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Holi Dahan, Holi Bonfire

Holi is spread out over two days. On the first day, bonfire is created and on the second day, holi is played with colors and water. In some places, it is played for five days, the fifth day is called Ranga Panchami. Holi bonfire is known as Holika Dahan also Kamudu pyre is celebrated by burning Holika, the devil. For many traditions in Hinduism, Holi celebrates the death of Holika in order to save Prahlad, and thus Holi gets its name. In olden days, people use to contribute a piece of wood or two for Holika bonfire.

Holi Dahan, Holi Bonfire
Holi Dahan, Holi Bonfire

Holika
Holika (होलिका) was a demoness in Hindu Vedic scriptures, who was burnt to death with help of God Vishnu. She was the sister of King Hiranyakashipu and aunt of Prahlad.
The story of Holika dahan (Holika’s death) signifies the triumph of good over evil. Holika is associated with the annual bonfire on the night before Holi, the Hindu festival of colors.

Hiranyakashipu and Pralhad
Hiranyakashipu and Pralhad

According to Bhagavat purana, there was a king named Hiranyakashipu who, like a lot of demons and Asuras, had the intense desire to be immortal. To fulfill this desire he performed the required Tapas (penance) until he was granted a boon by Brahma. Since the God’s do not usually grant the boon of immortality, he used his guile and cunning to get a boon which he thought made him immortal. The boon gave Hiranyakashyapu five special powers: he could be killed by neither a human being nor an animal, neither indoors nor outdoors, neither at day nor at night, neither by astra (weapons that are launched) nor by any shastra (weapons that are hand held), and neither on land nor in water or air. As this wish was granted, Hiranyakashyapu felt he was invincible, which made him arrogant. Hiranyakashyapu decreed that only he be worshiped as a God, punished and killed anyone who did not accept his orders. His son Prahlad disagreed with his father, and refused to worship his father as a god. He continued believing and worshipping Lord Vishnu.

Holika with Pralhad in bondife
Holika with Pralhad in bondife

This made Hiranyakashipu very angry and he made various attempts to kill Prahlad. During a particular attempt on Prahlad’s life, King Hiranyakashyapu called upon his sister Holika for help. Holika had a special cloak garment that prevented her from being harmed by fire. Hiranyakashyapu asked her to sit on a bonfire with Prahlad, by tricking the boy to sit on her lap. However, as the fire roared, the garment flew from Holika and covered Prahlad. Holika burnt to death, Prahlad came out unharmed.

Hiranyakashipu is said to be the brother of Hiranyaksha.  Hiranyakashipu and Hiranyaksha are Vishnu’s gatekeepers Jaya and Vijaya, born on earth as the result of a curse from the Four Kumaras

Hiranyaksha was killed by Lord Vishnu’s 3rd Incarnation which was Varaha. and Hiranyakashipu was later killed by Lord Vishnu’s 4th Incarnation which was Narasimha.

Tradition
The night before Holi pyres are burnt in North India, Nepal and parts of South India in keeping with this tradition. The youth playfully steal all sorts of things and put them in Holika pyre.

The festival has many purposes; most prominently, it celebrates the beginning of Spring. In 17th century literature, it was identified as a festival that celebrated agriculture, commemorated good spring harvests and the fertile land. Hindus believe it is a time of enjoying spring’s abundant colours and saying farewell to winter. Holi festivities mark the beginning of new year to many Hindus, as well as a justification to reset and renew ruptured relationships, end conflicts and accumulated emotional impurities from past.

Prepare Holika pyre for bonfire
Days before the festival people start gathering wood and combustible materials for the bonfire in parks, community centers, near temples and other open spaces. On top of the pyre is an effigy to signify Holika who tricked Prahalad into the fire. Inside homes, people stock up on color pigments, food, party drinks and festive seasonal foods such as gujiya, mathri, malpuas and other regional delicacies.

Holi Dahan, Holi Bonfire
People walking in circle, praising the bonfire

Holika dahan
On the eve of Holi, typically at or after sunset, the pyre is lit, signifying Holika Dahan. The ritual symbolises the victory of good over evil. People sing and dance around the fire.
The next day people play Holi, the popular festival of colors.

Reason for Holika burning
The burning of Holika is the most common mythological explanation for the celebration of Holi. In different parts of India varying reasons are given for Holika’s death. Among those are:

  • Vishnu stepped in and hence Holika burnt.
  • Holika was given the power by the Brahma on the understanding that it can never be used to bring harm to anyone.
  • Holika was a good person and it was the clothes that she wore that gave her the power and knowing that what was happening was wrong, she gave them to Prahlad and hence died herself.
  • Holika wore a shawl that would protect her from fire. So when she was asked to sit in the fire with Prahlad she put on the shawl and sat Prahlad down in her lap. When the fire was lit Prahlad began praying to Lord Vishnu. So Lord Vishnu summoned a gust of wind to blow the shawl off of Holika and on to Prahlad, saving him from the flames of the bonfire and burning Holika to her death

The next day is known as Color holi or Dhulheti where people play with colors and water spraying pichkaris.
The next article will be on second day of Holi …

Holi Dahan, Holi Bonfire
Holi Dahan, Holi Bonfire

Credits:
Image credits to the owners of the images and the original photographers. Images are use for article purpose and are not owned by Hindu FAQs

Panchamukhi Hanuman

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.

Panchamukhi Hanuman
Panchamukhi Hanuman

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.

Makardhwaja, Hanuman's Son
Makardhwaja, Hanuman’s Son

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.

Bajrangbali Hanuman slaying Ahiravana
Bajrangbali Hanuman slaying Ahiravana

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.
Panchamukhi Hanuman
Panchamukhi Hanuman

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.

Sitting panchamukhi hanuman
Sitting panchamukhi hanuman

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.

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.”

`
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.

Dashavatara the 10 incarnations of Vishnu - hindufaqs.com

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.

The Dashavataras of Lord Vishnu | Hindu FAQs
The Dashavataras of Lord Vishnu

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:
1. Matsya
2. Kurma
3. Varaha
4. Narasimha
5. Vamana
6. Parashurama
7. Rama
8. Krishna
9. Buddha
10. Kalki.
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.
Yuga
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.

Lord Vishnu ViratRoop or Vishwaroop | Hindu FAQs
Lord Vishnu ViratRoop or Vishwaroop

Here is the list of 24 incarnations of Lord Vishnu:

  1. Adi Purush Avatar (pre-eminent man)
  2. Sanat Kumara – Brahma Manasaputra
  3. Varaha Avatar (boar incarnation)
  4. Narada Avatar
  5. Nara Narayana Avatar
  6. Kapila Avatar
  7. Dattatreya Avatar (Datta Avatara)
  8. Yagya Avatar – Yagna born to Prajapati and Akuti
  9. Rishabh Avatar – Rishabhadeva Avatar
  10. Prithu Avatar
  11. Matsya Avatar – Fish incarnation
  12. Kurma Avatar or Kachchap Avatar – Tortoise incarnation
  13. Dhanvantari avatar – the Lord of medicine
  14. Mohini avatar – incarnation as a most enchanting woman
  15. Narasimha avatar – incarnation in the form of half-man and half-lion
  16. Hayagreeva avatar – incarnation with horse face
  17. Vamana avatar – incarnation as a dwarf
  18. Parshurama avatar
  19. Vyas avatar – Veda Vyasa incarnation
  20. Sri Rama avatar
  21. Balarama avatar
  22. Sri Krishna avatar
  23. Buddha avatar
  24. 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.