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Matsya protecting Sraddhadeva Manu and the seven sages at the time of Deluge

Matsya avatar of Vishnu pulls Manu's boat after having defeated a demon.

In Hindu mythology, Sraddhadeva Manu is the current Manu and the progenitor of the current humanity (manvantara). He is the seventh of the 14 Manus of the current kalpa (aeon).

Sraddhadeva was the king of Dravida before the great flood. Forewarned about the flood by the matsya avatar of Vishnu, he saved the humanity by building a boat that carried his family and the seven sages to safety. He is the son of Vivasvat, and therefore, is also known as Vaivasvata.[1] Besides, he is also called Satyavrata ("the honest one").


According to the Puranas, the genealogy of Sraddhadeva is as follows:[2]

  1. Brahma
  2. Marichi, one of the 10 Prajapatis created by Brahma.
  3. Kashyapa, son of Marichi and Kala. Kashyapa is regarded as the father of humanity.
  4. Vivasvan or Surya, son of Kashyapa and Aditi.
  5. Vaivasvata Manu, originally Satyavrata, son of Vivasvan (Surya) and Saranyu (Saṃjñā)

The Great Deluge

Matsya avatar.

Sraddhadeva was the king of Dravida (in present-day South India) during the epoch of the Matsya Purana.[3] According to the Matsya Purana, the Matsya Avatar of Vishnu first appeared as a shaphari (a small carp), to Sraddhadeva, while he washed his hands in a river flowing down the Malaya Mountains in his land of Dravida.[4]

The little fish asked the king to save Him, and out of compassion, he put it in a water jar. It kept growing bigger and bigger, until the king first put it in a bigger pitcher, and then deposited it in a well. When the well also proved insufficient for the ever-growing fish, the King placed it in a tank (reservoir), that was two yojanas (16 miles) in height above the surface and on land, as much in length, and a yojana (8 miles) in breadth.[5][6] As it grew further, the king had to put the fish in a river, and when even the river proved insufficient, he placed it in the ocean, after which it nearly filled the vast expanse of the great ocean.

It was then that Vishnu, revealing himself, informed the king of an all-destructive deluge which would be coming very soon.[7][8][9] The king built a huge boat which housed his family, the seven sages, 9 types of seeds, and animals to repopulate the earth, after the deluge would end and the oceans and seas would recede. At the time of deluge, Vishnu appeared as a horned fish and Shesha appeared as a rope, with which the king fastened the boat to horn of the fish.[10]

The boat was perched after the deluge on the top of the Malaya Mountains.[11][7][8] After the deluge, Manu's family and the seven sages repopulated the earth.

This narrative is similar to other flood myths such as that of Gilgamesh and Noah.[12]


Sraddhadeva married Shraddha and had ten children including Ila and Ikshvaku, the progenitors of the Lunar Dynasty and Solar Dynasty respectively.

The Mahabharata states:[13][14]

"And Manu was endowed with great wisdom and devoted to virtue. And he became the progenitor of a line. And in Manu's race have been born all human beings, who have, therefore, been called Manavas. And it is of Manu that all men including Brahmanas, Kshattriyas, and others have been descended, and are therefore all called Manavas. Subsequently, the Brahmanas became united with the Kshattriyas. And those sons of Manu that were Brahmanas devoted themselves to the study of the Vedas. And Manu begot ten other children named Vena, Dhrishnu, Narishyan, Nabhaga, Ikshvaku, Karusha, Saryati, the eighth, a daughter named Ila,[15] Prishadhru the ninth, and Nabhagarishta, the tenth. They all betook themselves to the practices of Kshattriyas. Besides these, Manu had fifty other sons on Earth. But we heard that they all perished, quarrelling with one another."


Conversation between Manu and Brihaspati

In Theosophy, the "Vaivasvatu Manu" is one of the most important beings at the highest levels of Initiation of the Masters of the Ancient Wisdom, along with Maitreya, and the Maha Chohan. According to Theosophy, each root race has its own Manu which physically incarnates in an advanced body of an individual of the old root race and physically progenerates with a suitable female partner the first individuals of the new root race.


  1. The Hare Krsnas - The Manus - Manus of the Present Universe
  2. Francis Hamilton (1819). Geneaolgies of the Hindus: extracted from their sacred writings; with an introduction and alphabetical index. "Printed for the author". p. 89. 
  3. Alain Daniélou (11 February 2003). A Brief History of India. Inner Traditions / Bear & Co. p. 19. ISBN 978-1-59477-794-3. 
  4. David Dean Shulman (1980). Tamil Temple Myths: Sacrifice and Divine Marriage in the South Indian Saiva Tradition. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-1-4008-5692-3. 
  5. DRISCOLL, Ian Driscoll; KURTZ, Matthew Atlantis: Egyptian Genesis, 2009.
  6. Sacred Texts. Section CLXXXVI
  7. 7.0 7.1 S'rîmad Bhâgavatam (Bhâgavata Purâna)Canto 8 Chapter 24 Text 12
  8. 8.0 8.1 The story of Vedic India as embodied ... - Google Books. 2008-03-14. Retrieved 2010-12-08. 
  9. Matsya Purana, Ch.I, 10-33
  10. Matsya Purana, Ch.II, 1-19
  11. The Matsya Purana
  12. Klaus K. Klostermaier (5 July 2007). A Survey of Hinduism: Third Edition. SUNY Press. p. 97. ISBN 978-0-7914-7082-4. 
  13. Mahabharata Book 1:Adi Parva:Sambhava Parva:Section LXXV, p. 183.
  14. The Laws of Manu, translated by George Bühler.
  15. Parmeshwaranand, Swami Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Purāṇas, p. 638.