Science in Hinduism-Evolution in Vishnu avatars
Posted By sarinmall on Jun 24, 2012Starting with this article, I will be writing many articles relating our ancient spiritual scriptures with science. Content of an individual article can be treated as mere coincidence, but if you relate all these articles together, then you will be able to realize the deep connection between ancient spiritual scriptures(written by sages) and modern scientific experiments and theories( by well-known scientists).
In this article, we will be seeing concept of evolution through different avatars of Vishnu. Some more articles on evolution will be posted later.
As we all know, there are ten avatars of lord Vishnu. However, some scriptures suggest that there are 24 avatars out of which these 10 Avatars (incarnations) actually form a sub-set of the original 24 Incarnations of Lord Vishnu. These ten avatars are:
1) Matsya, the fish-avatar who saved Manu - the progeniter of mankind from the great deluge and rescued the Vedic scriptures by killing a demon.
2) Kurma the tortoise avatar, who helped in the Samudra manthan - the churning of the ocean.
3) Varaha , the boar avatar, who rescued the earth from the ocean, by killing her kidnapper-demon Hiranyaksha
4) Narasimha the half man-half lion avatar, who killed the tyrant demon-king Hiranyakashipu to rescue the demon's son Prahlada who was a Vishnu-devotee
5) Vamana the dwarf-avatar, who subdued the king Maha Bali Story can be found in the Vamana Purana
6) Parashurama sage with the axe who killed the thousand-armed king Kartavirya Arjuna
7) Rama the king of Ayodhya and the hero of the Hindu epic Ramayana
8) Krishna, the king of Dwarka , a central character in the Bhagavata Purana and the Mahabharata and reciter of Bhagavad Gita
9) Gautama Buddha spiritual teacher on whose teachings Buddhism was founded
10) Kalki ("Eternity", or "time", or "The Destroyer of foulness"), who is expected to appear at the end of Kali Yuga.
Did you find evolution in the above listed avatars? No? Let me make thing simpler to you by showing these avatars in a different way.
Fish(Aquatic)àTortoise(Amphibian)àBoar(Mammal)àHalf lion man(semi animal)àDwarf(Half grown man)àJungle sage with axe(Neanderthal Type)àRama(Fully civilized man)àKrishna(Man with supreme power like modern man having technological powers)àGautama Buddha(Spiritual guru to teach non violence)àKalki (Proposed avatar with all modern technological powers)
Lord Vishnu Avatars depicting evolution starting from bottom left
Now let us discuss these major avatars in details to understand the process of evolution much better
1) Matsya the fish avatar,
This Avatar was taken at the end of the previous yuga(eon) and the creation of our new Yuga. (Note that time span of our present universe is equal to one day of Lord Brahma. If you are confused about yuga, then read the below post before you proceed further).
Living in an illusionist world-Part 1
Living in an illusionist world-Part 2
This is most significant of all avatars because it sets the tone of our creation. English Movie 2012 is also based on the concept of this avatar (the fish shaped boat was made to survive in this movie).
At the time when the previous yuga was about to end, the Great Deluge was to occur, Lord Surya's son Satyavrat ruled the Dravid-desha in that period. When it was time for him to retire, he handed over the kingdom to his eldest son Ikshvaku (who gave rise to the Solar Dynasty). And went to the foothills of Mount Malaya to perform meditation.
After a long time, Brahma appeared to him and asked for a boon. Satyavrat knew that this was the time for the end of the Chatur-Yuga; hence he asked the boon of becoming Manu (First man) in the NEXT Manvantar and Brahma readily granted this boon.
One morning, while performing ablutions in a pond, satyavrat immersed his hands in the water so as to offer some water to his ancestors. When he raised his cupped hands, he was amazed to find a tiny minnow fish (shafari) in his hands and that too, a talking one!
Satyavrat finds a tiny talking fish in his hands
The tiny fish requested for shelter and Satyavrat obliged the creature. But, during the night, the fish grew too large for the small pot it was kept in, so the next morning, the King asked his men to transfer that talking fish to a small pond. However soon enough, it became too big and was moved in to a still bigger one.
King moving the fish from one pond to another
However, the tiny fish continued to grow immediately to the size of the pond it was kept in. So, finally satyavrat decided to move the fish to the ocean, but soon it grew as large as the size of the ocean. Seeing this mighty creature, satyavrat immediately realized that the fish was none other than the Supreme Lord Vishnu Himself and immediately bowed down to pay his respects.
Satyavrat praying to the magical creature
Lord Vishnu in matsya avatar
The Lord, pleased with his humility, told him that he aspired to be the Manu for the next Manvantar and so, the responsibility of saving all the existing species of life for their continuation in the next eon (Yuga) also lay with him.
The Lord told him that exactly seven days after that day, Pralaya or the Great Deluge will come and everything will be swallowed by the mighty ocean waves.
Lord Vishnu told Satyavrat that the demigods themselves would construct a ship and he has to take with him the Saptarishis and a pair of each species of living beings, and wait at the same spot for the Lord to come there.
All living species collected for the next Yuga.
(Don't you think English movie 2012 is copied from this story?)
The appointed day came as lord vishnu said, and clouds completely filled the sky. The torrential rains caused by Seven classes of clouds, known as Samvarta, Bhimananda, Drona, Chanda, Valahaka, Vidyutapataka and Kona began and entire land mass was flooded.
Satyavrat along with his consort and chosen ones waiting for matsya
As suggested by the lord, satyavrat along with his consort Shradha, the Saptarishis, chosen animals and plants safe boarded the ship made by demigods and began flowing in waves as mighty as mountains. As promised, at the predicted time,Lord Vishnu in form of Matsya appeared and the boat was tied by means of Nag-raj Vasuki, to the horn on the head of Matsya and thus, the virtuous devotees of Lord were saved to take life ahead to the next Eon. During the period of Deluge, Vaivasvat Manu asked Lord Vishnu several questions and this conversation is recorded in the form of the Matsya Puraan.
At last the rain stopped, the water took some more time to subside, and the land peeped out from under its watery prison. As promised, Satyavrat Vaivasvat Manu and his associates had been saved, and began the task of settling in the new world.
Lord Vishnu in matsya avatar carrying boat with him
2) Kurma, the tortoise avatar,
Once, The Devas (Demi-God) lost their strength and powers due to a curse by the sage Durvasa because Indra, the king of the Devas, had insulted the sage's gift (a garland) by giving it to his elephant (Airavata which trampled upon it. Thus, after losing their immortality and kingdom, they approached Lord Vishnu for help.
Vishnu suggested that they needed to drink the nectar of immortality to regain their lost glory. However, they needed to strive hard to acquire the nectar since it was hidden in the ocean of milk. After declaring a truce with their foes (Asuras) The Asuras (demons) and Devas (demigods) approached the Milky Ocean to perform the churning. Mandara Mountain was chosen as the churn drill. The huge snake Vasuki volunteered to be the Churning rope. The Devas took hold of the tail of Vasuki and the Asuras took hold of the mouth the snake.
Devas and Asura churning of the ocean
But as Mandara Mountain had no fixation (below or above) it started to sink down.
Taking the form of a turtle (Kurma), Vishnu lifted the mountain on his back and made it possible for the churning of the ocean or Samudra Manthan to take place. Some Hindu scriptures mention that the Kurma incarnation lifted the mountain higher than what was needed. So, Lord Vishnu took the form of the eagle and sat on top of the mountain and it came down to the exact position. The Devas obtained the Nectar of Immortality - Amrit from the ocean alongwith riches like the wish-fulfilling Kamdhenu cow; Parijaat tree; Airavat, the white elephant and Uchhaishrava, the flying horse.
Lord Vishnu sitting on top of the ocean
The Cosmic Churning of the Ocean occurred in the 6th Manvantar when the leader of the Gods was MANTRADRUMA and that of the Demons was Maharaj BALI, the grandson of Prahlad Maharaj.
3) Varaha , the boar avatar,
There was a demon named Hiranyaksha, an incarnation of Jaya, who was a gatekeeper of Vaikunta (the abode of Lord Vishnu). He was born as an Asura (Demon) due to a curse of the twin Rishis known as the Sanat - Kumaras. Hiranyaksha, who became vigorous, after getting the boons of invincibility from Lord Brahma against ALL known species of Men, Animals, Birds and Divine Beings (male as well as female). To prevent the Devas from becoming powerful, this demon once carried whole earth and submerged it in the cosmic waters of Garbhodak Ocean.
As per the boon of lord brahma, to kill Hiranyaksha, lord Vishnu had to take such a form which does not exist. Hence, Lord Vishnu had to incarnate in this particular boar form and used its tusks to dig earth out of the bottom, and carried towards the surface.
The enraged Hiranyaksha interrupted the Varaha, and then commenced a battle which is believed to have lasted for a thousand human years. Eventually, Lord Vishnu rescued the earth and restored it to its place in the universe. In this avatar, Lord Vishnu had to marry Goddess Earth ( Prithvi (Bhudevi). )
Hiranyaksha fighting with varaha avatar
Varaha is depicted in art as either purely animal or as being anthropomorphic, having a boar's head on a man's body. In the latter form he has four arms, two of which hold the wheel and conch-shell while the other two hold a mace, sword or lotus or make a gesture (or "mudra ") of blessing. The Earth is held between the boar's tusks.
Anthropomorphic Form of varaha avatar
The avatar symbolizes the resurrection of the Earth from a pralaya (deluge) and the establishment of a new kalpa)> (cosmic cycle).
Thus Varah-avatar was the FIRST Avatar of Lord Vishnu in the present day of Brahma and this incident took place 6 Manvantars = 1.8 Billion Solar Years ago!!
More on Vishnu avatars in next article
Before ending, a small poem to summarize and conclude
When world in danger or demons declares war,
Supreme lord Vishnu manifests suitable avtar.
No matter how much strong the opponents are,
Lord avatars help us, he's the only savior.
When world(Yuga) was about to end,
Living beings about to disappear.
In matsya avatar, Lord descend.
Gave the world things to cheer
When Demons and demigods churned ocean,
Mandara Mountain began to sink down.
To keep the mountain back to it region,
Lifted the mountain taking kurma form.
When lord brahma gave invincibility boon,
Demon Hiranyaksh submerged mother earth.
Took the Varaha(Boar) avatar very soon
Killing the demon, you showed your worth
Same supreme Creator, worship all religion,
God only adores your love and devotion.
God is only one, but His forms are many.
Fighting in name of religion is insanity.