Lord Vishnu, the ultimate source of happiness, the nurturer of the universe and the protector of Dharma on Earth, is dear to all the Hindus. Whenever there has been an imbalance in the universe, he has come to restore balance. He has established Dharma time and again. Dharma here is not to be confused with religion. Dharma in Hinduism means righteousness. Lord Vishnu has incarnated twenty four times on the Earth. The most famous among these is Dashavatara, the name given to the collection of the ten most prominent forms of Lord Vishnu.
But do you know, Vishnu had even taken a female form, which was known by the name Mohini? While most of the forms that God has incarnated on the Earth are known to all, not many know about Mohini. She is depicted as a beautiful nymph in the Aakash Loka, carrying a vessel filled with nectar. Let us explore more about this beautiful form of Lord Vishnu and what was the intention behind this incarnation.
The word Mohini comes from the Hindi word Moha, which means attraction or fascination. Mohini, therefore, refers to the one who can endear and attract someone. In Western India, there are some temples associated with her, where she is depicted as Mahalasa, the consort of Khandoba, an avatar of Lord Shiva.
Story Of Mohini's Incarnation
When Goddess Lakshmi was disappointed with Vishnu and left his abode, all the Devas in the Devlok started suffering because of her absence. And in order to get the Goddess back, Vishnu was told by Brahma that all the gods and the demons should together churn the milk of the ocean from which the Goddess Lakshmi will appear. The demons would not help the gods without there being any benefit to them, therefore they were told that a pot of Amrita is there inside the ocean, on drinking which they would become immortal. When the churning started, various items appeared from the ocean before the appearance of the Goddess herself. The pot of nectar was to appear after the Goddess.
When the pot finally appeared after the Goddess, the gods and the demons were supposed to distribute it equally among all. Well, who doesn't know how risky it is to let the demons drink nectar and become immortal. After all, it is goodness that should prevail in the universe and not the evil. Lest, the universe might be damned.
Lord Vishnu soon took the form of Mohini, in order to resolve the matter. Now what Mohini was supposed to do is lure the demons, and not let them drink the nectar of immortality. When Mohini appeared, the gods and the demons, all were mesmerized to see her beauty. Taking advantage of this, she lured all of them, took the vessel in her hands, and tricked the demons. The trick was to give the demons ordinary water and the gods the nectar of immortality.
This way, Mohini was successful in fooling the demons as a result of which, the gods, who had drunk the real nectar became immortal and the demons could not.
Mohini And Bhasmasura
There is another story popular about Mohini. According to the Vishnu Purana, once the demon Bhasmasura worshiped Shiva, who in turn gave him the blessing that he could turn anybody into ashes, merely by touching his head. The demon, delighted by his newly achieved destructive power, went about trying it randomly at anybody and everybody. His excitement reached such a level that he decided to try this amazing power at Shiva himself. Terrified, Shiva ran for his life, seeing which Vishnu took control of the events and appeared in his Mohini form.
When the demon saw the beautiful nymph, he was lured and wanted to marry her. Mohini put a condition before him that if he successfully followed her dance moves, she would marry him. The demon agreed, and they began the dance. As was pre-decided by Mohini, she touched her head, following which the demon too touched his, and within a moment the demon turned into ashes. Thus, the nurturer of the universe, saved Lord Shiva in the form of Mohini.