Welcome to the "Believe it or Not- That's Incredible India!" series. India is home to some of the most astonishing wonders in the world. The rich culture, heritage, food, scriptures, architectural marvels and scores of known and unknown facts come together to create this multicolored melange that is India. Throughout this month, read about the various believe it or not facts about India and know what goes into the making of this incredible country!
I guess, many of you are familiar with the ten avatars of Lord Vishnu. For the uninitiated, Lord Vishnu, one of the most important Hindu Gods, is believed to be born on earth whenever there is widespread destruction and mayhem and save the world from evil. Each time he is born, he takes on a distinct form or avatar.
Mythology says, he has been born in nine of these avatars and will come back again in his tenth avatar as Kalki. These ten forms or avatars are called ‘the Dashavatars’ – Dasha meaning ten and Avatar meaning form.
But are these mythological stories just tales or are they true? We might never know for sure but here are some amazing facts that will blow your mind!
The nine avatars of Lord Vishnu that have taken place so far are-
Matsya -the fish- who rescued the first man Manu from a great deluge.
Kurma –the turtle – who bore the mount Mandara on his back during the Samudra manthan
Varaha – the boar- who restored mother Earth after rescuing her from the demon Hiranyaksha
Narasimha – the half-man-half beast- who protected his devotee Prahalada from the demon king Hiranyakashyapu
Vamana – the dwarf - who destroyed the pride of King Mahabali
Parashurama – the man with an axe- who is one of the saptarishis
Rama – the human - who defeated the mighty Ravana
Krishna – the philosopher and teacher - who destroyed the evil Kamsa and many other evil doers.
Buddha – the one who attained Nirvana
The amazing aspect of this mythological Dashavatara story is its striking similarity to Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution!
The scientific theory states that life on earth began with single cellular organisms and aquatic animals were the first to come into existence. Vishnu’s first incarnation was a fish – the Matsya avatar!
According to Darwin, then came the amphibian, which we know as Vishnu’s second avatar- the tortoise or the Kurma avatar.
This was followed by the animal life on earth which is represented by the Boar or the Varaha Avatar.
Following this was the partly evolved man – half beast, half man or the Narasimha avatar.
This set off the evolution of man in a slow and dramatic manner. First came the dwarf man, the early homo sapiens.
Then came the fierce looking, axe wielding man, perhaps the stone age man – Parasurama avatar.
He then evolved into a man with a more human form and mind, whom the Dashavatara calls the Rama avatar.
Next came Krishna, the teacher and philosopher and then Gautam Buddha –the highest form of evolution of man, the avatar that taught us the path to enlightenment.
Yet to come is the Kalki Avatar. This incarnation is foretold to appear at the end of Kali Yuga and will be marked by a holocaust signalling the end of the world.
If the Dashavatara was just a figment of someone’s imagination, how did they get the entire evolutionary theory right in so much precision? Does it not mean that our ancestors knew things that we are only discovering now? Imagine what a dense repository of knowledge ancient Indians had! Can you afford to underestimate the power of their theories?
Believe it or Not – That’s Incredible India!