This day of May 11, 2014 is Mohini Ekadashi. Mohini, as astrologers recall, plays a central role in the story of the two nodes, Rahu and Ketu. The demon Swabhanu engaged in deception as Mohini was doling out the amrith to the gods and at the same time, bestowing her bounteous beauty and enchantment upon the asuras - demons - who had fought the gods for the right to partake of amrit, the nectar of immortality. Mohini is the only ever female incarnation of Vishnu, the god of sustenance and preservation of kalapurusha, time and space.
Mohini is introduced into the Hindu mythology in the narrative epic of the Mahabharata. Here, she appears as a form of Vishnu, acquires the pot of Amrita (an elixir of immortality) from thieving asuras (demons), and gives it back to the devas (gods), helping them retain their immortality.
The Amrith, or nectar of immortality, is produced by the churning of the Ocean of Milk. The Devas (demi-gods) and the Asuras (demons) fight over its possession. The Asuras contrive to keep the Amrita for themselves, angering the Devas. Vishnu, wise to their plan, assumes the form of an "enchanting damsel". She uses her allure to trick the Asuras into giving her the Amrita, and then distributes it amongst the Devas.
In the original text, Mohini is referred to as simply an enchanting, female form of Vishnu. In later versions, Mohini is described as the maya (illusion) of Vishnu. Later still, the name of the avatar becomes Mohini from the original phrase describing his deliberate false appearance (mayam ashito mohinim)
A frequently overlooked aspect of Mohini is that Mohini is the Shakti of Vishnu. Shakti is the energy of maya, and Mohini represents the mayashakti of divinity, MahaVishnu. Everything is controlled by shakti; shakti is closely connected to all that we depend upon. All things that we are attached to or involved in are forms of shakti or rooted in shakti. Whatever we love, seek or desire is some aspect of shakti that endows forms with colour, beauty, charm and delight. So it was with the pot Mohini held, the nectar of immortality; so it is with all the evanescent desires that humans have.
Hence, Astrology though the houses and signs discerns where desire and shakti are located, and the desires of the past, yet unfulfilled, which are distributed to us through the agency of Ketu - the repository of karma and shaktis we have had in the past, and the agency of Rahu, who distributes these karmas and shaktis as we weave and wend our way through the journey called human life.
The arrival of Mohini and her obtaining the pot containing the nectar of immortality has one other message for us: immortality is our birthright, we are all amritputryas, children of immortality. While the pot may be denied to us via the senses, we may return to a conscious knowing of Aham Brahmasmi, (Everthing is Brahmam) via the agency of the Sun as karaka of Truth (sathyam) and the Moon as the presiding deity of the mind. We may take up the conversation and guidance of the intellect through the agency of Mercury, the karaka of intelligence, and follow discipline and self control through the strictures enjoined upon us by Saturn. We may heed the impulses of the Guru Jupiter and seek the higher path; we may also heed the nudges of the guru of the asuras, Venus, and seek to honour the feminine, within and without. Astrology is but the path of karma through the journey of return to the Divine.
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