Sri Hanuman assumed Panchamukhi or five-faced form to kill Ahiravana, a powerful rakshasa black-magician and practitioner of the dark arts during the Ramayana war.
In the Ramayana, during the battle between Rama and Ravana, when Ravana’s son Indrajit is killed, Ravana calls his brother Ahiravana for help. Ahiravana, the king of Patala (the Underworld), promises to help. Vibhishana somehow manages to hear about the plot and warns Rama about it. Hanuman is put on guard and told not to let anyone into the room where Rama and Lakshmana are. Ahiravana makes many attempts at entering the room but all of them are thwarted by Hanuman. Finally, Ahiravana takes the form of Vibhishana and Hanuman lets him enter. Ahiravana quickly enters and takes the “sleeping Rama and Lakshmana” away.
When Hanuman realizes what has happened, he goes to Vibhishana. Vibhishana says, “Alas! They have been abducted by Ahiravana. If Hanuman does not rescue them fairly quickly, Ahiravana will sacrifice both Rama and Lakshman to Chandi.” Hanuman goes to Patala, the door to which is guarded by a creature, who is half Vanara and half reptile. Hanuman asks who he is and the creature says, “I am Makardhwaja, your son!” Hanuman is confused since he did not have any child, being an adept Brahmachari. The creature explains, “While you were jumping over the ocean, a drop of your semen(veeriya) fell to the ocean and into the mouth of a mighty crocodile. This is the origin of my birth.”
After defeating his son, Hanuman enters Patala and encounters Ahiravana and Mahiravana. They have a strong army and Hanuman is told by Chandrasena that the only way to vanquish them is by blowing out five different candles located in five different directions, all at the same time in return for a promise to be Lord Rama’s consort. Hanuman assumes his five-headed form (Panchmukhi Hanuman) and he quickly blows out the 5 different candles and thus kills Ahiravana and Mahiravana. Throughout the saga, both Rama and Lakshmana are rendered unconscious by a spell by the demons.
The five faces with their directions are
Sri Hanuman – (Facing East)
The significance of this face is this face removes all blemishes of sin and confers purity of mind.
Narsimha – (Facing South)
The significance of this face is this face removes fear of enemies and confers victory. Narasimha is the Lion-Man avatar of Lord Vishnu, who took the form to protect his devotee Prahlad from his evil father, Hiranyakashipu.
Garuda – (Facing West)
The significance of this face is this face drives away evil spells, black magic influences, negative spirits and removes all poisonous effects in one’s body. Garuda is Lord Vishnu’s vehcile, this bird knows the secrets of death and the beyond. The Garuda Purana is a Hindu text based on this knowledge.
Varaha – (Facing North)
The significance of this face is this face wards off the troubles caused by bad influences of the planets and confers all eight types prosperity (Ashta Aishwarya). Varaha is another Lord Vishnu avatar, he took this form and dug up land.
Hayagriva – (Facing Upwards)
The significance of this face is this face confers knowledge, victory, good wife and progeny.
This form of Sri Hanuman is very popular, and is also known as Panchamukha Anjaneya and Panchamukhi Anjaneya. (Anjaneya, which means “son of Anjana”, is another name of Sri Hanuman). These faces show there is nothing in the world which does not come under any the influence of any of the five faces, symbolic of his all around security to all devotees. This also signifies vigilance and control over the five directions – north, south, east, west and the upward direction/zenith.
There are five ways of prayer, Naman, Smaran, Keerthanam, Yachanam and Arpanam. The five faces depict these five forms. Lord Sri Hanuman always used to Naman, Smaran and Keerthanam of Lord Sri Rama. He totally surrendered (Arpanam) to his Master Sri Rama. He also begged (yachanam) Sri Rama to bless him the undivided love.
The weapons are a parashu, a Khanda, a chakra, a dhaalam, a gada, a trishula, a kumbha, a Katar, a plate filled with blood and again a big Gada.
1. Shiva’s Trishul or Trident symbolizes the unity of 3 worlds of a human being-his inside world, the immediate world around him and the broader world, a harmony between the 3. The crescent moon on his forehead that gives him the name of Chandrashekar, dates back from the Vedic age when Rudra and Soma, the Moon God, were worshipped together. The Trishul in his hand also represents the 3 Gunas-Sattva,Rajas and Tama, while the Damaru or the drum represents the sacred sound OM from which all languages are formed.
2. Bhagiratha prayed to Lord Shiva for getting the Ganga to earth, which would flow over his ancestor’s ashes and grant them salvation. However when Ganga was descending to Earth, she was still in a playful mood. She felt she would just rush down and sweep Shiva off his feet. Sensing her intentions, Shiva, imprisoned the falling Ganga in his locks. It was again on Bhagiratha’s plea, that Shiva let Ganga flow from his hair. The name Gangadhara comes from Shiva carrying Ganga on his head.
3. Shiva is represented as Nataraja, the Lord of Dance, and there are two forms, Tandava, the fierce aspect representing destruction of universe, and Lasya, the gentler one. The demon being surpressed under Shiva’s feet is Apasmara symbolizing ignorance.
4. Shiva along with his consort Parvati is represented in the Ardhanarisvara form, which is a half male, half female icon. The concept is of the masculine energy(Purusha) and feminine energy( Prakrithi) of the universe in a synthesis. At another level, this is also used to symbolize that in a marital relationship, the wife is one half of the husband, and has an equal status. That is the reason why Shiva-Parvati are often held as examples of a perfect marriage.
5. Kamadeva, the Hindu god of love, Cupid’s equivalent albeit clothed, was burned to ash by Shiva. This was when Devas were waging a war against Tarakasur. He could only be defeated by Shiva’s son. But Shiva was busy in meditation and well, no one procreates when meditating. So Devas asked Kamadeva to pierce Shiva with his love arrows. He managed except Shiva woke up in rage. Apart from Tandava, the other thing that Shiva is known to do in anger is open his third eye. If he views anyone from his third eye, then the person is burned down. This is exactly what happened to Kamadeva.
6. Ravana was one of Shiva’s greatest devotees. Once he tried to uproot Mount Kailasa, Shiva’s abode in the Himalayas. I cannot remember the exact reason why he wanted to do so but anyway, he could not succeed in this endeavour. Shiva trapped him beneath Kailasa. To redeem himself, Ravana started singing hymns in praise of Shiva. He cut off one of his heads to make a veena and used his tendons as the instrument’s string to make music. Eventually, over many years, Shiva did forgive Ravana and freed him from under the mountain. Also, post this episode, Shiva was so moved by Ravana’s prayer that he became his favorite devotee.
7. He is known as Tripurantaka because he destroyed the 3 flying cities Tripura with Brahma driving his chariot and Vishnu propelling the warhead.
8. Shiva is a pretty liberal God. He allows everything which is otherwise considered unconventional or taboo in religion. One need not follow any set rituals to pray to him. He is not a sucker for rules and is known to grant wishes to anyone and everyone. Unlike Brahma or Vishnu who want their devotees to prove their mettle, Shiva is fairly easy to please.
Story of Arjuna and Ulupi
While on exile, (As he broke the rule of not entering any brother’s room (When that brothers with draupadi) by anyone, a solution suggested by Devarshi Narad) for 12 years, he decided to spent first few days on the GANGA GHAAT, on Ganga Ghat, he used to go bath daily deep in the water, deeper than a normal person can go, (Being son of a god, he might be having that capability), Naag Kanya Ulupi (Who was living in the ganga itself having her father’s (Adi-Shesha) RAJMAHAL there.) seen that daily for few days and fall for him (purely lust).
One fine day, she dragged arjuna inside the water, to her private chamber and ask for love, to which, arjuna declines, He says, “You are too beautiful to deny, but I am on my celibacy in this pilgrimage and can’t do that to you”, to which she argues that “celibacy of your promise is limited to Draupadi, not to anyone else”, and by such arguments, she convinces arjuna, as he was also attracted, but was bound by promise, so by bending DHARMA, according to own requirement, with the help of Ulupi’s word, he agrees to stay there for a night, and fulfills her lust (His own too).
She later restored Arjuna to the lamenting Chitrangada, Arjuna’s other wives. She played a major part in the upbringing of Arjuna and Chitrangada’s son, Babruvahana. She was also able to restore Arjuna to life after he was slain in battle by Babruvahana. When Arjuna was given a curse by the Vasus, Bhishma’s brothers, after he killed Bhishma in the Kurukshetra war, she redeemed Arjuna from the curse.
Story of Arjuna and Chitrangada
After the stay of one night with ulupi, as a result of which, IRAVAN, was born, who later dies in battle of Mahabharata on 8th day by Alambusha a-demon, Arjuna travels to west of the bank & reaches Manipur.
While he was resting in jungle, he saw Chitrangadha, daughter of king of manipur, Chitrabahana, and fall for her at the first sight as she was on hunting (Here, it is direct lust, nothing else), and asks for hand directly from her father giving his original identity. Her Father agreed only on condition that, her offspring will born and brought up in Manipur only. (In manipur it was a tradition to have one child only, and so, chitrangada was the only child of king). So that he/she can continue the kingdom. Arjuna stayed there for approx three years and after the birth of their son, BRAHUBHUVAN, he left manipur and continued his exile.
Angkor Wat is a temple complex at Angkor, Cambodia, built for the king Suryavarman II in the early 12th century as his state temple and capital city. As the best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre since its foundation first Hindu, dedicated to the god Vishnu, then Buddhist. It is the world’s largest religious building.
2) Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam Trichy, Tamil Nadu, India – 631,000 Sq.Meters
Srirangam temple is often listed as the largest functioning Hindu temple in the world (the still larger Angkor Wat being the largest existing temple). The temple occupies an area of 156 acres (631,000 m²) with a perimeter of 4,116m (10,710 feet) making it the largest temple in India and one of the largest religious complexes in the world. The temple is enclosed by seven concentric walls (termed prakarams (outer courtyard) or mathil suvar) with a total length of 32,592 feet or over six miles. These walls are enclosed by 21 Gopurams. The Ranganathanswamy Temple complex with 49 shrines, all dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is so huge that it is like a city within itself. However, the entire temple is not used for the religious purpose, the first three out of seven concentric walls are used by private commercial establishments such as restaurants, hotels, flower market, and residential homes.
3) Akshardham Temple, Delhi Delhi, India – 240,000 sq.meter
Akshardham is a Hindu temple complex in Delhi, India. Also referred to as Delhi Akshardham or Swaminarayan Akshardham, the complex displays millennia of traditional Indian and Hindu culture, spirituality, and architecture. The building was inspired and moderated by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the spiritual head of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, whose 3,000 volunteers helped 7,000 artisans construct Akshardham.
4) Thillai Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India – 160,000 sq.Meter
Thillai Natarajah Temple, Chidambaram – Chidambaram Thillai Natarajar-Koothan Kovil or Chidambaram temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located in the centre of the temple town of Chidambaram, east-central Tamil Nadu, South India. Chidambaram is a temple complex spread over 40 acres (160,000 m2) in the heart of the city. It is truly a large temple which is completely used for religious purpose. The main complex to Lord Shiva Nataraja also contains shrines to deities such as Sivakami Amman, Ganesh, Murugan and Vishnu in the form Govindaraja Perumal.
5) Belur Math Kolkata, West Bengal, India – 160,000 Sq.Meter
Belur Maṭh or Belur Mutt is the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission, founded by Swami Vivekananda, a chief disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. It is located on the west bank of Hooghly River, Belur, West Bengal, India and is one of the significant institutions in Calcutta. This temple is the heart of the Ramakrishna Movement. The temple is notable for its architecture that fuses Hindu, Christian and Islamic motifs as a symbol of unity of all religions.
6) Annamalaiyar Temple Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, India – 101,171 Sq.Meter
Annamalaiyar Temple is a noted Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, and it is the second largest temple (by the area used completely for religious purpose). It has got four stately towers on all the four sides and four high stone walls just like the rampart walls of a fort. The 11-tiered highest (217 feet (66 m)) Eastern Tower is called the Rajagopuram. The fortified walls pierced with four gopura entrances offer a formidable look to this vast complex.
7) Ekambareswarar Temple Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, India – 92,860 Sq.Meters
Ekambareswarar Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, located in Kanchipuram in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. It is one of the five major Shiva temples or Pancha Bootha Sthalams (each representing a natural element) representing the element Earth.
8) Jambukeswarar Temple, Thiruvanaikaval Trichy, Tamil Nadu, India – 72,843 Sq.Meter
Thiruvanaikaval (also Thiruvanaikal) is a famous Shiva temple in Tiruchirapalli (Trichy), in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. The temple was built by Kocengannan (Kochenga Chola), one of the Early Cholas, around 1,800 years ago.
9) Meenakshi Amman Temple Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India – 70,050 Sq.Meter
Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple or Meenakshi Amman Temple is a historic Hindu temple in the holy city of Madurai in India. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva — who is known here as Sundareswarar or Beautiful Lord — and his consort, Parvati who is known as Meenakshi. The temple forms the heart and lifeline of the 2500-year-old city of Madurai. The complex houses 14 magnificent Gopurams or towers including two golden Gopurams for the main deities, that are elaborately sculptured and painted showing the architectural and sculpting skills of the ancient Indian sthapathis.
10) Vaitheeswaran Koil Vaitheeswaran Koil, Tamil Nadu, India – 60,780 Sq.Meters
Vaitheeswaran Temple is a Hindu temple located in Tamil Nadu, India, dedicated to the god Shiva. In this temple, Lord Shiva is worshiped as “Vaitheeswaran” or the “God of medicine”; worshipers believe that prayers to Lord Vaitheeswaran can cure diseases.
11) Tiruvarur Thyagaraja swamy Temple Tiruvarur, Tamil Nadu, India – 55,080 Sq.Meter
The ancient Sri Thyagaraja temple at Tiruvarur is dedicated to the Somaskanda aspect of Shiva. The temple complex has shrines dedicated to Vanmikanathar, Tyagarajar and the Kamalaamba, and covers an area of over 20 acres (81,000 m2). The Kamalalayam temple tank covers around 25 acres (100,000 m2), one of the largest in the country. The temple chariot is the largest of its kind in Tamil Nadu.
12) Sripuram Golden Temple Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India – 55,000 Sq.Meter
The golden temple of Sripuram is a spiritual park situated at the foot of a small range of green hills in a place known as “Malaikodi” in the city of Vellore in Tamil Nadu, India. The temple is at the southern end of the city of Vellore, at Tirumalaikodi.
The salient feature of Sripuram is the Lakshmi Narayani temple or Mahalakshmi temple whose ‘Vimanam’ and ‘Ardha Mandapam’ have been coated with gold both in the interior and exterior.
13) Jagannath Temple, Puri Puri, Odisha, India – 37,000 Sq.Meter
The Jagannath Temple in Puri is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to Jagannath (Vishnu) in the coastal town of Puri in the state of Odisha, India. The name Jagannath (Lord of the Universe) is a combination of the Sanskrit words Jagat (Universe) and Nath (Lord of).
14) Birla Mandir Delhi, India – 30,000
The Laxminarayan Temple (also known as the Birla Mandir) is a Hindu temple dedicated to Laxminarayan in Delhi, India. The temple is built in honour of Lakshmi (Hindu goddess of wealth) and her consort Narayana (Vishnu, Preserver in the Trimurti). The temple was built in 1622 by Vir Singh Deo and renovated by Prithvi Singh in 1793. During 1933-39, Laxmi Narayan Temple was built by Baldeo Das Birla of Birla family. Thus, the temple is also known as Birla Mandir. The famous temple is accredited to have been inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1939. At that time, Gandhi kept a condition that the temple would not be restricted to the Hindus and people from every caste would be allowed inside. Since then, funds for further renovations and support have come from the Birla family.
Photo Credits: To Google Images and The Original Photographers.
This question has bothered more and more people in ‘recent’ times, women in particular because they feel abandoning a pregnant wife makes Shri Ram a bad husband, sure they do have a valid point and hence the article.
But passing such grave judgments against any human let alone God cannot be without the totality of the Karta (Doer), Karm (Act) and Neeyat (Intention).
The Karta here is Shri Ram, the Karm here is that he abandoned Mata Sita, Neeyat is the one we would explore below. To consider the totality before passing judgments is important because killing someone (Act) becomes valid when done by a soldier (Karta) because of his Neeyat (Intention) but if done by a terrorist (Karta) the same act becomes horrendous.
So, let us explore in totality how Shri Ram chose to lead his life:
• He was the first King and God in the whole world, whose first promise to his wife was that all through his life, he would never even gaze at another woman with ill intent. Now, this is not a small thing, while many beliefs allow men of polygamy even today. Shri Ram had set this trend thousands of years ago when it was common to have more than one wife, his own father Raja Dashrath had 4 wives and I hope people do give him the credit for understanding pain of women when they have to share their husband with another woman, also the respect and love that he showed towards his wife by making this promise
• The promise was the starting point of their beautiful ‘real’ relationship and built a mutual love and respect for each other, for a woman the assurance from her Husband, a Prince that he is hers for the rest of his life is a very big thing, this might be one of the reason why Mata Sita chose to go along with Shri Ram to Vanvas (Exile), for he had become the world for her, and the comforts of the kingdom were pale in comparison to the companionship of Shri Ram
• They lived affectionately in the Vanvas (Exile) and Shri Ram tried to provide all the comforts he could to Mata Sita, he genuinely wanted her to be happy. How else would you justify God himself running like an ordinary man behind a deer to please his wife? Even then, he had asked his younger brother Lakshman to take care of her; this shows that though he was acting in love he still had the presence of mind to make sure his wife would be safe. It was Mata Sita who got worried out of genuine concern and insisted Lakshman to search for his brother and ultimately crossed the Lakshman rekha (despite having been requested not to) to be abducted by Ravan
• Shri Ram got worried and cried for the first time in his life, the man who didn’t feel an iota of remorse for leaving his own Kingdom behind, only to keep the words of his father, who was the only one in the world to not only tie Shivji’s bow but break it, was on his knees pleading like a mere mortal, because he loved. Such anguish and pain can come only of genuine love and concern for the one you are worrying about
• He then got ready to take on the most powerful person in the world in his own backyard. Supported by vanar-sena, he defeated the mighty Ravan (who by many till date is considered to be the greatest Pandit of all time, he was so powerful that the Navgrahas were totally under his control) and gifted the Lanka which he had fairly won to Vibhishan saying,
जननी जन्मभूमिश्च स्वर्गादपि गरीयसी
(Janani Janma-bhoomi-scha Swargadapi Gariyasi) Mother and Motherland are superior to heaven; this shows he was not interested in being a King only of the land
• Now, it is important to note here that once Shri Ram frees Mata Sita, he not even once questioned her “Why did you cross the Lakshman Rekha?” because he understood how much pain Mata Sita had been through in Ashok Vatika and how much faith and patience she had shown in Shri Ram when Ravan used all sorts of tricks to scare her. Shri Ram didn’t want to burden Mata Sita with guilt, he wanted to comfort her because he loved her
• Once they got back, Shri Ram became the undisputed king of Ayodhya, probably the first democratic King, who was a clear choice of the people, to set up RamRajya
• Unfortunately, like some people questions Shri Ram today, some very similar people questioned the sanctity of Mata Sita in those days. This hurt Shri Ram very deeply, especially because he believed “Na Bhitosmi Maranaadapi kevalam dushito yashah”, I fear dishonor more than death
• Now, Shri Ram had two options 1) To be called a great man and keep Mata Sita with him, but he would not be able to stop people from questioning the sanctity of Mata Sita 2) To be called a bad husband and put Mata Sita through Agnee-Pariksha but make sure that no questions would ever be raised on the sanctity of Mata Sita in future
• He chose option 2 (as we know this is not easy to do, once a person is accused of something, whether he committed that sin or not, the stigma would never leave that person), but Shri Ram managed to wipe that off Mata Sita’s character, he made sure that no one ever in future would dare to question Mata Sita, for him the honor of his wife was more important than him being called a “good husband” the honor of his wife was more important than his own honor. As we find today, there would be hardly any sane individual who would question Mata Sita’s character
• Shri Ram suffered as much as Mata Sita after the separation if not more. It would have been very easy for him to marry someone else and lead a family life; instead he chose to keep his promise to not marry again. He chose to stay away from the love of his life and his children. The sacrifices of both are exemplary, the love and respect they showed for each other is unparalleled.
A Jyotirlinga or Jyotirling or Jyotirlingam (ज्योतिर्लिङ्ग) is a devotional object representing the god Shiva. Jyoti means ‘radiance’ and lingam the ‘mark or sign’ of Shiva, or a symbol of the pineal gland; Jyotir Lingam thus means the The Radiant sign of The Almighty. There are twelve traditional Jyotirlinga shrines in India.
Worship of shivalinga is considered the prime worship for the devotees of Lord shiva. Worship of all other forms is considered secondary. The significance of the shivalinga is that It is the resplendent light (flame) form of the Supreme – solidified to make the worship of It easier. It represents the real nature of God – formless essentially and taking various forms as It wills.
It is believed that Lord Shiva first manifested himself as a Jyotirlinga on the night of the Aridra Nakshatra, thus the special reverence for the Jyotirlinga. There is nothing to distinguish the appearance, but it is believed that a person can see these lingas as columns of fire piercing through the earth after he reaches a higher level of spiritual attainment.
Originally there were believed to be 64 jyothirlingas while 12 of them are considered to be very auspicious and holy. Each of the twelve jyothirlinga sites take the name of the presiding deity, each considered a different manifestation of Shiva. At all these sites, the primary image is lingam representing the beginningless and endless Stambha pillar, symbolizing the infinite nature of Shiva.
‘Saurashtre Somanaatham Cha Sree Saile Mallikarjunam
Ujjayinyaam Mahaakaalam Omkaare Mamaleswaram
Himalaye to Kedaram Daakinyaam Bhimashankaram
Vaaranaasyaam cha Viswesam Trayambakam Gowtameethate
Paralyaam Vaidyanaatham cha Naagesam Daarukaavane
Setubandhe Ramesham Grushnesam cha Shivaalaye ||’
The twelve Jyotirlingam are:
1. Somanatheshwara: Somanaatheshwara in Somnath is the foremost of the twelve Jyotirlinga Shrines of Shiva, held in reverence throughout India and is rich in legend, traditions and history. It is located at Prabhas Patan in Saurashtra in Gujarat.
2. Mahakaleshwara: Ujjain – Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga shrine The ancient and historic city of Ujjain or Avanti in Madhya Pradesh is home to the Jyotirlinga shrine of Mahakaleshwar.
3. Omkareshwara: a.k.a Mahamalleshwara – Omkareshwar, an island in the course of the river Narmada in Madhya Pradesh is home to the Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga shrine and the Amareshwar temple.
4. Mallikarjuna: Sree Sailam – Sree Sailam near Kurnool enshrines Mallikarjuna in an ancient temple rich in architectural and sculptural wealth. Aadi Sankaracharya composed his Sivanandalahiri here.
5. Kedareshwara: Kedaareshwara of Kedarnath is the Northernmost of the Jyotirlingas. Kedarnath, nestled in the snow clad Himalayas is an ancient shrine rich in legend and tradition. It is accessible only on foot, six months in a year.
6. Bhimashankara: Bhimashankar – Jyotirlinga Shrine is associated with the legend of Shiva destroying the demon Tripurasura. Bhimashankar is located in the Sahyadri hills of Maharashtra, accessed from Pune.
7.Kashi Vishwanatheshwara: Kaashi Vishwanaatheshwara Varanasi – The most celebrated pilgrimage site in India The Vishwanath temple in Benares in Uttar Pradesh is the goal of the thousands of pilgrims that visit this ancient city. The Vishwanath shrine is revered as one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva.
8. Triambakeshwara: Tryambakeshwar – The origin of the river Godavari is intimately linked with this Jyotirlinga shrine near Nasik in Maharashtra.
9. Vaidyanatheshwara: – Vaidyanath temple at Deogarh The ancient pilgrimage town of Deogarh in the Santal Parganas area of Bihar is revered as one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Shiva.
10. Naganatheshwara: – Nageshwar near Dwarka in Gujarat is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva.
11. Grishneshwara: – Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Shrine is a temple located in the vicinity of the tourist town of Ellora, which has several rock cut monuments from the 1st millennium CE.
12. Rameshwara: – Rameswaram: This vast temple in the island of Rameswaram, in Southern Tamilnadu enshrines Ramalingeswarar, and is revered as the southernmost of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines of India.
In Hinduism, Kalki (कल्कि) is the final incarnation of Vishnu in the current Mahayuga, foretold to appear at the end of Kali Yuga, the current epoch. Religious texts called the Puranas foretell that Kalki will be atop a white horse with a drawn blazing sword. He is the harbinger of the end time in Hindu eschatology, after which he will usher in Satya Yuga.
The name Kalki is a metaphor for eternity or time. Its origins may lie in the Sanskrit word kalka which means foulness or filth. Hence, the name translates to the ‘destroyer of foulness,’ ‘destroyer of darkness,” or ‘destroyer of ignorance.’ Another etymology from Sanskrit is ‘white horse.’
In Buddhist Kalachakra tradition, 25 rulers of the Shambhala Kingdom held the title of Kalki, Kulika or Kalki-king. During Vaishakha, the first fortnight in Shukla Paksha is dedicated to fifteen deities, with each day for a different god. In this tradition, the twelfth day is Vaishakha Dwadashi and is dedicated to Madhava, another name for Kalki.
It is said that Lord Kalki will remove the darkness of kali yuga and establish a new yuga (age) called Satya yuga (Age of Truth) on the earth. Satya yuga is also known as Krita yuga. Similarly, as per the characteristics of the next cycle of four yugas, the next satya yuga will be known as Panchorath Yuga.
The earliest reference to the Kalki Avatar is found in the India’s great epic, the Mahabharat. Rishi Markandeya tells Yudhishtir, the seniormost Pandava, that Kalki will be born to Brahmin parents. He would excel in academics, sports and warfare, and thus become a very intelligent and powerful young man.
There is a description of his background in other sources of scripture. The Kalachakra tantra, first taught by Buddha to Dharmaraja Suchandra of Shambhala, also describes his background:
Lord Kalki will appear in the home of the most eminent brahmana of Shambhala village, the great souls Vishnuyasha and his wife, the pure of thought Sumati.
Vishnuyasha refers to the father of Kalki as a devotee of Vishnu while Sumati refers to His mother in Shambhala, or the temple of Shiva.
The Agni Purana predicts that at the time of his birth, evil kings will feed on the pious. Kalki will be born son of Vishnuyasha in the mythic Shambhala. He will have Yajnavalkya as his spiritual guru.
Parashurama, the sixth avatar of Vishnu is a Chiranjivi (immortal) and in scripture is believed to be alive, waiting for the return of Kalki. He will be a martial guru to the avatar, instructing him in the performance of a severe penance in order to receive celestial weaponry.
Kalki will establish moral law in the form of the fourfold varnas, and organize society into four classes, after which there will be a return to the path of righteousness. The purana also relates that Hari, will then give up the form of Kalki, return to heaven and the Krita or Satya Yuga will return as before.
The Vishnu Purana also explains:
When the practices taught in the Vedas and institutes of law have nearly ceased, and the close of the Kali age shall be nigh, a portion of that divine being who exists of His own spiritual nature, and who is the beginning and end, and who comprehends all things, shall descend upon earth. He will be born in the family of Vishnuyasha, an eminent brahmana of Shambhala village, as Kalki, endowed with eight superhuman faculties, when the eight suns (represented by 8 solar deities or Vasu who lord over Dhanishta Nakshatra) will together shine over the sky. By His irresistible might he will destroy all the mlecchas (Barbarians) and thieves, and all whose minds are devoted to iniquity. He will reestablish righteousness upon earth, and the minds of those who live at the end of the Kali age shall be awakened, and shall be as clear as crystal. The men who are thus changed by virtue of that peculiar time shall be as the seeds of human beings, and shall give birth to a race who will follow the laws of the Krita age or Satya Yuga, the age of purity. As it is said, ‘When the sun and moon, and the lunar asterism Tishya, and the planet Jupiter, are in one mansion, the Krita age shall return.
—Vishnu Purana, Book Four, Chapter 24
The Padma Purana describes that Kalki will end the age of Kali and kill all mlecchas. He will gather all brahmanas and propound the highest truth, bringing back the ways of dharma that have been lost, and removing the prolonged hunger of the Brahmin. Kalki will defy oppression and be a banner of victory for the world.
The Bhagavata Purana states
At the end of Kali Yuga, when there exist no topics on the subject of God, even at the residences of so-called saints and respectable gentlemen, and when the power of government is transferred to the hands of ministers elected from the evil men, and when nothing is known of the techniques of sacrifice, even by word, at that time the Lord will appear as the supreme chastiser.
—Bhagavata Purana, 2.7.38
It goes on to foretell his arrival:
The ascetic prince, Lord Kalki, the Lord of the Universe, will mount His swift white horse Devadatta and, sword in hand, travel over the earth exhibiting His eight mystic opulences and eight special qualities of Godhead. Displaying His unequaled effulgence and riding with great speed, He will kill by the millions those thieves who have dared dress as kings.
—Bhagavata Purana, 12.2.19-20
The Kalki Purana combines elements of earlier scriptures to describe Kalki. He will have the power to change the course of the stream of time and restore the path of the righteous. The evil demon Kali will spring from the back of Brahma and descend to earth and cause dharma to be forgotten and society to decay. When man stops offering yagna, Vishnu will then descend a final time to save the steadfast. He will be reborn as Kalki to a Brahmin family in the city of Shambhala.
Followers of Tibetan Buddhism have preserved the Kalachakra Tantra in which “Kalkin” is a title of 25 rulers in the mystical realm of Shambhala. This tantra mirrors a number of prophecies of the Puranas.
His arrival is stipulated at a time when the earth is engulfed in crisis because of a tyrannical and powerful ruler. Kalki Bhagwan is said to be mounted on a strikingly beautiful White Horse, and is most often picturised in the foreground of a dark sky. This symbolises his coming at a time when darkness (evil) is the order of the day, and he is the saviour to rid the world of its sufferings. This is similar to the Parashuram avatar, where Lord Vishnu killed the atrocious Kshatriya rulers.
The Kalki Avatar is the most eagerly awaited one, more so because it will signify the cleansing of the world from all its sorrows that have been accumulated for many millennia. He is to arrive at the end of Kalyug, the dark age, and will mark the beginning of the Sat Yug. According to calculations, there are still many years left for that to happen (The Kalyug extends for a period of 432000 years, and it has just started – 5000 years ago). When we have such advanced military technology today, it will be interesting to see (though we may not, unless we do not manage to attain salvation by then, and are still caught in the rebirth cycle) what kind of weapons Kalki Avatar utilises.
It is also said that Kalki avtar will come, when all the three rivers Saraswati, Yamuna and Ganga return to heavens ( dried).
Credits: Photo Credits to original Image and the respective artists
The Buddha is viewed as an avatar of the god Vishnu in Vaishnava Hinduism although the Buddha himself denied that he was a god or an incarnation of a god. Buddha’s teachings deny the authority of the Vedas and consequently Buddhism is generally viewed as a nastika (heterodox school) from the perspective of orthodox Hinduism.
He expounded the four noble truths (Arya Satya) concerning suffering, its cause, its destruction and the way to the elimination of sorrow. He was against the extremes of both self-indulgence and self-mortification. A Middle Path was advocated consisting of right views, right aspirations, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right contemplation. He rejected the authority of the Vedas, condemned ritualistic practices, especially animal sacrifice, and denied the existence of gods.
The Buddha is described in important Hindu scriptures, including almost all the major Puranas. It is considered that ‘not all of them refer to the same person: some of them refer to other persons, and some occurrences of “buddha” simply mean “a person possessing buddhi”; most of them, however, refer specifically to the founder of Buddhism. They portray him with two roles: preaching Atheistic Vedic views in order to restore Dharma, and criticizing animal sacrifice. A partial list of major Puranic references of the Buddha is as follows:
Vishnu Purana (3.18)
Bhagavata Purana (1.3.24, 2.7.37, 11.4.23) 
Garuda Purana (1.1, 2.30.37, 3.15.26)
Agni Purana (16)
Narada Purana (2.72)
Linga Purana (2.71)
Padma Purana (3.252) etc.
In the Puranic texts, he is mentioned as one of the ten Avatars of Vishnu, usually as the ninth one.
Another important scriptures that mentions him as an Avatar is Rishi Parashara’s Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra (2:1-5/7).
He is often described as a yogi or yogacharya, and as a sannyasi. His father is usually called Suddhodhana, which is consistent with the Buddhist tradition, while in a few places the Buddha’s father is named Anjana or Jina. He is described as beautiful (devasundara-rupa), of yellow skin, and wearing brown-red or red robes.
Only a few statements mention the worship of Buddha, e.g. the Varahapurana states that one desirous of beauty should worship him.
In some of the Puranas, he is described as having taken birth to “mislead the demons”:
Translation: To delude the demons, he [Lord Buddha] stood on the path in the form of a child. The foolish Jina (a demon), imagined him to be his son. Thus the lord Sri Hari [as avatara-buddha] expertly deluded Jina and other demons by his strong words of non-violence.
In the Bhagavata Purana, Buddha is said to have taken birth to restore the devas to power:
tatah kalau sampravrtte sammohaya sura-dvisam ।
buddho namnanjana-sutah kikatesu bhavisyati ॥
—srimad-bhagavatam , 1.3.24
Translation: Then, in the beginning of Kali-yuga, for the purpose of confusing the enemies of the devas, [he] will become the son of Anjana, Buddha by name, in the Kikatas.
In many Puranas, the Buddha is described as an incarnation of Vishnu who incarnated in order to bring either demons or mankind close to the Vedic dharma. The Bhavishya Purana contains the following:
At this time, reminded of the Kali Age, the god Vishnu became born as Gautama, the Shakyamuni, and taught the Buddhist dharma for ten years. Then Shuddodana ruled for twenty years, and Shakyasimha for twenty. At the first stage of the Kali Age, the path of the Vedas was destroyed and all men became Buddhists. Those who sought refuge with Vishnu were deluded.
As an avatara of Vishnu
In 8th-century royal circles, the Buddha started to be replaced by Hindu gods in pujas. This also was the same period of time the Buddha was made into an avatar of Vishnu.
In the Dasavatara stotra section of his Gita Govinda, the influential Vaishnava poet Jayadeva (13th century) includes the Buddha amongst the ten principal avatars of Vishnu and writes a prayer regarding him as follows:
O Keshava! O Lord of the universe! O Lord Hari, who have assumed the form of Buddha! All glories to You! O Buddha of compassionate heart, you decry the slaughtering of poor animals performed according to the rules of Vedic sacrifice.
This viewpoint of the Buddha as the avatar who primarily promoted non-violence (ahimsa) remains a popular belief amongst a number of modern Vaishnava organisations, including ISKCON.
Additionally, there is the Vaishnava sect of Maharashtra, known as Varkari, who worship Lord Vithoba (also known as Vitthal, Panduranga). Though Vithoba is mostly considered to be a form of the little Krishna, there has been a deep belief for many centuries that Vithoba is a form of Buddha. Many poets of the Maharashtra (including Eknath, Namdev, Tukaram etc.) have explicitly mentioned him as Buddha., though many neo-Buddhists (Ambedkaries) and some western scholars often tend to reject this opinion.
As an inspirational figure
Other prominent modern proponents of Hinduism, such as Radhakrishnan, Vivekananda, consider the Buddha as an example of the same universal truth that underlies religions:
Vivekananda: May he who is the Brahman of the Hindus, the Ahura Mazda of Zoroastrians, the Buddha of Buddhists, the Jehovah of the Jews, the Father in Heavens of Christians, give strength to you to carry out your noble ideas!
Radhakrishnan: If a Hindu chants the Vedas on the banks of the Ganges… if the Japanese worship the image of Buddha, if the European is convinced of Christ’s mediatorship, if the Arab reads the Koran in the mosque… It is their deepest apprehension of God and God’s fullest revelation to them.
A number of revolutionary figures in modern Hinduism, including Gandhi, have been inspired by the life and teachings of the Buddha and many of his attempted reforms.
Steven Collins sees such Hindu claims regarding Buddhism as part of an effort – itself a reaction to Christian proselytizing efforts in India – to show that “all religions are one”, and that Hinduism is uniquely valuable because it alone recognizes this fact
According to Wendy Doniger, the Buddha avatar which occurs in different versions in various Puranas may represent an attempt by orthodox Brahminism to slander the Buddhists by identifying them with the demons. Helmuth von Glasenapp attributed these developments to a Hindu desire to absorb Buddhism in a peaceful manner, both to win Buddhists to Vaishnavism and also to account for the fact that such a significant heresy could exist in India.
The times ascribed to one “Buddha” figure are contradictory and some put him in approximately 500 CE, with a lifetime of 64 years, describe him as having killed some persons, as following the Vedic religion, and having a father named Jina, which suggest that this particular figure might be a different person from Siddharta Gautama.
Credits: Photo Credits to the original photographer and artist
Krishna (कृष्ण) is a deity, worshipped across many traditions of Hinduism in a variety of different perspectives. While many Vaishnava groups recognize him as an avatar of Lord Vishnu; some traditions within Krishnaism, consider Krishna to be Svayam Bhagavan, or the Supreme Being.
Krishna is often described and portrayed as an infant or young boy playing a flute as in the Bhagavata Purana, or as a youthful prince giving direction and guidance as in the Bhagavad Gita. The stories of Krishna appear across a broad spectrum of Hindu philosophical and theological traditions. They portray him in various perspectives: a god-child, a prankster, a model lover, a divine hero, and the Supreme Being. The principal scriptures discussing Krishna’s story are the Mahabharata, the Harivamsa, the Bhagavata Purana, and the Vishnu Purana. He is also known as Govinda and Gopala.
Krishna’s disappearance marks the end of Dvapara Yuga and the start of Kali Yuga (present age), which is dated to February 17/18, 3102 BCE. Worship of the deity Krishna, either in the form of deity Krishna or in the form of Vasudeva, Bala Krishna or Gopala can be traced to as early as 4th century BC
The name originates from the Sanskrit word Krsna, which is primarily an adjective meaning “black”, “dark” or “dark blue”. The waning moon is called Krishna Paksha in the Vedic tradition, relating to the adjective meaning “darkening”. Sometimes it is also translated as “all-attractive”, according to members of the Hare Krishna movement.
As a name of Vishnu,Krishna listed as the 57th Name in the Vishnu Sahasranama. Based on His Name, Krishna is often depicted in murtis as black or blue-skinned. Krishna is also known by various other names, epithets and titles, which reflect His many associations and attributes. Among the most common Names are Mohan “enchanter”, Govinda, “Finder of the cows” or Gopala, “Protector of the cows”, which refer to Krishna’s Childhood in Braj (in present day Uttar Pradesh).
Krishna is easily recognized by his representations.Though his skin colour may be depicted as black or dark in some representations, particularly in murtis, in other images such as modern pictorial representations, Krishna is usually shown with blue skin. He is often shown wearing a yellow silk dhoti and a peacock feather crown. Common depictions show him as a little boy, or as a young man in a characteristically relaxed pose, playing the flute. In this form, he usually stands with one leg bent in front of the other with a flute raised to his lips, in the Tribhanga posture, accompanied by cows, emphasizing his position as the divine herdsman, Govinda, or with the gopis (milkmaids) i.e. Gopikrishna, stealing butter from neighbouring houses i.e. Navneet Chora or Gokulakrishna, defeating the vicious serpent i.e. Kaliya Damana Krishna, lifting the hill i.e. Giridhara Krishna ..so on and so forth from his childhood / youth events.
Krishna was born to Devaki and her husband, Vasudeva, When Mother Earth became upset by the sin being committed on Earth, she thought of seeking help from Lord Vishnu. She went in the form of a cow to visit Lord Vishnu and ask for help. Lord Vishnu agreed to help her and promised her that he would be born on Earth.
Nanda was the head of a community of cow-herders, and he settled in Vrindavana. The stories of Krishna’s childhood and youth tell how he became a cow herder, his mischievous pranks as Makhan Chor (butter thief) his foiling of attempts to take his life, and his role as a protector of the people of Vrindavana.
Krishna killed the demoness Putana, disguised as a wet nurse, and the tornado demon Trinavarta both sent by Kansa for Krishna’s life. He tamed the serpent Kaliya, who previously poisoned the waters of Yamuna river, thus leading to the death of the cowherds. In Hindu art, Krishna is often depicted dancing on the multi-hooded Kaliya.
Krishna lifted the Govardhana hill and taught Indra, the king of the devas, a lesson to protect native people of Brindavana from persecution by Indra and prevent the devastation of the pasture land of Govardhan. Indra had too much pride and was angry when Krishna advised the people of Brindavana to take care of their animals and their environment that provide them with all their necessities, instead of worshipping Indra annually by spending their resources. In the view of some, the spiritual movement started by Krishna had something in it which went against the orthodox forms of worship of the Vedic gods such as Indra. In Bhagavat Purana, Krishna says that the rain came from the nearby hill Govardhana, and advised that the people worshiped the hill instead of Indra. This made Indra furious, so he punished them by sending out a great storm. Krishna then lifted Govardhan and held it over the people like an umbrella.
Kurukshetra War (The Mahabharata) :
Once battle seemed inevitable, Krishna offered both sides the opportunity to choose between having either his army called narayani sena or himself alone, but on the condition that he personally would not raise any weapon. Arjuna, on behalf of the Pandavas, chose to have Krishna on their side, and Duryodhana, Kaurava prince, chose Krishna’s army. At the time of the great battle, Krishna acted as Arjuna’s charioteer, since this position did not require the wielding of weapons.
Upon arrival at the battlefield, and seeing that the enemies are his family, his grandfather, his cousins and loved ones, Arjuna is moved and says his heart does not allow him to fight and he would rather prefer to renounce the kingdom and put down his Gandiv (Arjuna’s bow). Krishna then advises him about the battle, with the conversation soon extending into a discourse which was later compiled as the Bhagavad Gita.
Krishna asked Arjuna, “Have you within no time, forgotten the Kauravas’ evil deeds such as not accepting the eldest brother Yudhishtira as King, usurping the entire Kingdom without yielding any portion to the Pandavas, meting out insults and difficulties to Pandavas, attempt to murder the Pandavas in the Barnava lac guest house, publicly attempting to disrobe and disgracing Draupadi. Krishna further exhorted in his famous Bhagavad Gita, “Arjuna, do not engage in philosophical analyses at this point of time like a Pundit. You are aware that Duryodhana and Karna particularly have long harboured jealousy and hatred for you Pandavas and badly want to prove their hegemony. You are aware that Bhishmacharya and your Teachers are tied down to their dharma of protecting the unitarian power of the Kuru throne. Moreover, you Arjuna, are only a mortal appointee to carry out my divine will, since the Kauravas are destined to die either way, due to their heap of sins. Open your eyes O Bhaarata and know that I encompass the Karta, Karma and Kriya, all in myself. There is no scope for contemplation now or remorse later, it is indeed time for war and the world will remember your might and immense powers for time to come. So rise O Arjuna!, tighten up your Gandiva and let all directions shiver till their farthest horizons, by the reverberation of its string.”
Krishna had a profound effect on the Mahabharata war and its consequences. He had considered the Kurukshetra war to be a last resort after voluntarily acting as a messenger in order to establish peace between the Pandavas and Kauravas. But, once these peace negotiations failed and was embarked into the war, then he became a clever strategist. During the war, upon becoming angry with Arjuna for not fighting in true spirit against his ancestors, Krishna once picked up a carriage wheel in order to use it as a weapon to challenge Bhishma. Upon seeing this, Bhishma dropped his weapons and asked Krishna to kill him. However, Arjuna apologized to Krishna, promising that he would fight with full dedication here/after, and the battle continued. Krishna had directed Yudhisthira and Arjuna to return to Bhishma the boon of “victory” which he had given to Yudhisthira before the war commenced, since he himself was standing in their way to victory. Bhishma understood the message and told them the means through which he would drop his weapons which was if a woman entered the battlefield. Next day, upon Krishna’s directions, Shikhandi (Amba reborn) accompanied Arjuna to the battlefield and thus, Bhishma laid down his arms. This was a decisive moment in the war because Bhishma was the chief commander of the Kaurava army and the most formidable warrior on the battlefield. Krishna aided Arjuna in killing Jayadratha, who had held the other four Pandava brothers at bay while Arjuna’s son Abhimanyu entered Drona’s Chakravyuha formation—an effort in which he was killed by the simultaneous attack of eight Kaurava warriors. Krishna also caused the downfall of Drona, when he signalled Bhima to kill an elephant called Ashwatthama, the namesake of Drona’s son. Pandavas started shouting that Ashwatthama was dead but Drona refused to believe them saying he would believe it only if he heard it from Yudhisthira. Krishna knew that Yudhisthira would never tell a lie, so he devised a clever ploy so that Yudhisthira wouldn’t lie and at the same time Drona would be convinced of his son’s death. On asked by Drona, Yudhisthira proclaimed “Ashwathama Hatahath, naro va Kunjaro va”
i.e. Ashwathama had died but he was nor sure whether it was a Drona’s son or an elephant. But as soon as Yudhisthira had uttered the first line, Pandava army on Krishna’s direction broke into celebration with drums and conchs, in the din of which Drona could not hear the second part of the Yudhisthira’s declaration and assumed that his son indeed was dead. Overcome with grief he laid down his arms, and on Krishna’s instruction Dhrishtadyumna beheaded Drona.
When Arjuna was fighting Karna, the latter’s chariot’s wheels sank into the ground. While Karna was trying to take out the chariot from the grip of the Earth, Krishna reminded Arjuna how Karna and the other Kauravas had broken all rules of battle while simultaneously attacking and killing Abhimanyu, and he convinced Arjuna to do the same in revenge in order to kill Karna. During the final stage of the war, when Duryodhana was going to meet his mother Gandhari for taking her blessings which would convert all parts of his body on which her sight falls to diamond, Krishna tricks him to wearing banana leaves to hide his groin. When Duryodhana meets Gandhari, her vision and blessings fall on his entire body except his groin and thighs, and she becomes unhappy about it because she was not able to convert his entire body to diamond. When Duryodhana was in a mace-fight with Bhima, Bhima’s blows had no effect on Duryodhana. Upon this, Krishna reminded Bhima of his vow to kill Duryodhana by hitting him on the thigh, and Bhima did the same to win the war despite it being against the rules of mace-fight (since Duryodhana had himself broken Dharma in all his past acts). Thus, Krishna’s unparalleled strategy helped the Pandavas win the Mahabharata war by bringing the downfall of all the chief Kaurava warriors, without lifting any weapon. He also brought back to life Arjuna’s grandson Parikshit, who had been attacked by a Brahmastra weapon from Ashwatthama while he was in his mother’s womb. Parikshit became the Pandavas’ successor.
Krishna had eight princely wives, also known as Ashtabharya: Rukmini, Satyabhama, Jambavati, Nagnajiti, Kalindi, Mitravinda, Bhadra, Lakshmana) and the other 16,100 or 16,000 (number varies in scriptures) were rescued from Narakasura. They had been forcibly kept in his palace and after Krishna had killed Narakasura he rescued these women and freed them. Krishna married them all to save them from destruction and infamity. He gave them shelter in his new palace and a respectful place in society. The chief amongst them is sometimes called Rohini.
The Bhagavata Purana, Vishnu Purana, Harivamsa list the children of Krishna from the Ashtabharya with some variation; while Rohini’s sons are interpreted to represent the unnumbered children of his junior wives. Most well-known among his sons are Pradyumna, the eldest son of Krishna (and Rukmini) and Samba, the son of Jambavati, whose actions led to the destruction of Krishna’s clan.
Long after the Mahabharat war was over, Krishna was sitting in a jungle, when a hunter took the mani in his feet as eye of an animal and shot an arrow. when he came and saw krishna he was shocked and asked for forgiveness.
Krishna smiled and said – you need not repent, because you were Bali in your last birth and I as Rama had killed you from behind a tree. I had to leave this body and waiting for an opportunity to end the life and was waiting for you so that the karmic debt between you and me and finished.
After Krishna’s leaving body, Dwarka sank in the sea . Most of Yadus had already died in the war of Prabhas. Gandhari had cursed Krishna that his clan would also finish like Kauravas.
After Dwarka sank, the left of Yadus came back to Mathura.
Krishna as per Darwin’s Theory of Evolution:
A close friend prompts Krishna as the complete modern man. The theory of survival of fittest comes into play and now humans have become much smarter and has started enjoying music, dance and festivals. There have been war around and feuds within the family. Society has become shrewd and a devious attribute is the need of the time. He was smart, devious and a skillfull manager. More like a modern day man.
Some beautiful and famous temples:
Prem Mandir: Prem Mandir, built in the holy town of Vrindavan is one of the newest temples dedicated to Shri Krishna. The temple structure was established by spiritual guru Kripalu Maharaj.
The main structure built in marble looks incredibly beautiful and is an educational monument that reflects the true history of Sanatana Dharma. Figures of Shri Krishna and his followers depicting important events surrounding the Lord’s existence cover the main temple.
Credits: To the original photographers and artists
Rama (राम) is the seventh avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu, and a king of Ayodhya. Rama is also the protagonist of the Hindu epic Ramayana, which narrates his supremacy. Rama is one of the many popular figures and deities in Hinduism, specifically Vaishnavism and Vaishnava religious scriptures in South and Southeast Asia. Along with Krishna, Rama is considered to be one of the most important avatars of Vishnu. In a few Rama-centric sects, he is considered the Supreme Being, rather than an avatar.
Rama was the eldst son of Kausalya and Dasharatha, king of Ayodhya, Rama is referred to within Hinduism as Maryada Purushottama, literally the Perfect Man or Lord of Self-Control or Lord of Virtue. His wife Sita is considered by Hindus to be an avatar of Lakshmi and the embodiment of perfect womanhood.
Rama’s life and journey is one of adherence to dharma despite harsh tests and obstacles and many pains of life and time. He is pictured as the ideal man and the perfect human. For the sake of his father’s honour, Ram abandons his claim to Ayodhaya’s throne to serve an exile of fourteen years in the forest. His wife Sita and brother Lakshmana decide to join him, and all three spend the fourteen years in exile together. While in exile, Sita is kidnapped by Ravana, the Rakshasa monarch of Lanka. After a long and arduous search, Rama fights a colossal war against Ravana’s armies. In a war of powerful and magical beings, greatly destructive weaponry and battles, Rama slays Ravana in battle and liberates his wife. Having completed his exile, Rama returns to be crowned king in Ayodhya and eventually becomes emperor, rules with happiness, peace, duty, prosperity and justice a period known as Ram Rajya.
The Ramayana speaks of how the earth goddess Bhudevi, came to the creator-god Brahma begging to be rescued from evil kings who were plundering her resources and destroying life through bloody wars and evil conduct. The deva (gods) also came to Brahma fearful of the rule of Ravana, the ten-headed rakshasa emperor of Lanka. Ravana had overpowered the devas and now ruled the heavens, the earth and the netherworlds. Although a powerful and noble monarch, he was also arrogant, destructive and a patron of evil doers. He had boons that gave him immense strength and was invulnerable to all living and celestial beings, except man and animals.
Brahma, Bhumidevi and the gods worshipped Vishnu, the Preserver, for deliverance from Ravana’s tyrannical rule. Vishnu promised to kill Ravana by incarnating as a man the eldest son of Kosala’s king Dasharatha. Goddess Lakshmi took birth as Sita in order to accompany her consort Vishnu and was found by king Janaka of Mithila while he was ploughing a field. Vishnu’s eternal companion, the Shesha is said to have incarnated as Lakshmana to stay at his Lord’s side on earth. Throughout his life, no one, except a few select sages (among which are included Vasishta, Sharabhanga, Agastya and Vishwamitra) know of his destiny. Rama is continually revered by the many sages he encounters through his life, but only the most learned and exalted know of his true identity. At the end of the war between Rama and Ravana, just as Sita passes her Agni pariskha, Brahma, Indra and the gods, the celestial sages and Shiva appear out of the sky. They affirm Sita’s purity and ask him to end this terrible test. Thanking the avatar for delivering the universe from the grips of evil, they reveal Rama’s divine identity upon the culmination of his mission.
Another legend narrates that Jaya and Vijaya, the gatekeepers of Vishnu, were cursed by the Four Kumaras to be born on earth three lives; Vishnu took avatars each time to free them of their earthy existence. They as born as Ravana and his brother Kumbhakarna, who are both killed by Rama.
Initial days of Rama:
Sage Vishwamitra takes the two princes, Rama and Lakshmana, to his ashram, as he needs Rama’s help in slaying several Rakshasas that have been harassing him and several other sages living in the area. Rama’s first encounter is with a Rakshasi named Taataka, who is a celestial nymph cursed to take the form of a demoness. Vishwamitra explains that she has polluted much of the habitat where the sages reside and there will not be any contentment until she is destroyed. Rama has some reservations about killing a woman, but since Taataka poses such a big threat to the Rishis and he is expected to follow their word, he fights with Taataka and kills her with an arrow. After her death, the surrounding forest becomes greener and cleaner.
Killing Maricha and Subahu:
Vishwamitra presents Rama with several astras and sastras (divine weapons) that will be of use to him in the future, and Rama masters the knowledge of all the weapons and their uses. Vishwamitra then tells Rama and Lakshmana that soon, he along with some of his disciples, will perform a yagna for seven days and nights that will be of great benefit to the world, and the two princes must keep close watch for the two sons of Taadaka, Mareecha and Subahu, who will try to defile the yagna at all costs. The princes therefore keep a strong vigil for all of the days, and on the seventh day they spot Maricha and Subahu coming with a whole host of Raakshasas ready to pour bones and blood into the fire. Rama points his bow at the two, and with one arrow kills Subahu, and with the other arrow flings Mareecha thousands of miles away into the ocean. Rama deals with the rest of the demons. The yagna is completed successfully.
Sage Vishwamitra then takes the two princes to the Swayamvara a wedding ceremony for Sita. The challenge is to string the bow of Shiva and shoot an arrow from it. This task is considered impossible for any ordinary king or living being, as this is the personal weapon of Shiva, more powerful, holy and of divine creation than conceivable. While attempting to string the bow, Rama breaks it in two. This feat of strength spreads his fame across the worlds and seals his marriage to Sita, celebrated as Vivaha Panchami.
14 years exile:
King Dasaratha announces to Ayodhya that he plans to crown Rama, his eldest child the Yuvaraja (crown prince). While the news is welcomed by everyone in the kingdom, the mind of queen Kaikeyi is poisoned by her wicked maid-servant, Manthara. Kaikeyi, who is initially pleased for Rama, is made to fear for the safety and future of her son Bharata. Fearing that Rama would ignore or possibly victimize his younger brother for the sake of power, Kaikeyi demands that Dasaratha banish Rama to a forest exile for fourteen years, and that Bharata be crowned in Rama’s place.
Rama being Maryada Purshottam, agreed to this and he leaves for 14 years exile. Lakshmana and Sita accompanied him.
Ravana kidnapped Sita:
Many pastimes took place while Lord Rama lived in the forest; however, nothing compared to when the Rakshasa king Ravana kidnapped His dear wife Sita Devi, whom He loved with all His heart. Laksman and Rama looked everywhere for Sita but could not find her. Rama thought of her constantly and His mind was distracted by grief due to her separation. He could not eat and hardly slept.
While searching for Sita, Rama and Laksman saved the life of Sugriva, a great monkey king who was being hunted by his demoniac brother Vali. After that, Lord Rama enlisted Sugriva along with his mighty monkey general Hanuman and all the monkey tribes, in the search for His missing Sita.
With building a bridge over the sea, Rama with his vanaar sena crossed the sea to reach Lanka. There was a fierced battle between Rama and the Demon King Ravana. The brutal battle went on for many days and nights. At one point Rama and Laksman were paralyzed by Ravana’s son Indrajit’s poisonous arrows. Hanuman was dispatched to retrieve a special herb to heal them, but when he flew to the Himalaya Mountains he found that the herbs had hidden themselves from view. Undeterred, Hanuman lifted the whole mountaintop into the sky and carried it to the battlefield. There the herbs were discovered and administered to Rama and Laksman, who recovered miraculously from all their wounds. Shortly thereafter, Ravana himself entered the battle and was defeated by Lord Rama.
Finally Sita Devi was released and great celebrations followed. However, to prove her chastity, Sita Devi entered into fire. Agni Dev, the god of fire himself, carried Sita Devi from within the fire back to Lord Rama, proclaiming to everyone her purity and chastity. Now the fourteen years of exile had ended and they all returned to Ayodyha, where Lord Rama ruled for many, many years.
Rama as per Darwin’s Theory of Evolution: Finally, a society is evolved out of needs of humans to live, eat and co-exist. The society has rules, and is God-fearing and abiding. It is important to follow rules, rage and unsocial behaviour is cut down. Fellow humans are respected and people abide to law and order.
Rama, the complete man would be the Avatar that could be called as the perfect social human being. Rama respected and followed rules of the society. He would also respect the saints and kill those who would torment the sages and the oppressed ones.
Parshuram a.k.a Parashurama, Parashuraman is the sixth avatar of Vishnu. He is son of Renuka and the saptarishi Jamadagni. Parshurama is one of the seven Immortals. Lord Parashuram was the Great Grandson of Bhrugu Rishi, after whom the “Bhruguvansh” has been named. He lived during the last Dvapara Yuga, and is one of the seven immortals or Chiranjivi, of Hinduism. He received an parashu(axe) after undertaking terrible penance to please Shiva, who in turn taught him the martial arts.
Parashurama is most known for ridding the world of kshatriyas twenty-one times over after the mighty king Kartavirya killed his father. He played important roles in the Mahabharata and Ramayana, serving as mentor to Bhishma, Karna and Drona. Parashurama also fought back the advancing seas to save the lands of Konkan, Malabar and Kerala.
Renuka devi and the clay pot
Parshurama’s parents were great spiritual achievers his Mother Renuka devi had command over the water elments and his father Jamadgani over fire. its even said that Renuka devi could fetch water in the even in a wet clay pot. Once Rishi Jamadgani asked Renuka Devi to fetch water in the clay pot, some how Renuka Devi was distracted from the thought of being a women and the clay pot broke. Seeing Renuka Devi wet the enraged Jamadgani called his son Parshurama. He ordered Parshurama to cut Renuka devi’s head. Parshuram obeyed his father. Rishi Jamadgani was so pleased with his son that he asked him for a boon. Parshurama asked Rishi Jamadgani to restore the breaths of his mother, thus Rishi Jamadgani who was the owner of Divya Shakties (divine Powers) brought back the life of Renuka Devi. Kamdhenu Cow
Rishi Jamadgani and Renuka Devi both were blessed not only for having Parshuram as their son but they were also given the Kamdhenu Cow. Once Rishi Jamadgani went out from his Ashram and in the mean while some Kshatriyas (worriers) arrived at their Ashram. They were in search of food, the Ashram Devies gave them food they were so surprised to see the magical cow Kaamdhenu, the cow would give any Dish she asked for. They were so amused and they put up the purposal of buying the cow for their king Kartavirya Sahasrarjuna, but all the Ashram sahadus (sages) and Devies refused. they forcefuly took away the cow. Parshurama killed the entire army of King Kartavirya Sahasrarjun and restored the magical cow. In Revenge Kartavirya Sahasrarjun’s son killed Jamadgani. When ParshuRama returned to the ashram he saw his father’s body . He noticed the 21 scars on Jamadgani’s body and took the pledge to kill all unjust kshatriyas 21 time on this earth. he killed all the sons of king.
Shri Parashuram left home to do devout austerities to please Lord Shiva. Considering his extreme devotion, intense desire and unmoved and perpetual meditation, Lord Shiva was pleased with Shri Parashuram. He presented Shri Parashuram with Divine weapons. Included was His unconquerable and indestructible axe shaped weapon, Parashu. Lord Shiva advised him to go and liberate the Mother Earth from felons, ill-behaved people, extremists, demons and those blind with pride.
Lord Shiva and Parshuram
Once, Lord Shiva challenged Shri Parashuram to a battle to test his skills in warfare. The spiritual master Lord Shiva and the disciple Shri Parashuram were locked in a fierce battle. This dreadful duel lasted for twenty one days. While ducking to avoid being hit by the Trident (Trishul) of Lord Shiva, Shri Parashuram vigorously attacked Him with his Parashu. It struck Lord Shiva on the forehead creating a wound. Lord Shiva was very pleased to see the amazing warfare skills of His disciple. He passionately embraced Shri Parashuram. Lord Shiva preserved this wound as an ornament so that the reputation of his disciple remained imperishable and insurmountable. ‘Khanda-parshu’ (wounded by Parashu) is one of the thousand names (for the salutation) of Lord Shiva.
Shri Parashuram, clipped the thousand arms of Sahasrarjun, one by one, with his Parashu and killed him. He repelled his army by showering arrows on them. The whole country greatly welcomed the destruction of Sahasrarjun. The king of Deities, Indra was so pleased that he presented His most beloved bow named Vijaya to Shri Parashuram. Lord Indra had destroyed demon dynasties with this bow. By the fatal arrows shot with the help of this Vijaya bow, Shri Parashuram destroyed the miscreant Kshatriyas twenty one times. Later Shri Parashuram presented this bow to his disciple Karna when he was pleased with his intense devotion to the Guru. Karna became unconquerable with help of this bow Vijaya presented to him by Shri Parashuram
In Valmiki Ramayana, Parashurama stops the journey of Sri Rama and his family after his marriage to Sita. He threatens to kill Sri Rama and his father, King Dasharatha, begs him to forgive his son and punish him instead. Parashurama neglects Dasharatha and invokes Sri Rama for a challenge. Sri Rama meets his challenge and tells him that he does not want to kill him because he is a Brahmin and related to his guru, Vishwamitra maharshi. But, he destroys his merit earned through penances. Thus, Parashurama’s arrogance gets diminished and he returns to his normal mind.
Mentorship of Drona
At the end of his time in the Vedic period, Parashurama was renouncing his possessions to take sanyasi. As the day progressed, Drona, then a poor Brahmin, approached Parashurama asking for alms. By that time, the warrior-sage had already given the Brahmins his gold and Kasyapa his land, so all that was left were his body and weapons. Parushurama asked which Drona would have, to which the clever Brahmin responded:
“O son of Bhrigu, it behoveth thee to give me all thy weapons together with the mysteries of hurling and recalling them.”
Thus, Parashurama gave all his weapons unto Drona, making him supreme in the science of arms. This becomes crucial as Drona later became the guru to both the Pandavas and the Kauravas who fought against each other in the Kurukshetra War. It is said that Lord Parashurama carried Lord Vishnu’s “Sudharshana Chakra” and “Bow” and Lord Balram’s “Gadha” while they fulfill their education with Guru Sandeepani
According to Puranas, Parashurama travelled to the Himalayas to pay respect to his teacher, Shiva. While travelling, his path was blocked by Ganesha, son of Shiva and Parvati. Parashurama threw his axe at the elephant-god. Ganesha, knowing the weapon had been given to Parashurama by his father, allowed it to sever his left tusk.
His mother Parvati was infuriated, and declared she would cut off the arms of Parashurama. She took the form of Durgama, becoming omnipotent, but at the last moment, Shiva was able to pacify her by making her see the avatar as her own son. Parashurama also asked her forgiveness, and she finally relented when Ganesha himself spoke on behalf of the warrior-saint. Parashurama then gave his divine axe to Ganesha and blessed him. Another name for Ganesha because of this encounter is Ekadanta, or ‘One Tooth’.
Beating back the Arabian Sea
Puranas write that the western coast of India was threatened by tumultuous waves and tempests, causing the land to be overcome by the sea. Parashurama fought back the advancing waters, demanding Varuna release the land of Konkan and Malabar. During their fight, Parashurama threw his axe into the sea. A mass of land rose up, but Varuna told him that because it was filled with salt, the land would be barren.
Parashurama then did a tapasya for Nagaraja, the King of Snakes. Parashurama asked him to spread serpents throughout the land so their venom would neutralize the salt filled earth. Nagaraja agreed, and a lush and fertile land grew. Thus, Parashurama pushed back the coastline between the foothills of the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, creating modern day Kerala.
The coastal area of Kerala, Konkan, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra, are today also known as Parashurama Kshetra or Land of Parashurama in homage. Puranas record that Parashurama placed statues of Shiva at 108 different locations throughout the reclaimed land, which still exist today. Shiva, is the source of kundalini, and it around his neck that Nagaraja is coiled, and so the statues were in gratitude for their baneful cleansing of the land.
Parshurama and Surya:
Parashurama once became annoyed with the sun god Surya for making too much heat. The warrior-sage shot several arrows into the sky, terrifying Surya. When Parashurama ran out of arrows and sent his wife Dharani to bring more, the sun god then focused his rays on her, causing her to collapse. Surya then appeared before Parashurama and gave him two inventions that have since been attributed to the avatar, sandals and an umbrella
Kalaripayattu The indian Martial Arts
Parashurama and the saptarishi Agastya are regarded as the founders of kalaripayattu, the oldest martial art in the world. Parashurama was a master of shastravidya, or the art of weaponry, as taught to him by Shiva. As such, he developed northern kalaripayattu, or vadakkan kalari, with more emphasis on weapons than striking and grappling. Southern kalaripayattu was developed by Agastya, and focuses more on weaponless combat. Kalaripayattu is known as the ‘mother of all martial arts’.
Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen Buddhism, also practiced kalaripayattu. When he traveled to China to spread Buddhism, he brought the martial art with him, which in turn was adapted to become the basis of Shaolin Kung Fu
Unlike other incarnations of Vishnu, Parashurama is a Chiranjivi, and is said to still be doing penance today in Mahendragiri. The Kalki Purana writes that he will reemerge at the end of Kali Yuga to be the martial and spiritual guru of Kalki, the tenth and final avatar of Vishnu. It is foretold that he will instruct Kalki to perform a difficult penance to Shiva, and receive the celestial weaponry needed to bring about end time.
Parashurama as per Theory Of Evolution:
The sixth avatar of Lord Vishnu was Parashuram, a rugged primitive warrior with a battle axe. This form could be a symbol of the cave-man stage of evolution and his usage of the axe could be seen as man’s evolution from the stone age to the iron age. Man had learnt the art of using tools and weapons and exploit the natural resources available to him.
Parashurama is worshipped as mool purush, or founder, of the Bhumihar Brahmin, Chitpavan, Daivadnya, Mohyal, Tyagi, Shukla, Awasthi, saryupareen, Kothiyal, Anavil, Nambudiri bhardwaj and gaud Brahmin communities.
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Vamana (वामन) is described as the fifth avatar of Vishnu, and the first incarnation of the Second Age or Treta yuga. Vamana was born to Aditi and Kashyapa. He is the first avatar to appear with anthropomorphic features, although he does appear as a dwarf Namboothiri Brahmin. He is the twelth of the Adityas. Vamana is also the younger brother of Indra. He is also known as Upendra and Trivikrama.
The Bhagavata Purana describes that Vishnu descended as the Vamana avatar to restore the authority of Indra over the heavens, as it had been taken by Mahabali, a benevolent Asura King. Bali was the great grandson of Hiranyakshipu, the grand son of Prahlada.
Mahabali or Bali was the “daitya” king and his capital was the present day state of Kerala. was the son of Devamba and Virochana. He grew up under the tutelage of his grandfather, Prahlada, who instilled in him a strong sense of righteousness and devotion. He was an extremely devoted follower of Lord Vishnu and was known as a righteous, wise, generous and judicious King. King Mahabali was a generous man who engaged in severe austerities and penance and won the praise of the world. This praise, from his courtiers and others, led him to think of himself as the greatest person in the world. He believed that he can help any one and can donate whatever they ask. Even though he became benevolent, he became pompous of his activities and forgot that the almighty is above him. Dharma says that one should do his duty and helping others is the duty of a king. Mahabali was a devoted worshiper of the Lord. The story is an ample example that the almighty, the Parabrahma is neutral and unbiased; he only tries to balance nature. He showers his divine light to all, irrespective of what they do.
Bali would eventually succeed his grandfather as the king of the Asuras, and his reign over the realm was characterized by peace and prosperity. He would later expand his realm by bringing the entire world under his benevolent rule and was even able to conquer the underworld and Heaven, which he wrested from Indra and the Devas. The Devas, after their defeat at the hands of Bali, approached their patron Vishnu and entreated him to restore their lordship over Heaven.
In Heaven, Bali, on the advice of his guru and advisor, Sukracharya, had begun the Ashwamedha Yaga so as to maintain his rule over the three worlds.
During an Ashwamedha yagna, Bali was granting wishes to his masses out of his generosity.
Vamana, in the guise of a short Brahmin carrying a wooden umbrella, went to the king to request three paces of land. Mahabali consented, against the warning of his guru, Sukracharya. Vamana then revealed his identity and enlarged to gigantic proportions to stride over the three worlds. He stepped from heaven to earth with the first step, from earth to the netherworld with the second. Having left nothing else to offer, for his third and final step, King Bali bowed down infront of the Vamana realizing that he was none other than his Lord Vishnu and asked him to place the third feet as this was the only thing that belonged to him.
Vaman then took the third step and thus raised him to Suthala, the supreme form of heaven. However, looking at his generosity and devotion, Vamana on request of Bali, gave him permission to visit earth once an year to ensure that his masses are well off and happy. The Onam festival is a celebration of welcoming Mahabali home to his lost kingdom. During this festival, beautiful floral decorations are made in every house and boat races are held throughout Kerala. A twenty-one-course feast is the most important part of the Onam festival.
In worshiping Mahabali and his ancestor Prahlada, he conceded sovereignty of Patala, the netherworld. Some texts also report that Vamana did not step into the netherworld, and instead gave its rule to Bali. In giant form, Vamana is known as Trivikrama.
Mahabali symbolizes ahankar, the three feet symbolizes the three planes of existence (Jagrat, Swapna and Sushupthi) and final step is on his head which elevates from all three states and he attains moksha.
Vamana as per Theory Of Evolution:
Some 5 million years ago, Homo Erectus got evolved. The organisms of this species were much more like humans. They walked on two legs, had lesser facial hairs, and had an upper body like a human. However, they were dwarves
The Vamana avatar of Vishnu could also relate to Neanderthals, which are known to be quite shorter than humans.
Some famous temple dedicated for vamana avatar are.
Thrikkakara Temple, Thrikkakkara, Cochin, Kerala.
Thrikkakara Temple is one of the few temples in India dedicated to Lord Vamana. It is situated in Thrikkakara, a village panchayat near Kochi in the state of Kerala, South India.
Ulagalantha Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram in Kanchipuram.
Ulagalantha Perumal Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Vishnu located in Tirukkoyilur, Tamil Nadu, India. Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, the temple is glorified in the Divya Prabandha, the early medieval Tamil canon of the Azhwar saints from the 6th–9th centuries AD. It is one of the 108 Divyadesam dedicated to Vishnu, who is worshipped as Ulagalantha Perumal and his consort Lakshmi as Poongothai Vamana Temple, Eastern Group of Temples, Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh.
Vamana temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Vamana, an avatar of the god Vishnu. The temple was built between assignable to circa 1050-75. It forms part of the Khajuraho Group of Monuments, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Narasimha Avatar (नरसिंह), Narasingh, Narsingh and Narasingha, in derviative languages is an avatar of Vishnu and one of Hinduism’s most popular deities, as evidenced in early epics, iconography, and temple and festival worship for over a millennium.
Narasimha is often visualised as half-man/half-lion, having a human-like torso and lower body, with a lion-like face and claws. This image is widely worshipped in deity form by a significant number of Vaishnava groups. He is known primarily as the ‘Great Protector’ who specifically defends and protects his devotees in times of need. Vishnu is believed to have taken the avatar to destroy the demon king Hiranyakashipu.
Hiranyaksha’s brother Hiranyakashipu wants to take revenge by destroying Lord Vishnu and his followers. He performs penance to please Brahma, the god of creation. Impressed by this act, Brahma offers him any thing he wants.
Hiranyakashipu asks for a tricky boon from Brahma which goes like this.
“O my lord, O best of the givers of benediction, if you will kindly grant me the benediction I desire, please let me not meet death from any of the living entities created by you. Grant me that I not die within any residence or outside any residence, during the daytime or at night, nor on the ground or in the sky. Grant me that my death not be brought about by any weapon, nor by any human being or animal. Grant me that I not meet death from any entity, living or nonliving created by you. Grant me, further, that I not be killed by any demigod or demon or by any great snake from the lower planets. Since no one can kill you in the battlefield, you have no competitor. Therefore, grant me the benediction that I too may have no rival. Give me sole lordship over all the living entities and presiding deities, and give me all the glories obtained by that position. Furthermore, give me all the mystic powers attained by long austerities and the practice of yoga, for these cannot be lost at any time.”
Brahma grants the boon.
With virtually no fear of death he unleashes terror. Declares himself as god and asks people to utter no God’s name except his.
One day while Hiranyakashipu performed austerities at Mandarachala Mountain, his home was attacked by Indra and the other devatas. At this point the Devarshi (divine sage) Narada intervenes to protect Kayadu, whom he describes as sinless.Following this event, Narada takes Kayadu into his care and while under the guidance of Narada, her unborn child (Hiranyakashipu son) Prahalada, becomes affected by the transcendental instructions of the sage even at such a young stage of development. Thus, Prahlada later begins to show symptoms of this earlier training by Narada, gradually becoming recognised as a devoted follower of Vishnu, much to his father’s disappointment.
Hiranyakashipu furious at the devotion of his son to Vishnu, as the god had killed his brother. Finally, he decides to commit filicide. But each time he attempts to kill the boy, Prahlada is protected by Vishu’s mystical power. When asked, Prahlada refuses to acknowledge his father as the supreme lord of the universe and claims that Vishnu is all-pervading and omnipresent.
Hiranyakashipu points to a nearby pillar and asks if ‘his Vishnu’ is in it and says to his son Prahlada. Prahlada then answers,
“He was, He is and He will be.”
Hiranyakashipu, unable to control his anger, smashes the pillar with his mace, and following a tumultuous sound, Vishu in the form of Narasimha appears from it and moves to attack Hiranyakashipu. in defence of Prahlada. In order to kill Hiranyakashipu and not upset the boon given by Brahma, the form of Narasimha is chosen. Hiranyakashipu can not be killed by human, deva or animal. Narasimha is neither one of these as he is a form of Vishu incarnate as a part-human, part-animal. He comes upon Hiranyakashipu at twilight (when it is neither day nor night) on the threshold of a courtyard (neither indoors nor out), and puts the demon on his thighs (neither earth nor space). Using his sharp fingernails (neither animate nor inanimate) as weapons, he disembowels and kills the demon.
Aftermath: There is another story of Lord Shiva fight with Narasimha to calm him. After slaying Hiranyakashipu, Narasimha’s wrath was not appeased. The world trembled, fearing what he might do. The Devas (the gods) requested Shiva to tackle Narasimha.
Initially, Shiva brings forth Virabhadra, one of his terrifying forms, in order to calm Narasimha. When that failed, Shiva manifested as the human-lion-bird Sharabha. Shiva then assumed the Sharabha form.
Sharabha then attacked Narasimha and seized him up until he was immobilized. He thus quelled Narasimha’s terrifying rage. Narasimha became a devotee of Shiva after being bound by Sharabha. Sharabha then decapitated and de-skinned Narasimha so Shiva could wear the hide and lion-head as a garment. The Linga Purana and Sharabha Upanishad also mention this mutilation and murder of Narasimha. After the mutilation, Vishnu assumed his normal form and retired to his abode, after duly praising Shiva. It was from here on that Shiva came to be known as “Sharabeshamurti” or “Simhagnamurti”.
This myth is particularly interesting because it brings to forth the past rivalries between Shaivites and Vaishnavites.
Narasimha as per Theory Of Evolution:
The mammals or semi-amphibians gradually evolved to become human-like creatures, which could walk on two legs, used their hands to hold things, but the brain was still not that developed. They had a human like lower body and animal like upper body.
Though not exactly apes, Narsimha Avatar fits into the above description pretty well. Though not a direct reference, it would certainly mean an ape man.
An interesting point here is that those who are aware of the story of Narsimha, he appears at a time, place and setting, where each attribute is in the middle of two things(neither human nor animal, neither at home nor outside, neither day nor night)
Temples: There are more than 100 temples of Narasimha. Of which, the famous are, Ahobilam. Ahobalam is located in the Allagadda mandal of Kurnool district in Andhra Pradesh. This is the place where the Lord killed Hiranyakasipu and saved Prahalada.
Sri Lakshmi Narasimhar Temple, Which is located about 55 km from Chennai and 21 km from Arakkonam, in Narasingapuram, Thiruvallur
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Varaha avatar (वराह) is the third avatar of the Vishnu which is in the form of a boar. When the demon (asura) Hiranyaksha stole the Earth (personified as the goddess Bhudevi) and hid her in the primordial waters, Vishnu appeared as Varaha to rescue her. Varaha slew the demon and retrieved the Earth from the ocean, lifting it on his tusks, and restored Bhudevi to her place in the universe.
Jaya and Vijaya are the two gatekeepers (dwarapalakas) of the abode of Vishnu (Vaikuntha Lok). According to the Bhagavata Purana, the Four Kumaras, Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana, and Sanatkumara, who are the manasaputras of Brahma (sons born from the mind or thought power of Brahma), were wandering across the worlds, and one day decide to pay a visit to Narayana – the form of Vishnu that rests on Shesh naga.
The Sanat Kumaras approach Jaya and Vijaya and ask to be let in. Now due to the strength of their tapas, the four Kumaras appear to be mere children, though they are of great age. Jaya and Vijaya, the gate keepers of the Vaikuntha stop the Kumaras at the gate mistaking them as children. They also tell the Kumaras that Sri Vishnu is resting and that they cannot see him now. The enraged Kumaras tell Jaya and Vijaya that Vishnu is available for his devotees any time, and cursed both of them that they would have to give up their divinity, be born as mortals on Earth and live like humans.
So now they were born on earth as Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashipu to the sage Kashyapa and his wife Diti and were one of the Daityas, a race of demons originating from Diti.
The demon brothers were manifestations of pure evil and create havoc in the universe. The elder brother Hiranyaksha practises tapas (austerities) and is blessed by Brahma with a boon that makes him indestructible by any animal or human. He and his brother torment the inhabitants of earth as well as the gods and engage in war with the latter. Hiranyaksha takes the earth (personified as the goddess Bhudevi) and hides her in the primordial waters. The earth gives a loud cry of distress as she is kidnapped by the demon,
Since Hiranyaksha had not included the boar in the list of animals that would not be able to kill him, Vishnu assumes this form with huge tusks and goes down to the primordial ocean. Varaha has four arms, two of which hold the Sudarshana chakra (discus) and shankha (conch), while the other two hold a gada (mace), a sword, or a lotus or one of them makes the varadamudra (gesture of blessing). Varaha may be depicted with all of Vishnu’a attributes in his four hands: the Sudarshana chakra, the shankha, the gada and the lotus. In the Bhagavata Purana, Varaha emerges as a tiny beast (a size of a thumb) from the nostrils of Brahma, but soon starts to grow. Varaha’s size increases to that of an elephant and then to that of an enormous mountain. The scriptures emphasize his gigantic size. The Vayu Purana describes Varaha as 10 yojanas (The range of a yojana is disputed and ranges between 6–15 kilometere (3.7–9.3 mi) in width and a 1000 yojanas in height. He is large as a mountain and blazing like the sun. Dark like a rain cloud in complexion, his tusks are white, sharp and fearsome. His body is the size of the space between the earth and the sky. His thunderous roar is frightening. In one instance, his mane is so fiery and fearsome that Varuna, the god of the waters, requests Varaha to save him from it. Varaha complies and folds his mane.
In the ocean, Varaha encounters Hiranyaksha, who obstructs his path and challenges him for a duel. The demon mocks Varaha as the beast and warns him not to touch earth. Ignoring the demon’s threats, Varaha lifts the earth on his tusks. Hiranyaksha charges towards the boar in rage with a mace. The two fiercely fight with maces. Finally, Varaha slays the demon after a thousand-year duel. Varaha rises from the ocean with the earth in his tusks and places her gently above it in her original position, as the gods and the sages sing Varaha’s praises.
Further, the earth goddess Bhudevi falls in love with her rescuer Varaha. Vishnu – in his Varaha form – marries Bhudevi, making her one of the consorts of Vishnu. In one narrative, Vishnu and Bhudevi indulge in vigorous embraces and as a result, Bhudevi becomes fatigued and faints, sinking a little in the primordial ocean. Vishnu again acquires the form of Varaha and rescues her, reinstating her in her original position above the waters.
Varaha as per Theory Of Evolution: Reptiles gradually evolved to form the semi-amphibians, which later evolved to form first complete animals, which could exist purely on land. They could bear children and walk on land.
Varaha, or the boar was the third Avatar of Vishnu. Interestingly, boar was the first mammal to have whose teeth were at the front, and so didnt swallow food but eat more like humans.
Sri Varahaswami Temple in Tirumala, Andhra Pradesh. It is located on the shores of a temple pond, called the Swami Pushkarini, in Tirumala, near Tirupati. The region is called Adi-Varaha Kshestra, the abode of Varaha.
Another important temple is the Bhuvarahaswami Temple in Srimushnam town, to the northeast of Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu. It was built in the late 16th century by Krishnappa II, a Thanjavur Nayak ruler.
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In Dashavatars, Kurma (कूर्म; ) was the second Avatar of Vishnu, succeeding Matsya and preceding Varaha. Like Matsya this incarnation also occurred in Satya yuga.
Durvasa, The Sage, once gave a garland to Indra, the king of Gods. Indra placed the garland around his elephant, but the animal trampled it, insulting the sage. Durvasa then cursed the Gods to lose their immortality, strength, and all the divine powers. After losing the kingdom of heaven, and every thing they once had and enjoyed, they approached Vishnu for help.
Vishnu advised that they had to drink the nectar of immortality (Amrit) to regain their glory. Now to obtain the nectar of immortality, they needed to churn the ocean of milk, a body of water so large they needed Mount Mandara as the churning staff, and the serpent Vasuki as the churning rope. The Devas were not strong enough to churn on their own, and declared peace with their foes, the Asuras, to enlist their help.
The gods and demons got together for the the herculean task. The huge mountain, Mandara, was used as the pole to stir the waters. But the force was so great the mountain began to sink into the ocean of milk. To stop this, Vishnu quickly transformed himself into a tortoise and placed the mountain on his back. This image of Vishnu as the tortoise was his second avatar, ‘Kurma.’
Once the pole was balanced, it was tied to the gigantic snake, Vasuki, and the gods and demons started pulling it from either side.
As the churning began and the massive waves whirled, from the depths of the ocean also came out the ‘Halahal’ Or ‘Kalkoot’ visha(poison). When the poison was taken out, it started heating up the cosmos considerably. Such was its heat that people started running in dread, animals started dying and plants started withering. The “Visha” had no taker hence Shiva came to everyone’s rescue and he drank the Visha. But, he did not swallow it. He kept the poison in his throat. Since then, Shiva’s throat became blue, and he came to be known as Neelkantha or the blue-throated one. This is the reason why shiva is always high on marijuana, being a God.
The churning continued and poured forth a number of gifts and treasures. They included Kamdhenu, the wish-fulfilling cow; the goddess of wealth, Laxmi; the wish-fulfilling tree, Kalpavriksha; and finally, came Dhanvantari carrying the pot of amrita and a book of medicine called Ayurveda. Once the amrita was out, the demons forcefully took it away. Two demons, Rahu and Ketu, disguised themselves as gods and drank the amrita. The sun and moon gods recognised it to be a trick and complained to Vishnu, who in turn, severed their heads with his Sudarshan Chakra. As the divine nectar did not get time to reach below the throat, the heads remained immortal, but the body below died. This helps Rahu and Ketu take revenge on the Sun and Moon by devouring them every year during solar and lunar eclipse.
Kurma as per Theory Of Evolution:
The second step of evolution of life, were creatures that could live on land as well as in water, like
the tortoise. The reptiles appeared almost 385 million years ago on earth.
As mentioned above, Kurma Avatar is in form of a tortoise.
There are three temples dedicated to this incarnation of Vishnu in India, Kurmai of Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh, Sri Kurmam in Andhra Pradesh, and Gavirangapur in the Chitradurg District of Karnataka.
The name of the village Kurmai mentioned above originated as there is historical temple of Kurma Varadarajaswamy(Kurmavatar of Lord Vishnu) god in this village. The temple located in srikurmam in srikakulam district, andhra pradesh is also the avatara of kurma.
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Matsya is said to be the first avatar of Vishnu. He is a fish (or sometimes depicted as half man and half fish like a mermaid). He is said to have rescued the first man from a flood in a story that seems to have influenced the Noah flood story (or, perhaps more likely, both stories were influenced by a common source). Matsya is associated with the beginning of the world.
Matsya (मत्स्य, Fish) is the avatar of the Vishnu in the form of a fish, preceding Kurma. It is listed as the first avatar in the lists of the ten primary avatars of Vishnu. Matsya is described to have rescued the first man, Manu, from a great deluge. Matsya may be depicted as a giant fish, or anthropomorphically with a human torso connected to the rear half of a fish.
One Line Explaination of this avatar is: In this avatar, Vishnu Warn Mahapralaya (Big Flood) and Rescue Vedas. Vishnu also saved the Saint Vaivaswata.
This avatar was taken by Maha Vishnu to save the humanity and the sacred Veda text from the flood in the Satiyuga. In Matsya Avatar, Lord Vishnu incarnates himself as a fish in this world and informs King Manu that the world would come to an end by a huge flood in seven days and to survive this and move on to the next yug the king to build a huge boat and take the seven sages, seeds of all plants, one animal of each type along with him. The matsya told Manu that he would appear on the seventh day to propel the boat to Mt Himavan. True to his word, lord Vishnu appeared before Manu in his avatar as fish and propelled the Boat to Mt Himavan and kept them there till the flood was over. The story is:
Many years ago, the whole world was destroyed. The destruction in fact extended to all the three lokas (worlds) of bhuloka, bhuvarloka and svarloka. Bhuloka is the earth, svarloka or svarga is heaven and bhuvarloka is a region between the earth and heaven. All three worlds were flooded with water. Vaivasvata Manu was the son of the sun-god. He had spent ten thousand years in prayers and tapasya (meditation) in the hermitage vadrika. This hermitage was on the banks of the river Kritamala.
Unfolding the Story of King Satyavrata and his role in the context of Mahavishnu’s Incarnation as a Giant Fish, Suka Maha Muni informed King Parikshith that the former King would become the Seventh Manu as Sraddhadeva. The incident of the Incarnation of the Lord as Fish was recalled in this context since King Satyavrata was once paying offerings of water in River Kirtimala, a small fish appeared on his palms and requested him not to throw it back in the River as big fishes might swallow it and as such keep it safe in a pot.
Once Manu came to the river to perform his ablutions. He immersed his hands in the water to get some water for his ablutions. When he raised them, he found that there was a small fish swimming in the water in the cup of his hands. Manu was about to throw the fish back into the water when the fish said, “Don’t throw me back. I am scared of alligators and crocodiles and big fishes. Save me.”
Manu found an earthen pot in which he could keep the fish. But soon the fish became too big for the pot and Manu had to find a larger vessel in which the fish might be kept. But the fish became too big for this vessel as well and Manu had to transfer the fish to a lake. But the fish grew and grew and became too large for the lake.
So, Manu transferred the fish to the ocean. In the ocean, the fish grew until it became gigantic.
By now, Manu’s wonder knew no bounds. He said, “Who are you? You must be the Lord Vishnu, I bow down before you. Tell me, why are you tantalising me in the form of a fish?” The fish replied, “I have come to punish the evil and protect the good. Seven days from now, the ocean will flood the entire world and all beings will be destroyed. But since you have saved me, I will save you. When the world is flooded, a boat will arrive here. Take the saptarshis (seven sages) with you and spend the terrible night that will come on that boat. Don’t forget to take the seeds of foodgrains with you.
Will arrive and you will then fasten the boat to my horn with a huge snake.”
Matsya avatar saving Manu and the seven sages in Maha PralaySaying this, the fish disappeared. Everything happened as the fish had promised it would. The ocean became turbulent and Manu climbed into the boat. He tied the boat to the huge horn that the fish had. He prayed to the fish and the fish related the Matsya Purana to him. Eventually, when the water receded, the boat was anchored to the topmost peak of the Himalyas. And living beings were created once again. A danava (demon) named Hayagriva had stolen the sacred texts of the Vedas and the knowledge of the brahman. In his form of a fish, Vishnu also killed Hayagriva and recovered the Vedas.
Matsya Jayanti is a day which is celebrated as a birth day of first incarnation of Lord Vishnu on the earth as Matsya Avatar. On that day lord Vishnu had Lord Vishnu born as a one horned fish. He had born as on the 3rd day of Shukla Paksh of the month of Chaitra month according to the Hindu calendar.
Matsya as per Theory Of Evolution:
In the evolution chronology, life evolved in the waters and thus the first form of life is an aquatic animal i.e. the fish (matsya). Proto-Amphibians that primarily lived in water can be seen as the first stage of life.
Lord Vishnu took the form of a huge fish and towed the primordial boat carrying good people and cattle to the new world of the future through the waters of the great deluge.
As per the theory of evolution, These creatures first appeared some 540 million years ago.
A starking resemblance is the first Avatar of Vishnu, Matsya Avatar, which was actually a fish that helped Manu save the world.