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Matsya avatar came at the end of caksusa manavantara as discussed in this answer.

I see it mentioned online by many that Matsya avatar came in the satya yuga. However, I am yet to see any puranic or vedic evidence in support of it. Can someone share a vedic/puranic evidence or any Acharya's commentary to support that Matsya avatar appeared in the Satya Yuga?

Objections answered:

After a Manvantara ends, there is Manvatara-sandhya. One may say that pralaya happened in the Manvantara sandhya. In the manvantara-sandhya, there are no yugas. We know from Matsya Purana 2.14, that King Satyavrata was meditating for 100 million years, then he saw Matsya avatara. Since it is described King Satyavrata was meditating, he has to be doing that during the Manvantara. After the Manvantara ends, there is certainly a pralaya and there is no space for meditation.

Since Matsya avatar came 100 million years after the rule of Satyavrata, then another way to ask the above question is when was King satyavrata ruling the Earth. Since the world was peaceful and he was engaged in meditation and meditation is the yuga dharma for Satya yuga, it seems that yuga was Satya yuga. However, we are looking for a direct statement from the Vedas or Puranas or Puranic commentaries.

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    After the end of Caksusa manu, Satya yuga came, right? – Pandya Mar 18 '19 at 14:29
  • @Pandya. Yes you are right. However, its mentioned that Caksusa manavantara was still going on when Matsya avatara came in bhagavata purana. However, what's missing is mention of yuga there. Btw I am impressed that you understand the puranic time closely. – sidharth chhabra Mar 18 '19 at 17:49
  • @archit good try. – sidharth chhabra Mar 6 at 6:05
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The Matsya Purana says that Bhagwan Vishnu took Matsya avatara during the pralaya (Manvanatara Sandhi) at the end the Cākṣuṣa Manvantara and not the Satya Yuga of any particular Manvantara.

During their first meeting, Bhagwan Vishnu tells Manu:

युगान्तवाताभिहता यदा भवति नौर्नृप। श्रृङ्गेऽस्मिन्मम राजेन्द्र तदेमां संयमिष्यसि॥३३॥
ततो लयान्ते सर्वस्य स्थावरस्य चरस्य च। प्रजापतिस्त्वं भविता जगतः पृथिवीपते॥३४॥

When being affected by the winds of the Yuganta (ending of the Yuga), the boat starts shivering, at that time Oh King, you will tie it to my this horn.(33) Thereafter at the end of the pralaya, you will become the prajapati of the moveable and immovable creatures of the world.(34)
Matsya Purana Chapter 1.

The above verse indicates that tying of the rope to the horn of Matsya is to happen when the world is affected by the winds and before the end of the Pralaya i.e. before Manu becomes the Prajapati which shows that the avatara would’ve taken place during the pralaya. Then in Chapter 2, Bhagwan Vishnu goes on to describe how when the Kritaka Trailokya (Bhu Bhuvah Svah) gets submerged in water after a drought of a 100 years, Manu is to tie the rope to him during the period of submergence and he again says:

एतदेकार्णवं सर्वं करिष्यन्ति जगत्त्रयम्। वेदनावमिमां गृह्य सत्वबीजानि सर्वशः॥१०॥
आरोप्य रज्जुयोगेन मत्प्रदत्तेन सुव्रत। संयम्य नावं मच्छृङ्गे मत्प्रभावाभिरक्षितः॥११॥

When they (the seven seas) make the three lokas a single ocean (ekarnava, inundated with water), (10) then Oh Suvrata, taking this boat of the form of the Vedas, load all the creatures and their seeds, and using the rope given by me, tie it to my horn, which shall be protected by my influence.(11)

Once again from the above it can be seen that Manu was instructed to tie a rope to the horn of Matsya during the submergence. Bhagwan Vishnu describes such a period as the pralaya time at the end (संक्षये) of the Cākṣuṣa Manvantara:

एवमेकार्णवे जाते चाक्षुषान्तरसंक्षये॥१४उ॰॥वेदान् प्रवर्तयिष्यामि त्वत्सर्गादौ महीपते।१५पू॰॥

When at time of the pralaya at the end of the Cākṣuṣa Manvantara the world gets inundated and you shall begin creation again, I shall propagate the Vedas, Oh King! (14b-15a)

This was the pralaya informed by Bhagwan Vishnu to Manu and he disappeared. Now finally, it is explicitly mentioned that the Matsya Avatara happened at this pralaya time as was informed by Bhagwan Vishnu to Manu:

मनुरप्यास्थितो योगं वासुदेवप्रसादजम्। अभ्यसन् यावदाभूत संप्लवं पूर्वसूचितम्॥१६॥
काले यथोक्ते संजाते वासुदेवमुखोद्गते। श्रृङ्गी प्रादुर्बबूवाथ मत्स्यरूपी जनार्दनः॥१७॥

Manu also stayed there and practised yoga obtained by the grace of Vasudeva till the previously informed pralaya did not present itself.(16) when the time previously informed (i.e. the pralaya time) by Vasudeva arrived, Vasudeva appeared as a one-horned fish.(17)

This above verse clearly in explicit words says that when the previously informed pralaya at the end of the Cākṣuṣa Manvantara (as indicated in the above verses) arrived, Bhagwan Vishnu took the Matsya avatara (i.e. appeared as a one-horned fish)

What is meant by pralaya kala?
The Surya Siddhanta verse 18 gives us an insight into the pralaya at the end of each Manvantara:

युगानां सप्ततिस्सैका मन्वन्तरमिहोच्यते। कृताब्दसङ्ख्या तस्यान्ते सन्धिः प्रोक्तो जलप्लवः॥१८॥

71 chaturyugas are called a manvanatara at the end (संक्षये) of which comes a Manvantara Sandhya of the measure of a Satya Yuga in which there is a pralaya (water inundation)

Thus the Matsya avatara happened during the pralaya kala (Manvantara Sandhya period) at the end of the Cākṣuṣa Manvantara. and not during the any particular Yuga of any particular Manvantara. Bhagwan Vishnu was only supposed to propagate the Vedas again during the Vaivasvata Manvantara. So we can’t find a statement to support that the avatara happened in any Satya Yuga.


Note: If we go into very nitty-gritty details then technically the Matsya avatara happened about a 100 years before the pralaya struck, when the fish kept increasing in size and the above conversation took place between Manu and Bhagwan. Translation from Gita Press’ Hindi Matsya Purana

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    @siddharthchhabra It’s not a Yuga it’s a pralaya kala at the end of the Manvantara. Where there is rain for 100 years after a drought for 100 years. Just the way the destruction of at the end of a kalpa lasts for a period equivalent to the kalpa and doesn’t have a Yuga system in it. Similarly the pralaya of the Manvantara isn’t attached. I specifically mention it’s the pralaya at the end of the Manvantara for this reason. This is called Naimittika Pralaya. It doesn’t come during the Yuga cycles. It comes after the Yuga cycles. Let’s say it’s called Yuga sandhi period – Archit Mar 6 at 6:14
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    @siddharthchhabra exactly the Manvantara sandhi period is during which the pralaya takes place. That’s how immediately after Pralaya, Gid tells Manu that Satya Yuga will start. – Archit Mar 6 at 6:20
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    Pralaya means destruction. It is known that Matsya avatara came during the pralaya. The question is when did the pralaya start? Did it start at the end of 71 caturyuga or during the 71 caturyuga. एवमेकार्णवे जाते चाक्षुषान्तरसंक्षये (14b) the Pralaya happened as the the caksusa manvantara was passing away. – sidharth chhabra Mar 6 at 6:27
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    @siddharthchhabra : Quoting from the Surya Siddhanta (traditional Indian astrological time calculation): युगानां सप्ततिस्सैका मन्वन्तरमिहोच्यते। कृताब्दसङ्ख्या तस्यान्ते सन्धिः प्रोक्तो जलप्लवः॥१८॥ 71 chaturyugas are called a manvanatara at the end (संक्षये) of which comes a Manvantara Sandhya of the measure of a Satya Yuga in which there is a pralaya. This shows us that at the end (संक्षये) of the Chakshusha Manvantara (चाक्षुषान्तर) the pralaya happened during the Manvantara Sandhya period of the Chakshusha manvanatara. It’s that Simple. – Archit Mar 6 at 6:40
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    @siddharthchhabra I’ve edited the answer to make it more clear to you. Requesting you to Please retract your downvote too and accept the answer. – Archit Mar 6 at 7:21
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I had searched for the same and discussed with many learned people in my vicinity, sent emails to scholars for understanding the concept of incarnation, but in vain.

Finally, I came to a conclusion that the concept of avatar (incarnation) is Puranic.

According to my understanding the order in which the spiritual/religious Literature came into existence in the following manner (correct me if I am wrong).

  1. Vedas 2. Upanishads/Ramayana 3. Mahabharata 4. Puranas

The concept of incarnation was not mentioned in Ramayana. It first appears in Mahabharata, wherein it was mentioned that Vishnu took incarnation as Varaha/Vamana/Nrisimha. As Mahabharata contains interpolations, mention about Vishnu's incarnations itself may not be genuine.

The incarnations of Vishnu/Shiva are all Puranic concepts.

Further, the division of time into yugas itself, as per my understanding, Puranic, ie., started with the Puranas only, but not even mentioned in Ramayana, which pre-dates Puranas.

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In Ramayana there was a mention about earlier period as कृतयुगे. In the entire Ramayana there was no mention about division of time into 4 Yugas.

पूर्वं कृतयुगे तात पर्वताः पक्षिणोऽभवन् | ते हि जग्मुर्दिशः सर्वा गरुडानिलवेगिनः ||

(Sundara Kanda 1st Sarga 123rd Sloka)

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Interestingly, there was a mention about Varaha in Ayodhya Kanda of Ramayana, which was assumed not by Vishnu, but by Brahma.

सर्वम् सलिलम् एव आसीत् पृथिवी यत्र निर्मिता | ततः समभवद् ब्रह्मा स्वयम्भूर् दैवतैः सह ||

(Ayodhya Kanda 110 Sarga 3rd Sloka)

"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."

वराहः ततो भूत्वा प्रोज्जहार वसुंधराम् | असृजच् च जगत् सर्वम् सह पुत्रैः कृत आत्मभिः ||

(Ayodhya Kanda 110 Sarga 4th Sloka)

"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."

In Ramayana, there was no mention about Matsya avatar!!

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    Thank you for working hard. However, my question was not about the authenticity of the avatars. You can post another question about it, I will be happy to share my research on this topic. – sidharth chhabra May 14 '19 at 1:26

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