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Re: Historical origins of Dashavatara ? -- another question

susarla@great-gray.owlnet.rice.edu (H. Krishna Susarla) writes:

>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

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

>-- Krishna

	Aren't they based on some characteristic feature (lakshana) -
which is called as 'avatara lakshana'. I do not exactly remember as what
this is, but I think based on that lakshana only they say whether it is
an avatara or not. Also, out of 10, Krishna'a is called 'Poorna avatar'
because it personifies lot of qualities.

	While 'yada yada hi dharmasya' talks only about the divine
's promise to mankind :-) Mailnly, when ever the dharma vanishes from
the world, HE will take some or other form to reestablish it. But that
form  need not necessarily have the avatara tatvam.

	Chakri Abburi			chakri@mentor.cc.purude.edu 

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