|The most celebrated
incarnation in the Vaisnava cult of the province is Krishna. In fact the Krishna legend
formed an essential element of Vaisnavism in Kamarupa. Hayagriva (Visnu with horse head)
is the name of one of the incarnations of Visnu. Under this name, he is specially
worshipped in Assam even to day in the Hayagriva Madhava temple at Hajo. It is built on a
hill called Manikuta.
As regards the origin of
this avatara (incarnation) the Santiparva section of the Mahabharata relates that at one
time, while Visnu was sleeping and Brahma was on the lotus, issued out of the navel of
Visnu, two demons Madhu and Kaitabha, who took away the Vedas from Brahma and went to
Rasatala. Brahma, being much aggrieved at this, awoke Visnu, and prayed for the recovery
of the Vedas. Visnu assumed the Hayagriva form, recovered the Vedas, and gave them to
He then went to sleep in the northeast corner of the great sea
in his Hayagriva form. The demons came to him and invited him to fight, in which they were
killed. According to other accounts, it was the Asura Hayagriva who stole away the Vedas,
which were subsequently recovered by Visnu.