According to Hindu mythology, once upon a time the fights between Gods and demons became extremely frequent. The Gods decided to procure the elixir or ambrosia or "amrit" from the depth of the ocean.
They wanted to gain immortality and overpower the evil demons for good. They realized they had undertaken a tough job. Neither the gods by themselves nor the demons by themselves could accomplish this task. The Gods decided to lure the demons to help them in this mighty task but make sure that none of the potion was drunk by the demons.
Task of churning of the ocean:
The greedy demons agreed to help the Gods in acquiring the elixir. And so began the herculean task of churning the mighty ocean or "Samudra manthan". "Samudra" means the ocean and "manthan" means to churn.
To begin the task, the Gods and the demons, needed a churning rod, a rope to tie it with, something to stabilize the rod from below, and two parties to pull from either side. The vastness of the ocean finally made them decide upon the mountain called "Mandrachal parbat" for the churning rod. Lord Vishnu provided his serpent called "Vasuki nag" as the rope. "Vasuki nag" was tied around the "Mandrachal parbat" and its head was held by the demon side while the tail was held by the Gods side.
To stop the churning rod from slipping here and there Lord Vishnu took the incarnation of a tortoise form called "Matsya avatar". The mountainous churning rod was mounted on the back of the tortoise to stabilize it. And so the churning began.
Gifts from the ocean:
Days turned into nights and months turned into years and still the Gods and the demons churned away tirelessly. The ocean became frothy and white. In due course of time the ocean started to react to their hard work and all kinds of gifts began to emerge from its depths.
In total fourteen precious presents called "14 ratnas" came out. They were * Rambha * Dhanu* Poison * Dhanvantri* Varuni * Kalpdrum* Elixir * Shashi* Shankh * Mani * Gajraj * Baj* Dhenu * Sri Lakshmi
Emergence of Poison from the ocean:
One item that came gushing out of the ocean was poison or "halahal". Both the Gods and the demons stepped away. Everyone felt scared. Who would step forward to accept this gift from the ocean? It was then that the mighty God Shiva came forward and took the poison. He put it to his mouth and drank it all.
As the lethal liquid moved down his throat, by his amazing power, he held it from going down into his stomach. The poison stayed in his throat and due to its immense potent heat and energy turned the Lord's throat blackish blue. The Gods and the demons felt very grateful to Shiva for saving their lives. They bowed to him and prayed for his mercy and kindness always. From that day, Lord Siva came to be known as "Neel Kanth" or the God with a blue neck.
Emergence of Lakshmi from the ocean:
Then, Goddess Lakshmi emerged from the frothy milky ocean. She was so bright and so beautiful, sparkling and full of splendour that the Gods and the demons could not take their eyes off her radient perfection.
She emerged standing on a lotus and carrying a lotus in her one hand and a golden pot in her other hand. The pot she carried had never ending continuous overflow of riches coming out of it. She wore a scintillating red saree and sparkling jewels.
The light and joy she spread all around enchanted every onlooker. They beheld the goddess of prosperity as if in a trance. Everyone wanted her. She, however, only beheld lord Vishnu in her eyes. Lord Vishnu stepped up to her and took her as his beloved wedded wife.
Goddess Lakshmi is the giver of both material and spiritual wealth. Together with Lord Vishnu, Lakshmi protects and preserves this world and helps us acquire all the riches and resources we need for a complete life.
Emergence of elixir from the ocean:
Finally, the ocean released the pot of elixir from the well churned ocean. The God of medicine called "Dhanvantri" emerged from the ocean carrying the precious pot in his hands. The demons lept forward.
A chaos ensued as everyone pushed forward to grab a little of the potion that would give them immortality. Lord Vishnu was looking at this development with a worried frown. He knew that the demons should never be allowed to drink this potion or else they would create unending destruction in the world.
He thought fast and transformed himself into a beautiful woman called "Mohini" or the one who charms and has great attracting powers. The Gods and the demons fell under her charms immediately. She suggested they all calm down. Mohini, then, volunteered to equally share the elixir between the Gods and the demons. Everyone agreed. By using trick, guile, and charm, Mohini quickly distributed the elixir to the Gods.
When the demons realized that they had been deceived, the beautiful maiden vanished and Lord Vishnu reappeared. The demons now knew they had been duped by the Lord but could do nothing. Once again the world had been delivered from the evil and cruel nature of the demons by the grace of the Lord.