Thursday, July 18, 2024

Dasavatar: The Earliest Evidence of Physical and Cultural Evolution

Hindu scriptures say that God takes birth in some form to protect the righteous when evil forces try to dominate the world. The ten forms in which God destroyed evil forces very clearly indicate both physical and cultural evolution of life and also the way civilization set in. Let us trace it.

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The ten avatars (forms of God on the Earth) are:

“Matsya, Koorma, Varaahatsya, Naarasimha, Vaamanaha,

Ramo, Ramatsya, Ramatsya, Buddha, Kalki revachah”.

The first avatar is Matschya (fish) that lives only in water. Science also says that life originated in water. Pisces (fish) is the first class among vertebrates. Big fish eat small fish. This indicates that ‘might is right’ was the way of the world. God took this form to recover Vedas that were being stolen by a demon.

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The second avatar is Koorma, a Turtle. It is an amphibian. It indicates life was able to exist both in water and on land. A turtle has a defensive mechanism but is not offensive. God took this form to help churning of the sea during which act Amruta (Ambrosia that makes one immortal) comes out along with so many other things. God manages to give it to angels and demons do not get it.

The third avatar is Varaaha, a wild boar with sharp tusks. It lives only on land. It moves fast and can face a lion. The first three avatars prove that life originated in water and gradually moved to land. In this avatar God rescues Earth which was being taken away by a demon.

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The fourth avatar is Narasimha whose lower half of the body is that of a human being and the upper half is that of a lion. Here is a two legged being that stands erect, advancement over four legged beings. This semi human form does not have any control over his emotions and His angry mood continued till he saw his wife as another beautiful lady, Chenchulakshmi. This avatar was to rescue his devotee, Prahlad, who was a symbol of goodness, from his demonic father, who tried to kill his own god-loving son.

The fifth avatar is Vaamana, a complete human form though short. This is advancement from the earlier semi human form. He has an umbrella made of Palmyra leaves and a set of wooden shoes indicating the ability to use natural resources for His comfort. This avatar crushes evil but highlights the nobility in giving, a value of life.

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The sixth avatar, the first of the three Ramas, is Parasurama, a Rajarshi (warrior saint) who carried an axe. It denotes the use of a weapon and also using iron to make it. He symbolizes the combination of divine and human nature in man. (“IdamBramham, IdamKshatram”). In this avatar he went round and killed so many evil kings. This indicates the establishment of ‘Dharma’ (being righteous) a value of life.

The seventh avatar is Sri Rama, a model man in all aspects of human behavior (MaryadaPurushottam). His weapon is bow and arrow. Arrow is far more refined than an axe. Values like truthfulness, sacrifice, keeping one’s promises are found here. He mingled with human and non-human beings irrespective of caste or creed. (Ex: Sabari, a tribal; Guha, a man supposed to be of lower strata of society; Sugreev, a gorilla etc.). Rama Killed Ravana, a powerful demon king and so many other evil forces.

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The next avatar is that of Sri Krishna. But in the list of avatars not his name but his elder brother Balaram’s name is mentioned as per Hindu tradition. Krishna avatar highlights living by dairy farming, surrendering to God shedding ego as seen at ‘Vastrapaharanam’ of Gopikas and Draupadi and Tulaabhaaram. His weapon is much refined wheel, a major advancement in human history. Balaram’s weapon is plough which indicates development of agriculture. Krishna killed some of the evil forces and made Arjuna and Bhima kill many more. He guided Arjuna to kill all the evil kings and their supporters to establish Dharma.

The ninth avatar is Buddha, a man without a weapon. He symbolizes renunciation. He is in meditation, an indication of an evolved being. He spoke of values like ahimsa (non-violence), Dharma (righteous duty) and highlighted theImportance of communal living. (Some Hindu scholars believe that the Buddha of Hinuism is different from the Buddha of Buddism. Some tried to create a vain argument that Krishna and Balaram are two different avatars. It is well known that Balaram is incarnation of Aadisesha, and not of Vishnu just as Lakshman was incarnation of Adisesha while Rama was that of Vishnu).

The tenth avatar is that of Kalki Who is yet to come. He will come at the end of this Kali Yuga (Era) of which we are now in the first quarter (i.e. His arrival would be after several thousand years).

Thus, in Dasavataars we see irrefutable evidence of Biological evolution on one hand and a record of developments in human civilization and culture on the other.

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Rajendra Singh Baisthakur
Rajendra Singh Baisthakur
Rajendra Singh Baisthakur had been a Lecturer in English. He is a poet, critic and translator. His interests are Literature, Philosophy and social media.


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