We have all heard about yugams. Kali yugam is an example of yugam. So how do these yugams come about. This is linked to the concept of pralayam. According to certain schools of thought Maha Vishnu at the end of a particular yugam brings about a pralayam (mass destruction). Pralayam results in complete destruction of earth and galaxy as we know it. Maha Vishnu then re-creates the earth and originates life. The first 'being', He creates from his orb is Brahma. Maha Vishnu then teaches the four vedas to Brahma, who in turn is responsible for teaching the vedas to everybody else. Brahma, it seems, develops conceit as a result of being the all-knower of the vedas. So a grand orchestration takes place to teach Brahma humility. Two Rakshas name Madhu and Kaitabha appear and steal the vedas from Brahma. Brahma loses his great posession and rushes to Vishnu for help. So Maha Vishnu takes the form of Hayagriva (haya means horse and greva means neck) kills Madhu and Kaithabhan to retrieve the vedas. Hence the name MadhuSudanan (slayer of Madhu). Legend also has it that Vishnu takes the form of Hayagriva to teach the vedas to Brahma, at the beginning of every yugam and that Hayagriva avataram precedes Matsya avatharam.
There is a Hayagreeva temple in Hajo, Assam (near Guwahati). The hill in which the temple resides is called Manikoota Parvata. This is interesting because Manikoota is a worship place for Hindus and Budhists. While Budhists regard Hayagreva as an incarnation of Budha, Hindus regard it as a variation of Nrihasimha avataram. According to this temple budha is also considered an avataram of Vishnu. There is another Hayagriva temple on the way from Madras to Srimushnam ( its a detour towards cuddalore). Hayagriva is the author of the vedas. The basis of Hinduism and the differentiator between Sanathana Dharma(Hinduism) and Budhism (Budhism rejects the vedas....sort of). The vedas is considered to have three parts or sections - Ila, Saras and Mahi. Each of the components focuses on a particular school of thought. Note the middle name of these three names Philosophers have long debated on the origin of Saraswathi as a derivative of Saras. The link between Hayagriva teaching Brahma the vedas and Brahma knowing the vedas which contains saras is an established one. The origin of Saraswathi is an interesting topic though. Something we should ponder about especially on Saraswathi Pooja.
Anyway with this post on Hayagriva, the god of knowledge and education, I take a week's break. Next week is final exam week. With 4 exams in 4 days, I think it is wise if I take a break from blogging :-)