The fact is that as there have been various avatars of Lord Vishnu, it is almost impossible to give an exact answer to the question – “how many avatars of Vishnu?” This is mostly due to the fact that whenever we see a great personality of superhuman strength (physical, mental, intellectual, or spiritual) establishing dharma and achieving incredible feats, we attribute it to divinity. Srimad Bhagavatam states that even though there are countless avataras, there are 24 avataras that are significant. Don’t you want to know the most renowned 10 avatars of Vishnu?
First Avatar of Lord Vishnu – Matsya ( the fish)
Scriptures say that the very first of the 10 avatars of Vishnu was the Matsya. It took form as a fish with horns to help the first man survive the extinction.
Second Avatars of Lord Vishnu – Kurma (Tortoise)
Kurma is the Half tortoise half-man form of Vishnu. During Samudra Manthan, which is the churning of the ocean for the amruth of immortality, the mountain began to sink. So He takes form to balance the Mount Mandara on his back to assist the devas and asuras in the churning.
Third Avatar of Lord Vishnu – Varaha (Boar)
Varaha took the form to save Bhudevi from the demon Hiranyaksha. The battle between them is said to have lasted a thousand years after which, Varaha slew the demon and saved the goddess. In the Vishnu Purana, Varaha signifies sacrifice, which brought order amidst chaos in the world.
Fourth Avatar of Lord Vishnu – Narasimha (Half- man and Half lion)
Lord Vishnu incarnated as Narasimha to bring peace, order, and dharma on earth. He slew Hiranyakasipu as he had a boon where he could not be killed by man or animal, inside or out. Neither could he killed during day or night, nor with a weapon, either living or inanimate.
Fifth Avatars of Lord Vishnu – Vamana (Dwarf)
Vamana, the dwarf, comes to earth to keep a check on the growing power of the demonic king, Mahabali. He approached the king, who promises him whatever he asked. Vamana tricks the king by asking for three steps of land and banishes him off the earth.
Sixth Avatars of Lord Vishnu – Parshurama
Parashurama was the Brahmin Kshatriya warrior avatar of Lord Vishnu. Scriptures depict him as a sage carrying an ax who ended the unchecked rule of Kshatriya’s power and brought them to justice.
Seventh Avatar of Lord Vishnu – Rama
Rama, the prince of Ayodhya, is the hero of the epic Ramayana. He kills the demon king, Ravan, to save his wife, Sita. Rama’s life is full of obstacles and is one of Hinduism’s most celebrated and powerful deities. He teaches us the values and morals that we need to have.
Eighth Avatars of Lord Vishnu – Krishna
Lord Krishna is another important avatar of Lord Vishnu. He is the guide of Arjuna, who advises Arjuna on various philosophies such as doing one’s duty and dharma. His duty was to destroy evil, appeal to people about their dharma, and bless good with the right dharma.
Ninth Avatar of Lord Vishnu – Buddha/Balarama
Buddha appeared when the world began to lose its way and the understanding of the scriptures. He guided humankind by showing the importance of self-realization. Balarama appeared as the elder brother Krishna. His mission was to aid Krishna in the material world as well as sustain the spiritual world.
Tenth Avatar of Lord Vishnu – Kalki
Kalki is the final avatar of Lord Vishnu, known as the destroyer of darkness. It is foretold that Kalki would come riding a white horse with a blazing sword in hand. It is said that would end all evil destroying kali and start a new Satyayuga