Image used by permission.
Basic Description: Matsya,
the 1st avatar of Vishnu, assumed the form of a fish. Matsya retrieved the Vedas
for Brahma and saved humanity from the flood.
Brahma was sleeping, the asura Hayagriva stole the Vedas. Vishnu, the
preserver God, was watching and pondered how he would retrieve the Vedas from
the asura. As he was thinking he saw Sage Satyavrata doing penance in
the water and quickly Vishnu assumed the form of a fish. When Satyavrata
scooped up the fish, the fish told him not to put him back in the river for
fear that he would be eaten. Taking pity on the fish, the Sage took the
fish in his Kamandalu back to his home. Through the night and following
day the fish kept outgrowing the living spaces he was placed in until he was
too large for a pond. The fish kept asking for larger living spaces until
it was too big for the largest lake. As Satyavrata tried to place Matsya
in the ocean, the fish pleaded with him to not place him in the ocean where
he would be eaten. The Sage quickly realized that it was Lord Vishnu in the
form of a fish. He worshipped Vishnu and then received Vishnuís instructions.
In one week, he was told, the universe would be flooded with water from the
ocean. Satyavrata was to get in the spacious boat that would approach him and
bring along all the seeds, plants and animals for the next spell of creation.
He needed to make sure that Vasuki, the king of serpents, was in the boat.
The fish then left and found Hayagriva and slew him, and then retrieved the
Vedas from his mouth. The Vedas were then restored to Brahma to use for
the creation of the next world. The next week as foretold a great flood
covered the Earth, and Matsya towed the boat around until the waters dried up.
Other References on the Karma-to-Grace website: Is
there a savior in Hinduism?
The Hindu Pantheon. Los Angeles: Philosophical research society,
Thomas, P. Epics, Myths
and Legends of India. Bombay, India: D. B. Taraporevala Sons &
Co. Private Ltd, 1961.
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