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Devi Bhagavatam (Devi Puranam)

Chapter XVI

On the Birth of the several Avataras of Visnu and their deeds

1-2. Janamejaya spoke :– O best of Munis ! How did Visnu, of wonderful deeds, get his incarnation owing to the curse, cast on Him by Bhrigu? what were His different incarnations in different Manvantaras respectively? O Thou, well versed in religion ! O Brahmana ! Kindly narrate those sin-destroying deeds of Hari in His several incarnations, that are the source of happiness, peace and welfare to all humanity.

1.         Vyasa said :– O king ! Hear, I am narrating to you the incarnations of Sri Bhagavan Hari which He had in the several Manvantaras and in the several Yugas respectively.

2.         I will tell you now, in brief, what forms He took and what deeds He did in the various incarnations.

3.         In the Chaksusa Manvantara, the Bhagavan Hari took the incarnation of Dharma; and the two sons of Dharma, Nara Narayana, were widely celebrated in this world.

4.         Then, in the present Vaivasvata Manvantara, under the reign of Vaivasvata Manu in the second Yuga, Bhagavan Hari incarnated as Dattatreya, in the shape of the son of Atri Risi.

5.         Anasuya the wife of Atri, was desirous to have, as her sons, the three Devas Brahma, Visnu and Rudra; and in fulfilment of her desires, the Devas took their births in her womb.

6.         Anasuya, was foremost amongst the chaste and virtuous women and on her praying, Brahma, Visnu and Rudra the Trinity at once agreed to become her sons.

7.         Brahma was born as Soma, Hari was born as Dattatreya and Rudra was born as Durvasa.

8.         In the fourth Yuga, the Bhagavan assumed the beautiful double form in one, the upper part resembling a lion and the lower part a human being to accomplish the noble purpose of the Devas.

9.         It was to kill HiranyakaSipu that the Bhagavan Hari assumed this appearance, wonderful even to the Devas.

10.       In the Treta Yuga, the superior and the best of all the Yugas, the Bhagavan incarnated as Vamana ( the Dwarf), the son of Maharsi KaSyapa, to curb the power of Bali.

11.       The Dwarf Hari took away by pretext, the kingdom of Bali, while he was performing a sacrifice and sent him down into the Patala (the lower regions).

12.       Afterwards, in the nineteenth Yuga, known as the Treta Yuga, Sri Bhagavan Hari incarnated as ParaSurama, very powerful and the son of Jamadagni Risi.

13.       He was very beautiful and graceful in his body, truthful and the conqueror of his senses. He extirpated the Ksattriya race and gave the whole world over to the high minded Risi KaSyapa.

14.       O king ! He is the ParaSurama, the sin-destroyer, the incarnation of Hari, and the doer of

wonderful deeds.

17-20. After that the Bhagavan Hari incarnated as Rama, the son of DaSaratha. Next in the twenty-eighth Dvapara Yuga, He incarnated as the very powerful Arjuna and Sri Krisna, the AmSas of Nara Narayana. To remove the load of the earth, these two were born; and they fought deadly battles in the battlefield of Kuruksettra. O king ! Thus the several incarnations of Hari arose, according to the requirements of Prakriti. O King ! These three worlds are under the control of Prakriti.

21. Whatever the Prakriti wishes at any time, She can fashion the world in that way. And She does this incessantly in accordance with the Word Divine, the Highest Sakti, to please the Purusa, without any cessation.

22-23. In days of yore, the most ancient Bhagavan, the Highest, above all the qualities of Maya, formless, all pervading, difficult to be conceived, without any decay, self-supporting, without any want, created these worlds, moving and unmoving and He manifested Himself as the Trinity, Brahma, Visnu, MaheSa in the shape of the three qualities Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, and which is called the Highest Prakriti.

1.         This all auspicious Prakriti shines differently according to the differences in time and circumstances. This threefold Prakriti, the Great Enchantress of the world is creating, preserving the worlds and is destroying them at the end of the Kalpas.

2.         O King ! Whenever there takes place the union with this Prakriti, Brahma creates, Visnu preserves, and the all-auspicious God Sankara destroys the worlds.

3.         It was She That gave birth to Kakutstha, the best of the kings; and to conquer the Danavas, She placed him at a certain place.

4.         O king ! Thus all men controlled by the Great Law in this world, enjoy sometimes the pleasures, enjoy sometimes pains and thus exist in the world.

Here ends the Sixteenth Chapter in the Fourth Book of Sri Mad Devi Bhagavatam, the Mahapuranam of 18,000 verses, by Maharsi Veda Vyasa, on the Birth of the several Avataras of Visnu and their deeds.