Mohini Ekadasi is the day when Lord Vishnu manifested in the form of Mohini at the time of Samudra Manthan.
Mohini means “enchanter”, is derived from the word Moha which means to ‘allure’ and ‘disillusion’.
Mohini, the Enchantress
The are two well know occurrences of Mohini, in our Purana.
Mohini is a female form assumed by Lord Vishnu to lure the Asura away from the Amrita pot of Ambrosia, which gives immortality, which had come forth from the process of churning of the Ocean, Samudra Manthan.
Samudra Manthan, churning of the Ocean
Interestingly, in the new airport named Suvarana Bhumi in Thailand, Bangkok, the central theme is of a gigantic Samudra Manthan.
Samudra Manthan, Churning of Ocean Model
Suvarna Bhumi Airport, Bangkok, Thailand
Coming back to the story, a dispute arose between the Asura and Deva as to who should get the Amrita first. Mohini appears on the scene. The enchanted Asura, deluded by the beauty of Mohini, their attention diverted, away from Amrita.
Mohini with the Amrita pot
Mohini, the ‘distractress’, distributes the Amrita among the Deva. Thus, the Asura, who were, till her arrival, in control of their senses were denied a rightful share of Amrita.
The lesson being, not to be distracted from the job at hand.
Mohini and Bhasmasura, a painting by Raja Ravi Verma
Image: Courtesy Wikipedia
There is another legend attached to Mohini.
Lord Vishnu assumed the form of Mohini to rescue Lord Shiva from Bhasmasura who undertook a severe penance to propitiate Lord Shiva to get the boon of burning anybody to ashes by merely touching them on their heads. When Lord Shiva appeared before the Asura, and had finished giving him the requested boon, the Asura ran towards Lord Shiva Himself to test the boon on Him. Lord Shiva fled the scene and Bhasmasura chased Him all over.
Bhasmasura chasing Lord Shiva
To save Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu assumed the form of Mohini. The Asura stopped in his tracks seeing the enchanting beauty of Mohini. Mohini called the Asura towards Her and compelled him to dance along with Her. While dancing, the Asura was cast in a spell by Mohini’s beauty. In the course of the dance, the Asura was unknowingly enticed into placing his hands on his own head, and was burnt to ashes.
However mighty one may be, one can easily be distracted. To overcome this, we need to be in the present, constantly.
The above legend is said to have unfolded in Yana Village, by a hill called Mohini Shikhara, in the state of Karnataka known for its unique rock formations.
The rocks here are formed from solid black, crystalline Karst limestone.
Yana rocks in Yana village
On this Mohini Ekadasi Day, let us resolve to develop focus and presence of mind while performing any work at hand.