The tale of Machhenarayan begins with the divine purpose of safeguarding humanity from the impending wrath of Shiva’s great flood. The story dates back to a time when the Solar and Lunar calendars were not in sync, leading to a discrepancy of ten days annually. To bridge this gap and maintain the harmony of the cosmos, a unique month of Malamas emerged every three years, devoid of solar eclipses.
According to ancient beliefs, the solar month aligns with the sun’s speed and spans 30 days, while the lunar month follows the moon’s pace and lasts for 27 days. This harmonious dance between the celestial bodies influences the unfolding of months and years, shaping the fabric of time.
In the distant past, when the world was young, Manu, also known as Satyavrata, reigned as the king of pre-ancient Dravida. One day, while washing his hands in a river, a small fish swam into his palms, pleading for its life. Little did Manu know that this seemingly insignificant creature was no ordinary fish, but the divine incarnation of Lord Vishnu himself, assuming the form of Machhenarayan.
With compassion in his heart, Manu placed the fish in a vessel, only to witness it outgrow its confines in a matter of moments. The fish continued to grow as Manu transferred it to larger containers an ocean seemed to be the only viable refuge. To Manu’s astonishment, the fish revealed its true identity, imparting the divine knowledge of an imminent deluge planned by Lord Shiva in just seven days.
The flood threatened to engulf the entire world, turning it into a vast ocean, while a malevolent mare dwelling at the ocean’s depths was poised to release a poisonous fire, devouring everything in its path.
Instructed by Machhenarayan, Manu began constructing an ark to preserve the essence of life-medicinal herbs, various seeds, the seven saints known as Sapta Rishi, Vasuki the serpent, and representatives of every animal species.
The legend of Machhenarayan stands as a timeless testament to the protection and sanctity of all life, especially those dwelling in the waters and reservoirs. It celebrates the profound bond between humanity and nature, emphasizing the need for preservation and responsible stewardship of the environment. In this tale, the fish, in its divine incarnation, symbolizes the divine protector, steering the course of salvation amidst the stormy seas of life.
Today, as devotees flock to the Machhenarayan Temple during the auspicious month of Malamas, they come not only to pay homage to the fish form of Lord Vishnu but also to seek inner cleansing and redemption. The artistic entrance of the gold-plated Garuda, Lord Vishnu’s mount, beckons the faithful, as they enter with hearts filled with devotion.
The legend of Machhenarayan continues to resonate through the ages, imparting timeless wisdom and inspiring generations to cherish the interconnectedness of all life
forms. It teaches us to be the architects of our destiny and guardians of creation, nurturing the delicate balance that sustains our world. In the sacred embrace of this ancient tale, we find hope, solace, and a renewed commitment to protect and preserve the sanctity of life for generations to come.
(text via Abhi Photography blog)/ Photo: PhotoKhichuwa.