Avatars of Hindu God Vishnu

Yoga Narasimha, avatar of hindu god vishnu

Bronze Narasimha statue, 4th avatar of Lord Vishnu

When most people think of Avatars they think of the recent Blockbuster hit by James Cameron.  But the original concept of Avatars stems from the Hindu Religion and is most widely associated with Hindu God Vishnu.  Within Hinduism, Avatars are thought to be descendants of Hindu deity’s, deliberately placed upon earth.  The reason Hindu God Vishnu, the Preserver, is most closely associated with this concept is because he is thought to have many, each with a specific aim or purpose in existence.

 

Within the Bhagavad Gita there is a passage that describes the purpose of these destined Avatars of Vishnu as bringing about dharma back to the social order of the world:

 

 

 “Whenever righteousness wanes and unrighteousness increases I send myself forth.  For the protection of the good and for the destruction of evil, and for the establishment of righteousness, I come into being age after age.”

 

Another reason for the close association with Vishnu and his Avatars is because his descendants are thought to be integral to his teachings.  Other deities do not have such close ties to their descendants.

Although there are thought to be countless descendants of Vishnu in some respects, there are 10 main avatars that are often referred to as Dasavatara.  Krishna and Rama are the most widely known of Vishnu’s 10 avatars.

The other 8 are as follows:

1)      Matsya- fish avatar

2)      Kurma- tortoise avatar

3)      Varaha- boar avatar

4)      Narasimha- half man-half lion avatar

5)      Vamana -dwarf avatar

6)      Parashurama- sage avatar

7)      Gautama Buddha

8)      Kaliki- who has yet to come

Hindu God Shiva: Destroyer & Creator

Hindu God Shiva as Lord of Dance Nataraja

Shiva destroys and creates the world anew as the Lord of Dance, Nataraja!

When many first hear of the Hindu God of Destruction, Shiva, they automatically think of something evil or alarming.  They think him something to be feared.    Yet, his powers are constructive, not just destructive.   He brings about necessary and beneficial transformation.   It can be said that the world is in a constant state of flux.   Just as life is given at birth, so too must it eventually cease to exist.   In that same regard, the world is constantly evolving and partaking in birth, deaths, and rebirths.

Hindus believe that Hindu God Shiva is responsible for the destruction of the universe in order that he may then re-create it into a more perfect form.  They believe that even now he infiltrates the world in order to shed illusion and destroy the worlds many imperfections.  Not only is he the Destroyer, he can also be thought of as a god of change or formation, causing a constant cycle of destruction and creation in order to bring about necessary good.

There is no doubt that the world as we know it houses many flaws.    In order to bring about real change, Hindus look to Shiva to re-create the world in a better image.  Worshipers look to him for guidance in ridding their troubles.  They may pray upon a Shiva statue so that he may bring about renewal in the world.  Many worship Shiva as their primary God.   Join Hindu’s around the world in worshiping Hindu God Shiva for both his destructive and constructive qualities.

Bring a Shiva or other Hindu statues into your home or place of worship from Lotus Sculpture.

The Hindu God Ayyappan, Son of Shiva & Vishnu

Hindu God Ayyappan

View the Bronze 15 inch Statue of the Hindu God Ayyappan

The legend and history are intermingled in the genesis of the Hindu God Ayyappan. It is believed that Ayyappan was born as progeny of the union of the Hindu God Vishnu and the Hindu God Shiva. Vishnu appeared as Mohini, the beautiful enchantress – the alluring damsel appearing at the time of the churning of the Ocean Of Milk to entice the asuras and divide the nectar (Arnrith) among the Devas themselves. Shiva succumbed to the beauty of Mohini and Ayyappan was born out of this union. Hence his other name Harihara Putra (HARI-Shiva, HARA-Vishnu, PUTRA-Son). Ayyappan is regarded as the third son of Shiva, the other two being Ganesha and Murugan.

Ayyappan, the Celibate God of Kerala, is host to every religious trend and practice the Hindu faith ever manifested in its entire history. His temple is unique in India, in that there is no distinction of caste or religion in determining who can enter it. Non-Hindus are equally welcome.

Yama the Hindu God of Death

Yama, Hindu God of Death with Buffalo

Yama the Hindu God of Death with his vehicle, the Buffalo. Click to view statues of all the Hindu Gods.

Yama is the much-feared Hindu god of death who lives in his gloomy palace Kalichi situated somewhere in the nether regions or the Hindu Patala. He is the regent of the Southern quarter of the compass. Yama has a number of attendants to assist him in his many tasks.  In his palace he keeps a register called the “Book of Destiny” in which each person’s span of life is recorded.  This is maintained by one of the god’s attendants and the servant is predictably as gloomy of countenance as his master.  When a person’s span of life is over Yama sends some of his more robust attendants up to earth to haul the person down to his palace.  Yama is depicted as a man with dark green skin, wearing blood-red robes and with coppery eyes staring out of his grisly face.  He rides his buffalo when he is traveling and he takes his mace and noose everywhere just in case there is an emergency and someone has to be cut off in the midst of his or her life.

Hindu God Dattatreya, Synthesis of Shiva, Vishnu & Brahma

HIndu God Dattatreya statue

View this statue of the Hindu God Dattatreya

Dattatreya or Datta is considered by Hindus to be god who is an incarnation of the Divine Trinity, the three main Hindu Gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The word Datta means “Given”, Datta is called so because the divine trinity has “given” themselves in the form of a son to the sage couple Atri and Anasuya. He is the son of Atri, hence the name “Atreya.”

Dattatreya is recognized as an Avatar or incarnation of the Lord Shiva and as the Adi-Guru (First Teacher) of the Adinath Sampradaya of the Nathas. Although Dattatreya was at first a “Lord of Yoga” exhibiting distinctly Tantric traits, he was adapted and assimilated into the more devotional Vaishnavite cults; while still worshiped by millions of Hindus, he is approached as a benevolent god and a teacher of the highest essence of Indian thought.

In sculpture Dattatreya statues have some distinct characteristics. He always has three faces, one for Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma. Vishnu faces forward with Shiva on the left of Vishnu and Brahma on the right. He has six hands where he holds a drum (damru), discus (chakra), conch shell (sank), japa mala, water vessel (kamandala) and a trident (trishul). All these attributes of the Lord have their esoteric meanings. The trident is used for killing the ego, and the drum is used to awaken those souls who are still sleeping in the slumber of ignorance. Lord Datta’s conch shell is used to make the sacred sound OM. Lord Dattatreya is also holding a rotating discus -chakra. It is a round circle with no beginning and no end. Like the universe, it too is constantly moving, always in a flux. He uses this chakra to destroy all kinds of karmic bonds of His devotees. His right hand holds a rosary -japa mala. With this the Lord counts His devotees, liberating them by merely thinking of their name. In another hand the Lord is carrying the water pot -kamandala. This holds the nectar of pure wisdom. With this He revives the souls thirsty for knowledge, liberating them from the endless cycle of life and death.

Bronze Hindu God Dattatreya statue

View this Bronze Hindu God Dattatreya statue with 4 dogs and Kamadhenu the gift giving cow

Accompanying Dattatreya are 4 dogs and a cow. The four dogs surrounding Datta represent the four Vedas. The dogs are both wild and tame and symbols of fidelity and devotion. The cow is Kamadhenu the gift giving cow. She grants all wishes and desires. She is the cow of plenty, which emerged from SAMUDRAMANTHAN (the churning of the ocean) and and was claimed by Indra as his property. She is the mother of all cows.