Vatapatra Shayi – the child
Krishna floating on ficus leaf – in Hinduism is a symbolic representation of the first form of life on earth (or the only form of life). As per Hindu tradition, at the end of one cycle of creation the heat produced by Surya, the sun god, reduces all that is on earth into ashes. This continues for eight thousand yugas. Then Vayu, the wind god, blows relentlessly for many years and huge clouds are formed. It rains incessantly creating a great flood – deluge. The entire earth remains under water for millions of years.
On this water lies, Child form of Vishnu (
Krishna) on Ficus Leaf which is known as Vatapatrashayi. Symbolically it represents the first form of life on earth.
Markandeya Rishi was blessed that he will be able to witness the great deluge. The Rishi saw destruction all around. Water submerged everything. For millions of years there was only water all around the Rishi. Finally, He noticed the Vatapatra Shayi –
When Markandeya went near, the baby took a breath and the Rishi was sucked in. Inside the Rishi witnessed thousands of universes and myriad of living forms. When the baby exhaled, Rishi came back to earth.
Krishnaon top of ficus leaf is also known as Aalilakannan or Aalilakrishnan in South India.