Recently I was asked to contribute an article to the site the Five Tattvas. A sampling is below. Enjoy the whole article here.
Guess what? There’s a lot of it!
At the beginning of this earth, legend has it that the Devas (the demigods) and the Asuras (the demons) each desired the nectar of immortality.
To possess the nectar, they first had to draw it up from the ocean of consciousness. But how? The Ocean of Milk was vast – even for deities – and held its secrets beneath fathoms of icy green water. They determined to stir it up – to churn the waters until they got what they wanted. To that end, they picked up a mountain and turned it upside down into the ocean to use as a “churning stick.” To turn it, they enlisted Vasuki, the snake. But when they wrapped the snake around the mountain and worked together, with each camp pulling on one side at a time like a cosmic tug of war, the mountain did nothing but drill into the earth.
Luckily Kurma, the tortoise, volunteered to swim to the bottom of the ocean, withdraw his five limbs and head, and become the base for the mountain. After this cosmic engineering, a great many vast and wonderful things emerged from that ocean. There are many ways to tell the stories that grew out of this episode. I will tell you one as it was told to me:
The last deity to emerge was Lord Dhanvantari – medic to the gods and the father of Ayurveda. And what did he hold in his hand but Amrita – the nectar of immortality!
A great fight was soon brewing. Each side wanted the nectar for its own. Any camaraderie that had been built in their endeavor was immediately lost. The Devas readied their weapons as the Asuras’ breath focused into flames. It seemed like what little existed of the world was about to die in a clash of opposites – the hideous magnet that is war.
Lord Dhanvantari, an avatar of Vishnu, prayed for help. And this time Lord Vishnu sent another avatar in the form of Mohini. Mohini was beyond beautiful – she was beauty itself. When she moved her hips, the pleasure of the vision settled the armies immediately. When she spoke her honeyed words, they agreed to come to terms.
Mohini assured them that each one could get a taste of immortality. All they had to do was line up, like boys, in an orderly line. She was so beautiful and persuasive that they complied immediately. Mohini then went down the line, placing a drop of nectar on each of the Devas’ tongues. The Asuras waited patiently, their fiery breath contained. But when Mohini got to their place in the line, she began to disappear!
The largest and closest of the demons reached out to grab her and stop her. But Mohini’s curves were ephemeral, and all he could grasp was the edge of her sari. At that moment, a drop of the nectar fell to the earth.
From that drop came all the vitality of all earthly living. Using this force is called Ayurveda.
To read the whole article click here.