Friday 24th of March 2023

Dashavatara: 10 Avatars of Vishnu

10 Avatar of Lord Vishnu = Dashavatara

Dashavatara refers to the ten incarnations of the Hindu god Vishnu. Lord Vishnu blesses the Thiruparkadal called Vaikuntha. Puranas and legends tell us that he took various avatars from time to time to protect the people of the world. Among his avatars, 10 avatars are said to be the best.

Which are 10 Avatars of Vishnu?

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

1st Avatar of Vishnu = Matsya

Matsya Avatar known as Machcha Avatharam is the first incarnation of Lord Vishnu. In Tamil language Machcham means Fish. As per legend Lord Vishnu took this avatar to destroy Asuran and save Vedas and Shastras created by Lord Brahma.

matsya avatar 1st avatar of lord vishnu

Once there was a demon named Somukasuran, who has the face of a horse. He stolen all the Vedas and Shastras created by Lord Brahma, and he went in to sea. Lord Brahma prayed Lord Vishnu to save all Vedas, at once Lord Vishnu changed his form in to Fish, killed Somukasuran and returned all Vedas to Brahma. This incident was called as Matsya Avatar of Lord Vishnu and “that’s why Idol of Lord Vishnu in Matsya Avatar has half- fish shaped and half- God shaped”.

Sri Veda Narayanaswami Temple in Tirupati, where Lord Vishnu is in the form of Matsya Avatar. This temple is located in Nagalapuram, 70 km south-east of Tirupati. This temple was constructed by the Vijayanagara King Sri Krishnadeva Raya. Here Lord Vishnu called as Veda Narayanar and Goddess called as Vedavalli.

2nd Avatar of Vishnu = Kurma

Kurma Avatar is the second incarnation of Lord Vishnu. In Tamil Language Kurma means Tortoise. As per legend Lord Vishnu took this Avatar to hold the mountain called Mandara, when Devas and Asuras churn the ocean to get Amirtham.

kurma avatar 2nd avatar of lord vishnu

Once there was a war between Devas (gods) and the demons (Asuras), in that war Devas lost and the prayed to Lord Vishnu to save them from Demons. Lord Vishnu suggested for a truce, that was both sides should get together and churn the ocean. That truce was agreed by both sides. The great mountain Mandara was used as a rod and Snake Vasuki was used as a rope to churn the ocean. All Devas holding the tail of Vasuki and Asuras holding head of the snake. Both teams started churning but the mountain Mandara had no base so Lord Vishnu changed his form in to Tortoise and gave balanced to the mountain. While churning, there was a terrible poison came from the ocean this was swallowed by Lord Shiva, that’s why he called as Nilakandan.

While churning goddess of Wine, Parijata Tree, Koustubha Jewel, Cow (Kapila), a horse (Ucchaishrava), an elephant, a beautiful women (Apsaras) and Goddess Lakshmi were came out from the ocean one by one. At last Dhanvantari with a bowl of Amirta came out of the ocean. Demons demands that Amirta, at that time Lord Vishnu adopted the form of beautiful woman, so Demons were charmed and they said that women to distribute that Amirtha. Lord Vishnu accepted that amrita and he served it to Devas, but there was only one clever demon named Rahu, he took the form of Chandra (moon) and drank some amrita. So Vishnu cut off his head with a sword, Rahu had drunk the amrita so he could not die. He prayed for a boon to Lord Vishnu that Rahu can swallow up the sun occasionally, this happening at the time of solar and the lunar eclipses. Thus Lord Vishnu save Devas and gave more power than demons.

Srikurmam Temple in Andhra Pradesh is an ancient and famous temple in India, which dedicated to Lord Vishnu, where he is in the form of Kurma Avatar. Srikurma Temple is located in the village Srikurmam, 20 kms from the town Srikakulam. Here Lord Vishnu is called as Sri Kurmanatha. This is the only one temple to Lord Vishnu with Kurma Avatar in India.

3rd Avatar of Vishnu = Varaha

Varaha Avatar is the third incarnation of Lord Vishnu. In Tamil Language Varaham means Pig or Boar. As per Legend Lord Vishnu took this avatar to protect the earth, which was hidden by Hiranyaksha into the ocean.

varaha avatar 3rd avatar of lord vishnu

Once there was a demon called Hiuranyaksha, he prayed Lord Brahma and got the boon that he would be Invincible in battle. Then Hiranyaksha went to heaven and defeated all gods and occupied heaven. He also fight with Varuna to conquer ocean, thus he undertook the whole earth in his control and finally he took the earth and hidden it under the ocean. Lord Vishnu took the form of Varaha and went into ocean. He destroyed the Asura Hiranyaksha and save the earth from him. Thus Lord Vishnu save all gods and heaven and the entire earth and keep that in his nose. This incident is known as Varaha Avatar. That’s why the idol of Lord Vishnu in Dashavatara has the face of Varaham.

Tirumala Venkateswara Temple in Andhra Pradesh is located in the Tirumala town, near Tirupati is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, where God is in the form of Varaha Avatar. Lakshmi Varha Perumal Temple, Kallidaikurichi in Tamil Nadu, is one of famous temple here Lord Vishnu called as Varahar, located in Tirunelveli District.

4th Avatar of Vishnu = Narasimha

Narasimha Avatar is the fourth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. In Tamil language Narasimam means Lion. As per legend Lord Vishnu took this avatar to save Prahlada from his father Hiranyakashipu.

narasimha avatar 4th avatar of lord vishnu

Once There was a saint Durvasa wish to worship Lord Vishnu, so he went to heaven. He was stopped by Jayan and Vijayan, who were the guards of Lord Vishnu, so the saint got angry and he curse them that both of you should leave from heaven and born as a violent human beings. They went to Lord Vishnu and asked remedy for that. Lord Vishnu said “I am not able to took back the curse of the Sage” but I can give new boon that is : you both can come back to me after 3 births as a enemy of me or you can come back to me after 30 births as my devotees. “They said we wish to come back to you in 3 years”. As per boon both of them was born as Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashipu. Hiranyaksha was destroyed by Lord Vishnu in Varaha Avatar.

Hiranyakashipu went to forest to do penance to get more power and life. After a long penance God appeared in front of him, suddenly he asked him for immortality. But God refused to give this and he asked he should not die either by human or animal. God also granted that boon and disappeared. In the meantime Hiranyakashipu’s wife was pregnant, she was kidnapped by Goddess Indra, to control Hiranyakashipu. But the sage Narada adviced Indra to release Hiranyakashipu’s wife, so she released her. Narada took that lady to his abode and told some moral stories of Vishnu to her.

She was not interested to listening them, but his child in womb heard all stories and by birth he became devotee of Lord Vishnu, he was Prahlada. Hiranyakashipu hate is activity of his son and he ordered him leave Lord Vishnu. He asked him to show Lord Vishnu, Prahalada said God will be everywhere and anywhere. Hiranyakashipu asked him by pointing to a pillar “is god in this pillar”?, he said “Yes”. At once Hiranyakashipu broke the pillar into pieces. Lord Vishnu appeared from that piece in the form of Narasimha and killed Hiranyakashipu and save Prahlada. That’s why Idol of Lord Vishnu in Narasimha Avatar has Lion’s face.

There are plenty of temples for Narasimha Avatar of Lord Vishnu. Here are some temples in Tamil Nadu dedicated to Lord Vishnu in Narasimha Avatar:

  • Lakshmi Narasimha Temple, Tiruvaali, Chidambaram
  • Lakshmi Narasimha Temple at Tanjore near Thanjavur
  • Lakshmi Narasimha swamy Temple at Sevilimedu near Kanchipuram
  • Lakshmi Narasimha swamy Temple at Manur, Tiruvallur
  • Lakshmi Narasimha swamy Temple at Ambasamudram, Tirunelvel
  • Lakshmi Narayana swamy Temple, Venganur, Tiruttani
  • Lavaneeswarar Temple, Kolur near Ponneri, Chennai
  • Lava Pureeswarar Temple, Tiruvottiyur, Chennai

5th Avatar of Vishnu = Vamana

Vamana Avatar is the fifth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Vamana means Dwarf. Lord Vishnu took this avatar to reduce arrogance of Mahabali, he is grandson of Prahlada.

vamana avatar 5th avatar of lord vishnu

Once Mahabali ruled Patala-Lok, but he tried to capture other lokas under his ruling. So he did a big Yagam, at the end of the yagam he offered anything to people, whoever went to the palace of him. Lord Vishnu took a form of Dwarf and went to the palace of Mahabali. He asked the king for 3 Foot of land for him. The king was really surprised and he said ok. At once Lord Vishnu started measuring his one feet on Patal-lok and his first step covered all the world below the earth and second step covered all the world above the earth, and there was no place for third step. God asked Mahabali for third foot to measure. “Mahabali realized that and he gave his head for the third foot, also he gave down all his arrogance”. Thus Lord Vishnu save the people, that’s why Lord Vishnu idol of Vamana Avatar like dwarf.

Sri Vamanar Temple in Kanchipuram is one of the Vishnu Temple, where God is in the form of Vamana Avatar. This temple is located near to Sri Kamatchi Amman Temple, Kanchipuram. This is the only temple in Tamil Nadu, where Vishnu available at Vamana Avatar.

6th Avatar of Vishnu = Parashurama

Parashurama Avatar is the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Parashuramar was the fourth son of Jamadagni and Renuka. Once there was a sage named Jamadagni, who taught Vedas and Sastras to children. Parashurama was one of the student of his father, he was so obedient to his father and learnt Vedas from him.

parashurama avatar 6th avatar of lord vishnu

One day while Vasuki was making the pot, there was a “Gandharva” passed over the sky. She was the reflection of the Gandharva in the river water and she forgot herself for a moment. By the disturbance of the image, she could not able to do pot on the whole day. She worried and afraid to go home. The sage Jamadagni know all the facts, because he sensed all these incidents by his mental power. So he wanting to punish his wife and ordered Parashurama to do that. Parashurama was very angry with his father, but as a obedient son he was not able to refuse to do that, and he immediately done his father’s order. Parashurama Avatar explains that “One should obey the orders of father”.

Kanyakumari Temple, Kanyakumari, where Lord Vishnu is installed in the form Parasuramar in blue stone. This temple is the only temple where Lord Vishnu available at Parashurama Avatar.

7th Avatar of Vishnu = Rama

Rama Avatar is also known as Dharma Avatar is seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu took this avatar to tough Culture of “Egapathini Virathan”. As per legend King Dasharatha ruled Ayodhya and he made his people happy by his ruling. But the king had no children, so he performed Aswamedha yaga to get child. As the result Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrughan were born to his three wives.

rama avatar 7th avatar of lord vishnu

Rama is avatar of Lord Vishnu. Rama married Sita Devi, who was daughter of king Janaka. By the ruse of Kaikeyi, Rama went to forest along with Sita for 14 years. This is called Vanavasam. Rama setup a ashram in the forest and settled with his wife and brother Lakshmana. One day Rama went out from the ashram and he asked Lakshmana to take care Seetha.

Meantime, Ravana, an Asuran saw Sita Devi and he impressed by her beauty. So he changed his form as a saint and kidnapped her to Lanka. He carried her in a chariot on the sky, Jatayu the eagle who noticed this incident and helped Rama to save Sita. Sugriva is king of monkeys also helped Rama to defeat Ravana. This is Ramayana Epic. This avatar of Lord Vishnu for two things, one is “Culture of Egapathini Virathan” and to destroy Ravana.

8th Avatar of Vishnu = Balarama

Balarama Avatar is the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Balarama was the son of Vasudeva and Rohini. There is believe that, Lord Vishnu takes Lakshmana as his elder brother, who is the younger brother of Lord Vishnu in his Rama Avatar.

balarama avatar 8th avatar of lord vishnu

Baladevjew Temple is located in Kendrapara, Orissa State, one of the Balarama Temple in India.

9th Avatar of Vishnu = Krishna

Krishna Avatar is the ninth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu took this avatar to taught Bhagavad Gita to mankind.

krishna avatar 9th avatar of lord vishnu

Once there was a king called Kamsa, ruled cruel. His sister Devaki who married Vasudeva. One day Yogamaya appeared in front of Kamsa and said, The eighth child of Devaki, who is going to born in “Rohini” star will kill him. So Kamsa was confused and he planned to kill Devaki’s child when ever Devaki gave birth. By this action of Devaki’s brother, she was so unhappy and she prayed Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu appeared in front of them and said, “I will be born as your eighth child and kill Kamsa”. As per his words Lord Vishnu born as Sri Krishna and killed Kamsa.

Krishna helped Pancha-Pandavas, Arjuna was Krishna’s very close friend. He helped them win the war with Kauravas. During this war Lord Krishna gave preaches to Arjuna this is called as Bhagavad Gita.

  • Plenty of Krishna Temples are in Tamil Nadu. Each and every Krishna Temple in Tamil Nadu represents Lord Vishnu’s Krishna Avatar.
  • Rajagopala (Krishna) Temple at Mannargudi, Thanjavur.
  • ISKCON temples in Tamil Nadu.

10th Avatar of Vishnu = Kalki

Kalki Avatar is the tenth and last incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu took this avatar to save us from all of our sins and protect this Kaliyuga.

kalki avatar 10th avatar of lord vishnu

paritranaya sadhunam vinashaya cha dushkritam
dharma-sansthapanarthaya sambhavami yuge yuge

This words is in “Bhagavad Gita”, meaning of this words is “Whenever evil took it head over and abolish good things, and destroy the world, I will come and defeat the evil and save the world”.

There is a believe that Kalki avatar of Lord Vishnu will come soon.

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