ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design

7. The Great Deluge

Mito del diluvio universale raccontato in tasselli quadrati neri con disegni in bianco su sfondo blu

This story took place in another era, several millenniums ago, and it was told for the first time in the Sathapatha Brahmana.


Manu was a sage that lived in the forest. One day, while he was taking a bath in the river, a little fish leaped into his hands. Its name was Matsya.

«O, Manu» - in that mythological era, fishes could speak - «In this river of fish-devouring-fishes I could not rest! Take me with you, save me from this pain!»

Manu, moved with compassion, put the fish in a jar and brought it home with him; however, some days later, Matsya grew bigger and the jar became too small for it. Manu moved it to a bigger jar, but some days later Matsya grew too big for that as well.

At this point, Manu moved the fish to a little lake, where it swam merrily until he grew again, and the lake was too small for it.

«Father Manu, take me in the mountains, where the Gange flows! There I’ll be fine.»

And so Manu traveled to the mountains, and when he reached the banks of the sacred river, he freed Matsya. But even there the fish was growing fast, and soon even the Gange became too small for the size of the fish.

Manu took the fish into the sea.

Into the ocean Matsya had room enough, even though he kept growing staggeringly. Before disappearing into the depths, Matsya said: «I will never forget your thoughtfulness, nor your kind heart. Listen: soon Brahma will fall asleep and a big deluge will wipe out the earth. Build an Arc bigger enough to host a seed for each kind and the seven Rishi, the wise ascents that live in the mountains since forever. When the sky grows black and the rain will wet the ground, enter the Arc and wait. I’ll be there with the waters from the ocean. Then, fasten the Arc around my upper fin, and I will save you.»

Manu did as the fish told him, and when the flood came, his Arc sailed the waters for a long time. When the sun returned, the terrain was no more. There was nothing but the vastness of waters. Matsya took the Arc in the peaks of the Himalaya, the only place not submerged. After a while, the water started decreasing, and the earth slowly reappeared.

And so Manu survived the great flood with the help of Matsya, a divine incarnation, and with the seven sages he repopulated the earth.


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