The story of how the Devas procured the divine nectar and became immortal after drinking it, is interesting as well as dramatic. It was the ocean of milk which was churned. The great mountain Mandara was the staff used for churning; the serpent Vasuki was the cord. Lord Vishnu
assumed the form of a torotoise and served as a pivot for Mandara, as it was whirled around. This popular tale with minor variations is found in the Puranas as well as in the two epics. There is some difference, however, regarding the number of the articles which appeared from the ocean of milk. The Ramayana, the Mahabharata
and the Padma Purana specify the number as twelve and the Matsya Purana as fourteen. Similarly, there are slight differences regarding the role of the asura, Rahu. Our version is derived mainly from the Bhagawat Purana and the Mahabharata.