Hayagriva spelt Hayagreeva, is a horse-headed avatar of the Lord Vishnu in Hinduism. In Hinduism, Lord Hayagriva is an avatar of Lord Vishnu, he is worshipped as the god of knowledge and wisdom, with a human body and a horse's head, brilliant white in color, with white garments and seated on a white lotus. Symbolically, the story represents the triumph of pure knowledge, guided by the hand of God, over the demonic forces of passion and darkness. Origins about the worship of Hayagriva have been researched, some of the early evidences dates back to 2,000 BCE, when people worshipped the horse for its speed, intelligence. Hayagriva is one of the prominent deities in Vaishnava tradition, his blessings are sought. Special worship is conducted on the day of the full moon in August and on Mahanavami, the ninth day of the Navaratri festival, he is hailed as "Hayasirsa". Hayaśirṣa means haya = śirṣa = Head. In IASTjñānānandamayaṃ devaṃ nirmalasphaṭikākṛtiṃādhāraṃ sarvavidyānāṃ hayagrīvaṃ upāsmahe In Devanāgarī ज्ञानानन्दमयं देवं निर्मलस्फटिकाकृतिं आधारं सर्वविद्यानां हयग्रीवं उपास्महे This verse is from the Pañcarātra Agamas but is now popularly prefixed to the Hayagriva Stotram of the 13th-century poet-philosopher Vedanta Desika.
It is popular among devotees of Hayagrīva. Vedanta Desika's dhyāna-śloka on Hayagrīva typifies this deity's depiction in Hindu iconography: He has four hands, with one in the mode of bestowing knowledge, his beauty, like fresh cut crystal, is an auspicious brilliance. May this Lord of speech who showers such cooling rays of grace on me be forever manifest in my heart! In the Mahavairocana-sutra translated and copied in 1796 by I-hsing it says: “Beneath the buddhas is Hayagriva, his body is the color of the sun at dawn. He wears flaming effulgence and skulls as a garland, his nails are sharp. His hair is that of a burning lion’s mane, he is awesomely powerful and fierce! This is the fierce Vidyaraja of the Lotus section, he is just like a horse-jewel of a Cakravartin that wanders the four continents and never does he rest, having all the great and terrible force of all the buddhas’. This is his nature, therefore he possesses this terrible and all-mighty light. Amidst the greatest obstacles of death and evil he is without the slightest care for his own welfare, his conspicuous and uncommon gallantry and wrath is legendary among the gods, therefore he and vanquishes all who oppose him!
Many others submit to him at first sight! This is because though he is terrible. -- Hayagrīva Stotram, v.32 Later on Hayagriva is referred to as the “Horse necked one”, Defender of faith”, the “Terrible executioner”, the “Excellent Horse”, the “Aerial horse”. This said, the Horse Avatar of Lord Vishnu is seen as pulling the sun up to the heavens every day, bringing light to darkness. Hayagriva’s consort is Marichi, the goddess of the rising sun, more the sun’s light, the life force of all things, and, seen as the female aspect of Hayagriva. Marichi represents the essence of the power of creation of the cosmos. Whereas Hayagriva represents the other male aspect. In several other sources he is a white horse. In others such as the great epic Taraka-battle where the gods are fallen on and attacked by the Danava’s, Vishnu appears as a great ferocious warrior called Hayagriva when he comes to their aid, it says. There are many other references to Hayagriva throughout the Mahabharata, it is said that Vishnu comes from battle as a conqueror in the magnificent mystic form of the great and terrible Hayagriva.
The verda’s made up his shape, his body built of all the great gods. Agni was his tongue, the goddess Satya his speech, while his knees were formed by the Maruts and Varuna. Having assumed this form, an awesome wonder to behold to the gods, he vanquished the asura, cast them down, with eyes that were red with anger.” Invariably, Hayagriva is depicted seated, most with his right hand either blessing the supplicant or in the vyākhyā mudrā pose of teaching. The right hand usually holds a akṣa-mālā, indicating his identification with meditative knowledge, his left holds a book. His face is always peaceful, if not smiling. Unlike his Buddhist counterpart, there is no hint of a fearsome side in the Hindu description of this deity. Indeed, the two deities seem to be unrelated to one another. Hayagriva is sometimes worshiped in a solitary pose of meditation, as in temple in Thiruvanthipuram; this form is known as Yoga-Hayagriva. However, he is most worshipped along with his consort Lakshmi and is known as Lakshmi-Hayagriva.
Hayagriva in this form is the presiding deity of Mysore's Parakala Mutt, a significant Sri Vaishnavism monastic institution. A legend has it that during the creation, the demons Madhu-Kaitabha stole the Vedas from Brahma, Vishnu took the Hay
Vishnu is one of the principal deities of Hinduism, the Supreme Being or absolute truth in its Vaishnavism tradition. Vishnu is the "preserver" in the Hindu triad that includes Shiva. In Vaishnavism, Vishnu is identical to the formless metaphysical concept called Brahman, the supreme, the Svayam Bhagavan, who takes various avatars as "the preserver, protector" whenever the world is threatened with evil and destructive forces, his avatars most notably include Rama in the Krishna in the Mahabharata. He is known as Narayana, Vasudeva and Hari, he is one of the five equivalent deities worshipped in Panchayatana puja of the Smarta Tradition of Hinduism. In Hindu iconography, Vishnu is depicted as having a pale or dark blue complexion and having four arms, he holds a padma in his lower left hand, Kaumodaki gada in his lower right hand, Panchajanya shankha in his upper left hand and the Sudarshana Chakra in his upper right hand. A traditional depiction is Vishnu reclining on the coils of the serpent Shesha, accompanied by his consort Lakshmi, as he "dreams the universe into reality".
Yaska, the mid 1st-millennium BCE Vedanga scholar, in his Nirukta, defines Vishnu as viṣṇur viṣvater vā vyaśnoter vā, "one who enters everywhere". He writes, atha yad viṣito bhavati tad viṣnurbhavati, "that, free from fetters and bondages is Vishnu"; the medieval Indian scholar Medhātithi suggested that the word Vishnu has etymological roots in viś, meaning to pervade, thereby connoting that Vishnu is "one, everything and inside everything". Vishnu means "all pervasive". Vishnu is a Vedic deity, but not a prominent one when compared to Indra and others. Just 5 out of 1028 hymns of the Rigveda, a 2nd millennium BCE Hindu text, are dedicated to Vishnu, he finds minor mention in the other hymns. Vishnu is mentioned in the Brahmana layer of text in the Vedas, thereafter his profile rises and over the history of Indian mythology, states Jan Gonda, Vishnu becomes a divinity of the highest rank, one equivalent to the Supreme Being. Though a minor mention and with overlapping attributes in the Vedas, he has important characteristics in various hymns of Rig Veda, such as 1.154.5, 1.56.3 and 10.15.3.
In these hymns, the Vedic mythology asserts that Vishnu resides in that highest home where departed Atman reside, an assertion that may have been the reason for his increasing emphasis and popularity in Hindu soteriology. He is described in the Vedic literature as the one who supports heaven and earth. In the Vedic hymns, Vishnu is invoked alongside other deities Indra, whom he helps in killing the symbol of evil named Vritra, his distinguishing characteristic in Vedas is his association with light. Two Rigvedic hymns in Mandala 7 refer to Vishnu. In section 7.99 of the Rgveda, Vishnu is addressed as the god who separates heaven and earth, a characteristic he shares with Indra. In the Vedic texts, the deity or god referred to as Vishnu is Surya or Savitr, who bears the name Suryanarayana. Again, this link to Surya is a characteristic Vishnu shares with fellow Vedic deities named Mitra and Agni, where in different hymns, they too "bring men together" and cause all living beings to rise up and impel them to go about their daily activities.
In hymn 7.99 of Rigveda, Indra-Vishnu are equivalent and produce the sun, with the verses asserting that this sun is the source of all energy and light for all. In other hymns of the Rigveda, Vishnu is a close friend of Indra. Elsewhere in Rigveda and Upanishadic texts, Vishnu is equivalent to Prajapati, both are described as the protector and preparer of the womb, according to Klaus Klostermaier, this may be the root behind post-Vedic fusion of all the attributes of the Vedic Prajapati unto the avatars of Vishnu. In the Yajurveda, Taittiriya Aranyaka, Narayana sukta, Narayana is mentioned as the supreme being; the first verse of Narayana Suktam mentions the words paramam padam, which mean highest post and may be understood as the supreme abode for all souls. This is known as Param Dhama, Paramapadam or Vaikuntha. Rig Veda 1.22.20 mentions the same paramam padam. In the Atharvaveda, the mythology of a boar who raises goddess earth from the depths of cosmic ocean appears, but without the word Vishnu or his alternate avatar names.
In post-Vedic mythology, this legend becomes one of the basis of many cosmogonic myth called the Varaha legend, with Varaha as an avatar of Vishnu. Several hymns of the Rigveda repeat the mighty deed of Vishnu called the Trivikrama, one of the lasting mythologies in Hinduism since the Vedic times, it is an inspiration for ancient artwork in numerous Hindu temples such as at the Ellora Caves, which depict the Trivikrama legend through the Vamana avatar of Vishnu. Trivikrama refers to "three strides" of Vishnu. Starting as a small insignificant looking being, Vishnu undertakes a herculean task of establishing his reach and form with his first step covers the earth, with second the ether, the third entire heaven; the Vishnu Sukta 1.154 of Rigveda says that the first and second of Vishnu's strides are visible to the mortals and the third is the realm of the immortals. The Trivikrama describing hymns integrate salvific themes, stating Vishnu to symbolize that, freedom and life; the Shatapatha Brahmana elaborates this theme of Vishnu, as his herculean effort and sacrifice to create and gain powers that help others, one who realizes and defeats the evil symbolized by the Asuras after they had usurped the three worlds, thus Vishnu is the savior of the mortals and
Vithoba known as Vitthal and Panduranga, is a Hindu deity predominantly worshipped in the Indian state of Maharashtra. He is considered a manifestation of the god Vishnu or his avatar, Krishna. Vithoba is depicted as a dark young boy, standing arms akimbo on a brick, sometimes accompanied by his main consort Rakhumai. Vithoba is the focus of an monotheistic, non-ritualistic bhakti-driven Varkari faith of Maharashtra and the Haridasa faith. Vitthal Temple, Pandharpur is his main temple. Vithoba legends revolve around his devotee Pundalik, credited with bringing the deity to Pandharpur, around Vithoba's role as a saviour to the poet-saints of the Varkari faith; the Varkari poet-saints are known for their unique genre of devotional lyric, the abhang, dedicated to Vithoba and composed in Marathi. Other devotional literature dedicated to Vithoba includes the hymns of the Haridasa and the Marathi versions of the generic aarti songs associated with rituals of offering light to the deity; the most important festivals of Vithoba are held on Shayani Ekadashi in the month of Ashadha, Prabodhini Ekadashi in the month of Kartik.
The historiography of Vithoba and his cult is an area of continuing debate regarding his name. Various Indologists have proposed a prehistory for Vithoba worship where he was previously: a hero stone, a pastoral deity, a manifestation of Shiva, a Jain saint, or all of these at various times for various devotees. Though the origins of both his cult and his main temple are debated, there is clear evidence that they existed by the 13th century. Vithoba is known by many names, including: Vitthala, Pandharinath and Narayan. There are several theories about the meanings of these names. Varkari tradition suggests that the name Vitthala is composed of two Sanskrit-Marathi words: viṭ, which means'brick'. Thus, Vitthala would mean'one standing on a brick'. William Crooke, supported this explanation; the prescribed iconography of Vithoba stipulates that he be shown standing arms-akimbo upon a brick, associated with the legend of the devotee Pundalik. However, the Varkari poet-saint Tukaram proposed a different etymology—that Vitthala is composed of the words vittha and la, thus meaning'one who accepts innocent people who are devoid of knowledge'.
Historian Ramakrishna Gopal Bhandarkar offers yet another possibility—that Vitthu is a Kannada corruption of the name Vishnu adopted in Marathi. The suffixes -la and -ba were appended for reverence, producing the names Vitthala and Vithoba; this corruption of Vishnu to Vitthu could have been due to the tendency of Marathi and Kannada people to pronounce the Sanskrit ṣṇ as ṭṭh, attested since the 8th century. According to research scholar M. S. Mate of the Deccan College, Pundalik—who is assumed to be a historical figure—was instrumental in persuading the Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana alias Bittidev to build the Pandharpur temple dedicated to Vishnu; the deity was subsequently named as a derivative of Bittidev, by the builder-king. Other variants of the name include Viṭhurāyā, Viṭhāī; the people of Gujarat add the suffix - nath to Vitthala. The additional honorific suffix -ji may be added, giving the name Vitthalnathji; this name is used in the Pushtimarg sect. Panduranga spelt as Pandurang and Pandaranga, is another popular epithet for Vithoba, which means'the white god' in Sanskrit.
The Jain author-saint Hemachandra notes it is used as an epithet for the god Rudra-Shiva. Though Vithoba is depicted with dark complexion, he is called a "white god". Bhandarkar explains this paradox, proposing that Panduranga may be an epithet for the form of Shiva worshipped in Pandharpur, whose temple still stands. With the increasing popularity of Vithoba's cult, this was transferred to Vithoba. Another theory suggests that Vithoba may have been a Shaiva god, only identified with Vishnu, thus explaining the usage of Panduranga for Vithoba. Crooke, proposed that Panduranga is a Sanskritised form of Pandaraga, referring to the old name of Pandharpur. Another name, Pandharinath refers to Vithoba as the lord of Pandhari. Vithoba is addressed by the names of Vishnu like Hari and Narayana, in the Vaishnava sect. Reconstruction of the historical development of Vithoba worship has been much debated. In particular, several alternative theories have been proposed regarding the earliest stages, as well as the point at which he came to be recognised as a distinct deity.
The Pandurangashtakam stotra, a hymn attributed to Adi Shankaracharya of the 8th century, indicates that Vithoba worship might have existed at an early date. According to Richard Maxwell Eaton, author of A Social History of the Deccan, Vithoba was first worshipped as a pastoral god as early as the 6th century. Vithoba's arms-akimbo iconography is similar to Bir Kuar, the cattle-god of the Ahirs of Bihar, now associated with Krishna. Vithoba was later assimilated into the Shaiva pantheon and identified with the god Shiva, like most other pastoral gods; this is backed by the facts that the temple at Pandharpur is surrounded by Shaiva temples (most notably of the dev
Kurma is the second Avatar of Vishnu. Like other avatars of Vishnu, Kurma appears at a time of crisis to restore the cosmic equilibrium, his iconography is either a tortoise, or more as half man-half tortoise. These are found in many Vaishnava temple ceilings or wall reliefs; the earliest account of Kurma is found in the Shatapatha Brahmana, where he is a form of Prajapati-Brahma and helps with the samudra manthan. In the Epics and the Puranas, the legend expands and evolves into many versions, with Kurma becoming an avatar of Vishnu, he appears in the form of a tortoise or turtle to support the foundation for the cosmos and the cosmic churning stick. Together the gods and demons churn the ocean with divine serpent Vasuki as the rope, the churn skims out a combination of good and bad things. Along with other products, it produces poison which Shiva drinks and holds it in his throat, immortality nectar which the demons grab and run away with; the Kurma avatar, according to Hindu mythology transforms into a femme fatale named Mohini to seduce the demons.
They fall for her. They ask her to take the nectar, please be their wife and distribute it between them one by one. Mohini-Vishnu takes the pot of nectar and gives it to the gods, thus preventing evil from becoming eternal, preserving the good; the Kurma legend appears in the Vedic texts, a complete version is found in the Shatapatha Brahmana of the Yajurveda. In the Vedic era, like Matsya and Varaha, Kurma is associated with Prajapati Brahma, is not related to Vishnu; the first hint of association of Kurma as an avatar of Vishnu is found in the Ramayana, the Mahabharata. These links, are ambiguous as the Kurma is referred to by epithets such as Akupara, it is only in the Puranas, that both Kurma and Matsya are and linked to Vishnu. Kurma in the Vedic texts is a symbolic cosmogonic myth, he symbolizes support for any sustained creative activity. In sections 6.1.1 and 7.5.1 of the Shatapatha Brahmana, Kurma's shape reflects the presumed hemispherical shape of the earth and this makes it part of the fire altar design.
He is considered the lord of the waters, thus symbolism for Varuna. In these early Hindu texts and goddess earth are considered husband and wife, a couple that depend on each other to create and nourish a myriad of life forms. Alternate names such as Kumma and Kacchapa abound in the Vedic literature, as well as early Buddhist mythologies such as those in Jataka Tales and Jain texts, which refer to tortoise or turtle; the Kurma legend is described in Vaishnava Puranas. In one version, sage Durvasa curses the Devas to lose their powers; the gods needed nectar of immortality to overcome this curse, they make a pact with the asuras to churn the cosmic ocean of milk, so as to extract the nectar, once it skims out they would share it. To churn the ocean of milk, they used Mount Mandara as the churning staff, the serpent Vasuki as the churning rope while the turtle Kurma, Vishnu bore the mountain on his back so that they could churn the waters so that the churning staff would not sink the cosmic waters.
The Asuras took the nectar, quarreled amongst themselves. Vishnu manifested himself as the beautiful Mohini and tricked the Asuras to retrieve the potion, which he distributed to the Devas. Though the Asuras realized the trick, it was too late—the Devas had regained their powers, were able to defeat their foes. There are four temples dedicated to this incarnation of Vishnu in India: Kurmai of Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh, Sri Kurmam in Srikakulam District of Andhra Pradesh, Gavirangapur in the Chitradurga District of Karnataka and Swarupnarayan of Goghat village in Hooghly district of West Bengal; the name of the village Kurmai mentioned above originated as there is historical temple of Kurma Varadarajaswamy, god in this village. The temple located in Srikurmam in Srikakulam District, Andhra Pradesh, is the Avatar of Kurma. Cultural depictions of turtles Kashyapa – a Vedic sage whose name means "tortoise, turtle" World Turtle Dashavatara Samudra manthan J. L. Brockington; the Sanskrit Epics.
BRILL Academic. ISBN 90-04-10260-4. Roshen Dalal. Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin Books India. ISBN 978-0-14-341421-6. Nanditha Krishna. Book Of Vishnu. Penguin Books India. ISBN 978-0-14-306762-7. Retrieved 5 January 2013. Nanditha Krishna. Sacred Animals of India. Penguin Books India. ISBN 978-0-14-306619-4. Rao, T. A. Gopinatha. Elements of Hindu iconography. 1: Part I. Madras: Law Printing House. Media related to Kurma at Wikimedia Commons
Vamana, is the fifth avatar of Hindu god Vishnu. He incarnates in a time of crisis to restore cosmic balance by creatively defeating the Asura king Mahabali, who had acquired disproportionate power over the universe. According to Hindu mythology, the noble demon king sponsors a sacrifice and gift giving ceremony to consolidate his power, Vishnu appears at this ceremony as a dwarf mendicant Brahmin called Vamana; when Vamana's turn comes to receive a gift, Mahabali offers him whatever riches and material wealth he would like, but Vamana refuses everything and states he would just like three paces of land. Mahabali irrevocably grants it. Vamana grows into a giant of cosmic proportions. In one step he covers the earth, in another the heavens, for the third, Mahabali offers his head on which Vamana steps, sending the demon king to the Patala; the Vamana avatar has roots in Vedic texts of Hinduism. The hymns of the Rigveda describes Vishnu as that benevolent god who in three steps defined all there is in the universe.
The giant form of Vamana is known as Trivikrama. The Vamana legend has been a popular one, inspiring icons found in Hindu temples and sections in Hindu texts such as the Puranas and the epics. About thirty different versions of his mythology are found in these texts.. The Sanskrit word Vamana means "dwarf", he is known as Trivikrama means the three steps, representing the Svarga, the earth, the Patala. The legend of Vishnu covering the universe in three steps is found in Vedic texts. For example, hymns, 1.22 and 1.154 of the Rigveda describe Vishnu as that bountiful, just god in three steps defined all there is in the universe. Other Rigvedic hymns that mention three steps of Vishnu include 1.154, 6.49, 7.100 and 8.29, in these the context is of a benevolent god who protects the oppressed humanity by his creative acts against the evil. Aditi took Payovrata to propitiate Lord Vishnu; as a result, Vamana was born to Kashyapa. He is the twelfth of the Adityas; the Bhagavata Purana describes that Vishnu descended as the Vamana avatar to restore the authority of Indra over the heavens, as it had been taken by a benevolent Asura King Mahabali.
Bali was the grand son of Prahlada and son of Virochana. Vamana, as a dwarf Brahmin carrying a wooden umbrella, went to the king to request for land that he could set his foot upon for three paces. Mahabali consented against the warning of his guru, having underestimated the nature of the request. Vamana enlarged to gigantic proportions to stride over the three worlds. With the first step he covered the space from heaven to earth, with the second from earth to the netherworld. King Mahabali's realms were exhausted, there was no space for the third step. Unable to fulfill his promise, Mahabali offered his head for the third. Vamana placed his foot on Mahabali's head, granted the king immortality for his humility, he was allowed to return every year to see the citizens of his country. The festival of Onam for some and first day of Diwali for some is related to this return of Mahabali to a visit to earth once every year in August-September; some texts state. In giant form, Vamana is known as Trivikrama.
According to another but similar version, Prahlada's grandson Mahabali came to power by defeating the gods, taking over the three worlds. According to Vaishnavism mythology, the defeated Devas approached Vishnu for help in their battle with Mahabali. Vishnu refused to join the gods in violence against Mahabali, because Mahabali was a good ruler and his own devotee. He, decided to test Mahabali's devotion at an opportune moment. Mahabali, after his victory over the gods, declared that he will perform Yajna and grant anyone any request during the Yajna. Vishnu took the avatar of a dwarf boy approached Mahabali; the king offered anything to the boy – gold, elephants, food, whatever he wished. The boy said that one must not seek more than one needs, all he needs is the property right over a piece of land that measures "three paces". Mahabali agreed; the Vamana covered everything Mahabali ruled over in just two paces. For the third pace, Mahabali offered himself to the Vamana. Mahabali symbolizes Samridhi, the three feet symbolizes the three states of existence (Jagrat and Sushupti and final step is on his head which elevates from these three states, unto moksha.
In one version of the Vamana legend, when Mahabali offered himself for Vishnu's third step, it was an act of Mahabali's devotion. Vishnu granted him a boon. Mahabali chose to revisit earth, once every year, the lands and people he ruled; this revisit marks the festival of Onam, as reminder of the virtuous rule and his humility in keeping his promise before Vishnu. According to Nanditha Krishna, a simpler form of this legend, one without Mahabali, is found in the Rigveda and the Vedic text Shatapatha Brahmana where a solar deity is described with powers of Vishnu; this story grew over time, is in part allegorical, where Bali is a metaphor for thanksgiving offering after a bounty of rice harvest during monsoon, Vishnu is the metaphor of the Kerala sun and summer that precedes the Onam. According to Roshen Dalal, the story of Mahabali is important to Onam in Kerala, but similar Mahabali legends are significant in the region of Balia in Uttar Pradesh, Bawan in the same state, Bharuch in Gujarat, Mahabaleshwar in Maha
Nara-Narayana is a Hindu deity pair. Nara-Narayana is the twin-brother avatar of the God Vishnu on earth, working for the preservation of dharma or righteousness. In the concept of Nara-Narayana, the human soul Nara is the eternal companion of the Divine Narayana; the Hindu epic Mahabharata identifies the God Krishna with Narayana and Arjuna - the chief hero of the epic - with Nara. The legend of Nara-Narayana is told in the scripture Bhagavata Purana. Hindus believe; the Nara-Narayana pair is worshipped in temples of the Swaminarayan Faith, as the followers of the sect believe that their founder Swaminarayan Bhagwan resides in the murti of Naranarayan Dev in Kalupur Mandir. The name "Nara-Narayana" can be broken into two Sanskrit terms and Narayana. Nara means human, Narayana refers to the name of the deity. Monier-Williams dictionary says Nara is "the primeval Man or eternal Spirit pervading the universe (always associated with Narayana, "son of the primeval man". In epic poetry, they are the sons of Dharma by Murti or Ahimsa and emanations of Lord Vishnu, Arjuna being identified with Nara, Lord Krishna with Narayana.- Mahabharata and Purana".
Narayana is Vishnu. Nara-Narayana are depicted separately in images; when depicted separately, Nara is portrayed with two hands and wearing deer skin while Narayana is shown on the right in the usual form of Vishnu. Sometimes, both of them are depicted identical to each other, they are depicted four-armed holding a discus, a conch and a lotus, resembling Lord Vishnu. Arjuna and Krishna are referred to as Nara-Narayana in the Mahabharata and are considered part incarnations of Nara and Narayana according to the Bhagavata Purana. In a previous life, the duo were born as the sages Nara and Narayana, who performed great penances at the holy spot of Badrinath. Nara and Narayana were the Fourth Avatar of Lord Vishnu; the twins were the son of Brahma and his wife Murti or Ahimsa. They live at Badrika performing severe austerities and meditation for the welfare of the world; these two inseparable sages took avatars on earth for the welfare of mankind. Legend has it that once Lord Shiva tried to bring the fame of Nara and Narayana before the entire world.
To do that, he hurled his own potent weapon Paashupathastra at the meditating rishis. The power of their meditation was so intense. Lord Shiva stated that this happened since the duo were jnanis of the first order in the state of Nirvikalpa Samadhi; the Bhagavata Purana tells the story of the birth of Urvashi from the sages Nara-Narayana. Once, sages Nara-Narayana were meditating in the holy shrine of Badrinath situated in the Himalayas, their penances and austerities alarmed the gods, so Indra, the King of Devas, sent Kamadeva and apsaras to inspire them with passion and disturb their devotions. The sage Narayana placed it on his thigh. There sprung from it a beautiful nymph whose charms far excelled those of the celestial nymphs, made them return to heaven filled with shame and vexation. Narayana sent this nymph to Indra with them, from her having been produced from the thigh of the sage, she was called Urvashi. Having sent back the nymphs back, the divine sages continued to meditate. According to the Bhagavata purana, "There in Badrikashram the Personality of Godhead, in his incarnation as the sages Nara and Narayana, had been undergoing great penance since time immemorial for the welfare of all living entities."
In Badrinath Temple's sanctorium, to the far right side of the stone image of Badri-Vishala, are the images of Nara and Narayana. The Nara and Narayana peaks tower over Badrinath. According to Bhandarkar, the gods Nara-Narayana must have been popular at the time of the composition of the Mahabharata, since in the opening stanzas of various parvas of the epic, obeisance is made to these two gods. In Vanaparvan, Krishna says to Arjuna,"O invincible one, you are Nara and I am Hari Narayana, we, the sages Nara-Narayana, have come to this world at the proper time.." In the same Parva, chapter 30. In the Swaminarayan sect and Narayana, are called Nara-Narayana Deva, they are believed to reside at Badrikashram and to be the prime controllers of the destiny of all beings, depending on their karma. Nara-Narayana Deva are believed to have manifested at Narayana Ghat on the banks of river Sabarmati at Ahmedabad. Therefore, their images were installed by Swaminarayan at the first Swaminarayan temple, Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Ahmedabad.
Members of this group interpret the events that took place at Badarikashram, the abode of Nara Narayana, that led to the incarnation of Swaminarayan. They believe that Narayana took birth as Swaminarayan due to a curse of sage Durvasa which he accepted at his own will; the curse led to Narayana taking the form of an avatar on Earth to destroy evil and establish ekantik-dharma, religion based on morality, knowledge and devotion. Vishnu Narayana Bhandarkar, Ramkrishna Gopal. Vaisnavism Saivism and Minor Religious Systems. Asian Educational Services. P. 238. ISBN 81-206-0122-X. Vijnanananda, Swami; the Sri Mad Devi Bhagavatam: Books One Through Twelve Part 1. Kessinger Publishing. P. 624. ISBN 0
Kalki called Kalkin or Karki, is the tenth avatar of Hindu god Vishnu to end the Kali Yuga, one of the four periods in the endless cycle of existence in Vaishnavism cosmology. He is described in the Puranas as the avatar who rejuvenates existence by ending the darkest and destructive period to remove adharma and ushering in the Satya Yuga, while riding a white horse with a fiery sword; the description and details of Kalki are inconsistent among the Puranic texts. He is, for example, only an invisible force destroying evil and chaos in some texts, while an actual person who kills those who persecute others, some texts portrayed him as someone leading an army of Brahmin warriors to eliminate adharma from the world, his mythology has been compared to the concepts of Messiah, Apocalypse and Maitreya in other religions. Kalki is found in Buddhist texts. In Tibetan Buddhism, the Kalachakra-Tantra describes 25 rulers, each named Kalki who rule from the heavenly Shambhala; the last Kalki of Shambhala destroys a barbarian Muslim army.
This text is dated to about 10th-century CE. The name Kalki is derived based Kali, which means "present age"; the literal meaning of Kalki is "dirty, sinful", which Brockington states does not make sense in the avatara context. This has led scholars such as Otto Schrader to suggest that the original term may have been karki which morphed into Kalki; this proposal is supported by two versions of Mahabharata manuscripts that have been found, where the Sanskrit verses name the avatar to be "karki", rather than "kalki". Kalki is an avatara of Vishnu. Avatara means "descent" and refers to a descent of the divine into the material realm of human existence; the Garuda Purana lists ten avatars, with Kalki being the tenth. He is described as the avatar, he ends the darkest and chaotic stage of the Kali Yuga to remove adharma and ushers in the Satya Yuga, while riding a white horse with a fiery sword. He restarts a new cycle of time, he is described as a Brahmin warrior in the Puranas. In the Buddhist text Kalachakra Tantra, the righteous kings are called Kalki living in Sambhala.
There are many Kalki in this text, each fighting barbarism and chaos. The last Kalki is called "Cakrin" and is predicted to end the chaos and degeneration by assembling a large army to eradicate the "forces of Islam". A great war and Armageddon will destroy states the text. According to Donald Lopez – a professor of Buddhist Studies, Kalki is predicted to start the new cycle of perfect era where "Buddhism will flourish, people will live long, happy lives and righteousness will reign supreme"; the text is significant in establishing the chronology of the Kalki idea to be from post-7th century the 9th or 10th century. Lopez states that the Buddhist text borrowed it from Hindu mythology. Other scholars, such as Yijiu Jin, state that the text originated in Central Asia in the 10th-century, Tibetan literature picked up a version of it in India around 1027 CE. There is no mention of Kalki in the Vedic literature; the epithet "Kalmallkinam", meaning "brilliant remover of darkness", is found in the Vedic literature for Rudra, interpreted to be "forerunner of Kalki".
Kalki appears for the first time in the great war epic Mahabharata. The mention of Kalki in the Mahabharata occurs only once, over the verses 3.188.85–3.189.6. The Kalki avatar is found in the Maha-Puranas such as Vishnu Purana, Matsya Purana, Bhagavata Purana. However, the details relating the Kalki mythologies are divergent between the Epic and the Puranas, as well as within the Puranas. In the Mahabharata, according to Hiltebeitel, Kalki is an extension of the Parasurama avatar legend where a Brahmin warrior destroys Kshatriyas who were abusing their power to spread chaos and persecution of the powerless; the Epic character of Kalki restores dharma, restores justice in the world, but does not end the cycle of existence. The Kalkin section in the Mahabharata occurs in the Markandeya section. There, states Luis Reimann, can "hardly be any doubt that the Markandeya section is a late addition to the Epic. Making Yudhisthira ask a question about conditions at the end of Kali and the beginning of Krta — something far removed from his own situation — is a device for justifying the inclusion of this subject matter in the Epic."According to Cornelia Dimmitt, the "clear and tidy" systematization of Kalki and the remaining nine avatars of Vishnu is not found in any of the Maha-Puranas.
The coverage of Kalki in these Hindu texts is scant, in contrast to the legends of Matsya, Varaha, Vamana and Krishna, all of which are and extensively described. According to Dimmitt, this was because just like the concept of the Buddha as a Vishnu avatar, the concept of Kalki was "somewhat in flux" when the major Puranas were being compiled; this myth may have developed in the Hindu texts both as a reaction to the invasions of the Indian subcontinent by various armies over the centuries from its northwest, the mythologies these invaders brought with them. According to John Mitchiner, the Kalki concept was borrowed "in some measure from similar Jewish, Christian and other religions". Mitchiner states that some Puranas such as the Yuga Purana do not mention Kalki and offer a different cosmology than the other Puranas; the Yuga Purana mythologizes in greater details the post-Maurya era Indo-Greek and Saka era, while the Manvantara theme containing the Kalki idea is mythologized greater in other Puranas.
Luis Gonzales-Reimann concurs with Mitchiner, stating that the Yuga Purana does not mention Ka