Matsya Avatar-The First Avatar of Vishnu

Matsya is the first among the ten Avatars of Lord Vishnu (Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Narasimha, Vamana, Parashuram, Rama, Krishna, Buddha and Kalki). In the form of this Avatar, Vishnu appeared in Satya Yuga. This avatar is mentioned in the Shatapatha Brahmana. According to the Puranas, Vishnu appeared as Matsya Avatar (a giant fish) to save Manu, the first man on earth from a catastrophe. Lord Matsya is generally represented as a four-armed figure with the upper torso of a human being and the lower of a fish.

Matsya Avatar Story

According to Hindu Puranas, during Satya Yuga, the people on earth had become irreligious and disorderly in the way they lived their lives. Lord Brahma, the creator, had been given the guidelines to renovate the earth by Lord Vishnu. These guidelines were the four Vedas (Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda and Atharvaveda) the four principle books of Hinduism. Lord Brahma decided to take rest before this grand task of renovation as he was quite tired from the process of creation. At that time, a horse-headed demon named Hayagriva stole the Vedas from him (Brahma) and hid himself (Hayagriva) in the deep ocean of the earth. Meanwhile, a pious king named Satyavrata who later was known as Manu, regularly worshipped Lord Vishnu and wished to meet Him. So Lord Vishnu decided to pay a visit to His devotee.

One day while Satyavrata was performing his religious rituals on the bank of a river, a small fish jumped out of the river and asked him for its protection, promising to save him from the upcoming deluge in future.

Satyavrata brought the fish to his house keeping it in his Kamandalu but eventually, the fish started growing very quickly. He shifted the fish into the water tank, then into the river but lastly, Satyavrata had to release it into the ocean.

When the fish was released into the ocean, the fish said, “O King! There are huge species of crocodiles in the sea, they will eat me, so don’t leave me in the sea.” The king was very kind and listened to that request of the fish and began to think. He realised that it was Lord Vishnu who was in the form of Matsya. He folded his hands and began to pray to Lord.

Revealed in the form of a fish, Lord said to his beloved devotee, “Satyavrata! In seven days from today this Tribhuvan will be filled with water and will be submerged. At that time I will send you a big boat. You will get on the boat with the sages and stay in it. The boat will be shaken by the terrible storm. Then I will come in this form and save you all.” Then Lord disappeared.

Finally that day came. Before the eyes of King Satyavrata, the whole world began to sink into the water and the deluge began. Satyavrata then remembered the secret words of God. At once he saw that the sacred boat had come. He immediately got into the boat with all the living creatures, plants, sages and all the necessary things as directed by Lord.

At the direction of the seven sages, King Satyavrata began to meditate on Lord. In the vast ocean Lord appeared as a huge fish with a big horn and led them into safety. Then He began to give advice of knowledge and devotion to King Satyavrata while roaming in the ocean of ​​destruction. At last Lord Vishnu rescued the holy Vedas and handed over them to Satyavrata (Manu) so that he could use them for the welfare of humankind.

Matsya Dwadashi

According to Hindu scriptures, Matsya Dwadashi is an important vrat. Those who believe in the month of Margashirsha, should observe this vrat following the rules and chant the mantra given below-

वंदे नवघनश्यामम् पीत कौशेयवाससम्।

सानन्दम् सुंदरम् शुद्धम् श्रीकृष्णम् प्रकृतेः परम् ॥


ॐ मत्स्यरूपाय नमः ॥

By Krishna Das

[Updated on 07 February, 2023]





Krishna Das is an experienced article writer. He writes about Hinduism in his spare time.

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