The 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu
In Hindu religion, the three main deities are Lord Brahma, Vishu and Shiva. Brahma creates, Vishnu protects and Shiva destroys – three faces of Mother Nature. The ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu is an extraordinary recording of the evolution of human life and advance in human civilization.
Whenever the situation of law and order is endangered on this world, lord Vishnu has taken ten incarnations onto this world to re establish law and order, and to protect from the destruction of the evil elements of the society.
1. Matsya – fish,
2. Koorma – tortoise,
3. Varaha – boar,
4. Narasimha – half man-half lion,
5. Vaman – dwarf man,
6. Parashuram – man with an axe,
7. Rama – moral man,
8. Sri Krishna – philosophical man
9. Buddha – spiritual man
10. Kalki – yet to incarnate.
Matsya – Fish:
The Matsya is the first incarnation of Lord Vishnu in the form of a fish and is known as ‘Matsya Avatar.’ Lord Vishnu takes the form of a fish to take a king to the new world along with one of every single species of plants and animals from the world’s largest cyclone. What we live in now is the new world, where the Lord traveled, carrying everything from the old, destroyed world. It has now been confirmed by Science through various experiments that the first life forms evolved underwater.
Kurma – Tortoise:
The Kurma is the second incarnation of Lord Vishnu which was in the form of tortoise known as ‘Kurma Avatar.’ When the devas and asuras were churning the ocean in order to get the nectar of immortality, the mount Mandara they were using as the churning staff started to sink and Lord Vishnu took the form of a turtle to bear the weight of the mountain.
Varaha – Boar:
The Varaha is the third incarnation of Lord Vishnu in the form of boar known as ‘Varaha Avatar’. Lord Vishnu appeared in this incarnation to defeat demon Hiranyaksha, who had taken the Earth and carried it to the bottom of what is described as the cosmic ocean in the story. The battle between Varaha and Hiranyaksha is believed to have lasted for a thousand years, which the former finally won. Varaha carried the Earth out of the ocean between his tusks and restored it to its place in the universe. Boar is a complete land animal and in this incarnation, life form has moved out of water and has adapted to land.
Narasimha – Half man-half lion:
The Narsimha is the fourth incarnation of Lord Vishnu which was in the form of half-man half-lion known as ‘Narasimha Avatar.’ When the demon Hiranyakashipu acquired a boon from Brahma, which gave him immense power, Lord Vishnu took the incarnation half-man- half-lion, having a human-like torso and a lower body, but with a lion-like face and claws. Since demon Hiranyakashipu could not be killed by human, deva or animal so lord Vishnu in Narasimha avatar which is a part-human and part animal comes to kill Hiranyakashipu at when it was neither day nor, neither indoors nor out, and puts the demon on his thighs. Using his sharp nails (neither animate nor inanimate) as weapons, he disembowels and kills the demon. This incarnation starts the transformation from animal to human form.
Vamana – Dwarf man:
The Vamana is the fifth incarnation of Lord Vishnu in the form dwarf or pigmy sized human known as the ‘Vamana avatar.’ Lord Vishnu was then born as a dwarf Vamana in the household of a brahman priest. He went to Bali the grandson of Prahlada was a very valorous and mighty asura, on growing up and asked for alms. Bali was delighted to offer him anything he requested even though his royal guru warned him that it was Lord Vishnu. Vamana then requested for the amount of land that could come under his three feet. Bali gracefully agreed. Lord Vishnu then grew in size and covered the earth and heaven in two stride. And due to lack of space, he put his third leg on Bali himself and crushed Bali to the nether or the Patala loka (underground world), thus helping the Gods out.
This transition from the beastly form to human form and the development of intelligence.
Parasuram – Man with an axe:
The Parasuram is the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu as the forest dweller known as ‘Parasuram.’ Parashurama a Brahmin, the sixth avatar of Vishnu, belongs to the Treta yuga, and is the son of Jamadagni and Renuka. Parashu means axe, hence his name literally means Rama-of-the-axe. He received an axe after undertaking a terrible penance to please Shiva, from whom he learned the methods of warfare and other skills. He has developed weapons and axe is his first weapon. Any sharp stone can be transformed into an axe and it also indicates the first settlement of humans in forests.
Lord Rama – moral man:
The Lord Rama is the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu in the Treta Yuga. In this incarnation Lord Vishnu was very civilized prince and king of Ayodhya. Rama is one of the most commonly adored gods in Hinduism and is known as an ideal man and hero of the epic Ramayana. Lord Rama defeated and killed the king of Sri Lanka for capturing and imprisoning his wife Sita in the Ashoka Garden in Sri Lanka. He has cleared the forests and developed small villages. He is very vigilant and protects his villages and people.
Sri Krishna – philosophical man:
Sri Krishna was the eight incarnation of Lord Vishnu in Dwapara Yuga along with his brother Balarama who was an incarnation of Ananta Shesha. Lord Viashnu took this avatar for destroying his maternal uncle Kans who kept lord Krishna’s parents in prison. Lord Krishna is one of the most commonly worshipped deities. Lord Krishna incarnation played a significant character in the epic of Mahabharata. Sri Krishna delivered Bhagwad Gita on battlefield of the Battle of Kurukshetra to Arjuna.
Buddha – spiritual man:
The ninth incarnation of Lord Vishnu is Buddha in Kali Yuga. With the departure of lord Krishna the true devotion to Vedas was replaced by empty rituals. To enlighten the world in such times, Vishnu incarnated as Buddha on the earth for the enlighten the truth. He represents the advancing human civilization. He is associated with cows, the beginning of domestication of animals and development of economy, which continues to the present day.
The tenth incarnation of Lord Vishnu is Kalki as the destroyer of foulness is yet to arrive. Kalki, who is expected to appear at the end of Kali Yuga, the time period in which we currently live. This avatar will appear seated on a white horse with a drawn sword blazing like a comet. He shall come finally to destroy the wicked, to restart the new creation and to restore the purity of conduct in people’s lives. A clear indication that human beings will bring an end to life on earth.