Vithoba known as Vitthal and Panduranga, is a Hindu deity predominantly worshipped in the Indian state of Maharashtra. He is considered a manifestation of the god Vishnu or his avatar, Krishna. Vithoba is depicted as a dark young boy, standing arms akimbo on a brick, sometimes accompanied by his main consort Rakhumai. Vithoba is the focus of an monotheistic, non-ritualistic bhakti-driven Varkari faith of Maharashtra and the Haridasa faith. Vitthal Temple, Pandharpur is his main temple. Vithoba legends revolve around his devotee Pundalik, credited with bringing the deity to Pandharpur, around Vithoba's role as a saviour to the poet-saints of the Varkari faith; the Varkari poet-saints are known for their unique genre of devotional lyric, the abhang, dedicated to Vithoba and composed in Marathi. Other devotional literature dedicated to Vithoba includes the hymns of the Haridasa and the Marathi versions of the generic aarti songs associated with rituals of offering light to the deity; the most important festivals of Vithoba are held on Shayani Ekadashi in the month of Ashadha, Prabodhini Ekadashi in the month of Kartik.
The historiography of Vithoba and his cult is an area of continuing debate regarding his name. Various Indologists have proposed a prehistory for Vithoba worship where he was previously: a hero stone, a pastoral deity, a manifestation of Shiva, a Jain saint, or all of these at various times for various devotees. Though the origins of both his cult and his main temple are debated, there is clear evidence that they existed by the 13th century. Vithoba is known by many names, including: Vitthala, Pandharinath and Narayan. There are several theories about the meanings of these names. Varkari tradition suggests that the name Vitthala is composed of two Sanskrit-Marathi words: viṭ, which means'brick'. Thus, Vitthala would mean'one standing on a brick'. William Crooke, supported this explanation; the prescribed iconography of Vithoba stipulates that he be shown standing arms-akimbo upon a brick, associated with the legend of the devotee Pundalik. However, the Varkari poet-saint Tukaram proposed a different etymology—that Vitthala is composed of the words vittha and la, thus meaning'one who accepts innocent people who are devoid of knowledge'.
Historian Ramakrishna Gopal Bhandarkar offers yet another possibility—that Vitthu is a Kannada corruption of the name Vishnu adopted in Marathi. The suffixes -la and -ba were appended for reverence, producing the names Vitthala and Vithoba; this corruption of Vishnu to Vitthu could have been due to the tendency of Marathi and Kannada people to pronounce the Sanskrit ṣṇ as ṭṭh, attested since the 8th century. According to research scholar M. S. Mate of the Deccan College, Pundalik—who is assumed to be a historical figure—was instrumental in persuading the Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana alias Bittidev to build the Pandharpur temple dedicated to Vishnu; the deity was subsequently named as a derivative of Bittidev, by the builder-king. Other variants of the name include Viṭhurāyā, Viṭhāī; the people of Gujarat add the suffix - nath to Vitthala. The additional honorific suffix -ji may be added, giving the name Vitthalnathji; this name is used in the Pushtimarg sect. Panduranga spelt as Pandurang and Pandaranga, is another popular epithet for Vithoba, which means'the white god' in Sanskrit.
The Jain author-saint Hemachandra notes it is used as an epithet for the god Rudra-Shiva. Though Vithoba is depicted with dark complexion, he is called a "white god". Bhandarkar explains this paradox, proposing that Panduranga may be an epithet for the form of Shiva worshipped in Pandharpur, whose temple still stands. With the increasing popularity of Vithoba's cult, this was transferred to Vithoba. Another theory suggests that Vithoba may have been a Shaiva god, only identified with Vishnu, thus explaining the usage of Panduranga for Vithoba. Crooke, proposed that Panduranga is a Sanskritised form of Pandaraga, referring to the old name of Pandharpur. Another name, Pandharinath refers to Vithoba as the lord of Pandhari. Vithoba is addressed by the names of Vishnu like Hari and Narayana, in the Vaishnava sect. Reconstruction of the historical development of Vithoba worship has been much debated. In particular, several alternative theories have been proposed regarding the earliest stages, as well as the point at which he came to be recognised as a distinct deity.
The Pandurangashtakam stotra, a hymn attributed to Adi Shankaracharya of the 8th century, indicates that Vithoba worship might have existed at an early date. According to Richard Maxwell Eaton, author of A Social History of the Deccan, Vithoba was first worshipped as a pastoral god as early as the 6th century. Vithoba's arms-akimbo iconography is similar to Bir Kuar, the cattle-god of the Ahirs of Bihar, now associated with Krishna. Vithoba was later assimilated into the Shaiva pantheon and identified with the god Shiva, like most other pastoral gods; this is backed by the facts that the temple at Pandharpur is surrounded by Shaiva temples (most notably of the dev
The Vedas are a large body of religious texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism. Hindus consider the Vedas to be apauruṣeya, which means "not of a man, superhuman" and "impersonal, authorless". Vedas are called śruti literature, distinguishing them from other religious texts, which are called smṛti; the Veda, for orthodox Indian theologians, are considered revelations seen by ancient sages after intense meditation, texts that have been more preserved since ancient times. In the Hindu Epic the Mahabharata, the creation of Vedas is credited to Brahma; the Vedic hymns themselves assert that they were skillfully created by Rishis, after inspired creativity, just as a carpenter builds a chariot. According to tradition, Vyasa is the compiler of the Vedas, who arranged the four kinds of mantras into four Samhitas. There are four Vedas: the Yajurveda, the Samaveda and the Atharvaveda.
Each Veda has been subclassified into four major text types – the Samhitas, the Aranyakas, the Brahmanas, the Upanishads. Some scholars add a fifth category – the Upasanas; the various Indian philosophies and denominations have taken differing positions on the Vedas. Schools of Indian philosophy which cite the Vedas as their scriptural authority are classified as "orthodox". Other śramaṇa traditions, such as Lokayata, Ajivika and Jainism, which did not regard the Vedas as authorities, are referred to as "heterodox" or "non-orthodox" schools. Despite their differences, just like the texts of the śramaṇa traditions, the layers of texts in the Vedas discuss similar ideas and concepts; the Sanskrit word véda "knowledge, wisdom" is derived from the root vid- "to know". This is reconstructed as being derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *u̯eid-, meaning "see" or "know", cognate to Greek εἶδος "aspect", "form"; this is not to be confused is the homonymous 1st and 3rd person singular perfect tense véda, cognate to Greek οἶδα oida "I know".
Root cognates are English wit, etc.. Latin videō "I see", etc; the Sanskrit term veda as a common noun means "knowledge". The term in some contexts, such as hymn 10.93.11 of the Rigveda, means "obtaining or finding wealth, property", while in some others it means "a bunch of grass together" as in a broom or for ritual fire. A related word Vedena appears in hymn 8.19.5 of the Rigveda. It was translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith as "ritual lore", as "studying the Veda" by the 14th-century Indian scholar Sayana, as "bundle of grass" by Max Müller, as "with the Veda" by H. H. Wilson. Vedas are called Vaymoli in parts of South India. Marai means "hidden, a secret, mystery", but Tamil Naanmarai mentioned in Tholkappiam isn't Sanskrit Vedas. In some south Indian communities such as Iyengars, the word Veda includes the Tamil writings of the Alvar saints, such as Divya Prabandham, for example Tiruvaymoli; the Vedas are among the oldest sacred texts. The Samhitas date to 1700–1100 BCE, the "circum-Vedic" texts, as well as the redaction of the Samhitas, date to c.
1000–500 BCE, resulting in a Vedic period, spanning the mid 2nd to mid 1st millennium BCE, or the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age. The Vedic period reaches its peak only after the composition of the mantra texts, with the establishment of the various shakhas all over Northern India which annotated the mantra samhitas with Brahmana discussions of their meaning, reaches its end in the age of Buddha and Panini and the rise of the Mahajanapadas. Michael Witzel gives a time span of c. 1500 to c. 500–400 BCE. Witzel makes special reference to the Near Eastern Mitanni material of the 14th century BCE, the only epigraphic record of Indo-Aryan contemporary to the Rigvedic period, he gives 150 BCE as a terminus ante quem for all Vedic Sanskrit literature, 1200 BCE as terminus post quem for the Atharvaveda. Transmission of texts in the Vedic period was by oral tradition, preserved with precision with the help of elaborate mnemonic techniques. A literary tradition is traceable in post-Vedic times, after the rise of Buddhism in the Maurya period earliest in the Kanva recension of the Yajurveda about the 1st century BCE.
Witzel suggests the possibility of written Vedic texts towards the end of 1st millennium BCE. Some scholars such as Jack Goody state that "the Vedas are not the product of an oral society", basing this view by comparing inconsistencies in the transmitted versions of literature from various oral societies such as the Greek and other cultures noting that the Vedic literature is too consistent and vast to have been composed and transmitted orally across generations, without being written down. However, adds Goody, the Vedic texts involved both a written and oral tradition, calling it a "parallel products of a literate society". Due to the ephemeral nature of the manuscript material, surviving manuscripts surpass an age of a few hundred years; the Sampurnanand Sanskrit University has a Rigveda manuscript from the 14th century. The Vedas, Vedic rituals and its ancillary sciences called the Vedangas, were part of the curriculum at ancient universities such as at Ta
Vaishnavism is one of the major traditions within Hinduism along with Shaivism and Smarthism. It is called Vishnuism, its followers are called Vaishnavas, it considers Vishnu as the Supreme Lord; the tradition is notable for its avatar doctrine, wherein Krishna is revered in one of many distinct incarnations. Of these, ten avatars of Vishnu are the most studied. Rama, Narayana, Hari, Kesava, Govinda, Sri Nathji and Jagannath are among the popular names used for the same supreme being; the tradition has traceable roots to the 1st millennium BCE, as Bhagavatism called Krishnaism. Developments led by Ramananda created a Rama-oriented movement, now the largest monastic group in Asia; the Vaishnava tradition has many sampradayas ranging from the medieval era Dvaita school of Madhvacharya to Vishishtadvaita school of Ramanuja. The tradition is known for the loving devotion to an avatar of Vishnu, it has been key to the spread of the Bhakti movement in South Asia in the 2nd millennium CE. Key texts in Vaishnavism include the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Pancaratra texts and the Bhagavata Purana.
Vaishnavism originates in the latest centuries BCE and the early centuries CE, as an amalgam of the heroic Krishna Vasudeva, the "divine child" Bala Krishna of the Gopala traditions, syncretism of these non-Vedic traditions with the Mahabharata canon, thus affiliating itself with Vedism in order to become acceptable to the orthodox establishment. Krishnaism becomes associated with bhakti yoga in the medieval period. Although Vishnu was a Vedic solar deity, he is mentioned more compared to Agni and other Vedic deities, thereby suggesting that he had a major position in the Vedic religion. Other scholars state that there are other Vedic deities, such as water deity Nara, who together form the historical roots of Vaishnavism. In the late-Vedic texts, the concept of a metaphysical Brahman grows in prominence, the Vaishnavism tradition considered Vishnu to be identical to Brahman, just like Shaivism and Shaktism consider Shiva and Devi to be Brahman respectively; the ancient emergence of Vaishnavism is unclear, the evidence inconsistent and scanty.
According to Dalal, the origins may be in Vedic deity Bhaga. According to Preciado-Solís, the Vedic deities Nara and Narayana form one of the Vedic roots of Vaishnavism. According to Dandekar, Vaishnavism may have emerged from merger of several ancient theistic traditions, where the various deities were integrated as different avatars of the same god. In Dandekar theory, Vaishnavism emerged at the end of the Vedic period before the second urbanisation of northern India, in the 7th to 4th century BCE. Vasudeva and Krishna, "the deified tribal hero and religious leader of the Yadavas," gained prominence, merged into Bhagavan Vasudeva-Krishna, due to the close relation between the Vrsnis and the Yadavas; this was followed by a merger with the cult of Gopala-Krishna of the cowherd community of the Abhıras at the 4th century CE. The character of Gopala Krishna is considered to be non-Vedic. According to Dandekar, such mergers consolidated the position of Krishnaism between the heterodox sramana movement and the orthodox Vedic religion.
The "Greater Krsnaism", states Dandekar merged with the Rigvedic Vishnu. Syncretism of various traditions and Vedism resulted in Vaishnavism. At this stage that Vishnu of the Rig Veda was assimilated into non-Vedic Krishnaism and became the equivalent of the Supreme God; the appearance of Krishna as one of the Avatars of Vishnu dates to the period of the Sanskrit epics in the early centuries CE. The Bhagavad Gita was incorporated into the Mahabharata as a key text for Krishnaism; the Narayana-cult was included, which further brahmanized Vaishnavism. The Nara-Narayana cult may have originated in Badari, a northern ridge of the Hindu Kush, absorbed into the Vedic orthodoxy as Purusa Narayana. Purusa Narayana may have been turned into Arjuna and Krsna; this complex history is reflected in the two main historical denominations of Vishnavism. The Bhagavats, worship Vasudeva-Krsna, are followers of brahmanic Vaishnavism, while the Pacaratrins regard Narayana as their founder, are followers of Tantric Vaishnavism.
According to Hardy, there is evidence of early "southern Krishnaism," despite the tendency to allocate the Krishna-traditions to the Northern traditions. South Indian texts show close parallel with the Sanskrit traditions of Krishna and his gopi companions, so ubiquitous in North Indian text and imagery. Early writings in Dravidian culture such as Manimekalai and the Cilappatikaram present Krishna, his brother, favourite female companions in the similar terms. Hardy argues that the Sanskrit Bhagavata Purana is a Sanskrit "translation" of the bhakti of the Tamil alvars. Devotion to southern Indian Mal may be an early form of Krishnaism, since Mal appears as a divine figure like Krishna with some elements of Vishnu; the Alvars, whose name can be translated "sages" or "saints", were devotees of Mal. Their poems show a pronounced orientation to the Vaishnava, Krishna, side of Mal, but they do not make the distinction between Krishna and Vishnu on the basis of the concept of the Avatars. Yet, according to Hardy the term "Mayonism" should be used instead of "Krishnaism" when referring to Mal or Mayon.
Most of the Gupta kings, beginning with Chandragupta II were known as Parama Bhagavatas or Bhagavata Vaishnavas. After the Gupta age, Krishnaism rose to a major current of Vaishnavism, Vaishnavism developed into various sects and subsects
RadhaKrishn are collectively known within Hinduism as the combined forms of feminine as well as the masculine realities of God. Radha and Krishna are the primeval forms of God and His pleasure potency in the Vaishnava school of thought in Vedic culture. Krishna is referred to as svayam bhagavan in Vaishnavism theology and Radha is illustrated as the primeval potency of the three main potencies of God, Hladini and Samvit of which Radha is an embodiment of the feeling of love towards the almighty God Shree Krishna. With Krishna, Radha is acknowledged as the Supreme Goddess, for it is said that Krishna or God is only satiated by devotional service in loving servitude and Radha is the personification of devotional service to the supreme, she is considered in Vaishnavism as the total feminine energy and as the Supreme Lakshmi. Various devotees worship her with the understanding of her merciful nature as the only way to attain Krishna. Radha is depicted to be Krishna himself, split into two, for the purpose of His enjoyment.
It is believed that Krishna enchants the world, but Radha "enchants Him. Therefore She is the supreme goddess of all. RadhaKrishn". While there are much earlier references to the worship of this form of God, it is since Jayadeva Goswami wrote a famous poem Gita Govinda in the twelfth century of the Common Era, that the topic of the spiritual love between the divine Krishna and his devotee Radha, became a theme celebrated throughout India, it is believed that Radha is not just one cowherd maiden, but is the origin of all the gopis, or divine personalities that participate in the rasa dance. Vigneshwara cannot be broken into two – Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Vishnu, his shakti Radha such was the love of Radha towards Krishna that they became one. Krishna in Vrindavana is depicted with Radha standing on his left; the common derivation of shakti and shaktiman, i.e. Female and male principle in a god implies that shakti and shaktiman are the same; each and every god has its partner,'betterhalf' or Shakti and without this Shakti, is sometimes viewed being without essential power.
It is a not uncommon feature of Hinduism when worship of a pair rather than one personality constitutes worship of God, such is worship of Radha Krishna. Traditions worshiping Krishna, as svayam bhagavan, male, include reference and veneration to his Radha, worshiped as supreme. A view that exists of orthodox Vaishnavism or Krishnaism is that Radha is shakti and Krishna is shaktiman and are always found without any tinge of materialistic attributes or cause. From the Vaishnava point of view the divine feminine energy implies a divine source of energy, God or shaktiman. "Sita relates to Rama. As Krishna is believed to be the source of all manifestations of God, "Shri Radha, His consort, is the original source of all shaktis" or feminine manifestation of divine energy. A number of interpretations according to traditions possess a common root of personalism in the understanding of worship. Caitanyaite Gaudiya Vaishnava doctrine and mission is fiercely "personalistic," proclaiming the supremacy of Krishna, the identification of Caitanya as Radha-Krishna, the reality and eternality of individual selves, a method for approaching the absolute reality and the Deity as a person first and foremost.
Jiva Goswami in his Priti Sandarbha states that each of the Gopis exhibits a different level of intensity of passion, among which Radha's is the greatest. In his famous dialogs Ramananda Raya describes Radha to Caitanya and quotes, among other texts, a verse from Chaitanya Charitamrta 2.8.100, before he goes on to describe her role in the pastimes of Vrindavana. The central pivot point of the theology is related to the word rasa; the theological use of the word can be found early, about two thousand years before the Nimbarka or Caitanya school, in a phrase that the tradition quotes: "Truly, the Lord is rasa" of Brahma sutras. This statement expresses the view that God is the one who enjoys the ultimate rasa or spiritual rapture, emotions. Radha Krishna are worshiped in the following traditions of Hinduism: King Gareeb Nivaz ruled from 1710 to 1734 and was initiated into Vaishnavism of the Chaitanya tradition, which worships Krishna as the supreme deity, Svayam bhagavan, he practiced this religion for nearly twenty years.
Preachers and pilgrims used to arrive in large numbers and cultural contact with Assam was maintained. The Manipuri Vaishnavas Radha-Krishna. With the spread of Vaishnavism the worship of Krishna and Radha became the dominant form in the Manipur region; every village there has a temple. Rasa and other dances are a feature of the regional folk and religious tradition and for example, a female dancer will portray both Krishna and his consort, Radha, in the same piece. In Vedic and Puranic literature and other forms of the root >rAdh have meaning of ‘perfection’, ‘success’ and ‘wealth’. Lord of Success, Indra was referred to as Radhaspati. In references to Mahavishnu as the Lord of Fortune and used by Jayadeva as Jaya Jayadeva Hare – the victorious Hari, ‘Radhaspati’ all found in many places; the word Radha occurs in Taittiriya BrAhmana and Taittiriya Samhita. Charlotte Vaudeville, in the article Evolution of Love Symbolism in Bhagavatism draws some parallel to Nappinnai, appearing in Godha's magnum opus Thiruppavai and in Nammalwar’s references to Nappinnani, the daughter-in-law of Nandagopa.
Nappinnai is believed to be the source of Radha’s conception in
The Upanishads, a part of the Vedas, are ancient Sanskrit texts that contain some of the central philosophical concepts and ideas of Hinduism, some of which are shared with religious traditions like Buddhism and Jainism. Among the most important literature in the history of Indian religions and culture, the Upanishads played an important role in the development of spiritual ideas in ancient India, marking a transition from Vedic ritualism to new ideas and institutions. Of all Vedic literature, the Upanishads alone are known, their central ideas are at the spiritual core of Hindus; the Upanishads are referred to as Vedānta. Vedanta has been interpreted as the "last chapters, parts of the Veda" and alternatively as "object, the highest purpose of the Veda"; the concepts of Brahman and Ātman are central ideas in all of the Upanishads, "know that you are the Ātman" is their thematic focus. Along with the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahmasutra, the mukhya Upanishads provide a foundation for the several schools of Vedanta, among them, two influential monistic schools of Hinduism.
More than 200 Upanishads are known, of which the first dozen or so are the oldest and most important and are referred to as the principal or main Upanishads. The mukhya Upanishads are found in the concluding part of the Brahmanas and Aranyakas and were, for centuries, memorized by each generation and passed down orally; the early Upanishads all predate the Common Era, five of them in all likelihood pre-Buddhist, down to the Maurya period. Of the remainder, 95 Upanishads are part of the Muktika canon, composed from about the last centuries of 1st-millennium BCE through about 15th-century CE. New Upanishads, beyond the 108 in the Muktika canon, continued to be composed through the early modern and modern era, though dealing with subjects which are unconnected to the Vedas. With the translation of the Upanishads in the early 19th century they started to attract attention from a western audience. Arthur Schopenhauer was impressed by the Upanishads and called it "the production of the highest human wisdom".
Modern era Indologists have discussed the similarities between the fundamental concepts in the Upanishads and major western philosophers. The Sanskrit term Upaniṣad translates to "sitting down near", referring to the student sitting down near the teacher while receiving spiritual knowledge. Other dictionary meanings include "esoteric doctrine" and "secret doctrine". Monier-Williams' Sanskrit Dictionary notes – "According to native authorities, Upanishad means setting to rest ignorance by revealing the knowledge of the supreme spirit."Adi Shankaracharya explains in his commentary on the Kaṭha and Brihadaranyaka Upanishad that the word means Ātmavidyā, that is, "knowledge of the self", or Brahmavidyā "knowledge of Brahma". The word appears in the verses of many Upanishads, such as the fourth verse of the 13th volume in first chapter of the Chandogya Upanishad. Max Müller as well as Paul Deussen translate the word Upanishad in these verses as "secret doctrine", Robert Hume translates it as "mystic meaning", while Patrick Olivelle translates it as "hidden connections".
The authorship of most Upanishads is unknown. Radhakrishnan states, "almost all the early literature of India was anonymous, we do not know the names of the authors of the Upanishads"; the ancient Upanishads are embedded in the Vedas, the oldest of Hinduism's religious scriptures, which some traditionally consider to be apauruṣeya, which means "not of a man, superhuman" and "impersonal, authorless". The Vedic texts assert that they were skillfully created by Rishis, after inspired creativity, just as a carpenter builds a chariot; the various philosophical theories in the early Upanishads have been attributed to famous sages such as Yajnavalkya, Uddalaka Aruni, Shandilya, Balaki and Sanatkumara. Women, such as Maitreyi and Gargi participate in the dialogues and are credited in the early Upanishads. There are some exceptions to the anonymous tradition of the Upanishads; the Shvetashvatara Upanishad, for example, includes closing credits to sage Shvetashvatara, he is considered the author of the Upanishad.
Many scholars believe that early Upanishads were expanded over time. There are differences within manuscripts of the same Upanishad discovered in different parts of South Asia, differences in non-Sanskrit version of the texts that have survived, differences within each text in terms of meter, style and structure; the existing texts are believed to be the work of many authors. Scholars are uncertain about; the chronology of the early Upanishads is difficult to resolve, states philosopher and Sanskritist Stephen Phillips, because all opinions rest on scanty evidence and analysis of archaism and repetitions across texts, are driven by assumptions about evolution of ideas, presumptions about which philosophy might have influenced which other Indian philosophies. Indologist Patrick Olivelle says that "in spite of claims made by some, in reality, any dating of these documents that attempts a precision closer than a few centuries is as stable as a house of cards"; some scholars have tried to analyse similarities between Hindu Upanishads and Buddhist literature to establish chronology for the Upanishads.
Patrick Olivelle gives the following chronology for the early Upanishads called the Principal Upanishads: The Brhadaranyaka and the Chandogya are the two earliest Upanishads. They are edited texts; the two texts are pre-B
Kurma is the second Avatar of Vishnu. Like other avatars of Vishnu, Kurma appears at a time of crisis to restore the cosmic equilibrium, his iconography is either a tortoise, or more as half man-half tortoise. These are found in many Vaishnava temple ceilings or wall reliefs; the earliest account of Kurma is found in the Shatapatha Brahmana, where he is a form of Prajapati-Brahma and helps with the samudra manthan. In the Epics and the Puranas, the legend expands and evolves into many versions, with Kurma becoming an avatar of Vishnu, he appears in the form of a tortoise or turtle to support the foundation for the cosmos and the cosmic churning stick. Together the gods and demons churn the ocean with divine serpent Vasuki as the rope, the churn skims out a combination of good and bad things. Along with other products, it produces poison which Shiva drinks and holds it in his throat, immortality nectar which the demons grab and run away with; the Kurma avatar, according to Hindu mythology transforms into a femme fatale named Mohini to seduce the demons.
They fall for her. They ask her to take the nectar, please be their wife and distribute it between them one by one. Mohini-Vishnu takes the pot of nectar and gives it to the gods, thus preventing evil from becoming eternal, preserving the good; the Kurma legend appears in the Vedic texts, a complete version is found in the Shatapatha Brahmana of the Yajurveda. In the Vedic era, like Matsya and Varaha, Kurma is associated with Prajapati Brahma, is not related to Vishnu; the first hint of association of Kurma as an avatar of Vishnu is found in the Ramayana, the Mahabharata. These links, are ambiguous as the Kurma is referred to by epithets such as Akupara, it is only in the Puranas, that both Kurma and Matsya are and linked to Vishnu. Kurma in the Vedic texts is a symbolic cosmogonic myth, he symbolizes support for any sustained creative activity. In sections 6.1.1 and 7.5.1 of the Shatapatha Brahmana, Kurma's shape reflects the presumed hemispherical shape of the earth and this makes it part of the fire altar design.
He is considered the lord of the waters, thus symbolism for Varuna. In these early Hindu texts and goddess earth are considered husband and wife, a couple that depend on each other to create and nourish a myriad of life forms. Alternate names such as Kumma and Kacchapa abound in the Vedic literature, as well as early Buddhist mythologies such as those in Jataka Tales and Jain texts, which refer to tortoise or turtle; the Kurma legend is described in Vaishnava Puranas. In one version, sage Durvasa curses the Devas to lose their powers; the gods needed nectar of immortality to overcome this curse, they make a pact with the asuras to churn the cosmic ocean of milk, so as to extract the nectar, once it skims out they would share it. To churn the ocean of milk, they used Mount Mandara as the churning staff, the serpent Vasuki as the churning rope while the turtle Kurma, Vishnu bore the mountain on his back so that they could churn the waters so that the churning staff would not sink the cosmic waters.
The Asuras took the nectar, quarreled amongst themselves. Vishnu manifested himself as the beautiful Mohini and tricked the Asuras to retrieve the potion, which he distributed to the Devas. Though the Asuras realized the trick, it was too late—the Devas had regained their powers, were able to defeat their foes. There are four temples dedicated to this incarnation of Vishnu in India: Kurmai of Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh, Sri Kurmam in Srikakulam District of Andhra Pradesh, Gavirangapur in the Chitradurga District of Karnataka and Swarupnarayan of Goghat village in Hooghly district of West Bengal; the name of the village Kurmai mentioned above originated as there is historical temple of Kurma Varadarajaswamy, god in this village. The temple located in Srikurmam in Srikakulam District, Andhra Pradesh, is the Avatar of Kurma. Cultural depictions of turtles Kashyapa – a Vedic sage whose name means "tortoise, turtle" World Turtle Dashavatara Samudra manthan J. L. Brockington; the Sanskrit Epics.
BRILL Academic. ISBN 90-04-10260-4. Roshen Dalal. Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin Books India. ISBN 978-0-14-341421-6. Nanditha Krishna. Book Of Vishnu. Penguin Books India. ISBN 978-0-14-306762-7. Retrieved 5 January 2013. Nanditha Krishna. Sacred Animals of India. Penguin Books India. ISBN 978-0-14-306619-4. Rao, T. A. Gopinatha. Elements of Hindu iconography. 1: Part I. Madras: Law Printing House. Media related to Kurma at Wikimedia Commons
Matsya is the fish avatar in the ten primary avatars of Hindu god Vishnu. Matsya is described to have rescued Manu and earthly existence from a great deluge; the earliest accounts of Matsya as a fish-saviour equates him with the Vedic deity Prajapati. The fish-savior merges with the identity of Brahma in post-Vedic era, still as an avatar of Vishnu; the legends associated with Matsya expand and vary in Hindu texts. These legends have embedded symbolism, where a small fish with Manu's protection grows to become a big fish, the fish saves earthly existence. Matsya iconography sometimes is zoomorphic as a giant fish with a horn, or anthropomorphic in the form of a human torso connected to the rear half of a fish. Matsya is a Sanskrit word and means "fish"; the term appears in the Rigveda. It is related to maccha, which means fish; the section 1.8.1 of the Shatapatha Brahmana is the earliest extant text to mention Matsya and the flood myth in Hinduism. It makes no mention of Vishnu, instead identifies the fish with Prajapati-Brahma.
The central characters of this legend are Manu. The character Manu is presented as the ancestor king. One day, water is brought to Manu for his ablutions. In the water is a tiny fish; the fish states it fears being swallowed by appeals to Manu to protect him. In return, the fish promises to rescue Manu from an impending flood. Manu accepts the request, he puts the fish in a pot of water. He prepares a ditch filled with water, transfers him there where it can grow freely. Once the fish grows further to be big enough to be free from danger, Manu transfers him into the ocean; the fish thanks him, tells him the date of the great flood, asks Manu to build a boat by that day, one he can attach to its horn. On the predicted day, Manu visits the fish with his boat; the devastating floods come, Manu ties the boat to the horn. The fish carries the boat with Manu to the high grounds of the northern mountains. Manu re-establishes life by performing austerities and by performing yajna. According to Bonnefoy, the Vedic story is symbolic.
The little fish alludes to the Indian "law of the fishes", an equivalent to the "law of the jungle". The small and weak would be devoured by the big and strong, needs the dharmic protection of the legislator and king Manu to enable it to attain its potential and be able to help later. Manu provides the protection, the little fish grows to become big and saves all existence; the boat that Manu builds to get help from the savior fish, states Bonnefoy, is symbolism of the means to avert complete destruction and for human salvation. The mountains are symbolism for the doorway for ultimate liberation; the tale of Matsya appears in chapter 12.187 of the Vana Parva, in the epic Mahabharata. The legend begins with Manu performing religious rituals on the banks of the Cherivi River. A little fish called Matsyaka comes to him and asks for his protection, promising to save him from a deluge in the future; the legend moves in the same vein as the Vedic version. Manu places him in the jar. Once it outgrows it, the fish asks to be put into a tank.
The fish outgrows the tank, with Manu's help reaches the Ganges River to the ocean. Manu is asked by the fish, in the Mahabharata version, to build a ship and be in it with Rishis and all sorts of grains, on the day of the expected deluge. Manu accepts the fish's advice; the deluge begins, the fish arrives to Manu's aid. He ties the ship to the fish, who steers the ship to the Himalayas, carrying Manu through a turbulent storm; the danger passes. The fish reveals himself as Brahma, gives the power of creation to Manu; the key difference between the Vedic version and the Mahabharata version of the allegorical legend are the latter's identification of Matsya with Brahma, more explicit discussion of the "law of the fishes" where the weak needs the protection from the strong, the fish asking Manu to bring along sages and grains. According to George Williams, there are many versions of the Matsya mythology in the Puranas; the names of the characters, the details, the plot and the message diverge in this genre of texts.
The Matsya Purana evolves the legend further, by identifying the fish-savior with Vishnu instead of Brahma. The Purana derives its name from Matsya; the legend as it appears in section 1.12 states that when a little fish appears to Manu, he recognizes Vishnu Vasudeva in the fish. The fish tells him about the impending fiery end of kalpa accompanied by a deluge; the fish once again has a horn. The gods build it, they build it big enough to carry and save all life forms, Manu needs to just carry all types of grain seeds to produce food for everyone after the deluge is over. When the great flood begins, Manu ties the Ananta Sesha to the fish's horn; the fish carries everyone to safety. According to Bonnefoy, the Matsya Puranic story is symbolic though quite different; the fish is divine to begin with, needs no protection, only recognition and devotion. It ties the story to its cosmology, connecting two kalpas through the cosmic symbolic residue in the form of Sesha. In another version of the Matsya Purana, the story is closer to the Mahabharata version.
At the end of Kalpa, Brahma is resting and the demon Hayagriva steals the Vedas. Vishnu discovers the theft, he descends to earth in the Matsya avatar. One day, the king of Dravida desha named Satyavrata cups water in his hand to offer it to his ancestors. There he finds a