Durvasas, a bad cranky sage cursed the gods, and they became very weak. They were terrified that they would be expelled from the heavens and would cease to enjoy the good life. They were unnerved and they invited the asuras who were titans and lived in the nether world to assist them in recovering the amrita, the elixir of immortality. Mount Mandara, a spur of Mount Meru, the world axis was used as a churning stick. The churning stick rested on Vishnu, in his incarnation as the tortoise, Kurma.
The asuras held the head of the Naga (half human, half cobra), Vasuki, who was used as a churning rope. The Gods grasped his tail. When Vasuki vomited poison, which would have contaminated the amrita, Shiva took the poison and swallowed it, he contained it in his throat and his throat ever since then has been blue. In this churning many treasures came out.
The flying horse, conch-shell trumpet, Bow, White elephant, which represent power.
Nymph, garland of flowers, wine, God of love, God of health, Nectar of immortality which represent pleasure.
Wish fulfilling cow, desire-manifesting tree, dream-realizing gem, pot of plenty, Goddess of prosperity (Lakshmi), which represent wealth.
Cosmic poison which represents pollution.
Why did the churning actually happen? The Gods had become vulnerable because of their over indulgence and the asuras who were demons but not actually evil, wished to live in heaven. What came out of the churning were all the splendid treasures which are in heaven. Kalpaturu the tree that gives any fruit that one’s heart desires, and never dies. Kamadhenu, the cow which provides whatever one wants. Chintamani, the gem that grants all wishes. Akshaya-patra, a pot that is always full of grain and gold. Amrita which keeps the devas immortal and young. Varuni, the wine which brings dreams of joy, without fear of hangover. Apsaras, exquisite looking women excelling in the art of pleasing the five senses.
Let us examine cosmic poison, which is the result of us causing destruction of the environment. This is called Halahala. It is toxic and it could have destroyed the universe. Halahala is also known as Kalakuta (black mass). It had started hurting the devas and the asuras. Shiva was called for assistance, he swallowed it and Parvati held on to his throat with both hands. It stayed in his throat and that is why he is also known as Neelkant.
The cosmic poison has affected us many times. When we look at the use of mustard gas, bombs and one of the worst disasters, Chernobyl, we see that we are exploiting the earth and now we are being attacked by pollution in its most vicious forms. Millions of years ago, what pollution could there have been, but there was the presence of evil.
How can we handle this sense of foreboding and harm that is clouded over us? There is only one way for most of us and that is if we chant and pray and do what we can. The meditation of compassion is very effective. We pray for everyone and ask for forgiveness and empathy for them.
Aim Hrim Klim