Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Varaaha Mean?

Varaaha is a Sanskrit word that means “boar” or “wild boar” and is also the name of one of the 10 main incarnations, or avatars, of the Hindu god, Vishnu, that are collectively called the Dashavatara. As Varaaha, Vishnu took the form of a boar to rescue the goddess, Prithvi (personification of Earth), from the demon, Hiranyaksha, who had carried Prithvi to the bottom of the cosmic ocean.

Vishnu is one of Hinduism's most important gods and forms the trimurti, along with Brahma and Shiva. Vishnu is also the supreme deity of Vaishnavism, one of Hinduism's major traditions.


Yogapedia Explains Varaaha

In Hindu iconography, Varaaha is depicted as human with a boar's head or simply as a boar. His battle with Hiranyaksha is said to have lasted 1,000 years, ending when Varaaha carried Prithvi out of the cosmic ocean with his tusks, returning her to her proper place in the universe.

The 10 main avatars of Vishnu vary by tradition and region, but in addition to Varaaha, the list typically includes:

  • Matsya (fish)
  • Koorma (tortoise)
  • Narasimha (the man-lion)
  • Vamana (the dwarf)
  • Parasurama (the angry man)
  • Rama (the perfect human)
  • Balarama (Krishna's brother)
  • Krishna (the divine diplomat and statesman)
  • Kalki (the mighty warrior), who has yet to appear on Earth

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