The Avatars and Incarnations of Vishnu

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Matsya (the fish) Avatar

Matsya
Ann Ronan Pictures/Print Collector/Getty Images

Matsya is the fish that rescues Veda, plants, and animals. It is one of the ten avatars of Vishnu that appeared in the Satya Yuga.

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Koorma (the tortoise) Avatar

Vishnu Kurma avatar
© Historical Picture Archive/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Koorma is the tortoise that supports the churn of the ocean to obtain treasures dissolved in the ocean of milk. It is one of the ten avatars of Vishnu that appeared in the Satya Yuga.

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Varaha (the boar) Avatar

Varaha (the boar) Avatar
Ann Ronan Pictures/Print Collector/Getty Images

Varaha is the boar that raised the earth from the bottom of the sea. It is one of the ten avatars of Vishnu that appeared in the Satya Yuga.

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Narasimha (the man-lion) Avatar

Narasimha
© Historical Picture Archive/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Narasimha (the man-lion) is a man-lion who defies classification and overpowers mortals who seek to outwit death. It is one of the ten avatars of Vishnu that appeared in the Satya Yuga.

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Vamana (the dwarf) Avatar

Vamana
Angelo Hornak/Corbis via Getty Images

Vamana (the dwarf) claims the sky from the gods and buried the demons in the underbelly of the earth. It is one of the ten avatars of Vishnu that appeared in the Treta Yuga.

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The Parasurama Avatar

Parasurama
© Historical Picture Archive/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Lord Parasurama, the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, is also known as the angry man and Rama with an ax. Parasurama is a priest who turns to violence to kill unrighteous kings and unchaste women. 

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The Rama Avatar

Lord Rama
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Lord Rama (the perfect man, king of Ayodhya) uploads old rules at the cost of personal life. It is one of the ten avatars of Vishnu that appeared in the Treta Yuga.

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The Krishna Avatar

Lord Krishna
Ann Ronan Pictures/Print Collector/Getty Images

Lord Krishna (the divine statesman) is a cowherd (sometimes depicted as a charioteer or statesman) who shrewdly changes rules. It is one of the ten avatars of Vishnu that appeared in the Dwapara Yuga.

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The Balarama Avatar

Balarama
Wikimedia Commons

Balarama (elder brother of Krishna) is one of the ten avatars of Vishnu that appeared in the Dwapara Yuga. In many versions of the mythology, the ninth incarnation is often mentioned as Lord Buddha.

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The Kalki Avatar

Kalki avatar
The San Diego Museum of Art

Kalki (meaning “eternity” / the mighty warrior) is the last incarnation of Vishnu who is expected to appear at the end of Kali Yuga, the time period in which we currently exist, to rid the world of the oppression of its unrighteous rulers.