My tattoo artist finished touching up the art on my back. It’s an interpretation of The Churning of the Milky Ocean, a bas relief on one of the walls of Angkor Wat, Cambodia. Here’s the final product:
The story behind the art goes something like this…
Without evil, good could not exist. The ancient population of Cambodia illustrated the concept as a giant tug of war. The rope in this case is a huge serpent (Vasuki) wrapped around a mountain. As each side pulls and gains momentum the mountain spins, churning the oceans of the universe. This churning creates the essence of life and immortality. Meanwhile, Vishnu orchestrates the whole thing as a sort of mediator.
The Devas (the guys on the right) are widely accepted as the good guys – and the Asuras (the guys on the left) are thought of as the bad guys. Gods vs. demons. But in this instance, neither is truly good or evil. They are in constant conflict yet they are working together. In the Churning, the two sides team up to achieve everlasting life.