Posted by Art Of Legend India [dot] Com On 3:24 AM
Lord Vishnu is the protector and maintainer of the universe. He took many incarnations. Apart from his ten main incarnations, he had appeared on earth in some form to solve a specific problem. One of the better-known occasions is when he transformed himself into a beautiful damsel and enchantress, Mohini. Mohini was a female incarnation and one of the twenty-five incarnations of lord Vishnu.as
Legend of Mohini Incarnation
According to the Hindu Puranas, as per the advice of lord Vishnu, demons and gods churned the ocean of milk to receive nectar (amrita of immortality) and when lord Dhanvantri appeared with the pot of nectar, the demons snatched the pot from Dhanvantri and thus a fight broke between them to drink nectar first. Lord Vishnu did not want the demons to drink the nectar, so in order to save the gods, Lord Vishnu took the form of a beautiful woman, Mohini to attract and lure the demons. When the demons saw the charming beauty of Mohini, they lost all self-control and she took the pot of nectar from the demons. She asked the gods to form one line and asked the demons to stand in another. She first gave a drop of the nectar to the god who was foremost in the queue. Then she turned around to serve the demon standing first in line. But as she turned around, she replaced the urn of nectar with a similar urn of water, and gave a drop of water to the demons.
However a demon named Rahu saw through the trick and he quietly went and stood in the queue of the demi-gods. Thus he was given a drop of the nectar. Mohini realized that he drank the nectar, lord Vishnu assumed his original form and killed the demon with his Sudarshana Chakra. As Rahu had drunk the nectar, he did not die but persisted to live on as Rahu, the head and Ketu, the headless body. Rahu and Ketu are a part of the navagrahas or nine planets in Hindu astrology system.
According to another legend, once lord Shiva granted a boon to the demon Bhasmasura, bestowing on him the power to reduce to ashes anyone whom he touches on the head. The evil demon decided to test the effect of the boon on lord Shiva. Shiva fled and was chased by Bhasmasura. Wherever lord Shiva went, Bhasmasura chased him. Lord Shiva turned to Lord Vishnu for help and protection. Lord Vishnu on hearing Shiva's problem, agreed to help him out. Lord Vishnu assumed the form of the beautiful and attractive Mohini. The demon was totally captivated by Mohini's sexuality and forgot about Shiva. He desired nothing but marrying Mohini. Mohini agreed on condition that Bhasmasura should copy her each dance steps. Bhasmasura accepted the Mohini’s condition and began to dance with Mohini. As Mohini placed her hand on her head, Bhasmasura followed Mohini, thus reducing himself to ashes.
The Mohini-Attam is a traditional dance form that evolved from the narration of how Mohini uses her charm to save lord Shiva from Bhasmasura.All paintings are courtesy of Art of Legend India.