Brahma. Earlier, a evil demon stole the vedas from Brahma and kept it under an ocean. Vishnu took the form of a fish and fights the demon under water and restores vedas and gives it back to Brahma.

But peace was short lived. The world was again facing miseries. The Devas and Asuras were always at war. In one such war, the demi-gods were on the verge of defeat. A truce was made and the Devas and Asuras agreed to churn the milk ocean to get the divine nectar, which will make anyone immortal. At that time, Vishnu takes the form of a tortoise i.e. Kurma Avatar to support the mountain. Mandara was used as Churn Dasher and Vasuki, The King of Serpents was used as a rope to churn it. Then Maha Vishnu takes the form of Mohini a charming damsel and distracts the evil minded asuras. Thus they are devoid of nectar. The Devas consumed the nectar become and immortal. Rightness is again restored. It is believed that Rahu and Ketu actually drank some of the nectar. This was seen by the Sun and Moon God. Lord Surya and Moon god told this to Vishnu. With the help of his discus, Lord Vishnu cuts the head of Rahu and the body of Ketu. But since they had consumed the nectar, the remaining pieces remained alive. Later, Rahu and Ketu got an head and body of a snake respectively. It is believed that during eclipse, Rahu and Ketu eat up a portin of Sun and Moon as a sign of revenge.