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Vishnu




Ten Avatars or Vishnu's Dashavatara

  1. Matsya, the fish.
  2. Kurma, the turtle.
  3. Varaha, the boar.
  4. Narasimha, the Man-Lion (Nara = man, simha = lion).
  5. Vamana, the Dwarf Brahmin (priest).
  6. Parashurama, Rama with the axe, who appeared in the Treta Yuga.
  7. Rama, Sri Ramachandra, the prince and king of Ayodhya.
  8. Krishna (meaning 'dark coloured' or 'all attractive' or the Existence of Bliss), appeared in the Dwapara Yuga along with his brother Balarama. Balarama is included as the eighth Dasavatara which list Krishna as the source of all avatars, svayam bhagavan (this viewpoint is specific to Bhagavata, Gaudiya, Vallabhacarya and Nimbarka sampradayas).
  9. Buddha, the thinker. (See Gautama Buddha in Hinduism)
  10. Kalki ("Eternity", or "time", or "The Destroyer of foulness"), who is expected to appear at the end of Kali Yuga, the time period in which we currently exist.

Other stories of Vishnu

Vishnu as Mohini tricks the Asuras

After the curse of Durvasa, Lakshmi disappeared, and the only way to get her out, was by churning Ksheerasagara, the ocean of milk (read cosmic space) using a mountain for a spindle and the great snake Vasuki was used as the rope. Since the mountain had to be balanced in the ocean, Vishnu took the form of a turtle in His Kurma avatar. And among the various treasures that came out, one of them was Amrit, divine nectar.

Both the Devas and the Asuras wanted Amrit. However, the Devas didn't want to share Amrit with the Asuras who were their fierce foes. So, they turned to Vishnu for help. Vishnu took the form of Mohini, a ravishingly beautiful damsel, and proposed to serve Amrit to everyone. She made everyone sit and started by serving Amrit to the Devas, while making seductive eyes to the Asuras who were totally immersed into Her beauty. By the time the Asuras had realised what had happened, the Devas got all the Amrit, and they drove away the Asuras. Only Rahu and Ketu, two Asuras, managed to get the nectar as they saw through this plan.

Explanation of the story above
Although it might appear that Vishnu is cheating the Asuras, don't think so. In Hinduism, a balance is maintained everywhere. While the Devas have Amrit, the nectar of immortality, the Asuras have the Sanjivani Vidya, the knowledge of bringing back the dead. Also, if you read any stories in Hinduism, you will notice that it starts with an Asura asking for a boon, normally from the impartial Brahma or Shiva, and then they seek immortality, which cannot be given. So, then they ask for a very peculiar clause, such that only a week old child can kill them, or a horse headed being can kill them, etc. which will reduce the probability to almost zero, thus almost immortality. But then, Vishnu or another lesser god will teach the demon a lesson after the demon goes about his demonic ways. The moral is that, good and evil are always there - and these stories are meant to teach more important principles of life, such as Karma and other greater philosophical concepts.
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