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Navgraha

In Vedic astrology, there are 9 planets. These are known as Nav (9) and grahas (planets ).

Navgraha
Navgraha

The nine bodies (navagraha)

  1. Sun (Soorya)
  2. Moon (Chandra)
  3. Mars (Mangla/Sevvai)
  4. Mercury (Budha)
  5. Jupiter (Guru)
  6. Venus (Sukra)
  7. Saturn (Shani)
  8. Upper lunar node (Rahu)
  9. Lower lunar node (Ketu)

Surya

Surya is the chief, the solar deity, one of the Adityas, son of Kasyapa and one of his wives Aditi, of Indra. He has hair and arms of gold. His chariot is pulled by seven horses, which represent the seven chakras. He presides as “Ravi” over “Ravi-vaara” or Sunday.

Surya the sun God | Hindu Faq's
Surya the sun God | Hindu Faq’s

In Hindu religious literature, Surya is notably mentioned as the visible form of God that one can see every day. Furthermore, Shaivites and Vaishnavas often regard Surya as an aspect of Shiva and Vishnu, respectively. For example, the sun is called Surya Narayana by Vaishnavas. In Shaivite theology, Surya is said to be one of eight forms of Shiva, named the Astamurti.

He is said to be of Sattva Guna and represents the Soul, the King, highly placed persons or fathers.

According to Hindu scriptures, among the more renowned progenies of Surya are Shani (Saturn), Yama(God of Death) and Karna (Mahabharata fame).

Stotra:
Javaa kusuma sankasam kashyapeyam mahadutim
Tamorim sarva paapghnam pranatosmi divakaram

Chandra

Chandra the Moon God | The Hindu FAQs
Chandra the Moon God | The Hindu FAQs

Chandra is a lunar deity. Chandra (moon) is also known as Soma and identified with the Vedic Lunar deity Soma. He is described as young, beautiful, fair; two-armed and having in his hands a club and a lotus. He rides his chariot (the moon) across the sky every night, pulled by ten white horses or an antelope. He is connected with dew, and as such, is one of the gods of fertility. He is also called Nishadipati (Nisha=night; Adipathi=Lord) and Kshuparaka (one who illuminates the night).
He as Soma, presides over Somavaaram or Monday. He is of Sattva Guna and represents the Mind, the Queen or Mother.

Stotra:
Dadhi shankha tushaarabham ksheero darnava sambhavam
Namaami shashinam somam shambhor mukuta bhooshanam.

Mangala

Mangal | The Hindu FAQs
Mangal | The Hindu FAQs

Mangala is Bhauma (‘son of Bhumi’ or Bha) in Sanskrit. He is the god of war and is celibate. He is considered the son of Prithvi or Bhumi, the Earth Goddess. He is the owner of the Aries and Scorpio signs, and a teacher of the occult sciences (Ruchaka Mahapurusha Yoga). He is of Tamas Guna in nature and represents Energetic action, confidence and ego. He is painted red or flame colour, four-armed, carrying a trident, club, lotus and a spear. His Vahana (mount) is a ram. He presides over ‘Mangala-vaara’ or Tuesday.

Stotra:
Dharanee garbha sambhootam vidyut kaanti samaprabham
Kumaram shakti hastam tam mangalam pranamamyaham.

Budha

Budha is the god of the planet Mercury and the son of Chandra (the moon) with Tara (Taraka). He is also the god of merchandise and protector of merchants. He is of Rajas Guna and represents Communication.

Budha | The hindu FAQs
Budha | The hindu FAQs

He is represented as being mild, eloquent and of greenish colour. He is represented holding a scimitar, a club and a shield, riding a winged lion in Ramghur temple. In other illustrations, he holds a sceptre and lotus and rides a carpet or an eagle or a chariot drawn by lions. Budha presides over ‘Budha-vaaram’ or Wednesday.

Stotra:
Priyangu kalika shyaamam roopena pratimam budham
Soumyam soumya gunopetam tam budham pranamamyaham

Guru

Brihaspati is the Guru of Devas, personification of piety and religion, the chief offerer of prayers and sacrifices, represented as the Purohita of the gods with whom he intercedes for men. He is the Lord of planet Jupiter. He is of Sattva Guna and represents knowledge and teaching. He is often known simply as “Guru”.

Guru or Jupiter | The hindu FAQs
Guru or Jupiter | The hindu FAQs

According to Hindu scriptures, he is the guru of the Devas and the nemesis of Shukracharya, the guru of the Danavasa. He is also known Guru, the god of wisdom and eloquence, to whom various works are ascribed, such as the “atheistic” Barhaspatya sutras. Guru is usually depicted with an elephant or chariot drawn by eight horses as his vehicle. He is also depicted in a lotus flower.

His Tattva or element is Akasha or ether, and his direction is north-east. He is described of yellow or golden colour and holding a stick, a lotus and his beads. He presides over ‘Guru-vaaram’, Brihaspativaara or Thursday.

Stotra:
Devanaam cha rishinaam cha gurum kaanchan sannibhaam
Buddhi bhootam trilokesham tam namaami brihaspatim.

Shukra

Shukra, Sanskrit for “clear, pure” or “brightness, clearness”, is the name the son of Bhrigu and Ushana, and preceptor of the Daityas, and the guru of the Asuras, identified with the planet Venus (Shukracharya). He presides over ‘Shukra-vaara’ or Friday. He is Rajas in nature and represents wealth, pleasure and reproduction.

Shukra or Venus | The Hindu FAQs
Shukra or Venus | The Hindu FAQs

He is of white complexion, middle-aged and of agreeable countenance. He is described variously mounted, on a camel or a horse or a crocodile. He holds a stick, beads and a lotus and sometimes a bow and arrow.

Stotra:
Hima kundaa mrinalaabham daityanaam paramam gurum
Sarv shastra pravaktaaram bhargavem pranamamyaham.

Shani

Shani is one of the nine primary celestial beings in Hindu astrology (that is, Vedic astrology). Shani is embodied in the planet Saturn. Shani is the son of Surya. His Tattva or element is air, and his direction is west. He is Tamas in nature and represents learning the hard way, Career and Longevity.

Shani or Saturn | The Hindu FAQs
Shani or Saturn | The Hindu FAQs

The origin of word Shani(शनि) comes from the following: Shanaye Kramati Sa: (शनये क्रमति सः) i.e. the one who moves slowly. Shani is actually a demi-god and is a son of Surya (the Hindu Sun God) and surya’s wife Chhaya. It is said that when he opened his eyes as a baby for the very first time, the sun went into an eclipse, which clearly denotes the impact of Shani on astrological charts (horoscope).

He is depicted dark in colour, clothed in black; holding a sword, arrows and two daggers and variously mounted on a black crow or a raven. He presides over ‘Shani-var’ or Saturday.

Stotra:
Neelanjana samaabhasam ravi putram yamagrajam
Chaaya martanda sambhootam tam namaami shanaischaram.

Rahu

Rahu is God of the Ascending / North lunar node. Rahu is the head of the demonic snake that swallows the sun or the moon causing eclipses, according to Hindu scriptures. He is depicted in art as a dragon with no body riding a chariot drawn by eight black horses. He is a Tamas Asura who does his best to plunge any area of one’s life he controls into chaos. The rahu kala is considered inauspicious.

Rahu the lod of the Ascending | The Hindu Faqs
Rahu the lod of the Ascending | The Hindu Faqs

According to legend, during the Samudra manthan, the asura Rahu drank some of the divine nectar. But before the nectar could pass his throat, Mohini (the female avatar of Vishnu) cut off his head. The head, however, remained immortal and is called Rahu, while the rest of the body became Ketu. It is believed that this immortal head occasionally swallows the sun or the moon, causing eclipses. Then, the sun or moon passes through the opening at the neck, ending the eclipse.

Stotra:
Ardha Kaayam mahaa veeryam chandraditya vimardhanam
Simhika garbha sambhootam tam rahum pranamaamyaham.

Ketu

Ketu the Lord of Descending
Ketu the Lord of Descending

Ketu is the Lord of Descending. He is considered as Tail of the Demon Snake. It is believed to have a tremendous impact on human lives and also the whole creation. In some special circumstances it helps someone achieve the zenith of fame. He is Tamas in nature and represents supernatural influences.

Stotra:
Palaash pushpa sankaasham taraka graha mastakam
Roudram roudraatmakam ghoram tam ketum pranamaamyaham.

Graha Stuti:
Brahma, Muraari, Sripuraantakaari, Bhanu, Shashi, Bhoomisuto, Budhascha
Guruscha, Shukra, Shani, Rahu, Ketavah, kuruvantu sarve mama suprabhatam

 

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Guru Shisha

Trikal sandhya are the three shlokas which are expected to recite when you wake you wake up, before eating and before sleeping. The trikal is for 3 phases of day. These shlokas or slokas are as below.

Guru Shisha
Photo credits: www.hinduhumanrights.info

After you wake up:

कराग्रे वसते लक्ष्मीः करमूले सरस्वती।
करमध्ये तु गोविन्द: प्रभाते कर दर्शनम॥
समुद्रवसने देवि पर्वतस्तनमंडले।
विष्णुपत्नि नमस्तुभ्यं पादस्पर्श क्षमस्व मे॥
वसुदेवसुतं देवं कंसचाणूरमद्रनम्।
देवकीपरमानन्दम कृष्णं वन्दे जगद्गुरुम्॥

Translation:

Karagre vasate Lakshmeehi Karamoole Sarasvatee |
Kara-madhye tu Govindah Prabhaate kara-darshanam ||

Samudra-vasane Devi Parvata-sthana-mandale |
Vishnupatni
namas-tubhyam Paada-sparsham kshamasva me ||

Vasudeva-sutan Devam Kansa-Chaanura-mardanam |
Devaki-paramaa
nandam Krushnam vande jagad-gurum ||

Meaning: The Goddess of wealth, Lakshmee resides at the fingertips, the Goddess of knowledge, Sarasvatee resides at the base of the palm and the Lord Krishna (Govida) resides in the middle of the palm and therefore we must look at our palm every morning.

Oh! Mother Earth, oceans are your clothes, mountains are your bosom, wife of Lord Vishnu, I bow to thee. Please forgive me for the touch of my feet.
Son of Vasudev, the destroyer (demons) Kansa and Chanura, Supreme bliss of Devaki (mother), the guru of the world, Lord Krishna, I Salute thee.

Before eating:-

यज्ञशिष्टाशिनः सन्तो मुच्यन्ते सर्वकिल्विषैः।
भुञ्जते ते त्वघं पापा ये पचम्त्यात्मकारणात्॥
यत्करोषि यदश्नासि यज्जहोषि ददासि यत्।
यत्तपस्यसि कौन्तेय तत्कुरुष्व मदर्पणम्॥
अहं वैश्र्वानरो भूत्वा ग्राणिनां देहमाश्रितः।
प्राणापानसमायुक्तः पचाम्यन्नं चतुर्विधम्।।
ॐ सह नाववतु सह नौ भनक्तु सह वीर्यं करवावहै।
तेजस्वि नावघीतमस्तु मा विहिषावहै।।
ॐ शांतिः शांतिः शांतिः।।

Translation:

Yagna-shishtaa-shinah santo muchyante sarva-kilbishaih |
Bhunjate
te tvagham paapaa ye pachantyaatma-kaaranaat ||

Yat-karoshi yadashnaasi yaj yaj-juhoshi dadaasi yat |
Yat-tapasyasi
Kaunteya tat-kurushva madarpanam ||

Om saha naa-vavatu saha nau bhunaktu saha viryam karavaa-vahai |
tejasvi
naa-vadhi-tamastu maa vidvishaa-vahai ||
Om shaantih shaantih shaantihi

Meaning: The devotees of God are freed from all sins because they eat food which is offered (to
God) first for (Yagna) sacrifice. Others who cook food only for themselves truly “eat sin.”

O! Kaunteya (Arjun), son of Kunti, all that you do, all that you eat, offer it as a sacrifice. Whatever austerity you perform, do it as an offering to me.
“I reside in humans and also animals, I am the fire which digests the four kinds of food and I control the breathing and other functions of the body.”

Oh! Lord, protect and defend us both. Let us do divine work together. Let our knowledge be radiant. Let us not envy each other, and let us always live in peace and harmony.

Before sleeping:

कृष्णाय वासुदेवाय हरये परमात्मने।
प्रणतक्लेशनाशाय गोविन्दाय नमो नमः॥
करचरणकृतं वाक् कायजं कर्मजं वा
श्रवणनयनजं वा मानसं वाअपराधम्।
विहितमविहितं वा सर्वमेतत् क्षमस्व
जय जय करुणाब्धे श्री महादेव शंभो॥
त्वमेव माता च पिता त्वमेव
त्वमेव बन्धुश्च सखा त्वमेव।
त्वमेव विद्या द्रविणं त्वमेव
त्वमेव सर्वं मम देवदेव॥

Translation:

Krushnaaya Vaasudevaaya haraye Parmaatmane |
Pranata-klesha-naashaaya
Govindaaya namo namah ||

Kara-charan-krutam vaak-kaaya-jam karmajam vaa
shravana-nayanajam
vaa manasam va-aparadham |
Vihitam-avihitam
va sarva-me-tat kshamasva jaya jaya karunaabdhe
Shree Mahaadeva Shambho ||

Tvameva maataa cha pitaa tvameva tvameva bandhush-cha sakhaa tvameva |
Tvameva
vidyaa dravinam tvameva tvameva sarvam mama deva-deva ||

Meaning: I bow and pray to Lord Krushna, son of Vasudev, he who takes away sorrow, suffering and troubles of those who ask for his protection.

Oh! Mahadev, the Ocean of Compassion, please forgive me if I have done anything wrong, knowingly or unknowingly by my hands, feet, by my speech, body, by my actions, by my ears, eyes, by my mind. Let victory be yours.

Oh! God! (Oh Supreme Being) You are my mother, you are my father, you are my brother, you are my friend, you are the knowledge, you are the wealth, and you are everything to
me.

Credits: Swadhyay Pariwar

Bhima trying to lift hanuman's tail

The emblem of Hanuman on the flag of Arjuna is another sign of victory because Hanuman cooperated with Lord Rama in the battle between Rama and Ravana, and Lord Rama emerged victorious.

Krishna as saarthi in mahabharata
Krishna as saarthi where as Hanuman on Flag in mahabharata

Lord Krishna is Rama Himself, and wherever Lord Rama is, His eternal servitor Hanuman and His eternal consort Sita, the goddess of fortune, are present.

Therefore, Arjuna had no cause to fear any enemies whatsoever. And above all, the Lord of the senses, Lord Krishna, was personally present to give him direction. Thus, all good counsel was available to Arjuna in the matter of executing the battle. In such auspicious conditions, arranged by the Lord for His eternal devotee, lay the signs of assured victory.

Hanuman, decorating the chariot’s flag, was ready to shout his war cries to help Bhima terrify the enemy. Earlier, the Mahabharata had described a meeting between Hanuman and Bhima.

Once, while Arjuna was seeking celestial weapons, the remaining Pandavas wandered to Badarikashrama, high in the Himalayas. Suddenly, the alakananda River carried to Draupadi a beautiful and fragrant thousand-petaled lotus flower. Draupadi was captivated by its beauty and scent. “Bhima, this lotus flower is so beautiful. I should offer it to Yudhisthhira Maharaja. Could you get me a few more? We could take some back to our hermitage in Kamyaka.”

Bhima grabbed his club and charged up the hill where no mortals were permitted. As he ran, he bellowed and frightened elephants and lions. He uprooted trees as he pushed them aside. Not caring for the ferocious beasts of the jungle, he climbed a steep mountain until his progress was blocked by a huge monkey lying across the path.

“Why are you making so much noise and scaring all the animals?” the monkey said. “Just sit down and eat some fruit.”
“Move aside,” ordered Bhima, for etiquette forbade him to step over the monkey.

The monkey’s reply?
“I am too old to move. Jump over me.”

Bhima, becoming angry, repeated his order, but the monkey, again pleading the weakness of old age, requested Bhima to simply move his tail aside.

Proud of his immense strength, Bhima thought to pull the monkey out of the way by its tail. But, to his amazement, he could not move it in the least, though he exerted all his strength. In shame, he bent down his head and politely asked the monkey who he was. The monkey revealed his identity as Hanuman, his brother and told him that he stopped him to prevent him from the dangers and rakshasas in the forest.

Bhima trying to lift hanuman's tail
Bhima trying to lift hanuman’s tail : Photo by – VachalenXEON

Transported with delight, Bhima requested Hanuman to show him the form in which he crossed the ocean. Hanuman smiled and began to increase his size to the extent Bhima realized he had grown beyond the size of the mountain. Bhima bowed before him and told him that inspired with his strength, he was sure to conquer his enemies.

Hanuman gave parting blessing to his brother: “While you roar like a lion in the battlefield, my voice shall join yours and strike terror into the heart of your enemies. I shall be present on the flag of the chariot of your brother Arjuna. You will be victorious.”

He then offered Bhima the following blessings.
“I shall remain present on the flag of your brother Arjuna. When you roar like a lion on the battlefield, my voice will join with yours to strike terror into the hearts of your enemies. You will be victorious and regain your kingdom.”

Hanuman on flag of Arjuna's Chariot
Hanuman on flag of Arjuna’s Chariot

Also Read

What is the story of Panchamukhi Hanuman

Photo Credits:Google images, The owners and Original artists, VachalenXEON
The hindu Faqs doesnot own any of the images.

Shiva and Parvati as Ardhanarisvara

There is a concept of prakriti and purush in Hinduism. Its a bit tough to explain but let me try to explain you in short. (I will write a big post of prakriti and purush explaining each and every small details later)

Samkhya:  Samkhya or Sankhya is one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy. Samkhya is strongly dualist.
It regards the universe as consisting of two realities, Pursha (consciousness) and Prakriti (matter).
a living being or Jiva is that state in which purusha is bonded to prakriti in some form. This fusion, state the Samkhya scholars, led to the emergence of buddhi (“spiritual awareness”) and ahankara (individualized ego consciousness).

The universe is described by this school as one created by Purusha-Prakriti entities infused with various permutations and combinations of variously enumerated elements, senses, feelings, activity and mind.

During the state of imbalance, one of more constituents overwhelm the others, creating a form of bondage, particularly of the mind. The end of this imbalance, bondage is called liberation, or moksha by Samkhya school of Hinduism.

Simplify:
Its a big topic, so i’ll just simplify it for you. Just learn this,
Prakriti = material reality and Purusha = spiritual reality

Material reality is to please our five senses.  Sight, Hearing, Taste, Smell and touch are the five senses that we have. We work and do everything to please them. Every little and big thing you do in your life is to please one or all of these. From cleaning your house to visiting romantic places and to taste exotic foods.
Apart from this, material reality contains Art, Music, Sex, Pleasure, Prosperity, etc.

You will work hard, earn lot of money, your needs will increase, to keep up with them, you will work harder. It’s a loop. Human needs are unlimited, but the resources he have are always limited.
Material reality is impermanent; Sooner or later it withers away. Today you are eating the best food, tomorrow you may have a great financial loss and you won’t be able to afford what you can afford now. With this there comes a stage where you become restless, frustrated, pain, anxiety, stress, fear and all sorts of emotions.

So Now, Prakriti = material reality = Unstable

Purusha or spiritual growth is the ability to overpower these emotions so that one has the wisdom to appreciate and enjoy all things material without getting needy or clingy. One is happy when the material world favours us and not unhappy when it does not. This can only happen when material growth is accompanied by intellectual growth. Only intellectual growth can control emotional turmoil caused by dependence on material things.

So Now, Purusha = Spiritual reality = Stable

Prakriti Vs Purusha
Prakriti Vs Purusha

Ok i think you got the basic idea of Prakriti and Purusha. Now, Think of our human body. The heart is on the left side, so the side is unstable. and so that side i.e. the left side of a body is considered as Prakriti Side.
So eventually, the right side, being stable is Purusha Side.

Moving on, When any person wants to go to a temple, he want to go there to calm himself. Technically, to exit the material world and enter the Spiritual world.  So sit there, calm himself, to meditate, to pray. So if an individual wants to enter the spirituality i.e. the purusha, then why not to start from spiritual side of the body i.e. the purusha, the stable side, i.e the Right side..

Hope you got the answer.

Further info:

You can stop reading here. But if you are intrested in further understanding prakriti and purusha side, here is the small explaination.

Visit an temple or see any Hindu GOD’s photo. If the GOD’s right leg is on the ground, He or she represents the Purusha side.

Shiva and shakti are perfect blend of Purusha and Prakriti. SHIVA symbolises consciousness, the masculine principle.
SHAKTI symbolises the feminine principle, the activating power and energy.

Nataraja defines Purusha
Nataraja defines Purusha

Lord shiva meditating defines purushastha
Lord shiva meditating defines purushastha

In Ganesha’s Idol, even the tusk can tell you that that particular idol represents purusha side or Prakriti side.

This Idol of lord Ganesh signifies Purushartha
This Idol of lord Ganesh signifies Purushartha, as the tusk is on the right hand side of the idol’s body.

Likewise Saraswati and Lakshmi shows material reality which is Prakriti

Saraswati and Lakshmi shows material reality which is Prakriti
Saraswati and Lakshmi shows material reality which is Prakriti.

Vishnu shows perfect blend of Prakriti and Purusha…

Vishnu shows perfect blend of Prakriti and Purusha
Vishnu shows perfect blend of Prakriti and Purusha.

and last but not the least, our Trinity, which shows Lord Brahma as Prakriti, Vishnu as master of both prakriti and Purusha and Shiva as Purusha.

Hindu Trinity, which shows Lord Brahma as Prakriti, Vishnu as master of both prakriti and Purusha and Shiva as Purusha.
Hindu Trinity, which shows Lord Brahma as Prakriti, Vishnu as master of both prakriti and Purusha and Shiva as Purusha.

Credits: Image credits to the real owners, Photographers, Artists, Pinterest and Google Images. The Hindu FAQs doesnot own any images.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

1) The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple or Thiruvarangam is a Hindu temple dedicated to Ranganatha, a reclining form Shri Vishnu.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

 

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

2) The temple is located in Srirangam, Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, India .

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

3) Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, and It is one of the most illustrious Vaishnava temples in South India rich in legend and history.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

 

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

 

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

 

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

4) Its location, on an island in Cauvery river, has rendered it vulnerable to natural disasters as well as the rampaging of invading armies – Muslim and European – which repeatedly commandeered the site for military encampment

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

5) The main entrance, known as the Rajagopuram (the royal temple tower), rises from the base area of around 5720 and goes up to 237 feet (72 m), moving up in eleven progressively smaller tiers.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

6) The annual 21 day festival conducted during the Tamil month of Margazhi (December–January) attracts 1 million visitors.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

7) Srirangam temple is often listed as the largest functioning Hindu temple in the world.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

8) 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.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

9) The temple is enclosed by 7 concentric walls (termed prakarams (outer courtyard) or mathil suvar) with a total length of 32,592 feet or over six miles.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

10) These temple has 21 gopurams (towers), 39 pavilions, fifty shrines, Ayiram kaal mandapam (a hall of 1000 pillars) and several small water bodies inside. The space within the outer two prakarams (outer courtyard) is occupied by several shops, restaurants and flower stalls.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

11) The Hall of 1000 pillars (actually 953) is a fine example of a planned theatre-like structure and opposite to it, “Sesha Mandap”, with its intricacy in sculpture, is a delight.The 1000-pillared hall made of granite was constructed in the Vijayanagara period (1336–1565) on the site of the old temple.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple The Hall of 1000 pillars
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple The Hall of 1000 pillars

12) The pillars consists of sculptures of wildly rearing horses bearing riders on their backs and trampling with their hoofs upon the heads of rampant tigers, seem only natural and congruous among such weird surroundings.

 

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple The Hall of 1000 pillars
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple The Hall of 1000 pillars

Also read : 14 Biggest Hindu temples in the world

Credits:
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Trimurti - The Hindu Trinity | Hindu FAQs

The Trimurti is a concept in Hinduism “in which the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance, and destruction are personified by the forms of Brahma the creator, Vishnu the maintainer or preserver and Shiva the destroyer or transformer.” These three gods have been called “the Hindu triad” or the “Great Trinity”, often addressed as “Brahma-Vishnu-Maheshwara.”

Brahma:

Brahma - The creator | Hindu FAQs
Brahma – The creator

Brahma is the Hindu god (deva) of creation and one of the Trimurti. According to the Brahma Purana, he is the father of Manu, and from Manu all human beings are descended. In the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, he is often referred to as the progenitor or great grandsire of all human beings.

Vishnu:

Vishnu the Protector
Vishnu the Protector

Vishnu is one of the three supreme deities (Trimurti) of Hinduism. He is also known as Narayana and Hari. He is conceived as “the Preserver or the Protector” within the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the divinity.

Shiva or Mahesh

Shiva the Destroyer | Hindu FAQs
Shiva the Destroyer

Shiva also known as Mahadeva (“Great God”) is one of the three most influential denominations in contemporary Hinduism. He is “the Destroyer” or “the Transformer” among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine.

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Rudraksha types | The Hindu FAQs

Rudraksha, also rudraksh, (“Rudra’s eyes”), is a seed is traditionally used for prayer beads in hinduism . The seed is produced by several species of large evergreen broad-leaved tree in the genus Elaeocarpus, with Elaeocarpus ganitrus being the principal species used in the making of organic jewellery or mala.

Rudraksha, being organic, is preferentially worn without contact with metal; thus on a cord or thong rather than a chain.
Rudraksha types | The Hindu FAQs Mukha:
Naturally grown grooves, starting from the natural vertically or horizontally stalk* point reaching the opposite point, are termed as Mukhi/Face.
Some say there are 21 different types of rudraksha, “21 mukhi or 21 face” some say there are 14.
We are presentiny ten types of rudraksha in this article.

Ek Mukhi (One Face)
It is known to bring luxury, power, wealth, and enlightenment.

Ek Mukhi Rudraksha - One Face
Ek Mukhi Rudraksha – One Face

Dwi Mukhi (Two Face)
It helps in building healthy relationships. It is believed to control all negativities.

Dw iMukhi Rudraksha - Two Face
Dw iMukhi Rudraksha – Two Face

Tri Mukhi (Three Face)
It aids in boosting the confidence of the wearer, thus enabling him to cope with tough situations.

Tri Mukhi Rudraksha - Three Face
Tri Mukhi Rudraksha – Three Face

Chatur Mukhi (Four Face)
It helps a great deal in developing the power of speech. It is very beneficial for treating the problem of stammering.

Chatur Mukhi Rudraksha - Four Face
Chatur Mukhi Rudraksha – Four Face

Pancha Mukhi (Five Face)
It raises the concentration level and power of gaining knowledge.

Panch Mukhi Rudraksha
Panch Mukhi Rudraksha

Shan Mukhi (Six Face)
It is known to bring wealth, power, name and fame. It helps the wearer in achieving eternal bliss.

Shan Mukhi Rudraksha
Shan Mukhi Rudraksha

Sapta Mukhi (Seven Face)
It helps a person achieve what he desires. It enables a person to prosper academically.

Sapta Mukhi Rudraksha
Sapta Mukhi Rudraksha

Ashta Mukhi (Eight Face)
It brings wealth and luxury. It helps to ward off evil spirits and get rid of various forms of diseases.

Astha Mukhi Rudraksha
Astha Mukhi Rudraksha

Nava Mukhi (Nine Face)
It is said to be associated with confidence, good character, happiness and sound health.

Nava Mukhi Rudraksha
Nava Mukhi Rudraksha

Dasha Mukhi (Ten Face)
It enables a person to earn loads of wealth. It is said to be associated with vigor and vitality.

Dasha Mukhi Rudraksha
Dasha Mukhi Rudraksha

Benifits:
For someone who is constantly on the move and who eats and sleeps in various places, rudraksha is believed to be a very good support because it creates a cocoon of your own energy. It is said that if the situation around one is not conducive to one’s kind of energy, it will not let one settle down. For sadhus and sanyasis, places and situations could trouble them because they were constantly moving. One of the rules for them was never to put their head down in the same place twice. Today, once again, people have started eating and sleeping in different places because of their business or profession, so a rudraksha can be helpful.
Rudraksha | The Hindu FAQs
Sadhus or sanyasis living in the forest would have to resort to naturally available water sources. It was believed that if a rudraksha is held above the water, if the water is good and drinkable, it would go clockwise. If it was unfit for consumption, it would go anti-clockwise. This test was also believed to be valid for other edibles.
When worn on a mala, it was also believed to ward off “negative energies”.

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These photos are not owned by us in any way.

arjuna and Ulupi | The hindu FAQs

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).

arjuna and Ulupi | The hindu FAQs
arjuna and Ulupi

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.

Arjuna and chitrangada
Arjuna and chitrangada

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.

Shri Rama and Maa Sita

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.

Shri Rama and Maa Sita
Shri Rama and Maa Sita

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.

Credits:
This wonderful post is written by Mr.Vikram Singh

Lord Rama and Sita | Hindu FAQs

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.

Lord Rama and Sita | Hindu FAQs
Lord Rama and Sita

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.

Also read: Some facts about Lord 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.

Sita Swayamwar:
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.

Shri Rama And Hanumana | Hindu FAQs
Shri Rama And Hanumana

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.

Also read: Did Ramayana Actually Happen? Ep I : Real places from Ramayana 1 – 7

Killing Ravana:
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.

Animation of Rama and Ravana | Hindu FAQs
Animation of Rama and Ravana

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.

Credits: www.sevaashram.net

parashurama | Hindu FAQs

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 | Hindu FAQs
parashurama

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

Parshurama | Hindu FAQs
Parshurama

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.

Parshurama and Shiva | Hindu FAQs
Parshurama and Shiva

Vijaya Bow
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 Ramayana
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.”
—Mahabharata 7:131

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

Ekadanta
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.

Parshurama Beating back the Arabian Sea | Hindu Faqs
Parshurama Beating back the Arabian Sea

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.

Temples:
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.

Parshurama Temple, Chiplun Maharashtra | Hindu FAQs
Parshurama Temple, Chiplun Maharashtra

Credits:
Image credits to the original Artist and Photographer

Vamana Avatar of Vishnu | Hindu FAQs

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.

Vamana Avatar of Vishnu | Hindu FAQs
Vamana Avatar of Vishnu

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 avatara as a short brahman | Hindu FAQs
Vamana avatara as a short brahman

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.

Vamana and Bali
Vamana placing his foot on King Bali

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.

Temples:
Some famous temple dedicated for vamana avatar are.

Thrikkakara Temple, Thrikkakkara, Cochin, Kerala.

Thrikkakara Temple | Hindu FAQs
Thrikkakara Temple

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 | Hindu FAQs
Ulagalantha Perumal Temple

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, Khajurao | Hindu FAQs
Vamana Temple, Khajuraho

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.

Credits:
Photo Credits to the original Photo grapher and Artist.
www.harekrsna.com

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.

Narsingha Avatar | Hindu FAQs
Narsingha Avatar

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.

Narada and Pralhad | Hindu FAQs
Narada and Pralhad

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.

Narsingha Killing Hiranyakashipu | Hindu FAQs
Narsingha Killing Hiranyakashipu

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, part-bird and part-lion
Sharabha, part-bird and part-lion

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.

Ahobilam, the place where the Lord killed Hiranyakasipu and saved Prahalada. | Hindu FAQs
Ahobilam, 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

Sri Lakshmi Narasimhar Temple | Hindu FAQs
Sri Lakshmi Narasimhar Temple

Credits: Photo and Image Credits to the Original Artists and Uploaders

Dashavatara the 10 incarnations of Vishnu Varaha Avatar - hindufaqs.com

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.

Vishnu as Varaha Avatara rescuing Earth from sea | Hindu FAQs
Vishnu as Varaha Avatara rescuing Earth from sea

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.

jaya and vijaya stopping the four kumaras | Hindu FAQs
jaya and vijaya stopping the four kumaras

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.

Varaha fighting with Hiranyaksha to rescue Earth | Hindu FAQs
Varaha fighting with Hiranyaksha to rescue Earth

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.

Temples:
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.

Varahaswamy Temple, Adi-Varaha Kshestra | Hindu FAQs
Varahaswamy Temple, Adi-Varaha Kshestra

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.

Credits: Phot Credits to the real artists and owners.

Dashavatara the 10 incarnations of Vishnu – Kurma Avatar - hindufaqs.com

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 as Kurma Avatara for Samudra Manthan | Hindu FAQs
Vishnu as Kurma Avatara for Samudra Manthan

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.

Mahadev drinking Halahala poison | Hindu FAQs
Mahadev drinking Halahala poison

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.

A great war between the gods and demons followed. Finally, Vishnu disguised as the enchanting Mohini tricked the demons and recovered the nectar.

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.

Temples:
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.

Kurma temple at Kurmai of Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh | Hindu FAQs
Kurma temple at Kurmai of Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh

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.

Credits: Photo Credits to the original Uploaders and Artists (They are not my property)

Dashavatara the 10 incarnations of Vishnu - Part I- Matsya Avatar - hindufaqs.com

Matsya:
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.

Matsya Avatar of Lord Vishu | Hindu FAQs
Matsya Avatar of Lord Vishu

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.”

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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 Avatar saving the Vedas | Hindu FAQs
Matsya Avatar saving the Vedas

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.