A take on a tale from Hindu mythology. Mohini the seductress helps the gods gain the power of immortality.
In the first Yuga, or age, which goes by the name of Satya Yuga, the Universe was populated on three planes. There were the Devas, the benign and generally benevolent godlike beings in the plane called Swargalok (Heaven). The Asuras were powerful nature-beings who dwelt in Patala (Underworld). These two races occupied different celestial planes that coexisted with the mortal plane that was populated by the Manavas, or mortal men.
The devas and the asuras were mostly at loggerheads. Indra, the immortal leader (through successive rebirths) of the devas, was a proud and fearsome warrior. But the asuras also had some great kings and warriors, some who were just and virtuous. Asura kings like Bali and Mahishasur were reknowned warriors and learned men. They even defeated and ruled all three planes of existence in their time.
The asuras were a proud race, hungry for power; this feature of theirs was to be their doom. In their quest for power and glory, they antagonised the holy trinity, losing their favour. In contrast, the devas remained devoted to justice and righteousness (mostly), which in the long term, worked out in their favour.
This story is about the event called the “Samudra Manthan”, which literally translates to ‘churning of the ocean’. This event is significant in Hindu Mythology, as it can be considered a key point wherein the balance of power shifted radically towards the devas. The event is also metaphorically likened to the rising of Kundalini, the spiritual energy that resides at the base of the spine.
The story begins with a curse that made the devas lose their strength, energy and fortune. This gave the asuras the upper hand, and under king Bali, they defeated the devas. Aggrieved, they went to Visnu, the supreme one.
Acknowledging the fact that the asuras were upsetting the order of things, Visnu advised the devas to perform the ritual called Samudra Manthan – a colossal churning of the oceans that would throw out unique treasures, as well as Amrita, the nectar of immortality. It was this nectar which would restore the devas, and give them immortality as well.
The manthan, or churning, was an enterprise that would require not just the devas, but the asuras as well. It was decided to let the asuras in on the secret. In their quest for power, the asuras decided to cooperate with the devas. And thus began the massive enterprise.
For the churning, the peak of Mount Meru, the tallest one on earth, was chosen. The divine serpent Vasuki agreed to be the rope that would wind around the mountain peak and would alternately be tugged from the head by the asuras and the tail by the devas.
To prevent the peak from sinking, Visnu himself took on the form of a turtle, and supported the mountain below the sea.
The churning began in great earnest. And the sea frothed and foamed. Great things big and small were created from the froth – divine animals, brilliant gems, supremely libidinous dancing maidens (apsaras), unique flora… Evil things, like halahala, a deadly poison that threatened to destroy all life (until Siva swallowed it). Then arose a beautiful lady called Sri, the embodiment of fortune. She chose Visnu as her consort.
Finally, out came Amrit, enclosed in a pot of gold. The asuras saw the Amrit come out first. They let go of the snake, unbalancing the devas as they pulled on an unsupported end. They grabbed the Amrit, their greedy hands snatching the pot from one another.
The devas protested. Taking up arms, they rushed at the asuras. Weakened by the curse of Durvasa, they were easily defeated. Heady with the prospect of immortality, the asuras dispersed the deva host.
Dismayed, the devas prayed to Visnu. But he was unmoving. Power was literally in the hands of the asuras. The fate of the universe was in the balance. That’s when Sri took hold of destiny by the scruff, and changed fate.
She appeared at the edge of the asura camp, where the preparations had been made to open the pot of amrit and distribute it. She walked towards them, in the form of Mohini.
Wrapped in a few yards of gossamer thin silk that highlighted and accentuated her every curve. The only other things she had on were a nose ring and anklets.
The asuras were worshippers on nature’s might. Aggression came to them naturally. Their women folk too were spirited and lusty. Mohini came to them as the ultimate asurini.
Her movements were graceful, catlike. Each step she took towards them was firm and deliberate. Each step made her anklets sing the song of desire. And her hips swayed in tune. Each step was deliberate, made to highlight the thickening of the thighs. Each arching of the foot made her calves bulge like conch shells. Her arms swung by her side, each arm perfectly formed, with smooth velvety skin showing the hint of powerful muscles that were coiled and ready. She came towards them with her intention clear. She was there to seduce them, take them for bodily pleasures, and ravish them with her beauty and power.
A swarthy, aggressive soldier snarled and lunged at her. Mohini’s kick was so powerful that it threw the grunt thirty yards, where it landed broken, dead.
A powerfully built ogre lumbered towards her. One hand was clawing at the drawstrings of his undercloth, his intentions quite clear. Mohini just smiled at him, beckoned him on with her finger. As he reached out to grab her, she caught his wrist and wrung it hard. The crack of the wrist made the giant collapse to his knees. Mohini squeezed. The giant’s wrist was at an odd angle. Spittle flew from his mouth as he begged her to release him. Mohini reached out to his face and rubbed his cheek. The giant asura’s eyes glazed over with devotion. He was her slave.
A third asura dared to catch her from the back. But her slave smashed him in the face and drove him back. After that, none of the asuras dared to come close.
Mohini walked into the midst of the asura leaders. “I come here to claim your hero. I come here to make him my slave. Tell me, who is worthy enough to be a slave to my feet? Who amongst you is it, who will grovel at my feet? Who will drink this sweet nectar with me, and live with me forever, forever my slave?”
Almost instantly, there was clamour. Strife broke out as they all screamed and ran towards her. The surging mass of asuras climbed over each other, pulling down those in front of them, crushing to death those who fell. Each legion of rushing asuras was torn down and trampled by the mass behind them.
Mohini laughed. Her laughter was like divine music. She stretched her arms in amusement. Each limb striated with corded muscle. The heavenly display of female power was driving the asuras insane.
Playfully, Mohini jingled her anklets. She raised her right foot and swayed it rapidly. The sound of the anklets drove the horde mad with lust. To each asura, the one nearest him was like a mortal enemy. They clawed, bit, and scratched each other, moving on only after the winner had stamped the loser into the earth.
Mohini turned sideways and extended her left foot back, putting her toes on the ground. Her exposed calf bulged up like a gourd. She controlled the muscle exquisitely, making it move up and down, jangling it so that it shook and suddenly went taut, and so on.
The asuras were animals now. Bloodlust and mad hatred for each other made them murder family and friend alike. The asura camp overflowed with blood and gore. Such was the clamour that the devas wondered from afar.
In a short while, the asura camp had been decimated. Only a few remained, even these were howling and trying to crawl towards Mohini with whatever was left of their bodies. Mohini’s giant slave too had been killed. Crazed asuras had torn him apart limb to limb, with their bare hands.
Mohini sang a song, a sweet lilting melody of a flower in its prime, a flower waiting for its honeybee. The sweet lullaby was her victory song, a celebration of the female’s power over the male, of beauty and power in harmony.
Mohini walked over to the amrit and picked up the big pot. Resting it on her hip, she gracefully walked towards the deva’s camp.
Now it so happened that a powerful asura called Rahu had not been a part of the Samudra Manthan, for he was not a typical asura. He was more given to study than to warfare. He was the asura with the most knowledge of ‘Maya’, the art of illusion.
Rahu had been distracted by that haunting lullaby and drawn to the asura camp. When he saw the annihilation, he swore revenge. Using his knowledge of the dark arts, he transformed himself into a deva, so completely that apart from his looks, even his smell changed.
Rahu made his way into the deva palace. The devas were celebrating the arrival of amrit to their palace. Mohini was serving amrit with a ladle to the devas, who had all lined up to her. True to her nature, the devas were crawling to her on their hands and knees. Their eyes were moist with devotion for the celestially beautiful and powerful maiden who had single handedly vanquished their foe.
Indra, the king of the devas, had tried to grab Mohini’s calf in his hands. Mohini had let him hold on to her rock hard muscle admire the feel of feminine power. And then suddenly she had brought her calf together with her thigh, clamping his hands there. A shocked Indra tried to free his arms, but just couldn’t budge is hands. Mohini laughed at the plight of the king of the devas. She applied more pressure, making Indra scream in pain. The court of the devas laughed at the humiliation of its king.
“From now on, your prestige will diminish. Not quickly, but slowly. People will forget you, stop respecting you. You will fade into history. Your place will now be below my feet.” She raised her foot and placed it on his head. Indra’s head slumped under the weight of her foot. “Know your place, slave.” She said.
Rahu placed himself in the long line of devas who waiting to relish the divine nectar. His magic was strong, blessed as it was by Brahma, one of the trinity. No one came to know that it was not a deva, but an asura who was about to achieve immortality.
Mohini saw Rahu and smiled. As his mouth opened to receive the amrit, she leaned towards him and said, “Rahu, you don’t deceive me.” Rahu’s illusion shattered at that very moment. His power fled at her mere suggestion.
Nevertheless, a few drops of the nectar spilled into his mouth. As his tongue relished the taste and began to swallow the amrit, Mohini grabbed him by the throat. Her fingers were like Vajra, the indestructible metal. They squeezed his neck like a sponge. So strong was her grip that it crushed his Adam’s apple and choked off his airway. Rahu struggled to pry her fingers off his neck.
Mohini turned Rahu’s head to the side and squeezed his neck even more. The nectar that was in his mouth spilled out. She squeezed even harder, causing Rahu’s lower body to go in a spasm. Finally, she broke his neck with her fingers, and threw his carcass across the hall.
“Amrit shall go to the devas, and the devas only.”
She forced Indra to lick up the amrit spilled on the floor.
“Not a drop will be wasted.”