shrIhari

mahAbhAratam
tasya khila bhAho

harivamsham

harivamsha parva
ch 41

  viShNu avatAra varNanam
incarnations of Vishnu 

 

--o)0(o--

vaishampAyana uvAcha : vaishampAyana replied:

prashna-bhAro mahAn tAta tvaya uktaH shAr~Nga-dhanvani |
yathA-shakti tu vakShyAmi shrUyatAM vaiShNavaM yashaH ||1-41-1
viShNoH prabhAva-shravaNe diShTyA te matiH utthitA |
hanta viShNoH pravR^ittiM cha shR^iNu divyAM maya IritAm ||1-41-2

Weighty are the questions that you have put regarding shrIhari, the holder of shAr~Nga bow... however, I shall now describe the glory of viShNu according as my ability... fortunately your mind is bent upon listening to Vishnu's prowess, so now you may hear as I describe the divineness of viShNu...

sahasra akShaM sahsra asyaM sahasra bhujam avyayam |
sahsra shirasaM devaM sahsra karam avyayam ||1-41-3
sahsra jihvaM bhAsvantaM sahsra mukuTaM prabhum |
sahsra daM sahsra AdiM sahsra bhujam avyayam ||1-41-4

The scholars in the Vedic lore describe him as having umpteen numbers of eyes, faces, feet, heads, mouths, tongues, arms and crowns; as eternal, self-effulgent, a giver of umpteen presents... and as an imperishable – avyayam; as well as an immutable – avyayam – entity...

savanaM havanaM chaiva havyaM hotAram eva cha |
pAtrANi cha pavitrANi vediM dIkShAM charuM sruvam ||1-41-5
sruk somaM shUrpa musalaM prokShaNaM dakShiNa ayanam |
adhvaryuM sAma-gaM vipraM sadsyaM sadanaM sadaH ||1-41-6
yUpaM samit kushaM darvIM chamasa ulUkhalAni cha |
prAgvaMshaM yaj~na-bhUmiM cha hotAraM chayanaM cha yat ||1-41-7
hrasvAni ati-pramANAni charANi sthAvarANi cha |
prAyaH-chittAni cha arthaM cha sthaNDilAni kushAn tathA ||1-41-8
mantraM yaj~na-vahaM vahniM bhAgaM bhAga-vahaM cha yat |
agre-bhujaM soma-bhujaM ghR^ita-archiSham udAyudham ||1-41-9
Ahur veda-vido viprA yaM yaj~ne shAshvataM vibhum |

He is: savana= particular time for particular rite; havana= particular deed in rituals; havyaM= material oblated; hotA= ritual-owner; pAtrANi= sacred places of ritual spread with kusha grass; pavitrANi= straining vessel; vedi= altar; dIkShA= ritual vow; charu= plates; sruva= wooden pestle; sruk= ladles; soma= soma creeper’s juice; shUrpa= winnowing flat baskets; musalaM = grinding wooden shaft; prokShaNaM= vessels of anointment; dakShiNa= donations; ayanam= havis, oblated material; yUpaM= sacrificial post; samit= firewood; kushaM= sacred grass; darvIM= leafy bowls; chamasa= wooden beakers; ulUkhalAni= wooden mortars, grinders; prAk-vaMshaM= sacred fore ground; yaj~na-bhUmi= ritual place; hotAraM= ritwik-s, officiators; chayanaM= level squares piece of ground made of bricks prepared for a sacrifice; hrasvAni= short; ati-pramANAni= huge; charANi sthAvarANi= movement places, sheds; prAyaH-chittAni= atonements; arthaM = fruits of action, heavens etc; sthaNDilAni= offertory grain; kusha= sacred grass; mantraM= chanted hymn; yaj~na-vahaM vahniM= ritual-carrier-fire, fire that carries sacrificial offerings; bhAgaM= apportions; bhAga-vahaM= gAyatri etc metres; agre-bhujaM= primary haulage of offered items by fire on his shoulders to respective gods; soma-bhujaM= nectarean haulage of offertories - names of fire; ghR^ita-archiSham= oblation of ghee into fire; udAyudham= udayanIyam= another kind of fire-haulage... why one or two items of ritual, every bit of vedic ritual is hari, so say the scholars in veda-s...

tasya viShNoH sura-Ishasya shrIvatsA~Nkasya dhimataH ||1-41-10
prAdurbhAva sahasrANi atItAni na saMshayaH |
bhUyaH chaiva bhaviShyanti iti evam Aha prajApatiH ||1-41-11
yat pR^ichChasi mahArAja puNyAM divyAM kathAM shubhAm |
yat arthaM bhagavAn viShNuH suresho ripu-sUdanaH |
deva-lokaM samutsR^ijya vasudeva-kule abhavat ||1-41-12
tat te ahaM saMpravakShyAmi shR^iNu sarvam asheShataH |
vAsudevasya mAhAtmyaM charitaM cha mahAdyuteH ||1-41-13
hita arthaM sura-martyAnAM lokAnAM prabhavAya cha |
bahushaH sarva-bhUta-AtmA prAdurbhavati kAryataH ||1-41-14

That intelligent Lord of gods, Vishnu, having the emblem of shrIvatsa-jewel on his breast, incarnated himself in thousands of forms, and thousands of his incarnations shall take place in future, so said brahma. O great king, I shall describe at length, as accosted by you, the sacred and celestial theme, why the divine lord Vishnu, the king of gods and the slayer of his enemies, took his birth leaving the celestial region, in the family of vasu-deva. For accomplishment of the well-being of the gods and humans, which in turn is the prosperity of total worlds, and for accomplishment of such a deed, that supreme-soul of all beings went through various incarnations...

prAdurbhAvAn cha vakShyAmi puNyAn divya guNair yutAn |
ChAndasIbhir udArAbhiH shrutibhiH samala~NkR^itAn ||1-41-15
shuchiH prayata-vAgbhUtvA nibodha janamejaya |
idaM purANaM paramaM puNyaM vedaishcha saMmitam ||1-41-16
hanta te kathayiShyAmi viShNor divyAM kathAM shR^iNu |
yadA yadA hi dharmasya glAnirbhavati bhArata |
dharmasaMsthApanArthAya tadA saMbhavati prabhuH ||1-41-17

I shall describe the sacred and celestial incarnations of the lord fraught with many virtues that have been recorded in metres and great shruti-s. Purifying yourself and controlling your speech, listen to them, O janamejaya. This highly sacred purANA is equal to the Vedas. Hear, I shall describe this celestial story of Vishnu...

O bharata, whenever virtue suffers deterioration the lord takes an incarnation to resuscitate it...

tasya hi ekA mahArAja mUrtiH bhavati sattama |
nityaM diviShThA yA rAjan tapaH charati dushcharam ||1-41-18
dvitIyA cha asya shayane nidrA-yogam upAyayau |
prajA saMhAra sarga arthaM kim adhyAtma vichintakam ||1-41-19

viShNu in one aspect that partakes of sattva guNa, the quality of goodness, will be constantly practising supreme ascesis abiding in his own abode vaikuNTha... in another aspect he will be reposing enswathed in a yogic sleep... during this period of his yogic slumber he thinks objectively as to how the universe can be dissolved, as to how creation can be brought out afresh... and the universe gets dissolved in him when he goes into yogic trance...

suptvA yuga sahasraM sa prAdurbhavati kAryataH |
pUrNe yuga sahasre tu devadevo jagatpatiH ||1-41-20

On reposing for a thousand eras, he restarts the work of creation afresh... then he manifests himself as:

pitAmaho loka-pAlAH chandra Adityau hutAshanaH |
brahmA cha kapilaH chaiva parameShThI tathaiva cha ||1-41-21
devAH sapta-rShayaH chaiva tryaMbakaH cha mahAyashAH |
vAyuH samudrAH shailAH cha tasya dehaM samAshritAH ||1-41-22
sanatkumAraH cha mahAnubhAvo manuH mahAtmA bhagavAn prajAkaraH |
 purANa-devo atha purANi chakre pradIpta vaishvAnara tulya tejAH ||1-41-23

The grandfather brahma, presiding deities of directions and inter-directions, moon and sun, fire, kapila, parameShThi, gods, seven-sages, the highly illustrious three-eyed god shiva, air, oceans and mountains... and he manifests as sanatkumAra, and as manu, the progenitor of mankind... all these are so far existing in his very form, which form will always be effulgent like vedic-ritual fire... thus he created all, himself entering into them all... tat sR^iStvA tadeva anuprAvishat....

yena cha arNava-madhyasthau naShTe sthAvaraja~Ngame |
naShTe deva asura gaNe pranaShTa uraga rAkShase ||1-41-24
yoddhu-kAmau sudurdharShau dAnavau madhu kaiTabhau |
hatau prabhavatA tena tayor dattva amitaM varam ||1-41-25

When the world is dissolved purging all the mobile and sessile, gods, demons, reptiles, ogres, two unassailable demons named madhu and kaiTabha hid themselves under deep waters planning to wage war against shrIhari... whereupon shrIhari confronted and eliminated them conferring the boon of final liberation on them...

purA kamala-nAbhasya svapataH sAgara aMbhasi |
puShkare yatra saMbhUtA devAH sa R^iShi ganAH purA ||1-41-26
eSha pauShkarako nAma prAdurbhAvo  mahAtmanaH |
purANe kathyate yatra vedaH shruti samAhitaH ||1-41-27

The gods and sages are termed as puShkarA-s because they are manifest from brahma, who manifested from the golden lotus with thousand petals, which in turn is a manifest from the naval of kamala-nAbha, say shrIhari, while he is reposing on the oceanic waters...  this is how the purANA-s, that echo the teachings of veda-s and shruti-s, tell us...

 

yaj~na varAha avatAram : incarnation of sacred boar

vArAhaH tu shruti-mukhaH prAdurbhAvo mahAtmanaH |
yatra viShNuH surashreShTho vArAhaM rUpam AsthitaH |
mahIM sAgara paryantAM sa shaila vana kAnanAm ||1-41-28

Next, let us take up the incarnation of shrIhari as sacred boar, as has been recorded in veda-s... viShNu, the foremost of the celestials, assumed the form of a sacred-boar and raised the earth with his tusks when earth with her forests and mountains sank in the deluging waters... whereby the physique of that sacred boar is likened to vedic rituals, yaj~nA-s, and viShNu in boar’s form is called yaj~na varAha mUrthi, and these are the coordinates:

veda-pAdo yUpa-daMShTraH kratu-dantaH chitI-mukhaH |
agni-jihvo darbha-romA brahma-shIrSho mahAtapAH ||1-41-29
aho-rAtrA-IkShaNo divyo vedA~Nga-shruti-bhUShaNaH |
Ajya-nAsaH sruvA-tuNDaH sAma-ghoSha-svano mahAn ||1-41-30
dharma-satya-mayaH shrImAn krama-vikrama-satkR^itaH |
prAyashchitta-nakho dhIraH pashu-jAnuH mahAbhujAH ||1-41-31
udgAtra-nto homa-lin~NgaH phala-bIja-mahauShadhiH |
vAyv-antarAtmA mantra-sphigvikR^itaH soma shoNitaH ||1-41-32
vedi-skandho havir-gandho havya-kavya ati-vegavAn |
prAgvaMsha-kAyo dyutimAn nAnA dIkShA abhirAchitaH ||1-41-33
dakShiNA-hR^idayo yogI mahA-satramayo mahAn |
upAkarma oShTha-ruchakaH pravargya Avarta-bhUShaNAH ||1-41-34
nAnA Chando-gati-patho guhya upaniShad AsanaH |
ChAyA-patnI-sahAyo vai meru-shR^iNga iva uchChritaH ||1-41-35

veda-pAda= 4 veda-s are boar’s four feet; yUpa-daMShTra= columns of rituals are its fangs; kratu-danta= rituals its teeth; chitI-mukha= fireplace its face; agni-jihva= fire its tongue; darbha-roma= sacred grass its bodily hair; brahma-shIrSha= head is brahma; aho-rAtrA-IkShaNa= day and night are its eyes;  divyo vedA~Nga-shruti-bhUShaNa= divine ancillaries of veda-s and scriptures are its ornaments; Ajya-nAsa= oblational ghee is its nose; sruvA-tuNDa= oblational vessels are its snout; sAma-ghoSha-svana= chanting of sama veda is its sound; dharma-satya-maya= boar is an embodiment of virtue and truth, like total vedic ritual; krama-vikrama-satkR^ita= knower of the line of actions; prAyashchitta-nakha= atonements its nails; pashu-jAnu= its thighs and knees are sacrificial animals; udgAtr anto homa-lin~NgaH phala-bIja-mahauShadhiH= while udgAta, homa-s etc of the ritual are the fruits, seeds and herbs of yaj~na, they are denominative of boar’s testicles – phala= testicles, bIja- semen, auShadhi= life-enrichers, progeny; vAyv-antarAtmA= air its inner soul; mantra-sphigvikR^ita= trunk is hymnal centre – mantra sthAnIyam; soma shoNita= soma juice is its blood; vedi-skandha= fire altar is its nape of the neck; havir-gandha= oblational fragrance is its smell-faculty; havya-kavya ati-vegavAn= havyA-s and kavyA-s are its fast pace; prAgvaMsha-kAya= prAgvaMsham of ritual is its body; dyutimAn nAnA dIkShA abhirAchita= various ritual vows are its effulgence; dakShiNA-hR^idaya= donations in rituals are its heart; upAkarma oShTha= ancillary rituals are its lips; ruchakaH pravargya Avarta-bhUShaNa= pravarga etc procedures are its beautiful adornments; nAnA Chando-gati-patha= numerous meters are its get going; guhya upaniShad Asana= unrevealable upanishad-s are its seat; ChAyA-patnI-sahAya = its own shadow is his wife – because yaj~na is not for the wifeless; meru-shR^iNga iva uchChrita= like an immense yaj~na  his form is loftiest like the peak of Mt. meru.

mahIM sAgara paryantAM sa shaila vana kAnanAm |
eka arNava jale bhraShTAm eka arNava gatAM prabhuH ||1-41-36
daMShTrayA yaH samuddhR^itya lokAnAM hita-kAmyayA |
sahasra-shIrSho devAdishchakAra pR^ithivIM punaH ||1-41-37
evaM yaj~na-varAheNa bhUtvA bhUta-hita-arthinA |
uddhR^itA pR^ihivI sarvA sAgara aMbu dharA purA ||1-41-38

Thus the thousand-headed god viShNu re-established the earth together with its mountains, forests and hinterlands, upraising it from the abyss with his fangs from the diluvial sheet of water under which she is submersed, which he has done on becoming a sacred-boar for the benefit of all living beings...

 

  nara-siMha avatAram  -  man-lion incarnation:

vArAha eSha kathito nArasiMham ataH shR^iNu |
yatra bhUtvA mR^iga indreNa hiraNyakashipur hataH ||1-41-39

That being the legend of boar-incarnation, now listen to an account of his man-lion incarnation where assuming the form of a man-lion he eliminate the demon named hiraNya- kashipu...

purA kR^ita yuge rAjan sura-ariH bala darpitaH |
daityAnAm-Adi-purShaH chachAra tapa uttamam ||1-41-40
dasha varSha sahasrANi shatAni dasha pa~ncha cha |
jala upavAsa nirataH sthAna mauna dR^iDha-vrataH ||1-41-41
tataH shama-damAbhyAM cha brahmacharyeNa cha anagha |
brahmA prIto.abhavat tasya tapasA niyamena cha ||1-41-42
taM vai svayaMbhUH bhagavAn svayam Agatya bhUpate |
vimAnena arka-varNena haMsa-yuktena bhAsvatA ||1-41-43
Adityair vasubhiH sAdhyair marudbhir daivataiH saha |
rudraiH vishvasahAyaiH cha yakSha rAkShasa kinnaraiH ||1-41-44
dishAbhiH vidishAbhiH cha nadIbhiH sAgaraiH tathA |
nakShatraiH cha muhUrtaiH cha khe-charaiH cha mahA-grahaiH ||1-41-45
deva-rShibhiH tapo-vR^iddhaiH siddhaiH sapta-rShibhiH tathA |
rAja-rShibhiH puNyatamaiH gandharvaiH cha apsaro-gaNaiH ||1-41-46
chara-achara-guruH shrImAn vR^itaH sarvaiH suraiH tathA |
brahmA brahma-vidAM shreShTho daityaM vachanam abravIt |1-41-47
prIto.asmi tava bhaktasya tapasA anena suvrata |
varaM varaya bhadraM te yatha iShTaM kAmam Apnuhi ||1-41-48

once in kR^ita yuga, the golden age, oh king janamejaya, the first of the daityA-s born is one called hiraNya-kashipu, a staunch antagonist of gods... he undertook a most severe ascesis engaging himself in the vow of silence, self-control, equanimity of mind, observance of rules, the vow of celibacy and he steadfastly carried it on subsisting just on water of water for eleven thousand and five hundred years...

Thereupon, oh, sinless janamejaya, pleased with his ascesis and observances, the self-sprung divinity, brahma, arrived there in his effulgent sun-like chariot drawn by swans, encircled by other divinities like AdityA-s, vasU-s, sAdhyA-s, marut-s, gods, universal helpers rudrA-s, Rishi-s, yakshA-s, rAkShasa-s, kinnara-s, rivers, oceans, stars, muhurtA-s, skywalkers, planets, celestial saints, old ascetics, siddhA-s, the seven-sages, royal saints and apsarA-s and the like...

brahma then said to hiraNya-kashipu, the daitya, "O you of firm vows... I am pleased with the ascesis of yours as a devotee of mine... you may now pray for a boon and you will get whatever you want... may you fare well...

hiraNyakashipuH uvAcha : hiraNyakashipuH asked:

na deva asura gandharvA na yakSha uraga rAkShasAH |
na mAnuShAH pishAshAH cha nihanyur mAM kathaMchana ||1-41-49
R^iShayo vA na mAM shApaiH kruddhA lokapitAmaha |
shapeyuH tapasA yuktA varam etaM vR^iNomi aham ||1-41-50
na shastreNa na cha astreNa giriNA pAdapena vA |
na shuShkeNa na cha ArdreNa syAt na cha anyena me vadhaH ||1-41-51

O grand sire, I pray for a boon of deathlessness by gods, asurA-s, gandharvA-s, yakShA-s, uragA-s, rAkShasA-s, pishAshA-s or humans... I pray for a boon that no execratory conflagration of sages shall touch me, as they are wonted to hurl curses wrathfully... incidentally, weapons, mountains, trees, dry or wet articles or any other instruments shall not bring about my destruction.

pANi prahAreNa ekena sa-bhR^itya-bala-vAhanam |
yaH mAM nAshayituM shktaH sa me mR^ityur bhaviShyati ||1-41-52

If ever my end comes, let it come through some living soul that is capable of felling me along with my aides, army and vehicles just with a single stroke of bare hand...  

bhaveyam aham eva arkaH somo vAyur hutAshanaH |
salilaM cha antarikShaM cha nakShtrANi disho dasha ||1-41-53
ahaM krodhaH cha kAmaH cha varuNo vAsavo yamaH |
dhanadaH cha dhana-adhyakSho yakShaH kiMpuruSha adhipaH ||1-41-54

The sun, moon, air, fire, water, firmament, constellations, ten cardinals, anger, desire, varuNa-raingod, indra, yama-timegod... further, kubera, the wealth distributing god and also the king of the yakshA-s and kimpurushA-s – shall come under my thumb...

 

brahma uvAcha: brahma said:

evam uktaH tu daityena svayaMbhUH bhagavAn tadA |
uvAcha daitya rAjaM taM prahasan nR^ipasattama ||1-41-55
ete divyA varAH tAta mayA dattAH tava adbhutAH |
sarvAn kAmAn imAM tAta prApsyasi tvaM na saMshayaH ||1-41-56
evam uktvA tu bhagavA~n jagAma AkAsham eva hi |
vairAjaM brahma-sadanaM brahma-rShi-gaNa sevitam ||1-41-57

O emperor janamejaya, when the king of daitya-s hiraNya-kashipu addressed the self-sprung god brahma, that god smilingly said to him, “I confer upon you these most wonderful and celestial boons with which you will attain all the desired-for objects of yours... no doubt about it...” and having said this the divine grandfather brahma repaired skyward to his abode accompanied by the celestials and sages that have come there as his entourage...

tato devAH cha nAgAH cha gandharvA munayaH tathA |
vara-pradAnaM shrutvA te pitAmaham upasthitAh ||1-41-58
vibhuM vij~nApayAmAsur devA indra-purogamAH || 1-41-59

On hearing about the grant of boons to hiraNya-kashipu, then the gods, nAgA-s, gandharvA-s, sages et al have rushed to brahma, and they appealed to him keeping indra in the forefront...

devA UchuH : gds appealed:

vareNa anena bhagavan bAdhayiShyati naH asuraH |
tataH prasIda bhagavan vadha api asya vichintyatAm ||1-41-60
bhagavAn sarvabhUtAnAM svayaMbhUrAdikR^idvibhuH |
sraShTA cha havya kavyAnAm avyaktaH prakR^itir dhruvaH
||1-41-61
sarva-loka-hitaM vAkyaM shrutvA devaH prajApatiH  |
provAcha bhagavAn vAkyaM sarvAn deva-gaNAM tadA ||1-41-62

Gods said to brahma, “Oh, god, with the boons you bestowed on him that demon will now start to persecute us... nevertheless, now a thought may be given to finish him off...” hearing their appeal for the well-being of all worlds, then brahma addressed all the hosts of gods...

avashyaM tridashAH tena prAptavyaM tapasaH phalam |
tapaso ante asya bhagavAn vadhaM viShNuH kariShyati ||1-41-63
etat shrutvA surAH sarve vAkyam pa~Nkaja-saMbhavAt |
svAni sthAnAni divyAni jagmuH te vai mudAnvitAH ||1-41-64

“Oh, gods, gods should not be supposititious, isn’t it... hence, that hiraNya-kashipu should necessarily get boons at the end of his severe ascesis... god viShNu will take care of ending that demon and his activity as and when the result of ascesis - tapaH phalam –wanes out...” so said brahma to all gods... hearing this placation gods happily returned to their own places...

labdha mAtre vare cha api sarvAH saH abAdhata prajAH |
hiraNyakashipur daityo vara-dAnena darpitaH ||1-41-65
AshrameShu mahAbhAgAn munIn vai shaMsitavratAn |
satya-dharma-ratAn dAntAn purA dharShitavAn tu saH ||1-41-66
devAn tri-bhuvanasthAM tu parAjitya mahAsuraH |
trai-lokyaM vasham AnIya svarge vasati dAnavaH |1-41-67
yadA vara-mada-unmatto nyavasat dAnavo bhuvi |
yaj~niyAn kR^itavAn daityAn devAn chaiva api a-yaj~niyAn ||1-41-68
AdityAH cha tato rudrA vishve cha marutaH tathA |
sharaNyaM sharaNaM viShNum upAjagmur mahAbalam ||1-41-69
veda-yaj~namayaM brahma brahma-devaM sanAtanam |
bhUtaM bhavyaM bhaviShyaM cha prabhuM loka-namaskR^itam |

nArAyaNaM vibhuM devAH-sharaNaM sharaNAgatAH ||1-41-70

With the potentiality of boons he obtained, hiraNya-kashipu started to tyrannise one and all... tormenting those sages that are busy in pious works and mortifications without recourse to any other pleasure, and those that are abiding by truth and virtue, and hermitages... defeating all the gods available in all the three worlds, and holding sway on all of them, that demon used to stay high in heaven... when that demon maddened with boon stayed on earth, he bid to perform vedic-rituals propitiating demons, but not gods, whereby gods did not get their share of offertories in rituals and remained foodless... whereupon AdityA-s, rudrA-s, maruta-s et al gods sought the shelter of nArAyaNa, the ultimate shelter for one and all...

devA UchuH: gods appealed to viShNu:

trAyasva  naH adya deva Isha hiraNyakashipoH bhayAt |
tvaM hi naH paramo dhAtA brahmAdInAM surottama ||1-41-71
tvam hi naH paramo devaH tvaM hi naH paramo guruH |
utphulla aMbuja-patra-akShaH shatru-pakSha-bhaya~NkaraH
|
kShayAya diti-vaMshasya sharaNyaH tvaM bhavasva naH ||1-41-72

“Oh, god nArAyaNa, save us now from the scare of hiraNya-kashipu... do something to give us shelter from him as well as to eradicate the progeny of lady diti, namely the demons...” so said gods to lord viShNu after eulogising him...

viShNuH uvAcha: viShNu said:

bhayaM tyajadhvam amarA hi abhayaM vaH dadAmi aham |
tathaivaM tridivaM devAH prati-patsyatha mA chiram ||1-41-73
eSha taM sa-gaNaM daityaM vara-dAnena darpitam |
avadhyam amara indrANAM dAnavaM taM nihanmi aham ||1-41-74

Then viShNu said to gods, “fear no more... oh, gods... I promise you safety... soon you will regain your heaven, to boot... I will slay that demon along with his followers because he is maddened with his boon and rendered unslayable even for a best god...”

vaishaMpAyana uvAcha= vaishampAyana continued:

evam uktvA sa bhagavAn visR^ijya tri-dasha-IshvarAn |
hiraNyakshipo rAjann AjagAma hariH sabhAm ||1-41-75
narasya kR^itvA ardha-tanuM siMhasya-ardha-tanuM prabhuH |
nAra-siMheNa vapuShA pANiM saMspR^ishya pANinA ||1-41-76
jImUta-ghana-saMkAsho jImUta-ghana-niHsvanaH |
jImUta-ghana-dIpta ojA jImUta iva vegavAn ||1-41-77
daityaM saH atibalaM dIptaM dR^ipta-shArdUla-vikramam |
dR^iptaiH daitya-gaNaiH guptaM hatavAn eka pANinA ||1-41-78

Saying so the god viShNu left the celestials and came to the court of hiraNya-kashipu donning a form composed of a lion in upper-body and of a human in the lower-body; then, squeezing his own palms as with the praxis of a wrestler, he agilely moved thereabout like a dark cloud, he looked like a dark cloud, hummed like a black cloud, suspired like a dark cloud, cast the radiance of his vigour like a black cloud... and finally he gave a single-handed-single-punch to hiraNya-kashipu, who is haughtily beaming so-far with a might comparable to the might of a haughty tiger, and who has been protected so-far by equally swollen-headed daitya stooges... thus that nara-simha felled the demon hiraNya-kashipu...

vAmana avatAram : incarnation of dwarifish boy:

nR^isiMha eSha kathito bhUyo ayaM vAmano aparaH |
yatra vAmanam AshR^itya rUpaM daitya vinAsha-kR^it ||1-41-79
baleH balavato  yaj~ne balinA viShNunA purA |
vikramaiH tribhiH akShobhyAH kSobhitAH te mahAsurAH |1-41-80

This being the account of narashimha avatAra, man-lion incarnation, next let us take up his vAmana avatAra, dwarf boy’s incarnation, in which form he vanquished all the daityA-s... in the days of yore, when the emperor bali undertook a mammoth vedic-ritual, the powerful viShNu took three strides and rampaged the triad of worlds, in which situation all the great asurA-s have become frenzied...

Some of the many demons who tried to beleaguer shrIhari at that time are as below:

viprachittiH shibiH sha~NkurayaH sha~Nkustathaiva cha |
ayaHshirA shaMkushirA hayagrIvaH cha vIryavAn || 1-41-81
vegavAn ketumAn ugraH soma-vyagro mahAsuraH |
puShkaraH puShkalaH chaiva vepanaH cha mahArathaH ||1-41-82
bR^ihat-kIrtiH mahA-jihvaH sa-ashvaH ashva0patiH eva cha |
prahlAdaH ashva-shirAH kuMbhaH saM-hrAdo gagana-priyaH |
anu-hrAdo hari harau varAhaH sha~Nkaro rujaH ||1-41-83
sharabhaH shalabhaH chaiva kupanaH kopanaH krathaH |
bR^ihat-kIrtiH mahA-jihvaH sha~Nku-karNo mahA-svanaH ||1-41-84
dIrgha-jihvo arka-nayano mR^idu-chApo mR^idu-priyaH  |
vAyuH yaviShTho namuchiH shaMbaro vi-jvaro mahAn || 1-41-85
chandra-hantA krodha-hantA krodha-vardhana eva cha |
kAlakaH kAlakeyaH cha vR^itraH krodho virochanaH ||1-41-86
gariShThaH cha variShThaH cha pra-lamba narakA vubhau |
indra-tApana vAtApI ketumAn bala-darpitaH || 1-41-87
asi-lomA pulomA cha vAk-kalaH pramado madaH |
sva-sR^imaH kAla-vadanaH karAlAH kaishikaH sharaH ||1-41-88
eka-akShaH chandra-hA rAhuH saM-hrAdaH sR^imaraH svanaH |

Demon vi-prachitti, shibi, sha~Nku-raya, sha~Nku, ayaH-shira, shaMku-shira, mighty haya-grIva... a speedster named ketumAn, ugra, a great demon soma-vyagra, puShkara, puShkala, vepana, the great chariot-fighter... bR^ihat-kIrti, mahA-jihva, and a horse mounted demon ashva-pati, prahlAda, ashva-shira, kuMbha, saM-hrAda, gagana-priya, anu-hrAda, hari, hara, varAha, sha~Nkara, ruja... sharabha, shalabha, kupana, kopana, kratha, bR^ihat-kIrti, mahA-jihva, sha~Nku-karNa, mahA-svana... dIrgha-jihva, arka-nayana, mR^idu-chApa, mR^idu-priya, vAyu, yaviShTha, namuchi, shaMbara, vi-jvara... chandra-hanta, krodha-hanta, krodha-vardhana, kAlaka, kAlakeya, vR^itra, krodha, virochana... gariShTha, variShTha, pra-lamba, naraka, indra-tApana, vAtApi, ketumAn, bala-darpita, aka bala-abhimAni... asi-loma, puloma, vAk-kalaha, pramada, mada, sva-sR^ima, kAla-vadana, karAla, kaishika, shara, eka-akSha, chandra-hA, rAhu, saM-hrAda, sR^imara, and svana...

And they attacked shrIhari wielding the following weapons:

shata-ghnI chakra-hastAH cha tathA parigha pANayaH ||1-41-89
mahA-shilA-praharaNAH shUla-hastAH cha dAnavAH |
ashva-yantra-Ayudha-upetA bhiNDi-pAla-AyudhAH tathA ||1-4-90
shUla-ulUkhala-hastAH cha parashva-dhadharAH tathA |
pAsha mudgara hastA vai tathA mudgala pANayaH ||1-41-91

shata-ghni= weapon kills a hundred foes at a time– now named for a canon; chakra-hastAH= disks in hands; parigha-pANayaH= bludgeons in hand; mahA-shilA-praharaNAH= catapults throwing massive stones; shUla-hastAH= spears in hand; ashva-yantra-Ayudha = horse-like machines [may be robots]; bhiNDi-pAla-AyudhAH= weapons called bhiNDi-pAla; shUla= tridents; ulUkhala= pestle-like weapons; parashva= axes; pAsha= nooses; mudgara= batterers; mudgala=  shillelagh-like weapons...

nAnA praharaNA ghorA nAnA veShA mahAjavAH |

Thus wielded numerous and horrible weapons... and changed their guise to look as:

kUrmakukkuTavaktrAshcha shasholUkamukhAstathA ||1-41-92
khara uShTra vadanAH chaiva varAha vadanAH tathA |
bhImA makara vaktrAH cha kroShTu vaktrAH cha dAnavAH |
Akhu dardura vaktrAH cha ghorA vR^ika mukhAH tathA ||1-41-93
mArjAra gaja vaktrAH cha mahA vaktrAH tatha apare |
nakra meSha AnanA shUrA go aja mahiSha AnanAH ||1-41-94
godhA shalyaka vaktrAH cha krau~ncha vaktrAH cha dAnavAH |
garuDa AnanAH khaDga-mukhA mayUra vadanAH tathA ||1-41-95

kUrma= tortoise; kukkuTa= cock; vaktrAH= faced demons; shashi= hare; ulUka= owl; mukhAH= faced; khara= ass; uShTra vadanAH = camel faced ones; varAha-vadanAH= boar-faced demons; bhImA makara-vaktrAH = mighty, crocodile, faced ones;  kroShTu vaktrAH= jackal faced ones; Akhu= mouse; dardura=tortoise; vaktrAH= faced ones; vR^ika mukhAH= fox faced ones; mArjAra= cat; gaja= elephant; vaktrAH= faced ones; mahA vaktrAH= bizarre faced ones;
nakra= ewe faced ones; meSha AnanA= ram faced ones; go= cow faced;  aja= goat faced; mahiSha AnanAH= buffalo faced ones; godhA= mongoose faced; shalyaka vaktrAH = porcupine faced ones; krau~ncha vaktrAH= heron faced ones; garuDa AnanAH= eagle faced; khaDga-mukhA= rhinoceros faced ones; mayUra vadanAH= peacock faced ones.

gajendra-charma-vasanAH tathA kR^iShNa ajina aMbarAH |
chIra-saMvR^ita-dehAH cha tathA valkala vAsasaH |
uShNIShiNo mukuTinaH tathA kuNDalino asurAH ||1-41-96
kirITino laMba-shikhAH kambu-grIvAH su-varchasaH |
nAnA veSha dharA daityA nAnA mAlya anulepanAH ||1-41-97
svAni AyudhAni saMgR^ihya pradIptAni ati tejasA |
krama-mANaM hR^iShIkesham upAvartanta sarvashaH ||1-41-98

With regard to their dressing pattern, some are clad in elephant-skins, some in antelope skin, some have ordinary clothing around their bodies, while others have jute cloths, some wearing half-crowns, some wearing ear-rings, some wearing crowns, some with long tufts of lair, some with conch-like necks... thus a numberless daityA-s, wearing various dresses, adorned with diverse garlands and taking up their burning weapons, the powerful hR^iShIkesha surrounded of all sides, while that hR^iShIkesha is taking strides on three worlds...

pra-mathya sarvAn daiteyAn pAda hasta talaiH prabhuH |
rUpaM kR^itvA mahA-bhImaM jahAra Ashu sa medinIm ||1-41-99
tasya vikramato bhUmiM chandra Adityau stana antare |
nabhaH prakramamANasya nAbhyAM kila samAsthitau ||1-41-100
paraM prakramamANasya jAnu deshe sthitau ubhau |
viShNoH atula-vIryasya vadanti evaM dvijAtayaH ||1-41-101
hR^itvA sa pR^IthivIM kR^itsnAM jitvA cha asura-pu~NgavAn |
dadau shakrAya tridivaM viShNuH balavatAM varaH ||1-41-102

That being so, when shrIhari enlarged his body and placed first footstep on the earth making it a pebble encased under the hollow of his foot, then  the sun and the moon seemed slithering to his breast level; when he placed second footstep in the sky shrouding all heavens, then the sun and moon seemed to be further foundering to his naval level; and when he grew his body further and placed his third footstep enshrouding the triad of worlds, then the sun and moon seemed to have slipped to his knee level... this is how scholars of yore say about the illimitable expansile nature of viShNu – vyApakatvAt viShNuH... thus conquering all demons viShNu retrieved the earth and heaven, and proffered heaven to indra...

eSha te vAmano nAma prAdurbhAvo mahAtmanaH |
veda-vidbhiH dvijaiH evaM kathyate vaiShNavaM yashaH ||1-41-103

Thus have I described the dwarf-boy incarnation of viShNu to you, which the vedic-scholars of yore narrate as the magnificence of viShNu...

dattAtreya avatAra – incarnation as dattAtreya

bhUyo bhUta-Atmano viShNoH prAdurbhAvo mahAtmanaH |
dattAtreya iti khyAtaH kShamayA parayA yutaH ||1-41-104
tena naShTeShu vedeShu prakriyAsu makheShu cha |
chAtur-varNye  tu saMkIrNe dharme shithilatAM gate ||1-41-105
abhivardhati cha a-dharme satye naShTe a-nR^ite sthite |
prajAsu shIryamANAsu dharme cha a-kulatAM gate ||1-41-106
saha-yaj~na-kriyA vedAH prati-AnItA hi tena vai |
chAtur-varnyam a-saMkIrNaM kR^itaM tena mahAtmanA ||1-41-107

At another time, viShNu, the soul of all, incarnated himself as the highly forgiving datta-Atreya. When the veda-s disappeared, religious works and Vedic rituals slackened, four-caste system became hotchpotch, when dharma is collapsing and a-dharma is on the rise, when truth is lost and untruth flourished, when all people are about to face a cultural perish, when dharma is floundering in the morass of a-dharma, lord dattAtreya re-established the four Vedas with their rituals, and re-categorised the four caste system, as well...

tena haihaya rAjasya kArtavIryasya dhImataH |
vara-dena varo datto dattAtreyeNa dhImatA ||1-41-108
etat bAhU-dvayaM yat te mR^idhe mama kR^ite anagha |
shatAni dasha bAhUnAM bhaviShyanti na saMshayaH ||1-1-109
pAlayiShyasi kR^itsnAM cha vasudhAM vasudhAdhipa |
dur-nirIkShyo ari-vR^indAnAM dharma-j~naH cha bhaviShyasi ||1-41-110

Further, this boon-giving, intelligent dattAtreya conferred a boon on the haihaya king kArtavirya, saying: °'O king, these your two arms, by the power of my boon, shall be thousand-fold in a given battle... O lord of the earth, you will rule over the entire earth, besides, you will be abiding in dharma... your enemies cannot look at you gloweringly..."

eSha te vaiShNavaH shrImAn prAdurbhAvo adbhutaH shubhaH |
kathito vai mahArAja yathA shrutam ariMdama |
bhUyaT cha jAmadagnyo ayaM prAdurbhAvo mahAtmanaH ||1-41-111

O slayer of enemies, janamejaya, I have described to you the most wonderful and auspicious incarnation of Vishnu as I have heard... the great lord viShNu next incarnated himself as parashu-rAma, the son of sage jamadagni...

yatra bAhu-sahasreNa vismitaM dur-jayaM raNe |
rAmaH arjunam anIka-sthaM jaghAna nR^ipatiM prabhuH ||1-41-112

When kArtavIrya-arjuna made the people to stand astonished at his thousand arms, with which arms he stood unvanquished in battles, this parashu-rAma eliminated such a mega-king when that king is in the midst of his soldiery...

rathasthaM pArthivaM rAmaH pAtayitvA arjunaM yudhi |
dharShayitvA yathA kAmaM kroshamAnaM cha megha-vat ||1-41-113
kR^itsnaM bAhu-sahasraM cha chichCheda bhR^igunandanaH |
parashvadhena dIptena j~nAtibhiH sahitasya vai ||1-41-114
kIrNA kShatriya koTIbhiH meru mandara bhUShaNA |
triH-sapta-kR^itvaH pR^IthivI tena niH-kShatriyA kR^itA ||1-41-115

Hauling the king Arjuna from his chariot onto earth, taunting him at will, chopping his thousand arms with his ruthless axe, parashu-rAma hacked him to death, throughout which process king kArtavIrya had been bellowing like a cloud... later, parashu-rAma eliminating all the kinsmen of kArtavIrya, he also eliminated hosts of kshatriya-s who have been sprawling so far on Mt. meru and Mt. mandara as if caparisoning those mountains... thus, he has undertaken the elimination kshatriya-s from the face of the earth in twenty-one rounds, and he achieved it...

kR^itvA niHkShatriyAM chaiva bhArgavaH sumahAtapAH |
sarva pApa vinAshAya vAji-medhena cha iShTavAn ||1-41-116
tasmin yaj~ne mahA-dAne dakShiNAM bhR^igunandanaH |
mArIchAya dadau prItaH kashyapAya vasuMdharAm ||1-41-117
vAruNAm turagA~n shIghrAn rathaM cha rathinAM varaH |
hiraNyam akShayaM dhenUr gajendrAn cha mahAmanAH |
dadau tasmin mahA-yaj~ne vAji-medhe mahAyashAH ||1-41-118

On divesting the earth of the kshatriya-s, the great ascetic parasu-rAma, the son of bRhigu, undertook the performance of a horse-sacrifice for the expiation of all his sins... in that sacrifice consisting of profuse gifts, that highly liberal and illustrious parashu-rAma, the foremost of chariot-warriors, made presents of quick-coursing horses, chariots, endless gold, kine and elephants... he also gifted the earth to marIchi's son kAshyapa-prajApati with a great delight... hence, mother earth is also termed as kAshyapi...

adya api cha hita-arthAya lokAnAM bhR^igunandanaH |
charamANaH tapo-dIptaM jAmadagnyaH punaH punaH |
tiShThate deva-vat dhImAn mahendre parvata uttame ||1-41-119
eSha viShNoH sureshasya shAshvatasya avyasya cha |
jAmadagnya iti khyAtaH prAdurbhAvo mahAtmanaH ||1-41-120

On his becoming chiranjIvi – never perishing entity – parashu-rAma is frequently moving in all the three worlds for the welfare of one and all with a bodily glow of his utmost ascesis, even today... that courageous one abides on the most excellent Mt. mahendra like a titular god... this is how the lord of gods, viShNu, an everlasting, imperishable, eternal entity, incarnated as parashu-rAma, the son of sage jamadagni...

rAma avatAram – rAma incarnation:

chaturviMshe yuge chApi vishvAmitra puraHsaraH |
rAj~no dasharathasya atha putraH padma-Ayata-IkShaNaH ||1-41-121
kR^itvA AtmAnaM mahAbAhuH chaturdhA prabhuH IshvaraH |
loke rAma iti khyAtaH tejasA bhAskara-upamaH ||1-41-122
prasAdana-arthaM lokasya rakShasAM nidhanAya cha |
dharmasya cha vivR^iddhi-arthaM jaj~ne tatra mahAyashAH ||1-41-123
tam api AhuH manuShya-indraM sarva-bhUta-pateH-tanum |

In kRita era belonging to the twenty-fourth mahA-yuga, the lotus-petal eyed viShNu, keeping sage vishvamitra as helmsman and making himself fourfold personalities, incarnated as the son of king dasha-ratha, where the other three personalities are bharata, lakshmana, and shatrughna, ramified as his brothers... and with a resplendence like that of the sun he that lord, controller, and ambidextrous viShNu is celebrated in this world by his name rAma... and they say, that indra-like protector among humans and the lord of all beings, namely viShNu incarnated as rAma, took this incarnation only to perpetuate world, to destroy demons and to stand up for virtue...

yasmai dattAni cha astrANi vishvAmitreNa dhImatA ||1-41-124
vadha-arthaM deva-shatrUNAM durdharANi suraiH api |
yaj~na-vighna-karo yena munInAM bhAvitAtmanAm ||1-41-125

Such as he is sage vishvamitra endowed him with many missiles for the destruction of the enemies of the gods, namely demons, who at that time are hindering the vedic-rituals of the self-controlled ascetics, and who have become unmanageable even unto those gods...

  This legend of rAma is ekAnvayam, to be told in a single go. But here it is segregated for reading convenience.

mArIchaH cha subAhuH cha balena balinAM varau |
nihatau cha nirAshau cha kR^itau tena mahAtmanA ||1-41-126

At the outset, that exalted soul rAma, on eliminating demon subAhu trounced his brother demon mArIcha and made him hopeless of further malice, when he in his adolescence stood guard to the Vedic ritual of his mentor vishvamitra...

vartamAne makhe yena janakasya mahAtmanaH |
bhagnaM mAheshvaraM chApaM krIDatA lIlayA purA ||1-41-127

Later, he snapped the bow of maheshvara when he visited the Vedic ritual of the high-souled king janaka, effortlessly and sportily...

yaH samAH sarva-dharma-j~naH chatur-dasha vane avasat |
lakShmaNa anucharo rAmaH sarva-bhUta-hite rataH ||1-41-128
rUpiNI yasya pArshvasthA sIta iti prathitA janaiH |
pUrvochitA tasya lakShmIH bhartAram anugachChati ||1-41-129

He who is interested in the well being all creatures, that rAma lived in forests for fourteen years attended by his brother lakshmana... he is also accompanied to forests by his beautiful wife, who is prominent among public as lady sIta, and who ever-abides herself at his side as his lakshmi, in the compose of goddess lakshmi with god viShNu...

chaturdasha tapaH taptvA vane varShANi rAghavaH |
janasthAne vasan kAryaM tridashAnAM chakAra ha |
sItAyAH padam anvichChan lakShmaNa anucharo vibhuH ||1-41-130
virAdhaM cha kabandhaM cha rAkShasau bhIma-vikramau |
jaghAna puruShavyAghrau gandharvau shApa-vIkShitau ||1-41-131
hutAshana arka indu taDit ghana AbhaiH pratapta jAmbU-nada chitra-pu~NkhaiH |
mahendra vajra-ashani-tulya-sAraiH sharaiH sharIreNa vi-yojitau balAt ||1-41-132

That rAghava lived in forests for fourteen years as if forest-living is his severe ascesis, and while in a place called janasthAna in those forests he embarked on to accomplish the work of the gods, namely demolition of demon-seminary... and while searching for route by which his wife sIta is abducted, he slew two accursed gandharva-s metamorphosed as most mighty demons, namely virAdha and kabandha, forcibly detaching their lives from bodies with his arrows finned with highly refined golden handles and amazing fins, which are conformable to blazing fire, scorching sun, freezing moon, deadening lightning etc, and hurtling like the thunderbolts of indra...

sugrIvasya kR^ite yena vAnara indro mahAbalaH |
vAlI vinihato yuddhe sugrIvaH cha abhiShechitaH ||1-41-133

As promised to sugrIva, rAma anointed him in that kingdom on eliminating his brother vAli in a confrontation... 

deva asura gaNAnAM hi yakSha gandharva bhoginAm |
a-vadhyaM rAkShasa-indraM taM rAvaNaM yudhi durjayam ||1-41-134
yuktaM rAkSkasa koTIbhiH nIla-a~njana-chaya-upamam |
trailokya rAvaNaM ghoraM rAvaNaM rAkShasa Ishvaram ||1-41-135
dur-jayaM dur-dharaM dR^iptaM shArDUla sama vikramam |
dur-nirIkShyaM sura-gaNaiH vara-dAnena darpitam ||1-41-136
jaghAna sachivaiH sArdhaM sa-sainyaM rAvaNaM yudhi |
mahA abhra-ghana-saMkAshaM mahA-kAyaM mahA-balam ||1-41-137
tam Agas-kAriNam ghoraM paulastyam yudhi dur-jayam |
sa-bhrAtR^i putra sachivaM sa-sainyaM krUra-nischayam ||1-41-138
rAvaNaM nijaghAna Ashu rAmo bhUta-patiH purA |

rAma eliminated rAvaNa, the king of the rAkshasA-s... where that rAvaNa loomed as an unconquerable demon, who on obtaining a boon from brahma became interminable for the hosts of gods, or asurA-s, or yakSha-s, or gandharva-s, or reptiles and the like; who looks like a heap of mascara, a persecutor of all worlds, whose hum itself is dreadful, who is fenced with millions of demon-stooges; who is an invincible, unbearable, self-conceited demon; at whom even the  celestials cannot stare; whose onslaught will be impetuous like that a mauling tiger; who looks like a massive black cloud; whose body is colossal and whose might is surpassing; an evildoer; hell-bent on undertaking atrocities... and rAma eliminated such a rAvaNa along with all his sons, brothers, ministers, and army in a battle...

madhoH cha tanayo dR^ipto lavaNo nama dAnavaH ||1-41-139
hato madhu-vane vIro vara-dR^ipto mahAsuraH |
samare yuddha-shauNDena tatha cha anye api rAkShasAH ||1-41-140

Later, rAma eliminated a demon called lavaNa-asura, who is a son of a demon called madhu, in a place called madhu-vana, who happens to be a self-conceited demon owing to a boon... like this rAma eliminated many other demons that are experts in combats...

etAni kR^itvA karmANi rAmo dharma-bhR^itAM varaH |
dasha ashvamedhA~n jArUthyAn AjahAra nirargalAn ||1-41-141
na ashrUyanta ashubhA vAcho na akulaM mAruto vavau |
na vitta-haraNaM tu AsIt rAme rAjyaM prashAsati ||1-41-142
paryadevan na vidhavA na anarthAH cha abhavan tadA |
sarvam AsIt jagat dAntam rAme rAjyaM prashAsati ||1-41-143
na prANinAM bhayaM chApi jala anila nighAta jam |
na cha sma vR^iddhA bAlAnAM preta-kAryANi kurvate ||1-41-144
brahma paryacharat kShatraM vishaH kShatram anuvratAH |
shUdrAH chaiva hi varNAM strI~n shuShrUShanti an-ahaMkR^itAH |
nAryo na ati acharan bhartR^In bhAryAM na ati-acharat patiH ||1-41-145
sarvam AsIt jagat dAntaM nir-dasyuH abhavat mahI |
rAma eko.abhavat bhartA rAmaH pAlayita abhavat ||1-41-146
Ayur varSha-sahasrANi tathA putra sahasriNaH |
a-rogAH prANinaH cha asan rAme rAjyaM prashAsati ||1-41-147
devatAnAm R^iShINAM cha manuShyANAM cha sarvashaH |
pR^ithivyAM samavAyo.abhUt rAme rAjyaM prashAsati ||1-41-148

On eliminating demons on earth rAma performed ten praiseworthy horse rituals... during the regime of rAma, not a single inauspicious sound is heard, hostile winds did not blow, nobody lost his property, no widow bewailed, nobody met with misfortune and the whole world enjoyed peace at that time... Creatures had no fear from floods or tempests; the aged people had not performed the obsequies of the younger.  The kshatriya-s used to serve the brAhmaNa-s, the vaishya-s used to follow the kshatriya-s, and the shUdrA-s, divested of pride, used to serve the other three castes... the women never disregarded their husbands, and the husbands never ill-treated their wives... the whole world freed from robbers is in peace. rAma alone is the lord and protector of all. During rAma’s rule people lived for a thousand years and had a thousand sons and no creature suffered from any disease, and the gods, Rishi-s and men freely intermingled in the world when rAma ruled over it...

gAthA api atra gAyanti ye purANa-vido janAH |
rAme nibaddha-tattva-arthA mAhAtmyaM tasya dhImataH || 1-41-149
shyAmo yuvA lohita-akSho dIpta-Asyo mita-bhAShitA |
AjAnubAhuH sumukhaH siMha-skandho mahA-bhujaH ||1-41-150
dasha varShasahasrANi dasha varShashatAni cha |
ayodhya adhipatir bhUtvA rAmo rAjyam akArayat ||1-41-151
R^ik sAma yajuShAM ghoSho jyA-ghoShaH cha mahAtmanaH |
avyuchChinno abhavat rAjye dIyatAM bhujyatAm iti ||1-41-152
sattvavAn guNasaMpanno dIpyamAnaH sva-tejasA |
ati-chandraM cha sUryaM cha rAmo dAsharathir babhau ||1-4-153
Ije kratu-shataiH puNyaiH samApta vara-dakShinNaiH |
hitvA ayodhyAM divaM yAto rAghavaH sa mahAbalaH ||1-41-154
evam eShA mahAbAhuH ikShvAku kula nandanaH |
rAvaNaM sa-gaNaM hatvA divam Achakrame prabhuH ||1-41-155

Scholars well-read in the purANA-s, who consider rAma as the source of all truths, have sung this hymn in honour of that intelligent one... "rAma, the king of ayodhya, had a blue-black hue, black eyes, nectarine speech, and shinning face; arms extending up to his knees he has a beautiful countenance and leonine shoulders. That high-souled king rAma ruled the kingdom for eleven thousand years, in which kingdom the chanting of the Rik, yajur and sAma Vedas is continually heard, along with the twang of bows, together with encouraging the utterances like: make gifts to people... feast the people with finest viands..." The energetic and accomplished son of dasharatha, namely rAma, shinning in his own effulgence, surpassed even the sun and the moon in his lustre. Having celebrated hundreds of holy sacrifices with perfect and most excellent gifts the highly powerful rAghava left ayodhya and repaired to the celestial region Having thus brought about the destruction of demon rAvaNa with all his kinsmen, the omniscient and mighty-armed rAma, the descendant of ikshvAku dynasty, returned to the region of the celestials...

Having thus brought about the destruction of demon rAvaNa with all his kinsmen, the omniscient and mighty-armed rAma, the descendant of ikshvAju-s, returned to the region of the celestials...

vaishaMpAyana uvAcha : vaishampAyana continued:

aparaH keshavasya ayaM prAdurbhAvo mahAtmanaH |
vikhyAto mAthure kalpe sarva-loka-hitAya vai ||1-41-156
yatra shAlvaM cha maindaM cha dvividaM kaMsam eva cha |
ariShTam R^iShabhaM keshiM pUtanAM daitya dArikAm ||1-41-157
nAgaM kuvalaya-pIDaM chANUraM muShTikaM tathA |
daityAn mAnuSha dehasthAn sUdayAmAsa vIryavAn ||1-41-158
ChinnaM bAhu-sahasraM cha bANasya adbhuta karmaNaH |
narakasya hataH saMkhye yavanaH cha mahAbalaH ||1-41-159
hR^itAni cha mahI-pAnAM sarva-ratnAni tejasA |
durAchArAH cha nihatAH pArthivAH cha mahItale ||1-41-160

Next is the famous incarnation of viShNu as keshava, aka kRiShNa, in the city of mathura for the behoof of mankind, in which that mighty keshava eliminated some demons and demonic kings like: shAlva, mainda, dvivida, kaMsa, ariShTa, R^iShabha, keshi, a maidservant of demons called pUtana, a serpent called kAlIya, an elephant named kuvalaya-pIDa, two wrestlers named chANUra and muShTika... keshava slew one demon named bANa-asura, after chopping off his thousand arms; he also eliminated a demon called naraka-asura, and an invader called kAla-yavana together with their forces while battling with them...

navame dvApare viShNuH aShTAviMshe purA abhavat |
vedavyAsaH tathA jaj~ne jAtUkarNya puraHsaraH ||1-41-161
eko vedaH chaturdhA tu kR^itaH tena mahAtmanA |
janito bhArato vaMshaH satyavatyAH sutena cha ||1-41-162

After the ninth incarnation of viShNu, the lord having sent beforehand sage jAtUkarna to study veda-s and purANA-s, took his birth as sage veda-vyAsa in the twenty-eighth dvApara era, to segregate one veda in four sections, and even to categorise purANA-s, for easy comprehensibility... This sage veda-vyAsa, engendered by lady satyavati, is the originator for the dynasty of bhAratA-s...

Here the matsya and kUrma avatArA-s are suggested – navame avatAre – etat cha atra anuktAbhyAm api, matsya kUrmAbhyAm saha j~neyam... vedavyAso api dashamo ja~ne...

buddha avatAram cannot be counted in the ten avatArA-s of viShNu, because it is a-vaidikam. If dattAtreya is removed from the list of ‘ten’ incarnations, then vedavyAsa is to be included in it. The word dasha in dasha avatArA-s is indicative of ‘many’ as in ‘sahasra’ shIrshya puruShaH... and viShNu got many more incarnations than the usually listed ten, like mohini in mohini-bhasmAsura, or nectar distributing apsara, or sage kapila, or hayagrIva etc.

ete loka-hitArthAya prAdurbhAvA mahAtmanaH |
atItAH kathitA rAjan kathyante cha pi an-AgatAH ||1-4-163

Described are the incarnations of viShNu in the past, oh king, undertaken for the behoof of mankind, now I shall now present an account of the future incarnations...

kalkiH viShNU-yashA nAma shaMbhalaM grAmake dvijaH |
sarva-loka-hitArthAya bhUyaH cha utpatsyate prabhuH ||1-4-164
dashamo bhAvya-saMpanno yAj~navalkya puraHsaraH |

After the tenth incarnation –ekAdasho, dashame atIteviShNu is going to appear as kalki in the house of a brAhmaNa by name vishnu-yasha in a remote village called shambhala for the well-being of mankind... before that, he sends sage yAj~navalka and other sages to engage themselves in the refutation of kshaNika-vAda- bhAvya-saMpannA-s, or as a matter of fact, any other kinds of materialism – pAShaNDa, vitaNDa- vAdA-s – because they always harp on atheistic theories... this is to make the ritualism to prevail over all other the isms...

kShapayitvA cha tAn sarvAn bhAvina-arthena choditAn ||1-4-165
ga~NgA-yamunayoH madhye niShThAM prApsyati sa-anugaH |

Later, on eradicating all those that are clinging to materialism or its other shades - bhAvina-arthena choditAnviShNu will relinquish his kalki incarnation at the medial province of the rivers ganga and yamuna...

 tataH kule vyatIte tu sa-amAtye saha-sainikam ||1-4-166
nR^ipeShu atha pranaShTeShu tadA tu apragrahAH prajAH |
rakShaNe vinivR^itte cha hatvA cha anyonyam Ahave ||1-4-167
paraspara hR^ita svAH cha nirAkrandAH su-duHkhitAH |
evaM kaShTam anuprAptAH kali-sandhya-aMshakaM tadA ||1-4-168
prajAH kShayaM prayAsyanti sArdhaM kali-yugena ha |

Later, in the wee years of kali-yuga, when verboten occurs in families as one will be hijacking other man’s wife; when all the kings will be destroying mutually together with their ministers and soldiers; when there will be none to look after the people because the powers that be eases out; when one will always be at feud and larceny with the other; when all will be put to stress and strain, then the kali-yuga comes to an end havocking all the people...

kShINe kaliyuge tasmin tataH kR^ita-yugaM punaH |
prapatsyate yathA nyAyaM svabhAvAt eva nAnyathA ||-4-169

After the termination of the kali-yuga the satya-yuga will again appear in due order. This is the outcome of the natural sequence and there can no perversion of it.

ete cha anye cha bahavo divyA deva-guNaiH yutAH |
prAdurbhAvAH purANeShu gIyante brahma-vAdibhiH ||1-41-170
yatra devA api muhyanti prAdurbhAva anukIrtane |
purANaM vartate yatra veda-shruti-samAhitam ||1-31-171
etat uddesha-mAtreNa prAdurbhAva anukIrtanam |
kIrtitaM kIrtanIyasya sarva-loka-guroH prabhoH ||1-41-172
prIyante pitaraH tasya prAdurbhAva anukIrtanAt |
viShNoH atula-vIryasya yaH shR^iNoti kR^itA~njaliH ||1-41-173
etAH tu yogeshvara yoga-mAyAH  shrutvA naro muchyati sarva-pApaiH |
  R^iddhiM samR^iddhiM vipuln cha bhogAn  prApnoti sarvaM bhagavat-prasAdAt || 1-41-174

The sages conversant with the knowledge of brahma have recorded these and various other incarnations of god with divine attributes in purANA-s, by the chanting of which even the gods are charmed... this eulogizing of incarnations commensurate with the teachings of shruti-s and purANA-s... if anyone recapitulates these legends, of viShNu of unlimited power, by listening or by reciting, then his ancestral manes of will be delighted with adjoined palms... further, by listening to the illusive sports of viShNu, the lord of yogic power, everyone is freed from all his sins and he acquires virtue, prosperity, wealth and various objects of enjoyment, by the favour of that lord viShNu...

--o)0(o--

iti shrImanmahAbhArate khileShu harivaMshe harivaMshaparvaNi
prAdurbhAva anusa~Ngraho nAma – yadvA - viShNu avatAra varNanam nAma - ekachatvAriMsho.adhyAyaH 

Thus, this is the forty-first chapter of first canto called harivamsha-parva, in harivamsha-purANa, the sequel of mahAbhArata, narrating the incarnations of Vishnu, in general.

--o)0(o--

Prev ch 40 : advent of sacred-boar enquiry of janamejaya contents Next chapter 42: godhood of Vishnu
verse-transliteration:  ks ramachandran
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verse-rendition advisor : gilles schaufelberger
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translation : desiraju hanumanta rao
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E&OE - content is subject to revision : dated 2-3-08