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An extended list of Incarnations of Vishnu


Lord Vishnu is the supreme almighty and the source of all creations. He is the nurturer of this world and the annihilator as well. He is beyond the bondage of birth and death, yet he takes incarnations to protect the world from the tyranny of sinners. His first incarnation was in the form of the eternal adolescents, the Sanat Kumaras who were celibates and extremely virtuous. All of them did difficult tapasya.

Lord Vishnu took his second incarnation in the form of a Varah (boar) to protect the Earth from the mighty demon named Hiranyaksha, who had abducted her to Patal loka (Nether world).

The third incarnation is Narad, the embodiment of knowledge. He propagated the virtues of devotion and nishkama karma (performing one's duties without bothering about the results).

Vishnu in his fourth incarnation as Nara-Narayana performed arduous austerities for the protection and propagation of Dharma or Religiousness.

Lord Vishnu's fifth incarnation was as Kapila; which he took to protect the Sankya Sastra, that was on the verge of becoming extinct. Kapila taught this wonderful philosophy of Samkhya to his disciples Asuri and others of Samkhya and thus it survived

Lord Vishnu took his sixth incarnation in the house of Atri and Anusuya as Dattatreya, with the specific objective of propagating the most secret Brahma vidya to worthy people. His disciples included Prahalad and many other virtuous men.

Lord Vishnu took his seventh incarnation as the son of Ruchi Prajapati and Aakuti and was known as Yagya deva.

His eighth incarnation was as Rishabh deva (Urukrama)- the son of sage Naabhi and Merudevi. In this incarnation, he established the norms for Grihashtha ashram, which later on became the guidelines for every householder.

Lord Vishnu took his ninth incarnation as Prithu and milked (extracted) various nutrients (cereals, pulses, medicinal plants etc.) from the Earth who had disguised herself as a cow, and thus protected the starving population.

In his tenth incarnation as Matsya (fish), he protected the life of Vaivaswat Manu, who would not have survived otherwise.

Lord Vishnu assumed his eleventh incarnation in the form of a Kurma (tortoise) and held the Mandarachal mountain on his back at the time when the ocean was being churned.

His twelfth incarnation was Dhanvantari, the physician emerged from churning of Milky Ocean. By which he protected humankind from disease.

By his Thirteenth incarnation as the most enchanting beauty- Mohini, to retrieve the ambrosia pot from the possession of the demons. He subsequently distributed it among the deities to keep them immortal for the benefit of the world.

In his fourteenth incarnation, Lord Vishnu manifested himself as Narasimha' (partly human and partly lion) to protect his devotee- Prahlad and to kill the wicked demon Hiranyakashipu by tearing apart his abdomen with his sharp claws.

His fifteenth incarnation was as Vaman (dwarf) in which he demanded all the three worlds from Bali-the most benevolent demon king and then sent him to Patal loka and restored the heaven to Gods.

In his sixteenth incarnation as Parashuram, he wiped out the entire Kshatriya caste from the face of the earth twenty-one times, as they all had become immoral.

In his seventeenth incarnation Vishnu was born as Vyas to Parashar and Satyavati and accomplished his mission of propagating knowledge of the Vedas by categorizing them into four parts.

In his eighteenth incarnation Lord Vishnu manifested himself as Sri Ram .

His nineteenth incarnation was as Balrama

His twentieth incarnation was Sri Krishna .

Lord Vishnu took his twenty-first incarnation as Buddha to bring mankind back to a virtuous path by preaching against rituals and proving that it is not proper for a seeker to be bound by their technicality.

Lord Vishnu would be born to a Brahmin named Vishnuyasha in his next incarnation as Kalki to liberate the earth from sinners and restore righteousness.

Usually only ten incarnation of Vishnu is mentioned as important.The above are an extended list of the important incarnations. Scriptures says that Vishnu took thousands of incarnations to protect Dharma, and that process is inevitable and continuous.

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