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Varaha: The third Avatar of Lord Vishnu

Varaha is a boar like avatar of Lord Vishnu

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Avatars of Lord Vishnu (Source: Wikimedia commons)
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  • ‘Varaha’ is his third avatar of Lord Vishnu followed by Kurma avatar and succeeded by Narasimha avatar.
  • Vishnu Puran treats Varah as a symbol of sacrifice.
  • Varaha is a boar like avatar of Lord Vishnu

Among Dashavatars of Lord Vishnu, ‘Varaha’ is his third avatar followed by Kurma avatar and succeeded by Narasimha avatar. Varaha is a boar like avatar of Lord Vishnu. Some people also believe that Lord Vishnu was born oh his tusks in this avatar and was capable to lift up the Earth on his tusks after killing the demon.

Lord Vishnu Temple (Lower Padmanabham Temple) at Padmanabham Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Lord Vishnu Temple (Lower Padmanabham Temple) at Padmanabham Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Here are ten facts about Varaha avatar of Lord Vishnu

  • Varaha avatar is first avatar of Lord Vishnu with a head of an animal and rest as human body. While the Matasya and Kurma avatar, depicts frame of a human body while the bottom part depicts animal body.
  • Chalukya was the first dynasty to use Varaha avatar engravings on the coins. Varaha was worshipped highly till Muslims came in India. Muslims treat pigs as impure and unclean, from then Varaha worship declined.
  • The generation of first millennia treated Varaha as the symbol of manhood. On the other hand, Vishnu Puran treats Varah as a symbol of sacrifice.
  • Varaha avatar had been evolved when a devil named Hiranyakshya took earth to the bottom of the ocean. Mother earth, then, asked Lord Vishnu to help her. Lord Vishnu came in Varaha (boar) avatar and defeated Hiranyakshya and carried Earth on his tusks and came out of the ocean.

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  • Varaha Avatar helped Earth to come out of the ocean after pralay and in this way started a new cycle of the world.
  • According to Vishnu Purana, every part of Varaha has some significance like feet of Varah symbolize Vedas, tusk symbolizes suffering, hair represents grass, joints symbolizes different ceremonies, ears denotes rituals, coarse hairs denotes sexual improves, eyes as day and night and nostrils symbolizes gifts.
  • Lord Varaha is worshipped in many parts of Southern India. There are many temples having Varah avatar of Lord Vishnu. Some of the famous temples to Lord Varaha are Tirumala temple, Shri Mooshnam temple, Varah Swamy temple in Secunderabad district of Andhra Pradesh.
  • There is a special connection between Varaha and Tirupati temple. If one goes to Tirupati temple, first worship Varah temple in Adi Varah Kshetra of Tirupati then go and take blessings from Tirupati Balaji.

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  • To mark the evolution of Varaha Avatar many people celebrate Varaha Avatar Jayanti. On this occasion one would do jagran all the night recalling the stories of Lord Vishnu and his dashavatars. Some people also fast on this day. All those who fast on this day will be worshipping a small statue of Lord Vishnu in Kalash followed by Visarjan.
  • One can fiund the engravings of Lord Varaha in Badami (Karnataka), in Ellora caves in Maharashtra, in Varah Cave temple in Mahabalipuram and in Udaygiri Caves in Madhya Pradesh.

-by Aparna Gupta, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter @writetoaparna

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  • devika todi

    it is always fascinating to know more about Hindu mythology.

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Shankaracharya: A remarkable genius that Hinduism produced (Book Review)

The irony is that most leading scientists, particularly outside India but also within, have little knowledge of the structure of Shankara's philosophy and the transparent interface it has with scientific discoveries today.

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He was greatly influenced by three basic texts of Hindu philosophy: Upanishads, the Brahma Sutra and the Bhagavad Gita
He was greatly influenced by three basic texts of Hindu philosophy: Upanishads, the Brahma Sutra and the Bhagavad Gita.

Title: Adi Shankaracharya: Hinduism’s Greatest Thinker; Author: Pavan K. Varma; Publisher: Tranquebar Press; Pages: 364; Price: Rs 699

This must be one of the greatest tributes ever paid to Shankaracharya, the quintessential “paramarthachintakh”, who wished to search for the ultimate truths behind the mysteries of the universe. His genius lay in building a complete and original philosophical edifice upon the foundational wisdom of the Upanishads.

A gifted writer, Pavan Varma, diplomat-turned-politician and author of several books including one on Lord Krishna, takes us through Shankara’s short but eventful span of life during which, from having been born in what is present-day Kerala, he made unparalleled contributions to Hindu religion that encompassed the entire country. Hinduism has not seen a thinker of his calibre and one with such indefatigable energy, before or since.

Shankara’s real contribution was to cull out a rigorous system of philosophy that was based on the essential thrust of Upanishadic thought but without being constrained by its unstructured presentation and contradictory meanderings.

He was greatly influenced by three basic texts of Hindu philosophy: Upanishads, the Brahma Sutra and the Bhagavad Gita. He wrote extensive and definitive commentaries on each of them. Of course, the importance he gave to the Mother Goddess, in the form of Shakti or Devi, can be traced to his own attachment to his mother whom he left when he set off, at a young age, in search of a guru and higher learning.

The irony is that most leading scientists, particularly outside India but also within, have little knowledge of the structure of Shankara's philosophy and the transparent interface it has with scientific discoveries today.
Shankara wrote hymns in praise of many deities but his personal preference was the worship of the Mother Goddess.

Against all odds, Shankara created institutions for the preservation and propagation of Vedantic philosophy. He established “mathas” with the specific aim of creating institutions that would develop and project the Advaita doctrine. He spoke against both caste discriminations and social inequality, at a time when large sections of conservative Hindu opinion thought otherwise.

Shankara was both the absolutist Vedantin, uncompromising in his belief in the non-dual Brahman, and a great synthesiser, willing to assimilate within his theoretical canvas several key elements of other schools of philosophy. He revived and restored Hinduism both as a philosophy and a religion that appealed to its followers.

Also Read: Hinduism: The Nine Basic Beliefs that you need to know

Varma rightly says that it must have required great courage of conviction as well as deep spiritual and philosophical insight for Shankaracharya to build on the insights of the Upanishads a structure of thought, over a millennium ago, that saw the universe and our own lives within it with a clairvoyance that is being so amazingly endorsed by science today. The irony is that most leading scientists, particularly outside India but also within, have little knowledge of the structure of Shankara’s philosophy and the transparent interface it has with scientific discoveries today.

Shankara wrote hymns in praise of many deities but his personal preference was the worship of the Mother Goddess. The added value of the book is that it has, in English, a great deal of Shankara’s writings. Unfortunately, most Hindus today are often largely uninformed about the remarkable philosophical foundations of their religion. They are, the author points out, deliberately choosing the shell for the great treasure that lies within. This is indeed a rich book. (IANS)