Dashavatar is NOT the Theory of Evolution


Many hard-core Hindus used to forward me a totally illogical analogy related to the famous Puranic ten-avatars in our heritage.

“The Dashavatar or the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu is nothing but the theory of evolution. We had first fish, then the tortoise, then boar, so on….and Buddha and then Kalki will come…See, our sages knew about evolution…So cool? Eh? Our ancestors always knew about everything…” a seemingly beaming friend once told me.

I asked him: “Then, why did we wait for Charles Darwin to develop the “the theory of evolution” if we already knew about it?”

“But it was true, wasn’t it?”

“No. All of these avatars are portrayed as having interacted with humans. Even during the first avatar of fish, the existence of human beings had been recorded. Then how come it can be compared with evolution theory?”

What’s more, Avatars were not strictly in chronological or evolutionary order of the occurrence. There were 24 Avatars of the Vishnu, according to Srimad Bhagavatam, the authentic scripture followed in Vaishnava tradition. Among those, the third one is boar (Varaha) and the 11th one is Fish (Matsya) – that itself is in clear contradiction with the evolutionary theory.

(Note: ‘Avatar’ is mostly translated into English as “incarnation”, but more accurately it is “appearance” or “manifestation”. Avatar = descent)

Bhagavatam also adds that the avatars of Vishnu are innumerable. Vishnu had taken countless avatars, partial and complete, some of the avatars multiple times. Avatars are classified into two kinds – direct (sakshat) and indirect (avesa).

From the unlimited manifestations of Vishnu, in a later stage, a section of intelligent people listed out ten as representative of the rest. These ten incarnations are known in Sanskrit as “Dash-avatar.” (Dash = ten). The concept of ten avatars was introduced in Garuda Purana. Jayadeva Goswami’s 12th-century list of ten is arguably the most popular, but there are several Dashavatar lists in the Vaishnava tradition.

The most popular ten avatars are Matsya(Fish), Kurma (Turtle), Varaha (Boar), Narasimha (Lion Man), Vamana( The Dwarf), Parashurama, Rama, Balarama, Krishna, and Kalki.

There has been a different version of these ten avatars in different Puranas. Bhagavatam and Varaha Purana list Buddha among ten avatars. Some scriptures even neither mention Buddha nor Balarama in their list of Dashavatar. Vayu Puran replaces them with Dattatreya and Vedavyasa.

There are a lot of contradictions, complexities, and confusions in the order of occurrences…. From my book: “The Secret of Krishna’s Birth: Deciphering The Krishna Code”
For further reading: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B091YP2GWS

This message comes from Udaylal Pai’s WhatsApp Broadcast List – articles/blogs/answers because you subscribed to it. If anyone wants to join the list: (1) Save/add the number “+91-94475-33409” in your phone by creating a new contact (2) Then just send ONLY your name through your WhatsApp to +91-94475-33409. The broadcast will happen ONLY IF the sender’s number is saved in the contact list of the receiver.)


Udaylal Pai
Let’s share and care. Let’s get connected:
Facebook: udaylal.pai
WhatsApp Number: +919447533409
E-mail: uday.pai@hotmail.com
Website: www.udaypai.in
Twitter: Udaylal Pai
Book: Why Am I a Hindu (The Science of Sanatan Dharma). For kindle and international paperback, please visit: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N9PAGLT For Indian paperback (print) edition only: http://prachodayat.org/why-am-i-a-hindu/

© Uday Lal Pai. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing at uday@udaypai.in

You may also like...

18 Responses

  1. Sonal Sharma says:

    There are more than a few gaps and misinformation in your analysis.

    1. Parshuram didn’t vow to kill every Kshatriya but only Adharmic Kashateiyas and that is why Rama’s lineage was never broken because they adhered to their dharma.

    2. King Bali ruled the entire earth as per the texts or how could he have donated entire earth to Vaman Avatar? Secondly, Vaman avatar is not so much about dwarves as about superiority of intellect. Vaman Avatar was in form of a Brahmin who used his brains to subdue the pride of King Bali. You might have everything in the wprld but never underestimate someone with intellectual capacity. Be humble.

    3. After doing a turn about on your title when you go about extolling Dashavatar theory as a unique approach to evolution, your approach is foggy at best. Or else, how come Narsimha Avatar is described as the point of evolution of humans from animals? Because, it means humans must have evolved out of lions instead of apes or monkeys. And, what about the fact that Narsimha Avatar manifested to save the great Vishnu devotee Prahlad, who was a complete human and must have pre-existed Narsimha Avatar. Isn’t it?

    4. You go on to describe Parshuram as the early man who destroyed everything in his path and carried primitive weapons and existing in a time where society barely was organized. I don’t know based on what imaginary texts you have come up with such fancy theories. Most of the kshatriyas Parshuram slayed were kings and a king does not exist without a kingdom. Societal organization and other weapons also existed so its a redundant and illogical deduction. Plus, it was Parshuram who tested Ram for his integrity and found him dharmic. The same Parshuram gave Sudarshana Chakra to Bhagwan Krishna in Dwapara Yuga and trained him how to use it. And, Parshuram will train the Kalki Avatar when he appears at the end of Kali Yuga. So much so for unrefined, uncivilized man with crude or primitive weapons.

    5. You say that there was war and politics in time of Krishna, then will you please explain what was Ram doing in Lanka? Was he there on a wedding invitation? He fought an epic battle with Ravana and other Rakshasas to free Sita and punish the culprits. Ram is best known for his maryada or the ability to observe restraint despite having the power to get what you want. This is best exemplified in his prayers to Samudra for 3 days after which takes up his bow and Samudra appears before him in human form and helps him find a way across. He could have just showed his power but he gave Samudra the respect it deserved but was forced to wield power when Samudra refused to listen.

    7. If Parshuram symbolizes development of agriculture as per your theory, then how come society was able to organize itself and begin living in communities at the time of Ram? Again, as per your own theory. Your approach is clearly frought with internal inconsistencies and contradictions of all kinds.

    7. About Buddha as 9th Avatar, it is always described as the one who creates Bhram or illusion for adharmic people who will be on the rise in Kaliyuga, till adharma is destroyed by Kalki Avatar at the end of Kali Yuga. Its not described as the one leading to Nirvana or Moksha in Dashavatar theory.

  2. Krishna says:

    Excellent analysis. I think we should not exaggerate things to try and make people believe it. We should draw a line saying there are interesting parallels between the theory of evolution and Dashavatars

  3. yani says:

    thanks for sharing UDAYLAL PAI

  4. suhas says:

    KURMA AVATAR is the second avatar of Vishnu. This embodiment was a turtle. This incarnation is associated with the very famous churning of the ocean story. While the devas and asuras were churning the ocean for the nectar of immortality, the mountain they were using began to sink in the soft ocean floor, so Vishnu became a turtle and rested the mountain on his back.

  5. ranju says:

    It is seen that Europeans always try to press hindu culture and religion. Hindu is purely scientific based religion. Rotation and revolution is given 1000 years ago before Europeans. Also theory of relativity is given by Buddhists monk. Sushrut is father of plastic surgery and charak gave ayurveda even Europeans are not fully civilized. The first plane developed by an Indian. As it’s very ancient most of the thought changed by intruder.

  6. venu madhav cherukupalli says:

    Great work..

  7. Nitiksha says:

    In none of the scriptures balaram is said to be d avatar of Vishnu. He was d avatar of shesh nag. U can chk. Shows d depth of ur research.

  8. N Hegde says:

    I read this article thinking you had a valid counter-reason. You start off by stating that the theory is rubbish and give some admittedly reasonable arguments. Then the latter half pretty much repeats the theory of the dashavatars. Seems to me the only part you are questioning is the chronology (matching to yugas) and sequence of events. Then why start of with such strong wording of the whole thing being incorrect? For e.g., you start off with the argument that if humans did not exist as early as Matsya avatar, then why is it depicted as human. First, either I don’t get you or you have not really thought it through. It is a depiction that was made by humans to show the first avatar. Showing it as a human is just a way to get information across to the common man, not very different from using literary fantasy such as Hanuman flying across the ocean. Second, even if you were right, it should still hold good for your explanation (repeating the theory) in the second half.
    Instead of looking for internet fame, which seems to be the fad these days, try and post something that is reasonable and holds water.

    • Ricky Sharma says:

      Agreed his explanation is self contradictory and no concrete conclusion.. He started off very strictly with a logic that becomes hazy by the middle when he mentioned our ancestors knew our earth is round only to conclude in contradiction the ten avatars metaphorically illustrate the stages of evolution.. I don’t know what’s he trying to prove here.. Maybe lord Vishnu intervened in the middle and enlighten him to conclude that way

  9. this is the research paper I was looking forward all these years/ very well researched and well propounded.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *