Hayagriva Jayanti is the birth anniversary of Lord Hayagriva who is considered the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. It is believed that Lord Hayagriva restored all Vedas to Brahma.
Hayagriva, the horse-faced one, is a very rare avatar of Vishnu. This avatar took place at a time when wisdom, represented by the Vedas, was stolen by the demons. Hayagriva incarnated to restore the Vedas from the demons. Hayagriva represents the restorer archetype who restores wisdom from the clutches of ignorance. Haya, the horse, can bring miracles. It is not just an animal. It is a symbol of the highest possible wisdom. It is a tradition that the blessings of Hayagriva, the guru of goddess Saraswati, are sought before commencing study of both sacred and profane subjects.
Hayagriva Avatar is mainly mentioned in the Shanti Parva of Mahabharata and the Puranas. It is one of the lesser-known incarnations of Lord Vishnu. In some regions, Hayagriva is the guardian deity of the Vedas.
There are several legends associated with how Lord Vishnu got the horse-head in Hayagriva incarnation. In some legends, it is said that a jealous Indra, the king of demi-gods, purposefully snapped the string of a bow on which Lord Vishnu was resting his head. When the string snapped the head of Lord Vishnu got cut. It was replaced with the head of a horse.
In one legend, Kashyapa Prajapati had a son named Hayagriva which means ‘one with a horse’s head.’ Through intense austerities he pleased Goddess Durga and attained the boon that he will only be killed by another Hayagriva. With this new found strength, Hayagriva started creating mayhem in the world.
Devas approached Vishnu to rescue the world and he readily agreed. A terrific battle ensued between Vishnu and the demon. But with Goddess Durga boon to his aid, Hayagriva could not be killed. Vishnu left the battlefield to take rest. He went to Vaikunta and started meditating with his head supported by his bow.
Devas were worried at Vishnu leaving the battlefield and entering into a long meditation. They looked out for ways to wake him up and finally sort the help of termites to eat away the bow.
While the termites were eating the bow, the string snapped and Vishnu’s head was severed. The entire universe trembled and Devas took refuge in Goddess Durga.
A smiling Goddess Durga – who knew what Vishnu was up to – asked the Devas to attach a head of a horse on Vishnu. Brahma did the auspicious deed and now Vishnu was Hayagriva. He went to the battlefield and fought demon Hayagriva and killed him.
Another legend suggests that the above said incident was a divine play to annihilate a demon named Hayagriva, who had got the boon that he will only be killed by another Hayagriva – a person with a horsehead. An important temple dedicated to Lord Hayagriva is the Hayagriva Madhava Temple at Hajo in Assam.
Students worship Lord Hayagriva on this day for betterment in theri studies. Lord Brahma is also worshipped on the day. The day after the Upakarma is observed as Gayathri Japa day.
In 2015, Hayagriva Jayanti date was August 29.
In 2014, Hayagriva Jayanti date was August 10.
In 2013, Hayagriva Jayanti date was August 20.
Hayagriva Jayanti 2012 date was August 2.