Kurma Puranam


In Sanskrit with Hindi Translation (online) : http://www.vedpuran.com/brahma.asp?bookid=20&secid=1&pageno=001&Ved=Y&PuranName=Kurma

For download : http://deepak.esmartguy.com/books.htm#

A link to posts on Kurma Puranam and Kurma Avataram : Kurma Puranam

Authorship and Copyright Notice : All Rights Reserved : Satya Sarada Kandula
Invocation :

mandara dhAre, mOksha murAre, daitya kulAntaka, pAvana mUrthe, pada s’ubha, rEkha makuTa mayUra.. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGonUot0_0E&feature=player_embedded)

Introduction :

Perhaps, no story fascinates me as much as the Ksheera Sagara Mathanam, the churning of the ocean of milk. It has associated sthala purANas, that help us with history, it has astronomy hidden at every turn and incident and it discusses the highest philosophical goal of mOkSa! And it has magic and wonderful events from start to finish to satisfy the most demanding child in all of us!

Today, on https://ancientindians.wordpress.com, I completed the translation of the first chapter of this Kurma puraNam, which is really a meta-chapter about the purANam. Who told it first? Who heard it for first? And then what happened? What benefits do I get by studying this purANam and who should study it.

Since this purANam is about mOkSa and s’rAddhA, it is said to be a brahmaNa purANam meant for those interested in the highest. It is a purifying purANam and must not be revealed to all and sundry. But as it is said those who do not know, will not know even if told if a) the story requires a lot of technical background b) it is in code. And both are true of this purANam. Many won’t begin it, several will stop half way and many will go back taking either nothing or the wrong thing from it depending on their samskaras or the absence thereof!

I love this purANam as much as the rAmAyaNam.

Astronomical Ideas about kUrma avatAram and kSIra sAgara mathanam:

Ksheera sagara: Ocean of milk: The milky way

It is said that Vishnu sleeps on Adi s’ESa sarpa in the ocean of milk, which I see as the milky way galaxy.

viSNu (nAbhi) then appears to me as the black hole at the galactic centre.

Adi s’ESa is that which remains from the beginning, that cycle of time that needs to be completed.

Ksheera sagara mathanam means churning of the ocean of milk. The Devas on one side and the Asuras on the other side pulled first one way and then another on a snake wound around the mandara parvatam (mountain). The arms of the milky way, look to me like the two ends of the snake-rope that was used for churning.

So perpendicular to the plane of the milky way, is the axis of the mandara mountain, on which s’iva sits.

An idealized turtle divides the celestial equator into 6 equal areas :

An idealized turtle divides the celestial equator into 6 equal areas (60 degrees), Varahamihira and others have referred to this cosmic turtle in this sense. The 8 diggajas or 8 directional elephants divide the sky into 8 equal parts (45 degrees). Thus points are marked at 45, 60, 90, 120, 135, 180, 225, 240, 270, 300, 315 and 360 along the cosmic circle. The tortise thus bears the elephants, in an astronomical interpretation of this description, consistent with Vyasa’s way of encoding vedic knowledge into puranas. On this you have the 7 saptarishis, nagas and so on. I have been advised to read Jayanth Narlikar’s work on this. Please see the image below/next page.

Terry Pratchett literalizes this in his discworld novels, but for the longest time, that has been the only western understanding of this astronomical model.

Ever since I studied the Purusha Suktham, I always face North along the pole star to chant my Vishnu Sahasranama – that is where I located the other 3 padas of the Purusha, one pada pervades this manifest uniferse, in its unmanifest form. In this context of paratattva, there is no difference between members of the trimurthi, devi, brahman and any other name.

Image : http://www.dattapeetham.com/india/festivals/2010/shivaratri2010/feb12-morning/feb12-morning.htmlIt also interests me that the Guruji has placed Siva atop this mandara mountain, perpendicular to the celestial circle.

As a result of this churning emerged all kinds of treasures, Amrutham (non-death) being the final wonder. This ksheera sagara mathanam is connected in with Sivarathri night. Because Siva swallowed the halahalam or poison on that day and Saivates fast out of concern. What could be the halAhalam and what could be the amRtam? I spent a whole s’ivarAtri night gazing at the sky hoping for some inspiration. I understood many other good things, but not this.

Sri Lakshmi’s elder sister Jyeshta.. Nakshatram?

Chandra (the moon) and Lakshmi (light) are easy to understand, among the wonderful beings that emerged from the ocean. What were the others? Today we do not see the KalpaVrksham (the tree that grants wishes) or kamadhenu (wish giving cow) as a pattern in the stars, but could that explain them? Vasishtha is one of the stars of the Sapta Rishi Mandala (Great Bear), he was said to be present at the Ksheera Sagara Mathanam.

Jyeshta means elder.. (The North Indian word Jettani is derived from jyESTa.)

In common tradition, Jyeshta Devi is considered the elder sister of Lakshmi Devi. She is also called alakshmI. She is considered more beautiful while leaving, while Lakshmi Devi is considered more beautiful while coming.

It is said that Jyeshta Devi rose out of the sea before Lakshmi Devi on the day of the ksheera sagara mathanam.

In this article Ksheera Sagara Mathanam (Location), I have presented the idea the sthala purana that gives Antarvedi in Andhra Coast as the location of the Ksheera Sagara Mathanam on earth. I have written that on the east coast of India, you do see the moon rising out of the ocean. This is not possible on the west coast. I have also written in one of my posts that the kalpavruksham etc that ‘came out of the ocean” on that day were the various constellations that rose into the sky, one after another, through the night.

Now, both Jyeshta and  Chandra (Moon), rose before Lakshmi Devi (see Sri Suktham : Lakshmi as Light), out of the ocean and after the churning.

I think that first Jyeshta Nakshatram rose, and then Chandra making everything bright and thus Lakshmi came next. This would mean that the Nakshatram of the Day was either Jyeshta or Moola.

The nakshatram following Jyeshta Nakshatram is Moola Nakshatram. (This moola nakshatram points to the center of the milky way, our galaxy. In my article on Moola Nakshatram, we have explored the significance of the Dhanur masa early morning rituals. At sunrise in Dhanur masam, the sun is in line with Moola Nakshatram, which is in line with the galactic centre where Vishnu lies  in the khseera samudram. )

Ksheera Sagara Mathanam (Terrestrial Location)

Reasons to believe that the Ksheera Sagara Mathanam took place on the south-east coast of India:

  • Sthala Puranas that Match the Text : There is a temple at Antarvedi, near Narsapur (see image), As per the Sthala purana, during the Kruta Yuga, the ksheera sagara mathanam took place here for Amrutam.
  • There is a temple at Surutapalli and one in West Bengal where Siva is said to have fainted after drinking the poison where the Mother (Amba) revived him. Photographs of Suruttapalli. Both are on the east coast. (There is also a legend that the place where he drank the poison was at Neelkanth, near Rishikesh, but there is no ocean there.)
  • The devas are said to have lived in Amaravathi (on the banks of Krishna) when Tarakasura drove them out of Svarga.  Amaravathi is in modern Andhra near the east coast.
  • When the ocean was churned, first the Moon (Chandra) rose out of the water and then his sister Lakshmi (light) emerged from the water. The moon rises out of the ocean only on the east coast. On the West coast, the moon only sets.
  • Even recently, the families of the Tsunami victims poured Milk into the ocean for their dead relatives. Ksheera sagara mathanam means Churning of the Ocean of Milk.
  • Sri Kurmam, is on the east coast relatively close to Antarvedi. Here Sri Maha Vishnu is worshipped in his Kurma Avatar. This is to my knowledge the only temple to the Kurma avatar.
  • Brahma gave the East Direction to Indra. The name Andhra can be derived from Indra.

Hiranyakasipu’s palace was in Ahobalam (Ahobilam)

  • Where Narasimha Killed Hiranyakasipu : Another pointer to the east coast location of the Devas andAsuras. Hiranyakasipu, the son of Diti and Kasyapa and step-brother of Indra was killed in his own palace. That place is marked at Ahobilam, in Kurnool district, near Nandyal in modern Andhra Pradesh. Besides this Narasimha Swamy is called Appanna and about half the people on the eat coast of Andhra are called Appana or Narasimha. Other Narasimha Swamy Temples include Simahachalam and Mangalagiri.
  • During the period before the Bharata War (3100 BC), most of the observed astronomical events were possible only to the south of the Vindhyas, the south of the Tropic of Cancer and Southern Andhra respectively. Eg , like the star canopus (Agastya, the “rise” of the Sapta Rishis and observation of the Saptarishi movements

Vasishtha and Satyavrata Manu (the son of Vivaswan – Surya Deva) were from Andhra Dravida originally.

  • Srimad Bhagavatham states that Satyvrata was a darviDEs’vara. (Sri Rama’s Ancestor, Vaivasvata Manu was a Dravidian King : Srimad Bhagavatam)
  • As per the Matsya Purana, Vasishtha and the other saptarishis, were taken by Satyavrata Manu (Vaivaswatha) from Dravida to the Himalayas when there was a flood. After that the descendants of Satyavrata – the Ikshavkus flourished with the base they established at Ayodhya.
  • Vasishta composed a number of Rg Vedic Mantras to Samudra (the ocean) and Varuna,  the Deva representing the ocean. He was called MaitraVaruni. He clearly knew the ocean. (This is not possible for someone who lived only between the Ganga and Saraswathi)
  • Vasishta Godavari joins the Bay of Bengal at Antarvedi. Lakshmi Narasimha Temple and Vasistha Asram are located near that place.
  • Vasishta’s 100 sons were killed by Rakthavilochana, the son of Hiranyaksha, at the instigation of Viswamitra. Vasishtha and Arundhati appealed to Narasimha who killed Rakthavilochana. (Another story indicates that they were killed by Kalmashapada)

Authorship and Copyright Notice : All Rights Reserved : Satya Sarada Kandula