Kūrma (Skt., ‘tortoise’). In Hindu mythology an animal which is associated with Viṣṇu in various ways. In the ancient fourfold cosmography of the Purāṇas, it is said to be the form of Viṣṇu which supports Bhārata (India). In the earliest known versions of the myth of the Churning of the Ocean, the tortoise allows the gods and demons to use its back as a base for the mountain which serves as their churning-stick, and in later versions Viṣṇu himself takes the form of a tortoise in order to do this. Kūrma is the second in the standard list of Viṣṇu's ten avatāras.
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