The Churning of the Sea of Milk and the Fertility of Angkor

   Continued from the Creation of Cambodia

MAHA EYSEI: (Continued) Sanskrit was the language of the superior caste, the consumers, who kept order and who ruled; while Khmer was the language of the producers who grew rice and who fished in the Tonle Sap.
Music 6. Dramatic Churning of the Sea of Milk Music
MAHA EYSEI: Whenever Mother Earth has needed help, the superior caste had called on the God, Vishnu to restore peace and order, as he had during the Churning of the Sea of milk, when the Gods had to regain the elixir of immortality.
Churning of the Sea of Milk from Angkor Wat
Picture 11 (4 pics): The Churning of the Sea of Milk
Churning of the Sea of Milk from Angkor Wat Churning of the Sea of Milk from Angkor Wat

The Dragon King, the Princess and the natives unwind a long snake like rope. The following may also be choreographed by dancers. Images from Angkor Wat will illustrate the following, including the wonderful carvings of the chopped up fishes.

MAHA EYSEI: To obtain this heavenly drink, they took the Great Naga, as a rope, twisted it around the world-mountain, Mandara, as the pivot and started churning the sea which frothed like milk.
Churning of the Sea of Milk from Angkor Wat Ninety two asuras - or demons - pulled on the head of serpent and eighty eight devas - or demi-gods - pulled the tail.  Realizing that thousands of years of work were unsuccessful, they sought the help of Vishnu.  He advised them to work together and to organize themselves.

But at this point Mount Mandara suddenly began to sink and Vishnu, in his incarnation as the tortoise Kurma, had to support the mountain with his shell, while Indra squeezed down the top of the mountain with his foot.  The spinning of the mountain caused such a violent whirlpool that the fishes around it were torn to pieces.

The sea of milk was churned for another thousand years and then, to the delight of the gods, the heavenly nymphs or apsaras were born of the waves and finally they created the Amrita, the much desired elixir of immortality.
MAHA EYSEI: And so Kambu married the Dragon Princess - or he married Mera.  (smiles) Perhaps he married both.

Meanwhile Mera has entered again on the other side of Kambu to the Dragon Princess.

Kambu and the Dragon Princess leave the stage.  Some back projections of the Churning of the Sea of Milk bas reliefs from Angkor Wat, and of more apsaras flying above them.

MAHA EYSEI: Mera was the greatest of the Apsaras, sometimes called Lakshmi.  You can see thousands of these apsaras on the walls of Angkor Wat.

For the first time Mera speaks.  Please note we need an excellent dancer who can also act and speak excellent English.

Music 7.  Khmer Classical Dance, illustrating the following:

At this point we might have a few steps of a classical dance by other dancers while she explains.

MERA: The Apsaras guided the Kings of Angkor on their journey to become Gods.  But while they were still on this earth each year the Kings would conduct a ceremony to ask the heavens for help when the country faced floods, droughts, wars, and diseases.  Girls were trained as dancers and divine spirits would possess these dancers.  And when the dance was concluded, the prayers of the king would be granted.  These dances also symbolized the connection between heaven and earth.

Time allowing Mera might join the dance.  As the dancers conclude and leave the stage, Mera continues:

MERA: (Continued) It is not only the apsaras who can fly.  Our temples too are flying palaces.  Let me explain.  (She smiles at Kambu, as if he too might be the object of her story)  There was once a young Cambodian prince, who was so beautiful and so perfect, that the God Indra, living on Mount Meru in the sky came to earth to abduct him.  We might mime or even dance this with Indra and the Devatas and with Nanda, the sacred ox. To be discussed.  After a while the Devatas, the female goddesses, complained of his smell.

(Kambu looks a little put out. We now have a succession of stills of Angkor Wat)

MERA: To placate the Devatas, Indra had to have the Prince sent back to earth.  However to comfort him, he had a palace, exactly like the one in the sky that the prince appreciated so much, built by the celestial people. The location was decided by Nandi the sacred ox of the God Shiva.  It became the temple of Angkor Wat.
Yoni and Linga
Picture 12: Yoni and Linga

Kambu and the dancers leave.  We mix from back projections of stills of Angkor Wat to the Kulen hills, to gushing water, to the linga and yoni under the water of Kbal Spean.

It would be good to have a video of the water flowing over them to illustrate its life collecting power.

Carving of Vishnu at K'bal Spean
Picture 13: Carving of Vishnu at K'bal Spean
MAHA EYSEI: Our temples are purified by the waters of the sacred Siem Reap River, rising in the Kulen Hills.

Here at K'bal Spean the waters flow over the life giving images of Vishnu and Shiva and draw fertility from the phallic symbols of Shiva and from the yoni of his consort.

Continue with The Early History of Angkor

© 2013 Shaun MacLoughlin

If you are interested in this project, please contact Shaun MacLoughlin 

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