It is said
in the Puranas that, the Lord assumes different complexions in different Yugas.
In Krithayuga, the people were endowed with Sattvaguna with a taste for white
colour and so God assumed a form with Svethavarna, a milkywhite colour. In
Tretayuga, He assumed a red colour like coral, called Pavalam in Tamil and
Pravala in Sanskrit. Hence his name Pavalavannar or Pravalavannar. In
Dwaparayuga, He assumed a green colour like emerald and came to be called
Pachaivannar, or Marakatha Vannar. In Kaliyuga, He prefers to remain in his
natural blue complexion, Syamalavarana, because with deterioration in Bakthi
and moral standards, people are not likely to be influenced whatever he
assumes. It is said that Lord Vishnu gave darshan to the twin Aswini gods as
Pavalavannar, in Kancheepuram.
Once the sages of Naimisaranya were performing a
sacrifice for the welfare of mankind. At that time, the celestial sage, Narada,
who visited the Place, suggested that they offer the fruits of their sacrifice
to the one among the Trinity, namely Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, who excelled the
other two in the possession of Sattvaguna as, according to Dharma any sacrifice
with Nishkamya Kanna should be perfomed only in the name of God. Unable to
decide for themselves, the Rishis deputed Saint Bhrugu to come to a decision
after testing the auspicious attributes of the Trinity.
When the sage Bhrugu went to Satyaloka, the abode of
Lord Brahma, He was engaged in a private conversation with his consort
Saraswati and did not take congnizance of the sage's visit. Getting agitated,
sage Brughu cursed Brahma that there would be no temple-worship for him on the
The sage then went to Mount Kailas where Lord Siva was
in the company of his consort Parvati. He also did not notice the sage's visit.
The Sage cursed Lord Siva that there would be no idol-worship for him save in
the form of Lingam.
the sage went to Vaikunta where he saw Lord Vishnu in his yogic sleep reposing
on Adisesha, his serpent couch. Naturally he also did not welcome the sage.
Feeling insulted by the cold reception, the sage got agitated and in his anger
kicked Vishnu's breast with his foot. This at once awake Sri Vishnu from his
yogic sleep. Instead of showing a tendency to retaliate, Lord Vishnu arose
calmly, enquired the sage compassionately whether his foot was hurt and then
began to massage it gently. It was then that sage Bhrugu concluded that he is
the mightiest of Gods who overpowers all by the most potent of all weapons,
namely Sattva Guna, giving rise to kindness and compassion. The sage begged Sri
Vishnu earnestly to excuse him for his rash conduct and suggest a remedy for
the atonement of his sin. Lord Vishnu ordered him to go to Kancheepuram and
perfonn penance. Then sage Bhrugu returned to Naimisaranyam, told the sages all
that had happened and helped them to complete the sacrifice. Then he came to
Kanchi, had his ablution in Chakra Theertham and began his panance. Pleased by
that, Lord Vishnu gave him darshan as Pavalavannar in the same fom as during
his vist to Vaikuntam, sitting on the serpent-couch.
There is also another version about the Vishnu of
Sverthavarna acquiring Pavalavana. During the churning of the milky ocean, Lord
Vishnu with Svetavarna bearing the mountain 'Meru' on his back, in the form of
tortoise, develped a geen colour by the scorching radiation of the poison
Halahal. Then he annihilated the army of demons despatched by Saraswati to
cause impediments to Brahma's sacrifice. In order to put an end to the growth
of Asuras emerging from the blood drops shed by the fallen Asuras, Lord Vishnu
had to consume the blood of the killed asuras and because of that acquired red
colour or Pravalavarna.