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Re: Historical origins of Dashavatara ? -- another question

Suresh Kumar (sureshk@watson.ibm.com) wrote:
: Hello,

: I was wondering about the historical origins of the Dashavatara concept in
: mythology- when (and by whom) did the ten avataras of Vishnu become "fixed"
: and popular? I dont seem to find any trace of exactly ten avataras in the
: Ramayana, and certainly Krishna himself seems to allude that there will be
: many avataras (Yada yada hi dharmasya ...), not just ten.

I would like to add a followup question to this which I am very curious about.
Vishnu obviously has more than 10 avataras. For example, the Mohini incarnation
which appeared to deceive the Rakshasas and allow the Devas to drink the
Amrita. Also, I recall that there was another female incarnation which appeared
to save Shiva from a Rakshasa whom Shiva had granted the power to incinerate
someone upon touch. Also, I heard that Balrama, Krishna's brother, and the
brothers of Rama, are also incarnations of Vishnu. 

Why is it said, then, that Vishnu only has 10 avataras. What distinguishes them
from other incarnations (like Balrama, or Lakshmana??)??

-- Krishna

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- Biochemistry          -                     -- M. Scott Peck                -

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