(Part – II)
The Bhagavata Puran describes Vishnu's avatars as innumerable, though ten of his incarnations (Dashavatara), are celebrated therein as his major appearances. The commonly accepted number of ten avatars for Vishnu are Matsya; Kurma; Varaha; Narsimha; Vamana; Parsurama; Rama; Krishna; Buddha and Kalki.
Modern interpreters state that Vishnu's ten main avatars are from simple life-forms to more complexes, and compare the Dashavatara concept to the modern theory of evolution.
He was the son of the king of Ayodhya, Dasharatha and his first wife, Kaushalya and as the first born, was entitled to the throne of Ayodhya after Dasharatha. However great ambitions for her son prompted Dasharatha's second wife, Kaikeyi to play a dirty game and she had Rama banished from the kingdom for fourteen years. Rama was accompanied to the forest by his wife, Sita and Lakshamana - the youngest of his three brothers - son of Dasharatha's third wife, Urmila. He along with Sita and Lakshmana, led a life of asceticism for fourteen years. However, Kaikaeyi's son Bharath did not accept the throne which was offered to him and instead ran the kingdom as a caretaker rather than a king.
Towards the end of their time in the forest, Sita was abducted by Ravana - the powerful demon king of Lanka - in revenge for the insult brought upon his sister Surpanakha - who had evil designs on Lakshmana. Sita was kept in captivity in Lanka by Ravana. Lord Rama and Lakshmana, along with an army of monkeys, led by their king Sugreeva and Hanuman, attacked Lanka to rescue Sita. Rama killed Ravana in a fierce battle and thus rescued Sita, after which he went back to Ayodhya and was anointed the king. Sri Rama tought mankind the importance of sticking to the concepts of righteousness, justice, truth and strength of character.
It is said that he is the only fully human incarnation of Vishnu who was aware of his godly powers from infancy. This is why he is often equated with Vishnu rather than being treated as a mere incarnation. He became the ruler of Dwarka and later played a pivotal role in the epic battle of Kurukshetra, between the Kauravas and Pandavas. Krishna was the cousin brother of the Pandavas and Kauravas.
It was during this battle of Kurukshetra where Lord Krishna expounded upon the various philosophies that guide the values of righteousness, duty and justice and how all existence is only a tool in God's hands and it is He who defines all that was done is being done and will be ever done. His messages that he preached to Arjuna - one of the Pandava brothers and Krishna's favourite - comprised the Bhagwad Gita which is one of the most revered texts of Hindu philosophy. It was during this preaching that Krishna showed Arjuna the Vishwaroop - the representation of the cosmos and its functions through himself.
The Festivals celebrated in remembrance of Vishnu’s avtars are Holi, Ram Navami, Krishna Janmashtami, Narasimha Jayanti, Onam and Tulsi Vivah