Here is my twenty eighth entry for BettyLouise’s, IdahoBlueBird50 Mysteries Blog, Animal of the Day (AOTD) challenge. Here is the link to BettyLouise’s blog

Kurma is the second avatar in the ten primary avatars of Hindu god Vishnu and is the second of the Animal Avatars of Lord Vishnu. Like other avatars of Vishnu, Kurma appears at a time of crisis to restore the cosmic equilibrium. His iconography is either a tortoise, or more commonly as half man–half tortoise. These are found in many Vaishnava temple ceilings or wall reliefs.

The earliest account of Kurma is found in the Shatapatha Brahmana (Yajur veda), where he helps with the samudra manthan or the churning of the cosmic ocean. In the Epics and the Puranas, the legend expands and evolves into many versions, with Kurma becoming an avatar of Vishnu. He appears in the form of a tortoise or turtle to support the foundation for the cosmos and the cosmic churning stick (Mount Mandara).

Together the gods and demons churn the ocean with divine serpent Vasuki as the rope (samudra manthan), and the churning skims out a combination of good and bad things. Along with other products, it produces poison which Lord Shiva drinks and holds it in his throat, and his throat turns a blue color because of the poison. It also produces immortality nectar which the demons grab and run away with. The Kurma avatar, according to Hindu mythology, then transforms into a femme fatale named Mohini to seduce the demons. They fall for her. They ask her to take the nectar, please be their wife and distribute it between them one by one. Mohini-Vishnu takes the pot of nectar and gives it to the gods, thus preventing evil from becoming eternal, and preserving the good.

In one version, sage Durvasa curses the Devas (gods) to lose their powers because they slighted him. The gods needed nectar of immortality (amrit) to overcome this curse, and they make a pact with the asuras (demons) to churn the cosmic ocean of milk, so as to extract the nectar, and once it skims out they would share it. To churn the ocean of milk, they used Mount Mandara as the churning staff, and the serpent Vasuki as the churning rope while the turtle Kurma, Vishnu bore the mountain on his back so that they could churn the waters so that the churning staff would not sink the cosmic waters.