Every mythological story has a deep seated significance. This blog will discuss the deep seated meaning of Samudra Manthan (churning of the ocean) when the world lost Nectar during a fight between Devtas and Asuras and thus, Trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva) had to plan the churning of the ocean to extract it back. During the churning process before the nectar, came out the poison, various articles/beings of use, wine and the science of Ayurveda. The ocean was churned using a mountain with the help of Vasuki (the snake around the neck of Lord Shiva) to rotate the mountain around its axis (like a rope around a churner). Lord Vishnu incarnated as a Tortoise (kurma Avatar) to rest the mountain on his back to provide it stability during the process of churning. Vasuki was pulled on one side by Devtas and on other side by Asuras.
So here is the deep seated significance of this story…
The Good and the bad, the spiritual and the material, all kinds of experiences/people are essential for evolution of self/humanity. That’s why Sura (spiritual) and Asura (materialistic) both had to take part in Samudra manthan. While most of us look at Asura and Devtas as separate beings, the fact is that these are also qualities which are present in each one of us with virtues governed by higher Chakras (i.e. analytical approach, wisdom, five senses etc.) termed as Devta and of the lower chakras (basic needs of survival i.e. food, sex and competition) as Asuras. Here Samudra (ocean) represents ocean of information and experiences of one’s life which a person can gain only when all the chakras are working (whether in sync or not is a separate question).
Churning represents the process of life through which information/experience gets churned which brings out (produces) weapons of mass destruction, poison, various articles of use and even the nectar. Nectar represents that knowledge which makes us (self and humanity) wiser and evolves us to a higher level. As per the story, the churning also brings out Lord Dhanvantari (the God of Ayurveda). In the process, Lord Shiva (and the shivalinga which is churning the ocean) represents the quality of a settled mind because only a settled mind can extract knowledge out of information and also separate/tolerate the poison produced during the process without letting it cause destruction.
Tortoise which is holding the shivlinga inside the ocean represents Lord Vishnu without whose support this ocean could not have evolved/expanded/preserved/maintained. The mountain which churns the ocean represents Kailash Parbat, our brain where Lord Shiva resides because only when the brain is calm and composed like Kailash Parbat, it can invoke the qualities of Lord Shiva to connect dots and derive knowledge out of information while tolerating the poisons of the world.
From Ayurvedic angle, Vasuki- the snake of Lord Shiva represents “Vata”- that quality of mind without which one cannot create and derive conclusions and new concepts. This is because Vata acts like a RAM in the computer of our brain. The ocean represents Kapha which stores information like the hard disk of the computer of brain. And the fire emerging out of the mouth of Vasuki during the process of churning represents Pitta, which acts like a processor to relay the information from one place to another for deriving knowledge out of hard disk with the help of Vata (the RAM).
*** Moon on Lord Shiva’s head, represents controlled Pitta so while Vata i.e. RAM (or lot of interneural connections in brain) means lot of experience of the person, a controlled Pitta ensures that the brain doesn’t burn out as high Vata with high Pitta create high Agni (metabolism). That is why Kailash Parbat (which is cold) is the abode of Lord Shiva which represents that, wisdom can awaken only in a person whose mind is settled meaning not high on temperature which is possible only when we learn to eat/live right (not spicy, hot and exciting but satiating food/lifestyle). Overall, wisdom is the most important virtue which is why Lord Ganesha is the first to be worshipped (Pratham Pujya). His elephant head represents a wise, settled mind and big ears represent ability to listen and imbibe new experiences.
All in all, the story is here to signify that all experiences (good and bad) are essential for growth however this realization and ability to segregate good from bad comes only when the mind slows down because only a slow mind is wise and can connect dots to convert information into knowledge. Lastly this process of experiencing different lifetimes and extraction of knowledge from those experiences once the mind slows down, continues until the soul realizes the true meaning of Universe and Oneness with it and its creator.
You may also like this blog UNDERSTANDING BRAHMA VISHNU MAHESH AND THEIR STORIES THROUGH AYURVEDA
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