Discover the Avatars of Hinduism

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9 Questions

What is an avatar in Hinduism?

The material appearance or incarnation of a powerful deity, goddess or spirit on Earth

Which deity is most often associated with the term avatar in Hinduism?

Vishnu

In which tradition of Hinduism are avatars of the Devi commonly found?

Shaktism

What is the difference between Vaishnavism and Shaivism traditions of Hinduism?

Their beliefs about the role of avatars

Which of the following is NOT one of the most known and celebrated avatars of Vishnu?

Shiva

How many Vishnu avatars are numerically listed out in chapter 1.3 of the Bhagavata Purana?

23

Which sect devoted to the worship of the goddess Devi acknowledges the existence of avatars such as Shakambhari, Krishna, and Rama?

Shaktism

Which goddesses are worshipped as Devi avatars?

Parvati, Lakshmi, and Saraswati

What is the stance of Sikhism on the doctrine of savior incarnation?

It rejects it

Study Notes

Avatar in Hinduism: Material appearance or incarnation of a God on Earth

  • Avatar means the material appearance or incarnation of a powerful deity, goddess or spirit on Earth in Hinduism

  • The term is most often associated with the Hindu god Vishnu, though it has been applied to other deities

  • The concept of avatar is compatible with the content of the Vedic literature like the Upanishads as it is symbolic imagery of the Saguna Brahman concept in the philosophy of Hinduism

  • In the goddess-based Shaktism tradition of Hinduism, avatars of the Devi in different appearances such as Tripura Sundari, Durga, Chandi, Chamunda, Mahakali, and Kali are commonly found

  • The incarnation doctrine is one of the important differences between Vaishnavism and Shaivism traditions of Hinduism

  • Avatars of Vishnu are important in Vaishnavism theology

  • The most known and celebrated avatars of Vishnu, within the Vaishnavism traditions of Hinduism, are Krishna, Rama, Narayana, and Vasudeva

  • The ten major Vishnu avatars are mentioned in the Agni Purana, the Garuda Purana, and the Bhagavata Purana

  • The Bhagavata Purana also numerically lists out 23 Vishnu avatars in chapter 1.3

  • The Guru Granth Sahib reverentially includes the names of numerous Hindu deities, including Vishnu avatars such as Krishna, Hari, and Rama, as well those of Devi as Durga

  • Sikhism rejects the doctrine of savior incarnation, and only accepts the abstract nirguna formless god

  • Although Puranic scriptures contain occasional references to avatars of Shiva, the avatar doctrine is neither universally accepted nor commonly adopted in Shaivism.Avatars in Hinduism: A Brief Overview

  • Lord Shiva is believed to have 19 or 28 avatars, depending on the source.

  • Hanuman, the vanara god who aided Rama, is considered by some to be an avatar of Shiva, as is Khandoba and Ashwatthama, the son of Drona.

  • Shesha and his avatars, as well as Adi Shankara, are occasionally linked to Shiva.

  • Shaktism, a sect devoted to the worship of the goddess Devi, also acknowledges the existence of avatars, such as Shakambhari, Krishna, and Rama.

  • Parvati, Lakshmi, and Saraswati are the main goddesses worshipped as Devi avatars.

  • Parvati's forms include Kali, Durga, and Uma, among others.

  • Lakshmi's forms include Sita, Rukmini, and Radha, among others.

  • According to the Dasam Granth, Guru Gobind Singh mentioned seven Brahma avatars, including Yajnavalkya.

  • Ganesha has four avatars listed in the Ganesha Purana and eight in the Mudgala Puranam, with each avatar corresponding to a different yuga.

  • Jhulelal, the most-revered deity of Sindhi Hindus, is considered the incarnation of Varuna.

Do you know what an avatar means in Hinduism? Test your knowledge with this quiz and learn about the material appearance or incarnation of powerful deities, goddesses, and spirits on Earth. Discover the different avatars of Vishnu and the Devi, as well as avatars in other Hindu traditions like Shaivism and Sikhism. Expand your understanding of Hindu philosophy and mythology with this quiz on avatars in Hinduism.

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