Kunti in her Divine hymns sings praises of the Lord. When the boat of Bhoomi Devi (Mother Earth) was rocked around in the ocean of Samsara owing to the demonic elements, Lord Krishna incarnated to restore balance, Kunti says. Over and above this, she says that the Lord incarnated on this Earth for a special purpose – to take the worldly ashore – how? By His compassion – by bestowing them with Satsangs. He incarnated to ‘create’ His Divine Names and Stories (Lilas) so that they could perform satsang with Nama Sankirtanam and Katha Shravanam! That is the secret of His incarnation! Kunti, in her stuti then highlights the benefits of listening to the divine glories of the Lord.
‘shrunvanti gAyanthi grunanthyabikshnasah smaranti nandanti tavehitam janah
ta eva pashyantyachireNa tAvakam bhavatpravAho paramam padAmbujam’ [SB 1.8.37]
Constantly chanting the Divine Names and listening and rejoicing His divine exploits are the only ways to get liberated from the cycle of transmigration, says Kunti. When one develops such a Bhakti, he is instantly liberated and eternally enjoys this satsang and the time is immaterial. He will only yearn to do more Bhakti! Lord Thyagaraja was bestowed with the divine darshan of Lord Rama after he chanted ninety-six crores of Rama Nama. He was not satiated and wanted to chant more!
After the introductions, Sri Prakashji from Boston continued the ‘Amruta Mathanam’ lecture.
As per the Lord’s sankalpa, the ocean of milk had to be churned by the Devas and Asuras. He had advised the Devas, ‘Sign a truce with the Asuras and secure their help in churning the ocean for nectar and offer them a share of the nectar in return.’ He had said, ‘don’t fall for the riches that you may be provided as you churn the ocean; instead offer them in charity’ and ‘concede to mundane requests from the Asuras’. The Mandara mountain was to be brought. As the mountain was heavy to be lifted, they took the Lord’s help to station it as the churning rod in the ocean.
Vasuki, the king of serpents was summoned with a promise of a share of the nectar. The churning started with zeal, but not too long after, they observed that the mountain slipped into the ocean. Once again, they went to the Lord for Help and the Lord incarnated as a tortoise [koorma] and went under the sea. He lifted the Mandara mountain on his back and brought it back to the surface of the sea. Bhagavatam says that the Lord in the form of the tortoise fell asleep as the churn of the mountain on its back served as a soft scratching of its back, soothing the itch, and his snores are, till day, seen as the waves on the ocean.
The churning resumed with the Devas at the mouth of the serpant Vasuki. The Asuras felt that holding the tail was disrespectful and hence they had the Devas swap positions with them. Now the Devas were at the tail and the Asuras at the head end of the serpent. As they went on, Vasuki spat flames of fire and so intense heat was generated, affecting the Asuras. At the Devas’ end, owing to the grace of the Lord, it was cool and pleasantly drizzling, giving them comfort! Soon, a dreadful poison – ‘Haalahalam’ emanated which poisoned the entire environ. All of them cried for help and went to Brahma, who led them to Lord Shiva. When they requested Shiva to partake of the deadly poison, He, being humility personified Himself, conceded and turned to His consort, Parvati.
‘pumsah krupayato bhadre sarvAtma priyate harih
prIte harau bhagavati kriyai priyeham sacharAcharah || ‘ [SB 8:7:40]
‘Oh, beloved Devi!’, He said, ‘Lord Hari is the Antaryami to all, and so everyone loves Him, and He loves everything. I shall do this act to earn His pleasure!’, Getting the nod from Parvati, as if showing equality in gender, Lord Siva, consumed the poison, and soon, his neck swelled turning it blue, which gave him the epithet ‘Neelakanta’ [Neela – blue, Kanta – throat] . Drops of poison that fell from His hands were consumed by creatures, and hence we have poisonous creatures like snakes and scorpions today, Bhagavatam says!
With a sigh of relief, the Devas and Asuras continued, and a divine cow, Kamadenu emerged. The Rishis took the cow for it would give them sufficient milk required for their fire oblations. Then, a celestial horse, Ucchaishravah emerged, which was taken by Bali, the King of the Asuras. Then came, Airavata, the divine elephant, which excelled Mount Kailasha in greatness and Indra took possession of it. Then emerged a rare gem called the Kausthuba, a special gem from the Padmaraga species, and the Lord adorned the gem on His chest.
‘kausthubhAkhyam abhUtratnam padmarAgo mahAdhadhe
yasminharih yortaih sashvad bhuvi yatA bhavAn [SB 8.8.5]’
The wish-fulfilling tree, Parijatha issued forth, which Devas took. Then the Apsaras followed by enchanted maidens who were adept in satiating sensual pleasures arose from the sea. The Asuras clan desired to have the Apsaras.
“thataschAvirabhoot sAkshat sri ramA bhagavatparA
ranjayanti dishah kAntyA vidyuth soudAmani yathA “|| [Srimad Bhagavatham 8.8.8]
Then came Goddess Mahalakshmi. Her brilliance was akin to lightning and she illuminated all the quarters of the ocean. Everyone present there was attracted by her beauty and lost their hearts to her. She was holding a garland made of lotuses and was trying to find her suitable match – someone who would be perfect in all respects. However, every individual that had a virtue, had a vice that balanced it out!
‘dharmah kvachit tatra na bhUtasouhridam thyAgah kvachit tatra na mukti kAraNam
vIryam na pusotyajaveganishkrutam nahi dvitIyo gunasangavisarjitah’ [SB 8.8.21]
Vavrevaram sarvaguNairapekshitam ramAmukundam nirapeksham Ipsitam [8.8.23]
One may tread staunchly on the path of Dharma, but lacked kindness to his fellowmen. One had longevity but wouldn’t be capable of controlling his senses. Those who have prowess are subjected to the destructive speed of time.
As she was searching for her suitor, she found only One perfect Being and He stood not expecting anything. He was the center of unabating virtues and he was devoid of any bad qualities. She thus garlanded him. She prayed to His holy feet to accept Her. It is said that Lakshmi resides in the Lord’s chest. This is verily because the divine mother is a personification of compassion and graces everyone who comes to the Lord. Any devotee who came to get the darshan of the Lord first has the darshan of the Divine Mother who then recommends that devotee to the Lord. Even though the Lord resides in Kshiraabdi, which is his in-law’s place, the Divine Mother decided to reside in the heart of the Lord, since she did not want to separate from the Lord for a split second as well and also grace everyone who came for His darshan. It is said that the moon arose from the ocean and since Sri Lakshmi also came from the ocean, Sri Lakshmi and Sri Hari are considered as the Universal Parents, the moon is our uncle – Chanda Mama!
The churning continued and the next one to appear was Varuni who was the presiding deity of liquor. The Asuras took possession of her. Then arose a divine form from the sea with a unique and astounding form. He was verily an incarnation of Vishnu – Dhanvantri, carrying a pot of Amruta – the drink of Immortality. The Asuras snatched the pot from Dhanvantri and the Devas and Asuras started to bicker on the Amrutha.
“aham purvamaham purvam na thvam na thvamithi prabho” [SB 8.9.30]
Seeing the forlorn condition of the Devas and the Lord who was the grantor of the prayer of his devotees assumed the form of a woman as Mohini who was so wonderful that she defied description. The main intention of this incarnation was to deceive the Asuras and distract them from drinking the nectar of immortality. The Asuras were very much attracted to Mohini and enthralled by her beauty. In order to hoodwink the Asuras, the Lord enchanted them and they were totally infatuated by Mohini’s beauty. Mohini requested for the Amritha from them and their lustful attachment on her made them give up the Amritha to her. She in turn distributed the Amrutha to the Devas. But one Asura named Swarbhanu went into the midst of the Devas, disguised as one of them and drank a share of the Amrutha, But his identity was soon revealed and the Lord soon cut his head. Since the Anrutha had only gone upto his neck and not come into contact with the torso, the lower portion of his body fell dead. The head which gained eternal life was converted to a planet called Rahu. Rahu is known to be very antagonistic to the moon and sun deities.
It is seen from the whole leela that the Devas had full benediction of the Lord since they surrendered unto the Lord. It is also a fact that since they took refugee to Lord Brahma who is the Guru and he finally took them to the Lord.
After listening to the wonderful discourse of Amrutha Mathanam by Prakashji, the satsang concluded with prayers and Namasankirtan.