Matsya Purana is related to the story of Matsya avatar of Lord Vishnu. Besides, there is a description of yajnas, fasts, pilgrimage, charity etc. in Matsya Avatar scripture There is a mention of seven kalpas in the Matsya Puranam. It has 14 thousand verses and is divided into 291 chapters. Besides, Matsya Purana is divided into two sections and there are different things in these two sections. The first section includes a lot of poetic content. It also describes the water catastrophe (doomsday caused by water), Dhan Mahatmya, Prayag, Kashi, the Narmada Mahatmya, the Tridevas, etc.
The Story Of Matsya-Avatar
At the time of the great deluge, Lord Vishnu incarnated as a fish. The fish avatar came in the hands of a sage. The sage tried to leave the fish behind, however the fish told the sage that he was afraid of other big creatures so the sage kept him in his kamandal. The size of the fish increased. After this, the Lord said that at the time of the Holocaust, everyone should ride in a boat and tie the boat to the fish.
Thereafter, everything was destroyed in Doomsday and the sage and his boat were protected. Later, Brahma created life again. According to another belief, when a demon had stolen the Vedas and hid in the ocean, Lord Vishnu, wearing Matsyarupa, brought the Vedas back and installed them.
Who Is Fortunate As Per Matsya Purana?
The Matsya Puranam is a little special in the sense that it lays special emphasis on efforts. It is said that a person who does not perform his deeds & exhibits laziness, dies of hunger. In the same manner, those who get things out of sheer luck cannot succeed in life. That is why a human should do his/her own karma, because a human can change his/her destiny by karma.
Matsya Puran And Sthapatya Kala (Architecture)
Matsya Purana does not only talk about the great deluge, but also about the finest architecture that existed in those times. Also, the names of the 18 architectural craftsmen have also been given in this Purana. Among them, the mention of the creator Vishwakarma and Maya Demon is quite special. Others who are mentioned are: Bhrigu, Atri, Vasistha, Narada, Vishalaksha, Purundara, Brahma, Kumar, Nandish, Shaunak, Garg, Vasudev, Anirudh, Venus and Jupiter, etc.
The Mention Of Architecture (Vastu Kala) In Matsya Purana
There is also a mention of Vastu in this Purana. In fact, Vastu Shastra which we read today is mentioned in the Matsya Puranam. It mentions what should be there in a good & harmonious house. It mentions Sarvatobhadra, that is, a house, which has four doors and hallways. Temples and the royal palaces have this feature. This Purana also mentions other types of buildings such as Vardhamana, Swastika, Nandyavart and Ruchhak.
Military Arrangements As Per Matsya Purana
Matsya Purana story mentions various things about which there is little information elsewhere. It also describes the military system of those times. Matsya Puran depicts two areas of life. On the one hand, Matsya Puran encourages charity, fasts, festivals, pilgrimage etc. On the other hand, the scripture covers life-related subjects like Rajkarma (the royal duties), governance, building architecture, state laws, etc.Then there is the famous story of Savitri & Satyavan which puts forward the heroism of womankind in ancient India. Besides, there is a poetic description of the natural beauty of Varanasi.
Purusharth In Matsya Purana
The Matsya Purana story proclaims the primacy of Purushartha (the efforts of a human being). A question is raised before in the Matsya Puran: Who is greater between the two: Purushartha or God? Answering this (as stated in Matsya Puran), God says that Purushartha is the effort whose fruits are given by God. According to the scholars, Matsya Puranam is a very significant scripture. The following verse mentions it very clearly:
नालसः प्राप्नवन्त्यर्थान न च दैव परायणः
तस्मात सर्वप्रयत्नेन आचरेद्धर्ममुत्तमम
This means that people who are lazy, who rely only on the divine cannot be successful in earning money. Therefore, one should always strive for good religion.
The Various Stories & Legends
Matsya Purana also very aptly describes the natural beauty of those times. There is a mention of the beauty of the Himalayan Mountains, Kailash Parbat, Narmada, Varanasi. Matsya Puranam also mentions the shakun (auspicious signs) and apshakun (inauspicious signs). Also described are charity, dreams, thoughts, etc. Various deities are also mentioned in the Matsya Purana. It also describes how the idols of the gods should be made and what should lie inside them.
It is also mentioned how the idol of Lord Vishnu should be constructed.The things that Lord Vishnu holds are conch, chakra and mace, they are combined in the shape of a parasol. The idol should show a cervix, auspicious eye, high nose, oyster-like ear etc. like a conch. His idol has either eight arms or four arms. When the arm of Lord Vishnu is built, then mace, conch, divine feet etc. should be placed in the southern part of Vishnu and the conch and chakra should be in the left part. Also, there is information about how to make a female idol.
The Matsya Purana also gives a lot of information about the sages. The names of the sages, gotras, clans etc. of Bhrigu, Angiras, Atri, Kushik, Kashyap, Vasishta etc. are also given. The Matsya Puranam also mentions the names of the various incarnations of God (Lord Vishnu). It specifically describes the character of Narasimha and Varaha avatars. In Dewasur Sangram, the heroes of both sides are also introduced.
The Story Of Savitri Satyavan
There is also the mention of Savitri Satyavan in Matsya Purana. This Matsya Puran story is divided into 7 parts. There is the description of Pati Dharma of Savitri (Savitri’s loyalty towards her husband). The purpose of this story is to put forward the ideal of loyalty towards one’s life partner, for humankind in general and womankind in particular. Lord Vishnu says in this Purana that the Pativrata Dharma is so powerful that even the god of death Yamraj can not disobey the women who follow the Pativrata Dharma. This Purana also mentions other Pativrata women (women who are absolutely loyal to their husband).
Matsya Puran And The Ayurvedic Medicine
There is also a mention of Ayurveda in this Purana. It has a long list of medicines and herbs. It also mentions which medicine works for which disease. All these things are described very much in detail. The various medicines and herbs include Jevadhika, Kakol, Amalki, Shalparni, Mugdarparni, Mashparni, Sariva, Bala, Dhara, Respiratory, Vriddhya, Vritti, Kantarkika, Droni, Darm, Renuka, Madhuparni, Vidarikand, Peepal, Tal, Madhuk, Shatpushpa, Rajashirski, Shitpaki , Kuberakshi, Valya, Shaluk, Trayush, Saffron, Kshir, Tail, Vasya, Marrow, Ghrita, Sura, Asava, Madhyam, Neem, Arishtik etc. are prominent. There are various ways to stay healthy and live longer using Ayurveda medicines.
Matsya Purana forms an important Purana because it deals with the 1st avatar of Lord Vishnu, the Matsya avtar, or the fish incarnation. It vividly describes the scene of the great water deluge or doomsday.