Vishnu Incarnations

(Sri Ganapathi Sachchidananda Swamiji's speech on 3-9-96)
Compiled and translated by Sri H.V.Prasad

The incarnations of Vishnu are countless. Ten of them are popular. But 21 are 
very special. 
In each of these, Vishnu Tattva has spread. Krishna Avatara was the greatest. . 
two small boys playing on the beach. One of them builds a sand castle. The 
other too 
builds a rival castle. They build as if they are emperors. They take happiness 
from that 
activity. Seeing them, the parents feel very happy. The father calls them and 
asks them to 
go home. Then these boys destroy what they have built. This also they do 
happily. They do 
that so that other boys cannot derive pleasure from their labor. What they have 
done, they 
finish it. The boy who had built a rival castle was planning to take over the 
other's castle 
after his leaving. He is disheartened that the castle was destroyed by its 
creator. He is 
disheartened as if his labors were wasted. Who was right and who was wrong? Is 
the first 
boy who built and destroyed so that the other boy could not enjoy his castle, 
right? Or the 
other boy who was planning to take over the first boy's castle and was 
disheartened when 
the first boy destroyed his castle before his departure? Give me your answer 
There are three characters here. Who is the third? Is it God? No. It is the 
father, who 
encouraged his son to build a sand castle and enjoyed his son's labors. Of the 
incarnations, some are important. The same God is in me and makes me speak. The 
God is in you all and makes you hear my words. I speak because you hear and you 
because I speak. You are here out of Love for Swamiji. And Swamiji is here 
because you all 
have Love for him. The same God has brought us together. In this case, God is 
the first 
boy, I am the second and you all are the third boy. 

The first incarnation took place at the beginning of Krita Yuga. That is at the 
Sandhi Kaala. 
The begining of a day is very important. The intellect is in a special 
condition then( from 
4.30 to 6 AM). The second important time is when the sun is at the top, i.e., 
noon. In the 
evening the sunset time is also important. Our body is a temple and requires 
treatment. Special treatment does not mean special food. To keep the body in 
good shape 
and to keep the mind sharp, sadhana is necessary. At these three periods of 
time, God 
enters our body. We must be silent and comtemplative at least during those 
times. At least 
for five minutes. Many complain that Swamji does not come in their dreams. To 
them I say, 
'I tried but you were very busy and not prepared to accept my presence'. We 
must think of 
Him so that he comes to us. We must thank him frequently saying "Because of you 
I exist. I 
thank you for keeping me alive till now." 

In the Yuga Antara time Manvantara was giving Arghya in a river and when he 
took a 
palmful of water in his hand, he found a fish in his hand. It requested him to 
care for it. He 
took the fish to his home and as the fish grew day by day, he could not care 
for it. He 
asked why he was growing and why he had come to him? The fish said that in 
seven days, 
a water pralaya (total destruction) would occur. "Take a boat. Saptarshis will 
come. Take 
samples of all living things. I will come and lead you out of this pralaya. A 
demon will steal 
the Vedas and hide them in the sea. I will come and protect the Vedas." 

A demon stole the Vedas. Then Hayagreeva came and rescued the Vedas. God came 
in the 
form of a fish and sustained the creation. This is Matsya Avataara. The Pralaya 
occured to 
weed out the wicked and evil souls. 

Next is Kurma Avatara. The incarnation as a tortoise. God came and got Amrita 
for the 
Devatas. The demons were deprived of it. God did it in a very wise manner. 
Feelings are 
important. Scold somebody in a foul temper. He will be hurt. But smilingly 
someone will be taken in a light manner. If wisdom and gentleness are there, it 
is not 
enough. The Rakshashas [demons] had strength. So to take Amrita out of the 
ocean, He 
needed the help of the demons [for strength]. Then the Devatas went and 
surrendered to 
the demons. The demons became happy. The Angels served the demons. Right from 
all the angels served. It is said that to get work done, one has to pray evento 
a donkey if 
necessary. After some time passed, the angels submitted a plan to the demons. 
If we 
together, churn the milky ocean, Amrita will come out and by consuming it, we 
all can 
become immortal. They accepted. Mandara mountain was brought and placed in the 
ocean. Since there was no support for the mountain to float, it sank. Then the 
prayed to Vishnu to help them. He took a special incarnation as Kurma, i.e. the 

When the Lord supported in the form of a tortoise, the mountain floated. 
Vasuki, the 
celestial snake became the churning rope. The mountain became the churning 
stick. Have 
you ever churned anything? At least seen anybody churning? "No", I presume. The 
is a special animal. It is mild, soft, shy and slow. 

Vasuki became tired and started to throw out poison. It enveloped the whole 
world and 
became a potential danger. Then Lord Shiva drank the poison and protected the 

When you do seva, confusion comes. There will be so many obstacles. We almost 
fed up. Only when we crave for something do we understand its importancet. Go 
Tirupati. Stand in the queue and have Darshan. You will be craving for the Lord 
by the time 
you come to the Sanctum Sanctorium for Darshan. Going there as VIP for special 
has no value. Devotion comes only in the hard way. During the development of 
confusions do come. Do not worry. It is a good sign. Bad must intervene to make 
the good 
more valuable.

The churning continued with a great sound. A small churning in a house makes so 
sound. Imagine this celestial churning. So much much sound. All 
have methods. If you sit before milk and beg the butter to come out, will it 
come out? No. 
Churning is necessary.

The churning continued. Several objects came out. The celestial elephant, 
Lakshmi, etc. etc.,came out.

Lakshmi went straight in to the heart of Lord Vishnu. 

The churning continued. Then Dhanvantari, the celestial doctor, appeared from 
the ocean, 
holding the pot of Amrita. 

Dhanvantari appeared. He had four hands. Two visible, and two invisible. The 
hands have secret mudras. Meditating on them brings good health. He had a Mala 
Vana Maala. Of the two visible hands, one had the pot of Amrita and the other 
showed Abhaya [Protection]. He is the god of herbs. 

Seeing Dhanvantari, both Devathas and Rakshasaas rushed to him. The demons, by 
of sheer strength overpowered the angels and grabbed the pot away. The dejected 
prayed to Vishnu "O' Swami, come now. We are in distress. You gave us the idea 
churning to produce Amrita. You came as a tortoise and ensured that the 
churning took 
place. Please come now." Dhanvantari gave the Amrita and disappeared. Vishnu 
came in 
the form of a damsel [Mohini]. That damsel was so immensely beautiful. The 
seeing her, left the Amrita and went to her. She charmed them. The demons 
became her 
servants and submitted themselves to her. Attraction or desire is dangerous. 
One who is 
lustful has no fear or shyness. It was Vishnu who was Mohini. So you can 
imagine her 
beauty. Mohini got the pot of Amrita and promised to share it among the angels 
demons. The demons readily agreed. Amrita was given only to the Devatas and the 
demons did not get it. 

Our Antaraatma is the ocean. Viveka is the Mandara mountain. The Praana Vaayu, 
i.e. our 
uchchvaasa and Nishshvaasa are the hissing of Vaasuki (the snake). The Dushta 
(evil thought) is Rakshasha and Sadbhaavana (good thought) is the Devata. 
charcha, i.e., the process of thinking, is the churning. The answer or reply to 
our thinking 
is the Amrita. Constantly thinking about a problem generally gives answers by 
itself. The 
Lord will give an answer. The Lord never deprives you of what you deserve. You 
times think "He [Lord] has deserted me ". You speak as if he owes you 
something. He will 
give you out of compassion. Just because he has compassion, it does not mean 
that you 
will get it free. You have to earn it with hard work, good thoughts, good deeds 
Satsang. This is said in the Datta Darshana.

Next was Varaha Avatara, where the Lord came as a boar and protected the world 
from the 
demon Hiranyaaksha. He and his brother Hiranya Kashipu were the cursed servants 
Vishnu ( Jaya and Vijaya). They were cursed by the saints Sanaka and Sanandana 
for their 
arrogant behavior. Hiranya Kashipu had a son called Prahlada who was a great 
devotee of 
Vishnu. His father did not like this. When he questioned the omni presence of 
Vishnu came out of a pillar as Narasimha,( half lion and half human), and 
killed the 
demonic father of Prahlada. The killing was made to meet the demands of the 

As Narasimha broke open the pillar and came out, the terrible sound it made 
the world. The form of this Avatara is strange. It was so that the boon given 
to the demon 
could be bypassed. (Narasimha - Lion form on the top and Human form on the 
He caught hold of the demon, dragged him to the door, sat and kept him on His 
lap and 
tore open the demon's stomach with his deadly nails. The anger and poison stuck 
to his 
nails, which were soothed by Lakshmi by using the juice of Avadumbara leaves. . 
prayed to Narasimha to calm down. He prayed that he be taken away from Samsara. 
Prahlada later became a great emperror. 

Next is Vaamana Avatara. Vamana was the last son of Aditi, the great woman 
saint. Bali 
was a great demon emperor. Though a demon, he was a great soul. He performed a 
yaga. Vishnu came as Vaamana to the Yaga and asked for alms. Bali who was 
famous as a 
donor, readily agreed to give anything. Shukra Acharya, the teacher of Bali 
that something was fishy. Vaamana asked for three feet of space. Bali agreed. 
Vamana had 
come to give Moksha to Bali. Vaamana grew in size and encompassed the whole 
world. His 
first foot covered the world. The second covered the sky and the third was 
placed on the 
emperor himself. Bali was sent to the nether world. 
Next was Parashurama Avathara. This avathara was taken to destroy the egoistic 
rulers in 
the world. He went around the world 21 times and destroyed them andestablished 
Next was Rama incarnation.

Next was the Avatara of Krishna and Balarama. 

There exists a confusion in Avatharaas. That is Buddha Avathara. The Buddha of 
is not the incarnation of Vishnu. He was a great Yogi. That is all. Anybody who 
Buddhi is a Buddha. In the period of Bhagavatha, the demons and Tripurasura 
were killed 
by Shiva. They misused their boons. That is why they were killed. Boons should 
always be 
used for good ends. If you have Guru mantra, you get merit by chanting it. If 
you use that 
merit to harm others, either by thoughts or deeds, you are a demon. Buddha 
anyone who instructs others to follow something not acceptable to Dharma. 
Anything that 
is a new technique or new method unapproved by the Vedas. It is like asking you 
to breath 
through your ears. Then Vishnu came as a Buddha and preached unrighteous 
methods so 
that they would comit sins. Yaga, Yajna, Mantras...all these must be put to 
good use. The 
Tripurasura demons , though righteous, were doing bad. So the Lord approached 
problem with a new idea and came as Buddha and preached to them radical 
thoughts to 
make them give up Dharmic activities. You may ask if it is right on th part of 
the Lord to 
preach , bad teachings. It is certainly right, if it is for the common good. 
This is the 
Buddha Avatara. Not the Siddhartha Gautama Buddha.

Next will be Kalki Avathara when the Lord comes on a horse and ends the world 
prepares for the next creation.

Jaya Guru Datta

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