Samudra Manthan


The Samudra Manthan (Sanskrit: समुद्रमन्थन, lit. churning of the ocean) is one of the best-known episodes in the Hindu mythology narrated in the Bhagavata Purana, in the Mahabharata, and in the Vishnu Purana. The Samudra Manthan explains the origin of Amrita, the nectar of immortality.

The word मन्थन can be understood in two different ways in English –  Churning and Agitating. The process of thinking can have

  1. “churning” effect, that brings our best from us in the same as we get butter from the curd when we churn the curd
  2. “agitating” effect, that brings depression or confusion. One agitates contents in a vessel to mix it well. A good agitation brings out an outcome where the individual entity is not visible,

Our thinking process (intellectual process) should bring out best outcomes

The churning of the Ocean of Milk was an elaborate process: Mount Mandara was used as the churning rod, and Vasuki, a nāgarāja who abides on Shiva’s neck, became the churning rope. The Asuras demanded to hold the head of the snake, while the Devas, taking advice from Vishnu, agreed to hold its tail. Vishnu, in the form of the Kurma turtle, came to their rescue and supported the mountain on his shell.

The churning of supposed to have brought out

table 1Anyone who has practiced some form of meditation would realize that during meditation mind does go through some churning before it settles at the higher states of realization. In this process a lot of ideas, thoughts, visualization does appear. Some of them would be wanted, and some would be unwanted. The terms “wanted” and “unwanted” is one’s perspective. For example, No one wanted Halahala (Poison), but everyone fought for Amrit (Nectar).

I have personally experienced that some good ideas do appear when you are meditating on a particular topic or issue. Churning happens even when one is not performing meditation. When we focus on a subject, churning occurs in our mind.

Next time when you are meditating or focusing on something, remember the story of Samudra Manthan, you would appreciate what goes around your thought process.

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