Matsya Jayanti : Is it easy for you to believe that the tiny goldfish which is liked by children and grown-ups too can swim for 432 years? Impossible, isn’t it? The average life span of a goldfish is somewhere between 10 and 20 years.
The distance traversed by a goldfish during such a short duration of its lifetime is hardly a few kilometres. Have you heard of the goldfish who swam across the length and width of the ocean of inundation not for 4 or 3 or 2 years but for 4.32 billion years? Let us now know the story behind that goldfish.
Story behind the goldfish:
King Satyavrata, who later came to be known as Manu was once offering oblations of water on the banks of river Kritamala to Lord Vishnu as a part of his daily rituals and found a tiny fish in the water contained in his palms. The fish requested the king for protection. King Satyavrata, the kind and righteous king that he was, kept the fish in a jug of water. Very soon the fish outgrew the jug and was transferred to a well by the king.
The fish grew bigger making the well an unfavourable place for its stay. The king then transferred the fish to a lake and surprisingly the fish grew to a great size that even the lake couldn’t accommodate the fish. Finally, the king transferred the fish to a sea. But it wasn’t too late before the fish grew to a gigantic size making the sea too unsuitable for its stay. By now, it was clear to the king that it was not an ordinary fish rather it was Lord Vishnu Himself.
Upon realizing the identity of the fish, king Satyavrata requested Lord Vishnu to enlighten him about His (Lord Vishnu’s) incarnation as a fish. Lord Vishnu told to the king that there would be a great deluge within 7 days from there and He asked the king to gather the saintly people, herbs, seeds and other living entities.
Lord Vishnu would then appear in His incarnation as a one-horned fish and protect all of them. King Satyavrata was further instructed by Lord Vishnu that a large boat would come to his rescue at the time of inundation and it should be fastened to the horn of the fish with the help of the serpent Vasuki.
The day of great deluge:
Finally, the day of great deluge had arrived. The entire universe was inundated with torrents of rain. As promised, a huge boat came to the rescue of the king and the others who were assembled. Upon prayers from the king, Lord Vishnu appeared as a huge one-horned goldfish who was eight million miles long.
King Satyavrata anchored the boat to the horn of the fish incarnation of Lord Vishnu with Vasuki. Lord Vishnu in the form of a fish swam across the ocean of inundation for the entire night of Lord Brahma, which is equal to 4.32 billion years!
During the entire journey, Lord Vishnu enlightened king Manu and the other saintly people on science, puranas, vedic literature, bhakti (devotion) and self-realization.
When did Lord Vishnu appear as Matsya?
It was not the first time that Lord Vishnu took the form of a Matsya. Once, at the end of the previous kalpa too, Lord Vishnu appeared as Matsya to protect the Vedas that were stolen by the demon Hayagriva. Hayagriva stealthily took away the vedic knowledge from Lord Brahma at the time of annihilation. Lord Vishnu then appeared as Matsya, killed the demon and restored the vedas to Lord Brahma.
Significance of Matsya Avatar:
• The day on which Lord Vishnu took the form of Matsya, the gigantic goldfish is celebrated as Matsya Jayanti. It falls on Tritiya (third day) of the Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of the moon) of the Chaitra month as per the Hindu calendar.
Thus, every Chaitra Shukla Tritiya is celebrated as Matsya Jayanti, the appearance of Lord Vishnu as Matsya.
• Like all the other incarnations of Lord Vishnu, He appeared as Matsya to protect the pious, punish the miscreants and to uphold dharma (righteousness).
• As mentioned in the 59th and 60th slokas of the 24th chapter taken from the 8th canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, all the sins of the person who faithfully reads/listens to the appearance of Matsya Avatar of Lord Vishnu will be destroyed.
• The faithful devotee will have all his desires fulfilled and will attain to the supreme abode of Lord Vishnu.
Appropriate way to celebrate Matsya Jayanti:
• Take an early morning bath and worship Lord Vishnu at home.
• Recite Matsya Stotra (as given below) from Sri Dasavatara Stotra
“Pralaya-Payodhi-Jale Dhritavan Asi Vedam Vihita-Vahitra-Caritram Akhedam Kesava Dhrita-Mina-Sarira Jaya Jagadisa Hare”
Translation: Oh Keshava! Oh Lord of the universe! Oh Lord Hari, who have assumed the form of a fish! All glories to You! You easily acted as a boat in the form of a giant fish just to give protection to the Vedas, which had become immersed in the turbulent sea of devastation.
• Recite Sri Vishnu Sahasranama
• Listen to Sri Dasavatara Stotra here
• Visit any nearby temple of Lord Vishnu and perform archana.
• Matsya Gayatri mantra: The following is the Matsya Gayatri mantra suitable for recitation by the people who are initiated by a guru into chanting of the Gayatri mantra:
“Om Jalacharaaya Vidhmahe Mahameenaya Dheemahe Thanno Matsya Prachodayath”
• It is important to note that any mantra recitation generates immense energy and the same needs to be returned to the universe in the form of tarpan or in the form of blessings to the near and dear. The reciter can give away the energy to the universe through tarpan by reciting “tatsa brahmarpana mastu” at the end of the mantra recitation. One can also distribute the energy through rays by blessing the near and dear. Whenever the energy tarpan is performed to the universe, one receives blessings from the universe.
• Matsya Avatar is the first incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
• As a deity, Matsya Avatar is worshipped in a four-armed form with the upper torso of a man and the lower of a fish.
This year, Matsya Jayanti is celebrated on Tuesday, 20 March. OnlineTemple wishes all the devotees a very happy Matsya Jayanti! May Lord Vishnu protect you from the dangers of the material ocean and guide you to the eternal home!