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I happened to read a forwarded message recently about a mom explaining to her scientist son the interpretation of the ten Incarnations of Lord Vishnu in terms of the Darwinian theory of Evolution. Since it sounded quite logical and interesting, I thought I would elaborate a bit on this, though the credit for this certainly goes to the unknown author of the message.

As many among us know, ‘DASAVATHARAM’ refers to the ten Incarnations of Lord Vishnu who is considered the Supreme Godhead as per Hindus. It is believed that the Almighty appeared in our world from time to time (Over different Yugas or eras) for the Universal Good and to combat evil and re-establish Dharma in our world.
As we know, his Incarnations or Avatars as Sri Rama and Sri Krishna are the most well known, among all others.


MATSYA AVATAR is the Lord’s first Incarnation. Matsya means fish. Since life is believed to have started in the oceans, this ought to go well with Darwin’s theory.


KURMA AVATAR, His second Incarnation was as a Kurma or Tortoise. This is in line with the evolutionary theory of life moving gradually to land too, from the waters.


VARAHA AVATAR, His third was an Incarnation as a wild boar. This corresponds to the phase of evolution where the wildest animals with least developed intellect roamed the Earth.


This is the very interesting and awe-inspiring NARASIMHA AVATAR of Lord Vishnu, a form taken to protect his very young devotee Prahlad by destroying the powerful Asura king, Hiranyakashapu.

This Avatar symbolizes the gradual progression of man from animal like existence to a more intelligent being.


WAMANA AVATAR is the fifth Incarnation of the Lord where he takes birth as a dwarf. So this marks the advent of the small structured humans.


PARASURAM, the awe inspiring angry fighter corresponds to human evolution into a powerful fighter, establishing the powerful domination of two-legged humans over the rest.


His Incarnation as SRI RAM is considered the most significant and important for spurring the development of man into a refined, civilized being, developing a healthy respect for social values, relationships and generally for living together in society bound by laws of the land.


SRI KRISHNA, easily the most famous and beloved Incarnation, was different from Sri Ram in the sense that he was fully aware that he was an avatar of God. He was thus able to demonstrate his Supernatural powers and use the same to establish Dharma in the world. Lord Krishna also, through his BHAGVAD GITA to his beloved devotee Arjun, taught the world the way of living a good, clean and spiritual life.


BUDDHA is considered the ninth incarnation. Needless to say, his teachings also emphasized good, simple living and a life of DHARMA, guiding devotees to simple, Spiritual living.


As per Hindu beliefs, there should be one more Avatar called KALKI.  

Mankind waits to see what the last Avatar of the Creator has in store for it.

To summarize, the Avatars of Lord Vishnu do represent the various stages of evolution of civilization and are in broad agreement with Darwin’s theory of evolution.

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