Why was Kurma avatar taken |Significance and Jayanti 2023

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When we go through the 10 Avatars of Lord Vishnu , we become curious to know why these Avatars are taken. Especially more curious to know about  “ why was Kurma avatar taken “ because the story of the churning of ocean milk ( samudra manthan )  really fascinates the common people towards itself. 

In this article we will accurately know why was the kurma avatar taken and its significance and how Jayanti 2023 is celebrated in India.

Usually Avatar is taken by the Lord of Infinite (God) to serve the non-eternal planets of the universe. There is nothing which he doesn’t do for the sake of his devotees. In fact devotees are the root cause of his Avatar.

Kurma Avatar is also one of those Avatar which took place when his devotees called him for his help. Churning of ocean milk couldn’t be possible without the help of The Infinite God that is Lord Vishnu. He is the one who is credited for churning of ocean milk and serving amrita ( immortal beverage) in the form of Mohini to devas Or demigods 

In the 6th Manvantara , Ajita ( form of Visnhu), the son of Viraja and devasambhuti, was responsible for the churning of ocean milk in the form of an divine tortoise to draw nectar for devas.

What is Kurma Avatar?

Kurma means a divine tortoise and avatar simply means the God descent on earth. The word which is used by the western people for Avatar is incarnation but the real meaning of Avatar is beyond the word incarnation.

The word Avatar should not be equalised as rebirth in the flesh because he is infinite , he is eternal bliss . He is not bound to just one realm. He is in an infinite spiritual realms. So,by summing up the two words it gives us the meaning as the descent ( avataran)of a divine tortoise or eternal tortoise.

According to Hindu scriptures, Lord Vishnu has taken 10 incarnations on the planet Earth and out of which kurma Avatar is the second incarnation of Vishnu. The first incarnation is the Matsya avatar. The churning of the milky ocean to obtain the immortal beverage ( amrta) is the most favoured tale among mankind.

Many Puranas and epics like Matsaya Purana, Garuda Purana , Naradiya Purana, Shiv Purana,Mahabharata etc mentioned about the kurma Avatar of Lord Vishnu. 

 According to Bhavishya Puran, it is said that the son of Vairaja and Sambhuti , Ajita  supported Mount Mandara (in the form of divine tortoise ) when the churning of the ocean milk took place between Gods and Demons for acquiring the nectar. It is still believed that the divine tortoise is residing in the Hiranmaya continent where the divine incarnation of Vishnu is still worshipped by Aryama

Story of Kurma Avatar

Kurma Purana is the purana which narrates the whole story of Kurma Avatar. It was first narrated by kurma ( the incarnation of Lord Vishnu ) to Indradyumna and then to different sages, Narada, Indra and others. According to Agni Purana, kurma Purana consists of 8000 slokas

Since ancient times , the Legend or the story of the kurma avatar of Lord Vishnu has been the most popular incarnation among mankind.

The story of kurma avatar goes like this :

One day, one of the great sages Durvasa went to meet Indra , the Lord of Devas or demigods to show his gratitude towards him. As a present, he offered a beautiful flower garland to Indra. Indra who was then full of lavishness and opulence offended the present by hurling the flower garland on the head of the elephant named Airavata instead of putting it around his own neck. 

Flower garland then suddenly fell from the head of Airavata and finally got squashed under his foot. 

Seeing such kind of insult and contemning, sage Durvasa in anger cursed Indra by saying ” you will soon get deprived from all your lavishness and comfort ” .

This curse of sage Durvasa made Indra and his Demi Gods powerless and finally left with nothing in hand. Soon,they were defeated by Demons . Even some of the Demigods started to lose their lives despite calling out many great sages who have mastery to regain the lives of Devas with their mistake power and techniques. They are brutally crumbled by the attacks of Demons. 

Left with no choice, they approached Brahma at Sumeru mountain and told him the miserable story of theirs. After listening to their pathetic condition he suggested them to show their deep devotion and prayer to Lord Vishnu . Accompanying Devas, Brahma reached Svetadipa which is situated in the ocean milk and together offered Vedic prayers to Lord Vishnu.

Please with the deep devotion of Devas and Brahma, Lord Vishnu appeared there ( in the form of Ajita ) and asked for a boon. They unequivocally share their pitiable condition and then requested the way out to get rid of these Demons. 

Lord Vishnu suggested them to make a deal with Demons and further added to use Mandara mountain as a churning rod and used vasuki as a rope to churn the ocean milk. And also alerted them to not panic when a poison named ” Kalakuta ” will germinate during churning the ocean milk. And at the same time, not to become solicitous for the heavenly products which will be immersed from the churning of the ocean milk. After providing this life saver opportunity to all Devas and Brahma ,he disappeared. 

Finally they started their journey to go with the task as suggested by Lord Vishnu. They first approached the king of demons “Bali Maharaj” to execute the deal. Demons agreed at one condition that if they will share the heavenly products which will emerge from the ocean milk as per their wish too. Demi Gods immediately accepted the condition.

They then departed together in search of Mandara mountain. They soon found the mountain and started to lift it up using their all heavenly powers but couldn’t get the success in balancing the magnificent mandara mountain. It started to tumble.

 Seeing such pathetic conditions of Devas and Demons, Lord Ajita ( one form of Lord Vishnu ) appeared with his  Garuda. He took up the mountain from Devas and Demons in his hand with ease and delivered it to Garuda. Garuda as instructed by Lord Ajita delivered the mountain to its destination which was the ocean milk. After completing his task of settling every one safely in the ocean milk he disappeared.

As per agreement, they started to churn  the ocean milk using serpent Vasuki as a rope and mountain Mandara as a rod. But soon the mountain started to sink into the ocean milk. It was like , their all efforts and attempt to churn the ocean milk went into vain. 

Again Lord Ajita ( form of Lord Vishnu ) seeing such pitiful condition of devas and demons, appeared there and took up the form of divine tortoise to provide the base to the magnificent mountain. 

Noticing  such heavenly task by Lord Vishnu made each one of Devas and demons fill with jubilation. 

Again they started the churning of the ocean milk ( Samudra Manthan) . During Samundra Manthan , many heavenly and earthly beings came out from it. Some of them are Mahalaxmi, Kamdhenu cow, Dhanvantari, kalpvriksha, Chandra , Apsara etc. Before Amrit which came out from the ocean milk, the poison emerged from the Samudra Manthan which was consumed by Lord Shiva. 

When ultimately, amrita came out from manthan, it was being served by Mohini ( another form of Lord Vishnu ) to all devas . And this is how the Devas were being protected by the Demons. 

Lesser known facts of kurma avatar

. During the churning of the ocean milk, Lord Vishnu in the form of Kurma Avatar felt sensation on his back which gave him pleasure to go in a sleepy mood. And this sleepy mood was eternal bliss for him. 

2. To strengthen the power of Devas and Demons to churn the ocean milk, Lord Vishnu entered into both of them as a power. 

3. As the churning was going on, the Lord Vishnu manifested himself on the peak of the Mandara mountain having multiple hands with multiple havenly products in his hands. 

4. Seeing such a divine piece of work by Lord Vishnu, all the heavenly divines like Brahma, Indra, Rudra and other divine beings showered flowers from the heavens to show their gratitude. 

5. Thailand government has named its one of the airports as Suvarnabhumi to show their huge gratitude towards Hinduism ( Kurma avatar ). The airport depicts the huge statue of churning the ocean milk by gods and demons and using naga ( vasuki) as a rope to churn the ocean milk ( samudra manthan). Here Lord Vishnu is shown at the top of the mountain to convey the message of his incarnation as a kurma. 

Significance of Kurma Avatar

1. Everyone gets protected by Lord Vishnu himself when a tornado-like situation occurs due to the breathing of kurma avtar in his sleepy condition when his back gets scratched by the sharpened Mandara mountain which was used as a rod to churn the ocean milk. 

2. His inhalation and exhalation are still present in the form of ocean tide which never ends.

3. His inhalation signifies the drawing of ocean water from the shores towards itself with great Infinity force. 

4. His exhilaration signifies the throwing of ocean water towards the shores with massive force. 

5. Both inhalation and exhalation cause massive disturbance among people but at the same time give eternal bliss to the people who enjoy this great phenomenon work of God. 

4. The Breath of the Supreme Lord gives us realisation that the eternal Bliss is the core of soul which will remain forever even after death. 

5. As we all know that Lord Krishna had enjoyed the materialistic life but at the same time was beyond or detached from the materialistic world. In the same way the breathing of kurma avtar represents Bhoga and tyaga. 

6. Getting detached from the materialistic life can bring a conditioned soul into absolute bliss. 

significance of inhalation and exhalation of Kurma avatar

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Mantra to chant for Kurma Avatar

While worshipping Kurma Avatar one can chant following Mantra :

Om asana – mantrasya meru-prastha rsih sutalam chandah

      Kurmo devata asanabhimantrani viniyogah

          Prthvi tvaya dhrta loka

        Devi tvam visnuna dhrta

     Tvam ca dharaya mam nityam

         Pavitram casanam kuru

    (  Source :- Hari-Bhakti-vilasa    ) 

Kurma Avatar Temple

There are some temples which are dedicated to the second Avatar of Lord Vishnu that is kurma Avatar. He is precisely worshipped in this form in the temple. Below are some specific temples  with names and location.

TempleLocationBuilt by
1. Kurmanathaswamy templeSri kurman village, Andhra PradeshSri Ramanujacharya
2. Gavi Ranganatha Swamy temple  Gavi village, karnatakaa great sage named Rishyashring
3 . Kurma Vadhiraja swamy templekurmai village, Andhra PradeshChola kings
Kurmanathaswamy temple

Kurma Jayanti 2023

Kurma Jayanti is the date on which the Kurma avatar or the divine tortoise ( inacarnation of Lord Vishnu ) came into existence in Satyuga . Kurma Jayanti 2023 is going to be celebrated on 5th may this year. It is celebrated for Lord Vishnu’s Avatar in the form of a divine tortoise. This divine tortoise is credited for the Samudra Manthan ( churning of ocean milk)from which ultimately the Amrita came out for the protection of Demigods. 

Kurma Jayanti

As per Hindu calendar this auspicious day is going to be celebrated on the full moon day ( purnima) of Shukla Paksh which falls in the month of Vaishakh. According to the Gregorian calendar it generally falls in the month of May or June.


After taking the holy bath very early in the morning, devotees wear Pooja vastra and during Pooja offer Tulsi leaves, Kumkum, Chandan, fragrance flower etc. Devotees do fasting for the whole day in reverence. 

During fasting they can take juice and do the japa of Lord kurma which purifies the mind and soul .


People always ask why divine beings take Avatar in the form of humans. The reason is whenever people filled with ego, ignorance and self-image start to cross their limits ,God intervenes in the form of humans to break the myth that “ I am doer and no one could be greater than me “ .

It looks painful when people don’t understand the spiritual words or eternal words due to their ignorance and then start to call it mythology which is more or less a kind of unconscious act . So, the avatar of Divine should be understood by surrendering to eternal God .

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2.Guliga daiva : Kantara stone worshipping powerful tradition
3.Dwarka :excavation of Krishna’s lost city in India
4.Lord Parshuram :Fierce incarnation who killed all kshatriyas

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