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
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