Though I don't know much about hindu Mythology , I know that Bhagavan Vishnu takes avatars to destroy evils. When I was reading Lord Vishnu's stories. I came to know that varaha avatara was taken by Lord in order to destroy Hiranyakashyapu's his brother Hiranyaksha who abducted earth to pathal loka. Vishnu as a boar went to pathal lok, destroyed the asura and brought back the earth.
Now another version is, When Vishnu and Brahma were fighting between themselves in order to find out who is the Supreme God. Then Lord Shiva appeared and put a challenge to them. The first one to see my feet or the top of my head would be the bigger diety. Both Vishnu and Brahma accepted. Shiva started to grow both upwards/downwards. Vishnu takes varaha (boar) form and stared digging deep to see the feet of Shiva. Brahma takes form of a swan and started to flying towards Shiva's head. Both failed and accepted Shiva as the bigger deity.

Now my question is Why Vishnu took varaha avatar ? To destroy evil ? Or to try to see Shiva's feet ?

  • 2
    Vishnu has had a whole bunch of different Varaha incarnations: there's Adi Varaha, Shweta Varaha, Yagna Varaha, there's the Varaha incarnation at Kokamukha which resulted in the birth of Narakasura (as I discuss here), etc. Mar 12, 2016 at 17:13
  • So I guess both versions of the varaha avatar story are correct ??
    – Tiny Rick
    Mar 12, 2016 at 17:23
  • Well, there are some issues with the Shiva Purana's version of the story, as I discuss here: hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/267/36 But basically yeah, a whole bunch of different stories about Varaha are all correct. Mar 12, 2016 at 17:53
  • By the way, in my question here I discuss yet another famous story involving Varaha: hinduism.stackexchange.com/q/5240/36 Mar 12, 2016 at 17:56
  • The varaha avatar you mentioned here was not intended to kill Hiranyakashyapu it was to kill Hiranyaksha (brother of Hiranyakashyap). Hiranyakashyap was later killed by Shri hari in the form of Lord Narsimha.
    – Yogi
    Mar 15, 2016 at 18:23

2 Answers 2


Lord Vishnu has taken Varaha Avatar infinite times, if we consider cyclic nature of time, as many events repeat at regular intervals (may vary slightly sometimes). So, both stories are correct.

Lord Vishnu took Sweta Varaha (White Boar) incarnation at beginning of this Kalpa (hence the name Sweta Varaha Kalpa) to recover earth hidden in water and also to kill Hiranyâksha. This is how Srimad Bhagavatam describes this.

dvitiyam tu bhavayasya
rasatala-gatam mahim
uddharisyann upadatta
yajnesah saukaram vapuh

The Creator said: 'When the Lord as the Unlimited One within the universe for His pastimes assumed the form of the sum total of all sacrifices [as the boar avatâra Varâha], He was determined to lift the earth out of the great [Garbhodaka] ocean. In the ocean the first demon [called Hiranyâksha, the 'demon of the gold'] appeared who by Him was defeated with His tusk, like a thunderbolt piercing a pack of clouds.

In Chapter 15 Rudra Samhita (Sristi Khanda) of Shiva Mahapurana, Brahma explains the reason why Vishnu took Boar Avatar to find bottom of infinite Linga.

गमनेऽधो वराहस्य गतिर्भवति निश्चला।। धृतं वाराष्हरूपं हि विष्णुना वनचारिणा॥१४॥

A boar can steadily go down deep below, therefore lord Visnu took to the form of a wild boar.

अथवा भवकल्पार्थ तदूपं हि प्रकल्पितम्। विष्णुना च वराहस्य भुवनावनकारिणा॥ १५॥

Or in other words Visnu took to the form of a white boar in order to start sveta-Varahakalpa.

यद्दिनं हि समारभ्य तद्रूपं धृतवान्हरिः। तद्दिनं प्रति कल्पोऽसौ कल्पो वाराहसंज्ञकः॥ १६॥

The date from which Hari took to this form, Varaha-kalpa started from that time.

तदिच्छा वा यदा जाता तस्य रूपस्य धारणे। तद्दिनं प्रति कल्पोऽसौ कल्पो वाराहसञ्ज्ञकः॥ १७॥

When he first desired to take to that Varaha form, since that time in every (Maha)kalpa, the Varaha-kalpa was repeated.

Shiva Purana doesn't mention exactly when Lingodbhava occured. It might have happened in Sveta Kalpa as Shiva Purana mentions mainly events of Sveta kalpa. Lingodhbhava could have also happened during Agneya kalpa, as Linga Purana mentions mainly events of Agneya Kalpa, in addition to many other times.

So, both stories are true and these are just two Varaha Avatars among Vishnu's infinite Varaha Avatars.


There are 3 Varaha Avataras.:

  1. Adi-Varaha Avatar (Either Brahma or Vishnu).

Valmiki Ramayana.:

"All was water only in the beginning" from which element the earth was formed. After that, the self-existent Brahma with all the gods came into existence." (2-110-3).

"Thereafter, that Brahma, assuming the form of boar, caused the earth to rise from water and with his sons of pure soul, created the entire world." (2-110-4).

(No Hiranyaksha involved).

  1. Yagna-Varaha Avatar. (Hiranyaksha Vadh).

Sri Linga Purana 1.94.:

5-8. Devas including Brahmā were oppressed, struck and bound by this cruel leader of the Daityas, Hiraṇyākṣa, the strong and wicked soul. Their facial splendour became faded. They bowed down their heads to Viṣṇu who formerly had suppressed crores of Daityas. They submitted to him the news about the imprisonment of the earth. On hearing this. Lord Viṣṇu assumed the form of Yajñavarāha[1] as at the time of the manifestation of the Linga. With the tip of his curved fangs he killed Hiraṇyākṣa the leading Daitya of great strength. After killing him along with other Daityas, the lord the slayer of the Daityas shone splendidly.

9-14. Just as in the beginnings of kalpas before, he entered the Nether regions and brought the earth out of the ocean and made her seated on his lap. Then Brahmā, the best of Devas, accompanied by Indra and others eulogised Viṣṇu the lord of Devas with words choked with great emotion.

But this Varaha avatar is blue/black in colour as mentioned in this answer.

  1. Sveta-Varaha Avatar. (Lingodhbhava Gatha).

Shiva Purana: 2.7.56-59.:

The soul of the universe, viz. Narayana assumed the form of a white complexioned boar spreading hundred yojanas in height and ten yojana in girth. Having his chin as like as the meru mountain shining with white hue and having sharp-pointed teeth, resembling the radiance of the form of the sun which is seen at the time of destruction of the universe, having a long nose, creating huge noise, having medium feet, and strange looking parts, stern, victorious; assuming such an incomparable form of the boar, he with an excellent speed, moved downwards. This way for thousands of years, Vishnu travelled down and down. In remembrance of that incident from that day, that Kalpa was famed as ṣvētavārāha kalpa.

I hope this clarifies all your queries. Prd..

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