Chapter

Visṇu

Arvind Sharma

in Modern Hindu Thought

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780195676389
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081974 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195676389.003.0008
Visṇu

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Some Hindu thinkers have juxtaposed the doctrine of evolution with that of the incarnations of Visnu. These incarnations occur as a series of evolutionary steps that began with the emergence of a fish, followed by a tortoise, boar, and man-lion which represents the transition from animal to human form. The man-lion then evolved into human species as pygmies in the dwarf, followed by the violent aetiology of culture in Rāma with the axe, the introduction of chivalry in Rāma with the bow, the transition from nature to culture in Krsna, its humanization by Buddha, and finally the denouement with Kalkī. This evolutionary process involves the descent and ascent of Visnu. In modern Hinduism, the two most popular incarnations of Visnu are Rāma and Krsna. The recitation of the Rāmakathā, especially in the form of Tulsīdās's Rāmāyana, remains the most favoured vehicle of Rāma's popularity in the north.

Keywords: evolution; Visnu; incarnations; Hinduism; Rāma; Krsna

Chapter.  1062 words. 

Subjects: Hinduism

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