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Avataar (Incarnation)
Read also  Avataar

First let us know the difference between rebirth and Avataar (incarnation). An Avataar represents the direct descent of God himself to the human level as His free will in order to help the human beings to ascend to the divine level, of which the liberated soul is a perfect example. While in reborth, a Jeev is forced to take a body due to his past actions. Consequently, the in rebirth the Jeev is not aware of his anhything, while in Avataar He is always conscious of His mission and power. It is only He who can see both the Absolute (Brahm) and the manifested world simultaneously and can teach the world about the Absolute. Vedaant admits the God's manifestation as the world, His omniscience as also omnipotence and grace. Hence there is nothing unreasonable in the doctrine that He can also assume a special and unique form as Avataar. God incarnates himself in response to the needs of the times. So, there are no restrictions regarding either the number of incarnations or the place.

There have been several Avataar of several gods on this Prithvi. There are some Avataar in which Bhagavaan Himself appeared just to do some specific purpose. After completing the purpose they disappeared, but some of them lived for some time and set an example to people of how to live life. Bhaagvat Puraan gives three lists of 22 names (1.3.6-22), 23 names (2.7) and 16 names (11.4) and goes to the extent of declaring that the Avataar are innumerable. (1.3.26). This is only for Vishnu. There is a belief that Shiv took 100 Avataar among Shaivites. Among the 24 Avataar of Vishnu 10 Avataar are His main Avataar.

God is formless
Brahmaa is life-giver
Saraswatee has the power to grant wisdom
Vishnu is life sustainer
Lakshmee is to grant prosperity
Beficient Shiv is for dissolution
Durgaa is to grant physical strength

There are three ways to reach God - Gyaan, Karm and Bhakti (knowledge, action and devotion). Everything changes its form and is incapable of retaining its original form - it can be called transitory, hence everything except Brahm is gtransitory.

Introduction to Avataar-1
Introduction to Avataar-2
Introduction to Avataar-3
Introduction to Avataar-4
Vishnu's Avataar
Vishnu's Avataar-Theory

10 Main Avataar Total 24 Avataar
Aadi Purush (1) Aadi Purush - in this Avataar He produced Brahmaa to create world.
Sanakaadi Muni (2) Sanakaadi Muni - (Sanak, Sanandan. Sanaatan, Sanat Kumaar)
1. Varaah (3) Varaah Avataar - In this Avataar He killed Hiranyaaksh.
Naarad Jee (4) Naarad Jee - One of the ten Maanas Putra of Brahmaa Jee.
Nar Naaraayan (5) Nar-Naaraayan - Sons of Dharm and Daksh's daughter Moorti.
Kapil Muni (6) Kapil Muni - Son of Kardam Muni and Devahooti. With this Avataar He preached Saankhya Shaastra to Devahooti.
Dattaatreya (7) Dattaatreya - Son of Atri Muni and Anasooyaa.
Yagya Purush (8) Yagya Purush
Rishabh Dev (9) Rishabh Dev - The son of Raajaa Naabhi and Sudevee
Prithu (10) Raajaa Prithu
2. Matsya (11) Matsya - In this Avataar Bhagavaan guided Muni's boat through Pralaya Kaal.
3. Kashchap (12) Kashchap - In this Avataar Vishnu kept Mandaraachal Parvat on His back during Saagar Manthan.
Dhanvantari (13) Dhanvantari - In this Avataar Bhagavaan brought Amrit Kalash from the sea.
Appeared on Kaarttik Krishn 13 - Dhan Teras
Mohinee (14) Mohinee - With this Avataar He distributed Amrit to Devtaa and liquor to Asur.
4. Narasinh (15) Narasinh - With this Avataar He killed Hiranyakashyap. Appeared on Vaishaakh Shukla 14
Hayagreev (16) Hayagreev - When Brahmaa's night was approaching, he felt sleepy and yawned so the four Ved came out of his mouth. Hayagreev named Raakshas grabbed them and ran away, so Vishnu appeared as Hayagreev and brought those Ved back. In this Avataar His head is of a horse (Haya) and rest of the body is of Naaraayan. Appeared on Shraavan Poornimaa Naarad Puraan, 2/15 says that Hari took this Avataar to kill Madhu and Kaitabh Daitya.
5. Vaaman (17) Vaaman - The son of Kashyap and Aditi. With this Avataar He brought Indra Lok back to Devtaa from Daitya Raaj Bali asking him the donation of three feet land.
6-Parashuraam (18) Parashuraam - Son of  Maharshi Jamadagni and Renukaa. With this Avataar He destroyed evil Kshatriya on Prithvi 21 times.
Ved Vyaas (19) Ved Vyaas - Son of Paraashar and Satyavatee. With this Avataar He divided Ved and created Bhaagvat Puraan, Mahaabhaarat etc books.
7. Raam (20) Raam - Son of Dasharath and Kaushalyaa. In this Avataar He killed Raavan and Kumbhkarn.
Appeared on Chaitra Shukla 9
Balaraam (21) Balaraam - Son of Vasudev and Devakee. Through Sankarshan he was born to Rohinee, the other wife of Vasudev, that is why he is called Sankarshan also.
8. Krishn Avataar (22) Krishn - Son of Vasudev and Devakee. In this Avataar He killed Shishupaal and Dantavakra.
Appeared on Bhaadrapad Krishn 8
Buddha (23) Buddha - Son of King Shuddhodan and Mahaamaayaa of Kapilvastu (now in Nepaal) on Vasant Poornimaa.
10. Kalki Avataar (24) Kalki (yet to come) - Kalki Avataar - A future Avataar. Born as the son of Vishnuyash Braahman in the end of Kali Yug to end Paap and start Sat Yug.

Bhavishya Puraan, 3/32, says that Kalki Bhagavaan will be born on Maargshersh, Krishn Ashtamee in the house of Vishnuyashaa and Vishnukeerti in Sambhal Graam. All Devtaa will also be born at that time. he will ride horse taking sword and shield and will kill Mlechchh. Then He will practice Yog and Prithvi will burn in it, later it will rain and Prithvi will come up in the rains. Thus Sat Yug will start, Hari will do Yagya, Kalki will produce Braahman from his mouth, Kshatriya from his arms etc etc.... There is a Kalki Puraan also in which all about this Avataar is written.

Some Special Characteristics of Avataar
Among these 23 Avataar --
Varaah and Narasinh Avataar are Aaveshaavataar (incarnated out of anger) - with 10-11 Kalaa

Koorm and Mohinee Avataar were purposeful Avataarin specific situations to complete work at that time only.
Krishn Avataar was with 16 Kalaa

Only once there were two Avataar in one Yug - they were Raam and Parashuraam, that also a characteristic of that era; but when they came face to face, the earlier Avataar Parashuraam had to leave - his Avataar period was over.

Other Gods' Avataar
There are many other Avataar (incarnations) of other Devtaa, some names are given here ---

Agni Dev's Avataar
Agastya Rishi
Read  "Rebirth of Vashisth Jee"

Paanchjanya Shankh's Avataar
Shatrughn was the incarnation of Vishnu's Paanchjanya Shankh (conch).

Sudarshan Chakra's Avataar
Bharat was the incarnation was of Vishnu's Sudarshan Chakra. See Bharat.

It is believed that Sahastraarjun was the incarnation of Vishnu's Chakra.

Shesh Naag's Avataar
Lakshman was Shesh Naag's Avataar. He was Raam's younger brother, see Lakshman.

The elder brother of Krishn, Balaraam, was also Shesh Naag's Avataar, although he has been counted as the 21st Avataar of Vishnu, but when he leaves this Lok, he goes in the form of a serpent. This shows that he was an incarnation of Shesh Naag.

Patanjali was the incarnation of Shesh Naag.

Shiv's Avataar
Shiv's 64 Avataar have been said, among them Sharabh's Avataar is the 30th one.

Guru Gorakhnaath is the Avataar of Shiv. He has "Goraksh Sahastra Naam Stotra", and "Goraksh Kavach".

The most important and most well-known Avataar of Shiv is of Hanumaan. He is known as the Avataar of 11th Rudra. Tulasee Daas has written a lot about him - (1) Hanumaan Chaaleesaa, (2)  Sankat Mochan Hanumaanaashtak, (3) Bajarang Baan, (4) Hanumaan Baahuk.

Another Avataar is of Maharshi Pippalaad who was the son of Maharshi Dadheechi.

Aadi Guru Shankarachaarya is also known as Shiv's Avataar. He has also written about Hanumaan - Hanumat Panchratn Stotra".

Sharabh 30th Avataar)
When Veerbhadra fails to calm down Narasinh Bhagvaan, Shiv manifests himself as a human-lion bird Sharabh. The story continues that after that Narasinh becomes a great devotee of Shiv after being tied by Sharabh. It is said that Sharabh is the 30th Avataar of Shiv from among his 64 Avataar.

Shiv created Veerbhadra, one of his terrifying forms, to calm down Narasinh Bhagavaan.

Vaayu Dev's Avataar
Vashishth Rishi
Vashishth Jee had already left his body in Nimi's Yagya. This was his second birth as the incarnation of Vaayu Dev. Read " Rebirth of Vashisth Jee"


Hanumaan Chaitra Poornimaa
Hayagreev Shraavan Poornimaa (Rakshaa Bandhan)
Dhanvantari Kaarttik Krishn 13
Kalki Maargsheersh Krishn 8
Krishn Bhaadrapad Krishn 8 (Janmaashtamee)
Lakshmee Kaarttik Amaavasyaa (Deepaavalee)
Narasinh Vaishaakh Shukla 14
Parashuraam Vaishaakh Shukla 3 (Akshaya Triteeyaa)
Raam Chaitra Shukla 9 (Raam Navamee)
Vaaman Bhaadrapad Shukla 11 in Shravan Nakshatra


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 6/15/11
Updated on 09/30/13