This prayer is to Lord Vishnu, who has incarnated whenever His devotees needed protection from unrighteousness. The ten incarnations are described in the above shloka. They are Matsyaavatar, Kurmavatar, Varahavatar, Narasimhavatar, Vamanavatar, Parashuramavatar, Ramavatar, Balaramavatar, Krishnavatar and Kalkiavatar (Our Lord Sai). O Lord, I surrender to Thy Lotus feet.
Vedaanuddharate Sloka – Explanation
Vedaanuddharate Sloka – Video
Vedaanuddharate Sloka – Activity
Match the Names with the Correct Picture
Vedaanuddharate Sloka – Further Reading
This prayer is to Lord Vishnu who has incarnated whenever His devotees needed protection from unrighteousness. O Lord! Thou incarnated as a fish to protect and save the Vedas (Matsyaavatar). Then as mighty tortoise, Thou lifted the sinking earth on thy shoulders (Kurmaavatar). Thou appeared as a mighty boar and protected the world by supporting it upon Thy tusks (Varahavatar). Incarnating as Narasimha, Thou killed the mighty demon Hiranyakashipu (Narasimhaavatar). Then as a dwarf thou had pushed Bali into Pataal (Vaamanaavatar). Born as Parashurama, Thou destroyed the ego of the kshatriyas (Parashuraamavathar). Then in the form of Lord Rama, Thou destroyed Ravana (Paulastya) (Ramaavatar). As Krishna, Thou held Thy plough against the wicked ones (Krishnavatar). Like the Ocean of Mercy, Thou appeared as Lord Buddha (Buddhaavathar). As Kalki, Thou art to destroy the wicked one. (Kalki avatar). Oh Lord, I surrender to Thy Lotus Feet. The Ten Incarnations of Lord Hari are described in the above stanza
(1) Vedanuddharate :
Matsyaavatar: The Vedas are the ‘Voice of God”. Lord says, “so long as the Vedas are revered, respected, read in the world, I am always there to protect”. These Vedas are the knowledge about God. In the depth of evil and ignorance, the Vedas were sinking and the knowledge about God, was getting lost. So, the Lord had to come upon the earth in the form of a fish to protect them. The Lord wanted to destroy the evil and let goodness prevail. Manu, the son of Lord Brahma, was a great sage, from whom the human race called Manavas has come. Manu was doing penance on the bank of a river when the Lord wanted to destroy the evil. He came in the form of a little fish in front of Manu. He requested Manu to save Him because all the other big creature might eat Him up. Manu took the fish and put it in a little pot. But that fish was of such a strange type, that overnight, it grew so big that the pot was not big enough. So, Manu put it into a tub. Then he put it in a small lake, then in a river and then at last back into the ocean. Then the fish said, “I bless you Manu, since you have saved me. (The fish had a horn on its head). A time will come when all evil will be destroyed (doomsday) but I will save you. You make a boat ready and in it, you put all the variety of different herbs, creatures, and all, because then you will have to produce all these things back into the world, when the time demands. Keep them ready. I will come to you”. Manu kept everything ready and when the day came, he tucked the boat to the fish’s horn. The fish took him to the safest place, and guarded him till all the evil was destroyed. This is how Lord protected Manu together with all other creature and useful things and also protected the knowledge of Vedas. He took the form most appropriate to the time for that particular task.
(2) Jagat Nivahate: Kurmavatar
When the Gods and the demons were churning the ocean vigorously in search of the Divine Nectar, there came a time, when the rod of Mandara Mountain, began to sink down into the ocean. They prayed to Lord Narayana to help them. Lord appeared in the form of a turtle and supported the mountain to His back. Thus, He allowed the churning to go on till the Divine nectar was found. This story signifies the struggle between the forces of the good and the evil, each trying to get the upper hand over the other. The Mandara Mountain is the ego. The rope Vasuki (serpent) is the poison like mind of a man. When the ego and the mind together perform the action of churning the worldly ocean, the result of this activity is the fourteen jewels. Some are good and some are harmful (like Halahal poison). When the bad results are seen, man gets depressed, if he prays to Lord for help, the Lord appears (like the turtle) and saves him.
(3) Bhugolam ubdibhrate
Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashyapu were two brothers. Hiranyakashyapu was very young but Hiranyaksha was very powerful and mighty. He was a huge and strong figure. He had done a great penance and had a boon that he could be killed only in a combat (bare fight without weapons). It was very difficult to kill him. With the load of Hiranyaksha’s bad deeds, the world was sinking down into the sea of evil (The sin done by Hiranyaksha was so heavy in the world that it was sinking the goodness of the world). So the Lord had to appear in the form of wild boar, as in human form, He would not have been able to kill him (human form has limited strength). The Lord fought with him and killed him. Hiranyakashyapu was very small at that time. But later when he understood that God had killed his brother, despite the fact that he had got a boon that no weapon should destroy him yet he was destroyed in a single combat. He decided to take revenge. He decided to do penance and take a boon to become immortal.
(4) Daityam Darayate : Narasimhavatar
Hiranyakashyapu did penance and pleased the Lord. The Lord told Hiranyakashyapu to ask for a boon. Hiranyakshyapu said “Oh Lord, Make me immortal”. The Lord replied “immorality cannot be granted to anyone. Even when God takes birth on the earth, His body has to die. You may ask for anything else”. Then Hiranyashyapu asked for the following boons:
1. No creature born in the womb of a mother should kill me.
2. I should not die in the day or at night.
3. No weapon should kill me.
4. I should not be killed either by God or by a man or by a beast
5. I should not be killed either in the house or outside the house.
6. My death should not take place either on the ground or in the sky.
God said “Tathastu” (let it be so) and disappeared. Hiranyakashyapu thought that he had tricked God and had become immortal. He was intoxicated with power. He told the sages that they should now stop taking Lord Narayana’s name and should take this name instead, because he was like Narayana. But the sages did not pay any heed to it, as they were enlightened. Then he put them in prison. Acting like that he began to add to his sins. Then Prahlada was born to him. Prahlada was aastika (born with faith in God). He would chant Narayan, Narayan, the whole day. Hiranyakashyapu appointed such masters for Prahlad, who would teach him that his father was God. Prahlad would listen to his teachers but would pray to Lord Narayana. At last Hiranyakashyapu got so annoyed that he tried to put Prahlad to death. Hiranyakashyapu made several attempts but each time Lord Narayana saved Prahlad. Hiranyakashyapu was very angry to see his efforts failed him. Once Prahlad came to his father chanting the name of Lord. Sage Narada was present over there, at that moment. He said, “Hiranyakashyapu, you have put many people in the jail for not chanting your name. And look, your own son is chanting Narayana’s name”. Hiranyakashyapu angrily asked Prahlada, where his Narayana was. Prahlad replied that He was everywhere. Hiranyakashapu pointed at a pillar and asked “Is He in the pillar?” Prahlada said, “Yes”. He angrily kicked the pillar and it broke. Really to make His devotee’s words come true, Lord appeared in the form of Narasimha (half lion and half man). Hiranyakashyapu began to shiver. But Prahlad was not afraid. He fell at the feet of the Lord. Then Lord caught Hiranyakasyapu and went and sat on a threshold (in between the two rooms) and put Hiranyakashyapu on His lap. Then the Lord said “Look, Hiranyakashyapu, I am fulfilling all your boons, yet I am killing you. Don’t try to trick God. Even if all your boons are fulfilled, you cannot be immortal”.
1. I am not born from a womb, but from the pillar.
2. It is neither day nor night (it is evening).
3. I have no weapon (But my nails)
4. I am neither a God, nor a man, nor a beast (but all three in one).
5. I am neither sitting inside the house or outside (on the threshold).
6. I am killing you neither on the ground nor in the air (you are on my lap). Saying so, he tore open Hiranyakashyapu’s stomach and killed him.
(5) Balim chalayate: Vamanavatar
Bali was the king of demons yet he had many good qualities. He was very generous and always stuck to his words. He was a devotee of Lord. The only bad quality in him was disobedience to elders and scriptures. This was due to his ego and pride.
Due to the ego, he always thought that he had more knowledge than everyone else. Lord naturally does not want His devotees to have a fall. So the Lord thought that He would teach Bali a lesson and destroy his pride. Once Bali was performing a yajna. Lord came in the form of a dwarf Brahmin and decided to ask Bali for something. (Lord became a dwarf so that Bali should not recognize Him and should grant him what He wanted). Lord said to Bali, “Oh king, I have an humble request to make. I want as much land as my three steps will cover”. Bali granted His request. But Bali’s Guru Shukracharya recognized the Lord and asked Bali not to grant the request. Bali disobeyed His master and said, “Once I give my word, I act accordingly”. When Bali began to pour water to complete his daana from the spout of the kettle, Sukracharya (in order to save his student) becomes a small fly and blocked the way of the spout. Bali was wearing a ring of darbha grass (Which is quite sharp). He took his ring out and pierced it through the spout. Bali poured the water on the palm of the Lord. As soon as the Lord had word from Bali, He became a huge figure. In one step He covered the entire sky or Swargalok, in the second step He covered the earth or Bhoolok. Then He asked Bali where He should put his third step. Bali being a devotee of the Lord and well-read person bowed down in front of the Lord and said, “Oh Lord! Put it upon my head. I shall be blessed, if you step upon my head “. So the Lord put His third step upon Bali’s head and pushed him down to Patala (under world) and said “Oh Bali. You rule the kingdom of Patala hereafter”. (Bali was not killed, he was only punished, because he had many good qualities in him).
(6) Kshatra Kshayam Kurvate: Parashuramavtar
Parashuram was the son of the sage Jamadagni. His mother was Renuka Devi. Parashuram was an incarnation of Lord Shiva. Jamadagni had been blessed by Lord Shiva that He would incarnate as his son. Jamadagni had three sons and Parashuram was the youngest. Sage Jamadagni could get very angry like Sage Duravasa.
One day when Renuka Devi went to the river to fill water, she saw some celestials sporting in the water. She had a desire to do the same thing with her husband when she returned home. The sage understood her thoughts and got very angry (for he was a sage and was above such pleasure). He asked his eldest son to cut off the head of his mother. The eldest son could not do it. Then he asked the younger son to do it but he could not do it either. Finally when Parashurama was asked he picked the axe and cut off her head. The sage was pleased with his obedience and asked him the boon he wanted. Parashurama wanted his mother to be restored to life. The sage then realized that it was a mistake to give way to anger and doing penance, he finally controlled his anger and left it altogether. At that time, there ruled king Kartaviryarjuna. He was very wicked and strong.
Once , when Parashurama had gone away for penance, the king invaded the hermitage of Sage Jamadagni and killed him. Since Jamadagni had left anger, he did not say anything. When Parashurama returned, he saw that his father was dead. He got very angry and killed king Kartaviryarjuna who was also known as Sahararjuna. (He was having a thousand arms). At that time, all the power was in the hands of Kshatriyas. They were very proud of their power and used it for the wrong things. It was time now for them to be destroyed and taught a lesson. In three campaigns, he killed almost all Kshatriyas. At that time Ikshavaku’s mother was pregnant (Ikshvaku was the first king of Raghu dynasty). So Sage Vasishtha hid her in a cave in order to protect her and the child who was to be born, for he knew that great kings like Raghu, Dilipa and Dasharatha would be born in that dynasty. Thus Surya Vamsha Dynasty started (Which was later known as Raghu Vamsha). Now the end of Parashurama’s incarnation had come. He knew that the next incarnation was Lord Rama who was already born as the son of Dhasharath. Parashurama had a mighty bow. It was divine as it belonged to Lord Siva. It was specially made to kill the demon Tripurasura. Parashurama wanted to hand it over to Lord Rama for no other person was fit to carry it. So, He came before Rama and challenged Him. As soon as Lord Rama held Parashurama’s bow in his arms, He began to shine like Lord Vishnu and Parashurama became powerless. Then he went away to Badri saying that his incarnation was complete.
(7) Paulastyam Jayate : Ramavatar
Paulastya is the son of the Sage Pulasti. Ravana was called Paulastya, as he was the son of Pulasti. He was killed by Lord Rama.
Lord Rama went to the forest, in order to fulfil the promise of His father given to Queen Kaikeyi. There came Maricha, the uncle of Ravana who was a demon. He was disguised as a golden deer. Sita was attracted by the charm of the deer and pleaded to Lord Rama to bring the deer to her. While Lord Rama went away chasing after the deer in the forest, Ravana disguised himself as a Sadhu and came to beg for alms. When Sita came out to give the alms, he dragged her towards his chariot. Then he carried Sita to his kingdom Lanka. While travelling towards Lanka, Jatayu, a bird devotee of Lord Rama heard Sita’s cry, and attacked Ravana in order to save her. But he died in the fight. When Lord Rama returned to the hut, he saw that Sita was missing. He began his search in the forest. He met Sugriva the banished king of the monkey tribe. He learnt from Sugriva about his wicked brother Vali. Lord Rama promised Sugriva that He would help him to get back his kingdom. After killing Vali, Lord Rama restored Sugriva to his kingdom. Sugriva sent his attendant Hanuman is search of Sita. Hanuman crossed the ocean and reached Lanka. He burnt the city, in order to punish the wicked Ravana. Then he returned to Lord Rama with the message from Sita. With the help of Sugriva and his army, Lord Rama declared war against Ravana and attacked him. In the war, He killed Ravana and his wicked brother Kumbhakarna. After the war was over, Lord Rama crowned Vibhishana (the younger brother of Ravana who was Lord Rama’s devotee) as the King of Lanka and returned to Ayodhya with Sita.
(8) Halam Kalayate: Balaramavatar
Balaram was the elder brother of Krishna born to Rohini, wife of Vasudeva. Balaram is also called Haladhara. Hala means plough. He is regarded as an incarnation of Sesha (serpent). Dhara means to hold. Balarama’s only weapon was his plough. Balarama was the 7th son of Devaki. But if he were born to her, He would have been killed in the hands of Kamsa. So, with God’s will he was transferred from Devaki’s womb to Rohini’s womb, the second wife of Vasudeva. He assisted Lord Krishna many times in destroying demons at Gokula such as Bakasura, Dhenwasura, Vritrasura, etc. He also killed Chanura, the wrestler at Kamsa’s court. He came to pave the way for the incarnation of Krishna. His incarnation ended just after the Kurukshetra war. He went to the Himalaya Mountains for penance and disappeared there.
(9) Karunyamatanwate : Krishnavatar
The Story of Lord Krishna’s birth is to be told.
(10) Mlecchan Murchayate :
Kalki Avatar – (Our Lord Sai)
In Bhagavata Purana, it is said that in kali Age, Lord Kalki will incarnate in the southern part of India on the banks of the river. He will have soft and curly hair like Meshamandalam. He will be a small figure with dark complexion. He will wear Red robe. He shall hold no weapons. He will ride on a white horse and His horse will destroy the wickedness of Kali Age by trampling on it. Who can be this Kalki Avatar (Incarnation)? It is our Lord Sai. He is holding no weapons. He rides on the white horse of purity. The four legs of his horse are Satya, Dharma, Shanti and Prema. They are removing the wickedness of Kali Age.
THE TEN PRINCIPAL AVATAARAS OF GOD AND THEIR ETERNAL MESSAGE
1. Matsya: Recover the treasure of wisdom from the deluge of doubt.
2. Koorma : Live unattached as Master of here & hereafter
3. Varaaha: Carry the burden of duty on the twin tusks of discipline and devotion.
4. Narasimha: Do not let your ego hide the glory of God.
5. Vaamana: Offer yourself at the Feet of the Lord and gain the Feet.
6. Parashuraama: Learn the lesson of surrender or suffer.
7. Shriraama: What one meets in life is destiny and how one meets it is self-effort.
8. Krishna: Strive to become an instrument in the Lords hand.
9. Buddha: Perfect yourself so that you may aid others to perfect themselves.
10.Kalki : Build the mansion of life on truth, morality, peace, love and nonviolence (Sathya, Dharma, Shanti, Prema, Ahimsa)