Samudra manthan, or the pastime of the ‘Churning of the Ocean of Milk’, is one of the most famous episodes in the Puranas, and is celebrated in a major way every twelve years at the Kumbha Mela. According to the legend, gods and demons worked together to churn the ocean in the hope of getting the divine nectar from the depths of the ocean.

The story is symbolic in a spiritual way where in the Ocean is life and Mandara, the mountain used for churning the ocean is our consciousness. The Suras and Asuras are our negative and positive thoughts and the Kumbha is our Karmic outcome.

I have used this narrative more in our political context. Just the way, Kumbha is celebrated every twelve years, so is the Kumbha of our constitutional churning celebrated every 5 years where all democratic forces combine to elect the leader of one of the largest democracies in the world. This churning and its outcome govern the direction that future of our people takes. On the shoulder of the leader rests our secular ideology and his authority is pivoted on the elected parliament. Just as the balance wascreated by Vishnu in the churning of the Oceans, so must the leader balance his actions to create Co-operative security, a great power concert and a balance of power system.

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