Dear All,

Greetings and Namaste. Sri Matsya Jayanthi falls on18-Apr-2012 (Wed) and in that connection I have pleasure in sharing a rare Matsyavatara Stuti from Varaha Purana Chapter 9. Chapter 9 of Varaha Purana briefly describes the Matsyavatara by Lord Varaha to Dharani (Earth) at the latter's request. The description of the purpose of the Avatar is slightly different from the normal one everyone is aware of. A brief overview below

"In yore, there was nothing but Narayana and as he was not happy alone, he created another form of Intellect by name abhAva (non-being) resembling sun. This was divided into two - one was umA was OM. The three worlds bhU, bhuvaH, suvaH were then created... "

"The world that was evolved out of praNava (OM) was completely void and this form of the Lord was Shankara (Shiva) which is the form of Hari (Vishnu)."

Then the narration continues with the description of various worlds, Janana, Shastras, Varnas, etc (resembling Purusha Suktam) described as Kalpa. When the Lord slept at the end of kalpa for the night and when he got up in the morning, he sought the four vedas and Goddess of Vedas but he could not find and he was confused. Later he saw them hidden in his own form called water and he thought of entering into the water in the form of fish. [This prayer immediately follows]. Extolled thus, the God caught the Vedas with Upanishads and Shastras out of the water and then took his own form.

I don't quite understand the last stanza which goes like this - "As long as the God bears his own form, this world exists. When the God assumes his primordial form this world is dissolved. When He takes his manifested forms, this world also evolves". I only get a vague idea.

As usual, a few snippets relating to Matsyavatara and this hymn :

1. The story above gives a metaphorical meaning to losing and capturing of Vedas from Water. The usual story is that the Vedas were stolen by Rakshasas and were hidden in the ocean and Lord retrieved it.

2. It should also be noted that Lord Varaha mentions Lord Shiva as his own form (that arose from Pranava). The Stanza 4 of the hymn address Lord Matsya as Shambho.

This comes back to the point I had highlighted several times in the past - that the supposed superiority/inferiority or difference between Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva has never been highlighted or supported by Vedas/Purans. These are pure imaginations and irrational exuberance (Thanks a ton Mr. Alan Greenspan for this phrase - for whatever it means!) of later-day puritanists.

The non-duality of Vishnu/Shiva appears in Varaha Purana, a purana described as a Vaishnavite Manual of worship by H.H. Wilson, several times (I have seen at least in 5-6 places). And so in every puran or itihasa.

3. The Matsayavatara Dashakam in Narayaneeyam is said to be an effective remedy to overcome misfortunes - such as loss of wealth, job, health, etc.

4. I vaguely remember reading in Sengakalipuram Anantarama Dikshitar's commentary on the above Matsyavatara Dashakam that the avatara happened in my hometown Madurai. (But Madurai currently is not close to any sea today - so either my memory is wrong or the landscape was different at the time of the Avatar).

5. The most important sthala attributed to Matsya Avatra is - Vedanarayana Perumal Temple in Nagalapuram near Chennai. This is one of the most beautiful (though small) temples I have seen. A very potent Kshetra to visit to seek Lord's blessings for GYana. A must visit for all. I am not sure of any other famous Matsyavatara Temple.

6. During the recent Vaikuntha Ekadashi, I had shared the procedure for observing Matsya Dwadashi Vrat as described in Varaha Purana. In other words, Varaha purana associates Vaikuntha Ekadashi with Matsya Avatar for worship.

May Lord Mastya bless us all!

With best regards and pranams,
K. Muralidharan (Murali).

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