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.