Lord Vishnu is the Hindu god who has taken different incarnation in different Yugas for the betterment of mankind. These various Incarnations that lord Vishnu took are called avatars. Lord Vishnu manifested ten incarnations on earth to vandalise unrighteousness and evils, to restore the Dharma and peace.
There are four Yugas in total i,e Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dwapara Yuga and Kali or Kalyuga. Out of ten incarnations, “Dashavatara“, the first four incarnations of Lord Vishnu appeared in the first Yug, SatyaYuga. The next fifth, sixth and seventh incarnations appeared in Treta Yuga, the eighth and ninth in Dwapara Yuga and the tenth would appear in Kali Yuga.
10 Avataras of Lord Vishnu in Different Yugas
First Incarnation- Matsya Avatara (Fish)
Manu was the first man ever on Earth as per the Hindu scripture. He was known as the progenitor of humanity.Vishnu Purana narrates, once upon a time there was a king whose name was Vaivasvata, also known as Sraddhadeva or Satyavrata. Lord Vishnu took the avatar of a small fish start the satyuga. When Satyavrata was worshiping in the morning and offering the argya to the Sun, the small fish came into his hands and requested to take it with him. Satyavrata took the fish with him but to his surprised the fish would take the size of the container she was poured and grew day by day.The king then put the fish into a river, where it took a very giant size and warned of the deluge that would destroy earth. It also advised the king to build a boat to carry along with one of every species of plant and animal to restart the circle of life again on earth. The boat also carried the Vedas, Manu’s family and the seven sages to safety, helped by Matsya. In this way the Matsya avatar was the one that brought the satyuga.
Kurma Avatara (the tortoise)
When the power of demons increased, lord Vishnu suggested the devtas to to sagar manthan(ocean churning). When the God and demons were churning the Ocean to acquire the nectar of immortality, Amrita with help of serpentVasuki as the rope and the mount Mandara as the churning staff, the mountain starts to sink. To this, Vishnu took the form of a tortoise to bear the weight of the mountain.
Varaha Avatara (the boar)
Lord Vishnu appeared in the form of a boar to defeat Hiranyaksha and to save earth. Hiranyaksha was a cruel demon who carried Earth, or Prithvi to the bottom of cosmic ocean. The battle between Varaha and Hiranyaksha is believed to have lasted for thousand years. Varaha slayed the demon and carried the Earth out of the ocean between his tusks and restored it to its place in the universe.
Narsimha Avatara (the half-man/half-lion)
The younger brother of Hirṇayakṣa, Hiraṇyakaśipu, through an austere penance of Lord Brahma, was granted a powerful boon of not to be killed by man or animal, inside or out, day or night, or in earth or the stars, with a weapon either living or inanimate.
Hiraṇyakaśipu was very proud of his power and did not like anyone to worship the lord Vishu. His own son Prahlad worshiped lord Vishnu a lot which he did not like. So, he tried to kill his son many times but failed.It is said that Lord Vishnu and Laxmi when worshipped together is very auspicious. People place their pics or idols together at home together.
Vishnu descended with the body of a man and head and claws of a lion. He then disembowels the demon at the courtyard threshold of his house, at dusk, with his claws, while he lay on his thighs.
Vamana Avatara (the dwarf)
Bali was the fourth descendant of Hiranyakashyap. With devotion and penance, he was able to extend his authority over the three worlds. Bali had got the power of all three lokas. Lord Vishnu incarnated himself as Brahmin to end the rule of the generous demon-king, Bali.When in Vamana avatar, lord Vishnu Vamana asked for three paces of land to live on, Bali agreed without even knowing what he is going to lose. Vamana stepped over heaven in his first stride, the netherworld with the second. Bali realized that Vamana was Vishnu incarnate. In deference, the king offered his head as the third place for Vamana to place his foot. The avatar did so and thus granted Bali immortality as he was pleased by this act of Bali.
Parashuram was the son of Jamadagni and Renuka. He received an axe after a penance to Shiva. Parashurama is the first Brahmin-Kshatriya in Hinduism, or warrior-saint, with duties between a Brah. His mother was from the Kshatriya Suryavanshi clan that ruled Ayodhya of the line of Rama.Parashurama took a vow to kill every Kshatriya on earth twenty-one times over, and filled five lakes with their blood.
Rama is the most commonly worshiped avatar. He has been seen as an ideal son, brother, husband and father. According to pious Hindu scripture, the Ramayana, Lord Rama massacred ten headed demon Ravana to set free his abducted wife, Sita from Ravana’s Hostage in Ashoka vatika.Twenty days post Dusshera, comes the festival of light, Deepawali. Shri Rama along with his wife, Sita and brother Lakshmana were exiled for 14 years. Deepawali marks the celebrations of the arrival of Lord Rama to Ayodhya, capital for the Ikshwaku Dynasty (Suryavanshi) of kings. Lord Rama was 64th heir of Ikshwaku Dynasty.
Krishna was the eighth son of Devaki and Vasudeva. He killed his cruel maternal uncle, Kans. Krishna also played a pivotal role in the epic battle of Kurukshetra. Krishna preached Bhagwad Gita in the battlefield of Kurukshetra to dicy and confused Arjun when he hesitated to fight against his elders. Bhagwad Gita is one of the most revered texts of Hindu philosophy. To be mentioned here that birthday of Bhagwad Gita is celebrated as Gita Jayanti.Birth of lord Krishna is celebrated as Janamashtami
Buddha also known as Gautama Buddha was born as the prince of the Kapilavastu to King Suddhodana and Maya. He was named Siddhartha, meaning “All thing fulfilled”. Buddha was saddened by death of living creatures, and vices like poverty. Buddha is the founder of Buddhism.He got enlightenment under a Bodhi tree. He then spread the message of an eight-fold middle path to create peace in daily life.
The Dasavataras include buddha or Balarama according to different sampradayas. Also the order may vary.
Kalki Avatara (“Eternity”, or “White Horse”, or “Destroyer of Filth, Mighty Warrior)
It is said that Lord Vishnu has already completed 9 avatars and the last one is expected to appear at the end of Kali Yug, our present yuga to destroy all unrighteousness and evil. He will ride on the top of a white horse with sword in his hand, blazing like a comet.
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