Churning the Ocean of Milk


The legend of churning Milk Ocean is narrated to Rama and Lakshmana when they reach and see a city named Vishaala. Vishvamitra narrates how haalahala, the lethal poison as well as Amrita, the ambrosial elixir [a substance held capable of prolonging life indefinitely] emerged from the churning of Milk Ocean, and how Shiva contained the poison and how Vishnu helped the churning in His incarnation as Tortoise.

Chapter [Sarga] 45 in Detail

On listening the narration of Sage Vishvamitra about Ganga's descent along with Lakshmana, Rama went into a great astonishment, and then addressed Vishvamitra. [1-45-1]

The blessed legend you have narrated about the digging of an ocean at the behest of Sagara, Ganga's alighting, and Bhageeratha filling it with the water of Ganga is sacrosanct [most sacred or holy] and even highly amazing. [1-45-2]

Oh, enemy-inflamer, for two of us entire night rolled by as if it is a single moment while we were thinking about the episode you have narrated in its entirety. [1-45-3]

While thinking about the auspicious legend of Ganga along with Lakshmana, oh, friend of the universe, Vishvamitra, whole night rolled by. Thus Rama is addressing Vishvamitra. [1-45-4]

Thereafter on the next fresh dawn the enemy-oppressor Raghava spoke these words to sage Vishvamitra, whose affluence is nothing but asceticism, and who by now has performed his daily chores of rituals. [1-45-5]

We have listened the praiseworthy legend of River Ganga, and the deific night has also passed by while listening such a legend, we may now cross over the very same prominent and merited River Ganga, the tri-path-cruiser. [1-45-6]

This boat which is suitable for the embarkation [to go on board] of the sages whose deeds are pious, and which is comfortably blanketed with mats in its deck has come here, and indeed on knowing about the visit of your holiness to this place the sages have fetched it. Thus Rama spoke to Vishvamitra. [1-45-7]

Hearing the words of great-souled Raghava, Vishvamitra of Kusha dynasty, started to cross over the River Ganga along with the assemblage of sages, and with both the Raghava-s. [1-45-8]

Arriving at the northern bank of River Ganga they have honored the group of sages who ferried [transported] them up to here and sent them off. Then sojourning [staying temporarily] on the riverbank of Ganga they have seen the city called Vishaala. [1-45-9]

The great sage Vishvamitra then quickly started along with Rama and Lakshmana to the charming and admirable city Vishaala, which in comparison is like heaven. [1-45-10]

Then Rama, whose flair for knowing everything is high, became suppliant [to ask humbly] duly adjoining [joining] his palms, and enquired about the prominent city Vishaala with the great Sage Vishvamitra. [1-45-11]

Oh, great sage, which dynasty of kings is ruling from this city of Vishaala? Let safeness betide [to happen to] you, I am interested to hear of it and indeed I am highly inquisitive [curious] about it. Thus Rama spoke to Vishvamitra. [1- 45-12]

Hearing that sentence of Rama then the eminent sage Vishvamitra has commenced to narrate the legend of ancient Vishaala. [1-45-13]

Oh, Rama, I will tell you about the auspicious legend of Indra as I was told, and you listen to it as I tell. Oh, Raghava, indeed you may now listen to the quintessence [representation] of what has happened in this country. [1-45-14]

Once in Krita era, oh, Rama, the sons of Lady Diti were extremely energetic, whereas the sons of her younger sister Lady Aditi were vigorous [strong] and highly righteous. [1-45-15]

Oh, tigerly-man, Rama, then those great-souls speculated as to 'how we can thrive without ageing, illness, and likewise without death.' [1-45-16]

A thought occurred to those masterminds who were thinking on that matter clueing them up, 'we indeed can get elixir [a substance held capable of prolonging life indefinitely] of life by churning the Milky Ocean.' [1-45-17]

Deciding upon to churn the Milky Ocean then made Vasuki, Thousand-headed King of Snakes, as the churning rope and Mt. Mandara as stirrer, and those brothers whose energy is unlimited have started churning the Milky Ocean thoroughly. [1-45-18]

After a thousand years, the Thousand-headed serpent Vasuki, which is being used as churning rope, is incapacitated [disabled] to bear the friction of churning and fanged the cliffs of Mt. Mandara. Thereby a great lot of venom is disgorged [to discharge by the throat and mouth] from the heads of that serpent Vasuki, which venom on melting the rocks of Mt. Mandara became the holocaustic poison called haalahala. [1-45-19]

A lethal poison similar to inferno known as haalahala has started to fulminate there from, by which whole universe of Gods, non-Gods and humans is burnt down. [1-45-20]

The Gods seeking shelter then approached Rudra, the Cardinal God, Endower of Solace [consoles], and who husbands all the created animals inclusive of human-animals, namely Shiva, and they prayed to him saying 'save, save us.' [1-45-21]

This way while the Gods are praying the Lord and God of Gods, namely Shiva, then handling his disc and conch-shell Vishnu has also revealed himself at that place. [1-45-22]

And Vishnu smilingly spoke to wielder [to handle a tool effectively] of trident [a 3-pronged spear held by Shiva] Rudra, 'oh, God the best, whatever element that has emerged from the churning of Milk Ocean by Gods, that shall belong to you, isn't it. By virtue of your position as the foremost God among Gods, oh, omni [universally] competent God Shiva, you please accept this poison applying yourself to that position of foremost God, and deeming this poison, haalahala, as a foremost oblation to your Godhood. [1-45-23, 24]

Saying so Vishnu, the best one among Gods, has disappeared then and there only. And on observing the scare of Gods and also on paying heed to the words of the Wielder of Bow called shaaranga, namely Vishnu, God Shiva gulped that lethal poison haalahala, as if it is ambrosia. [1-45-25, 26a]

The God of Gods Hara then left for his abode Kailash parting with other Gods, and oh, Rama, the joy of Raghu's dynasty, the Gods and non-Gods have continued to churn the Milky Ocean. [1-45-26b, 27a]

Now the loftiest mountain that is being used as stirrer, namely Mt. Mandara, has caved into the netherworld, thereby the Gods along with Gandharva-s have prayed to Madhusuudana, the other name of Vishnu. [1-45-27b, 28a]

‘You alone are the recourse to all beings, especially to the dwellers in heavens, oh ambidextrous [unusually skillful] God Vishnu, you safeguard us, it will be apt of you elevate the mountain.' So prayed Gods to Vishnu. [1-45-28b, 29a]

Hearing the prayer of Gods Vishnu, Hrisheekesha, the controller of senses, adopting the form a tortoise and positioning the stirring Mt. Mandara on that tortoiseshell, he lay recumbent [lying down] at the bottom of Milky Ocean as a base to the stirrer. [1-45-29b, 30a]

Keshava then reached out his hand and grasped the mountaintop as he is the Cosmic-Soul, and thus staying amid Gods that Supreme Person Vishnu participated in churning the ocean by holding the stirring mountain upright. [1-45-30b, 31a]

After a thousand years of churning, then a male personality, an epitome of Life Sciences, namely aayur veda , a highly righteous soul, named Dhanvantari, has firstly surfaced with his arm-rest-stick and with his handy water-vessel, and then the remarkably elegant Apsara-s, angelic damsels, have emerged next to him from the Milky Ocean. [1-45-31b, 32]

Choicest females have come out an elixir [a substance held capable of prolonging life indefinitely] obtained on absolute churning of the waters of Milk Ocean, oh, best one among men, Rama, thereby that genera [genus or offspring] of females became Apsara-s. [1-45-33]

Six hundred millions of such Apsara-s with amazing dazzle [to shine brilliantly] have emerged from the churning of Milky Ocean, oh, descendent of Kakutstha, and their maidservants who emerged along with them are innumerable [countless]. [1-45-34]

Anybody either from Gods or demons espoused [married] them, and when none espoused [married] them they are virtually reckoned as 'general-purpose' Apsara-females. [1-45-35]

Oh, descendent of Raghu, then the heaven-sent damsel [a young unmarried woman of noble birth] Vaaruni came up from Milky Ocean searching for her espousal [spouse], who is the daughter of Varuna, the Rain-God, and who incidentally is the presiding deity of hard liquors and also called as sura. [1-45-36]

Oh, Rama, the sons of Diti, namely Asura-s, have not espoused [married] that daughter of Rain-God, but oh, brave Rama, the sons of Aditi on their part, namely sura-s, have espoused that impeccable Vaaruni. [1-45-37]

Thereby the sons of Diti are called Asura-s, and the sons of Aditi are called Sura-s, and Gods are delighted and rejoiced on espousing [marrying] Vaaruni. [1-45-38]

Then a best horse called Uchchaishrava has emerged, oh, Rama, the best among men, and then a gem of a jewel, called Kaustubha, and like that Amrita, the Supreme ambrosial elixir [a substance held capable of prolonging life indefinitely] of Gods, have also emerged. [1-45-39]

Owing to the dispute regarding the possession of that ambrosia, oh, Rama, then there chanced a rampant ethnic havoc, and then the sons of Aditi have havocked the sons of Diti. [1-45-40]

All the Asura-s and demons have come to one side against Sura-s, and there occurred a very gruesome [ghastly] war which was perplexing [complicated] to all the triad of universe viz., ethereal [transparent], real and surreal spheres. [1-45-41]

When everything is wading [to move] into annihilation [to cease to exist] then that omni competent Vishnu swiftly impounded Amrita, the Divine Elixir [a substance held capable of prolonging life indefinitely], by assuming his illusory power of Mohini. [1-45-42]

Whoever confronted that Eternal and Supreme Person, namely Vishnu, in that war, then Vishnu whose blaze is threefold as manifest in the sun, fire and lightning, has pulverized [to reduce (as by crushing, beating, or grinding) to very small particles] him. [1-45-43]

In this horrendous war between the progeny of Diti, namely demons, and the progeny of Aditi, namely Gods, the sons of Aditi being Gods, have altogether massacred [slaughter] the demonic sons of Diti. [1-45-44]

On eliminating the demonic sons of Diti and on acquiring kingdom of heaven, that eliminator of enemy cities, namely Indra, happily ruled the worlds that are inclusive of sages and Caarana-s. Thus Vishvamitra continued his narration about Vishaala city and its emergence. [1-45-45]

Thus, this is the 45th chapter in Bala Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.

Sriman Moola Rama Vijayate