Vishnu’s Dashavataras (10 Incarnations) in co-relation to “Charles Darwin theory of Evolution”. As per Hindu system, Ancient people had already described the nature of evolution keeping Lord Vishnu as the base. But as far as I know that SrushtiKartaa, creator of the Universe, and thedestroyer, isAadi Yogi, Aadi Dev, Lingodbhava -Lord Shiva. So, in this article I will analyse all the facets of Lord Vishnu in detailed manner alongwith Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. As I pen down my thoughts for Paradigm similarities, where we find Darwin’s theory of evolution, has been correlated well with the first avatar generating from the environment of water. Before getting into the depth of the subject matter, I would like to like give you a small explanation of Lord Vishnu:
Who is LORD VISHNU?
Vishnu is the supreme god of Vaishnavism one of the three main sects of Hinduism and Purushottama or Supreme Purusha in ancient sacred texts like the Bhagwad Gita. Vishnu is also known as Narayana and Hari. The Vishnu Sahasranama declares Vishnu as Paramatman (supreme Soul) and Parameshwara (supreme God). It describes Vishnu as the all- Pervading essence of all- beings, the master of—and beyond – the past, present and future, the creator and destroyer of all existences, one who supports, preserves, sustains, and governs the universe and originates and develops all elements within. Though he is usually depicted as blue, some other depictions of Vishnu exist as green-bodied, and in the Koorma Purana he is described as colourless and also with red eyes.
According to Hindu philosophy, the existence of the universe is governed by the Trimurti of Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the Sustainer) and Shiva (the Destroyer), Lord Shiva Destroyer in the sense destroyer of all evil forces, all negative and Asuras (Demons) and also demonic qualities. The sequence of Avatars of Vishnu—The Dasavatara(Sanskrit—Dasa-Ten-Avatara-Incarnations) is generally accepted by most Hindus. We Hindus do not see much conflict between creation and evolution. An additional reason for this also could be that of Hindu concept of cyclic time, such as YUGAS, or day of Brahma in approximately 4.3bn year cycles (unlike the concept of linear time in many other religions). In fact, time is represented as KAALA CHAKRA, the wheel of time (Alchemy Wheel).
In Hinduism, nature and all of God’s creations are manifestations of him. He is within and without his creations, pervading the entire universe and also observing it externally. Hence all animals and humans have a divine element in them that is covered by the ignorance and the illusions of material or profane existence. Earlier days of Vedic thinking, the universe was created by HIRANYAGARBHA (here interpreted as ‘the Golden Embryo’) or by Prajapati who was born from HIRANYAGARBHA (here interpreted as Golden Womb). Prajapati was later identified with the puranic Brahma. Other Gods are credited with acts of creation, primarily the act of creation, the act of propping apart the sky and the Earth—Gods who are said to have done this to include Indra, Varuna and Vishnu.
Another myth which began in late Rigvedic times was with the Purusha Sukta hymn, which was the story of the creation of the Universe from the remains of the Primaeval beings (not the most popular Vedic gods because they were said to have been born from Purusha after the sacrifice) at the Purushamedha yajna. According to Hinduism, creation happened very gradually. The Universe in primitive form was made up of Ishwat TATTVA, ISHWAR TATTVA, primarily spread homogeneously throughout the Universe.
“Sarveshaktimaan, Sarvevyaapak “, were some other names of Ishwar Tattva.
Let me tell you another difference between Purusha and Prakriti—they are identified as energy and matter, mixing of these two in different rations resulted in Sattva, Rajas and Tamas.
Sattva—Having great amount of Energy and little matter
Tamas—Having less energy and big matter
Rajas—In between, these are the basic building blocks of our Universe.
All the above in the present context can be interpreted as Electron,Proton,and Neutron. These three basic Gunas in different ratio are made up of five elements, ether, air, fire, water, and earth. The five elements present in the universe can be observed directly by our Ten Indriyas, five Gyanendriyas and Five Karmendriyaas.
As we all are very well aware of the The Theory of Evolution given to us by Charles Darwin who was born in 1809 would draw a parallel between Dashavatara (10 incarnations) of Lord Vishnu to the Charles theory: (or it might be just the other way round).
Now let me explain to you in my own words Darwin’s Theory—According to Darwin’s theory, the Natural selection was the reason behind it and proposed that all species of organisms aroused and developed through the natural selection of small and inherited variations that increase the individual’s ability to compete, survive, and reproduce. Those species which couldnot accept this variation died off and also became extinct in nature. The purpose of me telling you about Darwin’s theory is that there are lots of similarities drawn parallel to Dashavtar ages ago. As I have already explained to you earlier that Vishnu is the God Almighty. He manifests himself to many forms. He is omnipotent since which age we don’t know Dwaapar, Trethaa, nowit’s Kaliyuga, after that everyone says it’s going to be Satyagraha. Lord Vishnu took many Avatars to save mankind from the Evil, and to get rid of all the corruption and anarchy prevailed.
How similar is Dashavatar and Darwin’s theory of Evolution?
What I find amazing as well as shocking that there are striking similarities between Dashavatar and Darwin’s theory as well as other theories, so as well now know that Hinduism is deep rooted with lots of scientific basis, not only ritualistic or superficially as such. Lord Vishnu has manifested himself into various forms to save mankind from all sorts of evil forces, similarly Darwin’s theory told the world that species adapted certain variations and developed themselves accordingly and the same way as Lord Vishnu has manifested himself. What amazes me is the fact that how thousands of years ago, is known to scientists much later had already been told thousands of years before it. Let me explain it to you, the evolution of Darwinism tells us that life originated from a common ancestor. Theories also suggest that Life originated from the sea, in the sea. According to Hindu Mythology, it has been told that the world originated from- AADI JAL, (Eternal cosmic water).
Now let me give you at first nine incarnations of Vishnu, have taken place according to Hindu Mythology—
- Parushuram-Man with an Axe
- Buddha-Spiritual man
- Kalki or Holocaust, which will come when evil overtakes the whole world
Let me take you through the scientific theory of Evolution—it states that life on earth began as single celled organisms and later developed into Multi—celled beings. Moreover, the theory further states that aquatic creatures came into existence first. Then the amphibians stage which could exist both in water as well as in Land. Land -dependent animals and airborne birds followed the amphibians, finally human beings completed the Cosmic Space of creation. The transition from animals to human beings was beautifully conceptualised as half-man-half-lion (Narasimha)in the fourth incarnation, Vishnu’s fifth incarnation showed further evolution -the early appearance of Homo Sapiens, symbolised by the Dwarf Vamana. Then, tall but violent savages wielding weapons walked the earth. Parushuram depicts that Avatar. Now evolution had entered the final stage as such, more and more refined, first in the moral sense and then in the spiritual.
Lord Rama, the seventh incarnation in the human form was an example of recitude,courage and morality. Krishna, the eighth incarnation in human form originated BHAGWAD GITA, was the philosopher, the teacher, and the guide to entire Universe. Gautama, The Buddha, the ninth incarnation, was closest to nirvana, moksha, or salvation. And Kalki, the tenth Avatar, which is yet to arrive or take its manifestation itself, the ultimate destroyer of the evil forces and which would also finish the evolutionary process in one mighty Holocaust. He will also have the equal and even more powerful weapons to destroy the imperfect world for the new creation and for the fresh evolution process.
As I conclude about the similarities which is quite intriguing, but I would like to state that however, ages before Lamarck, and Darwin, it was held in India that man has passed through 84 lakh births as plants, animals, inferior species, and then came the ancestors of developed man existing today (Padma Purana). This process is generally progressive, although reversals are admitted as such.
I have poured my thoughts on the similarities which made me to analyse and express my views that Dashavtaar which is age old, Darwin’s theory of evolution has lot of similarities from Dashavatar. The way humans have evolved or the way life has evolved on this earth and the way we have lived since our beginning till this modern period is extremely similar with theDashavatar theory. What I find is that every avatar fits into the Darwin’s theory of evolution perfectly, it’s quite mysterious but I can surely say that “Hinduism is not only a religion, but a way of life to lead”.
At this point I would like to draw a clear conclusion that man is the most powerful of all creations and so never does God take another animal form. The evolution of man is depicted in discrete methods. The first man was short, and then he evolved into something like the stone age and they reached the perfection in Sri Rama. As There is a popular saying, “Everything which rises one day, has to fall back to the Earth”., so does man too.
Man’s degradation starts from Balrama and continues through Sri Krishna. So,past is completed. Now at present what we find is that man is slowly losing Sanskaaras indulging into various nefarious acts of corruption and other heinous acts.Adharma is on the rise, as and when dharma vanishes from Earth, kalki avatar will take placewhich is yet to come.Modern day scientists and religious debates have a hot topic for” Creation and Evolution”. Bharatvasis actually explained Darwin’s theory of Evolution thousands of years before Darwin.
The ten incarnations or “Dashavatar”, of Lord Vishnu is a classic fact of the evolution of human life and advance in human civilization. With my limited knowledge, experience and skill sets I tried to place a piece of information through this article.
Dr. Sukanya Iyer