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16-Hayagreev Avataar
In Devee Bhaaagvat in Hindi (Motaa Type) p 30, his reference is complete and detailed
In Bhaagvat Puraan, 1st part, p 865
In Bhaagvat Puraan, Skandh 12, on Avataar

Not a Main Avataar and 16th Avataar in 24 Avataar. He is supposed to appear on Shraavan Poornimaa.

Hayagreev is listed as one of the 10 incarnations of Vishnu in Bhaagvat Puraan, 10/40 in the prayer of Akroor Jee to Bhagavaan. Akroor Jee's prayer also contains Hayagreev's name when he had a vision while he was bringing Balaraam and Krishn from Gokul to Mathuraa and he stopped on the way to take bath in Yamunaa River.

According to Bhaagvat Puraan, 5/4, in Chapter 18 Hayagreev Avataar is worshipped in Bhadraaashwa Varsh.
Bhaagvat Puraan, Skandh 12, on Avataar also lists his name.
Thus Hayagreev Avataar is a Vishnu's Avataar. Bhaagvat Puraan 1/1 says that he is one of the 22 Avataar - see the list at Avataar.

He is worshipped as the God of knowledge and wisdom, with a human body and a horse's head, brilliant white in color, with white garments and seated on a white lotus. Symbolically, the story represents the triumph of pure knowledge, guided by the hand of God, over the demonic forces of passion and darkness. Special worship is conducted on the day of the Full Moon in August (Shraavan-Poornimaa - Rakshaa Bandhan day), as it is His Avataar Divas; and on Mahaa Navamee, the 9th day of the Nava Raatri festival. He is also hailed as "Hayasheersh" - Hayasheersh means haya=Horse, Sheersh=Head - horse-headed.

Hayagreev’s consort is Lakshmee. Invariably, Hayagreev is depicted seated, most often with his right hand either blessing the supplicant or in the Vyaakhyaa Mudraa (pose) of teaching. The right hand also usually holds a Aksh Maalaa (rosary), indicating his identification with meditative knowledge. His left hand holds a book, indicating his role as a teacher. His face is always serene and peaceful, if not smiling. There is no hint of a fearsome side in the Hindu description of this deity. He is sometimes worshipped in a solitary pose of meditation. This form is known as Yog-Hayagreev. However, he is most commonly worshipped along with his consort Lakshmee and is known as Lakshmee-Hayagreev.

In Shaakt Mythology
According to Shaakt traditions, Kashyap Jee had a Daitya son named Hayagreev. Haya means horse, and Greev means neck, thus Hayagreev means horse-headed. He did a severe Tap for Devee and got a boon from her that he should be killed by himself only. After this he started troubling Devtaa, so Devtaa approached Vishnu. Vishnu tried but was unable to kill him. Tired and exhausted He went to His Vaikunth Dhaam to rejuvenate Himself. He sat in Padmaasan Mudraa, leaning His head on the upper side of His bow. Devtaa once again came to Him but were unable to wake up Him from His meditation. So they asked termites to go and cut the string of the bow on which Vishnu's head was resting. The termites did that as Devtaa said but the string broke with such a force that its sound trembled the Tri-Lok and it severed the head of Vishnu from His body.

Devtaa got afraid and went to Durgaa Devee for her help. Durgaa said - "You need not to fear from this incident as no incident in this world is without any purpose." She then told them about the boon given to Hayagreev and the reason why Hayagreev could not be killed by Vishnu; then she asked them to attach a horse's head to Vishnu's severed body, so that He, in the same form as Hayagreev Daitya, could kill Hayagreev Daitya. Brahmaa Jee attached a horse's head to Vishnu's body and revived Him to kill Hayagreev Daitya. He took this Avataar only to kill Hayagreev Daitya who had a boon that he should be killed only by himself. This Hayagreev Daitya had the head of a Haya (horse).

Another Legend
According to another legend, when Madhu and Kaitabh Daitya ran away taking Ved from Brahmaa Jee, Vishnu assumed Hayagreev's form and rescued Ved. the two bodies of Madhu and Kaitabh got broken in to 6 pieces each (2 x 6 = 12 pieces) - 2 heads, 2 torsos, 4 arms, and 4 legs). These are considered the 12 seismic plates of the earth.

Hayagreev Delivers Lalitaa Sahastra Naam to Agastya Jee
One day Agastya Muni asked Hayagreev to tell him about the 1,000 names of Devee, then Hayagreev taught him the Lalitaa Sahastra Naam Stotra to him.

Hayagreev Poojaa
Ganynanaanand-mayam Devam Nirmal Sphatikaakritim | Adhaaram Sarv Vidyaa Naam Hayagreevam Upaasmahe
From Panchraatra Aagam, but is prefixed Hayagreev Stotra

A great devotee named Vadiraja Teertha of Udupee (Sri Krishna Math) used to offer cooked horse gram (Kollu) to Hayagriva. He used to recite the Hayagreeva Shlok and keep the offerings on his head. Hayagreev would come as a beautiful white horse form and would eat the horse gram. As a very staunch devotee, Vadiraja Teertha would recite the following Shlok  -

Na Hayagreevaat Param Asti Mangalam |
Na Hayagreevaat Param Asti Paavanam ||
Na Hayagreevaat Param Asti Daivatam |
Na Hayagreevam Pranipatya Seedati ||
There is no auspiciousness greater than Hayagreev. Nothing is more sacred than Hayagreev to destroy our accumulated sins. No other God is superior to Hayagreev. No one grieves after performing Sharanaagati at the sacred feet of Hayagreev.

There is a story that more than 500 years ago, a devotee from the Daivagya Braahman community was casting an idol of Lord Ganapati, when it shaped itself into the image of Lord Hayagreev. Saarvabhaum Sri Vadiraja Guru Swamiji had a dream about this legend which inspired him to approach that devotee and take the idol from him in reverence. He then installed it in Shri Sode Vadiraja Math.

There is a Hayagreev temple adjacent to Koodal Azhagar Temple.


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 07/09/12