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Varaha avatar - third incarnation of vishnu

Varaha (the boar) is the third incarnation of Vishnu. Its images are divided into two main groups - those entirely in animal form and those having an animal's head on a human body with four arms. As is with most of the Vishnu incarnations, two hands hold the wheel and the conch-shell and the other two may hold a sword, a mace or a lotus, or they may be in the protection and boon giving modes.

Vishnu turned himself into a boar (Varaha) and descended to the bottom of the ocean to rescue the earth, which had been abducted and hidden there by HIRYANYAKSA a demon. After a long struggle Vishnu (as the boar) slew the demon, rescued the earth and brought it to the surface and made it ready to support life by modeling the mountains and shaping the continents. In this way the world was brought into being once again to begin another KALPA or cycle. The extrication of the world from the deluge of sin is symbolized by this legend and is a creation myth.

Varaha avatar - third incarnation of vishnu

Among descendants of Daksha, the first man that Brahma created at the beginning of the new KALPA, there was one Kashyap, a sage, who had four wives, Diti, Aditi, Vinita and Kudroo. Diti gave birth to demons and from Aditi were born gods, while from Vinita was born Garuda, the carrier of Vishnu and the last one Kudroo created the hydras. Out of the demons born of Diti, two were with terrific powers. These two brothers were named Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashyapu. Both of them performed so many religious practices and austerities that in course of time they gained limitless powers.

HIRANYAKSHA fueled with his limitless power of attacked Heaven, the kingdom of he gods. At his very sight the gods were struck so much with fear that they hid themselves. Hiranyaksha challenged Varuna, the Lord of the Ocean, to a fight. But Varuna answered, ''O great hero, I live like a hermit. I do not wish to fight. Besides, who can fight with you! Only God can do it." Then Hiranyaksha went in search of Hari (Vishnu).

pritvi submerged in the ocean
hiranyaksha attacking vishnu

At the end of the PRALAYA earth (PRITVI or BHOOMIDEVI) remained submerged in the waters. At that moment, through one of the nostrils of PARABRAHMA a pig shot out. He was very small in size - just an inch tall. But even as the onlookers were gazing, he began to grow. He grew and grew and became huge like a mountain. The Earth had fallen into the ocean and was lying under the water. The pig lifted it on his tusks. He was now rising above the water in order to offer the Earth to Brahma.


varaha lifting pritvi

saw this mountain like pig and was astounded. Still in limitless pride he cried, 'Foolish pig, leave the earth where it is and go away. Yes, I now know who you are; you are no other than Vishnu in the form of a pig. I have come to break your head.' So saying he stopped the pig. The Earth - Goddess trembled at the fearful appearance of the demon. But Varaha (the huge pig) did not take notice of these things. He was rising from the ocean.