Vishnu is the God of preservation or sustainer. He is one of the Hindu male trinity gods - Trimurti, the other two being Brahma and Shiva. He is believed to take various avatars or incarnations whenever the world is threatened with evil forces to preserve or protect the world. Matsya is considered as the first avatar of Vishnu.
Vishnu incarnated as a fish to save the world during deluge or flood. Once King Manu was performing rituals in the river when a small fish asked him for protection. He kept the fish in a jar, but the fish began to grew big. He left the fish in the ocean when the fish asked him to build an enormous ship, big enough to carry all the life forms. When the deluge began, Manu tied the ship to the fish and it carried the ship safely to the Himalayas. Thus, Vishnu saved the world from crisis in his incarnation as Matsya.
Matsya is depicted as half-human half-fish, four-armed, holding Chakra (disk like weapon), Gada (mace), lotus, and Shankha (conch).
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