The All Munificent Purushottama - Part 4

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.

This is in continuation of the previous offering titled, "The All Munificient Purushottama". In the previous offering we saw how the Supreme Lord lowers Himself for the elevation and auspiciousness of others and hence called Purushottama or Uttama Purusha.

We will see how the Lord exhibited His quality of being Purushottama in His incarnation as a transcendental tortoise (Kurma  moorthy)

Once the devatas (with direction from Lord Vishnu) entered into an agreement with demons to churn the ocean of milk in order to obtain nectar. They used Mandara mountain as churning rod and Vasuki as serpent. When they started churning, Mandara mountain started sinking due to its weight and everyone was clueless what to do. The Lord immediately manifested His Kurma (tortoise) form which is eight hundred thousand miles long and lifted the mountain from the bottom of the milk ocean. He supported on His shell and prevented it from sinking. Only because of this, the ocean was churned and nectar was obtained.  When the demigods and demons, by the strength of their arms, rotated mandara Mountain on the back of the extraordinary tortoise, the tortoise accepted the rolling of the mountain as a means of scratching His body, and thus He felt a pleasing sensation. After this pastime was over, all the devatas prayed to Lord Kurma and prayed to Him, “O Lord, Anantha Sesha is supporting bhu mandala on His hoods effortlessly. However, He wants your personal association and support in this glorious form of Kurma “. Lord Kurma said “So be it” and the Lord till now remains below Lord Ananta and supported Ananta.

Lord Kurma is rightly called Purushottama (one who lowers Himself for other’s benefit) because of the following reasons.

  • The Lord personally did not need the nectar nor was He interested in the nectar. But He supported the Mandara mountain as Kurma so that the devatas can get nectar.
  • Also the Lord’s spiritual form is meant for meditation by the sages and worship by the great devotees with best of paraphernalia. But here we see that He is ready to place the mountain on the back of His spiritual form and support it for the benefit of devatas and all living entities.
  • And rolling a mountain on His back is actually a disrespect to the Lord’s spiritual form. But due to His great mercy, the Lord accepted it as scratching sensation and became pleased with it. No reputed and opulent person will agree to place a heavy weight on his back for the benefit of others. But Lord Kurma did this as He was interested in the welfare of His devotees and was not bothered about His personal reputation.
  • And acharyas compare the churning of milky ocean to churning of our consciousness by the process of bhakti and love of God which is the ultimate goal is compared to nectar. And our entire efforts in bhakti is supported by the Lord’s mercy. Without Lord Kurma, churning of the ocean was not possible though devatas and asuras were willing to put effort. Similarly without the Lord’s mercy in every stage we cannot put efforts also in bhakti. The Lord appeared as Kurma to teach this great lesson.
  • The Lord need not personally support mountain from sinking.  He can do it just by His sweet will. But He personally did this to give the below teaching to all living entities. Srimad Bhagavatam 12.13.2  states this as follows.

pṛṣṭhe bhrāmyad amanda-mandara-giri-grāvāgra-kaṇḍūyanān
kamahākter bhagavata śvāsānilā pāntu va
yat-saskāra-kalānuvartana-vaśād velā-nibhenāmbhasā
yātāyātam atandritaṁ jala-nidher nādyāpi viśrāmyati

When the Supreme Personality of Godhead appeared as Lord Kūrma, a tortoise, His back was scratched by the sharp-edged stones lying on massive, whirling Mount Mandara, and this scratching made the Lord sleepy. May you all be protected by the winds caused by the Lord’s breathing in this sleepy condition. Ever since that time, even up to the present day, the ocean tides have imitated the Lord’s inhalation and exhalation by piously coming in and going out.

The purport states that “At times we alleviate an itching sensation by blowing upon it. Similarly, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura explains, the breathing of the Supreme Personality of Godhead can alleviate the itching sensation within the minds of mental speculators, as well as the itching of the material senses of conditioned souls engaged in sense gratification. Thus by meditating on the windy breath of Lord Kūrma — the tortoise incarnation — all categories of conditioned souls can be relieved of the deficiencies of material existence and come to the liberated, spiritual platform. One must simply allow the pastimes of Lord Kūrma to blow within one’s heart like a favourable breeze; then one will surely find spiritual peace.”

Lord Kurma thus did these activities so that we can remember Him and be relieved of the itching sensation of our senses and attain spiritual peach and perfection. And hence the scriptures (Kurma Purana) glorify Lord Kurma as Purushottama as follows.

tvayaiva srushthimakhilam tvameva paramāgatih,
tvam pitā sarva bhutānām tvam mātā purushottama

All this creation emanates from You and You are the ultimate goal of all living entities. You are the mother and father of all living entities and You are Purushottama.

Krishna willing we shall see about the other incarnations in the ensuing offerings.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Narahari Krishna das