Indian Mythology

The Indian Creation

Is there an Indian flood myth?

There are various versions of an Indian flood myth. The Satapatha Brahmana and the Mahabharata are among the sources for the story, in which the Noah figure is Manu, the progenitor of humanity. Manu is washing his hands in a river when a fish comes to him begging protection from larger fish. Manu protects the fish until he is large enough to survive on his own. The fish is actually Matsya, an incarnation (avatar) of the god Vishnu. Grateful for his protection, Matsya warns Manu of the coming of a great flood to punish humanity for its evil ways. He instructs Manu to build a boat and to fill it with grains and, according to some versions, representatives of all living beings. Matsya ties the boat to himself, and when the waters come, he guides the boat to a mountain top, where it remains until the waters subside and Manu can proceed to repopulate the world.

The Churning of the Ocean of Milk might also be considered a kind of flood myth.


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