Dashavatara ( दशावतार) refers to the ten avatars of Vishnu, the Hindu god of preservation. Vishnu is said to descend in form of an avatar to restore cosmic order. Vishnu is a member of hindu Trinity who preserves the cosmic order.
The Dashavataras or the incarnations were taken by Vishnu to re-establish dharma or righteousness and destroy tyranny and injustice on earth.
In the basic Hindu Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, the Hindu god Vishnu is the preserver and protector of creation. Vishnu is the embodiment of mercy and goodness, the self-existent, all-pervading power that preserves the universe and maintains the cosmic order Dharma.
Vishnu is often represented resting on the coiled serpent Shesha, with Vishnu’s consort Lakshmi massaging his feet. Vishnu never sleeps and is the deity of Shanti, the peaceful mood. Vishnu does not however tolerate Ego.
Most often, the Hindu god Vishnu is shown with four attributes or weapons. In one hand Vishnu holds the conch or Sankha. The second hand of Vishnu holds the disc. The third hand of Vishnu holds the club and in the fourth hand Vishnu holds the lotus or Padma. Vishnu also has a bow called Sarnga and a sword called Nandaka.
Most of the time, good and evil forces are evenly matched in the world. But at times, the balance is destroyed and evil demons get the upper hand. Often in response to a request by the other gods, Vishnu then incarnates in a human form to set the balance right again. 10 Vishnu incarnations are generally recognized as the most important Vishnu avatars, even though opinions differ naturally and some sources may also see other important figures of the indian heritage as incarnations of Vishnu.
As there are total 24 incarnations but these are considerred as main ten incarnations.
The list of Dashavatara varies across sects and regions.
The list is:
Sometimes, Krishna replaces Vishnu as the source of all avatars and Balarama takes Krishna’s place in the list. Buddha may be dropped from the list and substituted by regional deities like Vithoba or Jagannath, or Balarama.
The Dashavatara order is interpreted to convey Darwin’s evolution.
The first four avatars of Vishnu i.e. Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Narasimha appeared in Satya or Krita Yuga, the first of the four Yugas, also called ‘The Golden Age’.
The next three avatars of vishnu i.e. Vamana, Parashurama, Ramaappeared in Treta Yuga,
The eighth and ninth avatars of Vishnu i.e. Krishna And Buddha in Dwapara Yuga.
And the tenth avatars of Vishnu i.e. Kalki will appear in Kali Yuga. The time till completion for Kali Yuga is in 427,000 years. In the Vishnu Purana and the Bhagavata Purana, the Kali-yuga is described as ending with the appearance of Kalki, who will defeat the wicked, liberate the virtuous, and initiate a new Satya or Kalki Yuga.
Here is the list of 24 incarnations of Lord Vishnu:
- Adi Purush Avatar (pre-eminent man)
- Sanat Kumara – Brahma Manasaputra
- Varaha Avatar (boar incarnation)
- Narada Avatar
- Nara Narayana Avatar
- Kapila Avatar
- Dattatreya Avatar (Datta Avatara)
- Yagya Avatar – Yagna born to Prajapati and Akuti
- Rishabh Avatar – Rishabhadeva Avatar
- Prithu Avatar
- Matsya Avatar – Fish incarnation
- Kurma Avatar or Kachchap Avatar – Tortoise incarnation
- Dhanvantari avatar – the Lord of medicine
- Mohini avatar – incarnation as a most enchanting woman
- Narasimha avatar – incarnation in the form of half-man and half-lion
- Hayagreeva avatar – incarnation with horse face
- Vamana avatar – incarnation as a dwarf
- Parshurama avatar
- Vyas avatar – Veda Vyasa incarnation
- Sri Rama avatar
- Balarama avatar
- Sri Krishna avatar
- Buddha avatar
- Kalki avatar – Lord Vishnu will be incarnated as Kalki at the end of the Kaliyuga.
Next part, we will explain every Avatars of Lord Vishnu in detail and the Motive of the avatars along with the Relation with respet to the Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.