Vaivasvata Manu is the “first man” of the current manvantara (age or era). In the Rigveda there were references to Father Manu, implying that he was either a creator or a progenitor of the human race, but this reference seemed to refer to the sun god Sûrya.
In the Satapatha Brahmana Manu was known as the first human, father of the race, first to kindle the sacrificial fire, and creator of the social order. There was also a story of Manu’s instruction by a fish (matsya) to build a boat.
The fish then helped Manu survive a great flood. When he was saved, Manu gave thanks, and a woman, Idâ (or Ilâ), was created. With her as mother Manu produced the human race. The Epics traced all royal lineages to Manu.
One of his sons, Vikukshi, founded the solar race (sûrya-vamsa) of kings at Ayodhyâ. Purûravas, son of Manu’s daughter Idâ, founded the lunar race (candra-vams´a) of kings at Pratisthana. The later Purânas tell of multiple Manus, a Manu, or first man, for each manvantara.
Manvantaras were approximately three hundred million years each, and the present one is the seventh manvantara. The current Manu is Vaivasvata Manu. The six previous Manus were Svayambhuva, Svarocisa, Auttami, Tamasa, Raivata, and Cakshusa.
There will be seven more: Savarni, Daksasavarni, Brahmasavarni, Dharmasavarni, Rudrasavarni, Raucya (or Devasavarni), and Bhautya (or Indrasavarni).