This post shares with you Lord Vishnu Kurma Avatar Story. The Kurma Avatar is the second avatar of Lord Vishnu. It came into being after the Matsya Avatar of Lord Vishnu.
The term “Kurma” means tortoise. According to the Hindu Puranas, the Kurma Avatar came into existence as a half Tortoise and half-human being.
Bhagwan Vishnu took the form of a turtle to save the planet earth from a massive cosmic mishap for avoiding the feud between the Devas and Asuras during Samudra Manthan.
The Devas & Asuras were churning the ocean to receive the gifts from the sea. Lord Vishnu helped the Devas in two ways. First, he functioned as a base to support the Mount Mandar, which was used as an axis for churning the ocean. Secondly, he took the form of Mohini to take hold of nectar. It is because of this act that Gods got the upper hand in “Dev Asur Sangharsh.”
Kurma Avatar came into being in the Satya Yuga. Maha Vishnu incarnated in the form of a giant turtle for saving the earth from destruction.
The Kurma Avatar has been mainly narrated in the Bhagavad Purana, Agni Purana, and Ramayana. In fact, in the Kurma Purana (one of the major eighteen Puranas), Lord Vishnu himself has given account about Kurma Avatar.
Table of Contents
Sage Durvasa cursed Indra
Once, Sage Durvasa cursed the Devas. As a result, the Devas became weaker. Asuras tried to overcome them. They waged war against the Devas. Despite fighting bravely, Devas lost the battle against the Asuras. They approached Lord Vishnu for help.
Lord Vishnu’s Advice
Lord Vishnu told the Devas to use Mount Mandara as a churning stick. However, they failed to pull up the mountain. Lord Vishnu told the Devas and Asuras to churn the ocean jointly. So, the Devas and Asuras pulled up the Mount Mandara and went on to use it as a churning stick. Serpent Vasuki acted as a rope.
During churning, Mount Mandar began to sink in the bottom of the milky ocean. So, Lord Vishnu took Kurma’s avatar (Second Dashavatara) and steadied up the mountain on his broad back.
Amrita (nectar) came out as a result of the churning. Asuras took control over it. At this point, Lord Vishnu took the form of a beautiful lady named Mohini. He managed to obtain the nectar bowl from the Asuras and gave it to Devas.
Devas drank the nectar and became powerful. So, in this way, Lord Vishnu helped the Devas to overcome Asuras. The Kurma Avatar came into being owing to the feud that existed between the Devas and Asuras.
Some unknown facts about Kurma Avatar
The Kurma Avatar is regarded as the second incarnation (avatar) of Lord Vishnu. Hindus believe that Kurma Avatar created equilibrium when things were in disarray. Here, we have shared some unknown facts about Kurma Avatar:
- The earliest account of Kurma Avatar has been found in the sub-text of Yajur Veda called as
“Satapatha Brahmana” wherein the Kurma Avatar has been cited as a form of Brahma and not Vishnu.
It has been depicted that the Kurma Avatar helped the Devas in the churning of the ocean for retrieving Amrit or Elixir.
- In the later epics (Puranas), the Kurma Avatar has been depicted as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu as a half-human and half tortoise form. It has been said that Kurma acted as a base of the pole (Mount Mandar) that was used to churn the ocean.
- The Kurma Avatar played a significant role in the cosmic episode that involved the Devas and the Asuras. He acted as the foundation to which the churning stick was attached, and Serpent Vasuki was used as the rope.
- During the Samudra Manthan, both Vish (poison) and Amrit (Elixir) were obtained. Devas and Asuras were involved in a fight as to who would be the Amrit’s rightful owner.
Herein, the Kurma Avatar takes the form of a beautiful Apsara (nymph) called Mohini to distract the Asuras and help the Devas have that nectar.
- In the Vedic era, Kurma was cited as an incarnation of Brahma and not Vishnu. However, in the Ramayana and Mahabharata, Kurma Avatar as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. However, various Hindu sects are divided on this facet.
- Kurma is considered as the Lord of Waters. So, he is depicted in the form of Varuna. According to Hindu scriptures, Varuna and Earth are married to each other. Together they play a pivotal role in sustaining different life forms on this planet.
- Kurma Avatar was the divine strategy of Lord Vishnu to establish cosmic equilibrium in the Universe.
- Lord Vishnu transported Lord Mandar on his Garuda to the venue and dropped him in the ocean. Kurma Avatar then placed Mount Mandar on his back.
- The Asura king during this episode was Bali. However, you should not confuse this Bali with the one you know from the Ramayan.
Significance of Kurma Avatar
The churning of the ocean represents a literal tow of war among the Gods and the Demons. The sea represents the state of deep awareness or the humanoid mind. The Gods and the Demons represent our private good and evil tendencies.
The war between the Devas and Asuras represents the struggle to select good and bad karma in our daily lives. Due to the choices we make, we get a chance to taste the tonic of life or continue mortal.
The Mount Mandar signifies hard work in our lives and to grow our mind for success. Only to our rightful actions (represented by Lord Vishnu) can we succeed in life.
The Kurma Avatar Story
This story starts with the meeting between Sage Durvasa and Lord Indra. Sage Durvasa gave a garland of flowers to Indra. However, Indra places that circlet of flowers on the forehead of his elephant, Airavata. The elephant takes the wreath and throws it on the earth.
Sage Durvasa was very annoyed at the discourteous treatment of his gift by Indra. He curses Indra that his realm will be ruined.
As fate would have it, the Asuras announced war on the Gods and defeated them. All the Gods ran to Lord Vishnu for help, who told them to churn the oceans along with the Asuras for obtaining nectar (Amrit) that will make them invisible.
The Mandar Mountain is used as the mixing stick and the snake Vasuki as the mixing rope. However, as the churning started, the alp started to drown in the sea as there was no provision base to keep it afloat.
It is then that Lord Vishnu took the shape of a tortoise (Kurma Avatar) to keep the alp afloat. It is Kurma Avatar that goes under the mountain to stop it from dipping.
The result of churning was that Amrit came out along with Dhanvantari (Lord of Ayurveda), Goddess Lakshmi, and Halahal poison. Goddess Lakshmi selected Vishnu as her consort. Lord Shiva drank the Halahal poison to save the Universe.
There was a fierce fight between the Devas and Asuras over the Amrit. However, Lord Vishnu assumed a beautiful nymph, Mohini, and wins over the Asuras. Finally, the Gods drank the Amrit and became very powerful. They defeated the Asuras and retained the heavens.
In fact, Kurma Jayanti is observed on the full moon day in the month of Vaishakh when Bhagwan Vishnu is said to have appeared in the form of Kurma Avatar. You can find temples dedicated to the Kurma Avatar of Lord Vishnu in Kurmai (Andra Pradesh), India.
Avatars of Bhagwan Vishnu
- Matsya Avatar
- Kurma Avatar
- Varaha Avatar
- Narasimha Avatar
- Vamana Avatar
- Parashurama Avatar
- Rama Avatar
- Krishna Avatar
- Buddha Avatar
- Kalki Avatar
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