Puranic encyclopaedia

by Vettam Mani | 1975 | 609,556 words | ISBN-10: 0842608222

This page describes the Story of Varaha included the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani that was translated into English in 1975. The Puranas have for centuries profoundly influenced Indian life and Culture and are defined by their characteristic features (panca-lakshana, literally, ‘the five characteristics of a Purana’).

Story of Varāha

(Boar). One of the ten incarnations of Mahāviṣṇu.

Need for this incarnation.

Jaya and Vijaya, two doorkeepers of Mahāviṣṇu showed disrespect towards the famous hermits Sanaka and others who went to visit Mahāviṣṇu. The angry hermits cursed them to take birth as asuras. Accordingly Jaya and Vijaya took birth as the two asuras Hiraṇyākṣa and Hiraṇyakaśipu and were born from Prajāpati Kaśyapa by his wife Diti.

Even their birth itself was inauspicious. Once, while Kaśyapa was carrying on evening worship, his wife was filled with libid. She embraced Kaśyapa. Because she got pregnancy in an inauspicious moment, two asura sons were born. At the time of their birth darkness spread over the whole of the world, and some ill omens were seen. The Devas (gods) trembled.

The elder son was called Hiraṇyākṣa and the second son was called Hiraṇyakaśipu. As Hiraṇyākṣa grew up he began to quarrel with the Devas. When the fight grew fierce, he picked up the earth in his hands as a ball and went under water. There was left only water. The Devas went to Mahāviṣṇu and prayed to him in order to get the earth back.

At this time Manu Svāyambhuva, the son of Brahmā, was living with his father looking after his welfare. The father, who was pleased with the services of his son said. "My dear son, you should worship Devī, who will be pleased with your devotion and will bless you. If she is pleased with you, you will become a famous Prajāpati." Hearing the words of Brahmā, Svāyambhuva worshipped Devī with ardent devotion, deep meditation and severe vows and penance, at which Jagadambā was pleased. She appeared before him and asked him what boon he wanted. Manu requested that he should be permitted to carry on creation without any obstruction. Devī gave him permission. Manu returned to his father Brahmā and said. "Father, point out to me a solitary place. I will sit there and create subjects by the blessings of Devī." Only when he heard the request of his son, did Brahmā begin to think about the exigency of providing his son with such a place. For, the earth was completely under water. For a long time even Brahmā was being subjected to much inconvenience to carry on creation. Only Bhagavān Ādi Nārāyaṇa (Viṣṇu) could do anything in this matter. So Brahmā with the Manus, hermits and others began to meditate on Mahāviṣṇu.


Instantly the young one of a Boar jumped out of the nose of Brahmā through his breath. That divine figure of Boar stood in the air and began to grow. Within a few moments, it became a colossal Being. It grew up as big as an elephant. Soon it became as large as a mountain. Seeing this, Brahmā and the others stood in amazement. The Boar made a grunt in a loud roaring sound. The people of Janaloka, Satyaloka etc. understood that it was the sound of Mahāviṣṇu. They raised glory and praise to Bhagavān, who heard all these praises, but without condescending to tell anything, looked at all of them with grace and love, and with a mighty force jumped into the sea. It was immensely troubled by the manes of God Almighty. Varuṇa prayed to him to save him from them. Bhagvān folded his mane and went down to the deep water and made a search for the earth. The Boar walked smelling and snorting and found out the earth. He slowly lifted it on his tusks and started from there. On the way, the fierce and wicked Hiraṇyākṣa hindered him. Bhagavān Viṣṇu used his club Nandaka and killed Hiraṇyākṣa. It was besmeared with his blood; Mahāviṣṇu came up to the surface of water with the earth. He set the earth firm over the water. Thus Brahmā gave Manu a place in the earth which floated on the water like a lotus-leaf, and empowered him to perform creation.

Incarnation of Boar again.

The goddess Earth, the deity of earth which was raised to the surface of water, fell in love with Mahāviṣṇu and embraced him. He embraced her in return. These mutual embraces continued for one complete Devavarṣa (year of God) and consequently the goddess Earth became tired and weak and unconscious. So the earth slid down a little under water. Bhagavān took the form of a Boar again and lifted the earth to its original place and returned to Vaikuṇṭha. (Bhāgavata, Skandha 3; Devī Bhāgavata Skandhas 8 and 9; Agni Purāṇa, Chapter 5; Padma Purāṇa, Bhūmikhaṇḍa, Chapter 91).

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