A reader who read about my note on Creation is concerned that my ‘notes’ may add confusion rather than add to the clarity to the thinking process’. I replied that my notes are from data that I have gathered from the Original Shrimad Bhaagvad. My idea was not to confuse but to help experience an awe over the Greatness of the Scriptures in trying to explain the inexplicable.
Guru Nanak in the Granth Sahib states that even though one has to use ‘akhri’ (words) to describe the Lords Creation, words cannot do the job by far!
I am about to write on the Incarnations of the Lord. I pray that I am able to do it the best way I am inspired to do it! There is a Mantra to be chanted before one is performing such a mammoth task.
Om Sahana Vavatu, Sahanao Bhunaktu
Sahaveeryam Karvaa vahai
Tejaswee Naava Dheeta Mastu Ma Vidvishaa vahai
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti
Loosely translated: I pray that You help me teach.
You help me learn! May our study be brilliant and may we not misunderstand! Om Peace, Peace, Peace!
As the name ‘Shrimad Bhaagvad’ suggests, its mainline is ‘God and His Creation’ Bhaagvad comes from the word ‘Bhagwan’. Last time in ‘The Creation’ we learned that God became part of the Creation and that the same elements that pervade the Universe form the body of Man.
The Soul or the Aatman is the Divine Spirit in Man.
Man is no different from God . Man is only separated from God by the veil of ignorance. Or the amount of dirt on the glass. If the glass is clear the sun shines unhindered. But if it is stained, one is not able to see through it. God shines through man as much as ‘his glass is clean’
There are many Avataars (Incarnations) described in the Shrimad Bhaagvad.
All do not enjoy the same status. Some are called Ansh (Part)-Avtaars and some Puran (Complete) Avataars. When gold has to be moulded into an ornament it has to take the help of an alloy. In the case of Avtaars the same rule applies.
For God to incarnate, He has to have a mixture of ‘Maya’ (The illusion of Creation) This is the reason why many who lived in close proximity to great Avtaars were not able to recognise their Divinity.
Christ called Himself the son of God and was persecuted and humiliated.
Shree Ram and Krishna were also not appreciated by all who lived in close proximity.
The list of the persecution of Sages and Saints is endless.
The Shrimad Bhaagvad was penned thousands of years ago.
The Avtaars of Fish, Tortoise, Boar, Half-Lion/Half-Man… could be likened to the Darwin’s Theory of Evolution…
Shree Krishna promised in the Bhaagvad Geeta that the Lord would incarnate to protect His devotees from atrocities inflicted upon them by the amoral people from time to time ‘yuge yuge’
It is believed that Lord Krishna and Lord Rama are Avtaars of Lord Vishnu.
The symbols of the tools carried by the Gods
Lord Shiva carries a trident and a rattle drum
Brahma is identified by his:
Books, rosary and pot
Vishnu is identified with 4 symbols:
Conch shell, trumpet or shankh, discus whirring around his index finger or chakra
A mace or gadda and a lotus or padma
Vishnu’s Conchshell or Shankh:
It is blown to announce his presence in a battlefield in Vedic times…it is a measure of lung power and mind control…
Vishnu’s Chakra which whirrs around his index finger is a weapon and a symbol.
As a Weapon: It strikes the target and returns to Vishnu’s finger.
As a symbol of life it indicates that what goes around comes around…
The mace or gadda is like a teacher’s ruler to punish those who do not do what they are supposed to do.
The above inspired by Devdutt Pattanaik
The Lotus is born, lives and dies in the water and yet remains untouched by water…The Lotus inspires us of the same mode of conduct in Life. Though we are born in the world, live in the world and die in the world we should be untouched by it!
The following are the different Avtaars recorded in the Shrimad Bhaagvad:
- The Sanat-Kumaras. The Ever-Pure young Brahmachaaris.
- The Lord, in the Form of a ‘Boar’ rescued the ‘World’ when it had sunk to Unreachable Depths.
- Naarad. He is A Symbol of ‘Devotion’ (Bhakti)
- Nar-Narayan (The Fusion of Man and God)
- Kapil-Dev. He expounded the knowledge of ‘Saankhya Shaastra’which had got lost in time.
- Dattatreya. He came as the son of Atri. He gave the Wisdom of ‘Brahmagyaan’.
- This Avtaar came in the Form of ‘Yagya’ (sacrifice) to Prajapati and his wife Aakuti.
- Rishabhdev. He came as the son of King Nabhi and his wife Merudevi. He taught how the people in Aashrams (Hermitages) should conduct their lives.
- He came as King Pruthu due to the prayers of the Rishis. He helped in the preparation of medication which proved very beneficial to mankind.
- The Lord incarnated as the Fish (Matsya Avtaar) and saved the earth from drowning.
- During the churning of the Ocean, the churner was not finding stable ground to churn. The Lord incarnated as a tortoise (Kachhap), to give it support.
- In the form of Dhanvantari, the Lord extracted nectar (Amrut) from the ocean.
- As Mohini, the Lord gave the Amrut (Nectar) to the deserving.
- Narsinmha-Avtaar was the Incarnation of God as half-man, half-lion. He came in this form to protect His great devotee: Prahlaad.
- As Vaaman Bhagvan, He asked for 3 steps of land, and restored the kingdom to the Devtas.
- As Parashuram, he repeatedly destroyed armies of corrupt warriors.
- As Ved-Vyaas, He was a Gyaan- Avtaar. He penned many works of Spiritual excellence.
- Shri Rama of the Ramayan fame.
- Balram, the brother of Shri Krishna.
- Shri Krishna.
- In Kaliyuga, Budh- Avtaar
- In the future, Lord Kalki