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Date: Mon Jun 26 1995 - 09:12:56 PDT

Stories concerning the origin of Darbha/Kusha:

1. Said to have been produced from the churning of the ocean of milk.
2. Said to have  fallen to Earth from the pot of Amrita (which was produced
from the churning of the ocean of milk.)
These two stories reminded me another related story. Apparently the pot 
containing Amrita was placed on the sacred Dharba grass and snakes(children of 
Garuda's step mother Kadru) were about to get to it and attain amritatva. 
Garuda, in an attempt to prevent his not so nice step siblings from becoming 
immortal, briskly carried away the pot. The snakes ended up licking the 
Dharbasana, with the hope that some Amrita might have spilled on it. The sharp 
blades of Dharba caused their toungue to split and which is why snakes have 
forked tongues.

Deeply embedded in the popular psyche, serpents'tongues have 
long been a part of the world's religious iconography. Although, the snakes
missed out on Amrita as intended, the forking of their tongues caused by 
Dharba might have provided them a blessing in disguise.  Because according to 
modern science, the evolutionary success of advanced snakes might be due, in 
part, to forked tongues. The forked tongue allows the snake to simultaneously 
sample two points along a chemical gradient, which is helpful in instantaneous 
assessment of trail location. Also may have role in mating.(Ref: Why snakes 
have forked tongues, by Kurt Schwenk, Science Vol 263, 1573-1577, 1994)