One day while Indra(the king of heaven), riding an elephant came across the sage Durvasa, who offered him a garland. Indra accepted the garland and placed it on an elephant’s trunk to prove that he is not an egoistic lord. But elephant knowing Indra’s ego, threw the garland on the ground. Raged by this act, sage Durvasa cursed all the gods of heaven to lose their power and fortune, which then led the god’s defeat by the Asuras(demons) in the battles and asuras got the control on the universe.
The Devas(lords of heaven) sought Vishnu‘s(heavenly god) help, who advised them to treat the Asuras in a diplomatic manner. The Devas formed an alliance with the Asuras to jointly churn the ocean for the nectar of immortality and to share it among themselves. However, Vishnu told the Devas that he would arrange for them alone to obtain the nectar.
The churning of the Ocean of Milk was an elaborate process: Mount Mandara (a mountain) was used as the churning rod, and Vasuki (snake) who abides on Shiva’s neck, became the churning rope. The Asuras(demons) demanded to hold the head of the snake, while the Devas(lords), taking advice from Vishnu, agreed to hold its tail. As a result, the Asuras were poisoned by fumes emitted by Vasuki(snake). Despite this, the Devas and the Asuras pulled back and forth on the snake’s body alternately, causing the mountain to rotate, which in turn churned the ocean. When the mountain was placed on the ocean, it began to sink. Vishnu(heavenly god), in the form of the Kurma(turtle), came to their rescue and supported the mountain on his shell.
The Samudra Manthana(churning of ocean) process gave birth to many things such as the lethal poison known as
1) Halahala, which in some versions of the story, escaped from the mouth of the serpent king as the demons and gods churned. Shiva(the almighty) consumed the poison to protect the three worlds which caused a burn in his throat and his throat turned blue, hence he was called Neelakanta (the blue-throated one; “neela” = “blue”, “kantha” = “throat” in Sanskrit).
2) Lakshmi , the Devi of Fortune and Wealth
3) Apsaras, various divine nymphs likeRambha, Menaka etc
4) Varuni, – somewhat reluctantly (she appeared dishevelled and argumentative) – accepted the Asuras.
Likewise, threetypes of supernatural animals appeared:
5) Kamadhenu, the wish-granting cow, taken by Brahma and given to the sages so that the ghee from her milk could be used for Yajna and similar rituals.
6) Airavata and several other elephants, taken by Indra.
7) Uchhaishravas, the divine seven-headed horse, given to Bali.
Three valuables were also produced:
8) Kaustubha, the most valuable Ratna in the world, worn by Vishnu.
9) Parijata, the divine flowering tree with blossoms that never fade or wilt, taken to Indraloka by the Devas.
10) Sharanga, a powerful bow, symbolic of the Asuras’ belligerence.
Additionally produced were;
11) Chandra, the moon which adorned Shiva’s head.
12) Dhanvantari, the Vaidya of the Devas’ with Amrita, the nectar of immortality.
The Amritha (the nectar of immortality)
Finally, Dhanwantari, the heavenly physician, emerged with a pot containing the amritha, the heavenly nectar of immortality. Fierce fighting ensued between the Devas and the Asuras for it. To protect it from the Asuras, Garuda(heavenly eagle) took the pot and flew away from the battlefield.
The Devas seeked the help of Vishnu, thus Vishnu took the form of Mohini(Goddess of Enchantment), as a beautiful and enchanting damsel, distracted the Asuras; the she took the amritha and distributed it among Devas. An Asura named Rahuketu, disguised himself as a deva and drank some nectar. Surya and Chandra deva noticed this and informed to Mohini(Vishnu). before the nectar could pass the asura’s throat, cut off his head with her discus, the Sudarshana chakra. However, some of the nectar had managed to get down his throat and he did not die: from that day, his head was called Rahu and his body Ketu, which both later became planets. The story ends with the rejuvenated devas defeating the asuras.
Lord Dhanwantari is the God of Ayurveda, and it is believed that he has the nectar(amritha) for immortality.