Lord Hayagriva (Hayagreeva)
Lord Hayagreeva is one of the avatars of Lord Vishnu where the Lord is worshipped in the form of a horse headed deity with a human body. Unlike Dasavataras, the Hayagriva incarnation of Lord Maha Vishnu is lesser known. Lord Hayagriva is regarded as the God of Knowledge and Wisdom. Lord Hayagreeva is depicted as horse headed Vishnu with a human body, white in color, white garments and seated on a white lotus. Hayagriva is most popular in the south Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Symbolically, Hayagriva represents the triumph of pure knowledge, guided by the hand of God, over the demonic forces of passion and darkness. Traditionally, Hayagriva is worshipped for all learning ventures
Hayagriva Jayanti is an important festival celebrated in honor of the birthday of Lord Hayagriva. Observed on the full moon day of Sravana Month, the festival is celebrated with great importance by student community. It is said that worshipping Lord Hayagriva on Hayagriva Jayanthi will bestow success in all deeds.
Story of Lord Hayagriva
According to Bhagavata Puranas, Lord Vishnu , at the time of Pralaya the end of the world then, kept all the beings in his belly, slept on the banyan leaf bed in the ocean. Later, for the re-creation of the world, he created Brahmma from His Naval Chord and taught him the four Vedas. Brahma began the creation.
Two water drops appeared on the naval leaf of Lord changed into two demons. As they were thus born to Lord Vishnu, they summed up the courage to snatch the creation profession from Brahmma, stole the Vedas from Him and hid them in the deep underground- Pathala Loka. Brahmma surrendered to the Lord. Lord came to Pathala Loka and found the demons as two horses and therefore, He also took the form of the horse and began the war with the demons Madhu and Kaidapa. He defeated the demons and recovered the Vedas and returned them to Brahmma. The Vedas felt that their sanctity was affected due to the touch of the demons and entreated the Lord to restore their dignity. Lord smelt them. The Vedas got back their sacred status. As the Lord was furious after the war against the demons, it is said that Sri Mahalakshmi was requested to cool him. Installing Mahalakshmi on His lap, the Lord came to be known as Lakshmi Hayagriva. Hayagriva-Lord with horse face.
Lord Hayagriva is worshipped as Lord of Wisdom as He recovered the Vedas from the demons. Where there is wisdom, wealth joins there. The Lakshmi Hayagriva form combines wisdom and prosperity.
Devi Bhaagavata, however, gives a different version. Once upon a time, there was an Asura called Hayagriva, who had the face of a horse. He did intense penance to Devi and got a boon from her that he should not be killed by anyone except one who had a face similar to his. He was under the impression that none would have such a figure and was pretty much sure that he had become invincible. With the new found power, he inflicted tortures on all living beings. Devi prayed to Lord Vishnu who took the form with a horse face, fought with the Asura and killed him. But, this version is not regarded as authentic.
Hayagriva Strotram is taken from the Pancaratra Agamas. It is believed that one who chants the Hayagriva strotras daily will become successful and able overcome from all difficulties.
Famous Lord Hayagriva Temples
- Hayagriva Temple in Nanganallur ,Chennai
- Hayagriva Temple at Hajo near Guwahati, Assam
- Lakshmi Hayagriva temple in Muthialpettai, Pondicherry
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