Barah (Varah) or Pig Awatar (Avatar)

Hindus the world over believe their supreme god Bisnu (Visnu) revealed himself to this world in ten different awatar (avatar), nine of which have already been manifested in the days gone by while the tenth is yet awaited, viz,

1.Ram Awatar, 2. Krishna (spelt also as Krushna or Krsna) Awatar, 3. Nar-Singh Awatar (Lion-Man god), 4. Matsya Awatar (Fish god), 5. Kurmi Awatar (Tortoise god), 6. Bawan Awatar (Midget god), 7. Parasu-Ram Awatar (parasu = axe, Ram = god, hence, axe weilding god), 8. Barah Awatar (Pig god), 9. Buddha Awatar and 10. Kalki Awatar (Kalki, god of the Future).

However, no Hindu worships Bisnu (Visnu) in any awatar (avatar) other than the first two whose accounts are recorded in the epics of Ramayan and Mahabharat. No temple assigned to any of these eight gods exists with the sole exception of a temple in Barah-Kshetra on the banks of River Kosi in Kirati heartland in Nepal dedicated to Barah (Varaha) the Pig god.

Of the Barah Awatar, it is said in Bisnu (Visnu) Puran that once upon a mythical time, an old elephant was bathing himself in River Kosi deep in the Kirati heartland when a mighty crocodile caught hold of one of his hind legs in a deathly grip. The elephant struggled hard but was unable to free himself and was slowly being dragged into the deep and certain death. Realising the end had come, the old elephant plucked a lotus flower and offered to god Bisnu (Visnu) as his last homage.

The elephants sincere devotion pleased Bisnu (Visnu) and taking the form of a boar, he charged through the raging river slashing the throat of the evil crocodile thus freeing his devotee.

A temple now stands at the very spot where Bisnu had appeared in the form of a boar to save the elephant. This is one and only temple in the world where god Bisnu is worshiped in the form of a boar and it is located deep in Kiratland. It remains a mystery why the Hindus would select such an inaccessible place to build their temple and moreover it is a greater oddity that the Hindus should worship their supreme god in the form of a boar for it certainly is a taboo for a brahmin even to touch a pig at the dire consequence of eternal damnation.

The present statue at the temple of Barah Awtar, shown here, is a recent one and a modern version. I had visited the temple in 1964 when a very old stone statue depicting the original scene occupied the place. None at the temple present could explain when and why the statue has been replaced.

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