Avatars of Vishnu – Ramayana & Mahabharata Characters

This list is from Dakshinatya Mahabharata and Vishnu Purana. It was compiled by others but I have verified what I could and added to the list.

I am myself trying to understand the concept of Avesha myself. So, I am really also the third person who is finding more on this concept. I may be able to post accurately once my understanding is matured. Avesha is like you specifically inherit some qualities because you are child or descendant of an avatar and you inherit it for fixed time.

The 22-24 Avatars of Vishnu:

Note: Most Puranas list 22 or 24 avatars and very old versions and references also list 24. But, lot of those stories and names are lost in antiquity. Maybe, an old temple in Chattisgarh or Burhanpur is opened and we find another treasure trove like Travancore finds from 1903-1911. We may then fill the gaps. That’s what drives archaeologists.

Dusyanta-Sakuntala and their son Bharat is a famous story. In Puranas, Dusyanta was succeeded by Bharata who might be his son or nephew. Sakuntala-Dusyanta story is Kalidasa creation and became famous that Bharata is mentioned as son of Dushyanata in most Puranas as well. Kalidasa was at court of King Vikramaditya or Bhoja.

There are several Vikramaditya, one Malava (aka Bhima descendent) 58BC, other Gupta 380 to 414 AD. There are two main Bhojas as well, Mihira Bhoja (836-886 AD) and Bhoja Parmara (1015-1055AD , he defeated Gangayedeva Kalchuri of Telingana, Gangu Teli!!). Pratiharas are fire born ksatriyas as are Parmaras.

Kalidasa III or IV wrote stories of their past ancestors as well. The fire is lady Yajnaseni! Kalidasa also wrote Raghuvamsa. So the poet’s imagination and his luster as great writer would have modified many original Purana lists as did Bhasa‘s works change large tracts of our Mahabharata. Again, poets may be detailing some actual and accurate stories as well. And later copyists screwed it up. Bhagiratha, a close contemporary of Rama becomes his ancestor in Ramayana because of Raghuvamsa.

Anyway the current list:

The Avatars of Vishnu (top 10 is Dashavatara)

  1. Matsya
  2. Kurma
  3. Varaha (Varaha is 2nd in Dashavatar list most of the time)
  4. Narahari also called Narasimha
  5. Vaman
  6. ParashuRama
  7. DasharathiRama
  8. Krishna Vasudeva
  9. Buddha
  10. Kalki
  11. Kapila (teached sankhyashashtra, burned the sons of Sagara, won the 1983 world cup)
  12. Vaikuntha (son of Lady Sage VIkunthaa)
  13. Hayanana, the great teacher
  14. Narayani also called Mohini
  15. Hansa
  16. Aniruddha (Son of Kama, Grandson of Vishnu)
  17. Trivikrama (also avatar-ed/avesh-ed as Yudhishthara)
  18. Sridhar
  19. Hrishikesha
  20. Vyasa (Krishna Dwaipayana)
  21. Sankarshana (Balarama)
  22. Nara and Narayana
  23. Yagnya who became Indra (powerful Indra of Rigveda?)

Dattatreya is another Avatar so might be Dhanvantri. Udal of Alha Udal fame is added by Bhavishya parva of Harivansha as Krishnansha. (Alha is Dharamansha).

Krishna Vasudev, Aniruddha, Pradyumana, Trivikrama as Yudhishthara, Vyasa, Sankarshana are contemporaries.

Mahadevibhagvata Purana mentions 26:

1) Sanaka 2) Sananda 3) Sanatana 4) Sanatkumara (4 sons of Brahma and founders of Sampradayas, modern Hinduism is part of Sanatana Dharma)

5) Varaha 6) Narada 7) Nara-Narayana joint
8) Kapila 9) Dattatreya 10) Yajneya
11) Rsabha (1st Jain Teerthankar) 12) Prthu the great emporer 13) Matsya 14) Mohini 15) Kurma 16) Garuda
17) Dhanvantari 18) Narasimha 19) Vamana 20) Parasurama 21) Vyasa 22) Sri Rama 23) Balabhadra 24) Krishna 25) Buddha 26) Kalki.

Lakshmi devi avataras :

  • Sridevi – in the form of water
  • Kumbhini – Bhudevi represented by Vatapatra
  • Mahadurga
  • Ambhrani – One who worshiped Lord to create the world (not the Prakriti of Rig Veda)
  • Rukmini – Bheeshmak’s daughter
  • Satyabhama – daughter of Satrajit
  • Draupadi (Mahadurga avesha and Sri avatara)
  • Mahalakshmi – wife of Vishnu
  • Padma – daughter of Bhrigu
  • Trilokeshwari – Mother of three worlds
  • Imagine a rainbow with golden color is Mahalakshmi then other colors are:
  • Shanti – wife of Aniruddha
  • Kruti – Wife of Pradyumna
  •  Jaya – Wife of Sakarshana
  • Maya -wife of vasudev
  • Jambavati is Laxmi Avesha but Avatar of Tulasi (a birth of Laxmi)

Bramha avatara:

  • PURUSHA (the one with Prakriti)
  • Bramha
  • Virinchi
  • KAAL (The sutradhar of BR Chopra Mahabharata)
  • Bharat the brother of Rama is Brahma avesha as is Drona and Sugriva and Yudhamanyu

VAYU avatara are;

  • Sutra VAYU
  • Rochan INDRA
  • Hanuman (Siva Avatar)
  • Bheemasen (Siva Avatar)
  • Srimadanandteertha

Saraswati avatara;

  • Saraswati
  • Shraddha
  • Gayatri
  • Savitri

Bharati devi Avatar:

  • Kaali (wife of Bhima)
  • Draupadi (Wife of Pandavas)
  • Kashija Balandhara/Jalandhara ( daughter of Kashi King and wife of Bhima)
  • Panchaali ( daughter of a king of Panchala and wife of Bhima, separate from Draupadi)
  • Dyu (Wife of Vasus, Yashoda, foster mother of Krishna)
  • Shivkanya ( in kaliyuga, supports Kalki? )
  • Indrasena ( Daughter of Nala Damyanti, mother of Maudgalyani )
  • Kaalmani (I have no idea)
  • Chandra (This is prominent wife of Sootasoma in Jatakas, Sootasoma is son of Draupadi and is Vishnu Avesha)

Sesha avatara;

  • Nara (Nara is reborn as Laxman and Arjuna and Balarama)
  • Laxman (Laxman is reborn as Balarama) also has Sankarshana Avesha.

Nara is Balarama who also has Avesha of NARSIMHA and VAYU and Sankarshana

  • Varuni is wife of SESHA
  • REVATI is varuni avatara with SRIDEVI avesha and wife of Balarama
  • Peya is also varuni with shanti avesha

Rudra aka Mahadeva avatara:

  • Hara (HARA HARA MAHADEVA)
  • SADASHIVA ( tamoabhimani )
  • Tapa ( one who does tapas in lavan samudra for 10 kalpas )
  • Ahamkratu ( Khageshwara )
  • SHUKACHARYA ( SON of Vedvyasa with Vayu Avesha)
  • Urdhwapati ( Vayu avesha )
  • Tatpurusha ( Rudra gayatri rupa )
  • Aurva ( Son of URU )
  • Jaigeesha ( Jambavati Devi’s guru)
  • Drauni ( A Son of Dronacharya, maybe Ashwaththama )
  • Vyadh (Bhrigu reborn and is the hunter who kills Krishna)
  • Durvasa ( Son of Atri )
    Durvasa, Suka, Jaigeesha, Drauni, Vyadh, are contemporaries.
    Bhima and Sahadeva also are Mahadeva ansha or avatars.

Indra avatara;

  • Purandara (Current Indra and won the world cup 2011)
  • Arjuna ( Nara avesha + Vayu Avesha + Narayana Avesha )
  • Gadhi (Father of Vishwamitra)
  • Kusha ( Son of Rama)
  • Mandardhyumna (Older Indra)
  • Vikukshi
  • Vali (Vanara king of Kishkindha)

The junior Purans and jatakas add Varuna the Naga king, Brahmadatta the kasi King (or Panchala), Venateyya the Garuda along with Arjuna as five brothers with Sakra, the current Indra and their best friends Vidurapandita, son of Vidura and custodian of Kurudharma.

Avatara of Manmatha (Kama, son of Vishnu)

  • Bharat ( Brother of Rama + Brahma Avesha )

Following also are Narayana Avesha and Kama Avatars

  • Samba (Blessings of Siva)
  • Sudarshan
  • Pradyumna
  • Sanatkumar
  • Shanmukha Kartikeya Subramhanayam (son of Siva, Agni & Ganga)

Avatara of Aniruddha, son of Kama and grandson of Vishnu and Avatar of Vishnu

  • Shatrughana
  • Aniruddha, son of Pradyumana
  • Ratidevi avatara
  • Rukmavati
  • Laxana

Siddhi is Kunti, Mati is Gandhari and Dhrti is Madri.

Wives of Pandavas
Paulomi Shachidevi Avatara

  • Draupadi
  • Chitrangada
  • Tara ( wife of Vali )

1- Yamapatni Shyamala avatara is Draupadi and Devaki (Devika)
2- Agni patni Svaha is Kali? and Draupadi? and Vijaya
3- Ashwini patni Usha is Draupadi and Dyutimati
4- Aniruddha Wife Virad is born as Usha

Pingala apsara is Sailendri

Tilottama apsara avatara is one Nakul’s wife Parvati

Brihaspati avatara;

  • Vanara Taar
  • Uddhava (also has Vayu avesha, son of Devabhaga who is uncle of Krishna)
  • Dronacharya ( Bramha avesha )

Yamadharma avatara

  • Yudhisthara (also has vayu avesha and Trivikrama avesha)
  • Jamabavanta
  • Vidur (Dharma only, but Yama is also mentioned)
  • Satyajit

Surya avatara (Arka Vasu or Aditya, Mahabharata mentions Arka)

  • Sugreeva ( Bramha Avesha )
  • Karna (Narakasura, son of Prithvi and Varaha so Narayana avesha)

(Arka has 20 meanings in Sanskrit including Indra, Bengali has Arka as Sun and hence people translating from sanskrit to bengali to hindi/english lose the original Arka)

Chandra avatara
• Angada ( Indra avesha )
Arjuna is also called Soma Avatar. This identification is more folk than theological puranas. Now Soma and Chandra are synonymous later on but may be different deities at one point of time.

Varuna avatara;

  • Mahabhishak
  • Dardur
  • Shantanu
  • Sushena
  • Drupada
  • Varuna’s son is Kalinga King Shrtuyudha from Parnasa.

Agni Avatar (Agni is Vasu)

  • Neel, the engineer
  • Lava (son of Rama, this is really serendipitous, LAVA is FIRE :-))
  • DhrishtaDhyumna

Gangaputra Bheeshma and Dhrishatdamyun are by serendipity associated with Ganga and Agni, both also parents to Deva senapati Skanda, who is manifested in them as well as Satanika.

Prahalad is Bahalika (Vayu Avesha as well) and his grandson Salya according to southern edition

12 Aditya – Indra, Urukrama (Vishnu, Upendra, Vamana), Mitra, Varuna, Parjanya, Bhaga, Pusha, Vivasvan (Surya), Savitra, Dhata, Aryama, Tvshtra

Mitra Aditya has 2 avatars: Tara the vanara and Bhishmaka (but with Rahu Avesha)
Savitra Aditya avatara is Bhanu, son of Krishna, husband to Suthanu, daughter of Draupadi

Tvashtra Aditya with YAMA Avesha was born as Veersen

Kubera avatar are Kaththana and Bhagdatta (Ganesh Avesha)

Ganesh avatar is Charudeshna (son of Krishna, #2 son of Rukmini, I had a beautiful painting of Ganesh playing with baby Krishna in lap in another section of image, baby Ganesha in lap of Krishna)

Asvini Avatars (all have Indra Avesha):

  • Nasatya is Vividha vanar
  • Dasra is Maindha vanar (killed by Balarama)
  • Nasatya and Dasra are Nakul & Sahadev
  • Nasatya and Dasra are also Twin Gods Vibhu & Trishikha (Vibhu is form of Agni as well, both may be counted in Vasus as well)

Dyu the Vasu also called Prabhasa Vasu with Brahma Avesha is Bheeshma, Drona Vasu also called Pratyusha Vasu is Nanda Gopa (Foster Father to Krishna). Rishi Asita is also their brother. Rishi Narada of Epic is another brother. Rishis Parvata, Dhaumya, Devala et all are Vasu putras. (In Epic, Ganga floats the babies in Ganga aka in herself, in Puranas and devotional tracts as well as Nishada Purana, the babies have full socially impactful lives as rishis and social leaders.)

In epic Ganga is Ganga. In Puranas, she is Nishada daughter of Rishi Jahnu, Jahanavi. Her children were promised to Nishadas except one. That being Devavrata. The Ganga dynasties of south and kalinga are descended from these rishis.

Eleven Rudra – Bhima, Raivata, Oja, Ajaikpad, Mahan, Bahurupaka, Bhava, Vama (Hara, Siva, Mahadev, Umapati), Ugra, Vrushakapi, Ahirbudhanya (also called Pinaki)

The avatar of Ahirbudhanya Rudra are

  • Bhurishravas
  • Shala
  • Virupaksha
  • Kripacharya (avatar of marutgana as well, maybe there are two Kripas)
  • Vishkambh
  • Sahadeva (Mahadeva avesh i think Jarasandh’s son is meant here)
  • Somadatta (Mahadeva Avesha)

Ajaikpada Rudra avatara is BHURI

Satyaki is Garuda.

Seven main Maruts : Avaha, Samvaha, Pravaha, Udvaha, Vivaha, Parivaha and Paravaha

Paravaha marut avatara is Pandu with Vayu Avesha

Kurma namak marut avatara is Kunti BHOJA

Udwaha Marut Avesha is Sanjaya

Prana Vasu avatara include sons of Bhima (Prana vayu)

  • Pratibhvaat (ancestor of Mihirbhoja??)
  • Chekitaan
  • Viprathu (Sabha Parva mentioned as living in Indraprastha palace, Santi parva as future emperor of world, maybe copyist mistake for Prithu, Vipra means brahamin)
  • Saumya (also a name for Yudhishthara)
  • Marut
  • Etat
  • Sharvottunga (mother Kaali, sister to Jarasandha, Siva worshipper)
  • Gaja

Samaan avatara

  • Atul
  • Sharvatrat
  • gandh
  • sumadan

Vishwedevatas are ten in numbers (other five are Satya, Lochana, Vasu, Daksh, Kratu)

Draupadi’s son Prativindhya is Ekachakra Asura Avatara

Draupadi’s sons as Vishdewas

  • Prativindya ( Pururava vishvededvta)
  • Sootasoma ( Ardrava with Narayana avesha)
  • Shrutakeerti ( Kaal)
  • Shatanika ( Kaam vishwdevata)
  • Shrutkarma ( Dhuri)

Draupadi ‘s sons as Gandharvas

  • Shrutavindya (Abhitmara/Avimara Gandharva)
  • ShrutSoma ( Chitraratha gandharva )
  • Shrutkarmma ( Gopa Gandharva)
  • Shatanika (kishore Gandharva)
  • Shrutasana ( Bal gandharva)

Shrutakirti and Shrutkarmma is similar name
Sootasoma and Shrutasoma may be same person

The list does not include the Vahinikula avatars descended from Draupadi (separate Timirasura Ambasura post)
Mangal avatara is Iravan

Nirruti Rudra has two avatars: Durmukh Vanara and Ghatotkacha (Rudra Siva Avesha as son of Bhima)

Budha avatara is Abhimanyu with Avesha of Sudarshan/Manmatha, Indra (through Arjuna), Chandra (through Arjuna), Ashwini Devata (through Indra), Vayu (as dharmic Kuru)

100 Gandharvas:

  • Tumburu Gandharva avatara are Viradh in Ramayana and Sanjay in Mahabharata
  • Danu Gandhrava avatara are Kabandh in Ramayana and Damghosha in Mahabharata
  • Kishor Gandharva avatara is AKRUR with Avesha of Svyambhavu Manu (Dasaratha) and Brahma
  • Dhritarashtra Naga became king of Gajas and then as Hansa Gandharva Avatara is Dhritarashtra Kuru with Vayu avesha
  • Dwapara Gandharva is Sakuni
  • Kali Gandharva is Duryodhana
  • HUHU gandharva is Drupada (Nakra Avha Marut as well)
  • HAHA gandharva is VIRAT (Vivaha marut as well)
  • Vidhyadhar gandharva was Ajagara (Nahusha)
  • Ugrasen gandharva is Ugrasen
  • Chitrarath Gandharva is Janmejaya Panchala with Tvastra surya Avesha
  • Vishwavasu Gandharva is Yudhamanyu with Brahma avesha
  • Paravasu Gandharva is Uttamaujas with ARYAM Aditya Avesha
  • Chitrasen Gandharva is Satyajit with Mitra Aditya avesha

Remaining 86 Gandharvas are Gopas and Yadavas and Panchalas.

The Rakshasas:

PAAP se dharti phati Zulm se Aasmaan…

  • Chief Danava Viprachitti: Jarasandh
  • Hayagriva: Kesi
  • Hriynakshipu/Ravana: Sisupala
  • Hrinyaksha/Kumbakarana: Dantavakra
  • Lavanasura: Gargacharya (father to Kalyavana and Samsphtakas) (lavanasura is madhu yadav’s son Lavan yadav)
  • Baskala: Bhagadatta
  • Kalanemi is Kamsa
  • Samhrada is Salya
  • Khara is Dhenukasura
  • Sivi is Druma
  • Ketumata became Amitaujas
  • Swarbhanu became Ugrasena
  • Aswa became Asoka (Brother to Kritvarma?)
  • Aswapati became Hardikya or Kritvarma
  • Vrishparva: Dirghprajna (Salwa King)
  • Ajaka became Salwa (younger brother)
  • Aswagriva became Rochamana
  • Sukshma became Vrihadratha
  • Tuhunda became Senavindu
  • Ishupa became Nagnajita
  • Sarabha became Paurava
  • Kupatha became Suparswa
  • Kratha became Parvateya
  • Salabha became Prahalada the Valhika
  • Chandra as Chadravarman of Kambojas
  • Arka became Rishika
  • Mritapa became Pascimanupaka
  • Garishta became Drumasena
  • Mayura, Suparna became Viswa, Kalkriti
  • Dhirghajihva became Kasiraja
  • Rahu became Kratha
  • Vritra and his brothers became Manimat, Danda, Dandadhara,
  • Kukshi became Paravtiya, Kathan became Suryaksha, Surya became Darada Bahlika,
  • Krodhavasha Asuras became Madraka, and Karnaveshta, Siddhartha, and also Kitaka; Suvira, and Suvahu, and Mahavira, and also Valhika, Kratha, Vichitra, Suratha, and the handsome king Nila; and Chiravasa, and Bhumipala; and Dantavakra, and he who was called Durjaya; that tiger amongst kings named Rukmi; and king Janamejaya, Ashada, and Vayuvega, and also Bhuritejas; Ekalavya, and Sumitra, Vatadhana, and also Gomukha; the tribe of kings called the Karushakas, and also Kshemadhurti; Srutayu, and Udvaha, and also Vrihatsena; Kshema, Ugratirtha, the king of the Kalingas; and Matimat, king Iswara
  • Asura Devaka became Subala

The GOOD Asuras

  • Anuhrada is Dhristaketu
  • Ayahsira, Aswasira, the spirited Aysanku, Gaganamurdhan, and Vegavat born as Royal Kekayas
  • Ekachakra became Prativindhya
  • Virupaksha became Chitravarman
  • Hara became Suvahu
  • Suhtra became Munjakesa
  • Nikumbha became Devadhipa
  • Vikshara and his brothers became Vasumitra, Pandyaraja, Paundramatsyaka
  • Chandrahantri became Sage Sunaka
  • Chandravinasana became Janaki
  • 8 Kaleyas became Jayatsena of Magadha, Aprajita, Eklavya Nishada, Rajarshi Srenimat, Mahanjas, Rajarshi Abhiru, Samudrasena and eight one…

Feel Free to add more…

Shree Hari…

Post Author: Mahabharata World

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