Matsya avatar or fish incarnation of Lord Vishnu, according to Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra reflects the qualities of Ketu in Vedic Astrology. The story itself is a symbolic representation of soul’s recollection of its intuitive knowledge.
Vishnu is the only one of the 12 Adityas, whose mythology is so rich and whose many avatars, Divine incarnations, appeared so many times in our earthly realm to teach some valuable lessons and uplift the collective consciousness of all people. For Vedic Astrologer knowing the stories of these Divine avatars or incarnations of Lord Vishnu is a must – because each of the major incarnations of Lord Vishnu teaches us something imortant about one of the nine planets.

Out of 12th Adityas, only Vishnu is known as the saviour and the only one, who grants us the gift of final spiritual liberation.

Even though from the perspective of Vedic astrology Vishnu is one of the 12th Adityas or emanations of Sun-god, we can read in all scriptures that in reality, the relationship between Sun and Vishnu is quite the opposite: Sun-god is considered the expansion of Lord Vishnu, which is why he is so often addressed as Surya Narayan – Narayan being another name of Vishnu or rather his higher octave as the shelter or direction (ayana) of all men (nara). Narayana also means “the one, who gives direction (ayana) to all the humans”, similarly like Sun gives direction to all natural cycles and changes of seasons on our planet. After all, 12th house and sign of Pisces are also the places in our birth chart, when we receive our inner guidance and when we need to depend more on our intuition and faith, rather than on our tangible experience of material world or our own capability.
This was also the very first lesson, which Lord Vishnu has taught to the world, when he assumed his first Divine incarnation on earth, which was, suprisingly, in the form of a fish – known as Mina avatar or Matsya avatar.
Mina, which is a Sanskrit name for sign of Pisces, literally means a fish. Fish is an animal, which can navigate easily even through the deepest waters, which symbolises its ability to navigate through the metaphoric ocean of samsara (ocean of birth and rebirth), as well as its ability to swim in watery realms of emotions, feelings, astral world and the unknown spiritual realms. Even according to modern science fish have a certain “sixth sense”, which allows them to sense even the subtlest change of vibration in the water around them. Most fish are also electroreceptive and magnetoreceptive, which allows them to detect the electric and magnetic currents of other living being very easily. Some of them even produce their own eletromagnetic currents for communication and navigation, which is known as electrolocation.
Matsya avatar of Lord Vishnu, according to Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra is also a Divine manifestation of Ketu’s energy (which makes it quite interesting, as Ketu is connected to electricity, too). Mina rashi, sign of Pisces itself, has many similarities with Ketu, south node of the Moon. Similarly like Ketu is the last planet in Vedic Astrology, so the sign of Pisces is the last zodiac sign – which is why both represent all endings in life, death, final goal, cessation of all karmas and liberation. As Ketu is the most spiritual and the most detached planet, so sign of Pisces is the most spiritual of all signs – and any planet in Pisces can often become very detached from the world. Deep waters, after all, are usually quite cold, too.
Ketu also represents our intuitive powers and ability to listen to our feelings, instead of listening to the voice of our head and logic. This is why Ketu is headless.
My Gurudev said so many times, that if we are on spiritual path, we should never listen to our mind, as our mind cannot comprehend God. We can only feel Him in our hearts, as Divine current of energy. Sign of Pisces, similarly, teaches us to listen to the voice of our intuition and depend more on the inner feeling than logic – which is why Mercury gets debilitated here. Both Ketu and sign of Pisces teach us how to overcome our fears of the unknown and how to get in touch with other realms of existence: astral, causal and spiritual. They inspire us to give up our temporary attachment to our own body, form and identity, and to experience a deeper essence of our true self – to surrender to the Divine and free the waters of our consciousness from its pot of limitations into the boundless ocean of Cosmic Consciousness.
This is why both Ketu and sign of Pisces, as well as 12th house, become very important in the charts of people on spiritual path.

The story of fish incarnation of Lord Vishnu is an extraordinary one. As per Srimad Bhagavatam, it happened in previous millenium. There was a pious king known as Satyavrata or “the one dedicated to the truth”. One day, he was performing his daily oblations on the bank of river Kritamala, which very name means “results of our pure actions”. While performing oblations to Sun-god, the king noticed a small fish in the water in his palms. The king threw it back into the river along with the oblation water. But then he heard a tiny voice appealing to him from the waters:

“My dear king, protector of the poor, why are you throwing me in the river, where there are other aquatics who can kill me? I am very much afraid of them.”
King Satyavrata, merciful in nature, was moved by this appeal and decided to give shelter to the small fish. He placed the fish in a water jug (kumbha) and brought him to his own residence. But then, something extraordinary has happened. In one night the fish grew so much that it could barely move in the water pot. The fish then appealed to the king:

“My dear king, I do not like living in this waterpot with such difficulty. Please, find me some bigger reservoir of water, where I can live comfortably.”

Merciful king brought the fish to a large well. But, alas! Within a moment the fish developed to the length of three cubits. King, astonished to see this, decided to bring the fish to the lake – but then the fish assumed a gigantic form exceeding the extent of the water and said:

“O King, I am a large aquatic, and this water is not suitable for me. Kindly find some way to save me. It would be better to put me in a lake that will never reduce.”

Helpless king didn’t know what to do. When he ran out of all other solutions, he simply brought the fish back to the ocean. But the fish complained there again:

“In this water there are very powerful and dangerous sharks that will eat me. How can you leave me here?”

King Satyavrata, astonished with these words bowed down and said:

“Who are you, oh Lord? You bewilder my mind. You are certainly Lord Narayana himself, who assumed the form of a fish to show mercy to the world.”
And so, King Satyavrata recognised the Lord in this humble form. This fish was none else but Lord Vishnu in disguise, who is the superconsciousness within the core of everyone’s heart. This story is deeply symbolic. Lord Vishnu expanding to a gigantic form so rapidly symbolises the rapid growth of consciousness on spiritual path, when we are truly surrendered, like King Satyavrata was. When we greet every life experience, every guest in our life, with an attitude of complete surrender, and when we perceive God himself in disguise playing his lila through countless forms of life, our consciousness expands rapidly and extends the borders of our perception and compassion, until we finally become one with the ocean of Cosmic Consciousness, where no differences are existing anymore.

This constant “discomfort” of Lord Vishnu in the form of the fish also represents the energy of Ketu and Divine discontentment, which pushes us beyond the limitations of the material world.

Similarly like for the Lord in the form of the fish there was never enough water, the very same energy of lacking “something” in life, accompanied by a difficulty to define this mysterious “something”, is always caused by the influence of Ketu. When this Divine dissatisfaction with the material existence arises in the mind, it is always the call of the soul to seek something deeper in life – deeper than just this what is visible on the surface of life. Unfortunately, when this energy of Ketu is not understood and is not channelled properly through the light of spiritual wisdom and meditation, it can easily turn into excessive dissatisfaction, lack of gratitude or even lead to greed, overindulgence and addictions. This is what can happen frequently in the case of presence of kala amrita yoga in the birth chart. But the very same energy, if understood properly, can liberate us from the bondage of material world. Such is also the power of 12th house in our birth chart.
Lord Vishnu in the form of Matsya or Mina avatar was very pleased with loving devotion and surrender of king Satyavrata. He addressed the king as follows:
“My dear king, the end of this millenium in cosmic timing is coming soon. In seven days this world is going to be submerged in the waters of dissolution. But fear not. When all the three worlds will merge into the water, a large boat sent by me will appear before you. Before that, you shall collect all types of herbs and seeds and load them on that great boat. Then, accompanied by the seven rishis and surrounded by all kinds of living entities, you shall get aboard that boat, and without moroseness you shall easily travel with your companions through the ocean of dissolution, the only illumination being the effulgence of the great rishis. Then, as the boat is tossed about by the powerful winds, attach the vessel to my horn by means of the great serpent Vasuki, for I shall be present by your side. Pulling the boat, with you and seven rishis in it, o king, I shall travel in the water of devastation until the night of Lord Brahma’s slumber is over. You will be thoroughly advised and favored by me, and because of your inquiries, everything about my glories, will be manifest within your heart. Thus you will know everything about me.”
This story is deeply symbolic, as it talks about “a great deluge” happening at the end of the day of Brahma, which on the internal level is experienced as “dark night of the soul”. When this symbolic darkness engulfs us during the time of deep, spiritual transformation (which is associated with 12th house in Vedic Astrology), it becomes of greater importance than ever before to listen to this “tiny” voice of our intuition, which tries to guide us from deep within – similarly like Lord Vishnu in the form of Matsya avatar, representing the intuitive energies of Ketu, was guiding king Satyavrata. If similarly like this king we stay “devoted to our inner truth” and trust the voice of our intuition completely, we will be always capable to go safely through any ups and downs in life, external or internal transformations. Not only that – listening to the voice of our intuition can also lead us to moksha or liberation, as well as allows us to safely cross the ocean of countless births. This is one of the reasons why whenever an astrologer sees Ketu in the 12th house of a person, it is a clear indication, that such a person may achieve liberation in this lifetime – as this Ketu becomes a direct manifestation of Lord Vishnu in the form of Matsya avatar, who leads the soul to salvation through the ocean of samsara.
But it is foolish to think that this placement of Ketu alone is enough to guarantee a liberation in this lifetime – because even Lord Krishna said in Bhagavad Gita that there are just a very few people, who truly seek Him, and even fewer who will actually achieve this supreme state.
When there is trust and surrender, God will always come to guide us, even through the most difficult times – like He sent a boat to king Satyavrata. In fact, the very description of this boat is nothing else, but a silent hint, how we should cultivate our inner connection with the Divine during the times of difficulty. First instruction was “collect all the seeds of creation” into this boat, which means: withdraw your creative energy, introvert for some time. The Matsya avatar said: “attach the vessel to my horn by means of the great serpent Vasuki”. Vasuki represents here our kundalini shakti or spiritual energy, which must be tightly “attached” to the Divine, if we wish to progress peacefuly and surely through the time of difficulty. Interestingly serpent Vasuki was attached to the horn of Matsya avatar, which represents the expanded energy of the third eye and inner guidance, which we can receive from God through awakened ajna chakra.
The king was supposed to spend the entire night of Brahma in this boat, which represents our own “dark night of the soul” – and his only light would be “the effulgence of the great saptarishis”. Saptarishis or seven great sages represent the light of our inner knowledge or wisdom. This light of consciousness and wisdom shines in our inner self through the seven chakras, which represent seven levels of consciousness. But they cannot shine on their own – they shine only if we put enough of effort to cultivate our inner light and when the grace of the Guru is with us. Not without a reason a true Guru is called “the one, who dispells the darkness”, as he is the true giver of light and wisdom in our lives. This is also a great reminder for all of us, that if we want our inner light to guide us through “the dark night of the soul”, we need to actively cultivate it on daily basis, so our inner wisdom can shine even through the “dark times”.
The promise of Lord Vishnu in the form of Matsya avatar is particularly touching: “You will be thoroughly advised and favored by me, and because of your inquiries, everything about my glories, will be manifest within your heart. Thus you will know everything about me.”
Indeed, if we trust God fully, and if we trust this inner voice of intuition, hidden in the deep waters of our consciousness, we will be blessed with the highest Divine wisdom. Indeed, sign of Pisces is the storehouse of Divine knowledge, which can be recovered only through the grace of the Guru and in the depth of one’s meditation. This is why Sun dwelling in Pisces or in the 12th house naturally blesses a person with easier access to this intuitive wisdom, as it enlightens the depths of our consciousness.

Ultimately, during this dark night of Brahma, Lord Vishnu in the form of Matsya avatar did not only carefully guided the king through the dark waters, but also had a fight with a demon called Ajnana or “ignorance” (also named Hayagriva), who stole the Vedas from Lord Brahma and thus disturbed the entire creation. At the end of Brahma’s day, when Brahma felt sleepy and desired to lie down, he yawned – and the Vedas emanated and escaped from his mouth, when the demon of ignorance have stole them.

A powerful lesson that we learn in the 12th house, which is also the house of sleeping itself, is that when we become too lazy and loose our attentiveness, falling deeper into the dream world of maya, this is when we lose our intelligence and power of intuitive wisdom. Lord Vishnu in this form of a Mina or fish helps one to become more attentive to the voice of inner Cosmic Guide, as well as destroys the darkness of our ignorance and restores our inner connection with the Divine. King Satyavrata himself praised Him with these words in Srimad Bhagavatam:

“By the grace of the Lord, those who have lost their self-knowledge since time immemorial, and who because of this ignorance are involved in a conditional life full of miseries, obtain the chance to meet the true Guru. I accept the Lord as the supreme spiritual master. O Supreme Lord, for self-realization I surrender unto You, who are worshiped by the demigods as the supreme controller of everything. By your instructions, exposing life’s purpose, kindly cut the knot from the core of my heart and let me know the destination of my life.”

Blessed are those, like King Satyavrata, who can perceive the secret workings of God in all, even in a tiny fish.
For such consciousness, there is nothing that can ever be lost. Who is giving? Who is receiving? Whose life is sustained? Who is dying? It is Lord Vishnu, the indestructible consciousness in every being, who is the Supreme Giver and Receiver of everything. It is here, in the twelfth house, that we learn this final truth of life and we become more alive, through meeting loss and death – because the closer we are to loss and death, the more our consciousness can expand and understand that there is something much more to life than physical eyes can perceive.
This higher reality can be perceived when instead of looking just with our two eyes and seeing the duality, we look at the world more from the perspective of its underlying Divine unity, unified cosmic field of consciousness, which is represented both by Lord Vishnu and Jupiter, the planetary ruler of Pisces – as Jupiter rules all-pervading ether element. This Divine unity can be perceived when with the practice of meditation we slowly raise our consciousness to the level of ajna chakra or third eye chakra, often described as two-petalled lotus flower – because the duality of the world finally terminates, completes and unites here, in this energy center.

VESICA PISCIS

Interestingly, in Western philosophy there is one symbol, which resembles the symbol of ajna chakra in Vedic tradition: vesica piscis. Vesica piscis is formed by the intersection of two disks with the same radius, intersecting in such a way that the center of each disk lies on the perimeter of the other. Interestingly, even some of the scriptures about ancient Indian architecture mention vesica piscis and a deeper meaning of this mystic symbol and its geometry. Vastusutra Upanishad explains its meaning thus:

“In the beginning there is a circle. The circle represents All that is (the universe). By the connection of one (circle) with one (circle) a unity is formed. This is the meaning: the circle verily is the completeness in itself.”

In Western mysticism vesica piscis was frequently seen as a symbol of underlying spiritual unity of all things, but at the same time the separation of the individual self from this primordial unity. Vesica piscis was a beautiful mathematical symbol reminding us of the intimate unity between the Observer and the observed, feminine and masculine, yin and yang, represented by two fishes playing together in the deep ocean of Mina rashi. It also represented awakening of the Divine Observer within us, expansion of our limited human perception and re-connection with Divine consciousness, seated in our third eye chakra. It is here where the polarity between the unmanifested Creator and the creation itself gets finally balanced and two opposites get reconciled.
In Latin, vesica piscis literally means “bladder of a fish”, reflecting the shape’s resemblance to the conjoined dual air bladders (“swim bladder”) found in most fish.
Not without a reason fish and vesica piscis were also symbols for early Christians. It is said that fish is actually the only animal, which doesn’t close its eyes, while it is sleeping. In conversation, which happened in Mahabharat between Kind Yudhishtir and Dharmaraj in the disguise of nature spirit (yaksha), he asked Yudhishtir a question: “What is that which doth not close its eyes while asleep?” King Yudhishtir replied: “A fish”. Which is why fish also represents the spiritual vigilance and maintaining the constant awareness of the Divine Observer within us on a spiritual path, which allows us to perceive the higher dimension of our worldly existence.
A famous parable of the fish, as written by Anthony de Mello, explains our spiritual journey beautifully – and explains what is happening to our consciousness in the 12th house:

“’Excuse me,’ said an ocean fish. ‘You are older than I, so can you tell me where to find this thing they call the ocean?’

‘The ocean,’ said the older fish, ‘is the thing you are in now.’

‘Oh, this? But this is water. What I’m seeking is the ocean,’ said the disappointed fish as he swam away to search elsewhere.
Similarly we are constantly immersed in God, which we are looking for. We breathe the Divine and it is the Divine who is breathing. As the very name of Lord Vishnu means “all-pervading one”, he symbolises this Divine field of consciousness that we are a part of.
But it takes the eyes to see this and it requires a constant discipline of the mind to be capable to be aware of God in every minute of our lives.
This is the fragment of the book I am currently working on. “Twelve Vedic Suns” is going to be the first book ever dedicated exclusively to the topic of Adityas, twelve Sun-gods in Vedic Astrology and describing in detail all of their hidden meanings. Through different astrological principles, as well as mythological stories, you will learn on this journey with the Sun something more about Vedic Astrology and its 12 zodiac signs – but you will also learn more about yourself.

I am still in the process of writing “Twelve Vedic Suns” and it will take me quite some time. But if you preorder, you can become the first one to have the access to some of the finished chapters. This will be my longest ebook – I estimate it to be 600 pages long in total.

STAY TUNED

We love to share Vedic knowledge with you. Subscribe to our newsletter to be the first one to receive newest articles from Discovering Youniverse.