Here is a collection of stories that I have heard / read while growing up and / or googled now to tell my daughter :)

Hope you / your children enjoy it as much as we did.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Avatars of Lord Vishnu - Matysa

All these stories from Hindu Mythology are so interconnected, it becomes difficult to tell the stories without providing some background information. So starting this series to tell you about the Avatars of Vishnu - Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Narasimha, Vamana & Parshurama.

As per Hindu mythology, there are 4 yugs - Satya yuga, Treta yuga, Dwapara Yuga and Kali yuga. We are currently in Kali yuga now. As per the mythology, each yuga i.e 4320 million years is 1 day for lord Brahma. After creating every day (yuga) Lord Brahma goes to sleep. When he sleeps no creation happens in the universe. The power to create the universe comes from Vedas. This is why Lord Brahma is called the creator.

If Lord Brahma is the God of creation then Lord Vishnu is the God of Preservation. That means, once the creation is done, it is Lord Vishnu's job to ensure whenever the earth is in danger and when evil threatens to overcome the good, Lord Vishnu descends from the heaven to re-incarnate on the earth and slay the evil and restore good and dharma on earth. Today we will hear the story of Matsya Avatar.

Satya Yuga also called as Golden Yuga was the first Yuga. In this Yuga Lord Dharma who is depited in the form of a cow stood on all 4 legs. Average life span of a human in SAtya yuga was around 4000 yrs. People were good, there was no deceit and cruelty. People were happy and without diseases.

In this Satya yuga, there was a king by name Satyavrat Vaivasvat Manu. He was just ruler and one of the biggest devotees of Lord Vishnu. The only thing he wanted and prayed for was to see Lord Vishnu before he dies. For this he prayed everyday, did meditation, performed severe tapasya for years.

Lord Brahma after creating the Satya Yuga was very tired. He wanted to rest. He fell asleep and started to snore loudly. The sleep of Brahma indicates the beginning of end of any Yuga. A great flood was about to come and destroy all the life on earth to start afresh for the next Yuga.

While Lord Brahma was snoring away, a Asura by name Hayariva came out of Brahma's nose. He saw the Vedas slipping from Brahma's mouth realised it was the best time to steal the Vedas. He took the vedas and hid deep inside he ocean thinking nobody would find him there.

As soon as the Veda's were stolen, Lord Vishnu woke up from his Shayana. He saw in his minds's eye what Hayagriva did, if the vedas were not restored back to Brahma, then Brahma would not be able to complete he creation of the new yuga. As the god of preservation, it was his job to make sure the Vedas were passed on to the next yuga.

At the same time, the prayers of Manu who was deep in tapasya reached Lord Vishnu. Vishnu came up with a plan restore the Vedas to their rightful place and do much more.. Smiling he got up from his resting place and disappeared.

The next morning, Manu went into the river to do salutations to the Sun god. When he took the water in his hand and offered it to the gods, he heard a small voice "O Manu, the great king, please help me, do not put me back in the river, I am soo tiny, I am afraid some other fish will eat me up. I have come seeking your protection. Please help!"

Manu looked at his hands and saw a tiny fish. Manu looked at it with pity and listened to it and as it was his principle to protect anyone seeking his protection, he put the fish in his kamandala and went back to his home. After finishing his duties, he left the fish in the kamandala thinking it will be safe there.

In the morning he woke to a voice calling him "Manu O Manu, wake up. Your kamandala is very small, there is no water here. I cannot breath. Help Help!". When Manu looked at the Kamandala, he saw the head of the fish from  talking to him from the top of the Kamandala. He ran and got a bigger vessel, filled it with water and dropped the fish into it. The fish thanked him and started swimming happily in the vessel.

He went to the river, finished his morning prayers and was coming back to his house, he heard a voice calling his name from within his house. He went into see the fish calling him, the fish had grown so big that it was about to fall out of the vessel. It cried "O King, save me.. I am not able to breath. I need water"

Manu stared blankly at the fish struggling, he got the biggest vessel he had and put the fish inside it. The fish thanked him and after checking that the vessel was big enough started swimming in it. The King was about to sit in his court, he heard a strong voice calling his name. He realised it was the fish, and ran to see the fish stare out of the big vessel and struggling to breath. He stomped on all the questions arising in his head and ran to the river with the fish in his hands and threw the fish inside.

The fish breathed gill full of air, and then thanked the king. When Manu was about to leave it said "O great king, please do not leave me, you have promised to protect me, the bigger fishes might eat me". Manu started getting suspicious, but he had promised to protect the fish so he stayed with it. He sat staring at the fish and saw the fish getting bigger and bigger till it covered the entire river. Manu carried the fish from one river to another river, but the fish kept getting bigger.

Finally he dragged the fish to the ocean and before his eyes the fish grew to fill one side of the ocean. Looking at the huge fish he suddenly realised what was happening. He bowed before the fish crying "Oh! Lord you have finally heard my prayers. My Narayana you are finally here on earth for me". Tears of happiness were flowing from his eyes.

Lord Vishnu in the form of the fish smiled and said "O Manu, how can I not come when you were pulling me to you with your prayers". While Vishnu was talking a huge horm stared to grow from the fish's head.

Manu cried "My Lord, you have granted me my only wish, I do not want anything else. Please tell me My Lord, why are you here in this form?".

Lord Vishnu said "Manu, this Yuga will end in 7 days, there will be floods, cyclones and Volcanoes and everything on the earth would end. I want you to build a huge ship, take a male and female of every animal alive on this earth, take seeds of every plant, get the seven sages and their families and get them on the ship. And also bring Vasuki the snake god".

Manu Bowed to him and said "Yes my lord". The Fish disappeared into the sea. The fish went deep into the ocean in search of Hayagriva, it found him at the deepest part of the ocean guarding the Vedas. Seeing the huge fish, Hayagriva realised it is Lord Vishnu come to take the Vedas back. He stood and started fighting the fish. The fight went on for 6 days. On the 7th day Lord Vishnu Killed the Asura and restored the Vedas back to Lord Brahma who was still sleeping.

During this time, Manu built the ship and gathered everything Lord Vishnu had asked him on the ship. On the 7th day, there were torrential rains and water level started raising, the ship started to float. The ship started wobbling on the water. Manu and the rishis started praying to Lord Vishnu. Suddenly they saw the huge fish tearing the ocean speeding towards them. The fish bellowed loudly "Manu, quick. Use Vasuki and tie the bow of the ship to my horn." AS soon Manu managed to tie the ship to the horn of the fish, the fish steered them to the centre of the ocean where they were safe till the rains stopped and the other life on earth ended. During this time, Lord Vishnu told them this Avatar of his is called "Matsyavatar" and taught them the Vedas.

Once the storm stopped, Brahma woke to create he new yuga, the fish deposited them at Himalayas to start the new yuga.

Tomorrow we will talk about the next avatara - Kurma.

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