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Introduction to the Story of Kurma Avatar of Vishnu
The Kurma Avatar is the second avatar of Lord Vishnu which came into being during the Satya yuga. It came into existence as half tortoise and half human. It is depicted in the water, holding up the mount Mandara, which was chosen as the churning rod during the manthan, upon which Lord Vishnu is seated himself.
Kurma Avatar of Vishnu

During the churning, snake Vasuki is used as the churning rope, to obtain Amrit ( the elixir of immortality). However, the mountain Mandara required a firm foundation and therefore, Vishnu took the form of a tortoise and supported Mandara on his back.

Reason for Kurma Avatar
Once Sage Durvasa came to visit Lord Indra and gave Indra a garland of flowers. However, Indra placed it on the forehead of his elephant, Airvata who threw it on the floor. This angered Sage Durvasa and he cursed Indra that his realm will be ruined.

Due to this, the devas (gods) grew weaker and were attacked and defeated by the asuras (demons).

Consequently, they ran to Lord Vishnu for help and he suggested churning the ocean along with the asuras to obtain Amrit. Whoever consumed Amrit would become the most powerful.

The Mandar mountain was used as the churning stick and snake Vasuki as the churning rope. The churning represented a literal tug-of-war between the demons and the gods. The sea represents the state of deep awareness of the human mind. The goods and demons represent our good and bad deeds respectively. The war represented the human struggle to choose between the good and bad in our day-to-day lives. Due to the choices we make, we either get a chance to taste the tonic of life or continue to be mortal.

The mount Mandar represents our hard work in life, and only by doing the rightful actions can we succeed in life ( which was represented by lord Vishnu).

When the churning began, mount Mandar began to sink into the ocean and thus, required a strong foundation. It is then that lord Vishnu took the form of a tortoise to help it keep afloat.

Note to Parents
Hindu mythology illustrates philosophy and conveys cultural values to help people learn from them. Moreover, they are entertaining and interesting to read. Therefore, parents along with their kids shall take out some time to inculcate this habit of reading and learning.

Kurma Avatar
Kurma means turtle is the second avatar of Vishnu. This incarnation also occurred in Satya Yuga. As per the Puranas the legend goes as below.

There was a rishi named Durvasa (believed to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva), known for his anger. The wise Durvasa gave a garland to Lord Indra who is known to be the king of Gods. Lord Indra positioned the garland around his elephant but the elephant crushed the garland. As a result, Durvasa felt insulted and cursed the gods to lose their immortality and divine powers. Gods lost their kingdom of heaven, and approached Lord Vishnu for help.

Lord Vishnu then advised them to churn the ocean of milk using Mount Mandara as the churning stick and serpent Vasuki as the rope. But as the churning started, the mountain started sinking. Lord Vishnu took the form of the tortoise or Kurma and kept the mountain afloat. As soon as the bowl of amrita was full, the nectar of immortality was out, along with fourteen treasures.

These fourteen magnificent treasures were Kalpavriksha, Kamadhenu, Chintamani, Ucchaishrava, Airavata, Panchajanya, Bow of King Saranga, Rambha, Chandra, Varuni, Dhanvantari, Goddess Sri and Halahal. As a result of the churning, the asuras (demons) got hold of the treasure Amrita and became powerful. Post this, Lord Vishnu took the form of Mohini to lure them and made the asuras weak.

Gods regained their powers of immortality and were then able to go back to their kingdom of heaven. Lord Vishnu revived their lost glory and brought judgement to the world.



2nd Vishnu Avatar: Kurma Or Tortoise Incarnation
In Kurma Avatar, Maha Vishnu incarnated as a giant turtle to save the earth from destruction during the Satya Yuga. This avatar is mainly presented in the Bhagavata Purana, Agni Purana, and Ramayana. Additionally, one of the eighteen major Puranas, the Kurma Purana, is said to have been directly communicated by Lord Vishnu to Narada, and it includes the details about the Kurma avatar.

The second avatar of the Dashaavtara of Lord Vishnu, he takes the form of a giant tortoise. This is known as the Kurma avatar. During the process of Amritmanthan, Kurma avatar of Lord Vishnu comes to the help of Gods and Demons. He helped in two different ways. These are as follows:

First, he acted as a base to support Mount Mandar, the axis for the churning of the ocean. Second, as Mohini takes hold of nectar (or Amrit), gods got the advantage in “Dev Asur sangharsh”.

2nd Avatar of Vishnu
The second Avatar of Lord Vishnu is the Kurma avatar. In this avatar Lord Vishnu took the form of a Tortoise. Moreover, he took this form to provide the much needed help to Gods and Demons for the progression of Amritmanthan.

Kurma avatar story
Kurma avatar is the second avatar of Lord Vishnu out of the dashavatara. In this he took the form of a tortoise in order to protect and save the world from destruction. The story holds its roots in the tale of Amrit Manthan. Let us have a clear understanding of this tale.
During the churning of the ocean, the mountain that the Devas and Aasuras were using caused the Earth to tilt. This could have caused destruction and ended life on earth. However, during this time Lord Vishnu came to rescue. He took the form of a Tortoise in order to support the mountain and prevent the Earth from tilting any further. This tortioise avatar of Lord Vishnu is called his Kurma avatar.
The Kurma Avatar is one of the ten avatars of Lord Vishnu and is believed to have taken place during the Satya Yuga. The story of this avatar is mainly presented in the Bhagavata Purana, Agni Purana, and Ramayana. The Kurma Purana, one of the major eighteen Puranas, also includes the details of this avatar, which is said to have been directly communicated by Lord Vishnu to Narada.

Curse of Durvasa to Indra
Devas grew more vulnerable due to the curse of Sage Durvasa. The demons or asuras, many evil deities in Hindu mythology, tried to overwhelm them. A war ensued, which continued for a long time. Despite fighting heroically, devas could not succeed over the asuras. So they asked Lord Vishnu for help.

The advice of Lord Vishnu
Lord Vishnu requested the devas to utilize Mount Mandara as a churning place. But, they could not drag the mountain. On the advice of Lord Vishnu, the Gods and asuras made a pact to churn the ocean jointly. They pulled Mount Mandara and utilized it as a churning rod. Serpent Vasuki was used as a rope. During churning, Mandara started to sink into the earth at the base of the ocean. Vishnu took the state of Kurma (second dashavatara) and carried the mountain on his broad back.

Vishnu as Mohini
As a result, amrita was available after the churning that asuras took possession of. Here Vishnu took the shape of a captivating lady, Mohini. He managed to seize the nectar bowl and gave it to devas. Eventually devas got powerful. Therefore, Vishnu aided the universe once again as Kurma Avatar.

‘The glorious Vishnu is the sole refuge of mortals. Lord Vishnu is infinite Light, Love and Wisdom.’

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What does the tortoise avatar of Vishnu symbolize?
The second avatar of Lord Vishnu, also called the Kurma Avatar, symbolises Vishnu’s adaptability to any situation. Furthermore, the tortoise avatar played a crucial role in Hindu mythology, specifically in the story of the churning of the ocean of milk, the Amrit Manthan.
2. What does Lord Vishnu symbolize in Hinduism?
Lord Vishnu is the part of the Tridev or Trimurti who run the world, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. In Hinduism, Lord Vishnu symbolizes various aspects. Firstly, Lord Vishnu is the preserver and protector of the universe. Additionally, he represents compassion, righteousness, and truth. Believers credit Lord Vishnu’s divine presence with bringing balance and harmony to the world.
3. How does Lord Vishnu fit into the assembly of Hindu deities?
Lord Vishnu is one of the three primary gods in the Hindu tradition, alongside Brahma and Shiva. Together, these three deities form the Trimurti, which represents the aspects of creation, preservation, and destruction respectively. Lord Vishnu is responsible for maintaining the balance and harmony of the universe.
4. What are some of the myths associated with Lord Vishnu?
There are several myths and stories associated with Lord Vishnu in Hinduism.A famous story is the tale of the ten avatars of Lord Vishnu, each representing a different aspect of his divine nature. Mostly everybody knows about Lord Vishnu’s birth story. It depicts his emergence from a lotus flower on the surface of a primordial ocean.Furthermore, Lord Vishnu’s various incarnations, such as Krishna and Rama, have their own stories and myths associated with them. These tales often highlight Lord Vishnu’s role as the preserver and protector of the universe. They also emphasize the importance of upholding righteousness and truth.
5. Which weapons were used by Lord Vishnu?
In Hindu mythology, Lord Vishnu frequently wields several powerful weapons in his many forms and incarnations. These are as follows:Sudarshana Chakra, a spinning disc-like weapon that represents his ability to cut through negativity and obstacles.Kaumodaki, a mace that symbolizes his strength and ability to overcome evil.Panchajanya, a conch shell that symbolizes his power and ability to create.
6. What are the teachings of Lord Vishnu?
The main teachings of Lord Vishnu include the possession and following of Dharma. Moreover, the other teaching includes the idea of Karma. lastly, another key teaching of Lord Vishnu is the value of devotion, or bhakti, to the divine. Finally, Lord Vishnu’s teachings emphasize the importance of living a virtuous and ethical life. Furthermore, cultivating a deep connection with the divine.


Who is Kurma, the Avatar of Vishnu?
Kurma is one of several avatars, meaning form or incarnation, of the Hindu god Vishnu. The story of Kurma the avatar is relayed in The Puranas, the sacred texts of Hinduism written between 400-1500 CE. In these texts, Vishnu takes on many forms; in some versions, 10 different incarnations; in others, over 24. They include his original form as half fish, half god Matsya; half boar, half man Vahara; and several human form avatars, including Lord Krishna and the final avatars Buddha and Kalki. Kurma, which means “tortoise” or “turtle” in Sanskrit, is the second incarnation or avatar of Vishnu.

History of Kurma
In the Puranas, the story is told of a great collaboration between the devas, or gods, and the asuras, the demons, to gain power and immortality by stirring the amrita, or milk of immortality, at the bottom of the cosmic sea. This episode is often called the Samudra Manthana, or Churning of the Ocean of Milk. Working together, the devas and asuras used an actual mountain, Mount Mandara, as a churning stick, placing it upside down in the cosmic ocean and using the serpent demon, Vatsuki, as a rope. In the churn, the amrita was not only harvested, but other symbols, figures, and objects sacred in Hindu belief arose, including a magical elephant, a seven-headed horse, and the cow of plenty. However, the earth beneath the mountain was too soft to support the churning stick. In response, Vishnu took on the form of a tortoise, which allowed the point of the mountain to be placed on his back for stability.

Role of Kurma in Hindu Mythology
In the Hindu belief system, the tortoise often symbolizes steadfastness and strength, both figuratively and literally. Many depictions of the universe include the imagery of the earth held up by an elephant standing on a turtle or tortoise, considered an animal exhibiting immense strength despite its small size. By taking on the form of a tortoise with a hard, stable shell and the unlikelihood of losing its balance, Kurma is able to help the devas succeed in harvesting the amrita, or the oceans of milk. The devas are also able to trick the asuras, including the immense serpent Vasuki, who helped pull the churning stick and kept the amrita for themselves.

Worship of Kurma
Kurma is worshiped, along with his symbolism of the tortoise, during the festival of Kurma Jayanti each spring, where he represents health and prosperity involving rituals and festivals on the anniversary of the day of the Samudra Manthana, which is determined each year by the May or June full moon. In Srikurmam village in Andhra Pradesh, India, there is a temple devoted to this particular incarnation of Vishnu in the form of a tortoise. The temple features alcoves and statues of all the incarnations of Vishnu, as well as intricate mosaics and frescoes depicting various sacred scenes, including the Samudra Manthana. The bejeweled tortoise statue of Kurma is 2 feet long is made of black stone but appears yellow to sandalwood dusting in colour. The park surrounding the temple is also a sacred wildlife sanctuary for over 200 live tortoises. The temple is home to daily rituals and multi-day festivals, as well as the practice of bringing Gongura leaves, a favorite food of turtles, to leave as offerings.

Lesson Summary
Kurma, which means “tortoise” or “turtle” in Sanskrit, is the second manifestation or avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu is known as the protector in the Hindu belief system. Kurma is one of several avatars for the gods detailed in the Hindu sacred texts, The Puranas, written beginning in the 4th century BC. In many versions of the famous story of Samudra Manthana, or The Churning of the Ocean of Milk, Vishnu employed the asuras and the devas (demons and gods) to harvest the milk of immortality, or amrita, from the bottom of the cosmic ocean. They would accomplish this by using the immense Mount Mandara as a churning stick placed upside down in the cosmic sea. However, because the sand at the bottom of the sea was too soft, additional support was needed. So, Vishnu transformed into a great tortoise or turtle, who was able to support the churning stick on his back, allowing it to be pulled by the gods and demons together.

The endeavor successfully harvested the amrita, as well as many mystical objects and figures that are presented in The Puranas. After tricking the demons, the amrita was given to the gods. The demons were not allowed to possess the magical substance, thus losing their chance of immortality. Tortoises, in general in Hinduism, symbolize strength and stability, including the often pictured image of a turtle supporting an elephant with the earth on its back. Kurma is worshipped throughout India in both the national festival of Kurma Jayanti each spring and at a special temple in Andhra Pradesh, India, which booths a bejeweled statue of Vishnu in the form of Kurma and also serves as a wildlife sanctuary for turtles.

Why is Kurma worshipped?
Kurma is worshipped for saving the day during the Samudra Manthana, or Churning of the Ocean of Milk, when the devas, or gods, and the asuras, or demons, joined forces to harvest the amrita from the bottom of the cosmic sea. Kurma served as a stabilizer for the churning stick.

What are the 10 avatars of Lord Vishnu?
The 10 avatars of Vishnu include the anthropomorphic forms of Matsya, a fish; Kurma,a tortoise; and Vahara, a boar. The later incarnations depict the god in a more human form, including Narasimha, Vamana, Parashurama, Rama, Krishna, Buddha, and Kalki.


Lord Vishnu Kurma Avatar Story
This post shares with you Lord Vishnu Kurma Avatar Story. The Kurma Avatar is the second avatar of Lord Vishnu. It came into being after the Matsya Avatar of Lord Vishnu.

The term “Kurma” means tortoise. According to the Hindu Puranas, the Kurma Avatar came into existence as a half Tortoise and half-human being.

Bhagwan Vishnu took the form of a turtle to save the planet earth from a massive cosmic mishap for avoiding the feud between the Devas and Asuras during Samudra Manthan.

The Devas & Asuras were churning the ocean to receive the gifts from the sea. Lord Vishnu helped the Devas in two ways. First, he functioned as a base to support the Mount Mandar, which was used as an axis for churning the ocean. Secondly, he took the form of Mohini to take hold of nectar. It is because of this act that Gods got the upper hand in “Dev Asur Sangharsh.”

Kurma Avatar came into being in the Satya Yuga. Maha Vishnu incarnated in the form of a giant turtle for saving the earth from destruction.

The Kurma Avatar has been mainly narrated in the Bhagavad Purana, Agni Purana, and Ramayana. In fact, in the Kurma Purana (one of the major eighteen Puranas), Lord Vishnu himself has given account about Kurma Avatar.

Sage Durvasa cursed Indra
Once, Sage Durvasa cursed the Devas. As a result, the Devas became weaker. Asuras tried to overcome them. They waged war against the Devas. Despite fighting bravely, Devas lost the battle against the Asuras. They approached Lord Vishnu for help.

Lord Vishnu’s Advice
Lord Vishnu told the Devas to use Mount Mandara as a churning stick. However, they failed to pull up the mountain. Lord Vishnu told the Devas and Asuras to churn the ocean jointly. So, the Devas and Asuras pulled up the Mount Mandara and went on to use it as a churning stick. Serpent Vasuki acted as a rope.

During churning, Mount Mandar began to sink in the bottom of the milky ocean. So, Lord Vishnu took Kurma’s avatar (Second Dashavatara) and steadied up the mountain on his broad back.

Amrita (nectar) came out as a result of the churning. Asuras took control over it. At this point, Lord Vishnu took the form of a beautiful lady named Mohini. He managed to obtain the nectar bowl from the Asuras and gave it to Devas.

Devas drank the nectar and became powerful. So, in this way, Lord Vishnu helped the Devas to overcome Asuras. The Kurma Avatar came into being owing to the feud that existed between the Devas and Asuras.

Some unknown facts about Kurma Avatar
The Kurma Avatar is regarded as the second incarnation (avatar) of Lord Vishnu. Hindus believe that Kurma Avatar created equilibrium when things were in disarray. Here, we have shared some unknown facts about Kurma Avatar:

The earliest account of Kurma Avatar has been found in the sub-text of Yajur Veda called as
“Satapatha Brahmana” wherein the Kurma Avatar has been cited as a form of Brahma and not Vishnu.
It has been depicted that the Kurma Avatar helped the Devas in the churning of the ocean for retrieving Amrit or Elixir.

In the later epics (Puranas), the Kurma Avatar has been depicted as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu as a half-human and half tortoise form. It has been said that Kurma acted as a base of the pole (Mount Mandar) that was used to churn the ocean.
The Kurma Avatar played a significant role in the cosmic episode that involved the Devas and the Asuras. He acted as the foundation to which the churning stick was attached, and Serpent Vasuki was used as the rope.
During the Samudra Manthan, both Vish (poison) and Amrit (Elixir) were obtained. Devas and Asuras were involved in a fight as to who would be the Amrit’s rightful owner.
Herein, the Kurma Avatar takes the form of a beautiful Apsara (nymph) called Mohini to distract the Asuras and help the Devas have that nectar.

In the Vedic era, Kurma was cited as an incarnation of Brahma and not Vishnu. However, in the Ramayana and Mahabharata, Kurma Avatar as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. However, various Hindu sects are divided on this facet.
Kurma is considered as the Lord of Waters. So, he is depicted in the form of Varuna. According to Hindu scriptures, Varuna and Earth are married to each other. Together they play a pivotal role in sustaining different life forms on this planet.
Kurma Avatar was the divine strategy of Lord Vishnu to establish cosmic equilibrium in the Universe.
Lord Vishnu transported Lord Mandar on his Garuda to the venue and dropped him in the ocean. Kurma Avatar then placed Mount Mandar on his back.
The Asura king during this episode was Bali. However, you should not confuse this Bali with the one you know from the Ramayan.
Significance of Kurma Avatar
The churning of the ocean represents a literal tow of war among the Gods and the Demons. The sea represents the state of deep awareness or the humanoid mind. The Gods and the Demons represent our private good and evil tendencies.

The war between the Devas and Asuras represents the struggle to select good and bad karma in our daily lives. Due to the choices we make, we get a chance to taste the tonic of life or continue mortal.

The Mount Mandar signifies hard work in our lives and to grow our mind for success. Only to our rightful actions (represented by Lord Vishnu) can we succeed in life.

The Kurma Avatar Story
This story starts with the meeting between Sage Durvasa and Lord Indra. Sage Durvasa gave a garland of flowers to Indra. However, Indra places that circlet of flowers on the forehead of his elephant, Airavata. The elephant takes the wreath and throws it on the earth.

Sage Durvasa was very annoyed at the discourteous treatment of his gift by Indra. He curses Indra that his realm will be ruined.

As fate would have it, the Asuras announced war on the Gods and defeated them. All the Gods ran to Lord Vishnu for help, who told them to churn the oceans along with the Asuras for obtaining nectar (Amrit) that will make them invisible.

The Mandar Mountain is used as the mixing stick and the snake Vasuki as the mixing rope. However, as the churning started, the alp started to drown in the sea as there was no provision base to keep it afloat.

It is then that Lord Vishnu took the shape of a tortoise (Kurma Avatar) to keep the alp afloat. It is Kurma Avatar that goes under the mountain to stop it from dipping.

The result of churning was that Amrit came out along with Dhanvantari (Lord of Ayurveda), Goddess Lakshmi, and Halahal poison. Goddess Lakshmi selected Vishnu as her consort. Lord Shiva drank the Halahal poison to save the Universe.

There was a fierce fight between the Devas and Asuras over the Amrit. However, Lord Vishnu assumed a beautiful nymph, Mohini, and wins over the Asuras. Finally, the Gods drank the Amrit and became very powerful. They defeated the Asuras and retained the heavens.

In fact, Kurma Jayanti is observed on the full moon day in the month of Vaishakh when Bhagwan Vishnu is said to have appeared in the form of Kurma Avatar. You can find temples dedicated to the Kurma Avatar of Lord Vishnu in Kurmai (Andra Pradesh), India.

Avatars of Bhagwan Vishnu
Matsya Avatar
Kurma Avatar
Varaha Avatar
Narasimha Avatar
Vamana Avatar
Parashurama Avatar
Rama Avatar
Krishna Avatar
Buddha Avatar
Kalki Avatar
Well, that’s all in this post on Kurma Avatar of Lord Vishnu. We hope that you found the post useful. Thanks for visiting.



10 Things about Kurma Avatar That You Never Knew
The Kurma Avatar is the second avatar of Lord Vishnu. Its depicted as a half tortoise and half human being who visited earth to save the planet from a very big cosmic mishap. As the holy scriptures site it, Kurma avatar came into existence owing to the feud between the Devas and Asuras.

As per the beliefs, the Kurma avatar manifests itself to create an equilibrium when things are in disarray. Well here are the 10 things about the Kurma Avatar which we bet you never knew.

#1 The earliest account of Kurma Avatar comes from a sub-text of the Yajur Veda called shatapatha brahmana where the kurma avatar is cited as a form of Brahma and not Vishnu. Wherein he helps and aids in the legendary churning of the ocean to retrieve Amrut or Elixir.

#2 It’s only in the later epics and Purana where the Kurma is depicted as an avatar of Vishnu and in a half human half tortoise form. It is said that he acted as a base of the pole used to churn the ocean.

#3 The kurma avatar played a pivotal role in this whole cosmic episode which took place between the devas and the asuras. He acted as the foundation at which the churning stick was attached to and the King of serpents Vasuki was used as the rope.

#4 According to the legends, at a later stage of this whole saga, the Amrit and vish (poison) were both obtained. There ensued a fight between the devas and asuras on who would be the rightful owner of the amrut or the nectar. Here the kurma avatar then takes the form of a beautiful nymph called Mohini, who seduces the asuras and helps the devas to reclaim the nectar.

#5 In matsya and varah vedic era Kurma is cited as an incarnation of Lord Bramha and not Vishnu. In Ramayana and Mahabharata, he is cited as an incarnation of Vishnu. The Hindu sect still stands divided on this facet.

#6 Kurma is also considered to be the lord of waters. For this, he is depicted as the Varuna. According to the legends, Varuna and Earth are married to each other. Together they sustain a variety of life forms on the planet.

#7 Legend also has it that it was Lord Vishnu who had advised devas to seek help from asuras to reclaim the nectar or amrit. The events that followed along with the rise of the kurma avatar was all his own divine strategy to regain the cosmic balance.

#8 As per the pact, both the parties were to share the nectar equally among themselves. However, this did not happen! The asuras got greedy and one of them ran away with the pot. Being seduced by Mohini he lost his focus and was beheaded by devas. Hence two other cosmic giants called Rahu and Ketu were born.

#9 It was Lord Vishnu who transported lord Mandar on his Garuda to the venue, dropping him in the ocean. Mandar was then placed on the back of the Kurma Avatar of the Lord.

#10 Ironically the name of the asura king during this episode was Bali, it may be noted that this Bali has nothing to do with the one we all remember from the Ramayana.

The Story of KURMA Avatar
In KURMA Avatar, Lord Vishnu incarnates himself as a turtle. It is an interesting story involving both the gods (devtas) and asuras (demons). In the ongoing saga of battle between the gods and asuras, on one occasion the gods suddenly lost all their strength due to a curse by the short-tempered sage Durvasa. The sage had once presented a garland of flowers to Indra, king of gods, who carelessly gave it away to his elephant which trampled it.

The Devtas approached Vishnu for help. Vishnu then asked them to churn the ocean of milk after adding medicines into the ocean. Mt Mandara could be used a the churning stick he said. He requested them to ask them help of Asuras in lifting the mountain in exchange for offer of the share of nectar of immortality that would ensue from the churning. Both the devatas and the asuras churned the ocean using the serpent Vasuki as the rope. At the start, playing a Machiavellian trick, Indra, king of the gods asked the asuras for the head end of vasuki. But asuras suspecting foul play, took the head end, only to be deceived as the poison from Vasuki was slowly weakening them. But as churning was proceeding the mountain was sinking and then Lord Vishnu took the form of the turtle KURMA and kept the mountain afloat. As soon as the bowl of amrita, the nectar of immortality was out, the asuras grabbed it. Then Lord Vishnu took the form of an apsara, a beautiful maiden, and seduced the asuras into letting her distribute the nectar and also to abide by her order of distribution. As soon as the devatas were served the maiden disappeared thus totally deceiving the asuras and making them totally weak.


Second – Kurma Avatar – The Tortoise Incarnation
Lord Vishnu incarnated Kurma Avatar in Sat- Yug to help devtas from Asuras. Though Devtas and Asuras were cousins, they were at war all the time. Day by day the tension between Devtas and Asuras grew and as a result of that gods were losing their strength due to the extreme curse* that was given to them by Saint Durvasa. As a result of that devtas were on the verge of defeat as they were helpless and their forces were dead in large numbers. They approached Lord Brahma and pleaded for help. Brahmaji meditated Kurma Avatar – The second incarnation of Lord Vishnufor a while and then said, “Let’s take refugee in Lord Vishnu. He always helps those who have faith in him.”

Lord Vishnu advised them, “To defeat Asuras, you will have to strive hard and obtain Amrit (the nectar of immortality) by churning the ocean and that’s the only way out for you.”

Hearing this Indra asked lord Vishnu that how could they churn a Ocean? Vishnu replied,”Churn the ocean of milk after adding medicines (all kinds of plants, grasses, herbs & creepers) into the ocean to get the Nectar of immortality. Use Mount Mandarachal as a churning stick & Vasuki (king of serpents) as a rope to turn the mountain”. But one more question arose that how can devtas move mount Mandarachal alone?

Lord Vishnu said, ” Take help of Asuras and use them to achieve your end, but REMEMBER you must be careful, however, not to desire any of the things that come out of the ocean and to give vent to anger if any of those things are forcibly taken away by asuras.”

“But what about the nectar, if Asuras took away that from us?” asked devtas. Lord Vishnu assured them that Asuras will not get the nectar. Convinced Brahma ji returned to his abode while Indra & devtas went to meet BALI ( King of Asuras).

Seeing Indra unarmed and helpless Asuras ran towards him but Bali shouted,”No, let’s wait.Perhaps devtas have come with a proposal that might be worth our while.” Bali received Indra & other devtas with respect. Indra told Bali about their mission of arrival and requested them (Asuras) to forget the fight and work together to achieve the task.

In return they decided to equally share nectar of immortality that would be created by churning. Bali & his chiefs favored the proposal and peace was declared between them and they (Asuras) suggested that let’s not waste time and begin the task immediately.

Mount Mandarachal was needed as a churning rod. Strong warriors made efforts with their hordes in uprooting the mountain and carrying it to the ocean. But they barely had covered half the distance and they got tired and the mighty mountain fell, crushing large numbers of Devtas & Asuras under it. Seeing this Indra prayed to Lord Vishnu for his help.

Lord Vishnu came on Garuda (his mount) to save the Devtas. Lord Vishnu brought mountain Mandarachal to the ocean with the help of Garuda. When mountain was placed in the ocean Vasuki came at the scene to play his role. Lord Vishnu addressed him by saying, “Play your role & you shall receive your share of nectar. The jagged surface of Mount Mandarachal will not hurt you at all.”

Reassured Vasuki rounded himself around the mountain. With full of joyous anticipation Devtas & asuras started churning the ocean. But their joy soon turned into despair, as the heavy Mount Mandarachal, which had no support at the bottom started to sink in the ocean.

Lifting it out was a great problem. Devtas requested Vishnu once again for help and Vishnu said, “I’ll take a form of kurma (a tortoise) and hold the mountain on my back until the ocean is fully churned and nectar is obtained.” Vishnu became a tortoise and held the mountain on his back.

At this point Indra tricked asuras by asking them to stay on the tail side of Vasuki serpent while churning the ocean. But Asuras suspected foul play in this and they themselves choose to be on the head side and told devtas to hold the tail side.

Soon Asuras learned that they have been deceived by Devtas as the poison coming from Vasuki’s mouth was weakening them. So to save themselves from this poison they began churning the ocean faster and this forceful churning first threw up the deadly poison HALAHAL, which was the concentrate of all the impurities from the ocean. Its poisonous fumes choked all the humans, Devtas & Asuras.

Frightened at this few Devtas ran to Lord Shiva at Mount Kailash for help. God assured them that they need not to fear as he will drink the poison. Lord Shiva collected the poison and swallowed it.

Once all the poison was removed from ocean, devtas & Asuras resumed churning the ocean. As they continued churning fourteen magnificent treasures emerged from the ocean**, but Amrit (nectar) was no were in sight. Both the Devtas and Asuras were losing their patience. And finally from the ocean bed emerged- Dhanvantari with a pot of nectar in his hand.

Seeing this Asuras ran towards Dhanvantari & grabbed the pot of nectar from him and started fighting regarding who would take possession of that pot. Devtas watched this in dismay. But remembering Lord Vishnu’s command that they should not quarrel over whatever comes out of the ocean, they made no move. Vishnu became very pleased with devtas. He told Devtas, “Don’t be dejected, the greed of nectar has already divided Asuras and now I shall charm them with my powers & give you the nectar.”

Vishnu disguised himself as apsara – Mohini ( the most beautiful women) and approached asuras. Asuras forgot about the nectar as they were mesmerized by her beauty.

“Who are you, beautiful lady?”, asked King Bali.

Mohini smiled and replied in a melodious voice, “I’m Mohini and I have come to distribute this amrit among all of you.”

They were prepared to do anything she said. Vishnu, in the form of Mohini, said to them, “You must do as I ask you to do.” So infatuated were the Asuras that they entrusted the jar of nectar to her.

Mohini then said to the Asuras that, “I will do so if you don’t question my actions.” Not knowing who she really was they agreed to her proposal. She then instructed, “Go ahead take bath & assemble in a row, Asuras in one row & devtas in the other row.”

When they had all assembled Mohini began serving nectar to Devtas first. Seeing this Asuras thought, “Mohini would be displeased unnecessarily if we object to it.”

Mohini kept asuras under her spell and she finished the pot of nectar by giving the whole nectar to the devtas. But one of the Asura was watching this and thought something is fishy. He quietly sneaked into the rows of devtas and received his share of nectar. But before he could gulp it down Devtas identified him and Lord Vishnu in the form of Mohini threw his Sudharsan Chakra and killed him.

Devtas were filled with energy and the curse of Saint Durvasa was lifted. Mohini then assumed her original form- form of Lord Vishnu. Asuras were surprised to see this as they had been deceived and there was no nectar left for them. After finishing his task Lord Vishnu flew away on his Garuda.Samudra Manthan- Mohini

The furious Asuras declared war with devtas. Devta- Asura war on the seashore was a terrible one but Devtas who had drank nectar of immortality fought with asuras and drove them away.

In this avatar Lord Vishnu revived the lost glory of those who were gentle and sought refugee in him and punished those who were aggressive and had no faith in him.

**Fourteen Treasures that came out of the ocean during churning were –

1. Wish-fulfilling tree Kalpavriksha. Its branch bore every kind of fruit and flowers one wished for.
2. Wish-fulfilling cow Kamadhenu. The sages decided to take care of it. Its udders produced enough food to feed the whole universe.
3. Wish-fulfilling gem Chintamani. Some say Vishnu placed it on his crown. Others say that the Nagas (serpents) hid it, fact not exactly known.
4. Seven-headed flying horse Ucchaishrava. Bali, leader of the Asuras, took possession of this horse.
5. Six-tusked elephant Airavata. Indra made this beast his mount.
6. Conch – Panchajanya. The sacred Shankh.
7. Bow of king Saranga. It was given to the kings of earth.
8. Beautiful nymph Rambha. She knew how to pleasure the senses in 64 different ways. She won Indra’s heart so he carried her off to Amravati, radiant city of Devtas.
9. Moon-god, Chandra. Every woman fell in love with him. He cast the spell of romance across the universe.
10. Goddess of wine Varuni. She became the wife of Varuna, the ocean-god, and was loved by all creatures.
11. Physician Dhanvantari. An incarnation of Vishnu, the enemy of disease, he brought with him Ayurveda, the science of healing and AMRIT (NECTAR).
12. Goddess of fortune Sri. Everybody wanted to marry her, but she chose Vishnu. She placed Vaijayanti, the garland of eternal victory, around his neck.
13. Elixir of immortality Amrita. Asuras stole this much-sought-after drink. Vishnu, in form of enchantress Mohini, bewitched the demons so that while they admired her beauty, she poured the drink down the throats of Devtas.
Kurma Avatar – Shiva Drinking Poison 14. Poison Halahal. Nobody wanted this lethal liquid. So Shiva drank it. The poison turned his neck blue and he is also known as NEELKANTH.

Kurma Avatar – Tortoise Incarnation: Signifies Endurance and Resilience
Posted on April 12, 2021
the Tortoise Incarnation is associated with Lord Vishnu’s second avatar (incarnation), known as Kurma. The story goes that during a cosmic battle between the gods and demons, the sacred nectar of immortality fell into the ocean and became lost. The gods approached Lord Vishnu for help, and he took the form of a tortoise, diving into the ocean to retrieve the nectar. In doing so, he also helped to support the weight of the world on his back, which had been threatened by the churning of the ocean.

In Which period, Kurma Avatar happened?
Kurma avatar belongs to the Satya Yuga and in this avatara Mahavishnu incarnated as a giant turtle to save the earth from destruction. Kurma Avatar of dashavatar is explained mainly in the Bhagavad Purana, Agni Purana and Ramayana. Kurma Purana, one of the major eighteen Puranas, is said to have been directly stated by Lord Vishnu to the sage Narada, and it contains the details about the Kurma avatar.

Why did Vishnu incarnate as Kurma, the second avatar?
The second avatar of Dashavatara is Kurma avatar. Kurma means tortoise. Vishnu took the form of turtle to help devas and asuras ( gods and demons). They were churning ocean to receive the gifts from the ocean. Lord VIshnu helped the devas in two counts. First, he acted as base to support the Mount Mandar, which was used as an axis for churning of ocean. Second, as Mohini to take hold of nectar (or amrit). Due to this gods got an upper hand in “Dev Asur sangharsh“.

What was Lord vishnu’s weapon in his Kurma avatar?
In this incarnation, Lord Vishnu’s weapon was the back of Tortoise which was used as a base for Sagar Manthan.

Why did Kurma avatar happen? Becaue of Sage Durvasa curse to Indra
Devas grew weaker due to a curse of Sage Durvasa. The demons or asuras, a group of malicious deities in the Hindu mythology, tried to overcome them. A war followed, which continued for long. Despite fighting bravely, devas could not win over the asuras. They asked Lord Vishnu for help.

Advice of Lord Vishnu
Lord Vishnu asked the devas to use Mount Mandara as a churning stick. But, they could not pull up the mountain. On advice of Lord Vishnu, the gods and asuras made a deal to churn the ocean jointly. They pulled the Mount Mandara and used it as a churning stick. Serpent Vasuki was used as a rope. it was pulled first one way and then the other. During churning, Mandara began to sink into the mud at the bottom of the milk ocean. Vishnu took the form of Kurma (second dashavatara), and held the mountain on his broad back.

As a result of the churning, amrita was obtained which asuras took control of it. Here Vishnu, took the form of a beautiful lady, Mohini. He managed to take the nectar bowl with him and gave it to devas. Thus devas eventually got powerful. Thus, Vishnu helped them once again and as Kurma Avatar.


The story of Kurma Avatar is an unusual story when Devas and Asuras put their differences aside and worked together.

In this story, Lord Vishnu takes multiple forms to help the Devas. However, the Kurma or the tortoise form is the most important one in the story of Sagar Manthan. Kurma is another name for Tortoise. Lord Vishnu took the form of a large Tortoise to help Devas and Asuras.

Sagar Manthan is the process of churning of the ocean. This process brought many interesting and useful things to our world. Both Devas and Asuras worked together just to get their share of the treasures obtained from the Sagar Manthan.

This story also tells us that good thing come to those who put their differences aside and learn to work together. A good lesson to remember. Saying this, let’s move on to the story itself.

Indra and other devas lived in Indralok (also called swargalok). They were powerful, and sometimes their power made them a little arrogant. In their arrogance, they often disrespected others. What they failed to understand that not everyone who had a lot of power chooses to show it openly. So many times they ended up disrespecting someone who was more powerful than the Devas, and that usually didn’t end so well for them.

In one such incidence, Indra and other Devas ended up disrespecting sage Durvasa. Now sage Durvasa was not only very powerful, he was known for his short temper. The sage cursed the Devas and took away their powers and strength. This left Devas weak and barely capable to take care of themselves.

Devas were really worried this time. They could not stay so weak. Any enemy could attack them and defeat them with embarrassing ease. Devas were worried and didn’t know what to do next. Every time they were in such a situation, they went to Lord Vishnu for help. They did exactly the same this time, too.

Lord Vishnu was patient with their woeful tales. He has seen them in a similar predicament too many times by now. Devas were getting cursed too frequently. Still, instead of reprimanding them for their misbehaviour towards the sage, Lord Vishnu consoled them. He believed that they have been punished enough. But he still wanted Devas to learn to be more respectful. So he did not automatically grant them their strength back. Instead, this time he gave them instructions to get their strength back and hoped they would learn their lesson.

Lord Vishnu told Devas to perform sea churning, also known as Sagar Manthan. Basically, he asked them to add a number of potent herbs as offerings in the ocean and then use a mountain as a churner. This was not an easy task. Churning a sea using a mountain was next to impossible for the Devas in their current state. They had no strength after all.

Still, as Devas had no other choice, they started with the task. They chose a mountain but were not strong enough to carry it to the sea by themselves. Now the only help they could get was from Asuras, who were their arch-nemesis.

When the Asuras saw Devas coming into their territory, they were very sceptical. However, they still welcomed them politely and inquired about the reason for their visit. When Devas disclosed the plan to churn the sea to get the valuable treasure to help both Devas and Asuras, they had a deal.

With the help of Asuras, Devas were able to move the mountain to the sea. They also convinced the king of snakes’ Vasuki to be used as a rope to churn the sea. But when they started churning, the mountain sank to the bottom and would not move.

Both Devas and Asuras had no idea what to do next. So, like always, they all now went to Lord Vishnu again to ask for a solution to their latest problem. Lord Vishnu agreed to help them and became a large turtle or Kurma and carried the mountain on his back. This way the mountain floated on top of Kurma and did not sink down.

After Kurma solved their problem, the Devas and Asuras started churning the sea. They churned for a long time before anything came out. However, the first thing that came out was not something anyone was expecting. It was the Halahal poison. The poison was so potent that even its fumes could destroy the entire world.

Devas and Asuras fainted from the poisonous fumes.

This time Lord Shiva came to their rescue. He sucked all the poison from the atmosphere and was about to swallow it all. But this much poison was deadly for him, too. So, before he could swallow the poison, his wife Goddess Parwati came and stopped the poison in his throat itself. This turned Lord Shiva’s throat blue but did not cause him any damage. Since then Lord Shiva is also known as Neelkanth, meaning one who has a blue throat.

Devas and Asuras continued churning. After the poison came an assortment of helpful things. There was a cow Kamdhenu whose milk was enough to satiate everyone’s hunger. Some rare plants and herbs came next. Some deadly weapons also made an appearance. At last, came Amrit or the elixir for immortality.

Both Devas and Asuras wanted this. But this time Lord Vishnu chose Devas as his favourite and tricked Asuras into giving the pot containing the elixir to a beautiful lady Mohini. Mohini was none other than Lord Vishnu, who took this form trick Asuras. Mohini promised to distribute the Amrit equally between Devas and Asura. However, she created a fake pot of Amrit and tricked Asuras. Since only Devas got the Amrit, they regained their strength and immortality.

When Asuras realised that they have been cheated, they protested. Devas now attacked their short-termed allies and chased them back to their underground lands. Their alliance came to a quick end.

Analysis of Kurma Avatar
In the second avatar, Lord Vishnu takes an amphibious form. This indicates the movement of life from water to land. As per the evolution theory, life moved from water to land and before we had only land life forms, there were amphibious life forms who could survive in both land and water. Tortoise is an ideal example of such a life form.

This story also signifies our connection with water bodies and that we get immense treasures from the oceans. As we know, most of the early civilizations were near a river or ocean. In ancient times, the ocean was the only way to travel and was a great source of food. No wonder we associate treasures coming from oceans even now.

In this story, instead of fighting an actual villain, the avatar is helping tame nature. This is the point where controlling nature was becoming a possibility. This is showing the stage of human development when we started taming nature to get food and other precious things from it.

There are more stories from Dashavatara as shown below. Do check them out and find out more interesting facts.