Churning of the Milky Ocean
at the Dawn of Time
The Churning of the Sea Milk, painting, Punjab Hills,
In his book, Myth, Ritual and Religion, Andrew Lang wrote that,
"...nothing in all mythology is more difficult than the attempt to
get a clear view of the gods of Vedic India". For centuries the many-armed,
multi-headed creatures of the Vedic pantheon have eluded all attempts at
scholarly categorization. As a consequence, the myths and hymns of the
ancient Rishis have become regarded as simply curious stories of a primitive
and barbarous people who made ritual sacrifices to the powers of nature
in order to increase their agricultural bounty. It appears however that
the ancient Vedic civilization was much more sophisticated than modern
scholars had ever imagined. While these strange stories remain tantalizingly
obscure to the unenlightened, it has been revealed that the myths and hymns
of Vedic India conceal an initiatic knowledge on the order of the Eleusinian
and Orphic mysteries. Commentaries on the Veda by the philosopher/sage
Sri Aurobindo, have disclosed that the Vedic gods and goddesses were invested
with deep Psychological conceptions as well as representing the Powers
and Personalities of the Supreme Godhead.
Yet even more complex is their embodiment of important cosmological concepts
which have become all but lost to modern scholars. Chief among these cosmic
concepts is the creation of the Axis as described in the classic Vedic
myth, 'The Churning of the Milky Ocean at the Dawn of Time'. According
to Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet, the leading authority in Vedic Cosmology,
the concept of the "Axis" is the most important cosmic realization
ever to come into being and it lies at the core of the Rishis' obsession
with alignment. "In fact', writes Norelli-Bachelet, 'one could say
that all of Vedic spirituality is an expression of this axial alignment."
The classic Churning myth recounts the creation of that axis and its profound
One of the most important concepts in Indian metaphysics is the
principle of Dharma or duty. It is the rule of law or action which
literally holds things together. In the Vedic conception of the universe,
this principle is expressed in the delicate balance of opposing forces,
exemplified by the gods in their struggle against the demons. Thus good
and evil, light and darkness and creation and destruction are all integral
parts of this dharmic process. The dynamics of our evolving universe are
expressed in the tensions of the conflict between these forces.
Over the great cycles of time the Dharma begins to degenerate and
the balance between the forces of light and darkness becomes lost. The
Demons, ever watchful for an opportunity to gain the upper hand, seize
the moment and chaos reigns in the upper and lower kingdoms. As a result
of this disorder, things of great value are lost, the most important of
which is "Amrita", the cream of the great Milk Ocean whose
absence threatens the very existence of the universe. After complaints
from Indra, warrior king of the three worlds, to Brahma, the creator, the
god Vishnu is called to restore the Dharma and the cosmic order.
According to the myth, Vishnu, the preserver, devised a plan to
restore order and set the mighty axis in motion and churning once more.
By insisting on the co-operation of both the gods and the demons his plan
was to activate the dynamic equilibrium by churning the great Milk Ocean
using Mount Meru as a churning stick. However, the weight of Mount Meru
was such that it began to sink into the soft bed of the Milk Ocean and
so Vishnu assumed the form of the Tortoise, Kurma, whose curved
back became the stable support and pivot upon which the churning stick
could rest. He then called on the cosmic serpent Vasuki who conveniently
wrapped himself around the Mount Meru axis, as a churning rope. Following
a ruse by Vishnu which convinced the demons that the gods wanted to hold
Vasuki's head, they became irate and insisted that the demons should take
the head and the gods the tail. Thus the demons and the gods took opposite
ends of the cosmic serpent and the churning process began. Unbeknownst
to the demons, as the churning progressed Vasuki's breath became hot and
out of his mouth came poisonous fumes which suffocated the demons while
the gods, at the tail, were refreshed by cool ocean winds. As the churning
of the Milk Ocean continued, treasures began to appear in the manner as
butter might emerge from the churning of cream. Most important of the treasures
was Amrita, the nectar of immortality. Surabhi, the cow of
plenty also emerged from the churning process as did Airavata, a
beautiful white elephant and Uchchaisravas the white horse. However,
as these treasures arose so did a poison which the myth tells us was consumed
by Shiva in order to save the world. The poison was caught in Shiva's throat
which turned his neck blue but it also purified the serpent Vasuki which
Shiva thereafter wore as his girdle.
Many treasures appeared as the churning continued but the demons
were interested in only one thing, the Amrita, which was borne in
a cup by Dhanwantari, the physician of the gods. When Dhanwantari
appeared, both gods and demons dropped Vasuki and rushed to seize the Amrita.
The demons reached it first and made off with it but they began to quarrel
over which of them should be first to drink. As they argued, there appeared
among them a girl named Mohini, the most beautiful woman they had
ever seen. Having been enchanted by her charms the demons asked Mohini
how to apportion the Amrita and promised to abide by her decision. Mohini
pointed out that since the gods and demons had labored equally to produce
the Amrita, that the gods were also entitled to a share. Reluctantly the
demons agreed since they had made a promise. Then Mohini insisted that
the gods and demons face each other in two long rows. She began to pass
down the row of gods giving each a drink of the Amrita. But as she reached
the end of the row, she suddenly vanished and the cup of Amrita vanished
with her. For Mohini was none other than Vishnu in a female incarnation.
A fight immediately broke out between the gods and the cheated demons but
the gods, strengthened by the Amrita won an easy victory.
This charming tale, while extraordinarily simple, contains the details
of a profound occult process. It illustrates the 'alchemical' dynamic between
two opposing forces which generates the passage from chaos to cosmos. The
most important aspect of the churning tale is the creation of an axial
alignment, a stable point around which the dynamic motion occurs. In the
process of churning, treasures emerge like butter rising from the working
of the cream. Gifts appear which can only come into being through the dynamism
of the creative process. Alchemically, this means that at the core of mass
it is Time's energy which can be found and then released and this is what
permits the 'treasures' to arise. Out of the churning and all that follows
comes a new cosmic alignment. The Dharma is once again restored and harmony
rules throughout the worlds.
The myth is not simply a tale of Vedic times and cosmic battles,
but an eternal parable which reveals the ebb and flow of great civilizations.
Throughout the ages humanity goes through alternating periods of light
and darkness. When chaos reigns, the ancient texts refer to this period
as the "Kali Yuga", or age of degeneration. It is described in
the Vishnu Purana as a time when vice and injustice mount the throne: when
society reaches a stage, where property confers rank, wealth becomes the
only source of virtue, passion the sole bond of union between husband and
wife, falsehood the source of success in life, sex the only means of enjoyment,
and when outer trappings are confused with inner religion. Then say the
sages, we are in the Kali-Yuga - the Dark Age - the world of today. At
that time, between the two ages, the god Vishnu will take birth upon the
earth as the Avatar. He will revisit the world in visible form, and by
his influence and teachings He will destroy evil and injustice and reestablish
the eternal truths of the Sanatana Dharma.
In the following article, Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet discusses the
relevance of the 'Churning Myth' in our contemporary culture and details
its connection with the process surrounding the construction of the Shadow
Temple in Auroville which was built in the Mother's name.
The Evolutionary Avatar in the Cosmic Harmony and in Contemporary Vedic Culture
The Vishaal Newsletter, June 1993 - Vol. 8, Number 2
by Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet
In a very distant past Vedic civilisation sent out waves beyond
the boundaries of the subcontinental mass of the Capricorn hieroglyph.
These carried seeds of the culture, some of which may still be recognised.
One such is the great temple at Angkor Vat in Cambodia. I mention this
particular example of Vedic culture beyond the Capricorn border because
it is clear that in its construction there was an attempt to capture a
most essential part of the ancient Veda. This was indeed the case as the
temple of Angkor Vat depicts the wonderful myth of the Churning of the
Milky Ocean at the dawn of time. There is the Mountain in the larger lines
of the structure, as in all Hindu temples, and then the bas-reliefs which
recount this magnificent tale. Indeed, perhaps the most exquisite is the
depiction of the act of churning with its clear axial alignment conveyed
in stone via the harmony of the design. There are the gods, the titans,
the Tortoise upon which Vishnu conducts the operation and who is Vishnu
himself, as the Serpent Vasuki is pulled and movement begins.
For this is the, meaning of the myth. It is the birth or that which
moves, and hence of time as it evolves in our material universe from the
seed of Itself. From this churning the primordial mass then throws up diverse
'treasures' which can only come into being through a stirring of this mass.
Statics do not create. It is only dynamism that can generate the creative
Time is the motor of this great Machine, this mighty 'mountain',
as we have seen in The Magical Carousel. In the deepest heart of
the Mountain the essence of creation is found, which is Time. The meaning
is that at the core of mass it is time's energy which can be found and
then released; similar to the release experienced in the Great Churning
which permits the treasures to arise.
The goal of this portion of our study is to demonstrate factually
the manner in which the essence of the Veda is brought forth again in a
contemporary 'act of churning', as it were. I wish to demonstrate with
solid evidence how this is achieved not only by highlighting certain perhaps
recondite aspects of the myth but also by indicating in which way this
essence is 'extracted' in today's great Churning. The result is the re-establishment
of the Vedic Dharma in the only way appropriate to its original essence
- that is, through the lived experience.
This has been demonstrated regarding myth itself and a contemporary
seeing along those very lines. Now we shall carry over this vision into
the actual temple; but not of antiquity. We shall locate this same 'mountain'
in the Mother's design of her Temple, but at the same time we shall come
upon the release engendered by Time when the 'churning' began, or the moment
the temple construction moved from its static to dynamic mode; or the transition
of the construction from the plan stage to the beginning in time of the
actual construction process. This was in early 1971, a most appropriate
year in that it marked the beginning of the last three enneads of this
millennium, 1971 to 1998, certainly the most important 27 years of our
period of recorded history, though this may not be appreciated by the layman.
For the importance of these 27 years lies in the recondite dismantling
of the binary creation, the supreme achievement of this Age.
In a manifestation of this order there are various stages to be
respected. The first is the Seeing, as when the Mother first entered this
Chamber in the Subtle dimension. As such it was the seed of the entire
experience. This Seeing covered the first days of January, 1970. It was
as if veils were drawn aside and her luminous Eye cast light into that
'hidden chamber closed and mute'. And there lay the Treasures.
From that point the 'churning' began, particularly from the time
the actual construction was set on its way, a date and hour set by the
Mother herself. Later, on the actual foundation stone she wrote, Om.
What I wish to highlight is the fact that in a most precise manner
the experience of constructing this temple reenacted the Churning of the
Milky Ocean myth. Treasures arose as well as an initial poison, as the
myth conveys, duly consumed by Shiva. Therefore he is also known as Neelakanta,
or the Blue-Throated One, because the poison remained blocked in his throat
and turned it blue. By this magnanimous act he saved the world. Shiva is
also known as Mahakala, the Great Time. In what way might Time then be
connected to the generation of poison as well as the treasures that followed?
And what role might Shiva play? These questions are answered in the Puranic
tales themselves. But our desire is to find the answers, the same as of
old, in contemporary history in the making.
To begin, let me demonstrate how the Vedic temple is reestablished in and through the Mother's vision, and how all its essential features
are not only captured in her original plan but enhanced, rendered in stone
in an unparalleled exaltation of that original truth-seeing of old.
The Churning of the Milky Ocean myth has several versions, some
quite elaborate in detail. For the purpose of our study we need only dwell
on certain essential features or greater lines of the tale. We note therefore
that the stage is set for the act by descriptions of the great commotion
among forces occupying the three worlds and that the powers inhabiting
these realms, or dimensions, appeal to Brahma, the Creator, to come to
their succour and put order therein. Brahma, in turn, sends them to Vishnu,
the Preserver, who himself carries out the great Churning. Thus order or cosmos comes into being.
The myth is concerned primarily with establishing the central role
of the Axis in creation. This much is very clear. But there is more involved
and this has reference to certain important or key features of our material
dimension. This simple tale in fact sheds light on the very structure of
Form. Indeed this, it must be stated, is the purpose of the myth. And this
feature pertains to macrocosms as well as microcosms. It pertains as well
to the primordial age as well as to the stages of cosmic evolution well
beyond the so-called Big Bang.
But was there ever any such thing as a Big Bang? According to the
myth creation did not come into being by anything of the sort, and especially
not through any process of collapse of energy. It was simply the
emergence of an axis and then the conspiracy to set that 'churning'. That
the myth refers to the elaboration of the physical components of our universe
is obvious from the fact that it adopts the symbol of churning the Milky
Ocean, or the Milky Way, and then from this motion gradually the
treasures arise as butter would from the curdled, churned creamy substance.
There is, in addition, a separation process in the manufacture of butter;
the same does indeed occur in the cosmic process until finally the substance
of form emerges from this primordial soup, as it were, and the dross is
It is another demonstration of the consistency or the Vedic Knowledge
that milk is used in this grand myth, mother of all others. For the foundation
of the Seeing is ever that sacred Cow, Surabbi, as she is known,
or Kamadhenu. Indeed, the very first crystallised form that emerges
from the churned 'milk' is precisely the Cow, Surabhi.
Science must then ask what the nature of an axis is and what are
its origins. We are of course aware that macrocosmic bodies do indeed possess
axes and that they 'churn away' around their fixed poles. But how did this
come into being in the first place? We seem to take for granted that axes
always existed or that in some way, unknown to us, they arose simultaneously
with the first crystallsed substance. This hypothesis may not be sufficient
to understand the nature of our physical dimension because, as the ancient
Vedic Seer realised in the dawn of history, the discovery of the origin
of the axis is essential both for the proper understanding of the cosmic
process and evolution, as well as the evolution of smaller bodies and finally
the human species. Given this central importance, the axis is found in
all cultural expressions of the subcontinent which can trace their roots
to that original Vedic act of seeing.
The next feature of the myth to note is the setting in motion of the churning rod. To achieve this the services of Vasuki are demanded.
The Serpent is thus wrapped around the churning stick and - please note
- the powers of both Darkness and Light are employed for the great tugging
of Vasuki's head and tail. Finally they complete the labour, the result
of which is the emergence of treasured Forms, first of which is Surabhi
the sacred Cow.
Why a cow, we might ask? In Vedic symbolism, given the use of dual
meanings of words in Sanskrit, cow is equally a ray. But, as I have
pointed out elsewhere in this series, the Cow indicates that luminous consciousness
of the solar world, prior to differentiation. Indeed, the churning
of her precious 'milk' is intended to produce just that: differentiated
forms. We are thus reminded of this when the Seer relates that Surabhi
is the very first 'form' to arise from the primordial milky ocean churned
so valiantly by gods and demons alike, under the beneficent overseer, Vishnu,
stabilised on the mighty Tortoise.
Two points must be noted: the relevance of centrality and axial alignment, both magnificently displayed in the Angkor Vat
sculptured rendition of the tale. Indeed, the perfect Centre - in this
case the Mountain - is what engenders an axis. But the myth is very specific
in that the involvement of Vishnu is necessary for any of this to take
place. It is Vishnu of whom the Evolutionary Avatars are said to be emanations,
who not only sets the axis in motion but who, in his Tortoise form, provides
the prerequisite stability.
Hence a stable point is required, a foothold, as it were.
Only then can the axis be churned and order be made of the chaos. This
is an ever recurring exercise, however. Vishnu periodically is called upon
to 'put order' in the chaos of life, of Time, and to reestablish that 'Stable Constant', as I have called it; or, on other occasions, the
Vedic ecliptic Base. The Evolutionary Avatar is his direct instrument for
this mighty periodic Churning which must take place at regular intervals
if the cosmic Machine is to be kept 'churning'.
This introduces a further element. The question of generation of
energy. Indeed, every cosmic body possessing an axis and in rotation around
that 'churning rod' is a generator of energy. This, indeed, is the deepest purpose of all macrocosmic bodies. Their revolutions generate the
energy that propels material creation forward in Time (and not backward,
or to collapse upon itself). But not only does the macrocosmic body serve
this function. The human structure is equally a generator of energy; with
the difference that our species, for example, is hopelessly aligned to
produce collapse. That is, the energy turns back upon itself, consumes
itself, as it were. Brought to a more appreciable level, it is a structure
which does not repose upon the Tortoise, which has no stable constant or
base to uphold its 'churning', and that therefore begins to age at a certain
critical turning point in its evolution and begins to consume itself or
feed upon an energy supply which has not made contact with an ever-replenishing
source. Expansion is overtaken by contraction in such a situation. They
are not Simultaneous directions or mutually supportive.
What this means is that the churning, by virtue of a certain axial
alignment, ceases to produce expanding energy or growth, if you will, the
process being fed by a replenishing source of energy; contraction is then
experienced. This is a turning in on itself, or a source which is not unlimited
but is rather subject to the limitations of a self-enclosed system. The
rest of our lives thereafter serve simply to eat our energy base away.
There is no further replenishing source insofar as the Tortoise is missing.
More appropriately, we do not possess an axial alignment based on centrality
(Mt Meru). Ours is a binary system by consequence of which the two directions
are not mutually supportive but at odds with each other. Tension arises
from the contest and this is the description of the world we have created in our own image.
The creation of a perfect Centre is then the means to make contact
with the Source in the other dimension, the Vedic Solar World or SWAR.
In so doing, the instrument is perfectly balanced, poised not on an off-centre
cross as the mortal human creation is, so accurately depicted in Christian
symbolism by the Cross on which Jesus is nailed. In the supramental body
the perfect Centre engenders an intersection of the two fundamental cosmic
directions, contraction and expansion, mutually supportive by virtue of
this centred poise and therefore possessing an axis aligned in such a manner
as to be that sacred Pillar, that 'Skambha' up-pillaring creation.
This means, quite simply, that fullness lies at the core
of a sun, a material sun and a luminous sun of consciousness which is the
birthright of all creatures born on planet Earth where this alignment can
manifest. The generation of energy in the core of the Sun is due to the
centre and axis which sustains it (the tortoise/stable constant
of the myth) and therefore no collapse is experienced. Similarly, the human
being in transition to a gnostic being has to bring about a new alignment
in his or her consciousness-being in order for contact with the Fullness
to occur, in order to 'become the Sun', as the Veda prophesies.
In the myth we are shown the structure of a unitary system More than this, the myth is a prophecy - as indeed all true myths are -
which relates the actions of the Evolutionary Avatars in 'putting order'.
And, more especially, in bringing into being the unitary system based on
a perfect centre; or a centering process which generates a perfect axial
alignment whereby that collapse, that turning back upon itself cannot occur.
This is indicated in the cosmic order by the Midday Sun, the Ray that 'casts
The Churning Mountain myth is indicative of a world in chaos or
on the border between a binary and unitary system. The tension described
is similar to our stage of evolution. Vishnu stands for that perfect centre
which comes into being in the evolutionary process - that is, in
the recondite processes of time in the material dimension - through the
action of the Evolutionary Avatars.
All these elements have been reestablished in the mythic
dimension, as I have described in the last issue with the 'seeing' of The
Magical Carousel in March of 1970. Now we must search for these same
elements in the reestablished temple, product of the Mother's 'seeing'.
Indeed, her act preceded mine by three months and without which I could
not have seen, could not have entered my own inner recesses; or
that 'hidden chamber closed and mute', to use Sri Aurobindo's description
from his epic poem, Savitri, which does indeed describe the true
character of that recess.
The body's rules bound not the spirit's powers:
When life had stopped its beats, death broke not in;
He dared to live when breath and thought were still.
Thus could he step into that magic place
Which few can even glimpse with hurried glance
Lifted for a moment from mind's laboured works
And the poverty of Nature's earthly sight.
All that the Gods have learned is there self-known.
There in a hidden chamber closed and mute
Are kept the record graphs of the cosmic scribe,
And there the tables of the sacred Law,
There is the Book of Being's index page,
The text and glossary of the Vedic truth
Are there; the rhythms and metres of the stars
Significant of the movements of our fate:
The symbol powers of number and of form,
And the secret code of the history of the world
And Nature's correspondence with the soul
Are written in the mystic heart of life.
Savitri, Book 1, Canto 5, CE, page 74-5.
The Mother Accelerates the Ocean of Time
When the Mother penetrated the subtle dimension and entered the
Chamber, she let loose upon the world that sacred Ray. She set in motion
the 'churning'. All were gathered together, - the Gods and the titans,
the powers of Light and Darkness. Indeed, she was more than specific about
her act when she declared, after 18 days of battling with her entourage
over the question of whose vision to be implemented by the architects,
hers or theirs, that she was entrusting the operation to the 'force of
Consciousness' to sort out the energies. She used the French word, décanter (to decant), which refers specifically to a settling of sediment, leaving
the pure substance free. She stated,
'You know, I do not believe in external decisions. I simply believe
in one thing: the force of Consciousness which is making a pressure like that [crushing gesture] and the pressure goes on becoming greater
... which means that it will sort out [decant] the people. 'I believe only
in that - the pressure of the Consciousness. All the rest, they are man-made
things. They do them more or less well, and then it lives, and then it
dies, and then it changes, and then it decomposes and then ... everything
they have done. it is not worth the trouble. The power of execution must
come from above, like that, imperative... [gesture of descent]. And for
that, this [the Mother points to her forehead], this must keep quiet. Not
to say, "oh, that must not be, oh! we ought to do...... Peace, peace,
peace. He knows better than you what is needed. There. 'So, since there
are not many who can understand, I say nothing. I watch and I wait...'.
(The Matrimandir Dialogues, TVN, 1/6 p. 44).
In these brief words the Mother prophesied the events which were
to accompany the journey of her Temple through tumultuous corridors of
time and circumstance in a process very much akin to the Churning of the
Milky Ocean. Central to both is the Evolutionary Avatar, emanation of Vishnu.
Essential to both is Time, set in accelerated motion with the Mother's
original act of seeing which drew aside certain veils and released
energy. The Act of Seeing is thus a power. Every yogic act of this
order does indeed release energy. It is not simply passive, as one's condition
before a cinema screen. When a Yogi penetrates a particular subtle plane
or dimension, he or she allows the essence of that plane to filter down
to Earth, and, in certain highly advanced achievements of this order, to
find a firm and lasting foothold here. This is especially evident when
Time is an ally in the process and not the Destroyer. Then the seeds
of that Seeing are carried on and on in the evolutionary process, brought
to fruition as it were by Time. And insofar as we are dealing with a release
of energy, it is this act which causes an acceleration.
The contemporary unfolding of the ancient myth witnessed the same
protagonists as of old. Both gods and titans took part. Both engaged in
the labour of churning the mighty axis of Mount Meru, utilising Vasuki
- or Time. And, given the Mother's uncanny ability to identify the forces
at her disposal, she did indeed hand over to the titans the hardest part
of the labour, the part which would produce 'poisonous fumes' thrust into
the faces of these demons, possessors of unsurpassable physical-vital power.
Thus, the actual physical construction was given to those in her
entourage fashioned by destiny and constitution in such a manner as to
permit them to carry the churning to completion in spite of those poisonous
fumes they were constantly exposed to and consuming. Indeed, it is important
to note that the more accomplished instruments, the more commendable in
a sense were the titans, inasmuch as they possess a tenacity and will unparalleled
by anything the gods can offer to the Divine Labour. But the gods too are
required in equal measure, aligned on either side of the Rod so that a
balanced and orderly churning may ensue on the basis of the two powers
aligned along the horizontal axis. Vishnu, the Preserver and spirit of
the Avatar, stands central in the vertical alignment setting the rhythm
as a coxswain would of old in the rhythmic rowing of a ship. He sets the
Pulse, the harmony both for gods and titans.
The Mother may also have been as naughty as Vishnu in tricking the
titans, or Asuras, into accepting to hold Vasuki's head, through whose
mouth the noxious fumes were to emanate. In the myth the deception by Vishnu
of the Asuras is described in delightful detail. The Asuras are fooled
into demanding to hold Vasuki's head by the simple fact that the Devas pretended to want that position in the Churning Act. Limited as
the Asuras are in their vision, they immediately deduced that the head
was the best position and that Vishnu would be favouring the gods if it
were granted to them. They remonstrated before him, voicing their grievance
and pleading for justice. Vishnu, a party to the ruse - nay, its creator
readily appeased the Asuras by granting them the Serpent's head to hold
which was being so coveted by the gods, to all appearances. The churning
was thus begun on this basis, by this ruse.
Contemporary history in the making reveals a very similar ruse.
The coveted position in the case of the Mother's creation was the actual physical centre as well as the actual physical labour. That is,
to hold possession of the physical construction. And that she did indeed
grant to the titans who, as tenaciously as their counterparts of old, clung
to the 'head' with all their might, never releasing it for one moment.
And it is there, from that cauldron, that the fumes arose. That is, the
waste, so essential a product of a true churning of time.
The entire operation must be viewed as a mighty machine, a cosmic
generator of energy necessary in order to set time moving in higher gears,
or to avoid collapse of energy. The period reserved for the acceleration
is 27 years - or 3 x 9. In calendar time, it began exactly with the onset
of the construction, 1971 , or the start of the last three enneads of the
millennium - 1971 to 1998. It is more than evident to even the most materially-minded
observer, in whatever field of human endeavour, that this period has indeed
seen the most remarkable 'acceleration' of our age. We have the titans
to thank for this spectacular advance.
And the gods? What has been, and continues to be, their contribution,
as well as their recompense? While the titans hold the coveted 'head' (and
enjoy the noxious fumes in the bargain), what is the reward of the gods?
Clearly the tail is the less important or prominent position. But in this
case, being at the other end of the pole, away from that vexing mouth of
Vasuki emanating poisonous wastes, the atmosphere is clear, uncontaminated,
as clean as mountain air. The gods also tug , they too are engaged in the
hard labour. But Vasuki does not cloud their vision with his fumes.
They can thus see.
The objective of the churning is a stirring of the Milky Ocean. that is, the vast expanse of Consciousness. This is what the Cow
stands for: With her in the creation of material things is the Horse, or force. They describe together the axis of Being of macro and microcosm, consciousness-force.
Thus the churning implies that the undifferentiated consciousness
must be set in motion in such a manner as to produce differentiated forms.
But the essence of that Consciousness is light. Hence Cow, go, also
means ray in Sanskrit. The Cow Surabhi, first of the treasures to
emerge is the equivalent of a consolidated body of Light. In more appreciable
terms it is a body of knowledge, or veda. And indeed one
of the 'treasures' stolen by the Asuras at the time of the churning was
precisely the Vedas. The tale describes the ruses employed by Vishnu and
the gods to rescue them, which did come to pass.
On the other end of the pole is Force. Thus the churning demands
the contribution of instruments for the act who embody power. Consequently,
both gods and titans engage in the churning in equal measure. They set
the mighty Axis in motion which requires this alignment of light and darkness, or consciousness-force, as embodied by gods and titans.
The Axis holds them to itself, thereby bringing order into the chaos; or
differentiating forms from the undifferentiated essence of the Supreme
It is clear from this brief analysis of the myth that order is synonymous
with axis, and that no harmony of elements can come into being without
that central Mt Meru; and for Mt Meru to serve in this noble act of creating
order there must, above all else, come into being the stable constant,
the base, the Evolutionary Avatar in the mythic form of the Tortoise.
© Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet, 1993
Director, Aeon Centre of Cosmology
Tamil Nadu, South India