Churning of the Milky Ocean: Myth as an Avenue to Truth

Saturday 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. CDT  
June 4 – June 25 (4 classes)  
TS members: $65 • Nonmembers: $80

Churning of the Milky Ocean with Ravi Ravindra 6 4 22 1The whole field of mythology is often understood to be fiction, yet major myths in any society influence the music, visual arts, poetry and all other expressions of the culture. Join us for a discussion about the significance of mythology, the cultural importance of myths, and a brief introduction to the Hindu gods and goddesses. We will then focus on the ancient Indian myth ‘Churning of the Milky Ocean’ exploring its historical background and evolution. Finally, we will delve into the significance and meaning of this myth and see that in reality it is an exploration of the nature and activity of human consciousness.

See below for the full course syllabus.

TS members: $65 • Nonmembers: $80

Registration includes on-demand access to recordings of all the classes, which can be viewed for two weeks following the date of the last class. 

Late registrants will receive recording links to all missed sessions for on-demand viewing.

Register here

ravi ravindraRavi Ravindra is an author and professor emeritus at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he served as a professor in comparative religion, philosophy, and physics. A lifetime member of the Theosophical Society, Ravi has taught many courses at the School of the Wisdom in Adyar and at the Krotona Institute of Theosophy in Ojai, California. He was a member of the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton, a fellow of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study in Shimla, and the founding director of the Threshold Award for Integrative Knowledge. For more information visit



Week 1: The great philosopher Aristotle said, “When philosophy is unable to connect with Truth, one turns to mythology... The lover of myths, which are a compact of wonders, is by the same token a lover of wisdom.” The cultural importance of myths has been more and more understood and emphasized since the beginning of the twentieth century. We will have a brief introduction to Brahman (the Vastness beyond being and non-being), the major traditional gods (Brahmā, Vishnu, Shiva), goddesses (Sarasvati, Lakshmi, Shakti) and their major characteristics and functions.

Week 2: The very ancient and profound myth in the Hindu tradition, called Samudra Manthan or Sagar Manthan translated as “Churning of the Milky Ocean” is briefly mentioned in the Rig Veda but it is much more elaborated in the Puranas and the Mahabharata. We will have the verbal and pictorial presentation of this myth which is also depicted in a large form at the main airport in Bangkok, Thailand, and is the major focus of the famous temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

Week 3: We will explore the inner meaning of this myth which deals with the exploration of human consciousness. The two sides fighting with each other are Daitays and Ādityas. They both have the same Father, Kashyapa, which literally means “Vision.” The Mother of the Daityas is Diti which means “limited.” The mother of the Ādityas is Aditi which means “unlimited” or “vast.” So, naturally, there is a conflict between the children of limited vision and the children of larger vision. But both sides are needed to explore the ocean of consciousness in order to find Amrita, the nectar of Eternal Life.

Week 4: According to all the spiritual teachings, in principle the entire external cosmos can be mirrored inside us. So, why not the Devil and all the negative energies and attributes associated with him? In this myth, before the emergence of Amrita, the churners of the ocean of consciousness encounter halāhala, poison which could kill all the participants in the struggle. Only Shiva, the Lord of Yoga, is able to swallow halāhala and not be killed. Even in his case, the poison turned his throat blue leading to a name of Shiva as Nilakantha, the blue throated one.

Program Format

This is a live, interactive online program that will also be recorded for on-demand viewing. Our goal is to send recordings to you within two business days, often sooner. Recordings will be available for on-demand viewing for two weeks following the date of the last class.  

Software Platform

Zoom for Windows, Mac, or mobile device; minimum recommended network bandwidth 1.5 Mbps. Please download Zoom for free at, and test your connection at New to Zoom? Check out Please email for further information.

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