A Big Fish Story: Matsya, the First Avatar

Mythologicaly  speaking, the Hindu God Vishnu had ten Earthly incarnations. So where do we start? By jumping in the water – literally.

Flood tales run through human myths. Be it the Hebrew Noah, be it the immortal Mesopotamian Utnapishtim, or the Vedic Manu, one theme resonates: a flood is coming, and an ark must be built.

In every case, they got to building, and collecting animals.

While Noah got his information from Yahweh, and Utnapishtim was warned by the Sumerian God Enki, for Manu, it was the Hindu/Vedic deity Vishnu who came to inform him of the impending deluge. However, unlike Yahweh and Enki, Vishnu was a little more direct.

He came to Manu as a fish.

Indeed, the fist time the Preserver of the Cosmos makes His way onto the stage of Hindu cosmology, He comes as a fish. Or a half-fish-half-man. Either way, His message to Manu, the one guy who He’s determined to save, is clear:

Build an ark. Take your family. Add livestock. Bring along a few wise guys (seven sages, if one cares to be respectful).

And what did Manu do?

The same thing that Noah, and Utnapishtim did: he built a boat, and in doing so, he saved humanity, with a little help from Vishnu.

One down, nine Avatars to go. The Next time we see Vishnu, He’ll be appearing as a turtle

Until then, keep dry…



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