A Managerial Lesson from Mythology…contd.
In the first part (Let’s Churn the Ocean – Part 1), you read how the Devtas set their objective, identified a target zone, got their SWOT right, consulted an expert, formed a team and mobilized resources to begin with ‘Samudra Manthan’. Here’s what happened next:
The ‘ground’ zero was ready to witness action, with everything now in place. The team of Devtas & Asuras got to work. The Devtas pulled the tail end of the rope, the Asuras pulled the head end and the rod got rolling. Thus began the quest for immortality. The ocean released various objects – mystic creatures, herbs and precious stones amongst other things whilst the sides kept pulling away, waiting for ‘Amrit’.
Get your hands dirty & keep pulling: After questions like what, where, who and how got answered, the team didn’t waste time and got to the ‘do’. The resources were put to use and the efforts were made. The churning bore fruit and the successes were shared and celebrated. The coveted ‘Amrit’ wasn’t one of the firsts to come out. The team exhibited high levels of patience and persistence as they kept pulling.
Before ‘Amrit’ came ‘Halahal’ – the most venomous of poisons. Such were the fumes emitted from the poison that both sides could not bear and started collapsing. The menace of deadly fumes were proving to be fatal for the whole universe. Realizing the gravity of the situation, Devtas and Asuras asked Lord Shiva for help. Shiva drank the poison which turned his throat blue. Thus Shiva came to be known as ‘Neelkanth’ – the one with the blue throat.
Expect the unexpected: Mess makes its own way and this was not different a case. The churning released something the team did not want. They were in a spot and couldn’t move ahead till this was fixed. Having realized they couldn’t do anything about it on their own, the team was quick to reach out to someone who could (and would) manage it for them. Resilience and pragmatism are qualities the team demonstrated.
The churning finally resulted in Dhanwantari – the celestial Physician appearing from the ocean holding a pot containing ‘Amrit’. This is where the churning stopped and both sides fought for their right to claim the pot. The Asuras were swifter and ran away with the pot. A brawl amongst the Asuras kept them away from sipping ‘Amrit’. The Devtas in the meanwhile sought help from Vishnu. Vishnu, in order to distract the Asuras, took the form of ‘Mohini’ – a beautiful woman. The Asuras, mesmerized, let Mohini distribute the ‘Amrit’. Vishnu’s plan worked and he started distributing the nectar among Devtas. The Devtas smiled as each one of them sipped immortality.
Get your way: As soon as the objective was achieved, the relationship of convenience ended. By all means, each wanted the other side to be deprived of the final reward which was a result of a joint effort. The Asuras could have controlled the universe had good sense prevailed. And when push came to shove the Devtas, with the help of Vishnu, didn’t shy away from deploying deceit. Immortality was too good to share.
Sensing something fishy, an Asura called Rahu disguised himself as a Devta, queued up and ended up gulping a sip of the nectar. Two Devtas, Surya, the Sun & Chandra, the Moon identified Rahu and informed Mohini. That’s when Vishnu reverts to his original form and chops off Rahu’s head using his powerful discus. Rahu, now immortal, stayed alive and cursed the Devtas for playing foul. To pacify him, Vishnu granted him a place in the solar system. Rahu vowed to ensure Surya & Chandra lose their luminous nature from time to time. An eclipse is what we know this occurrence as.
Bear collateral damage: The Devtas did not come out of the churn scot-free. Though all of them sipped the nectar, became immortal and achieved the overarching objective of controlling the universe, they did end up having an Asura join their league. That’s not all. Though only occasionally, the two Devtas who blew the whistle then, are paying the price for the same till date.
I am sure you agree that ‘Samudra Manthan’ not just gave Devtas immortality but also left us some lessons to learn from in-terms of navigating towards our own objectives. I hope this piece inspires you to churn your ocean!