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Mohini 14th Vishnu Avatar


After the demi-gods and demons had churned the oceans to extract the nectar that would give them immortality, a fight over the possession of the urn containing the nectar ensued between them. Vishnu realised that if the squabble continued for long then the nectar would spill out and be lost forever. He also did not want the demons to drink any of the nectar, as that would firmly entrench the forces of evil in the world. Hence he appeared on the scene as Mohini, a woman of breath-taking beauty and allure. Both the demi-gods and the demons stopped fighting and began to ogle at her. Flaunting her charms, Mohini convinced both the demi-gods and the demons that she would distribute the nectar equitably.

She asked the demi-gods to form one line and asked the demons to stand in another. She first gave a drop of the nectar to the demi-god who was foremost in the queue. Then she turned around to serve the demon standing first in line. But as she turned around, she replaced the urn of nectar with a similar urn of water, and gave a drop of water to the demon. The demon was so excited by the oozing sultriness of Mohini, that he did not notice the switch. When Mohini turned to serve the second demi-god, she again divined the urn with the nectar. This way, she fooled the demons into believing that they were drinking the nectar.

However a demon named Rahu saw through the trick and he quietly went and stood in the queue of the demi-gods. Thus he was given a drop of the nectar. But the Sun and Moon Gods recognized him and warned Mohini. Mohini then assumed her true form, that of Vishnu, and before the drop of nectar could go down Rahu's throat, he set loose his Sudarshan chakra (a divine weapon in the form of a disc) and cut off Rahu's head. Hence Rahu's bodiless head was destined to roam around the heavens forever. Because the Sun and Moon Gods had ratted on him, he would from time to time bite of a part of the sun and the moon thus causing the solar and lunar eclipses.

When they saw Mohini turn into Vishnu, the demons realised that they had been conned. But by then the demi-gods had partaken of the nectar and had become immortal and were able to defeat the demons.

When Shiva heard this tale he expressed his desire to see Vishnu in the form of Mohini, but Vishnu put him off by saying that he would again incarnate himself as Mohini at an appropriate time. The time did come sooner than expected.

Shiva, who was easily pleased, granted a boon to the demon Bhasmasur, bestowing on him the power to reduce to ashes anyone whom he touched on the head. The evil demon decided to test the effect of the boon on Shiva himself. Shiva panicked and turned to Vishnu for help and protection. After chastising Shiva for being overly generous with his boons, he once again assumed the form of the beautiful and bewitching Mohini. The demon was totally captivated by Mohini's sexuality and forgot about Shiva. He desired nothing but taking Mohini to bed. Mohini agreed on condition that Bhasmasur replicate her dance steps. In the ensuing competition between the two, Mohini placed her hands on her head. The demon did likewise, thus reducing himself to ashes.