How Aware Are You About The Dashavatar?

How Aware Are You About The Dashavatar?

The 10 avatars of Lord Vishnu have interesting stories that keep old and young enthralled

FPJ Features DeskUpdated: Sunday, April 14, 2024, 10:56 AM IST
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The importance of Vishnu in Hinduism is indispensable as the preserver and protector. He is part of the holy trinity in the religion along with Brahma as the creator and Shiva as the destroyer. And it is his expanse as a preserver and protector comes the main aspect of protecting and restoring morality for mankind when evil and disorder descends on the earth. And Vishnu does this in the form of one of his incarnations or avatars. As per the sacred Hindu scripture, there are 10 avatars called Dashavatars. Each comes at a particular time during a particular yug to restore the power of Dharma and righteousness. The tales involving the avatars are fascinating.

Matsya 

The Matsya avatar is when Vishnu descended on Earth with the body of a fish but a torso of a man. The great floods foretold were going to destroy everything on the planet. So, Vishnu in the form of Matsya, told the first man, Manu, to create a giant boat in which samples of every animal and plant could also be saved. Manu was also told to save the Saptarishis.

Kurma

The next avatar of Vishnu is Kurma. He comes in this avatar to save the heavenly beings cursed by Sage Durvasa for their arrogance in their battle against the Asurs. In his Kurma form, he stays true to his title of preserver and protector. This avatar reappears in the Samudra Manthan story in which it is seen supporting Mount Madara, the rod used to churn the sea.

Varaha

This is the third animal avatar and you see him as a man with the head of a wild boar. This time, the mighty god comes to save Bhudevi from Hiranyaksha, an Asur who had kidnapped her and taken her deep in the ocean. With her gone, humanity is in danger since they have no land to live. Vishnu takes the boar avatar since these creatures are known for their agility, and perseverance. He rescues Bhudevi and normalcy is restored to the planet and mankind.

Narasimha

One can call this avatar the fiercest one. In the fifth avatar, he has the body of a man but the face and claws of a lion. Hiranyakashipu, asur with an unique boon, is against the worshippers of Vishnu. But his son Prahlad is a devout worshipper of Vishnu.  On one occasion when Hiranyakashipu asks Prahlad if his Vishnu is in the pillar to which Prahlad says his lord is omnipresent, the demon smashes the pillar. Narasimha appears with a roar and kills Hiranyakashipu.

Vamana

This fourth avatar of Vishnu is the first of the human avatars of the god. The Asura King Bali, Vishnu went to Bali in the form of Vamana, a brahmin youth. Bali asked Vamana what he wanted. Vamana said he wanted the land in the three steps he took. Bali granted the wish. Vamana grew in size and in two steps, got the earth, and air. Vamana asked Bali where he should keep his third step. The Asur king humbly asked him to keep it on his head. Vishnu came in his original form and gave King Bali his blessings to keep the Patal Lok. Interestingly, King Bali was given a boon in which he could return on just one day to his homeland every year.

Parashuram

Parashuram — an axe or parshu wielding Brahmin. Vishnu descended in this avatar to stop the misuse of power by the Kshatriyas. He was the son of Sage Jamadagni and his wife Renuka, who owned a celestial cow named Kamadhenu. A king stole the cow after killing the sage. The angry Parashuram kills the king and every Kshatriya who challenges him. This avatar appears in Ramayana and Mahabharata as well. He is also associated with the story behind the creation of the Konkan region and Kerala with his axe.

Ram

One of the most prominent of Vishnu’s avatars, Ram, the seventh avatar, became the epitome of good values and virtue. Born to King Dashratha and Queen Kaushalya of Ayodhya, he went into exile with his wife Sita due to circumstances. After Sita gets kidnapped by Ravana, the fight that ensues is the base of Ramayana. This avatar is an important figure in Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism and even Buddhism. While his birthday, Ram Navami, is an important Hindu festival, Dussehra in North, Western and Central India is celebrated as the day Lord Rama defeated the evil Ravana.

Krishna

The Krishna avatar of Lord Vishnu is the most popular one and is the only full avatar of his. He is known for his role in the great Hindu epic Mahabharata and Bhagavad Gita. Krishna is worshipped as a god in his own right and in many forms. He has many names and his birthday is celebrated as Janmashtami all over India. The most striking feature of his appearance is his dark-hued skin colour, the peacock feather in his hair, a flute in his hand and the Sudarshan chakra.

Pandurang or Buddha

There’s a debate regarding the ninth avatar of Lord Vishnu. Buddha, born Gautama, a prince in Lumbini, Nepal, who went on to renounce his previous life and become an ascetic.  Or Pandurang alias Vitthal. Vitthal’s origin lie in the curse given to Vishnu. Buddha travelled far and wide and gained followers through his teachings of the middle path and redemption. Buddhism as a religion rose from his teachings and has followers from all over the world.

Kalki

Kalki is thought to be the tenth and yet to come avatar of Lord Vishnu. As per Hindu myths, he will come riding a white horse and defeat Kali, a demon. Then, the Kali Yug in which we are living in, will end only to bring in the Satya Yuga. Again, Lord Vishnu will restore peace and good values on the planet. 

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