Manifestation of Vishnu as a Tortoise ||3||

1Agni said: I shall describe unto you (now) about the manifestation (of Vishnu) as a tortoise, by hearing which one’s sins will be destroyed. In days of yore the celestial gods were defeated by the demons in a battle between them.
2On account of the curse of sage Durvasas , the celestials were deprived of all their prosperity. Then they praised Vishnu who was (reclining) in the milky ocean and said, “Protect us from the demons”.
3Hari said to Brahma and others, “You make a treaty of peace with the demons for churning the ocean for securing ambrosia.
4In the interest of an important work even the enemies should be sought for union. I will make you get the ambrosia and not the demons.
5Making the (Mount) Mandara as the churning rod and (the serpent) Vasuki as the rope, you vigilantly churn the milky ocean with my help”.
6Concluding an agreement with the demons as suggested by Vishnu, (the celestials) came to the milky ocean. The celestials began to churn the ocean (from that side) where the tail of the serpent was.
7The celestials who were afflicted by the sighs of the serpent, were comforted by Hari (Vishnu). As the ocean was being churned the mountain being unsupported entered into the water.
8Then Vishnu assumed the form of a tortoise and supported the (Mount) Mandara. From the milky ocean which was being churned, first came out the poison known as Halahala.
9That poison being retained by Hara (Siva) in his neck, Siva became (known to be) Nilakantha (blue-necked). Then the goddess Varuni (The female energy of the celestial god Varuna), the Parijata (tree) and the Kaustubha (gem) came out of the ocean.
10Then came out the (celestial) kine and the nymphs. Then came out Lakshmi, who became the consort of Hari (Vishnu). Beholding her and adoring her all the celestials regained their lost prosperity.
11Then Dhanvantari, (a form of Vishnu) and founder of the (science of) Ayurveda rose up holding a water-pot full of ambrosia.
12Taking the ambrosia from his hands the demons Jambha and others having given half of it to the celestials went away with the other half. Then Vishnu assumed the form of beautiful damsel.
13Having seen that beautiful form, the demons became fascinated and said, “O fair-faced one! Be our wife, take this ambrosia and make us drink it.”
14-15Hari (Vishnu) said, “Let it be so”, and took it from them and made the celestials drink it. As Rahu assumed the form of the Moon and drank a portion, he was detected by the Sun and the Moon and was brought to the notice of (Vishnu). His head was severed by his enemy Hari (Vishnu). That severed head of Rahu then said to Hari, the bestower of gifts (by whose grace) it had attained immortality.
16“When the intoxicated Rahu would seize the Sun and the Moon, may the charities made on that occasion be imperishable.”
17Vishnu in the company of all the immortals said, “Be it so” and cast off his female form. He was then requested by Hara to show that form (again).
18(Lord) Hari (Vishnu) showed the feminine form to Rudra (Siva). Sambhu (Siva) being captivated by the illusory power, renouncing Gauri (Parvati) sought that feminine form.
19Becoming nude and behaving like a mad man, he held the damsel by her hair. She got herself freed and ran away. He too followed her.
20Wherever the seminal fluid of Hara dropped, there came into being sacred places of lingas and gold.
21Then knowing her as illusory, Hara (Siva) assumed his original form. Then Hari (Vishnu) told Siva, “O Rudra (Siva) My illusory power has been conquered by you.
22-23There is no other male on the earth besides you, who is capable of conquering this illusory power of mine.” Then the demons, who had not got the ambrosia were defeated by the celestials in battle. The celestials got back to their celestial home. One who reads this account goes to the celestial region.