The planets of the demigods are
in a higher dimension of the universe. Demigods are servants of the
Supreme Lord, and have delegated responsibilities to manage the universe.
The demons are those who are against the worship of the Supreme Lord,
and they tend to be devious or defiant and create disorder.
Once, the demigods were attacked by the demons. The attack was very
forceful, and the demigods appealed to the Supreme Lord Vishnu for help.
Desiring a pastime, Lord Vishnu offered a plan: they should call a truce
and combine forces with the demons to churn the Milk Ocean for the nectar
of immortality. The secret plan was that only the demigods would get
the nectar, but the demons would help because they thought they would
get some. The rest of the plan was, more openly, that they should use
the golden Mandara Mountain as a churning rod and ask the king of the
serpents Vasuki to be the churning rope. All agreed to the proposal
and began working together using their vast mystic powers and strength
to bring the mountain and set up. However, they encountered so many
difficulties that they repeatedly had to ask Lord Vishnu for help.
When finally the mountain was placed in the Milk Ocean, it sank. Lord
Vishnu assumed the form of a beautiful giant tortoise to support the
mountain. This tortoise form is known as Lord Kurma.
The serpent Vasuki wrapped himself around the mountain. The unlimited
Lord Vishnu, still supporting the mountain in His tortoise form, simultaneously
stood among the demigods in His humanlike four-armed form and took hold
of the head portion of Vasuki’s body, ready to help pull. At this
the demons became insulted; they did not want to hold the tail end.
Smiling, the all-knowing Vishnu shrugged His shoulders and picked up
the tail end instead. The demigods followed suit and the demons took
hold of the head end.
The pulling began. The mountain wobbled, and, expanding Himself again,
Lord Vishnu also sat on top of the mountain to steady it. Underneath,
Lord Kurma enjoyed a sensation of having His back scratched. As the
churning intensified, fire came from Vasuki’s mouth and burned
the proud demons, but Lord Vishnu sent cooling rains to protect the
The first thing to emerge from the Milk Ocean was poison, which Lord
Shiva drank to protect the demigods, demons, and all created beings.
The drops he spilled were taken by the snakes, spiders, and scorpions.
As the churning continued, various personalities emerged from the ocean,
and at last a shining being emerged carrying a golden pot of nectar.
Immediately the demons realized they were not to be given any nectar,
so they stole the whole pot. Lord Vishnu took the form of a most incredibly
beautiful woman and charmed the demons into giving it to her to distribute.
Finding themselves tricked, the demons again attacked the demigods,
but this time the demigods won the battle and restored order to the