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06/09/2016

DASHAVATARA OR THE 10 SPECIAL VISHNU AVATARAS, CREATIONISM AND DARWINISM by e.s. shankar

by e.s. shankar in celebration of Vinayagar Chathurthy

(CLICK ON PIC FOR ENLARGED VIEW)












This blog post was not written to preach or propagate Hinduism. Neither is there a desire to stake any fanciful claim, as many Hindu websites do, that the ancient Indians and Hindus represented an advanced civilization that knew for certain all the secrets of the Universe, had measured the heavens, discovered all the mathematics and physical laws of electricity, magnetism and the Grand Unified Theory and invented spacecrafts (Vimana - CLICK HERE) and nuclear weapons (Brahmastra missiles - CLICK HERE ) that could annihilate creation in the blink of an eye.

At the apex of the Hindu pantheon of gods are the Trimurti or Holy Trinity, a concept which is at the heart of Christianity too, but came much later. The Trimurti comprises Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer/Transformer. Beyond them is the one ultimate God, the primordial formless, changeless, eternal, infinite, omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent Brahman.

To dumb it down, there is no dispute in modern science that at any given moment, all these aspects of creation, preservation and destruction/transformation are going on in the observable universe which, for now, has been estimated to be about 13.7 billion years old and to have a diameter of about 93 billion light years. Out there in the cosmos, new stars and materials are created even as old stars collapse and explode. The cycle of birth, life and death is all around us.

To dumb it down further, a smart entrepreneur (Creator) who has built up a sound business empire would always wish to leave behind a lasting legacy. In the world of commerce, this is done by establishing a holding company where are parked the key assets of the business such as land banks, secret recipes (e.g. Coke), patents, know-how techniques, copyrights and royalty rights etc. The actual business - sales, marketing and distribution - will be undertaken by subsidiary companies run by trusted family members or hired top-notch professionals (Preserver). And then, there is always that aspect of a business empire that will require restructuring, downsizing, winding up and liquidation and branching out into new business areas (Destroyer/Transformer).

So, the Hindu concept of representing the 'One true God' by the visible and divisible functions and processes in our universe - creation, preservation and destruction/transformation - is not as crazy as it may sound at first.

Depending upon the source, Hindu holy books, scriptures and legends have described the appearance of Vishnu as an avatar on Earth on 22, 25 or 26 occasions. Ancient seers have calculated that each life cycle, or Mahakalpa of the Brahman spans exactly Three Hundred Eleven Trillion and Forty Billion years, (311,040,000,000,000), which are broken up into 4 periods or Yugas of unequal years in the ratio 4:3:2:1. At the end of the Yugas, the universe shall be dissolved and after a certain "resting" period, a new creation and cycle begins. By their reckoning, we are now in the final period of this life cycle, the Kalki Avatar, which still has some 427,000 years to go. These  numbers are not supported by any scientific or proven calculations.

However, almost every ancient civilization has recorded a global flood after which life apparently sprang anew. Most seem to agree with a starting date of 3000 BC (Hindus - 3102 BC) for this new and supposedly last Yuga. Vishnu apparently takes on an avatar form to resolve a crisis on Earth that reaches a dangerous impasse and involves large-scale destruction of human lives. Of the 22/25/26 avatars, the Dashavatara or 10 Avatars are significant, as Vishnu is said to have appeared on Earth in a form other than his true self.

The pictures above with their very significant symbols, provide the names of the Vishnu Dashavatara. There are variations in the names included from region to region in India, but the generally accepted sequence in chronological order are:

1. Matsya Avatara (Fish)
Vishnu appears as a gigantic fish (or whale) to tow to safety the 7 great rishi's (Saptha Rishis) and Manu to begin the new Yuga. 

2. Kurma (pronounced Coorma) Avatara (Tortoise/Turtle)
Vishnu appears as a tortoise to support the churning of the milky way to elicit wealth, knowledge of medicine etc. and extract Amrita (food) which gave immortality to the gods.

3. Varaha Avatara (Wild Boar)
Vishnu appears as a wild boar to lift Earth by its tusks to allow the flood waters to recede so that animal and human life could have space to begin and flourish.

4. Narimsha Avatara (Half Lion-Half Man)
Vishnu appears as a giant half lion-half man to liberate Earth from the vicious rule of the demon king Hiranyakasipu. This may mark the transition of animals to semi-human or ape-man in anthropological terms.

5. Vamana Avatara (Dwarf)
Vishnu appears as a scholarly brahmin dwarf, perhaps as an indication of the true arrival of learning and the learned man whose stature is measured by intelligence and action and not mere wealth and power corrupted by ego.

6. Parashumara Avatara (Axe)
Vishnu is born as a son of a rishi. 'Parashu' means axe, signifying an implement used by those who lived and survived in the forest as woodsmen. Parashurama was also responsible for almost wiping out the Kshatriya clan which wielded power unjustly. Legend has it that he filled 5 lakes with the blood of all the Kshatriyas he slaughtered before his grandfather convinced him to halt the carnage!

7. Rama Avatara (Bow and Arrow) - hero of the Ramayana epic
Vishnu is born as the most educated, honourable, chaste, righteous and perfect king Rama to restore peace to the world by defeating the 10-headed demon (rakshasa) King Ravana who had abducted his wife.

8. Balarama Avatara (Plow) or The Buddha Avatara
Vishnu is born as Krishna's elder brother. The plough signifies the arrival of agriculture, farming and the ability of the human race to research, plan and provide for its own food.

9. Krishna Avatara (Many symbols. CLICK HERE)
Vishnu is born to royalty as the enchanting, joyous, mischievous and highly knowledgeable Krishna. He also emerges as the greatest warrior in Hindu mythology, never having lost a battle. He delivers the sacred Bhagavad Gita and its philosophy of dharma to humans, ensures victory goes to the good in the epic Mahabharata in which he is a central figure, and sets the stage for the arrival of the dreaded Kalki Avatar.

10. Kalki Avatara (Symbol - Riding on speedy White Horse with raised sword of execution in hand. CLICK HERE for Kalki Avatar).
In this final avatar which is apparently already underway, Vishnu is destined to appear as Kalki - destroyer of filth - to rid the world of the scourge of kings, queens and leaders who no longer embrace and practice proper principles, morals, ethics or integrity. The white horse signifies an era when time will appear to be moving faster than ever. Kalki will usher in a new golden age before it is all wound up for good.



The picture of the 8th avatar often depicts the Buddha instead of Balarama. Buddha as we know pretty accurately, lived between 563 - 483 BC. From a strictly personal point of view, I think the Buddha was hastily and scurrilously inserted into this list to somehow undermine Buddhism. No doubt the Buddha was born an Indian and Hindu prince, but his teachings and philosophy of achieving Nirvana through meditation, Dyana, and the Middle Way, never really took root in India. For Buddhism to flourish it needed to go abroad to Tibet, Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand and China and then to Japan and Korea.

Somehow, Balarama with his plow seems to fit naturally into the theme of a progressive human race moving up the scales of evolution. Hinduism was already some 2,500 years old when the Buddha arrived. No doubt he was a great and enlightened soul, and his teachings provided a new way for those tired of austere asceticism, severe meditation techniques and stifling Hindu brahmanical orthodoxy. But frankly, I cannot see his place in this series.

The originals of some of the pictures above are to be found in UK in places like like the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Can it be mere coincidence, these symbols and stories of the Vishnu avataras which were recorded about 2,500-5,000 years ago? Does not Darwin's 1859 Theory of Evolution propose that Life began from a single-celled creature in water which became fish and marine life, then amphibious, evolving into reptiles, birds, animals and humans? And there it is in that sequence above. Admittedly, there are gaps there. The birds and dinosaurs are missing. But, I am sure that with more research the gaps will be bridged.



My interest in it was aroused many years ago. When I was a little boy, there was a framed picture of the Dashavatara in my family prayer room. It fascinated as well as terrified me, especially that picture of the giant half-lion half man (Vishnu) Narasimha avatar ripping open the demon Hiranykasipu's chest and drinking his blood, making sure not a drop of it spilled on the floor so as to not fall foul of a Brahma boon.

Of course, Darwin's Theory of Evolution, with the exception of Hinduism and Buddhism, flies in the face of major religions which maintain that God created everything almost simultaneously and that man and woman were made in the image of God. Were it not for the discoveries of 150-230 million-year old fossils of dinosaurs and other creatures, and 2-3 million years bones of humans, the Creationists may have slam-dunked the debate. Now, exactly where do these Creationists think these scary Jurassic creatures and cave-man and ape-man originated from and who or what made their existence possible?

It's incredible is it not, that despite an avalanche of irrefutable scientific evidence, that in of all places the USA, a sizeable populace exists that does not believe in Evolution, and is constantly seeking to ban the teaching of it in schools? CLICK HERE.

Is there no room in our intellect and thinking for a Creator who/which sets the stage for the survival of the fittest through Evolution with a certain randomness and uncertainty (which has become established as a cornerstone principle in quantum physics and cosmology) factored in and that would be the best model for a sustainable and progressive universe?

2 comments:

Bala Kanda said...

Too powerful to deny the manifestation claims but the aliens possess supernatural powers.....

Donplaypuks® said...

If anyone wishes to have the full list of the 22/25/26 Vishnu Avataras and the calculation of the Mahakalpa of 311,040,000,000,000 years for the life cycle of the Brahman, please email me at za@donplaypuks.com