CHAUDAHA RATAN (CHATURDASA RATNAM)
CHAUDAHA RATAN (CHATURDASA RATNAM) (Guru Angad Dev) making the churning-staff of the mountain and the rope of serpent Basak (Vasuki) churned the Guru\’s \’Word. He took out Chaudaha Ratan (fourteen precious things) of virtues and enlightened the world of transmigration. (Var of Satta Balwand, p. 967) (Guru Amar Das) made his spiritual strength the rope of the serpent Basak (Vasuki), which churned the ocean with the chuming-staff of the mountain and enlightened the world by taking out Chaudaha Ratan of virtues. (Var of Satta Balwand, p. 968) Once the sage Durvasa, having been presented with a gariand of flowers by the monarchs of the earth, decided to present it to Indra, the king of gods.
The god received it with great humility. When the sage left, the god gave it to one of his elephants, who was playing with it, when the sage came back and happened to see it. In a great rage, he cursed Indra and the gods in his dominion to lose their energy and become as weak as the human beings. At that time, Bali the king of Asuras had waged a war against the gods, who had lost strength on account of the curse of Durvasa. Indra and other gods went to Brahma and Shiva for help, but they showed their helplessness.
Then the god Vishnu was approached, who told them that only a drink of Amrita (ambrosia) could only restere the original strength. This could only be done by churning the milk-ocean and for this purpose a truce with Asuras (demons) was necessary. Then the truce was declared. Mandara, the mountain was uprooted with the combined strength of gods and Asuras. After that Vasuki (Basak), the king of serpents was caught from the nether regions.
He was twisted like a rope around the Mandara. At the insistence of the Asuras, the gods took the tail-end, while the defnons manned the head-end. The Asuras were weakened by the poisonous breath of Vasuki.As the churning progressed, there began to appear one by one on the surface of the ocean Chaturdasa Ratnam, the fourteen precious things, which were as follows : l. Moon (It was taken by Shiva). 2. Parijata tree (It was tåken by Indra). 3. Airavata, the elephant (It was tåken by Indra). 4. Surabhi or Kamadhenu, the cow (It was given to seven rishis). 5. Varuni, the goddess of wine, with a bowl of wine,called Sura (It was drunk by gods).
6. The Apsaras or nymphs, who were to live with the Gandharvas. 7. The white horse Uchchaisravas (It was originally given to Bali, from whom it was taken by Indra after his defeat in the battle that followed the drinking of Amrita(ambrosia). 8. The goddess Lakshmi (seated on a full-blown lotus and holding a water-lily in her hand)—Vishnu took her as his consort. She, the goddess of prosperity is also called Sri. 9. A Conchshell, taken by god Vishnu. 10. A Mace, taken by god Vishnu. 11. A Jewel, called Kausthabha, tåken by god Vishnu. 12.
Dhanwantari, the author of the Ayurvedic system of medicine. 13. Bowl of Amrita (ambrosia) carried by Dhanwantari. 14. A cup of poison. There was a scuffle between the gods and Asuras over the bowl of Amrita. The Asuras succeeded in seizing the bowl, but they began to quarrel among themselves as to who should be first to receive the nectar of immortality.
Vishnu, in order to help the gods transformed himself into a most beautiful maid Mohini and enticed the Asuras. She told both gods and Asuras that both of them had worked hard for the attainment of Amrita, therefore they deserved equal share. Two separate rows were formed and at first the gods were served. When the last god had received the nectar, Mohini disappeared with the empty bowl. After that there was a terrible uproar and a fierce battle between the gods and Asuras. Since the gods had regained their strength, they defeated the Asuras and put them to flight.
When the ambrosia was being served, one of the Asuras had disguised himself as a god and drank the nectar. This fraud was detected by the gods Surya (sun) and Chandra (moon), who were sitting on either side of the demon. They pointed it out to Vishnu, who immediately cut him into two with his discus. Since the demon had partaken the nectar, both the portions remained animate. The upper portion is called Rahu and the other one Ketu.
It is said that Rahu is the staunch enemy of the sun and moon and the eclipses occur, when he tries to devour them. (l) As regards the cup of poison, it was drunk by the god Shiva. Because of this poison, his throat is dark-blue; the poison was held up in his throat. Moreover, the poisonous snakes on his body represent this poison. In Guru Granth Sahib, the bards Satta and Balwand had figuratively used this episode in order to exhibit the spiritual might of the Guru and his word.
1. Kohli, Surindar Singh (ed), Dictionary of Mythological References in Guru Granth Sahib, 1993