Dashavatar represents the ten different incarnations of Vishnu which were taken to save the earth and its living beings from destruction. This article will narrate to you the story of the first incarnation of Vishnu. Matsya, the first avatar of Vishnu is in the form of a fish.
1. Lord Vishnu’s Matsya Avatar
Vishnu took the form of Matsya to rescue the Manu, the first man as per the Hindu epics from huge destruction. Once king Satyavrata was performing a sacred ceremony beside a river while scooping in some water from the river to offer Surya the sun god, he accidentally caught a tiny fish in the palm of his hand. Satyavrata was ready to release the fish back into the water, but the fish requested, otherwise, the tiny fish begged him not to throw it back into the river as the river had bigger fishes that would prey upon it. To save itself from other predators of the sea, the fish requested the king to take it along with him to his palace, convincing him that his palace would be safe and big enough to accommodate a small fish. King Satyavrata took pity on the little fish and took it with him to his palace.
2. King Satyavrata adopted the Fish
Upon reaching there, he put the fish in a small bowl. The king was happy and satisfied that he was able to save the life of this little being the next morning, Satyavrata came to check on the fish and was surprised to see that the tiny fish he had brought with him had grown large enough to fill the entire pot. Its size had become so large that its movement inside the pot became restricted. The fish requested the king to place it in a larger vessel, as it would not be able to survive in this spot for long the king agreed and transferred it to a larger vessel.
3. Fish never stopped Growing
But the same night, the fish had outgrown the size of this vessel too. The fish again requested the king to move it to a place big enough to ensure her survival. Satyavrata immediately ordered his servants to carry the fish into a pond. For the moment it seemed like the fish would live there happily, but the next morning Satyavrata was shocked to see the fish outgrow the size of the pond. This time the king transferred the fish to the largest lake of his kingdom, but in no time the fish outgrew, the lake too, the king had no other option but to drop the fish into the ocean from where he originally rescued it.
4. King Satyavrata Apologized to the Fish
He apologized to the fish that, despite being a king, he could not save her or provide her enough to ensure her survival as the fish was dropped into the ocean, its size knew no bounds. It grew beyond what Satyavrata’s eyes could see. At this point, Satyavrata concluded that this was no ordinary animal, but it had to be a divine appearance of a god. Satyavrata bowed to the fish and apologized for thinking in his pride that he could save every living being on earth. He offered his prayers and requested the fish to reveal to him the ulterior motive behind this form.
5. Lord Vishnu showed his true Form
The Matsya took the form of Sri Vishnu and blessed Satyavrata. Matsya told the king that in seven days huge devastation in the form of a flood would engulf the earth killing almost all of the creation. Matsya ordered the king to call the seven sages and gather samples of herbs, seeds, and all forms of life to repopulate the earth when the destruction was over.
Matsya promised Satyavrata that it would send a boat to save them and, with its help, they would be able to survive to begin the new cycle of the Yuga. The king, upon understanding the orders of Matsya, began working on gathering everything as told to him. After seven days as Matsya had predicted, huge clouds appeared in all directions and began pouring on land and sea.
6. A New Cycle Began on Earth
The huge waves from the ocean flowed into the land becoming one with it. Soon there was no land in sight and the entire earth was flooded with water. Then Satyavrata with all his companions saw a large mysterious boat floating towards them across the waves. Remembering the words of Matsya Satyavrata onboarded, the seven Rishis, Animals, all his belongings, and himself on the boat, finding some safety, soon Matsya appeared there with the snake, Vasuki.
Vasuki tied itself to the boat on one side and held on to the haunts of Matsya. On the other side, Matsya, with the help of Vasuki towed the port across the waters of devastation for countless days, darkness covered the world and they wandered across the stormy ocean waiting for the waters to subside during their journey and the days of patience Vishnu in the form of Matsya preached king Satyavrata and the seven sages the spiritual knowledge of the Vedas. Thus, Vishnu the preserver from the holy trinity was able to save mankind and brought them into a new era at the beginning of Satya Yuga. Satyavrata came to be known as Manu. The first man and the seven sages who accompanied him became the Saptarishis going on to repopulate the earth