Why only lord Vishnu takes avatars ?

Among the Hindu trinity ONLY lord Vishnu takes avatars often – as it has been mentioned in the Hindu scriptures and the other two, lord Brahma and lord Shiva never take any avatar. This is not without reason.

The lord Vishnu is the protector of the universe. Hence, in order to preserve peace in the worlds he often takes different avatars –like Ram, Krishna, Narasimh, etc. These avatars in fact come to the world – to uplifting the Dharma and destroying the prevailing evil forces, as it has been told by the lord Krishna in Bhagawadgeetha in the stanza - Yadaayadaahi dharmasya glanirbhavathi bharatha, etc.,



So, lord Shiva is not in need of these avatars as it is not his portfolio, but whenever lord Vishnu fails to destroy the devils – then there is no other go and lord Shiva himself enters the war as he is the ultimate destructor. This happened in the case of – tripurasuras. Shiva had to kill the tripurasuras though they were the devotees of lord Shiva himself as lord Vishnu failed to handle them - they were more powerful than the Vishnu.

This is like sending the army when the police forces fail to handle the situation. For handling the small evil forces, asuras – Vishnu will suffice, but to tackle the more powerful ones Shiva himself will enter the battle.


10 comments:

Kanwaldeep Bhasin said...

Vishnu's supreme. this is what the vedas say. :) Lord shiva is also Vishnu only.

Bhargava Kotur said...



Dear Kanwaldeep Bhasin,


Thank you for your comment..!

There are different traditions in Hinduism, the main ones being, Shaivism, Vaishnavism, Shakteyam, Ganapatyam, Koumaram, Souram, etc. What you are telling is according to the Vishnavate tradition.


But, what I wrote is according to the general ‘trinity’ concept of the Hinduism.

I hope this helps..!


# Bhargava…

Kanwaldeep Bhasin said...

But vedas also say that narayana's supreme. Shiva, Durga, Brahma they all claimed that narayana's supreme. dont read vishnu purana, brahma, purana or durga purana but the main scriptures like bhagwadgita and vedas also talk about the supremecy of Lord Vishnu :) !!!... Shiva in vedas is only a name which means ''shudh'' and Shakti is the omnipotence of vishnu. vishnu's omnipotent and shakti is his omnipotence!

Bhargava Kotur said...


Dear Kanwaldeep Bhasin,


Thank you for your comment. But,...


The ‘Vedas’ never claim the supremacy of lord ‘Vishnu’ or ‘Nararayana’ – the lord present in the ‘Vishnu loka’, responsible for ‘sustaining the worlds’.


The Vedas [Upanishads], Bhagawadh Geetha, etc., speak of the ‘formless god’ - as the supreme God and even the Bible, Kur-on also hold this view. All names and forms are ‘illusions’ or due to ‘maya’ – as Adisankara describes.


So, ultimately speaking the so called Vishnu, Narayana, Shiva or Shakti etc. gods and all the worlds are all ‘illusions’ only [maya] and are not real. The ‘formless’ is the ONLY reality [sat], chit [gnyan] and anand [bliss] – everything else is ‘maya’ or ‘illusion’ only. This is the final saying of the Vedic Upanishads.


For your kind information, the ‘Bhagwadh Geetha’ never asserts - ‘Vishnu’ as the supreme-being. In the Sanskrit language, the word ‘Vishnu’ literally means ‘omnipresence’, the ONE pervading all through the worlds and beyond. This word ‘vishnu’ is NOT limited ONLY to the ‘vishnu dev’ or ‘Narayana’ present in the ‘Vaikunta loka’. This word ‘vishnu’ has been applied to ‘Ganesha’ – in Ganapatham, ‘Shakti’ – in Shakteyam, to ‘Shiva’ – in Shaivam etc,. gods as well.


The ‘sagunopasan’ or the ‘idolatry’ leads ultimately to the - ‘formless god’. The gods like, Vishnu, Shiva, Shakti, Ganesha etc., are the gods worshiped by the ‘sagunopasak’ devotees. Consequently these devotees elevated their concerned deity to the level of the ‘formless’, the supreme but, these ‘gods with form’ can never, never become equal to the ‘formless god’, the ‘bramhan’ of the Upanishads.


This is to say that: ‘gods with form can never become equal to the ultimate, the formless god’ and Vishnu or Narayana – is no exception strictly speaking. The ‘formless is the supreme’ and not anything else having any kind of form!


I hope this helps…!


# Bhargava…

Kanwaldeep Bhasin said...

Sir, but in Bhagwadgita; Lord-Krisna has been stated to be the almighty supreme soul. BG also says that and he was Vishnu's incarnation. It's written in the oldest veda ''rigveda'' that narayana's supreme. i'm sure u've heard vishnu stotram, narayana stotram and purusha suktam from yajur veda they all are dedicated to lord narayana the supreme. narayanad rudro jayate, as the line next to it says narayana indro jayate. As many here is not going to accept indra as their worshipable lord. These verses are ment for saying that other gods come in to exixtance out of lords potency and they are not independent of the Lord. Lord Shiva came from lord and never Lord Shiva and Mother Sakti is equivalent to Vishnu / Para-Bramha. http://vedabase.net/sb/10/89/summary/en http://www.expressnewsindia.com/mkdave/54.pdf [Yajur Veda]
Rig Veda 7.40.5: Rudra gets his strength by propitiating Vishnu.
Rig Veda 7.99.1-4: Vishnu is said to create Suurya and Agni.
Rig Veda 10.90.13: States that Brahman (here addressed as The Purusha) created Suurya, Agni, Indra, Vaayu, and Chandra
Rig Veda 10.121.2: States that He (here addressed as Hiranyagarbha) is the "Giver of vital breath, of power and vigour, he whose commandments all the gods acknowledge."
Rig Veda 10.190.3: States that Brahman (here addressed as Dhaatar) created Suurya and Chandra
Aitareya Upanishad 1.2.1-4: States that He created the devas, provided them with nourishment, and ordered them into their respective abodes
Brihadaaranyaka Upanishad 1.3.1-18: Refers to the devas as Prajaapati's sons, and explains how they had to surpass the asuras by learning the process of yagna (they could not do it without).
Brihadaaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.10: Says that only the devas "became that" (Brahman) by understanding knowing Brahman. But if the devas are already the all-knowing Brahman, then from whence the question of not understanding that?
Brihadaaranyaka Upanishad 2.1.20: States that all devas emanate from Brahman. Note that this mantra concludes the chapter in which Gargya speaks of meditating on Brahman within each of the devas.
Brihadaaranyaka Upanishad 3.6.1: Gaargi asks by what is the world of the devas pervaded. The ultimate answer is of course Brahman. But the point is, the devas, if Brahman, shouldn't be pervaded by something else.
Brihadaaranyaka Upanishad 3.9.1-11: This is the famous antaryaami Braahmana in which it is stated that Brahman inhabits (among other things) the various devas presiding over moon, sky, the directions, the sun, etc, yet is not known by them.
Brihadaaranyaka Upanishad 4.4.16: States that the devas meditate on that Brahman as light/longevity.
Brihadaaranyaka Upanishad 5.5.1: States that the devas, along with men and asuras are Prajaapati's sons.
Brihadaaranyaka Upanishad 5.5.1: States that Brahman created Prajaapati, and Prajaapati created the devas.
Chaandogya Upanishad 4.3.1-7: Describe He who swallowed the other four devas (agni, vAyu, ApaH, prAna), and then describes Him as the creator of all beings.
Katha Upanishad 2.3.3: States that the devas (Agni, Vaayu, Indra, Suurya, and Mrtyu) carry out their respective functions out of fear of Him (Brahman).
Mundaka Upanishad 2.1.7: States that from Him emerged the devas and all other living entities.
Prashna Upanishad 2.1-4: Explains how the various devas presiding over different parts of the body are all subordinate to Vishnu.

Kanwaldeep Bhasin said...

Narayana Suktam:
narayanam mahagnyeyam vishvatmanam parayanam |
narayana paro jyotir-atma narayanah parah || 4 ||
Lord Narayana is the greatest knowledge (Mahajneya), the soul of the world (Visvatma) and the best refuge (parayana). Narayana is the most effulgent (Parajyoti), Narayana is the Super soul (Paramatma).
narayanam param brahma tatvam narayanah parah |
narayana paro dhyata dhyanam narayanah parah || 5 ||
Narayana is the Supreme Absolute (Parambrahma), Narayana is the Supreme Tattva (Paratattva). Narayana is the best of those who meditate (Paradhyata) and the best of meditations (Paradhyana)."
Rig Veda 1.22.18: trini pada vi cakrame visnurgopa adabhyah
ato dharmani dharayan
Vishnu, the Guardian, he whom none deceiveth, made three steps; thenceforth establishing his high decrees.
Rig Veda
asya devasya milhuso vaya visnoresasya prabhrthe havirbhih
vide hi rudro rudriyam mahitvam yasistam vartirasvinaviravat
With offerings I propitiate the branches of this swift-moving God, the bounteous Vishnu. Hence Rudra gained his Rudra-strength: O Asvins, ye sought the house that hath celestial viands.
Taittiriya Samhita 5.5.1
aniravamo devatAnAM viShNuH paramaH
Vishnu is the supreme amongst devatas.
dādhāra dakṣamuttamamaharvidaṃ vrajaṃ ca viṣṇuḥ sakhivānaporṇute
"Viṣṇu hath power supreme and might that finds the day" (Rig Veda 1:156:4)
oṃ tad viṣṇoḥ paramam padam sadā paśyanti sūrayaḥ
"All the suras (i.e., the devas) look always toward the feet of Lord Vishnu." (Rig Veda, 1:22:20)
agnirvai devanamavamo vishnuh paramah tadantara sarva devatah
"Agni is the lowest and Vishnu is the highest among devas. All other gods occupy positions that are in between." (Aitareya Brahmana 1.1.1)
"Then we shall expound the Mahopanishad. They say Narayana was alone. There were not Brahma, Shiva, Waters, Fire and Soma, Heaven and Earth, Stars, Sun and Moon. He could not be happy" (Maha Upanishad: I-1-4)
"Narayana desired to create people. Because of this thought, Soul (prana) rose from him. Mind and all body parts, sky, air, light, water and the earth which can carry all these created beings took their form. From Narayana, Brahma was born. From Narayana, Rudra (Shiva) was born. From Narayana, Indra was born .From Narayana those people who rule these human beings were born. From Narayana, the twelve suns, eleven Rudras, Eight Vasus and all those meters (for writing) were born. All these function because of Narayana.

Kanwaldeep Bhasin said...

So, see. the vedas clearly say that narayana's supreme. he's mahamayavi visnu. only. so pls read vedas !

Kanwaldeep Bhasin said...

so yeah, Narayana is formless ultimate omnipresent reality but it's omnipotent also so it can take forms and still have unlimited powers or control over all the elements in the worlds. :) thus he's supreme!

Bhargava Kotur said...


Dear Kanwaldeep Bhasin,

Thank you for your long arguments and related citations from the scriptures!

But, what you have quoted, i.e., the Vishnu stotram, Narayana stotram and Purusha suktam - are all ‘vishnavate’ scriputes and naturally these will tell ‘Narayana’ as the supreme god.

More over the Vedas were compiled by different ‘Rishis’ following different traditions like, vishnavism, saivism, shakteyam, souram, etc., and the concerned sage naturally elevates his ‘idol’ to the level of the ‘ultimate’ the ‘Bramham’, the formless. The ultimate saying of the ‘Vedsas’ [Upanishads] is that the ultimate is ‘formless and nameless’. So, in some ‘vishnavate’ traditions, ‘Narayana’ refers to the formless, the ultimate and it is the same as the ‘Bramham’ of the ‘Vedantins’. In the same way in the ‘Saivate’ scriptures, lord ‘Shiva’ is elevated to the level of the ‘formless god’ of the ‘Vedantins’.

I think your argument follows the above logic. Then there is no wrong in that and I guess you are a follower of ‘Vishnu’. So, naturally you will get the same conclusion that ‘Narayana’ is the ‘supreme god’ and it is quite fine and understandable.

But, be aware that ‘there are many philosophies and beliefs in the Vedic scriptures’ and these are meant to the people of different traditions, and ‘Samskaras’.

What you are projecting is one such thought or belief and what I had written on my blog follows a different thought. Nether is wrong. So, please be advised that - ‘there are no absolute beliefs or philosophies’ as far as the ‘religion’ is concerned. Something could be correct or incorrect from certain standpoint of a devotee.

Stressing again, your belief that ‘Narayana’ is the ‘supreme’ is not wrong if you love to call the ‘fromless’ as ‘Narayana’. Usually the ‘vedins’ of the Upanishads call the ‘fromless’ as the “Bramhan’ and if you make ‘Narayana’ as a synonym for the ‘Bramhan’ – nothing wrong in it and that is what some ‘vishnavate’ philosophies are stressing.

‘Religion’ is a personal concept and so, no ‘absolute’ beliefs are possible. The ‘Vedas’ could be interpreted differently and you are following a different thought process and I had written another one and interestingly the ‘Vedas’ permit many more possibilities.

If you could keep your ‘vishnavate eyes’ aside for a while – I guess you could understand my point.

Thank you.
# Bhargava..

Shenaya Singh said...

You're welcome sir, you're right. paramatma is formless, nameless, infinite and beyond comprehension but it has a supreme form and that is narayana this is why krishna is known as the supreme personality of godhead. krishna clearly said...those who worship demi-gods go to their realms but those who worship me come to the supreme abode that's vaikuntha.... those who worship brahma will go to brahma-lok, those who worship shiv will go to mount kailash but those who worship him will go to the supreme abode. paramatma is formless, invisible and all..but he can take forms.. he can become everything.. krishna clearly said that he's only shiva, brahma, mahesh, durga, kali, and even arjun himself... he's everything and beyond. Brahma, Shiv, durga even these highiest gods are jiv-atmas and even their task is to reach to the supreme abode that's narayana the supreme reality..the word itself means supreme abode or resting place for all the jivas. vishnu's got thousand names... and some of their meanings are; creator of brahma, lotus eyed one, lotus naveled one, lord of the universe, all-pervading, allmighty etc and so on... so he's the true supreme reality... even above the highiest gods... sects were created by people..theres no such thing as vaishnavite, shaivite, shaktism etc...these sects were created by people..who started following different deities... but in rig-veda also... narayana's been stated to be the supreme. :) ! Shiva's only a ''word'' in vedas. Rudra is mentioned but Rudra we all know had a form. he wasn't formless?....nor was durga.... even we're formless..even our souls are formless doesn't mean we're equal to the supreme reality? para-brahma, narayana, or something?... shakti is personification of vishnu's power. she took blessings from them to kill that bull asura rakshas....