Efficacy of Kurma Avatar
Srimad Bhagavatham describes the manifestation of Lord Vishnu as KURMA or Kachapa (In the form of a tortoise) who supported the mighty Mandara mountain when Gods and Demons began churning the milky ocean to extract nectar (Amritam). The Kurma avatara is narrated in Bhagavatham as follows
Having perceived by the Lord that the efforts of Gods and Demons having been frustrated by God Vignesha, the Lord Narayana assumed the wonderful and gigantic form of a tortoise; plunged into the ocean and lifted the mountain from the ocean. Lord of unlimited strength and unfailing resolve bore the mountain on His back, which was one lakh Yojanas or 800000 miles in extent.
Strengthened by the Lord by pressing the mountain top with his thousand arms and supporting it below in the form of a Tortoise (KURMA) the Gods and Demons began to churn the milky ocean using Serpent Vasuki as rope. The all pervading Lord also simultaneously stimulated strength and energy to the Gods and Demons in equal measure according to their Sattwik and rajasik nature. Lord Brahma, Lord Siva, Indra and other Gods showered flowers and sang His praises in Heaven.
As a result of churning the ocean, Halahala(poison) started to pour out. Lord Siva swallowed the poison with compassion to protect all living beings. In this context, Siva tells Bhavani that Sri Hari, the soul of the universe will be pleased with anyone who shows mercy to created beings in difficult circumstances.
Lord’s manifestation as KURMA and His glorious pastime also paved the way for many other Divine events like appearance of Goddess Mahalakshmi from the ocean, Lord’s Avatara as Dhanwantari Carrying the pot of nectar (Amritakalasam) in His hands and also the emergence of Mohini Avatara, a symbol of enchanting beauty and Maya, who distributed the nectar among Gods.
In this episode, the Great Lord teaches us that in the midst of tribulation and confrontation in life, all of one’s object cannot be achieved by anger as through an attitude of tolerance, patience and steady mind similar to a Tortoise. These qualities are the important requirements to attain immortality (Amaratvam) or freedom from transmigration. Lord Krishna also tells Arjuna in Bhagavad Gita that when like a KURMA anyone who withdraws all his emotions from sense objects, his mind becomes steady and strong. He is called sthitaprajna.
The characters depicted in Hindu epics are the right pathways for any human being to adopt and follow. The Avataras of Sri Mahavishnu are exemplary in every aspect of life. For every problem, there is some or the other solution found through the actions of the characters. The Truth has always defeated the evil and it persists till the end of the life on the blue planet.
So, The Puranic Avataras suggest the different ways to let anyone off from the problems provided, the being should have the healthy thinking mind and a will power to overcome the attritions atrocities (wicked acts). Kurma Avatar is one such attribute of the Sthithikaaraka or the operator which teaches all the beings the right path of righteousness and success.
Moral Principle behind this episode of KURMA Avatara is of immense value and worth following by all human beings. Tortoise has the unique quality of withdrawing all its limbs inside and stand like rock, when faced with dangerous situation.
Similarly Lord sets an example by taking the Kurma Avatara to lift and support the submerged mountain on His Back to help the Gods and Demons to accomplish a common noble purpose of extracting the Nectar.