Mahadev drinking the Kalakuta poison (Image By Author Sister Nivedita and Ananda Kentish — credit details at the end of the post)

Table of Contents (The Complete Mahabharata in Simple English)

Previous Post: The Tired Gods are Re-Energized by Narayana to Continue Churning

Note: In the previous post, we read about how the waters of the churned ocean took on the qualities of nectar as the extracts of trees and herbs mixed with it. Those who drank the water became immortal. However, even though the water took on nectar-like qualities, the nectar that everyone was hoping for did not arise from the ocean. After churning for a long time, the Gods were exhausted to a point where they could churn no longer. They resumed after receiving blessings from Narayana.

In this post, we will read about all the glorious things and beings that emerged from the ocean as the churning continued. We will also encounter the situation that occurred when the deadly Kalakuta poison emerged from the ocean.

After some time, as the churning continued, the mild moon of a thousand rays emerged from the ocean, then came Goddess Lakshmi who was dressed in white, then Soma, then came the white horse Uchchaihsravas, and then the celestial gem Kaustubha which Narayana wears on his chest.

Soon after emergin, Lakshmi, Soma, and Uchchaihsravas approached the high gods (the Trinity: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva).

Then the event everyone had been waiting for happened: Dhanwantari arose carrying with him the white pot of nectar in his hands.

As soon as the asuras saw Dhanwantari, they cried out aloud, “The nectar is ours!”

After Dhanwantari, the huge elephant Airavata who had two pairs of tusks arose from the ocean. Indra, the wielder of the thunderbolt, took the elephant as his vehicle.

The churning continued and the last thing to come out of the ocean was also the deadliest – the Kalakuta poison. As soon as it appeared, it blew up into a huge fire with gaseous fumes and engulfed the entire earth in its venom. The mere smell of that deadly substance filled the three worlds with fear and confusion.

The Neelkantha Mahadev Temple in Rishikesh: Image by Rahuldewangan – Own work, Public Domain,

Lord Brahma sought help from Shiva, who swallowed that poison for the safety of all creation. The Divine Maheshwara (Shiva) held it in his throat, and from that time onwards, he is known as Nilakantha (blue-throated) Mahadev.

Note: In the next post, we will read about the Devas and Asuras fighting for the nectar and how Narayana intervened.

Table of Contents (The Complete Mahabharata in Simple English)

Next Post: Vishnu’s Mohini Avtaar

Image Credit: Author Sister Nivedita and Ananda Kentish Nandalal Bose –, Public Domain,