Matsyavatara, Matsyāvatāra, Matsya-avatara: 11 definitions


Matsyavatara means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Marathi, Hindi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

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In Hinduism

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

[«previous next»] — Matsyavatara in Purana glossary
Source: Nilamata Purana: a cultural and literary study

Matsyāvatāra (मत्स्यावतार) refers to the “fish incarnation” of Viṣṇu and was once depicted and worshipped in ancient Kashmir (Kaśmīra) as mentioned in the Nīlamatapurāṇa.—The Nīlamata refers to this incarnation in the legend of the birth of Kaśmīra. It is stated that the movable and immovable creation is destroyed at the end of a manvantara. The whole world changes into a sea with water alone—a form of Śiva himself—existing all around. Then appears Satī in the form of a boat in which the future Manu places all the seeds. Viṣṇu, in the form of Matsya, carries that boat by means of his horn and fastens that to the peak Naubandhana.

Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Pancaratra (worship of Nārāyaṇa)

[«previous next»] — Matsyavatara in Pancaratra glossary
Source: Isvara Samhita Vol 1

Matsyāvatāra (मत्स्यावतार) refers to one of the various Vibhava manifestations according to the Īśvarasaṃhitā 24.312-316.—Accordingly, “one shall think of Him who superintends (everything). He remains in the midst of the waters of His (own) māyā. He has the (his) limbs concealed in His impersonal form. He is shining (bedecked) with knowledge and group of guṇas which has become His fin. It (form of fish) is Brahman rising and disappearing with a shining scale (śṛṅga). He is to be thought of as bearing (at the time of kalpa) the vast earth (which takes) with the form of a boat occupied by the host of progenitors (Brahmā) and bears with a spotless body assembling pearl. He is of the nature of fish whose eyes never closing”.

These Vibhavas (e.g., Matsyāvatāra) represent the third of the five-fold manifestation of the Supreme Consciousness the Pāñcarātrins believe in. Note: Here the deity is Matsya, a descent of Viṣṇu. At the end of the kalpa, that is deluge when the earth is about to sink, Viṣṇu took the form of fish and turned the earth into a boat which was occupied by Brahmā and others. In order that the boat would not be drifted away, the Lord tied the boat to his scale (śṛṅga) with a serpent and saved the world. Ekaśṛṅgatanu is identical with the Matsya descent. Since the boat was tried to the scale (śṛṅga) of the fish, Matsya is called as having a body, in whose scale the body was tied.

Pancaratra book cover
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Pancaratra (पाञ्चरात्र, pāñcarātra) represents a tradition of Hinduism where Narayana is revered and worshipped. Closeley related to Vaishnavism, the Pancaratra literature includes various Agamas and tantras incorporating many Vaishnava philosophies.

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Shilpashastra (iconography)

Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (śilpa)

Matsyāvatāra (मत्स्यावतार) or Matsya is one of the daśāvatāra (ten incarnations) of Viṣṇu, is found depicted at the  Kallazhagar Temple in  Madurai, which represents a sacred place for the worship of Viṣṇu.—The upper part of Matsyāvatāra’s body keeps its usual form, while the lower part takes the form of a fish. Viṣṇu in this form has four arms where the upper hands hold the conch and the discus in the left and right respectively. The other two right and left hands hold the sword and the shield.

Shilpashastra book cover
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Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

[«previous next»] — Matsyavatara in Natyashastra glossary
Source: Shodhganga: Elements of Art and Architecture in the Trtiyakhanda of the Visnudharmottarapurana (natya)

Matsyāvatāra (मत्स्यावतार) refers to one of the Daśāvatāra (“ten incarnations”) (of Lord Viṣṇu) to which are assign various hand gestures (in Indian Dramas), according to the Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa, an ancient Sanskrit text which (being encyclopedic in nature) deals with a variety of cultural topics such as arts, architecture, music, grammar and astronomy.—The word matsyāvatāra stands for the incarnation of fish of lord Viṣṇu. So, it is an authentic reason to create a shape of fish with hands to show this āvatāra. According to the Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa, the ardhacandra-hasta indicates the matsya-avatāra. Point to be noted here is that, only the single hand in ardhacandra does not look like a fish and it does not justify the name of this hasta. But according to the Abhinayadarpaṇa, to show the Matsyāvatāra, one hand is placed on the back of another in patākahasta and the thumbs are spread-out and it literary makes the shape of a fish.

Natyashastra book cover
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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (shastra) of performing arts, (natya—theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing Dramatic plays (nataka), construction and performance of Theater, and Poetic works (kavya).

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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

[«previous next»] — Matsyavatara in Marathi glossary
Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

matsyāvatāra (मत्स्यावतार).—m (S) The first of the ten incarnations of Vishn̤u,--that of the fish.

context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit dictionary

[«previous next»] — Matsyavatara in Sanskrit glossary
Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Matsyāvatāra (मत्स्यावतार).—the first of the ten incarnations of Viṣṇu; (during the reign of the seventh Manu, the whole earth, which, had become corrupt was swept away by a flood, and all living beings perished except the pious Manu and the seven sages who were saved by Viṣṇu in the form of a fish); cf. Jayadeva's description of this avatāra.; प्रलयपयोधिजले धृतवानसि वेदं विहित- वहित्रचरित्रमखेदम् । केशव धृतमीनशरीर जय जगदीश हरे (pralayapayodhijale dhṛtavānasi vedaṃ vihita- vahitracaritramakhedam | keśava dhṛtamīnaśarīra jaya jagadīśa hare) Gītagovinda 1.

Derivable forms: matsyāvatāraḥ (मत्स्यावतारः).

Matsyāvatāra is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms matsya and avatāra (अवतार).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Matsyāvatāra (मत्स्यावतार).—m.

(-raḥ) Vishnu in his first Avatara; when the seventh Manu was reigning, the whole earth was destroyed by a flood and all living beings perished except the reigning Manu and the seven Rishis who were saved by Vishnu in the form of a fish.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Matsyāvatāra (मत्स्यावतार):—[from matsya > matsa] m. ‘fish-descent’, Name of the first of the 10 incarnations of Viṣṇu (who became a fish to save the 7th Manu from the universal deluge; the conversation between them forms the Matsya-Purāṇa q.v.; in [Mahābhārata i.] the fish is represented as an incarnation of Brahmā; cf. [Indian Wisdom, by Sir M. Monier-Williams 327, 397 etc.])

[Sanskrit to German]

Matsyavatara in German

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Hindi dictionary

[«previous next»] — Matsyavatara in Hindi glossary
Source: DDSA: A practical Hindi-English dictionary

Matsyāvatāra (मत्स्यावतार):—(nm) the first of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu (in the form of a big fish).

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Kannada-English dictionary

[«previous next»] — Matsyavatara in Kannada glossary
Source: Alar: Kannada-English corpus

Matsyāvatāra (ಮತ್ಸ್ಯಾವತಾರ):—

1) [noun] the first of the ten incarnations of Viṣṇu, in which he took the form of a fish.

2) [noun] Viṣṇu.

context information

Kannada is a Dravidian language (as opposed to the Indo-European language family) mainly spoken in the southwestern region of India.

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