The third avataram of Lord viShNu is the VarAha avatAram. In sanskrit VarAha means Wild Boar. Lord viShNu incarnated as a wild boar to protect Bhoomi devi from the vile RAkshasa Hiranyaksha ( the brother of Hiranyakashipu).
The VarAha avatar starts with the story of the Dwarapalaka ( Door keepers) of Lord viShNu at Vaikunta. Jaya and Vijaya were the proud dwarapAlaka who loved their duties and took them very seriously.
Once when Lord viShNu was taking rest, four children came to visit Him. But Jaya and Vijaya, not wanting to disturb their master, refused to grant them audience. The children were determined to see Him. Both the guards, tried all methods to send away the children but in vain. Their adamance angered the children, and one of them began to reveal who they were. He said, “Oh Dwarapalaka, listen !! I am Sanaka, that is Sanandana, they are Sanatana and Sanatkumara. We are the sons of Lord BrahmA. “
Realising who they were, Jaya and Vijaya prostrated before the four children. “We apologise for our behaviour”. However the four were far from forgiving. They spoke in a firm voice, “You closed the door of the Lord to us, devotees. We pray to him daily and the Lord is always available for his devotees. For this unpardonable act, we curse you. Jaya and Vijaya. Being close to the Lord has made you conceited. So you will no longer be Devas. You will be born on earth as ordinary beings and be away from Lord viShNu”.
Hearing this, Jaya and Vijaya ran to their master, hailing,” Oh Lord, Oh NArAyana, Oh ParamAtma , Save us… Save us…”
The four sages too bowed to Lord viShNu and complained to Him about how they were denied entry into Vaikuntam. NArAyana, understood what had happened. He realised that the learned sages, have been insulted by His own guards. But still He is the protector of all His creations, now he has the responsibility of protecting the guards who seeked His help at the same time save the honor of the sages.
The omniscient Lord viShNu, then smiling to himself, asked the sages to forgive Jaya and Vijaya, for they were merely doing their job. But the sages refused to forgive and with a satisfaction of having caused something great, walked away without looking back.
Now Lord viShNu turned to the dissapointed dwarapalakas and said in a kind tone,”The four sons of BramhA have attained great powers through severe penance and possess great knowledge. Their curse cannot be undone”. Jaya and Vijaya fell at the Lord’s feet and pleaded that they cannot be away from their master. To this Lord viShNu gave them a choice. On earth,they could either choose to be devotees and live for a long time or they could be His enemies and live for only three births and return back to Vaikuntam once the three births are completed.
At this, Jaya Vijaya were shocked. They could not imagine being enemies of Lord viShNu. Something that was inconceivable. But again, being born as His devotees would mean, they would have to stay away from Vaikuntam for a much longer time. Instead, taking three births as His enemies and returning to their Lord’s abode as soon as possible seemed to be a better option of the two to them.So they agreed. It was after this that Jaya and Vijaya were first born as Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakasipu.
In the mean time on earth, People had become very sinful, They fought one another. There was no harmony. The word Peace was unheard of. They used devastating methods to destroy earth. So Bhoomi Devi, who is called Prithvi, mother earth, prayed to Lord viShNu to come and protect her. She pleaded that if life goes on like this on earth, she will not be able to sustain. The great sages on earth also realised that if God did not intervene Prithvi would be lost.
So with the intention of pleasing Lord viShNu they too performed several Yagnyas. About this time Hiranyaksha was born and his actions added greatly to the sufferings of Bhoomi Devi and the people in general.
Hiranyaksha too performed sever penance towards BramhA wanting to get a boon to become most powerful. Finally when BramhA appeared before him, he presented to him a big list of things by which he should not be defeated or killed. He had forgotten to mention the name of one animal in that list , which was that of a wild boar. But he did not realise his mistake at that moment. BramhA too returned back to his abode, secretly enjoying the rAkshasa’s mistake.
Powered by this boon, Hiranyayaksha started tormenting the people of the earth. He had great strength and could fight anybody. He could never be defeated. He thought that he was the most powerful person ever born, and challenged everyone for a fight.
Even the gods got scared of him. As the pride got to his head he decided to do the most dreadful thing. He hid Bhoomi Devi so deep into the cosmic ocean that no one could find her. She was completely submerged in dirt and slush. Not being able to bear that, Bhoomi Devi cried to Lord viShNu to come quickly and save her.
Hiranyaksha now challenged the Gods to fight him. But none of the Gods including Indra, Varuna or VAyu could fight him. So they all collectively told him that they were no match to his strength. If he is looking for a proper duel it should be with Lord viShNu. Hearing this Hiranyaksha started looking around for this viShNu who seemed to be as powerful as he was.
Meanwhile hearing the pleas of Bhoomi Devi, the Devas and the Sages, Lord viShNu decided to incarnate and destroy Hiranyaksha.
Jaya’s first birth as an enemy was about to end.
A tiny boar emerged from the nostril of BrahmA. But as soon as the boar emerged, the Boar started growing. It grew and grew and grew. Soon it grew as large as a mountain.
Hiranyaksha saw a huge boar dive and take the earth from where he had hid her. He was enraged and in awe at the same time. He challenged the boar to fight him. However the boar paid no attention to Hiranyaksha.
As Hiranyaksha came closer, with his weapon, the boar went faster and faster, taking the earth with him. Finally just as Hiranyaksha attacked, the boar placed the earth back into her orbit.
The boar looked at Hiranyaksha so furiously, that Hiranyaksha was momentarily was terrified.The boar and Hiranyaksha fought each other. But this time Hiranyaksha had met his match. No matter what he did, the boar had an answer for it. The boar fought brutally and cleverly managing to weave inside and outside the defences of Hiranyaksha. Hiranyaksha found that he was actually getting tired and was still nowhere close to defeating the boar. Tiredly Hiranyaksha looked at the Boar. The boar seemed to be looking at him sternly and lovingly at the same time. Hiranyaksha wondered, why would the boar look at me lovingly. But immediately discarded the thought and charged at the boar. Try as he might, Hiranyaksha was not able to find any weaknesses in the attack of the boar. He still fought as hard as he could but finally realised that he could not defeat the boar.
At last out of sheer weakness, he looked at the boar and at that moment realised that it was none other that Lord NArAyana who had come to finish his first birth as promised. Lord viShNu fought tirelessly and finally killed Hiranyaksha. Thus Bhoomi Devi was saved by Lord viShNu and Dharma was again esablished on earth..
Temples Of VarAha Swamy
- BHOOVARAHA SWAMY TEMPLE in Kalahalli , banks of river Hemavathy in Karnataka