Saturday, December 28, 2013

12. The Deva-Asura Battle

Vishnu who had taken the form of the damsel Mohini distributed the Amrita to the Devas. The Devas were drinking the Amrita with great delight. A member of the Asura clan Rahu was also drinking it, in the guise of a Deva. But even before he could swallow it, two of the Devas Surya (the Sun God) and Soma (also known as Chandra, the Moon God) discovered his identity and exposed him by shouting aloud. Vishnu, angered by the deception, cut off  Rahu’s head by hurling his discuss (the Sudarsana Chakra, the weapon in the form of a wheel, always wielded by Vihnu  on his right hand) at him.

The huge head of Rahu cut off by the discus rose up to the sky even as dreadful cries emanated from his mouth, while his headless body fell on the earth, making the Earth tremble with her mountains, forests and islands. From that time, there has been a long standing feud between Rahu (represented by his head) and the two Gods that exposed his deception - Surya and Soma. During the Solar and Lunar eclipses, Rahu's head attempts to swallow Surya and Soma respectively.

Lord Vishnu then quitting his enchanting female form hurled many terrible weapons at the Asuras, making them tremble with fear. The battle between the Devas and the Asuras was fought on the sea  shore. After a long fight involving the use of many weaons by both sides, the Asuras were vanquished by the Devas. Most of the Asuras fell down to the earth or were drowned in the sea.

After winning the battle,  the Devas paid due respect to the Mandara mountain and placed it again on its own base. The Devas returned  to their own abodes after making  the heavens resound with their shouts On returning to the heavens, Indra and the other deities made over to Narayana the vessel of Amrita for safe custody.

Next Post:  The Curse on the Serpents

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