Devi Bhagavati blesses Vishnu as Hayagreeva

As Indra and Demi-Gods were performing a Sacrifice in the presence of Brahma and Mahesa, they had all desired Maha Vishnu to preside over the Function and called on Him. But, Lord Vishnu was in ‘Yoga Nidra’or the Sleep of Deep Meditation and nobody would dare wake Him. More over, interruptions of somebody’s speech, the love of a couple, or waking up a person’s deep sleep are sins equivalent to ‘Brahma hatya’ or killing of a Brahmana. The Lord was seated in a ‘Padmasana’ posture squatting with His legs folded and resting His chin on the top of His Bow with an Arrow fully drawn. As the Sacrifice was to be concluded, Lord Siva advised Lord Brahma to create a White Ant, ‘Vamri’ and directed it to bite the arrow gently which should wake up the Lord to consciousness and thus make the request. The Vamri sensed the delicate situation and requested Brahma to grant it a return boon for the great risk being undertaken in disturbing the Yoga Nidra of no less a personality than Maha Vishnu Himself! Lords Brahma and Siva gave a boon to the Vamri that what ever trickles from the Sacrificial Offerings of Ghee in the Homa Kunda (Fire Pit) would spill out could be collected as its share. As commanded by Brahma, the insect bit the fore-end of the arrow and the tight string gave way at once and the entire Universe reverberated with horrifying sound as the earth quaked, mountains were shaken, Oceans rose high, Sun lost way and Devas got traumatised. Maha Vishnu’s Head was severed with His Crown and there was no trace as to where it fell! Along with Devas, Brahma and Siva cried like human beings as there was a ‘Pralaya’-like situation (Universal Dissolution). Then Deva Guru Brihaspati consoled Indra, Brahma and Siva and emboldened them to countenance the grim situation, as such eventualities did happen in the past.

The only recourse that Lords Siva and Brahma, accompanied by Indra and Demi-Gods, had was that in one voice, they made an intense appeal to Maha Devi Bhagavati, the Eternal Cause of Causes, the very Original Energy, the Life Force of entire Creation, the Bindu and Pranava, the Sourcing Fountain of knowledge and above all the Embodiment of Charity and Forgiveness. Pleased by the most sincere prayers of Brahma and Siva downward, ‘Nirguna’ Maha Devi hinted that there ought to be a cause for the tragedy. In the company of Maha Lakshmi, once Maha Vishnu laughed by thinking of something. Lakshmi Devi failed to understand the possible reason as to why Vishnu was so much amused about. Was it a spot on Her face or was it due to another woman in His desire? Then as Vishnu did not clarify, Lakshmi assumed ‘Tamasic Guna’ and gave a curse to Him saying that His head should fall off. Thus happened the resultant tragedy despite Her sincere repentance.

While this tragedy took place, there was a coincidental incident that a tough Davana of extraordinary cruelty, named Hayagriva or the Demon with the neck of a horse, resorted to severe ‘Tapas’ (Meditation) to Maha Bhagavati for thousands of years by following a strict regime of Sacrifice and unflinching devotion. Maha Devi appeared before the Rakshasa and granted him a boon that no Power in the Universe could cause death to him, except by an Extraordinary Energy in the form similar to his own viz. Hayagriva form alone could destroy him. Brahma and Siva hastened with the solution to the present gravest tragedy and instructed Devata’s own Architect, Visvakarma to do the needful. The Architect killed a horse at once and fixed its neck to Lord Vishnu’s severed head and thus emerged Lord Hayagriva.

Sri V.D.N.Rao and Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham presents the Essence of Puranas in English, condensed by Sri. V.D.N.Rao, devotee of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. Compiled, Composed and Interpreted by V.D.N.Rao, Former General Manager, India Trade Promotion Organisation, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India The author can be contacted at