Hayagriva Jayanti is an unique occasion where the appearance of Lord Hayagriva is celebrated. It is the birth anniversary of Lord Hayagriva who was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
The specific reason for donning and being reborn in this incarnation of Avatar was to restore the Vedas to Brahma, which was forcibly taken away and kept away by the demons or the Asuras.
It is the supreme responsibility of Hayagriva to restore all the knowledge to the rightful place. Lord Hayagriva is considered to be the God of knowledge and wisdom. Hayagriva Jayanti is observed on the Purnima of the month of Shravan according to traditional Hindu calendar.
As per the Gregorian calendar, it is observed on a full moon day of the month of August. In 2017, it will be observed on the 7th of August, Monday. The appearance of Hayagriva is interesting. Lord Hayagriva has the head of a horse or a Haya in place of his head.
Legend of Lord Hayagriva
According to the Hindu scriptures, there are two legends regarding Lord Hayagriva and his appearance. The Shantiparva of the Mahabharata and the Puranas all talk about the incarnation of Hayagriva. According to one legend, long ago, Kashyapa Prajapati, had a son named Hayagriva who did severe penances and austerities and got a boon from Goddess Durga, that no man or God will be able to defeat him, and he can only be defeated by another Hayagriva. Hayagriva, then started misusing his power and soon there was panic all around in the world and the Devas has to fight Hayagriva. But in the battle HAya griva could not be killed, and the Gods took rest in between. Lord Vishnu rested his head on his bow. However, the Gods were worried at Lord Vishnu not waking up, and took the help of termites to eat at his bow. The termites ate at his bow, when the strings snapped and Lord Vishnu’s head was severed from his bead. The Gods trembled in fear, but only Goddess Durga understood the reason and asked Brahma to attach the head of a horse to Vishnu’s body. Thus another Hayagriva was created who went to battle and defeated the demonic Hayagriva.
In another legend, Lord Hayagriva took the incarnation of a God and a horse to recover the Vedas. The Vedas were stolen by two demons called Madhu and Kaitabha . They stole the Vedas, while Lord Brahma was asleep. Lord Vishnu had then to adopt this incarnation to save the Vedas and thus this incarnation is associated with knowledge and wisdom.
Rituals of Hayagriva Jayanti
The Avani Avittam or the Rigveda Upakarma is celebrated on the day of the Hayagriva Jayanti. It is an occasion when the old yajnapavit; known as Jandhyam in Telegu is discarded along with the last one year’s sins and atonement is made to the Lord to guide the devotees and save them. Lord Brahma is also worshipped this day and students worship Lord Hayagriva for blessings to do well. There is an important temple of Lord Hayagriva in Hojo, Assam. This is called the Hayagriva Madhava Temple, where this day is celebrated with a lot of devotion.
Significance of Hayagriva Jayanti
In certain regions, Lord Hayagriva is the guardian deity standing guard to ward off evil. The horse head in this incarnation symbolizes higher learning. It is interesting to understand the blessings of Lord Hayagriva, which will help us in gaining greater heights.