The Myth Behind Ten Incarnations of Lord Vishnu

Lord Vishnu is the sacred Hindu god and the important part of trinity gods who plays the role of ‘Preserver of the universe’ along with the other two gods Brahma and Mahesh.

Lord Vishnu’s Dashavtara is the popular ten forms of incarnations of Vishnu in which he appeared on earth. According to one of the stories when evil was increasing on earth, Lord Vishnu had to come to conquer evil and preserve the goodness on earth.

According to another story, Lord Vishnu was cursed by Rishi Bhragu to take different forms and come on earth. As a curse he took ten avataars of Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Narasimha, Vamana, Parashurama, Rama, Krishna, Buddha and Kalki.

1. Matsya: Matsya is the first incarnation of Lord Vishnu, which is in the form of a fish taken before the beginning of satyuga. Vishnu incarnated as Matsya, to save the life of Manu, the first human on earth. According to the texts, once Manu got stuck in the Great flood, it was at this time Vishnu appeared in the form of huge fish (Matsya avatar) and saved his life.

2. Kurma: Kurma or Kachchap Avataar is the second incarnation of Lord Vishnu during satyuga. This incarnation was in the form of a giant tortoise to carry Mandrachala and assist the churning of the ocean.

As per the myth, there was a conflict between devtas and danavs that led to the churning of Mandrachala which was drowning due to its heavy weight. Kurma, the incarnation of Vishnu supported Mandrachala on its back.

3. Varaha: Varaha is the third incarnation of Lord Vishnu in satyuga which was in the form of a boar head and human body. As per the texts, Vishnu appeared as a boar to save Bhudevi (planet earth) which was stolen by a demon Hiranyaksha. Demon Hiranyaksha dragged the planet Earth to the bottom of the cosmic sea which was lifted up by Varaha avatar.

4. Narasimha: The fourth incarnation of Lord Vishnu is in the form of a lion-headed man full of rage. This fierce form appeared to protect his devotee Prahlad from the torture of his father, the demon Hiranyakashipu.

Narasimha also appeared to prove the words of his devotee Prahlaad true that God exists everywhere. One day demon father Hiranyakashipu challenged Prahlaad and asked him to prove his words. Prahlad accepted the presence of God everywhere, on this Hiranyakashipu broke one of the pillars of his palace and Narasimha avatar appeared out of this pillar and killed the demon king.

5. Vamana: Vamana is the fifth of Dashavtara and the first incarnation of Lord Vishnu in Treta Yug. Vamana is the dwarf-like Brahman incarnation who appeared to protect devtas and defeat Bali, the demon king as he captured the three worlds due to his increased power.

Vamana avatar in Brahman form came to Bali and asked for a donation. Generous Bali asked Vamana to ask for any gift. On this, Vamana asked for as much as land that could be covered in three steps. Vamana covered the entire lokas in two steps and was told to keep the third step on the head of Bali. In this way, Vamana conquered Bali.

6. Parashurama: Parashurama is the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu who appeared with the traits of aggression, courage and combat evil along with peace and patience. Lord Vishnu appeared in this form to end the oppressive rule of sinful kings and protect the women and the world.

He prayed and pleased Lord Shiva who gave an ax to the Brahmin Parshurama which worked as a weapon to kill the kings. He is believed to be one of the Chiranjeevi who as per the texts is going to be the guru of the Kalki avatar in Kalyug.

7. Rama: One of the popular incarnations of Lord Vishnu, Rama is the important seventh avatar in human form on earth. He spent 14 years in the forest and conquered Ravana the devil in a battle. Ramayana is a famous epic that contains 24,000 verses and details about the life incidences of Rama, written by the poet Valmiki.

8. Krishna: One of the other very popular avatars of Lord Vishnu is the Krishna avatar during dwapar yuga. Krishna is the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu and an important Hindu god worshipped throughout the globe.

He was born in jail in Mathura as a son of Devki and Vasudeva but spent his childhood at Gokul with mother Yashoda and father Nand. He performed several leelas to spread happiness around and also conquered many devils sent by his uncle Kansa. He also killed Kansa and rescued his parent from jail. ‘Bhagwat Gita’ and ‘Mahabharat’ Puranas are valuable books during his time.

9. Buddha: The ninth incarnation of Lord Vishnu is believed to be Buddha who is the important god of Buddhists and one of the Dashavtara. The main aim of this incarnation was to spread the knowledge of self-enlightenment and re-establish dharma on earth.

10. Kalki: Kalki is believed to be the tenth avatar of Lord Vishnu who is going to appear in Kal Yuga at a pious family of Shambhala village. As per the texts, the Kalki avatar will appear on a white horse with a sword in hand. The main objective of this avatar will be to conquer evil and save mankind in Kalyuga.