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.
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.
“Worship of Shailaputri gives Stability, Health, Spiritual Awareness, Love, Compassion and Dignity.”
View Statues of the Hindu Goddess Shailaputri, Uma Parvati. Above is a stunning bronze of Parvati with her two sons Ganesh and Murugan.
The first form of the Hindu Goddess mother Durga among her nine forms is Shailaputri. ‘Shail’ means mountains. ‘Putri’ means daughter. As such she is the Daughter of the Mountains, popularly known as Uma-Parvati in Puranic mythology.
The Hindu Goddess Shailputri is venerated on the first day of the Navaratri prayers. She is said to be the embodiment of the power of the Hindu Gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. She is described as Hindu Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva and the mother of Ganesha and Murugan.
Shailaputri was born to Daksha Prajapati. Once Daksha had organized a big Yagna and did not invite Shiva. But Sati being obstinate, reached there against Siva’s advise. Thereupon Daksha insulted Shiva. Sati could not tolerate the insult of husband and burnt herself in the fire of Yagna. Shiva carried her and shook the world with his Thandava. Seeing his agony, Lord Vishnu used his sudharsana chakra to dismember the corpse. They fall on to the earth and became Shakti Peeths. In her next birth, Sati, became the daughter of Himalaya as Parvati. In the Nava Durga pantheon she is referred as Shailaputri.
Dattatreya or Datta is considered by Hindus to be god who is an incarnation of the Divine Trinity, the three main Hindu GodsBrahma, 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.
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.
In the Shiva Purana, at the beginning of time in the Cosmos, Vishnu and Brahmā approached a huge Shiva Lingam and set out to find where Shiva began and where he ended. Vishnu was appointed to seek the end and Brahma the beginning. Taking the form of Vishnu’s 3rd avatar; the boar Varaha, Vishnu began digging downwards into the earth, while Brahma took the form of a swan and began flying upwards. However, neither could find the end or begining to Shiva. He was infinite. The Hindu God Vishnu, satisfied, came up to Shiva and bowed down to him as a swarupa of Brahman. Brahmā did not give up so easily. As He was going up, he saw a ketaki (Sanskrit – Kaetakee) flower, dear to Shiva. His ego forced him to ask the flower to bear false witness about Brahmā’s discovery of Shiva’s beginning. When Brahmā told his tale, Shiva, the all-knowing, was angered by the Brahma’s ego. Shiva cursed Brahma that no being in the three worlds will worship him.
Another story in connection with Brahma’s lack of worship is when Brahma was creating the universe, he made a female deity known as Shatarupa (one with a hundred beautiful forms). Brahma became immediately infatuated with his creation. Shatarupa moved in various directions to avoid the gaze of Brahma. But wherever she went, Brahma developed a head. Thus, Brahma developed five heads, one on each side and one above the others.
In order to control Brahma, Shiva cut off the top head. Also, Shiva felt that Shatarupa was Brahma’s daughter, being created by him. Therefore, Shiva determined, it was wrong for Brahma to become obsessed with her. He directed that there be no proper worship in India for the “unholy” Brahma. Thus, only Vishnu and Shiva continue to be worshiped with temples all over the world while Brahma only has two temples dedicated to him. Ever since the incident, Brahma has been reciting the four Vedas in his attempt at repentance.