In the meantime, given that the humans who resided on earth had become very sinful over the ages, they regularly indulged in battles and wars and used deadly weapons which not only annihilated each other but also ended up in the earth itself being inflicted with severe damage. They used such devastating weapons that the earth trembled every time they were used, and it was being ravaged to a large extent. All the omens portended that it was time something catastrophic was due to occur on earth as a result of these actions.
Hiranyaksha realized quite soon that the easiest way to draw Vishnu into a fight would be to trouble his devotees, a majority of whom were humans residing on earth. Empowered by the boon of Brahma which rendered him immortal to any retribution from humans, he then started unleashing his reign of terror on earth and its residents. He however used such powerful weapons that the earth tilted from its axis and it slipped and fell deep into the celestial ocean. This situation played very well to the demon’s advantage, who then hid the earth deep in the ocean’s dark recesses.
Alarmed by this situation, the demi gods approached Vishnu, the preserver and requested him to save the earth from the atrocities committed by Hiranyaksha. Knowing that the time was opportune for his intervention, Vishnu then took the form of Varaha, the boar.
Emerging as a tiny boar (the size of a thumb) from the nostril of Brahma, Varaha grew and grew until he reached the size of a huge mountain. Some versions of this epic state that his thunderous roar was frightening and his mane was so fiery and fearsome that Varuna requested that he fold his mane so as not to scare the creatures that lived in the oceans.
In this fearsome form of Varaha, Vishnu then dived deep into the celestial ocean and retrieved the earth. Upon being stopped by Hiranyaksha, he thought to himself “Jaya can wait. Mother Earth needs to be placed back on her axis so that life on earth can resume to normal as soon as possible.” Varaha then rushed to the surface of the celestial ocean and put earth back on its axis.
He then turned his attention to Hiranyaksha and then fought him with his mace. After a fierce fight which apparently lasted for close to a thousand years, Varaha manages to finally overcome the demon. Just before he kills him, he reveals his true form, that of Vishnu so that Hiranyaksha is able to realize that he is finally being granted salvation from the curse of his earlier existence as Jaya.
Thus ended the reason for Vishnu taking the avatar in the form of a boar, the Varaha avatar.
While some versions of the story state that Varaha balanced the earth on his two tusks while fighting Hiranyaksha, I find it a little more plausible that he first restored the earth back on its axis before fighting the demon. More so because almost all legends state that the fight lasted for more than a few years, and it made more sense that the earth was restored back to normal state sooner rather than later.
Some other versions also go on to state that Mother Earth falls in love with this form of Vishnu and Narakasura, the demon is a result of the union between Mother Earth and Varaha.
<<Part 4 of the story | CONCLUDED>>