In this post, we have shared with you, Lord Vishnu Matsya Avatar Story.
Lord Vishnu, the protector, is regarded as one of the three principal deities in Hinduism along with Brahma, the creator, and Shiva, the destroyer.
According to Hindu believes, Lord Vishnu takes incarnations whenever the universe is in turmoil. The Dashavatars or the ten incarnations are the several forms of Lord Vishnu.
The Divine purpose of the ten avatars of Lord Vishnu was the restoration of Dharma or righteousness. Lord Vishnu takes avatar to save the people from evils, demons or Asuras.
Lord Vishnu took Matsya Avatar in the form of a human torso that was connected to the rear half of a fish. In fact, Matsya (Fish in Sanskrit) is regarded as the first avatar of Lord Vishnu in Hinduism.
Ancient Hindu texts such as the Satapatha Brahmana mentioned Matsya Avatar. Lord Vishnu took Matsya Avatar to save the pious and the first man, Manu. He advises Manu to build a giant boat.
Matsya is derived from the Sanskrit word “Matsaya” (मत्स) which means “Fish.” The term Matsya is also mentioned in the Rig Veda. It is connected with Maccha, meaning fish.
Lord Matsya is generally portrayed in the form of a four-armed figure that has the upper torso of a man and with the lower half of a fish.
The Lord Vishnu Matsya Avatar story has been mentioned in different Hindu Puranas. However, the most popular one has been narrated in the Bhagavata Purana.
According to the story, Lord Vishnu incarnated in the form of Matsya Avatar to save the earth from the great floods, thereby ensuring continuity of life on the planet earth.
It has also been stated that Lord Vishnu, in the form of Matsya Avatar, rescued the Vedas and other sacred texts from the demon Hayagriva.
The story of Matsya Avatar
In ancient times, there was a demon called Hayagriva. He had the face of a horse. Hayagriva stole the Vedas from Lord Brahma and disappeared into the oceans.
During those times, there was a highly pious king named Satryavrata or Vaivasvatha Manu. He ruled over the southern part of Bharata Varsha.
One day, King Manu went to the River Krithamala for his morning prayers. He took some water in his cupped palms from the river and found a tiny fish in it.
When the King wanted to drop the fish in the waters, it requested to give shelter as the fish feared that it would be eaten away by the bigger fishes in the river.
The King was kind enough and carried the fish to his palace, where he dropped it in a vessel. However, the fish began to overgrow in size. So, Manu had to change the vessel to bigger ones. Eventually, none of the containers was enough to contain the fish. So, it was transferred to a pond, then to a lake, then to the Ganges River, and finally to the ocean.
The fish began to grow even bigger in the ocean.
It thanked the King for giving shelter and assured him that it would appear back after a short time to rescue the King from the great floods.
The fish also instructed the King to collect the best of seeds from the flora and even the best of representatives from the fauna. It also asked the King to build a large ship. It should be kept in ready condition.
After some time, the great floods started to swallow the earth. However, by then, King Manu had gathered the seeds and representatives on the large ship.
Now, the Matsya Avatar appeared along with the vast snake Vasuki. The ship (with the collections aboard) with Manu was tied to the horn of the fish, the Matsya Avatar, with the snake Vasuki. All along the voyage, the Matsya (fish) taught the King the entire gamut of sacred literature.
As the floods subsided, the demon Hayagriva got exposed. Lord Matsya killed the demon and rescued the Vedas from him and handed them to Brahma once again.
All the seeds that were gathered in the ship were thrown on the earth. The representatives of different animal species began to procreate once again.
Vaivasvatha Manu performed a huge Yagna to please the Gods. The Gods were pleased by Manu. A beautiful damsel (Ida) appeared from the fire and married Manu. Manu and Ida gave rise to the human race once again.
Matsya Avatar Temples in India
Well, there are very few temples in India that are dedicated to the Matsya Avatar of Lord Vishnu.
- Vedanarayana Swamy Temple, Chittoor, Andra Pradesh
- Matsya Narayana Swamy Temple, Bellary, Karnataka
Vedanarayana Swamy Temple
The Vedanarayana Swamy Temple is known as the Matsya Avatar Sthalam. Here, Lord Vishnu has been portrayed in the form of Matsya Avatar.
Lord Matsya is the first among the ten avatars of Lord Vishnu.
The temple has idols of Matsya Avatar of Lord Vishnu in the form of Lord Veda Narayana Perumal along with his consorts Sridevi and Bhudevi.
The upper half of the main idol portrays Lord Vishnu with Shankha and Sudarshan Chakra. The lower half has been portrayed in the form of Matsya (no feet can be seen). The Sudarshan Chakra can be seen in the form of Prayoga (ready to be released).
The temple was build during the period of Krishna Deva Raya. The place has been named as Nagalapuram, which is in the memory of his mother, Nagamba. This temple is being maintained by Tirumala Tirupati Devastanam.
One of the most important attractions of this temple is the Surya Pooja, during which the sun rays fall directly on the Lord in the sanctum sanctorum during the sunset (6 pm to 6:15 pm).
This miracle is witnessed only once in a year – that is on the 12th, 13th, and 14th day in the Phalguna month, which falls during February or March.
On the first day, the sun’s rays fall at the feet of the Lord.
Second day, the sun’s rays fall on the chest.
On the third day, the sun’s rays fall on the forehead.
The sun’s rays reach the Lord from the entrance of the temple.
Other deities that are found in the temple include:
- Vedavathi Thayar
- Kodanda Ramaswamy
- Lakshmi Varaha Swamy
- Venugopala Swamy
- Lakshmi Narayana Swamy
- Lord Hayagriva
Matsya Narayan Swamy Temple
The Matsya Narayan Swamy Temple, which has the unique form of Lord Vishnu as Matsya Avatar, is situated in the village called Pinjar Hedgal in Bellary district of Karnataka.
This temple was built in 1926 by Late Sri Ambalam Buchi Venkatachar.
It is said that Lord Vishnu appeared in the dreams of Sri Venkatachar. It informed him that a Matsya Avatar idol of Lord Vishnu is at the Tungabhadra river bed.
The dream repeated several times to him.
So, he went to the King of Anegundi and narrated his dream. The King then retrieved the idol from the river bed and gifted it to Acharya Buchi Venkatachar.
Lord Vishnu appeared again in his dreams and instructed him to go to the village of Pinjar Hedgal. So, the Acharya met the devotees of Lord Vishnu in that village. He requested for a piece of land for constructing the temple.
When the land was donated to him, Acharya constructed a small temple and installed the statue of Lord Matsya Narayan.
The main deity in the temple is represented in the form of a four-armed deity with the upper half of Maha Vishnu with four arms.
Two arms hold the Shankha and the Chakra while the other two hands are shown in Abhaya and Varada Mudra. The lower half of the idol has been portrayed in the form of Fish (Matsya).
This temple is being maintained by Sri Matsya Narayan Swami Devasthanam Samithi.
Well, now we have come to the end of this post on Lord Vishnu Matsya Avatar Story.
We hope that this post is useful to you.
Thanks for visiting.
We welcome your comments and suggestions.