Story of Matsya Avatar- Fish Incarnation

Story of Matsya Avatar

Nature of Matsya Avatar

Matsya avatar shows two moods, kind and merciful and the destroyer of demons. 

First, Lord Matsya blessed his devotee Satyavrata.

He protected his devotees and the whole of creation

In the later half, he equally displayed aversion to evil-minded souls like Hayagriva.

He slew the demon who dared to steal his precious possessions, the vedas.

The lord displayed his earnestness for the protection of knowledge reservoirs.

Hence, Matsya Avatar represents the very foundation of existence and survival.

Here, the Dashavatar represent evolution.

Matsya Avatar here represents the most primitive of the evolutionary trajectory.

Story of Matsya Avatar

According to the Puranas, there are four ages, Satya, Dvapar, Treta and Kali yuga.

Each yuga spans 1 day of Brahma.

When Brahma sleeps, at the end of each yuga, the universe experiences Pralaya.

So during such times, Lord Vishnu incarnated on earth standing true to his duty as a protector.

Well, Lord Vishnu has taken 10 main incarnations.

Today let us delve into the most primitive incarnation, Matsya avatar.

Very few know about the origin of this avatar.

The rendition of this avatar deals with the preservation of life.

Devotion of king Satyavrata

At the end of the Chakshusha Manvantara, there lived a king named Satyavrata.

He adored lord vishnu and meditated for eons to get his vision.

Meanwhile, Satya Yuga was about to end.

The creator Brahma was tired and hence needed rest.

This heralded the end of Satya yuga.

Stealing of the vedas

When Brahma was asleep, a demon named Hayagriva appeared from his nostrils.

The devil thought-

“This is the opportune moment to steal the vedas and plunge the universe in darkness.

Vedas are the back-bone of society.

They are the personification of knowledge.

Hence their absence embarks an uncivilized society.

So thinking, Hayagriva stole the vedas and hid underwater.

Lord Vishnu was worried now. Being the protector, his responsibility was to guard the vedas to the next era. 

Noow, Lord Vishnu saw Manu meditating.

Thus, he found the right candidate for his onerous endeavor.

Matsya Avatar and King Satyavrata

One day, Satyavrata performed his ablutions in the Krutamala river.

Suddenly he heard a piteous cry-

“Oh Emperor!

Please do not throw me into the river.”

Following the voice, he spotted a tiny golden fish swimming on his palms.

Ther fish spoke prayerfully-

“Oh King, You are my only refuge.

The bigger fishes shall devour me.

So, don’t leave me here.”

The King felt compassion for the fish.

So, he put it back into his pitcher.

Thereafter, Manu returned to his cottage.

Astonishingly next morning when he awoke, he heard a scream- 

“Please help me! I feel suffocated in your pitcher.”

Manu peeped into his pitcher noting the remarkable growth of the fish.

Therefore, Manu transferred it into a larger vessel.

But the fish grew at an alarming pace.

From the trough, it was transferred into a well, from the well into a pond, from the pond into a river, and finally the king released it into the vast ocean.

At last, the fish spoke in its thunderous voice-

“Oh King, you have protected me.

If you throw me into the ocean, crocodiles shall eat me.

Why do you forsake a surrendered soul?” 

Now, Satyavrata saw the entity with suspicion.

As the king glanced at the fish, it grew, occupying the entire ocean.

Again, the fish cried aloud.

Now, the king was astonished.

He said- “I have neither heard nor seen someone grow at such a breath-taking pace.

You are undoubtedly Sri Hari, the Lord of Maya.

Lord Matsya’s orders

The fish replied-

“You are right. I am here to bless you.”

Tears of joy filled Satyavrata’s eyes.

Instantly, a huge horn appeared on the fish’s head.

Satyavrata offered prostate obeisances unto the lord and said-

“Oh lord, you have fulfilled my one and only desire.

I wish for nothing else.

Kindly reveal the purpose of your incarnation?”

Lord Matsya prophesized-


This yuga is about to end.

From the Seventh day, the ocean shall consume the entire planet.. 

“Even the sun and moon shall disappear.

I want you to construct a colossal boat.

Start your job from now itself.

Collect a pair (male-female) of each species and the seeds of all vegetation.

Along with the Saptarishis, sit on the boat.”

The King busied himself in fulfilling Matsya’s order. 

Thus, after finishing the first half of his mission, Matsya dev dived back into the ocean. 

The killing of Hayagriva

On the other hand, Hayagriv had imprisoned the vedas.

Matsya arrived right in time

The mere sight of lord Matsya induced chills in Hayagriva’s being.

Before Hayagriva could gather himself, Matsya pounced on him and slew the demon.

Thereafter he retrieved the vedas and handed them over to Lord Brahma.

King Satyavratra obeys Matsya

On the other hand, Manu had fulfilled the lord’s commandments.

Suddenly torrential rains inundated the land.

Oceans started rising.

The boat began to stumble.

As promised Lord Matsya appeared and said in his thunderous voice-

“Manu! Use Vasuki serpent as a rope and anchor the boat to my horns.

Under Lord Matsya, the boat safely sailed through the calamity.

In the dark night, Matsya ‘s effulgence was the only torch that lit their path.

On the boat, Lord Matsya rendered the entire Matsya Purana to the passengers.

Finally, the fish settled the boat on the Himavan mountain.

The redeemed thus initiated a new era.

Where is Satyavrata now?

In the present Manvantara, the very same Satyavrata has become Vaivavasta manu, the son of Lord Surya.

Rare Matsya Avatar temple

Indeed, in this avatar the Lord Matsya did not appear with his consort.

The Vedanarayana Swamy temple of Andhra Pradesh is specially dedicated to the worship of Lord Matsya, the protector of the vedas.

The temple displays the charming idol of Matsya Bhagavan; the upper part represents lord vishnu while the lower represents a fish.

Mantra of Lord Matsya

Om namo Bhagavate Matsya Devaya

Matsya Roopaya Vishnu Devaya

Pralaya Payodhija Devadevaya


Those who recite this mantra regularly, excel in their student life.

The demon Hayagriva represents procrastination  and the tendency to take shortcuts in life.

Hayagriva slyly stole the vedas to bring doom to another planet.

So, worshipping Lord Matsya burns the detrimental mindset that inhibits the flow of knowledge.

Matsya Avatar largely covers the water element.

As we all know water dominates over 71% of the earth.

So, people affected by waterborne diseases shall gain immense respite.

Lord Matsya saved creation, hence by worshipping Lord Matsya we overcome all problems and cross the ocean of material existence under the able leadership of Matsya Bhagavan.

Thanks for reading!