Monday, 10 December 2012

HINDU MYTHS-01– Vishnu’s first Avatar – The Matsya (Fish)

| I am presenting the Hindu Myths in the most simplified manner, 
| so that Purana-katha's could reach the ordinary folks in the most 
| simplified manner. Bearing in mind that the story itself has 
| scientific explanations, but telling these myths 
| in the scientific language will only distance the audience - and it 
| should be read only when they are ready to absorb that level of 
| knowledge.
| Please use this Mythical stories as:
| 1. a General knowledge on Hinduism
| 2. a bedtime story for your children to trigger their right-brain 
|     creativity through story-telling
| 3. a guide to understand the greatness of Sri Maha Vishnu, 
|     Narayana and  His planetary expansions.
| Nehru Nagappan
| Perumal Temple Klang

HINDU MYTHS – Vishnu’s first Avatar – The Matsya (Fish)

How Mankind was saved from Extinction

Ref: Magical Indian Myths, by Anita Nair


Once upon a time, there lived a good and holy man called Manu.  But Manu was not happy because everyone around him, including his wife and children, were dishonest and wicked people.  They laughed at his honest ways and taunted him for being a silly fool.  But Manu refused to be swayed by their words and went about life in a quiet and righteous fashion.

Sometimes though, he would become very sad and desperate and then he would fold his hands in prayer and plead the Gods he prayed to every day, “When will you take me away from these evil people?  Is there to be no end to my suffering?”

Every morning, just before he sat down to eat his breakfast, Manu would fetch a small pot of water from the well to wash his hands.  One morning as he poured water over his hands, he heard a tiny voice cry, “Help! Help!”


Surprised, Manu looked around him and into the well.  But he could see no one.  Then he looked into the pot of water and in it was a tiny horned fish.  As Manu watched, the fish opened its mouth and spoke to him in human voice, “Preserve me and I will preserve you!”

Manu smiled and said, “Don’t worry, I shall not harm you.  But how will you help me?  You are so tiny that a frog can swallow you in one gulp!”  The fish swam a full circle and said, “I cannot reveal the future to you but preserve me and I shall preserve you….”

So Manu left the fish in the little pot and put it away in a safe place.  He knew if his children saw the fish, they would kill it just for fun.  Every day, Manu fed the fish and it talked to him about life and the importance of being a good human being.  The fish grew rapidly and soon he had to move it to a tank at the bottom of his garden.  But the fish continued to grow and so he moved it to a nearby lake.  But it wouldn’t stop growing and Manu turned to the fish for help.  “You will soon be bigger than the lake!  Where shall I keep you now?”


“Take me to the ocean and come to see me every day.  Soon, it will be a time for me to fulfil the purpose for which I was sent here”, the fish said and Manu did as it asked him to.

The ocean was a few hours away from his house.  After the fish moved to the ocean, Manu would go there every evening with a bag of puffed rice.  When he scattered the rice on the waves, the fish would appear before him. 


One evening, it was waiting for Manu and when he walked into the waves, the fish said, “Manu, the time has come for you to plan your escape.  I want you to build a ship and keep in it the seed of every living being.  You too must live in it.  Do not stay in your house once the ship is ready”

Manu was bemused by the fish’s order.  But he trusted the fish greatly.  By now, Manu had realized that it was no ordinary creature.  So he went to the forest and set about chopping some strong trees.  As he cut the branches and built his ship, his family and neighbours mocked him.  “Ho, ho, ho… going somewhere, are you?” one man said.   “What a fool he is! He’s building a ship so far away from the sea.  How do you plan to get it into the water?  Will you wait for the rains to sweep it away?   Ha, ha, ha…”, his family laughed.

But Manu went about his task.  Soon, the ship was built and he began to live in it.  “He’s gone mad!”, his wife shrieked.  “Why has he stopped living in his house and started living in a ship that’s not even on the sea?”

But Manu refused to get angry and continued to live in the ship.  Every evening he went to meet the fish, which had grown as big as a hill now.  “Tonight’s the night!”, the fish said.  “There will be a great storm and the flood waters will destroy all living creatures.  Stay in your ship and I shall come for you”.

Manu rushed home to warn his family and the whole town.  “Come into my ship.  You will be safe there.  The flood waters will kill all of you”, he cried.   But no one would listen to him. 


That night, a great storm blew.  It was a storm so powerful that no one had seen anything like it before.  Rain poured down in torrents, lightning flashed continuously, and the waters of the ocean rose higher and higher.  Soon the whole world was submerged.  No man, woman or child survived, except Many, who stayed dry and warm in his ship that floated on the surface of the rising water.

The fish arrived when the storm was at its peak.  “Manu”, it said, “fasten a cable from the ship to my horn”.  Manu did as the fish asked and it towed his ship through the waters.  They sailed high above the Himalayan peaks and the tall mountains of the world.  The journey took so many days and years and Manu began to feel lonely.  He missed human company.  “Is the world to end with me?” he worried.  “Am I to be the last man on earth?  Please Gods, help me.  I would like to have some children, to love and protect and to leave the legacy of life”

So Manu was granted a wife, and when the flood receded, they went back to live on the earth.  Their children became the ancestors of mankind. 

As for the fish - Matsya – it was none other than Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the Universe.

No comments:

Post a Comment