Vishnu is one of the principal deities of Hinduism, along with Brahma and Shiva, Vishnu forms a Hindu trinity (Trimurti).
Lord Vishnu is the sustainer of the elements, the Lord of ten principal avatars, and a Being with a thousand names – Rama, Krishna, Varaha, Narasimha, Narayana – Vishnu is an enigma and an intellectual challenge.
In a verse of the fourth chapter of the Gita, Lord Krishna has said:
यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य ग्लानिर्भवति भारत ।
अभ्युत्थानमधर्मस्य तदात्मानं सृजाम्यहम् ॥
yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānir bhavati bhārata
abhyutthānam adharmasya tadātmānaṁ sṛijāmyaham
Meaning – Whenever there is a decline in righteousness and an increase in unrighteousness, O Arjun, at that time I manifest myself on earth. For the protection of the good, for the destruction of the wicked, and for the establishment of righteousness, I am born in every age (said by the Lord krishna).
Lord Vishnu, has incarnated in different life forms through different yugas, whenever Dharma was in danger, because of certain evil elements in the world.
We can see a striking similarity between these incarnation stories with the theory of evolution of life.
|The first six incarnations of Vishnu||Darwin’s Theory of Evolution|
|Matsya (Fish)||Life starts in water (600 million-400 million years ago)|
|Kurma (Turtle)||The first amphibians emerge (100 million years ago)|
|Varaha (Boar)||The first mammals evolve (60 million years ago)|
|Narasimha (Half man-Half Lion)||Half man-half animal appear (30 million years ago)|
|Vamana (Short man)||Homo Erectus, Upright, yet short and weaponless (5 million – 2 million years ago)|
|Parashurama||Bronze age; the coming of Ramapithecus; development of first weapons such as axe. Homo Sapiens (350,000-100,000 years ago)|
The remaining avatars of Lord Vishnu are:
7. Lord Ram
8. Lord Krishna
9. Lord Buddha
The Dashavatara of Lord Vishnu are:-
1. Matsya, the fish.
Fishery incarnation Matsya is Lord Vishnu’s first incarnation. In this incarnation, Vishnu appeared as a fish. According to the belief, when a monster stole the Vedas and hid it in the depths of the sea, Lord Vishnu came to the fishery embodiment and found the Vedas and established them again.
2. Kurma, the giant tortoise.
When the devas and asuras were churning the Ocean of milk in order to get Amrita, the nectar of immortality, the mount Mandara they were using as the churning staff started to sink and Vishnu took the form of a tortoise Kurma to bear the weight of the mountain. With the help of Lord Vishnu, Mandar Mountain and Vasuki Snake in the Manthan, gods, and demons found fourteen gems.
3. Varaha, the boar.
According to Hindu sacraments, Varaha Avatar is the third incarnation of Lord Vishnu’s ten incarnations. In this incarnation, God slaughtered the diamond monster by wearing the form of a pig.
4. Narasimha, the half-man/half-lion.
The fourth incarnation of Lord Vishnu’s ten incarnations is Narasimha. In this incarnation, Lakshmipati Nar-Leela was revealed as half a lion and a half-man. In it God’s face was of a lion and body was of human. In Narasimha Avtar, he had killed his father, Demon Hiranakashyap, to protect his devotee Prahlad.
5. Vamana, the dwarf.
Lord Vishnu is the fifth incarnation Vaman. In it, Lord Brahman came on earth as a child and asked for three terms in the donation from Prince of Ghar, Prahlad’s grandson King Bali. In three steps Vaman broke the pride of King Bali by filling three people with his feet.
6. Parashurama, the warrior with the axe.
He is the son of Jamadagni and Renuka and received an axe after a penance to Shiva. He was the supreme devotee of Shiva. Lord Shankar was pleased with his devotion and gave the Parshu weapon. His name was Rama and he was called Parashurama because of his blessings. It is said that they destroyed many Kshatriyas many times. They were born to save the world from the arrogant demolition of the Kshatriyas.
7. Rama, the prince, and king of Ayodhya.
One of the ten incarnations of Vishnu is Purshottam Lord Shri Ram. Maharishi Valmiki wrote Ram’s legend in the Sanskrit epic Ramayana. Tulsidas had composed the Bhakti poetry of Shri Ramcharitmanas. Ram was the son of Dasharatha of Ayodhya and his first queen Kaushalya.
Yashoda Nandan Shri Krishna was also the incarnation of Vishnu. Bhagwat’s book contains stories of Lord Krishna’s Leela. He has many names like Gopal, Govind, Devaki Nandan, Vasudev, Mohan, Makhan Chor, Murari. It appeared in Mathura as the son of Devaki and Vasudeva. Shri Krishna had a huge role in the battle of Mahabharata. He was the charioteer of Arjuna in this war. Her sister Subhadra was the wife of Arjun. He had preached Gita before Arjun to the war.
9. Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.
One of Lord Vishnu’s DashaVatars is also Buddha. These are also called Gautam Buddha, Mahatma Buddha. He is considered the founder of Buddhism. Buddhism is one of the four major religions of the world. He was born as the son of Shakya Naresh Shardhan, of Kshatriya Kul. Their name was Siddhartha. After the marriage of Gautam Buddha, the children left Rahul and his wife Yashodhara and went out on the way to liberate the world from temptations and sorrows.
Kalki Avatar is considered as the last incarnation of Lord Vishnu. According to Kalki Purana, ‘Kalki’ incarnation of Shri Hari will be at the end of Kali Yuga. After that, all the sins and evil deeds will be destroyed from the earth.