Avatar 3: Varaha (the boar)

Varahavatar is Lord Narayana‘s third incarnation. This story also takes place during the time of the great deluge. There arose a mighty asura named Hiranyaksha who oppressed the three worlds. He had gained his strength through extreme tapas (austerities), which earned him a boon from Lord Brahma. He kidnapped the earth and hide her at the depths of the great ocean. This denied the devas their sacrifices and so they began to weaken. Upon learning that he was not the mightiest in the universe, he searched for Narayana to satisfy his pride. Vishnu appeared in the form of a great boar and dove into waters in search of Bhudevi (Mother Earth). Hiranyaksha got his wish and challenged Varahavatar at the bottom of the ocean. After a thousand years of battle, the great boar was victorious over the mighty demon. After placing it between his great tusks, he returned the earth to its rightful place; Bhudevi and Vaharavatar were then married.

Hiranyaksha’s origins give us an interesting little tangent. When the sages Sanat-Kumaras reached Vaikuntha (Vishnu’s heaven), they were denied entrance by the twin gandharva gatekeepers, Jaya and Vijaya. The sages cursed the twins and they were incarnated as asurasDiti desired her husband, the sage Kashyapa and despite the unholy hour, they conceived twins but with an evil nature. Jaya was incarnated as Hiranyaksha and Vijaya as Hiranyashipu, who is the villain of our next story.

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