The story of Kaustubh Mani - One of the 14 Gems of Ocean churning

 The Jewel of the Sea

Long ago, when the gods and the demons were at war, they decided to churn the ocean of milk to obtain the nectar of immortality. They used the serpent Vasuki as the rope and the mountain Mandara as the churning rod. As they churned the ocean, many precious things emerged from it, such as the goddess Lakshmi, the wish-fulfilling cow Kamadhenu, the divine physician Dhanvantari, and the celestial elephant Airavata.

Among the fourteen treasures that came out of the ocean, there was one that shone brighter than the rest. It was a dazzling jewel, the size of a thumb, that radiated light in all directions. It was called Kaustubh, the jewel of the sea. Both the gods and the demons coveted it, but none could touch it, for it was too powerful and sacred for anyone to bear.

The jewel flew in the air and reached the chest of Lord Vishnu, who was watching the churning from his abode. Vishnu smiled and accepted the jewel as his own. He wore it around his neck, and it became his most cherished ornament. The jewel enhanced his beauty and glory, and also protected him from any harm.

Kaustubh remained with Vishnu for many ages, and accompanied him in his various incarnations. When Vishnu took the form of Rama, the jewel was on his chest. When he took the form of Krishna, the jewel was on his neck. The jewel witnessed many of his deeds and adventures, and also shared his joys and sorrows.

One day, when Krishna was playing with his friends on the banks of the Yamuna river, he saw a huge serpent named Kaliya, who had poisoned the water and killed many creatures. Krishna decided to subdue the serpent and jumped into the river. He fought with Kaliya for a long time, and finally managed to dance on his hoods and defeat him.

Kaliya realized his mistake and begged for mercy. He also offered his most precious possession to Krishna as a sign of gratitude. It was none other than Kaustubh, the jewel of the sea. Kaliya had stolen it from Vishnu long ago, when he was sleeping on the serpent bed. He had kept it hidden in his hood, and used its power to terrorize the world.

Krishna smiled and said, "O Kaliya, you do not need to give me this jewel, for it is already mine. It is the same jewel that I wear on my chest, and it has come back to me by its own will. You can keep it with you, but do not misuse it again. Go away from this river, and live peacefully in the ocean."

Kaliya agreed and left the river with his wives and children. He also returned the jewel to Krishna, who placed it on his chest. The jewel was happy to be reunited with its master, and shone more brightly than ever. It continued to adorn Vishnu in his various forms, and became a symbol of his grace and majesty.

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