once reached Naimisharanya in the course of his pilgrimage. There he found
numerous sages engaged in austerities and penance. All of them were delighted to
find Sutji in their midst, and considered it a God sent opportunity to seek
clarification on doubts they held on religious topics. Sage Shaunak was also
present there and he asked Sutji --' O revered sage! Who is the creator of this
world? Who nurtures it and who annihilates it in the end? How can one realize
the supreme Almighty? How many incarnations has the Almighty taken until now?
Please enlighten us on all these things that are shrouded in mystery.'
LORD VISHNU'S INCARNATIONS
Sutji replied--' I am going to reveal to you the contents of the Garuda Puran,
which contain the divine tales of Lord Vishnu. This particular Puran is named
after Garuda because he was the one who first narrated these tales to sage
Kashyap. Kashyap subsequently
narrated them to sage Vyas. I came to know of these divine tales from sage Vyas.
Lord Vishnu is the supreme almighty and the source of all creations. He is the
nurturer of this world and the annihilator as well. Though he is beyond the
bondage of birth and death, yet he takes incarnations to protect the world from
the tyranny of sinners. His first incarnation was in the form of the eternal
adolescent Sanat Kumar and others who were all celibates and extremely
'Lord Vishnu took his second incarnation in the form of a boar (Varah) to
protect the Earth from the mighty demon named Hiranyaksha, who had abducted her
to Patal loka (Nether world). In his third incarnation as Narad, he propagated
the virtues of 'nishkaam karma' (performing one's duties without bothering about
the results). In his fourth incarnation as Nar-Narayan, he performed arduous
austerities for the protection and propagation of Dharma or religiousness.
Lord Vishnu's fifth incarnation was as Kapil, which he took to protect the
Saankhya shashtra, which was on the verge of becoming extinct. He took his sixth
incarnation in the house of Atri and Anusuya as Dattatreya with the specific
objective of propagating the most secret Brahma vidya to worthy people. His
disciples included virtuous souls like Prahalad and others. Lord Vishnu took his
seventh incarnation as the son of Ruchi Prajapati and Aakuti and was known as
Yagya deva. His eighth incarnation was as Rishabh deva- the son of sage Naabhi
In this incarnation, he established the norms for Grihashtha ashram, which later
on became the guidelines for every householder. Lord Vishnu took his ninth
incarnation as Prithu and 'milked'(extracted) various nutrients (cereals, pulses
etc.) from the Earth who had disguised herself as a cow, and thus protected the
populace from starving to death.
In his tenth incarnation as Matsya (fish), he protected the life of Vaivaswat
Manu, who would not have survived otherwise. Lord Vishnu assumed his eleventh
incarnation in the form of a tortoise (kurma) and held the Mandarachal mountain
on his back at the time when the ocean was being churned. His twelfth
incarnation was as Dhanvantari and thirteenth as the most enchanting beauty-
Mohini, to retrieve the ambrosia pot from the possession of the demons. He
subsequently distributed it among the deities as the result of which they became
In his fourteenth incarnation, Lord Vishnu manifested himself as 'Nrisimha'
(partly human and partly lion) and to protect his devotee- Prahlad killed the
wicked demon Hiranyakashipu by tearing apart his abdomen with his sharp claws.
His fifteenth incarnation was as Vaman (dwarf) in which he demanded all the
three worlds from Bali-the most benevolent demon king and then sent him to Patal
loka. In his sixteenth incarnation as Parshuram, he wiped out the entire
kshatriya caste from the face of the earth
twenty-one times, as they had all become immoral.
In his seventeenth incarnation he was born as Vyas to Parashar and Satyavati and
accomplished his mission of propagating knowledge of the Vedas by categorizing
them into four parts. In his eighteenth incarnation he manifested himself as Sri
Ram. His nineteenth incarnation was as Krishna and his twentieth incarnation as
Balram. He will take his twenty-first incarnation as Buddha to bring mankind
back to a virtuous path by preaching against rituals and proving that it is not
proper for a seeker to be bound by them. Lord Vishnu would take incarnation as
Kalki and will be born to a Brahmin named Vishnuyasha to liberate the earth from