Varāha


Varāha

▪ Hindu mythology
 (Sanskrit: Boar), third of the 10 incarnations (avatars) of the Hindu god Vishnu. When a demon named Hiraṇyākṣa dragged the earth to the bottom of the sea, Vishnu took the form of a boar in order to rescue it. They fought for a thousand years. Then Varāha slew the demon and raised the earth out of the water with his tusks. The myth reflects an earlier creation legend of Prajāpati (Brahmā), who assumed the shape of a boar in order to lift the earth up out of the primeval waters.

      In painting and sculpture, Varāha is represented either in full animal form or with the head of a boar and the body of a man. Completely zoomorphic sculptures show him as a colossal boar with the earth, personified as the dark-hued goddess Bhūmidevī, clinging to one of his tusks. As half-human, half-animal, he is often shown standing with one leg bent supporting Bhūmidevī, whose expression, according to Indian canons of representation, should express both shyness and joy.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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