Now I’ll attempt to demystify the story I recounted briefly in the post entitled, Thiru Neela Kantam is a weird sound. Where did it come from? What does it mean?”

It represents seeking self-realization through the  focus of the mind, and the control of the senses and desires and practice of self-discipline.

The gods and demons represent the positives and negatives of the personality. The involvement of both the gods and the demons signifies that integration and balance of the positives and negatives is necessary when  seeking bliss through spiritual practice.   Both the energies must be put to work for the common goal.

The ocean of milk is the mind or the human consciousness. The mind is like an ocean while the thoughts and emotions are the waves in the ocean.

Mandhara, the mountain symbolizes concentration. The word Mandhara is made up of two words Mana (mind) and Dhara (a single line) which means holding the mind in one line. This is possible only by concentration.

The snake used as a rope for churning, symbolizes desire. The snake used in the churning of the ocean denotes that the gods and the demons held desire-even though it was a desire to seek immortality, it was a desire non-the-less – as a rope and churned the mind with the help of concentration and withdrawal of the senses. Desire, if not controlled will overpower and destroy an individual.

The poison symbolizes suffering and pain which is a counter-reaction of the mind and body, that one undergoes at the beginning of spiritual practice. When the mind is subjected to intense concentration, the first thing that comes out of the process is intense suffering and great inner turmoil. These must be resolved otherwise further progress is not possible.

Lord Shiva symbolizes the ascetic principle. His role in this story as the consumer of poison suggests that one can deal with the early problems of spiritual life by cultivating the qualities of Lord Shiva, namely, courage, initiative, willingness, discipline, simplicity, austerity, detachment, compassion, pure love and asceticism.

Like a Bollywood movie, this story has many subplots.  This just scratches the surface.  I’ll explore further and keep you posted with the findings.

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Thiru Neela Kantam (tee roo neeeee la cannnn tummmm)
This sound phrase or mantra comes from the Sanskrit meaning ‘blue throat’. What the heck? What does this have to do with karma you say?
I’d like to share a really cool story about “The Churning of the Milky Ocean” in Hindu mythology that uses archetypes to relay to us many esoteric themes. In this case I’ll stick to the theme or aspect of karma.

Cool Story: Samudra Manthan aka The Churning of the Milky Ocean
Indra, the king of heaven was cursed by a great sage one day, when the sage offered a garland to bless him with fortune came across a sage who offered him a special garland. Indra’s elephant was irritated by its smell, grabbed the garland and stomped it into the ground. This enraged the sage by this seemingly disrespectful act and cursed him and all the other gods in heaven by taking away all of their strength, energy, and fortune.

Before that, the gods had a bit more power to overcome the demons but after this many battles were fought to gain control over the universe. They each wanted to make the rule permanent so sought out the nectar of immortality that was located at the bottom of the milky ocean. The gods were advised to be very diplomatic with the demons if they wanted an opportunity to have the nectar, so they formed an alliance with demons to jointly churn the ocean and then share it among them. The demons went for it.

They decided that the best way to retrieve the nectar was to churn it up from the bottom. They used a mountain for the churning tool and a snake for the churning rope. The gods held the tail of the snake, while the demons held its head, and they pulled on it alternately causing the mountain to rotate, which in turn churned the ocean. The mountain soon sank and the snake, feeling queasy from all of the twisting and squeezing, vomited up its poison.

The poison was toxic enough to destroy all of creation. Shiva was called upon to save the day and out of His compassion, He drank the poison before it could corrupt the world. It was so strong that it changed the color of Shiva’s neck to blue. For this reason, he is also called Neelakantha (the blue-necked one, nila = “blue”, kantha = “throat”).


How does this apply to your life?  To your karma?  Stay tuned and I’ll attempt to decipher the meaning of the myth.