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Vishnu Avatars

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VISHNU AVATARSMatsya (Sanskrit: ) (Fish in Sanskrit) was the first Avatar of Vishnu in Hindu mythology. Once while lord Brahma was sleeping and the Vedas were not under protection, the demon Hayagriva stole them. According to the Matsya Purana, the king of pre-ancient Dravida and a devotee of Vishnu, Satyavrata who later was known as Manu was washing his hands in a river when a little fish swam into his hands and pleaded with him to save its life. He put it in a jar, which it soon outgrew. He then moved it to a tank, a river and then finally the ocean but to no avail. The fish then revealed himself to be Vishnu and told him that a deluge would occur within seven days that would destroy all life. Therefore, Satyavrata was instructed to take "all medicinal herbs, all the varieties of seeds, and accompanied by the seven saints[1] along with the serpent Vasuki and other animals. Then to restore the Vedas Matsya dived into the ocean to kill Hayagriva and a battle ensued between Vishnu as Matsya and the demon Hayagriva in which Hayagriva was defeated and the Vedas were restored. The deluge occurred and the lord reappeared as promised and advised Satyavrata to board the boat and fasten the serpent Vasuki to his horn as a rope to the boat. Matsya is generally represented as a four-armed figure with the upper torso of a man and the lower of a fish.

KURMAIn Hinduism, Kurma (Sanskrit: ) was the second avatar of Vishnu. Like the Matsya Avatara also belongs to the Satya yuga.


1 Samudra manthan (The Churning of the ocean) o 1.1 Temples 2 Notes 3 External links

[edit] Samudra manthan (The Churning of the ocean)

The bas-relief from Angkor Wat, Cambodia, shows Samudra manthan-Vishnu in the centre, his turtle avatar Kurma below, asuras and devas to left and right.

Kurma Avatar of Vishnu, below Mount Mandara, with Vasuki wrapped around it, during Samudra manthan, the churning of the ocean of milk. ca 1870. The Devas lost their strength and powers due to a curse by the sage Durvasa because Indra, the king of the Devas, had insulted the sages gift (a garland) by giving it to his elephant which trampled upon it. Thus, after losing their immortality and kingdom, they approached Lord Vishnu for help. Vishnu suggested that they needed to drink the nectar of immortality to regain their lost glory. However, they needed to strive hard to acquire the nectar since it was hidden in the ocean of milk. After declaring a truce with their foes (Asuras), Indra and his Devas together with the Asuras, use the serpent Vasuki as a churning rope and the mount Mandara as the churning staff. When they began churning, the mount began sinking into the ocean. Taking the form of a turtle (Kurma), Vishnu bears the entire weight of the mountain and the churning continues and various objects are thrown out including the deadly poison Halahala, whose fumes threaten to destroy the Devas and the Asuras. Lord Shiva then comes to

their rescue and gathers the entire poison in his palm and drinks it. His consort, Parvathi, clasps his throat and the poison remains there. Hence he became known as Neelakanta (literally: the blue-throated one).[1] Fourteen precious things come out of the ocean, culminating with Dhanvantari, the physician of the gods, appearing with the nectar of immortality. The Asuras immediately rush and grab the nectar while quarreling among themselves.[2] Vishnu again comes to the rescue in the form of a beautiful damsel, Mohini and tricks the Asuras and retrieves the potion which is distributed to the Devas. Though the Asuras realize Vishnus tricks, it is too late, as the Devas regain their renowned prowess and defeat them.

VARAHAVaraha (Sanskrit: ) is the third Avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu, in the form of a Boar. He appeared in order to defeat Hiranyaksha, a demon who had taken the Earth (Prithvi) and carried it to the bottom of what is described as the cosmic ocean in the story. The battle between Varaha and Hiranyaksha is believed to have lasted for a thousand years, which the former finally won. Varaha carried the Earth out of the ocean between his tusks and restored it to its place in the universe. Vishnu married Prithvi (Bhudevi) in this avatar. Varaha is depicted in art as either purely animal or as being anthropomorphic, having a boar's head on a man's body. In the latter form he has four arms, two of which hold the wheel and conch-shell while the other two hold a mace, sword or lotus or make a gesture (or "mudra") of blessing. The Earth is held between the boar's tusks. The avatar symbolizes the resurrection of the Earth from a pralaya (deluge) and the establishment of a new kalpa (cosmic cycle). The Varaha Purana is a Purana in which the form of narration is a recitation by Varaha.

VAMANAVamana (Devanagari: , IAST: Vmana) is a personality described in the Puranic texts of Hinduism as the Fifth Avatara of Vishnu, and the first incarnation of the Second Age, or Treta yuga. Also he is the first Avatar of Vishnu which appears with a completely human form, though it was that of a dwarf brahmin. He is also sometimes known as Upendra.


1 Origin 2 Symbolism o 2.1 In Sikhism 3 In the Ramayana 4 Temples 5 See also 6 Footnotes 7 External links

[edit] OriginVamana was born to Aditi and Kashyapa.[1] He is the twelfth of the Adityas. Vamana is known to be the younger brother of Indra. The legend of Bhagavata has it that the Vamana avatar was taken by Vishnu to restore Indra's authority over the heavens, which was taken away by force by the demon king Bali in Dravida. Vamana is a disguise of a short Brahman, carrying a wooden umbrella requested three steps of land for him to live in. Given a promise of three steps of Land by King Mahabali against the warning given by his Guru Sukracharya, Vamana, The Supreme God grows so huge that he could cover from heaven to earth, earth to lower worlds in two simple steps. King Mahabali unable to fulfil the promise of three paces of Land to the Supreme God, offers his head for the third step. Thus Vamana places his place on King Mahabali's head and gives him immortality for his benevolence.

[edit] Symbolism

Vamana avatar with King Mahabali Vamana taught King Mahabali that arrogance and pride should be abandoned if any advancement in life is to be made, and that wealth should never be taken for granted since it can so easily be taken away. Vamana then took on the form of Mahavishnu. He was pleased by King Mahabali's determination and ability to keep his promise in the face of his spiritual master's curse and the prospect of losing all his wealth. Vishnu named the King Mahabali since he was a Mahatma (great soul). He allowed Mahabali to return to the spiritual sky to associate with Prahalada (the demoniac Hiranyakashipu's pious son, also a descendant of the demon race) and other divine beings. Mahavishnu also declared that Mahabali would be able to rule the universe in the following yuga (age). Mahabali was the grandson of Prahlada being the son of Prahlada's son Virochana who was killed in a battle with the Devas. Mahabali is supposed to return every year to the land of his people, to ensure that they are prosperous.

[edit] In SikhismVamana is discussed in the Guru Granth Sahib, the sacred text of Sikhism.[2] satjugi tai maNiO ChaliO bali bAvan bhAiO In Satyayuga, you sported as the dwarf incarnation, and fooled Bali. On page 1330 of the Guru Granth Sahib, Vamana is mentioned as the "enticer" of Baliraja.[3]

[edit] In the Ramayana

According to the Adhatya Ramayana It is also said that Vamanadeva is the guard of the gate of Bali Maharaja's planet Sutala[4][5] and will remain so forever.[6] Tulsidas' Ramayana too declares that Vamana became the "dwarpal" (gate-defender) of Bali.[7] It is said that Mahabali attained Moksha by atmanidedinam.[8] Krishna in the Sri Rpa Gosvms Bhakti-rasmrta-sindhuh[9] says that Mahabali came to Him or attained Him. Some traditions also hold that Vamana was an avatar of Ganesha.

KRISHNAKrishna ( in Devanagari, ka in IAST, pronounced [kr] in classical Sanskrit) is a deity worshipped across many traditions in Hinduism in a variety of perspectives. While many Vaishnava groups recognize Krishna as an avatar of Vishnu, other traditions within Krishnaism consider him to be svayam bhagavan, or the Supreme Being. Krishna is often depicted as an infant, as a young boy playing a flute as in the Bhagavata Purana,[1] or as a youthful prince giving direction and guidance as in the Bhagavad Gita.[2] The stories of Krishna appear across a broad spectrum of Hindu philosophical and theological traditions.[3] They portray him in various perspectives: a god-child, a prankster, a model lover, a divine hero and the Supreme Being.[4] The principal scriptures discussing Krishna's story are the Mahbhrata, the Harivamsa, the Bhagavata Purana and the Vishnu Purana. The various traditions dedicated to different manifestations of Krishna, such as Vasudeva, Bala Krishna and Gopala, existed as early as 4th century BC. The Krishna-bhakti movement spread to southern India by the 9th century AD, while in northern India Krishnaism schools were well established by 11th century AD. From the 10th century AD, with the growing bhakti movement, Krishna became a favorite subject in performing arts and regional traditions of devotion developed for forms of Krishna such as Jagannatha in Orissa, Vithoba in Maharashtra and Shrinathji in Rajasthan.


1 Etymology and names 2 Iconography 3 Literary sources 4 Life o 4.1 Birth o 4.2 Childhood and youth o 4.3 The prince o 4.4 Kurukshetra War and Bhagavad Gita

o 4.5 Later life 5 Worship o 5.1 Vaishnavism o 5.2 Early traditions o 5.3 Bhakti tradition o 5.4 Spread of the Krishna-bhakti movement o 5.5 In the West 6 In the performing arts 7 In other religions o 7.1 Jainism