The Avatars come to Earth to maintain a balance between Optimism and Pessimism, Action and Non- Action, Pravritti and Nivrutti. The world moves like a pendulum from one end of “Action – Pravrutti” to the other end of “Non Action – Nivrutti”. Mankind always loves extremes but does not understand that both are detrimental to its growth and development. A balance needs to struck between the two and the Avatar comes to strike that balance. An Avatar demonstrates how to lead a balanced life.
Today we talk about Kurm Avatar. The form of Tortoise. The story goes as such:
One day the Devas and the Asuras decide to come together to churn the ocean and obtain the nectar – an elixir of life. Asuras are humans like you and me. Just that they have decided to spend their life in Eat, Drink and Be Merry, lead a life involved only in sensual happiness. “असुषु इन्द्रियेषु रमन्ते इति असुराः। So they are not considered bad by humans.
Now the ocean is big body of water and we need a big churner so they approach the Mandrachal Parvat (mountain) to be their churner and the King of Snakes; Vasuki to be the thread bare to move the churner. They both readily agreed and so began the churning of the ocean.
The churning with Devas on one side and the Asuras on the other side was a sight to see. But the Mandrachal Parvat began sinking as the ocean was deep and the mountain had no base to rest upon. At that time it is said that Vishnu took the form of a tortoise (kurm) and gave a base to the mountain and took it upon it’s back with which the process of churning took place. Many a things came up during churning like Kalpvriksh, Laxmi, a bowl of poison and lastly the Nectar. Naturally there were discussions on who should have what.
Amongst the things that came out during the churning, the most wanted by both the parties was the Nectar and the most unwanted was the bowl of poison. Poison was taken by Bhagwaan Shiv and it is said that He drank it and stopped it in his neck, did not let it go down below His neck. So His neck turned blue and He is called Neelkanth.
Next was the discussion and fight for Nectar as the one who drinks it will become immortal. What is the secret to immortality? Something which Kurmavtaar has explained to Humanity.
Now let us look at it with a perspective that will help us understand better. A society is always made up of people with good thoughts and work and people with lots of wealth and a little lax about life. Now there is always a fight amongst the two about who is better? Both shun each other, one the other for their wealth and the other, the one for its intellect. Can they coexist? This is an eternal question which the Human race has tried to find an answer to. Here Kurmavtaar shows us the right direction.
When the fight reached its pinnacle and it started hurting the development of mankind, people from the above groups came together at the foot of the Mandrachal hills to find out a solution. At that time, the people who had developed and understood the importance of both intellect and wealth mediated and made both the groups understand the importance of each other. At that time different questions were discussed and the poison of accepting wealth as an important proposition of life was accepted by the group who considered it lowly. Thus balance was struck. The people realised the nectar of accepting both wealth and intellect as well as each other and living with each other.
The person / s who mediated showed great skills and adaptability during the discussion and demonstrated the skills of withdrawing and appearing at the right time. The way a tortoise does in different situations. So all of them started calling him / them “Kurm” (tortoise). We can find these descendants of Kurm, known as Kurmis, even found today in and around the state of Bihar. This is the Kurmavataar.
Bow down to this person / s on his / their birthday.
Let us all decide to strike a balance between wealth and intellect and accept them both as a part of peaceful living.
Let us all decide to be ready to drink the poison of our egos and wishes and whims for the betterment of Humanity as whole.
Let us all decide to be slow but firm like a “Kurm” as well as learn the art of adaptability in life.