Matsya, the fish, was the tenth of the purusha incarnations of
Vishnu. It is also regarded as the first of his avataras, and
is described in the Srimad Bhagavatam, thus:
"rupam sa jagrihe matsyam
navy aropya mahi-mayyam
apad vaivasvatam manum
When there was a complete inundation after the period of the
Cakshuna Manu and the whole world was deep within water, the Lord
accepted the form of a fish and protected Vaivasvata Manu keeping him up
on a boat."
Bhag., Canto 1, Ch. 3, Text 15
"matsyo yuganta-samaye manunopalabdhah
visramsitan uru-bhaye salile mukhan me
adaya tatra vijahara ha veda-margan
At the end of the millennium, the would-be Vaivasvata Manu, of the name
Satyavrata, would see that the Lord in the fish incarnation is the shelter
of all kinds of living entities, up to thos in the earthly planets. Because of my fear
of the vast water at the end of the millennium, the Vedas come out of my [Brahma's]
mouth, and the Lord enjoys those vast waters and protects the Vedas."
Bhag., Canto 2, Ch. 7, Text 12
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