Indian Mythology (by ApamNapat)

Varaha - The Boar


Once there were two Asura brothers named Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashipu. Thanks to boons obtained from Lord Brahma, they had become very powerful and had managed to chase the Devas away from the heavens. They unleashed a reign of terror on the world. Nobody was safe. Hiranyaksha, who was the older of the two, decided that the only way to prevent the Devas from every regaining power was to deny them the sustenance of Havis. So to prevent mortals from ever worshiping the Devas, he dropped the whole world into the ocean. It sank to the bottom of the ocean. Lord Brahma could not continue his task of creation, for there was no place for his creation to live.

In desperation, everyone beseeched Lord Vishnu to save the world. Now, there is a reason why only Vishnu could kill these two demons. Originally, they had been two Gandharvas named Jaya and Vijaya, who were the doorkeepers to Vaikunta, the abode of Vishnu. One day, when Vishnu was enjoying a tender moment with his consort Laxmi, twin sages named the Sanath Kumaras came to visit him. The doorkeepers tried to turn away the two sages, telling them that Vishnu could not be disturbed. When the sages insisted on entering, Jaya and Vijaya barred their entry forcibly. This angered the sages, they cursed Jaya and Vijaya, saying, "Since you have become drunk with power, thinking that as the guardians of Vaikunta, you are above all else, may you fall from your position in the heavens. You will born on the earth many times and toil hard."

Hearing the commotion at his door, Vishnu himself appeared in person. He understood the situation immediately, and applied himself to the task of soothing the sages. They were pacified, and after being entertained at Vaikunta, went their way. Vishnu called his doorkeepers in, and inquired as to what had exactly happened. They said, "O Lord, since you were alone with your wife, we thought that you would not like to be disturbed. That is why we tried to stop the sages from entering. In their anger, they cursed us to be born many times as mortals and toil hard. Please save us from this curse."

Vishnu said, "Did you not know that I am always available to see my devotees? You should not have tried to stop those sages. However, what is done is done. You cannot escape the curse, but you can choose the mode in which it will apply. Both of you can either be born as virtuous mortals and be my devotees, or you can be born as Asuras, my enemies, and will be killed by me in various incarnations. If you choose the first approach, you will have to undergo seven births. If you choose the other option, you will have to undergo only three births. Tell me, which one do you desire?"

Jaya and Vijaya thought for a while and said, "We want our curse to last as little time as possible. Let us be born as Asuras, who will be killed by you in our three births."

It was according to this curse that the two guardians had been born as Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashipu. Since Vishnu knew this, he decided to end the reign of terror unleashed by them. He assumed the form of a great Varaha (boar) and dived into the ocean, to bring the earth up. He found the earth languishing at the bottom of the ocean. He used his horn to dig it out of the bottom, and carried it balanced on his horn. He started to raise towards the surface.

Hiranyaksha who had gotten word of this attempt to save the world, was incensed. He intercepted the boar, and then commenced one of the greatest battles of all time. Vishnu balanced the earth on his thigh, and gored Hiranyaksha to his death. Since he had balanced Bhooma Devi (the goddess of earth) on his thighs, a son was born to her. As he was created when Vishnu had been involved in a ferocious battle, he was an Asura. This is the famous Narakusara, who was later slain by Vishnu in his avatar as Krishna.

Thus ended the Varaha avatar of Vishnu.

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Last Modified At: Tue Oct 19 20:15:31 2004