Dashavatara: The Ten Incarnations of Lord Venkateswara

 

The following are the 10 principle incarnations of LORD VISHNU in 4 YUGAS:

4 Avataaras in Krita Yuga (Matsya, Koorma, Varaaha and Nrisimha)
3 Avataaras in Treta Yuga (Vaamana, Parasuraama and Sri Rama)
2 Avataaras in Dwaapara Yuga (Krishna and Buddha)
1 Avataara in Kali Yuga (the apocalyptic Kalki, yet to be)
 

Matsya -- the Fish incarnation. This is The FIRST AVATARA of Lord Vishnu in Krita Yuga.

The Gist: He appeared in order to rescue the Vedas from the waters of devastation.

The Story:

At the end of one of the Kalpas, after a day's strenuous work, as nightfall was approaching Brahma felt sleepy. As his eyelids closed and his mouth opened involuntarily for a yawn the Vedas slipped out of his mouth without his noticing. But a demon by name Hayagriva did not fail to notice this and hurried to devour the Vedas. Sri Vishnu who is all pervading and omniscient observed this and decided to retrieve the Vedas and restore them to Brahma to enable him to go ahead with his work of creation during the next Kalpa (day break).

While Sri Vishnu could have wrested the Vedas from the demon by his sheer will-power (Sankalpa), he chose to wait for performing a two-in-one feat of conferring his blessings on a Bhakta, SATYAVRATA by name while destroying the demon. As the deluge (Pralaya) was near at hand, he decided to descend `down to earth' in the form of a `fish' to accomplish both the tasks.

Satya Vrata was a great and good King. Once he went to the river KRITAMALA for offering water (Argya) during Sandya vandana. A small fish came into his hands as he cupped his palms to lift water. He dropped it back in the water.  But every time he lifted water the fish was sure to get into his hands. The  King left it in a tub but it grew so fast that the tub could not hold it.  The king transferred into a well, pond, lake, river and finally the sea as it overgrew so rapidly that none of them could contain it. Satyavrata was amazed, when the fish revealed himself as Lord VISHNU. When the Lord asked the king what he wanted, he did not desire anything for himself. He did not even want Moksha. All that he sought was that even during the impending Pralaya; he should be instrumental in saving the life of worthy souls from destruction.
The fish told him that on the 7th day from then a great deluge (Mahapralaya) would take place when a severe tornado would rip through the Universe and destroy it. But, if Satyavrata could muster herbs, seeds and a pick of beings he wanted for the next Kalpa and keep ready, the fish would send a  spacious boat in which all of them as also the Saptarishis (7 sages) would  be accommodated and saved. The fish advised that Vasuki, the serpent should be brought and used as a rope for fastening the boat to the horns of the fish. Satyavrata did exactly as advised by the fish and the entire crew was saved. As the boat sailed throughout the night of Brahma, Lord Vishnu taught Satyavrata and the Saptarishis what is known as “Matsya Purana.”. Thus, Vishnu saved true devotees from destruction and endowed them with divine knowledge. During the 7 day waiting period the Lord in his gigantic fish form sought after the demon Hayagriva, killed him in a straight fight and retrieved the Vedas.

 

Thus, He accomplished the three tasks of saving the righteous, destroying the demon and retrieving Vedas for establishing Dharma. This SATYAVRATA later became the Manu during Chakshusha Manvantara.
Swami Sri Vedanta Desika calls this Avatar as `ICHA MEENA' in his Dasavatara Stotra to indicate that the Lord took the form of a fish by his desire (Icha or Sankalpa)

 

Kurma -- the Tortoise incarnation. This is HIS second Avatara in Krita Yuga.

The Gist: He acted as a support for the mountain used in the pastime of churning the ocean.

The Story:

By the grace of God, the Devas were living happily and were resplendent with glory. Once sage Durvaasa went to the abode of Sri Vishnu and offered obeisance to Sri Vishnu and Sri Mahalakshmi (Consort of Sri Vishnu). He got a garland of Sri Mahalakshmi from a Vidhyadhara damsel. Earlier, the divine mother was pleased with performance of the damsel on Yazh, (a stringed musical instrument like harp) and had gifted the garland to her.


While returning, Sage Durvasa passed through the Indraloka where Indra, Lord of Devas was coming in a procession mounted on his elephant. Durvasa offered the garland to Indra. Indra did not receive it with due respect but plucked it with the Ankusa (a goad used to spur the elephant) and placed it on the head of the elephant which promptly threw it down and trampled upon it. The sage got angry at the callous behavior of Indra and instantly cursed him and the Devas that all their glory and splendor would be lost and they would become emaciated and shorn of their power. Even as the sage turned his back, his curse started operating and the Devaloka lost its luster.


Indra went to Brahma who led the Devas to Sri Vishnu, the protector. Lord Vishnu advised that they could reclaim their lost glory and strength only if they drank the nectar of immortality which could be got only by churning the milky ocean. But, how could they do it?
Lord Vishnu suggested that they lift mount Mandara and place it in mid-ocean as a churn dashery using Vasuki, the serpent as a rope for turning it. But, weak as they were, Devas could not even think of lifting the mountain. Lord suggested that they make truce with the Asuras and enlist their support in a joint venture! But, he also warned that the Devas should not desire any of the things emerging from the ocean even if the Asuras forcibly took them. They should not rest until the nectar appeared and he himself would ensure that the Asuras did not snatch it.


Brahma returned to his Satyaloka and Indra set forth to the Capital of Asuras for peace talks. The Asuras were pleased and agreed to participate in the joint endeavor of lifting the mountain and churning.


As they tried to lift, the burden of the mountain was too much and many on both sides got crushed. Lord Vishnu mounted the mountain on the back of `Garuda' his carrier, who flew to the seashore and safely deposited the
mountain right at the center of the ocean. Vasuki was wound round Mandara.  The Asuras out of ego would not settle for the tail side. So, they took charge of the head side of Vasuki, while the Devas had to make do with the tail side.


As the churning began, the mountain wobbled as it had nothing to support and began to sink. Immediately, Lord Vishnu took the form of a giant sized tortoise, plunged into the ocean and emerged out with the mountain on his back.


They churned now with ease. The first thing to appear was the deadly poison called Halahala or Kalakuta (black poison) representing the impurities of the ocean. The poison was so potent as to blind the eyes and affect breathing. Responding to the prayer of the Devas and Asuras, Lord Siva drank the poison. Parvati, his consort stopped the poison from descending down the throat. Hence, Siva is also called NEELAKANTA (Blue-throated). Then emerged SURABHI (the cow), VAARUNI (wine), KARPAKAM / PARIJATHAM (a tree), APSARAS (nymphs) CHANDRA (moon), SRI (Mahalakshmi), UCHAISRAVAS (the white sonorous steed), AIRAVATHAM'(Indra's elephant).


Finally, Lord DANVANTARI (the divine physician) who is none other than another incarnation of Lord Vishnu appeared with a golden pitcher with AMRUTHA (the nectar of immortality) - an elixir of life that can prolong life indefinitely. (It is also believed to have the properties that can change any base metal into gold) Both the Devas and Asuras were excited and a fight royal ensued.

 
Lord Vishnu now took the form of a beautiful damsel, enticed the Asuras to give up their fight and entrust to her the task of distributing of nectar among them all, on condition that none would question her action. Both sides agreed to the condition. The Mohini (bewitching damsel) started distributing first to the row where Devas had seated. The Asuras waited for their turn.  But, by the time she completed serving the row occupied by the Devas, there was not a drop of nectar left in the pitcher. Then, Mohini appeared as Lord Vishnu, mounted on his Garuda and flew to his abode. The Asuras were disappointed as they were charged on the Devas. But, the rejuvenated Devas easily vanquished the emaciated Asuras and regained their lost power and glory and the asuras were driven to Patala loka.
It will be seen that Lord Vishnu did everything. He advised them how to get nectar, how to enlist support of their sworn enemies. He arranged to the lift the mountain. He deliberately allowed the asuras to be on the head-side of Vasuki which spouted poison and killed a number of asuras. He held the mountain on his back to enable the churning. He took the form of Danvantri and emerged with the pitcher of nectar. He again appeared as Mohini to ensure Devas and deprive Asuras of a share in the nectar. Without all this help, none of these could have happened and Devas would have been languishing from the effects of the curse of Durvasa forever.


Sri Swami Desikan while describing this Avatara says "Vihara Katchapa" meaning that Lord did all this in sport assuming the form of a tortoise. He says that when the mountain moved during the churning, it looked as if it
gently scratched the back of the tortoise and relieved it of its itching and in the relief so secured, the Lord actually felt sleepy. He imagines that as the waves of the ocean rose and fell, it looked as if it were a swinging 'waterbed' on which the Lord enjoyed the swing.


Thirumangai Azhwar calls him a `GIRIDHARAN' meaning one who bore the mountain in anticipation of a similar feat the Lord was to exhibit in a subsequent Avatar as Krishna when he lifted the Govardhana Giri with his
little finger.

Varaha -- the Wild Boar incarnation. This is HIS third Avatara in Krita Yuga.

The Gist: He picked up the earth and killed the demon Hiranyaksha.

The Story:

The Maanasa putras of Brahma viz. Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanaatana and Sanatkumara – visited the abode of SRI NARYANA. At the seventh entrance, the gate keepers, Jaya and Vijaya stopped them even though they had the right to meet with the Lord without prior appointment. Enraged at this, the RISHIS cursed them to be born in the world. The Lord appeared and approved of the curse but since they were repentant, modified the fiat by offering them to be born on three occasions as demons to be killed by himself in his three future Avatars after which they could re-enter the Kingdom of god.


It is these Jaya and Vijaya who were born as Hinanya-aksha (Golden eyed) and Hiranya kasipu (Golden dressed) during the period of Varaaha and Nrisimha Avatars respectively; Ravana and Kumbakarna during Rama Avatar and Sisupala and Dantavaktra during Krishna Avatar and were killed by Lord Vishnu in the respective Avatars after which they ascended the Kingdom of God.


In the first case, they were born to the sage KASYAPA and his wife THITHI. It is believed that the disposition of progenies would be determined by the time the parents united for procreation purposes. And, they were born with demoniac traits as the couple united at an inauspicious time. The two demons developed a hostile attitude towards Lord Vishnu and when sage NARADA narrated a prognosis of the next Avatar of NRISIMHA, they vowed to hide the earth under Patala so that they could prevent the manifestation of the Lord on earth. They set about to conquer the Devas with their newfound power and started tormenting virtuous souls. The Devas pleaded with Lord Vishnu, the protector and preserver of the Universe. He assured them that he would do the needful.


Brahma was meditating on the Lord, when a tiny boar emerged from one of his nostrils. Even as Brahma wondered what it was, the boar grew in size and became as big as a huge mountain with a roar that reverberated through the universe, it took a mighty leap into the air and plunged down into the ocean and reached the fathomless Patala where mother earth (Bhumi Devi) was kept concealed by the demons. Digging his tusk, the boar lifted Bhumidevi and held her secure in its horn.

 

Hiranyaksha was itching for a fight and when he confronted VARUNA, the latter pleaded inability to give a fight and suggested that he call Lord Vishnu who alone would be match for the demon. Hiranyaksha learned from Sage NARADA that Lord Vishnu had taken the form of a boar and was seeking to salvage mother earth from the hideout. Immediately, he rushed to charge the boar and hurled insults on the boar.
The boar, however, ignored all the taunts as it measured the earth with one foot, in this Avatar; The Lord held the entire earth in His horn says POIGAI ALWAR.

THIRUMAZHISAI ALWAR calls the MAHAVARAHA MURTHY as GNANAPIRAN. Other Alwars described him as BHUVARAHAN as the Lord lifted BHU DEVI and ADHIVARAHAN since He is the primordial Iswara. It is believed that this Avatar took place at the time of deluge ending the Padma kalpa. ANDAL praised the Lord since out of his love for BHUMIDEVI; he did not mind plunging into dirt and slime in order to retrieve her. To save devotees, he will not hesitate to take even the lowliest of forms and the form of the boar came only next to those of fish and tortoise. The same horn which tore apart the demon, also held gently the mother earth.

 

Sri Swami Desikan in his Dasavatara stotra extols this avatar as `MAHA POTRIN' referring to the gigantic size of the boar.

Narasimha -- the half-man, half-lion incarnation. This is His fourth incarnation in Krita Yuga.

The Gist: He appeared in order to save His young devotee Prahlada.

The Story:

On learning of the death of his brother at the hands of Lord Vishnu, Hiranyakasipu vowed to kill Bhagavan and his devotees (Bhaagavatas) who were engaged in a Yaga. With this end in view, he did penance propitiating Brahma and got several boons. That he should not be killed by any created thing, on earth or sky, at night or day, inside or outside, by man or beast, celestial beings or Asuras, by any poisonous beings alive or dead or by any weapons.

He became invincible and commenced tormenting all good people.When he was busy doing penance, Indra took away Hiranyakasipu's wife, who was pregnant. Sage NARADA stopped him and proceeded to explain to her the glory of MAHAVISHNU. The fetus growing in the womb listened to the discourse of Sage NARADA and became an incorrigible Bhakta of Sri VISHNU.On return from penance with all the boons he got from BRAHMA, Hrianyakasipu
proclaimed that he was himself God and nobody should pay obeisance to VISHNU. When the baby was born to Hrianyakasipu, he was named PRAHLADA meaning one that is supremely happy. When he came of age, PRAHLADA was sent to the Gurukula of his preceptor SUKRACHARYA. Sukracharya tried to inculcate the new syllabus of adoring Hrianyakasipu as God. However hard he tried, Sukracharya could not divert the attention of PRAHLADA from his attachment to VISHNU.

 

Having failed in his efforts, Sukracharya complained to Hrianyakasipu who became angry with his son, roared and threatened him. But, nothing would move PRAHLADA from his devotion and determination to worship Lord Vishnu. When asked where from he got the courage to defy, the son replied he got the strength from the All-powerful VISHNU.

 

-         He ordered PRAHLADA to be cut asunder but only the weapon used got broken.

-         He had him cast away into the ocean but the Lord of the ocean brought him unaffected.

-         He was hurled from top of a mountain but the boy was saved by the gentle hands of Lord Vishnu.

-         He let snakes bite Prahlada but the Lord who reclines on Adisesha saved the boy.

-         He ordered elephants to trample him and

-         He ordered the boy to be burnt by fire.

-         But, Prahlada emerged unscathed every time.

 

Hrianyakasipu became exasperated. Enraged, Hrianyakasipu vowed to kill Vishnu and then Prahlada. He asked Prahlada where Vishnu was and showed a pillar that was in his palace and asked if Vishnu was in it. Prahlada replied in the affirmative and asked him to say where He was.Hrianyakasipu kicked the pillar with a bang. With a resounding crash the pillar cracked and, Lord Vishnu emerged from it in the form of half-lion half- man to substantiate the words of Prahlada. On seeing a creature that was neither human nor animal, Hrianyakasipu realized that it could be none other than Lord Vishnu himself. Almost instantly NRISIMHA seized him and crushed him in a close embrace but he slipped through his hands, and charged him with a sword.By that time, dusk had arrived which was neither day nor night, NRISIMHA carried the Asura to the doorstep where under the arch of the doorway he sat laying the Asura on his lap. Thus, it was neither earth nor sky, neither inside nor outside. NRISIMHA tore Hrianyakasipu to death with his claws. Claw is not a weapon, one that was neither alive nor dead.
Periyazhwar explains why he embraced Hrianyakasipu before killing him saying that he was searching whether there was at least an iota of compassion towards his son. Since he did not find any, he decided to kill the Asura.

 

Sri Swami Vedanta Desika while referring to this AVATARA says, that the pillar in the ASURA'S palace had the luck which other pillars elsewhere in the world did not enjoy because it was from there Bhagavan emerged thus ending her sterility. He jocularly remarks that by this, the pillar had become the grandmother of BRAHMA thus: Brahma is known to be "Pithaamaha" Grandfather. Vishnu is his father. By giving birth to Vishnu, the pillar had become Brahma's grandmother. He calls this Avatar "YADRUCHA HARE" meaning that the Lord appeared instantly and no preparations were made by him for his incarnation.

 

That the Lord exhibited both his wrath and grace all at the same time is very well brought out in the Sloka 'Satapatala Bheeshane' in Swami Sri Vedanta Desika's Kamasika Ashtakam. When asked how it was possible that the two incompatible emotions could be perceived in the same personality all at once, Emperumanar is reported to have replied that the lioness even when pouncing on its prey, the elephant, would continue to breast feed with love its calf.

Vamana--the Dwarf incarnation. This was HIS First Avatara in Treta Yuga.

The Gist: He tricked the demon king Bali into relinquishing control of the universe.

The Story:

MAHABALI, the grandson of PRAHLADA was a virtuous king. He performed a sacrifice called `VISWAJIT' (conquest of the worlds) meaning that which bestows mastery over the three worlds. From out of the sacrificial fire arose a golden chariot, armor and a coat of arms. Donning them, he set out on a `DIGVIJAYA' (Conquest of the directions). With the help of SUKRACHARYA his preceptor, he drove Indra and Devas to the nether world and occupied MAYAVATHI, the capital of Indra. BRIHASPATI counseled Indra to wait. Nothing could be done and MAHABALI would fall only if and when his preceptor cursed him for disobeying his command a situation that could be contrived only by Lord VishNu.


Kaasyapa Rishi had another wife by name ADITI who was the mother of Devas.As the banishment of Devas took place at a time when KASYAPA had gone out for meditation, she awaited his arrival. And, when he returned she narrated the happenings. KASYAPA and ADITI performed a `PAYOVRATA' - (penance for 12 days when the sacrificers could drink only milk). This was done to propitiate SRI VISHNU. Vishnu was pleased and appeared before them and told that he would be born as the youngest son of ADITI and would help in restoring the glory of Indra. Accordingly he was born during a bright fortnight of the month Bhadrapada. The baby immediately grew up to be a short statured Brahmin Brahmachari (celibate) called VAMANA.


This Brahmachari entered the sacrificial grounds of BALI who was performing Aswamedha (horse sacrifice). He was resplendent and shone like a thousand Suryas. Bali was amazed, received him with due honors and requested what he wanted - cows, elephants, horses, gold, chariots and promised that he would give whatever VAAMANA wanted. Vaamana said that he did not desire any of these but wanted that much of land as measured by three steps in his stride. BALI readily agreed and asked his wife to bring water for consecrating water in his palm. His Guru, Sukracharya realized that it is only Lord VishNu who had come in the garb of a Brahmachari and prevailed upon BALI to retract from his promise. But, Bali insisted saying that if Lord VishNu himself were to seek alms from him, there could no greater glory for him and he would not retract.


Sukracharya became angry and cursed him that he would soon fall from his high position. And, SRI VISHNU was waiting exactly for this moment. Soon after the consecration VAAMANA grew and grew so tall that all those who witnessed were amazed to witness such a phenomenon. Vaamana became TRIVIKRAMA and began to measure the three paces. By the first he strode like a colossus and covered the earth. By the second, he measured the Heavens. And, asked BALI where was he to measure by the third pace. BALI bowed low to Vishnu and prayed VIKRAMA to place his foot on his head. Lord VishNu sent him to Sutala to rule there and thereafter to enjoy for a whole Manvantara, the position of Indra.

 

The three steps are compared by a commentator to three fiery manifestations of the Lord Viz., Flame, Lightning and the Sun-the flame ablaze the terrestrial sphere, the lightning illuminating the atmospheric sphere and the Sun darting across the celestial sphere.


Thus, in this Avatar the God of majesty and power took a dwarf's stature, begged MAHABALI on behalf of his devotee, Indra and at the same time ensured MAHABALI, Lordship of the Sutala, the nether world and thereafter the position of the next Indra in Savarni Manvanthra. It is believed the Lord is still guarding the palace of MAHABALI and had conferred immortality to MAHABALI in recognition and appreciation of his steadfastness in upholding his promise.

 

Swami Vedanta Desika describes this Avatar as `Raksha Vaamana" - Vaamana whose only objective is protecting those who surrender to him. Indra surrendered and on his behalf he took a lowly form of a dwarf. As MAHABALI surrendered to God when he bowed before the Lord, the Lord assumed the role of a watchman to guard his palace. Since he did not desire to dishonor MAHABALI, the grandson of an ardent devotee, Prahlada, He stooped even to beg of him three paces of earth and desisted from wresting earth by force. Also, Bhagavaan had promised to Prahlada that he would not kill any of his family members or descendants. So, he had to avert a fight, which would have entailed Mahaabali's death. The only way he could wrest earth was begging and begging for a living was the prescribed vocation for a Brahmin especially a Brahmachari. Thus, he protected both Indra and Mahaabali without bloodshed.

 

An interesting point which is little known is that when Mahaabali once complained to his grandfather, Prahlada about the decline in the prosperity of his kingdom, Prahlada told him that it was due to the disrespect shown by Mahaabali to the Lord. Mahaabali asked arrogantly who this Vishnu that stood in his way was. Prahlada could not bear to hear such a haughty reply and cursed Mahaabali that he would soon be banished from his kingdom. Sukracharya's curse only added fuel to the fire of the curse of Prahlada. Together, the two curses brought the downfall of Mahaabali.

 
Though, in fact, Lord VishNu (the rightful lord of the Universe) was only reclaiming what belonged to him and in the process seemed to check up the measurements since he did it by begging alms- considered an unedifying act,
he shrank and looked dwarfish and small - all as a supplicant before MAHABALI who looked great as a bestower - a fact that had to be recognized.

 

ANDALL refers him as "ONGI ULAGALANDA UTHAMAN' - the noble one who measured the earth by assuming gigantic proportions - to prove that he measured his own property.

 

Who is a “Uthaman”? One who helps others expecting a ‘quid pro quo’ is an “adhaman”. One who helps without expecting anything in return is a ‘madhyaman’. One who beliitles himself, not minding the dishonor to one’s
self, yet goes out to help others is “Uthaman”. Here the Lord belittled Himself to help both Indra and Mahaabali. Hence, He is “Uthaman”.
Even as pilot goes before a VIP, the foot of Trivikrama when it reached the high heavens proclaimed the glory of MAHABALI'S bounty

Parashurama -- the Warrior incarnation. This was HIS second incarnation in Treta Yuga.

The Gist: He wiped out twenty-one generations of impious kings.

The Story:

KARTHAVEERYARJUNA, the ruler of HEHAYA was a great king. He got boons from Datta Aatreya and other deities to become invincible. Puffed with ego due to the newfound powers acquired by him, he became tyrannical and began tormenting every one. Once, he even tried to confront Ravana, the ruler of Lanka but was defeated and so he made truce with him. With a thousand arms, with weapons and power, with a powerful ally in Ravana, nothing could stop him from his evil ways.

 

It is to quell Karthaveerya and his ilk and to protect the righteous from his claws that Lord Vishnu descended down to earth and was born as BHARGAVA RAMA the youngest of the five sons of Jamadagni and Renuka. Jamadagni's father was RISHIKAN who married a Kshatriya girl SATYAVATI, daughter of one KHADI. Because of this Varna sangaraha (mixing up of castes) and other circumstances, BHARGAVA Rama though born as a Brahmin exhibited Kshatriya traits and had a liking for weapons, archery etc. Indeed, his favorite weapon was an axe, which he got as a gift from Siva.  Parasu means Axe. Hence, he was called PARASU RAMA.
Once, when the five brothers had gone out, Karthaveeryaarjuna entered the hermitage of Jamadagni and demanded food for himself and his retinue. With the help of Kaamadhenu, Jamadagni got food prepared for the host of guests.


Karthaveerya knowing this demanded Kaamadhenu. But, Jamadagni would not part with it. The king forcibly took away the cow and the calf.
When PARASU RAMA learnt of the incident, he marched towards MAHISHMATI, the capital of the king. The king dispatched 17 battalions of Ratha (Chariots) Gaja (elephantry), Turaga  (Cavalry) and Pathadhi (infantry) each one called an Akshouhini. Single-handed, PARASURAMA destroyed the entire lot and then cut off the thousand arms of Kaarthaveerya and killed him with his axe. Retrieving Kaamadhenu and her calf, he returned to the hermitage where life was proceeding peacefully for some time.

 

On another occasion, Renuka who went to fetch water from a nearby river happened to see some celestial Devas playing. Since her attention was distracted, it became too late when she returned with the water required. Jamadagni got angry and asked his sons to behead her. But, none would carry out his commands. Then PARASU RAMA entered. When his father ordered him to behead not only Renuka but also his brothers, without hesitation, PARASU RAMA carried out the orders. Pleased, the father asked what boons he wanted.


All that PARASU RAMA wanted was that his mother and brothers should come alive and be oblivious of whatever had happened. Jamadagni granted the boon and they did come alive and life was again peaceful at the hermitage. But, not for long.

 
Kaarthaveerya's sons stormed the hermitage to avenge the death of their father Only Jamadagni and Renuka were there at that time, Ignoring the pleadings of Renuka, they cut off the head of Jamadagni who was deep in meditation. Renuka was beside with grief and was crying aloud as PARASU RAMA returned. She beat her breast 21 times. PARASU RAMA vowed that he would wipe out 21 generations of Kshatriyas and proceeded to do the `Samskaras' for his father. Jamadagni gained the realm of the seven Rishis (Saptarishi mandalam). PARASU RAMA carried out his vow, wrested the land and properties of Kshatriyas and finally gave them away to sage KASYAPA and retired to the southwest corner of India.  Swami Sri Vedanta Desika describes him as 'ROSHA RAMA' (Indignant Rama)


When, Parasu Rama confronted Dasaratha who was returning from Mithila after the wedding of Rama and Sita, RAMA the AVATAR took back all the powers of PARASURAMA since the purpose of PARASURAMA AVATAR was completed.


Parasurama threw his axe into the western ocean. The ocean receded upto the point where the axe fell and the land so reclaimed is known as Parasurama Kshetram. Scholars say that modern Kerala is this Kshetram.
This Avatar is not a direct Avatar. Lord Vishnu entered the soul of a Brahmin son of Jamadagni (By Avesa or Anupravesa). Of the 10 Avatars, except Parasurama avatar all the others are Amsa avatars (i.e.) direct descent of Lord Vishnu

Sri Ramachandra - - the incarnation as a Perfect King, hero of the Ramayana, the third incarnation of LORD VISHNU in Treta Yuga.

The Gist: He rescued his wife, Sita, from the clutches of the demon Ravana. He was “The Prince charming-the personification of righteousness”.

The Story:

As most of our readers would be aware of the story of Ramayana, we do not propose to retell the story.

Buddha - - Gautama Buddha is mentioned as an Avatar of Vishnu in the Puranic texts of Hinduism. In the Bhagavata Purana he is twenty fourth of twenty five avatars, prefiguring a forthcoming final incarnation. A number of Hindu traditions portray Buddha as the most recent of ten principal avatars, known as the "Dasavatara" (Ten Incarnations of God).

However, Siddhartha gautama's teaching's do not confirm the existence of the Creator God and consequently Buddhism falls under one of the nastika (godless) schools according to other Dharmic schools, such as Dvaita. Other schools, such as Advaita, are very similar to Buddhism in nature and philosophy.

Sri Krishna Avatara -- The God of love and the ideal becomes intimate union and communion with the incarnate God, both in His timeless essence and in His ceaseless beneficent activity in the world of action.

The Gist:

In KRISHNA Avatar, Lord Vishnu incarnates himself as KRISHNA, the central character in the epic MAHABHARATA. In the biggest epic of Indian mythology a myriad of topics are covered, including war, love, brotherhood, politics etc. It is essentially the story of two warring groups of cousin brothers, the PANDAVAs and the KAURAVAs. As a part of the Mahabahrata, during the war KRISHNA, gives a long discourse to his disciple ARJUNA, collectively termed as Bhagvad-Gita.

After the Gita, popular Hinduism becomes predominantly a religion of love.

The Story:

As in the case of RAMA AVATAR, most of our readers would be familiar with the story of Krishna, his childhood pranks and exploits and his role as GEETHACHARYA at the battlefield of KURUKSHETRA. We do not propose to give the details of this AVATAR.

Kalki -- the incarnation of Destroyer. The Last Avatara of Lord Vishnu in this world. He will incarnate to wipe out the degraded population at the end of this age, the age of Kali or quarrel.

The first nine of these incarnations have already appeared. The tenth, Kalki, is scheduled to appear at the end of this age, about 427,000 years from now.

 

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