Hinduism - What Is Varaha, The Boar Avatar Of Vishnu?

Varaha, Vishnu's Avatar as the Boar. 

The deity Vishnu's third avatar, or "incarnation." 

  • When the process of creation is halted by the disappearance of the Earth, Vishnu assumes this avatar at the beginning of one of the cosmic eras. 
  • The demon-king Hiranyaksha is to blame for this issue, since he has abducted the Earth and buried her in the depths of the cosmic ocean. 

Vishnu, disguised as a colossal boar, descends to the ocean's depths, where he slays Hiranyaksha, puts the Earth on the tip of his tusk, and raises her from the depths. 

  • The process of creation continues with the return of the Earth. 
  • The avatar theory is widely recognized as a means of assimilating minor regional deities into the greater pantheon by identifying them as manifestations of Vishnu. 

The Boar avatar, which seems to have absorbed an old religion in central India by making the boar an incarnation of Vishnu, supports this conclusion. 

  • The Boar avatar is not widely worshipped in contemporary times, despite having a large following in the past, especially in central India. 
  • This is corroborated in part by the sculptural record, with especially excellent sculpted representations of this avatar found in the caves of Ellora and Udayagiri. 

More information may be found in Arthur Llewellyn Basham's 1968 book, The Wonder That Was India.

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