Matsya Jayanti is celebrated to worship and pray to Matsya avatar, the first incarnation of Lord Vishnu. This Satyuga avatar of Lord Narayana was the form of a giant fish. The only Matsya Avatar temple of Lord Vishnu is located in Andhra Pradesh under the name Nagalapuram Veda Narayana Swamy Temple.
According to the Hindu calendar, this auspicious festival is celebrated on Tritiya (third day) during the Shukla Paksha in Chaitra month. According to the Gregorian calendar, the day falls in March or April. Matsya Jayanti falls on Thursday, 15 April 2021.
On the day of Matsya Jayanti, devotees wake up early in the morning, take a holy bath and keep a vow in the name of Lord Matsya (Lord Vishnu).
- This fast is observed a day before the Matsya Jayanti and ends the next day after dawn.
- Devotees worship and offer prayers to the deity and then break their fast.
- Devotees keep reciting holy mantras throughout the night to get the blessings of Lord Matsya.
- On this day, donations are made to Brahmins and the needy.
According to Hindu scriptures, the Matsya avatar is the first incarnation of Lord Vishnu who came to save the universe from the demon Hayagriva. The gods are believed to protect the devotees from all evils. By worshiping Lord Vishnu on the day of Matsya Jayanti, devotees get rid of all their old and present sins and move towards the path of righteousness.
According to Hindu mythology and scriptures, there are a total of four yugas, including Kali Yuga, Dwapara Yuga, Treta Yuga, and Satya Yuga. For Lord Brahma, each yuga was equal to a single day and after creating a yuga, he went to sleep. Lord Brahma had the power to create the universe and while he was sleeping no one could be created.
Lord Vishnu is considered the savior and lord of protection. Whenever there was some danger or the world was in danger, Lord Vishnu takes a form and protects the earth and saves all the species. There are 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu and the Matsya avatar of Lord Vishnu was his first incarnation.
In Satya Yuga, there was a holy and great king named Manu. He worshiped Lord Vishnu with great penance and was a firm devotee of the deity. His last wish was to see the deity once in his lifetime.
This was the time when the Satyuga was reaching its end and everything was going to be destroyed soon to pave the way for the next era. When Lord Brahma was sleeping after the creation of a complete yuga, a demon named Hayagriva hatched a conspiracy to take all the Vedas and obtain all the sacred knowledge. After getting those Vedas, Hayagriva hid in the sea so that no one could find him.
When Lord Brahma came to know about all this, he asked Lord Vishnu for the preservation of the holy Vedas and the divine scriptures. To ensure continuity of life, Lord Vishnu incarnated as a Matsya to save the sacred Vedas from Hayagriva.
Once King Manu went to the Kritmala River to perform his morning rituals. When he took water in his palms, he noticed that a small Matsyaalso came with the water. As a benevolent and pious king, he was about to put the Matsyain the river again. At this, they heard that small Matsya Praying for shelter due to fear of big fish. King Manu obliged the small Matsyain the kamandalam (vessel) by dropping it.
Over time the Matsyacontinued grow and the king had to change locations again and again. In the end, the Matsya Became so huge that it eventually had to be moved into the sea so that it could grow to its full size. Suddenly, Lord Vishnu appears as Matsya and he informs the king that this era is going to end in the next seven days. Being huge, everything was likely to be destroyed, however, Lord Vishnu instructed King Manu to build a ship and collect all the seeds of the plants, animals, Vasuki (snake god), and the holy seven sages and when such adversity If generated, all these items should be put on board.
After seven days, a huge flood began destroying the entire earth. On seeing this the giant Matsya(the Matsya avatar of Lord Vishnu) appeared and with Vasuki's help tied the ship with its horn. The Matsyaalong with King Manu and all the collection took the ship to the top of the Himalayas to keep them safe.
After the flood subsided, Lord Vishnu slaughtered the demon Hayagriva and brought the Vedas back to Lord Brahma and whatever the merciful Manu gathered, he was dispersed on earth to usher in a new era. With this, life began again on Earth. From that day onwards, people celebrate Matsya Jayanti to worship the deity and seek his blessings.