Demons in each Yuga wanted to break rules of Cosmos. According to Cosmic Rules no creature is allowed to cross from one Yuga to another but demons desire to live forever. Thanks to demons, God appeared nine times, four times as animal and five times in human body. These forms reveal evolution of an embodied soul/jiva from animal state to human state and also the progress of a soul. Vishnu as matsya avatar was a small fish which kept growing till it became larger than the ocean and saved Vedas, killed demon Hayagreeva, allowed a boat in the flood to be tied to its horn and imparted knowledge to seven sages and Satyavrata so that he could be the next Manu. In the womb, jiva resembles a small fish that grows at an astonishing speed. The embryo occupies more space in the fluidity of womb and its movement reveals the marvel of Creation. It is like a tadpole, smaller than a grain of rice and grows at an astonishing rate from a tiny group of cells into size of a peach. In this stage it has knowledge of its several previous births and possesses the wisdom that it is not body but Atman, that it has got this birth to realize God and Self.
As tortoise/ kurma, Vishnu supported Mount Mandara on His back so that devas and demons could churn the ocean. The expectant prize from the churning was a pot of amrit came up that had the potency to grant immortality. In the second trimester, a baby gets organs which remain unfolded. Its internal organs mature, it can swallow and has a face and thus resembles a tiny tortoise with organs, as if unfolded. Jiva remembers mistakes committed in past and vows to keep its ten senses (karma indriyas, gyaan indriyas) under control so that sensual demons can be defeated and spiritual devas be victorious. Conquering indriyas can liberate the soul from further births and deaths and be immortal.
Third time Vishnu as a gigantic boar dived into the ocean to find Earth and lifted it on its tusk. Demon Hiranyaksha greedily looking for gold and treasures at the bottom of sea challenged the Lord for a fight. Successfully holding the Earth on its tusk boar Vishnu restored it to its place and killed the demon after a great fight. In the womb, a baby gets hair on head, eyebrows on face and eyelashes on eyes, its brain develops and lungs mature. Resembling a hairy pig the baby fighting all odds wriggles out its way and enters the world with its head first as if carrying the earth. This is the varaha avatar of jiva.
Fourth is half man- half lion form of Vishnu in which He outsmarts Hiranyaksha by appearing with human body and lion face, at dusk, at doorstep and putting him on His thighs, kills him with fingernails. When a child comes out it lets out a loud cry like lion’s roar, its face resembles half animal, is neither indoor nor outdoor, atmosphere is neither well lighted nor dark, is neither on earth nor on space and has sharp nails.
Fifth time Vishnu came as Brahmin/vamana avatar at King Baali’s yagna and asked for three steps of land. The king proud of his generosity agreed despite guru’s warnings and when the dwarf became giant sized and covered Heaven and Earth with two steps the king humbly offered his head as third. A child is a dwarf amidst adults, timidly asks for things, and multiplies his demands till parents meekly realize that they can never please their child. To see pictures of Vishnu in Badami Caves http://www.esamskriti.com/photo-detail/Badami-Caves.aspx
Sixthly, Vishnu came as Parshurama, angry, short tempered Brahmin fiercely loyal to his parents, an immortal that learnt martial arts from Shiva and known for destroying Kshatriyas. Teenage is an age of perpetual aggressiveness, prone to anger, quick tempers, violence, loyal to their families and fond of martial arts. This is their Parshurama avatar.
Lord Rama proceeds to teach us to lead a loving, idyllic, sober life with peace and happiness despite innumerable egos, jealousies, politics, plotting but an ordinary mind fails under pressure from life’s situations. The tricky mind declares that ‘Rama’ cannot be reality and surrenders to an animal existence. The constant search for that elusive love and happiness takes us to Krishna, eighth avatar. Krishna’s pranks give us happiness, His marriages teach us not to get entangled with family affairs while doing duties, His Gita teaches us to be on side of righteousness but war-like circumstances of our lives makes our deceiving minds refuse to sing and dance like Krishna.
We label Krishna as a figment of devotees’ imagination and carry on in the world with long faces. Our benevolent Savior, the Lord, known by any number of names presents yet another route to us to realize our Self, by meditating like Buddha. Meditation teaches us to go inwards, to the Centre, the Self. Over- enthusiastic people wanting to learn meditation refuse to follow basic code of conduct given by sage Pataanjali where meditation is possible after crossing six hurdles of Yama (Non-violence, Truthfulness, Non-stealing, Abstinence, Non-possessiveness), Niyama (Purity, Contentment, Self discipline, Self study, Surrender), Asana (holding postures), Pranayama (regulating breath), Pratyahara (awareness within), Dharana (concentration). Seeing the reluctance of people to follow a simple life several gurus promote meditation without these steps. The cunning mind wants to meditate like Buddha without controlling the senses.
Eternal bliss can be enjoyed by a master not a servant and to be a master of Self one must control the mind, accept good and bad events serenely like Sri Rama, sing nonchalantly like Sri Krishna and enjoy peace of enlightenment like Buddha.
1. Introduction to the 8 limbs of Yoga
2. Buddha in Bodh Gaya Temple
3. Mahavatar Babaji Cave