Lord Shri Hari Vishnu incarnated in every age to protect the religion. Although there have been many incarnations of Lord Vishnu, among them there are 10 such incarnations, which find a prominent place. Here are the mythological and authentic stories of 10 incarnations of Lord Sri Hari Vishnu i.e. Dashavatar.
According to the Puranas, Lord Vishnu took the Matsya avatar to save the universe from the holocaust. Its story is as follows – King Satyavrat became at the beginning of Kritayuga. One day King Satyavrat was taking a bath in the river and offering water. Suddenly a small fish came into his Anjali. When he saw it, he thought of putting it back in the ocean, but that fish said – don’t put me in the ocean, otherwise big fishes will eat me. Then King Satyavrat kept the fish in his Kamandal.
When the fish became bigger, the king kept it in his lake, then in no time the fish became bigger. The king understood that this is not an ordinary creature. The king prayed for the fish to come back to its original form. Hearing the prayer of the king, the four-armed Lord Vishnu appeared and said this is my Matsyavatar. God said to Satyavrat – Listen, King Satyavrat! King Satyavrat, is famous as Matsyapuran.
According to religious scriptures, Lord Vishnu took the form of Kurma (tortoise) and helped in the churning of the ocean. The Kurma avatar of Lord Vishnu is also known as the Kachhap avatar. Its story is as follows- Once Maharishi Durvasa cursed Indra, the king of the deities, and made him headless. When Indra went to Lord Vishnu, he asked him to churn the ocean. Then Indra got ready to churn the ocean along with the demons and deities as told by Lord Vishnu.
Mandarachal mountain was made churner and Nagraj Vasuki was made neti to churn the ocean. The gods and demons, forgetting their differences, uprooted Mandarachal and took him toward the sea, but they could not take him far. Then Lord Vishnu put Mandarachal on the beach. Gods and demons put Mandarachal in the sea and made Nagraj Vasuki the leader. But because there was no base under Mandarachal, it started sinking into the sea. Seeing this, Lord Vishnu assumed the form of a huge Kurma (tortoise) and became the support of Mandarachal in the ocean. Mandarachal started moving fast on the huge back of Lord Kurma and thus the churning of the ocean was completed.
According to religious texts, Lord Vishnu took the second incarnation in the form of Varaha. The story related to Varah Avatar is as follows- In ancient times, when the demon Hiranyaksha took away the earth and hid it in the sea, then Lord Vishnu appeared in the form of Varah from the nose of Brahma. Seeing this form of Lord Vishnu, all the gods and sages praised him. At everyone’s request, Lord Varah started searching for the earth. With the help of his snout, he found the earth and went inside the ocean, and brought it out by placing it on his teeth.
When the demon Hiranyaksha saw this, he challenged the Varaha form of Lord Vishnu to fight. There was a fierce war between the two. In the end, Lord Varaha killed Hiranyaksha. After this, Lord Varaha established the earth on it by erecting the water with his hooves.
Lord Vishnu had killed Hiranyakashipu, the king of the demons by taking the Narasimha avatar. The story of this incarnation is as follows- According to religious texts, Hiranyakashipu, the king of demons, considered himself stronger than God. He had the boon of killing man, deity, bird, and animal, neither in a day, nor at night, nor on earth, nor in the sky, nor by weapon, nor by the weapon. During his reign, whoever worshiped Lord Vishnu was punished. His son’s name was Prahlad. Prahlad was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu since childhood. When Hiranyakashipu came to know about this, he became very angry and tried to convince Prahlad, but still, when Prahlad did not agree, Hiranyakashipu gave him the death sentence.
He was saved every time by the miracle of Lord Vishnu. Hiranyakashipu’s sister Holika, who was blessed with the boon of not being burnt by fire, took Prahlad and sat in the blazing fire. Even then, by the grace of Lord Vishnu, Prahlad was saved and Holika got burnt. When Hiranyakashipu himself was about to kill Prahlad, Lord Vishnu appeared from the pillar in the form of Narasimha and killed Hiranyakashipu with his nails.
In Satyayuga, Prahlad’s grandson Dityaraj Bali took control of heaven. All the deities went to Lord Vishnu to save them from this calamity. Then Lord Vishnu said that I would be born from the womb of Goddess Aditi and give you the kingdom of heaven. After some time Lord Vishnu took Vamana’s avatar.
Once when Bali was performing a great yajna, Lord Vamana went to Bali’s yagyasala and asked King Bali for three steps of land. King Bali’s Guru Shukracharya understood God’s Leela and refused to donate to Bali. But Bali still took a vow to donate three feet of land to Lord Vamana. Lord Vaman assumed a huge form and measured the earth in one step and heaven in the other step. When there was no place left to place the third step, Bali asked Lord Vamana to place the step on his head. By stepping on the head of Bali, he reached Sutalok. Seeing the charity of Bali, God also made him the master of Sutalok. In this way, Lord Vaman helped the deities and returned them to heaven.
There was a lot of terror of the demon king Ravana in Tretayuga. Even the gods were afraid of him. To kill him, Lord Vishnu was born in the form of a son from the womb of Mother Kaushalya at King Dashrath’s place. In this incarnation, Lord Vishnu killed many demons and lived his life following dignity. He went into exile at the behest of his father.
During his exile, the demon king Ravana abducted his wife Sita. Lord Rama reached Lanka in search of Sita, there was a fierce battle between Lord Rama and Ravana in which Ravana was killed. In this way, Lord Vishnu took the form of Ram and freed the deities from fear.
Shri Krishna Avatar
In Dwaparayuga, Lord Vishnu destroyed the unrighteous by taking the incarnation of Shri Krishna. Lord Krishna was born in prison. His father’s name was Vasudev and his mother’s name was Devaki. Lord Krishna performed many miracles in this incarnation and destroyed the wicked.
Lord Krishna also killed Kansa. Became the charioteer of Arjuna in the war of Mahabharata and gave the knowledge of Gita to the world. Dharmaraj was established by making Yudhishthira the king. This incarnation of Lord Vishnu is considered the best of all incarnations.
According to Hindu scriptures, Parshuram was one of the main incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Two stories are prevalent regarding the birth of Lord Parshuram. According to Harivanshpuran, one of those stories is as follows- In ancient times, Mahishmati city was ruled by the powerful Haiyyavanshi Kshatriya Kartavirya Arjuna (Sahastrabahu). He was very proud and also tyrannical. Once Agnidev requested him to have food. Then Sahastrabahu came in pride and said that wherever you want, you can get food, I have the rule everywhere. Then Agnidev started burning the forests.
Rishi Aapav was doing penance in a forest. The fire also burnt his ashram. Enraged by this, the sage cursed Sahastrabahu that Lord Vishnu would take birth as Parashurama and destroy not only Sahastrabahu but all the Kshatriyas. Thus Lord Vishnu was born as the fifth son of Maharishi Jamadagri in the Bhargava clan.
According to the religious texts, Gautam Buddha, the originator of Buddhism, was also an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, but Lord Buddha, described in the Puranas, is said to have been born in Kikat near Gaya and his father’s name has been described as Ajan. This incident is of the Buddha Avatar described in the Puranas. At one time the power of the demons increased a lot. Even the gods started running away from their fear. With the desire of the kingdom, the demons asked Devraj Indra what is the solution for our kingdom to be stable.
Then Indra told in a pure sense that for a stable government, Yagya and Vedic conduct are necessary. Then the demons started performing Vedic practices and Mahayagya, due to which their power started increasing. All the deities went to Lord Vishnu. Then Lord Vishnu assumed the form of Buddha for the benefit of the gods. He had a broom in his hand and used to walk sweeping the road.
Thus Lord Buddha approached the demons and preached to them that it was a sin to perform Yagya. Yajna causes violence to living beings. Many living beings are destroyed by the fire of Yagya. The demons were impressed by the teachings of Lord Buddha. He stopped performing Yagya and Vedic rituals. Due to this his power decreased and the gods attacked him and regained their kingdom.
In some text Balrama, Krishna’s brother is considered as one of lord Vishnu’s dashavatar.
According to religious texts, Lord Vishnu will incarnate in the form of Kalki in Kalyug. Kalki Avatar will happen at the junction of Kaliyuga and Satyuga. This incarnation will consist of 64 arts. According to the Puranas, Lord Kalki will be born as the son of an ascetic Brahmin named Vishnuyasha at a place named Shambhal in the Moradabad district of Uttar Pradesh.
Kalki will destroy the sinners from the world by riding on a horse named Devadatta and re-establish the religion, only then the Satyug will start.