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Re: Avataras
Date: Thu Jan 04 1996 - 19:36:13 PST

The discussion over whether Parasurama and Buddha are part of the
Dasavataara has since changed course and the discussion has centered
around whether in fact they are Avataaras.  For the purpose of
Srivaishnavas the Dasavataaras are those that appeared to Thirumangai
Azhwaar and have been present since then at the Dasavataara Sannidhi
in Srirangam.  Swami Desikan has put His stamp of approval on these
vigrahas as representing the ten principal avataaras by composing His
DasavatAra Stotram.  For the purposes of Srivaishnavas it is very
clear that Parasurama is one of the 10 principal avatAras while
Buddha is not.  Whether Buddha is or is not an avatAra is another
issue altogether.  The Srimad Bhagavatam mentions Buddha as one
avatAram.  I have read that this refers to Adi Buddha who appeared
two Kali Yugas ago.  Sriman Narayana can and does manifest in the
bodies of surrendered souls.  Swami Desikan has described all the
Azhwars and Acharyas as avatAras because Lakshmi Hayagriva sit on
their tongues and preaches to the whole world.  We also cannot decide
on the basis of the leelas of any of the avataaras whether Sriman
Narayana would have acted like that or not.  He is independent, owns
everything and whatever He does is for the good of all.  Parasurama
does not have to be prayed to if one does not feel like it but since
realized souls have accepted Him as an avatAra, we have to accept
their word for it.  Krishna for example not only killed the King of
Kashi who sent a demon to Dwaraka to kill Krishna and the residents
of Dwaraka, but also made the Sudarshana chakra destroy the whole
city of Kashi and all the residents along with women and children.
How is this different from what Parasurama did?  Parasurama after
only killed kings in battle.  Yet Srimad Bhagavatam says that
"Krishnastu Bhagavam Swayam" and is accepted by all Hindus as such.

Similarly Satyabhama made life miserable for all around her.  Yet the
Vishnu Sahasranaama says "Rukmini Satyabhamabhyam Sahitam Krishnam
Ashrayeh".  The same Satyabhama appeared in Kali Yuga as Andaal.
Also Sriman Narayana takes avataras all the time in the animal
kingdom etc in order to redeem fallen jivatmas whose existence we do
not even know about.  These avataaras are just not manifest to us.
We will be able to see them when we are ready and when Sriman
Narayana decides to bless us with that realization.  Even during Sri
Krishna's time only a few realized that He was God and only these
people were able to see the Vishvaroopam shown in Dhritarashtra's
palace.  The rest only saw a blinding light and looked upon Krishna
as a mortal just as many Hindus look upon Narayana in vigraha form as
a stone image today.