Encyclopedia for Epics of Ancient India

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Read about Kurma at Wikipedia

See Avatara. [Source: Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology] 'A descent.' The incarnation of a deity, especially of Vishnu.

2. Kurma 'The tortoise' the germ of this Avatara is found in the Satapatha Brahmana, as above noticed. In its later and developed form, Vishnu appeared in the form of a tortoise in the Satyayuga, or first age, to recover some things of value, which had been lost in the deluge.

In the form of a tortoise he placed himself at the bottom of the sea of milk, and made his back the base or pivot of the mountain Mandara. The gods and demons twisted the great serpent Vasuki round the mountain' and, dividing into two parties, each took an end of the snake as a rope, and thus churned the sea until they recovered the desired objects. These were-

(1.) Amrita, the water of life;
(2.) Dhanwantari, the physician of the gods and bearer of the cup of Amrita ;
(3.) Lakshmi, goddess of fortune and beauty, and consort of Vishnu;
(4.) Sura, goddess of wine ;
(5.) Chandra, the moon;
(6.) Rambha, a nymph, and pattern of a lovely and amiable woman ;
(7.) Uchchaihsravas, a wonderful and model horse ;
(8.) Kaustubha, a celebrated jewel ;
(9.) Parijata, a celestial tree;
(10.) Surabhi, the cow of plenty;
(11.) Airavata, a wonderful model elephant;
(12.) Sankha, a shell, the conch of victory;
(13.) Dhanus, a famous bow; and
(14.) Visha, poison.

Modern Languages MLLL-4993. Indian Epics. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. The textual material made available at this website is licensed under a Creative Commons License. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one. No claims are made regarding the status of images used at this website; if you own the copyright privileges to any of these images and believe your copyright privileges have been violated, please contact the webmaster. Page last updated: October 16, 2007 12:22 PM