Varaha - An Avatar Of Vishnu

Varah or Haygreeva, the third incarnation of Vishnu in the Indian mythology is credited with saving the world. A very significant aspect of this avatar is that it is shared by the Zoroastrian civilization, which has a Haygreeva Purana dedicated to it. Its Ashwa-Varah form is also closely linked to the Unicorn of Western mythology, thereby suggesting either a common origin or an intimate link between these mythologies during the pre-historic times.
Varaha - An Avatar of Vishnu
Source - Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AVaraha_at_Udayagiri_Caves_1913.jpg)

VARAH is the third in a series of ten incarnations of VISHNU, the almighty god during this cycle of life. It is a form that is depicted in Indian scriptures in two differing forms - the earlier forms refer to a bull that is more like a horse from the neck onwards, but has a single horn on the forehead. The later depiction of Varah is as a boar.

Vishnu – A Form of Almighty God

The three primary forms in which god is conceptualised in Hindu tradition are BRAHMA, the creator, VISHNU, the preserver and SHIVA, the destroyer. Together, they form

the holy trinity. VISHNU is the most revered form of the Lord in India, along with Lord Shiva. He is said to preserve the universe and all its entities including human beings and other forms of life on earth. Thus, he is said to be involved with most aspects of life and its preservation.

Avatar (Incarnation) – A Form in which the Lord Visits us

AVATAR or INCARNATION is an important aspect of Hindu religious philosophy. There is a firm belief that whenever there is too much of anarchy and destruction, whenever the human values are lost in the society, the Lord himself takes a mortal form and joins the world to get rid of the evil, save the world and create an example that the lesser mortals can follow. Vishnu is said to have done this nine times till date, since the beginning of life on earth, in the current cycle of the universe. Varah is the third in this series.

Varah Avatar

The scriptures have it that the Asura king HRINYAKSH tried to steal the VEDAs, the treasures of knowledge, with an intention of using it to dominate the world. To save the humanity and the world from his tyranny, Vishnu or god took the form of VARAH, and killed him. At the same time, the earth had sunk to the depth of the cosmic ocean, thereby endangering all life. Varah


saved it by bringing it back to its usual position. In the process, he also killed two dangerous demons, MADHU and KAITABH.

The exact form of Varah is somewhat debatable. This lack of uniformity is largely a result of destruction of scriptures by the Muslim invaders during the middle ages. Two of the most important global universities existing since ancient times, TAKSHASHILA (in Afghanistan) and NALANDA (in the state of Bihar in India) which preserved all scriptures and texts were destroyed by foreign invaders in the middle ages, along with the scholars and philosophers. As a result there was a gap of a few centuries after which scholars tried to rebuild the past knowledge, but only with some aberrations.

The earlier depictions of Varah are as a bull with neck onwards like a horse, with a horn on the forehead. It is the reason for the name ASHVA – VARAH (part bull, part horse). This form is very similar to the UNICORN of Christianity, and many scholars have suggested a link between Varah and Unicorn as being the same identity, with some differences brought about by perception.

Varah is also called HAYGREEVA, an important form in the Zoroastrian civilization, which share a lot with their Indian counterparts. There is a whole scripture called HAYGREEVA PURANA dedicated to it. It appears that as a form of Vishnu, Varah or Haygreeva was commonly worshipped in the past, but the popularity of its worship diminished to a large extent during the middle ages, especially after the destruction of ancient temples by the invaders.
 



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