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Hinduism & Science: Incarnations of Vishnu as representation of Evolution

dashavatar of lord vishnu

There are many stories, instances in Hinduism which form a near perfect parallel with many scientific concepts of today. It should be clear that Hindu texts don't try to teach science, in between the philosophy, story such parallels appear. If there are parallels even without us bending the story/concept too much to fit narration, its worth examining.

Madam Blavatsky of Theosophical Society made an observation (also A.L. Basham, famous historian) on the Avatars of Vishnu and their uncanny parallels in the Evolution theory.

According to science Life on earth first started in water, then moved out to land, smaller life forms became complex, developed higher organs.

10 Avatars of Vishnu are each separate from each other, but when viewed in continuity, there is a clear parallel with the evolution process.

1. Matsya (The Fish)

Aquatic Creature, lives fully in water

matsya avatar

  • Life originated in sea [(600 million-400 million years ago]
  • Fish is among the first Vertebrates.

2. Koorma (the tortoise)

Amphibian,symbolizes move out of water

kurma avatar

  • Amphibeans were the first of creatures to live on land [100 million years ago]
  • Life moved out of water to land, both plants and animals

3. Varaha (the boar)

Animal living on land

varahavatara

  • First of the mammals [60 million years ago]
  • Wild animal in true sense, lives in forest, shows a clear move out of water to land.

4. Narasimha (the human-lion)

Half-human, half Lion, indicates changing of beast into human (either in nature or form)

narasimha avatara

  • Wild beast has some human attributes, represents refinement over time, in organs and mind as well.

5. Vamana (the dwarf)

An under developed human

vamana avatar

  • Homo Erectus, straight boned, but short[5 million – 2 million years ago]
  • Not so fully evolved, dwarf human. Not complete in human evolution, but shows the potential.

6. Parasurama 

Angry human, unsophisticated, forest dwelling, uses Axe as weapon.

lord parashurama avatar

  • Bronze age human [350,000-100,000 years ago]
  • An angry, but developed human, living in the forest, he fights too much, has refined mind, but not fully refined.
  • Uses Axe as weapon, a not so sophisticated weapon.

7. Lord Rama

A house holder, king, perfect human

lord rama

  • A perfected man, thinking, righteous, responsible human.
  • Uses Bow and arrow as weapons, advanced than Axe

8. Lord Krishna

Fully perfected human

sri krishna

  • Perfected being
  • Uses mind as weapon

9. Lord Buddha

Perfected one

/gautama buddha

  •  Perfected being

10. Kalki

Future incarnation

kalki avatar

  •  Perfected being

Note: This is not to prove anything, just an observation worth noting. Perhaps the sages of past wanted us to be open and created stories so that we could learn to appreciate life and be open to new ideas, rather than shutting them. Did the sages of past know about Evolution? We don't know, we don't make that argument either, it is just that the parallel is noteworthy.


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