Updated: May 30
Lord Vishnu is the part of the Hindu Trinity and is the responsible for smooth operation of the Universe. He is the preserver and responsible for maintaining cosmic balance. Whenever this balance is disturbed and negative or evil forces dominate the world putting goodness and righteousness at risk, Vishnu descends from his planet Vaikunta to Earth. He takes up an avatar and slays the prevailing demonic force. Our scriptures mention him as Dashavtara as he takes 10 different avatars in different eras, to protect Goodness against Evil. These Avatars come with a purpose to teach mankind the path of righteousness 1st Avatara – Matsya Avatar (Half Fish and Half Human) This is the 1st Avatar of Lord Vishnu. This is when the first Man on Earth Satyavarta or Manu existed and ruled the world. One day Manu went to bathe in a river. This is when he came across a tiny fish. The fish requested Manu to save it and protect it from bigger fishes. Manu was a good man and wanted to help. He put the fish in a jar. Very soon it outgrew the jar and needed a bigger space. He then put it in a pond. Very soon the pond was too small for the fish. He left it into the river but the fish outgrew the river. Finally the fish was put in the ocean. This is when fish changed into half human and half fish. He declared himself as Lord Vishnu. Manu prostrated before the Blue One and sought his blessings Vishnu warned Manu that within the 7 days there will be a massive flood that will wipe off the entire world. No life would be left. The world had turned evil, hence the destruction was necessary. Manu was instructed to board a boat and sail through this flood to start a new world again. He was instructed to keep trees and animals of different species in that boat. He also asked Manu to keep the seven divine saints or the famous Saptarishis in the boat He blessed the boat and said that it shall not drown. Once the flood stops Manu will have to establish order on Earth again right from scratch. Vishnu also mentioned to Manu that by the end of Kali-yuga, a massive fire will emerge from the bottom of the ocean. This fire will destroy everything in this Universe including the Gods. The flood began and started to engulf the world. Meanwhile the boat sailed safely through the rough waters with the help of Vishnu in his Fish form. Vishnu used Vasuki (Serpent God on Shiva’s neck) as a rope and tied the boat to his horn. They sailed through and finally reached the Himalayas. By this time the flood had stopped. Manu started re-establishing the world again. He did a great Yagya to invoke the Gods. The pleased Gods bestowed him with a beautiful woman named Ida. Manu and Ida got married and started the human race again. The interesting aspect of this story is that it is very similar to the story of Noah mentioned in the Holy Bible. There is a mention of the great floods in the Hebrew Bible. Here Noah being a good man was asked by God to build an ark or ship and keep all different animal species in it. The world had turned evil and needed to be wiped off and started again. There also Noah built the boat and sailed successfully through the floods and started life again from scratch.
Art Credit: DeviantArt