Kurma Avatar

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Kurma Avatar

Avatar - kurma - the second incarnation of vishnu

Vishnu, in his second incarnation, is in the form of half-man half-tortoise (Kurma), the lower half being the tortoise. He is normally shown as having four arms. In the upper two he carries the conch-shell and the wheel while the lower two are in the protection and the boon giving postures or carrying a mace and a lotus. Kurma, the Tortoise, was used for support to mount MANDARA, as a churn dasher, when the Devas and the Asuras churned the ocean (SAMUDRAMATHANA).

After the Pralaya-Deluge at the beginning of the present KALPA the Gods lost the immortality.

Avatar - kurma - the second incarnation of vishnu

When the gods were in danger of losing their authority over the demons they decided to go to Vishnu, who preserves the order of the universe, to beg help. Vishnu advised them to churn the ocean so that they might procure amrita (ambrosia), which would make them strong and immortal. He promised to become a tortoise on which would rest the mountain Mandara, which was used as the churning stick.

The legend of the Kurma avatar goes as follows:

Sage Durvasa was a great ascetic. Once he was walking along holding in his hand a garland of flowers called SANTANAKA.

indra and durvasa

INDRA who was coming from the opposite direction riding Airavata ignored him. He threw the garland given by Durvasa on Airavata, which threw it on the ground and trampled it. Durvasa lost his temper and cursed: "The pride of wealth has entered your head. Let Lakshmi forsake you." Then Indra realized his folly. He bowed to Durvasa and sought his pardon. Durvasa said, "Sri Vishnu will do you good," and left.

On account of Durvasa's curse, Lakshmi left Indra and went away. Because Lakshmi the goddess of power, bravery, enthusiasm and radiance left, Devendra's life became miserable. The demons that were waiting for such an opportunity invaded heaven, defeated Indra and gods in war and occupied heaven. Indra lost his kingdom and hid out of sight of the demons. The Gods in due course lost their immortality and valor.

mount mandara

A number of years passed. Indra's teacher Brihaspati thought of finding a way out for Indra's troubles. He went with the gods to Brahma, who went to Vishnu with all of them and put forth the appeal of the gods. Then Vishnu said, "don't fear; I will show you a way out. The sea of milk must be churned. It is a very difficult job. Therefore, gain the friendship of the demons and get their assistance. Use MANDARA Mountain as a churning rod and VASUKI, the king of the serpents, as a rope.

I will come to your assistance at the proper time. When the sea is churned ambrosia will be produced. Let the gods drink it and become immortal. They will then attain superb strength. It will then be possible for you to defeat the demons. When the sea is churned, Lakshmi who has disappeared will appear again. Her grace will be bestowed on you." He consoled the gods and arranged for the churning of the sea.