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Story of Origin of Goddess Lakshmi and Samudra Manthan - First Appearance of Goddess Lakshmi

Story of Origin of Goddess Lakshmi and Samudra Manthan (Sagar Mantha), or churning of ocean, is found in the Mahabharata and Srimad Bhagavad Purana. Samudra Manthan was performed by Devas and Asuras to obtain elixir of life, Amrita. Numerous things emerged during the churning of ocean. Among the things emerged one was Goddess Lakshmi. This was the first appearance of Goddess Lakshmi.

In the story of the Samudra Manthan, the devas (Demi gods led by Indra and the other divinities) were cursed by the Sage Durvasa, such that they lose all their strength. As a result of the curse asuras (demons), take control of the universe by defeating the demigods.

Demigods led by Indra go to Lord Vishnu for help, who advises that only the nectar, which resides at the bottom of the celestial ocean of milk (Ksheer [milk] + sagar [ocean]; sometimes alluded to the Milky Way galaxy) can make them strong again, and they would become immortal. However, the ocean would need to be churned in order for the nectar to surface, and this was a task they couldn’t do alone. They would need to seek the help of the demons for this, with the lure of the nectar.

For the churning of the ocean, demons and demigods sought the help of the mountain Mandara to serve as the churning rod.

Vasuki, the king of snakes (the snake around Lord Shiva’s neck) was approached to serve as the rope for the churning and to be bound around Mount Mandara.

The demigods were to pull one end of the giant serpent, and the asuras, the other. The demons held the head of the snake, while the demigods, its tail. The churning went on for a 1,000 years.

The force of the churning was so great that the mountain began to sink. Lord Vishnu then took the form of a huge turtle (Kurma avatar) and, like an island, supported the mountain on his back.

 The asuras turned pale due to the fumes and coming out of the mouths of Vasuki, the snake (as they were closer to the head). Then, a terrible poison came out from the ocean. Lord Shiva swallowed the poison and his throat turned blue since then.

A total of 14 valuables emerged from the ocean, which were divided by the devas and the asuras. 
  • Kamadhenu, the wish-granting cow was taken by Vishnu and given to the sages. 
  • Uchaishravas, the 7-headed horse was given to the demons/asuras. 
  • Airavata, the white elephant, was taken by Indra, the king of devas. 
  • Parijat, the tree with never-fading blossoms was taken by the devas to Swarga or heaven. Varuni, the creator of wine or alcohol, was taken by the asuras. 
  • Also produced was Chandra – the Moon, which adorned Lord Shiva’s hair.
  • Then emerged Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth. She chose to marry Lord Vishnu.
  • Finally, Dhanvantari, the divine physician emerged, holding a pot of nectar.
Srimad Bhagavata Purana states that when Goddess Lakshmi emerged from the ocean with lotus flower in her hand the Diggajas, or four elephants representing four quarters, bathed Her by pouring water from auspicious pots.

Goddess Lakshmi then chose Lord Vishnu as her consort.