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I don't have much knowledge about Lord Hayagriva, just known that he was the one who provided vedic knowledge to Lord Brahma,he has horse head, was an avatar of Lord Vishnu, white in color, and symbol of wisdom and knowledge. And this is also not from very trustworthy sources.

Wanted to know, his history as per written in trustworthy textures. Please try to avoid Wikipedia, and throw me light with actual textures(translated).

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2 Answers 2

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Yes, Lord Hayagriva is the avatar of Vishnu with a horse head. Haya means horse and griva means neck. So the deity with a horse head from his neck is known as Hayagriva. The incident of how He got that horse head is present in different scriptures with slight variations.

Once in the ancient time the gods decided to do a Yajna. But they couldn't find where was Vishnu. They searched for Him at different places, and then after meditating they got to know where He was present. When they got there they saw that Shri Vishnu was in meditation supporting His head on His bow. To wake Him up, Brahma created some ants (or that ant like creatures that eat away wood and things) and told them to eat away one part of the bow so that when it breaks the Lord's meditation will break by losing the support. However, when it was done, the Lord's head got cut up getting tangled with the string of the bow. Then to correct it a horse head was fixed there by the god Viswakarma. After that incident Vishnu did penance and got back His original head. [Skanda Purana - 3.2.14,15 / Devi Bhagavata - 1.5]

The scriptures also mention the reason why the Lord's head was lost. But the reasons given are different. While Skanda purana states it was due to a curse from Brahma, the Devi Bhagavata says it was due to a curse from Laxmi and also because a demon by the same name who steals the Vedas from Brahma eventually (SB - 8.24), has asked the boon to be killed by someone who had a horse head.

So overall, even the accounts differ slightly in the scriptures, Hayagriva is the horse headed incarnation as you have heard.

Giving Vedas to Brahma

When Madhu and Kaitabha stole the Vedas from Brahma, He become overtaken by grief and requested Lord Vishnu to rescue the Vedas. So the Lord as Hayagriva brings the Vedas back and gives it to Brahma:

The two Asuras, making an appointment with the Vedas in respect of the time when they would come back to take them up again, threw them down in the nether region, and ran towards the spot whence those sounds appeared to come. Meanwhile, O king, the Supreme Lord with the equine head, otherwise called Hari, who was himself in the nether region, took up all the Vedas. Returning to where Brahma was staying, he gave the Vedas unto him. Having restored the Vedas unto Brahma, the Supreme Lord once more returned to his own nature.

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Having compassed the destruction of the two Asuras and restored the Vedas to Brahma, the Supreme Being dispelled the grief of Brahma. Aided then by Hari and assisted by the Vedas, Brahma created all the worlds with their mobile and immobile creatures. After this, Hari, granting unto the Grandsire intelligence of the foremost order relating to the Creation, disappeared there and then for going to the place he had come from. It was thus that Narayana, having assumed the form equipt with the horse-head, slew the two Danavas Madhu and Kaitabha (and disappeared from the sight of Brahma).

Mahabharat - 12.348

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but what about the vedic knowledge he gave to Brahma, vedas are from brahma himself. –  Mr. K Aug 23 at 13:04
@KCloud yes, He gave the Vedas to Brahma after they got stolen from him by two demons. That incident is present in the Mahabharata chapter 12.348 –  jabahar Aug 23 at 15:50
@jabahar But Lord Hayagriva as a avatar of Lord Vishnu is not mentioned in Dashavatar of Visnu –  jaimin Aug 25 at 7:35
were there other avatars of Lord vishnu apart from dashavatar –  jaimin Aug 25 at 7:35
@jaimin Shri Vishnu has innumerable avatars apart form the commonly known Dashavatars. hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/908/38 –  jabahar Aug 26 at 15:43

Sri Hayagriva is in fact an avatar of Lord Vishnu, usually depicted with the head and neck of a horse (He is not to be confused with the Asura Hayagriva (also depicted with a horse head) who stole the Vedas from Brahma and was killed by Sri Matsya Avatar).

Sri Lakshmi Hayagriva

Probably the best description we have of Him comes from the Hayagriva Stotram, a prayer in his praise.

We meditate upon that Supreme One, who has the neck and face of a horse and who is the embodiment of Jn~AnA (divine Knowledge) and AnandhA (Bliss). He has a ThirumEni (body) like a radiant, blemishles Spatikam (Crystal) and is the abode of all VidhyAs (branches of Learning).

You will notice that this stanza introduces the concept that Sri Hayagriva is considered sacred to academic and educational pursuits. This idea is expanded upon in a later stanza which describes the neighing sound that He produces to be the very Vedas themselves.

The Hala-Hala sounds in the form of neighings emanating from the divine throat of Sri HayagrIvan, the Horse-faced Lord, are the aggregate of Saama VedA mantrAs, the word for word meanings of the Rg vedA (Rks) and the abode of Yajur VedA manthrams .These Hala-Hala nadhams are the destroyers of all obstacles to true Jn~Anam about ChEthana-AchEthana-Isvara tatthvams; these Hala-Hala sounds are like the movement of the waves from the ocean of true knowledge (Jn~Anam). May these sunAdhams chase away the inner darkness (ajn~nam) arising from the uproar (loud and confusing noise) of debaters whose minds are driven by their own pride, arrogance and viparItha Jn~Anam.

But if Sri Hayagriva is the source of the Vedas, whence did Brahma learn them? The answer lies just a few stanzas below.

The Horse-faced Lord worshipped as the Lord of Speech (VaagIsan )is indeed the avathAra roopam of Para VaasudEvan of Sri VaikuNtam. He instructs Brahma Devan on the VedAs and is like the unique , morning light ( prAtha: SandhyA )to drive away our inner darkness . He is the matchless , sacred collyrium (anjanam) for revelation of the dhivya Jn~Anam .May this subhAsraya ThirumEni of this incarnation of Para VaasudEvan shine with in and before me always!

So it was Sri Hayagriva Himself who originally instructed Brahma in the Vedas. In fact, it was He too who instructed Saraswati and Veda Vyasa, as is described later.

The pretty-to-behold (ramyA) form of KailAsanAthan (GirIsan) known as DakshiNAmUrthy, the "Goddess of Learning " and the wife of Brahma Devan with the name of Sarasvathi having the white lotus as Her abode and even Sage VyAsA and others famous for their powers of divine Vaak --all of them derive their Saarasvatham (power of divine speech ) from a mere fragment of the power of the Adhi VidhyA Moorthy, Lord HayagrIvan.

Now after Brahma had received the Vedas, he did in fact lose them and Sri Hayagriva had to retrieve them for him. From Srimad Bhagavatam 8:24:57:

At the end of each kalpa, when the demon Ajnana steals the Vedic knowledge, Lord Hayagriva appears and preserves it. Then He delivers it to Lord Brahma.

At the end of the millennium, ignorance personified assumed the form of a demon, stole all the Vedas and took them down to the planet of Rasatala. The Supreme Lord, however, in His form of Hayagriva retrieved the Vedas and returned them to Lord Brahma when he begged for them. I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Lord, whose determination never fails.

Sri Hayagriva restores the Vedas to Brahma

There are actually multiple accounts of demons stealing the Vedas and Sri Hayagriva recovering them, but since @jabahar has already addressed the incident detailed in the Mahabharatam, I have described the one from Srimad Bhagavatam.

In essence, Sri Hayagriva is the source of all divine knowledge, and worship of him is considered extremely auspicious for any academic pursuits.

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Let us continue this discussion in chat. –  Mr. K Aug 23 at 19:25

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