Presence of life on earth has always been one of the most fascinating and intriguing topic for all humans since thousands of years. How so many species came into being? Who created them? Did they all come into existence together on this planet the moment life started or did they evolve themselves through variations? All these questions reached their end when Charles Darwin, a naturalist proposed his theory of evolution. He proposed that the natural selection was the reason behind it and proposed that all species of organisms aroused and developed through the natural selection of small, and inherited variations that increase the individual’s ability to compete, survive, and reproduce. Those species which couldn’t accept this variation died off and got vanished. However the reason I’m writing this piece is the striking similarity between some theories of evolution and the concept of Dashavatar.
Hindu religion and mythology is probably the oldest in the world. Not only this but it also tells about the wonderful concept of AVATARS of lord Vishnu-the preserver in the Hindu pantheon-which is very similar to that of Darwin’s and other theories of evolution. Vishnu is the god almighty. He is omnipotent and has been manifesting himself on this earth since the time immemorial to save it from the evil and to get earth rid of all the corruption and anarchy prevailed.
But the interesting and very significant aspect of his AVATARS or manifestations on the earth is that it has unmatched similarity with the Darwinism theory of evolution as well as other theories.
The way Darwin told the world that the species adapted certain variations and developed themselves accordingly and the way Vishnu’s manifestations have taken shape in the stories is quite same. All this is very very mysterious and unknown as to how the evolution known to scientists much later had already been told thousands and may be more than thousands of years before it. Let’s have a look at these points. The evolution of Darwinism tells us that the life originated from a common ancestor. Theories also suggest that life originated from the sea, in the sea. In Hindu mythology, it has been told that the world originated from Aadi Jal (eternal cosmic water).
Now comes the theory of evolution and Dashavatars of lord Vishnu. Life, according to theory of evolution, started with the invertebrates and then came vertebrates in the ocean in the form of fishes. In Hindu mythology, Vishnu’s first incarnation of the Dashavatar is Matsya avatar and Vishnu appears in the form of a fish to save the life from Mahapralaya (ultimate destruction) on earth.
Next, theory of evolution tells that the life came out of ocean and the beings of ocean started walking the land to some extent or we can say that the amphibians came into existence from the vertebrates or aquatic animals. Amphibians have aquatic gills which means they can survive both on land and in sea. Tortoise is an amphibian and this is second avatar of Vishnu in the Dashavatar. Vishnu appeared as Kurma (tortoise) avatar in the form of a tortoise to have Mandara Mountain put on his back to support the churning of the ocean by the devatas and asuras in order to bring amrit (nectar of life) out from the ocean.
After this, the evolution tells us about these being who became more efficient in walking the earth becoming land animal and losing ability to be inside ocean and adapted very conveniently the climate and conditions of the land but they also were swamp animals means they could live in low oxygen water and boar is one such wild animal which is the next and third avatar of lord Vishnu. Vishnu, to save the earth-who beseeches to him to save her from evil demons-manifested himself as a wild boar who is considered as extremely ferocious and cruel.
This also shows how the wild animals ruled the land in the initial stages of the evolution process.
Next link in the evolution is the early extinct human ancestors who were like the link between apes and humans or the link between the apes and their early beings. There are many theories claiming that some links in the process of evolution are missing and are very mysterious as to how animals evolved as humans. This link aptly resembles the fourth avatar of Vishnu.
Lord Vishnu this time manifested himself as half human- half lion and came as Narsingh avatar to kill evil demon king Hiranayakashyap and to save his ardent devotee Prahlad. This stage tells how transition took place from animals to humans.
In the process of evolution now humans came and evolved. They appeared not as they appear today. They COULD probably be midgets means dwarf. They were not as same in appearance as we are today and due to evolution and due to new climatic condition for their new form, might have looked like midgets because they were not like us at least back then. In accordance, next, which is the fifth avatar of Vishnu, is the form of a dwarf called Vaaman avatar and is similar to this new evolved human kind. This time he came to send the benevolent but asura king Bali to the underworld.
In the series of perfect evolution, now came the humans who were somewhat like us but lived in caves and are known to us as early man. In the Dashavatar theory also, Vishnu’s sixth avatar was that of Parshuram. We know that in this age, in the history of human kind, early men would live in forests and caves and would use weapons of wood and stones and so did lord Parshuram. He lived in mountains doing penance. He is famous for his anger and at the same time, he always carries an axe (made of stone and wood). Early men at this stage used to act without much reason and did not know the reason of life. It does not completely but to some extent resembles the story of Parshuram who was so short tempered that he killed and vanished the whole Kshatriya clan from the earth mercilessly. He would do penance to know about consciousness and indeed, was a conscious soul at the same time.
When early men came out of their caves and started living in the society as civilized humans, they made rules and followed them to lay the foundation of a society which is based on righteousness. They gave more importance to relationships, respect, righteousness and justice. All this factors can be seen with perfection in the next and seventh avatar or lord Vishnu. Lord Ram who was the seventh avatar of Vishnu was perfect in respecting relationships and elders. He was perfect in justice. And he was perfect in establishing a society based on the policies of righteousness (Ram Rajya).
This is extremely wonderful to see how society of lord Ram’s time was very much similar to earlier civilized societies of human kind whether it is something related with caste system, related with land disputes or the relationship between the ruler and the ruled subjects.
Now here the evolution comes to an end as far as physical appearance is concerned. But mentally, humans evolved even more after this stage and are still evolving. When men established the good society where everyone was satisfied, then major issues started taking place such as land disputes at a major level, not only living with sheer righteousness but also how to take right decisions to achieve righteousness. At this point man started knowing more about intelligence of mind not only in terms of physical reality but also in terms of metaphysical reality. Man started realizing about philosophy and metaphysics, knowing self, identity, time, space, life and death etc. Materialism was indeed an important factor for man of this stage but more important was the philosophical knowledge. I think many of us can guess which avatar I am talking about now. Yes, Vishnu’s next and seventh avatar is that of Lord Shree Krishna who is more perfect than perfection itself, in every sense. He is the master of philosophy, he tells the ultimate knowledge of Gita to the world.
He is completely self conscious and knows what inner life is. He knows about every aspect of life and life after life or death. He knows about karmas, moksha, and how to be one with god (who is Krishna only). Krishna told how to achieve what is your right by being adaptable, hardworking and by taking right decision which suits the condition that you are facing.
After this stage man-aware of philosophical terms and knowledge-started practicing it and tried achieving moksha (not all humans but some). What lord Krishna told in the eighth avatar of Vishnu was about to be practiced and shown to the world by his ninth one. This avatar was that of Gautama Buddha. He preached the world what enlightenment and nirvana is. Nirvana, another word for moksha, was achieved by Buddha. He is an enlightened one. Man rose above the materialism and started practicing the philosophy of metaphysics. This stage of mental evolution is equal to Buddha’s enlightenment teachings.
Now comes the final stage in which we are living. We have seen above nine stages of evolution both physical and metaphysical. But what now? What is to be achieved after nirvana or moksha has been realized by humans?
The evolution many times proposes that whatever is created has to be destroyed in order to begin the process of creation all over again. And this very aptly fits into the theory of Dashavatar. The human when achieves everything physical and metaphysical, when he knows what is materialism and what is the meaning of “POWER”, when everything possible is achieved by him, then anarchy obviously prevails because the power hungry leaders wants to rule the earth and they not only just crave for land but also for the absolute power. Then comes the time when this rampant anarchy and tumultuous situation is to be defeated. A rise of new power by the righteous, virtuous and benevolent person takes place. This is what the tenth and final avatar of Vishnu is all about.
When morality and dharma or righteousness will be in hearts of few handful men; when even Brahmans would become charlatan and would stop being learned and full of knowledge and wouldn’t be able to hold dharma; when man will be the biggest enemy of other man; when one will try and get success by killing others literally or otherwise; when the rulers won’t think about ruled and would become extremely selfish and tyrant; and when there will be no justice for the common man and sheer injustice would prevail everywhere and when some handful good humans will be forced to live in the caves and forests out of fear of others; then the Kalki avatar of Vishnu will arrive and will destroy the whole creation except few humans who believe in dharma. This avatar will be completely perfect and would know every aspect of life. He will be self realized person yet will end the creation for the world would be too imperfect and defective by then. He will use extremely powerful sword of his to destroy worlds. Species will be finished by him and the whole process of creation would take place again.
Here the extremely powerful weapons of Kalki may have the similarities with the nuclear and other extremely powerful weapons that the world has today. Also the world is living on the heap of nuclear weapons today and probably the holocaust caused by these weapons would make the world imperfect and pave the way for the final avatar of lord Vishnu. He also will have the equal and even more powerful weapons to destroy the imperfect world for the new creation and for the fresh evolution process.
I don’t know if I am right or wrong but these similarities compelled me to write and express and share what I have written about the striking similarities between the process of evolution and the Dashavatars of lord Vishnu. The way humans have evolved or the way life has evolved on this earth and the way we have lived since the beginning till this modern period is extremely similar with the Dashavatar theory. Every avatar fits in so perfectly with the advancement of humans that I find it extremely mysterious and interesting.