An Insight on the Top 10 Hindu Avatars – The Dashavataras of Lord Vishnu

Discussion in 'Hindu Gods and Goddesses' started by garry420, Feb 9, 2015.

  1. garry420

    garry420 Well-Known Member

    The concept of Avatars has been there in Hinduism since its beginning, in fact the religion itself is based on the believes or preaching and teachings of the Avatara who are considered as the deliberate incarnation of the deities, who have time and again descended on planet earth to provide an insight on life to human being, in various forms. It is also believed that an Avatar can also be a descendent of a supreme being, but the fact is that Avataras or their phenomenon is not only observed in the Hindu religion, but also in other religions like:

    · Ayyavazhi – It means “Path of Father” and is basically an Indian Religion which originated in the southern part of India. It is mentioned as an independent monistic (a philosophy according to which everything that exists goes back to a particular source which is distinct from them) religion. Its base is derived from the life and the preaching of AyyaVaikundar.

    · Sikhism – It is a Monotheistic religion which was founded during the fifteenth century in the Punjab region in India by Guru Nanak, and henceforth was developed by ten Sikh Gurus.

    Coming back to top 10 Hindu Avatars, it is regarded as one of the core principles of the religion of Hinduism, but given a situation when the word is uttered amongst the Hindus the first thought that strikes each one is about Lord Vishnu and this is because you will find a varying list of avatars of Vishnu appearing in a lot of Hindu scriptures which also includes the most praised and most sort after Dashavatars which comes from the Garuda Purana. The literal meaning of Dashavatar is ten avatars of Lord Vishnu, , these avatars of his which appeared in various forms and times were considered to be the rescuers of humanity who restored peace and cosmic order on Earth.

    Having said that, here is a list of the Dashavatars of Vishnu considered as the top 10 Hindu Avatarswho helped in bringing righteousness back to the social order in the lives of humans:

    1. Matsya Avatar – This avatar of Lord Vishnu saved Manu who is the forerunner of mankind from the great flood and also restored the Vedic scriptures by killing a fiend.

    2. Kurma Avatar – This avatar descended in the form of a tortoise who is believed to be the helper in the Samudramanthan which means the stirring of the ocean.

    3. Varaha Avatar – Vishnu this time descended on planet earth in the form of a Boar and thereafter rescued us from the ocean, and he did that by killing Hiranyaksha who had kidnapped earth.

    4. Narasima Avatar – Lord Vishnu this time in the form of half man and half lion descended to kill the demon king Hiranyakashipu and hence rescued his good son Prahlada who was a devotee of Lord Vishnu.

    5. Vamana Avatar – Is also one of the avatars of Vishnu in the form of a dwarf who subdued the king Bali.

    6. Parashurama Avatar – He is the killer of the king with thousand arms KartaviryaArjuna with his axe and was a sage himself.

    7. Rama Avatar – He was the king of the devoted city of Ayodhya and is the hero of the Hindu epic Ramayana.

    8. Krishna Avatar – A very prominent deity in the Hindu religion, he was the kind of Dwarka and is also a central character in the Hindu BhagavataPurana and also Mahabharata and is the person who recited the Hindu holy book of Bhagavad Gita.

    9. Buddha Avatar – Was a sage and the founder of Buddhism, though he denied himself as God.

    10. Kalki Avatar – Is expected to appear in the end of the current yuga that is the Kali Yuga.
  2. Aum

    Aum New Member

    Lets make it bit more descriptive
    Varaha Avatara
    The Story : When Brahma was engaged in the work of creation of the Universe, the Earth sank deep into the ocean.Not knowing what to do Brahma prayed to Lord Vishnu for help and guidance. A boar cub as small as a thumb emerged out of the nostril of Brahma. Wonder of wonders, the boar cub grew up in no time to the size of a mighty elephant.
    While Brahma and his sons were looking on in amazement, the mighty boar raised its fearsome tusks skywards,emitted a roar and plunged into the ocean.The boar located the Earth on the ocean floor and lifted it up with its tusks.
    As the boar was bringing up the Earth, Hiranyaksha, the first asura challenged it. The mighty asura with his big mace was trying to prevent the boar from taking the Earth away. But he was no match to the boar, which was an incarnation of Maha Vishnu. The asura was easily overcome and killed by the Lord. Then Maha Vishnu, as the Varaha emerged out of the ocean and placed the Earth on the surface of the waters. And even as the wonder-struck Brahma and his sons were singing His praise, the Varaha vanished.
    The Mystic Meaning

    In an aspirant, by the dint of meditation and intense devotion, there arises a mighty spiritual force in the unconscious mind. This spiritual force is the Varaha. Its emergence is to destroy the negative impressions in the unconscious mind and bring forth the wisdom submerged in its depths.

    As is its nature, the mighty boar accomplishes this with an awe inspiring and single-minded intensity. It forces everything away and annihilates its target of ignorance with astounding force. So also the spiritual force that arises in our mind. Hiranyaksha, meaning 'one with the golden eyes' or one who has eyes for gold, is the personification of our mind that is ever focused on material values of life; it brushes away the spiritual and ethical values. When the spiritual force overcomes the limitations of the mind due to negative impressions, the spiritual and ethical values, as dharma and moksha, come to bloom in our mind.

    Nri-simha Avatara

    The Story :Hiranyakasipu, the brother of Hiranyaksha had declared Lord Vishnu to be his mortal enemy and had sworn to kill him. He had declared himself to be God and wanted all his subjects to worship him only.But his son Prahlada, having heard Sage Narada singing the praises of Lord Vishnu, even while he was in his mother's womb, developed an intense bakti for Lord Vishnu. Neither the repeated efforts of his teacher nor the exhortations and threats of his father could wean him away from his intense love of the Lord.
    Then Hiranyakasipu felt, that as an asura Prahlada was a failure, and wanted to destroy him. All the efforts taken were in vain and Prahlada came out of them unscathed. In desperation Hiranyakasipu asks his son as to who his protector was. Prahlada answers that Lord Vishnu, the Lord of the Universe, was his, as well as Hiranyakasipu's protector. And in reply to a further query, Prahlada says He is everywhere, even in the pillar Hiranyakasipu was pointing to.
    Hiranyakasipu, besides himself with anger, strikes at the pillar with his great mace. To the amazement of all, the pillar splits open and a strange creature, half lion and half man emerges. The majestic form with the lion's head is adorned with a golden mane, angry red eyes and a fearsome mouth. Using Its mighty arms, sharp claws and the terrible mouth It destroys Hiranyakasipu and his daemonic army.
    Pleased with Prahlada's deep reverence and prayers the Nri-simha which was Lord Vishnu, takes on his gentler form and bestows upon Prahlada his blessings.
    The Inner Message

    The story primarily stresses upon the necessity of having an abiding faith in God. You should have an unshakable faith that even in the most difficult situations He is right with you; for He is the all-pervading Reality. Never feel that you are separate from God. He is always there guiding you.
    At a deeper level, every soul is potentially a Prahlada. Hiranyakasipu represents arrogance rooted in ignorance. The daemonic army are the impurities of the mind, such as anger, greed, hatred etc. However much they may try, they can never destroy the soul of the devoted. Rather, they themselves will be destroyed when the Divine Self manifests within, as Nri-simha.
    The Divine presence of Nri-simha, the amazing power of Supreme knowledge, destroys the world of egoistic values and tears off the illusion of names and forms. When this ignorance is destroyed the Absolute Reality behind every name and form, or Brahman, dazzles forth in all its glory.

    Vamana Avathara

    The Story :King Mahabali was the grandson of Prahlada, and he survived the war between the Devas and Asuras after the churning of the ocean. He was consumed by earthly power and had annexed Indra Loka. Now he was performing a great Yaga with the intention of obtaining a position equal to Lord Vishnu.
    With the intention of restoring to Indra his lost kingdom and to quell Mahabali's ego, Lord Vishnu takes birth as a small statured Brahmin boy and comes to the sacrifice. He enters the sacrificial hall and everyone present is dazzled by the splendour of Vamana. When Mahabali offers to give him whatever he wants, Vamana says that all he wants is three feet of land, measured with his feet, and declines all the riches offered by Mahabali. Though cautioned by his Guru, Sukracharya, Mahabali accedes to the request.
    Then Vamana takes on a huge form - the Trivikrama form. He measures the earth with one foot and the sky and space with another. When there was nothing more left, Mahabali offers his head for the third measure. Then Mahavishnu declares that Bali is indeed a great devotee and that He will keep him under his protection. He blesses Mahabali by placing his feet on his head. Mahabali is sent to rule over Patala Loka and Indra's kingdom is restored to him.

    The Mysticism

    Sri Sankara in his commentary on Kena Upanisad, quotes "the one who sends the prana upwards and takes the apana downwards is seated in between them in a short form (Vamana), whom all the Gods worship." This idea is figuratively expanded in the Puranas.
    Vamana represents the Supreme Reality while Mahabali is the jiva or the ego principle. It is always involved in yagna trying to increase its enjoyments and powers. The three feet of earth that the Lord begs is the surrender of the body, mind and speech. The moment His request is granted He assumes a gigantic form, that is, He takes on the Trivikrama form. He takes away the wealth of both the worlds. When Mahabali, the jiva surrenders to Him, He subdues his ego. The individual jiva recognises its unity with the Universal and becomes the inheritor of immense Wealth and Power.
    Like Bali, we perform actions impelled by desires to acquire more and more. This increase in I-ness and My-ness crowd out the gody qualities in us. Because of delusion we dont see anything wrong in spending our entire lfe in the pursuit of perishable goals. This results in endless cycle of births and deaths.
    To bring this to an end Vamana has to incarnate in us. He removes all our impurities like anger, jealousy etc with the first step. The second step does away with the delusion and the third step removes our ignorance. Absolute surrender is necessary for the knowledge to dawn in us.

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