|GODS and GODDESSES|
Matsyavataram - Maha Vishnu in the form of a fish
this Avataram, Mahavishnu took the form of a fish to retrieve the vedas
from the Asura Hayagreevan (head of a horse) and also to safeguard herbs
and seeds at the end of one cycle of creation.
Brahma at the end of his day's work
of creation, was resting in Brahmalogam. The vedas were flowing out of
his mouth. An asura called Hayagreevan stole the vedas from Brahma and
disappeared in the ocean. Without the vedas, Brahma could not continue
with his duty of creation and hence Lord Vishnu took the form of a fish
to retrieve the vedas.
Satyavridan was a staunch devotee
of Lord Vishnu, who did severe penance, surviving by drinking only water.
One day as he was performing his rituals by the riverside, a tiny fish
settled in his hands. As he was about to drop it back into the river, the
fish spoke out to him asking for protection from the bigger fishes in the
The king dropped the fish in his
kamandalam (pot) and took it to his ashramam. The fish grew at a rapid
pace and the king had to find bigger and bigger area of water for the fish
to survive. When the king finally decided to leave it in the ocean, the
fish again pleaded not to leave it at the mercy of sharks.
At this, the king worshipped the
fish, aware that he must be Lord Vishnu himself. Maha Vishnu, blessed and
reassured Satyavridan asking him to collect rare herbs and seeds and load
them all on a huge boat. The king did as ordered. He then tied the boat
to the horn of the fish (Lord Vishnu in fish form) using the snake Vaasuki
as a rope. The Saptharishis shed light and guided the boat through the
darkness and flood. Lord Vishnu in his fish form guided the boat and once
the flood had subsided brought it to shore.
Brahma had risen from his rest and
realised that the vedas were missing. He prayed to Lord Vishnu retrieve
them. Lord Vishnu still in his fish form, found and fought with Hayagreevan
and returned the vedas to Lord Brahma who continued with his work of creation.
Ashtalakshmi temple, Besant Nagar, Chennai