Subscribe for Newsletters and Discounts
Be the first to receive our thoughtfully written
religious articles and product discounts.
Your interests (Optional)
This will help us make recommendations and send discounts and sale information at times.
By registering, you may receive account related information, our email newsletters and product updates, no more than twice a month. Please read our Privacy Policy for details.
By subscribing, you will receive our email newsletters and product updates, no more than twice a month. All emails will be sent by Exotic India using the email address

Please read our Privacy Policy for details.
Your Cart (0)
Share our website with your friends.
Email this page to a friend

God’s Lila, Understanding the Collective Impact of Avatara

Article of the Month - December 2014
Viewed 8221 times since 15th Dec, 2014
One evening, after having propitiated the fire god Agni with milk offerings, the great sage Kashyapa was seated in deep meditation inside his sacrificial hall. At that moment his wife Diti, stung by the arrows of Kamadeva approached him saying: "Oh Learned One!, just like an elephant crushes a banana tree, so is Kama the god of love tormenting me. Please confer your favor on me. Satisfy my desire; indeed, an entreaty of the distressed to the great ones is never fruitless."

Diti was besides herself with desire. Sage Kashyapa replied to her in a soothing tone saying, "Devi! I am ready to comply with your desire at the earliest. Who would not satisfy his wife who is but his better half? A man is able to move around freely only because his wife is there to look after his house. A man cannot repay his wife’s debts in this life or the next. But please wait for some time before I satisfy your desire."

Kashyapa then explained to his wife that there were four factors why he couldn’t satisfy her at the present moment:

1). He was seated in meditation.

2). According to the scriptures, conjugal acts are forbidden in the evenings (and mornings, being allowed only in the nights).

Lord Shiva on Kailash



3). The time of twilight (sandhya) was approaching. This is the time when the great God Shiva roams arounds the world riding His bull, surrounded by His ghost companions. Bhagawan Shiva witnesses everything with His three eyes. Hence, nothing in the world remains hidden from him. Out of respect to His presence, one should refrain from this act during those moments.



4). Lastly, I am disinclined (According to the scriptures, if either partner is disinclined, the other should refrain).

Though she was thus instructed in the ways of dharma, Diti, whose senses were thoroughly overwhelmed by passion, caught hold of her husband’s garment. Kashyapa, realising that it was God’s will, agreed to his wife’s request and they both entered a secluded area.


Worshipping Lord Shiva

Later, he took a bath, performed pranayama and meditating silently on the pure, eternal light, repeated internally the Gayatri Mantra. Diti too, now that her passion had subsided, was ashamed that she had transgressed dharma. She approached sage Kashyapa with her face cast down and said: " Oh Noble Brahmin! I have committed a fault against Bhagawan Shiva; but I hope that he will not destroy my impending child. I bow to the Great Lord Shiva. We women are treated compassionately even by ruthless hunters, what then to say of Bhagawan Shiva?"

Her husband, who had completed his evening rituals, spoke to his wife who was trembling greatly with fear and was desirous of obtaining the good of her progeny. He said: "Lady! your mind was impure with desire. The time also was not right. You did not obey my order and also you disrespected the gods. As a consequence, you will beget two wicked sons, who will make the whole world cry out with their atrocities. When their activities will cross all limits, the ever compassionate Bhagawan Vishnu will descend to take avatara and kill your two sons."

On hearing this, Diti said: "This is what I too want, that my sons should meet death directly at the hands of the glorious Bhagawan Vishnu."

Narasimha Avatar of Vishnu with Prahlada



Kashyapa continued, "On account of your repentance at your act, and due to the great respect you have shown for Bhagawan Shiva and Vishnu, one of your grandsons (Prahlada) will be a great bhakta who will be a source of inspiration for all generations to come."



Diti was delighted on hearing that her grandson would be a great bhakta of Bhagwan Vishnu. She felt even more delighted at the prediction that both her sons would meet their ends at the hands of Bhagawan Vishnu Himself.

As she bore the seed of her husband and the day of delivery neared, the sun lost its lustre, engulfing the world in darkness. Even the gods felt helpless at the unfolding events. They immediately rushed to Brahma Ji and asked him to protect them from the embryos in Diti’s womb, whose darkness was consuming the world, much like fire consumes fuel. Brahma Ji laughed out aloud and replied to the gods in a sweet and reassuring voice: "You need not worry. The two sons of Diti are none other than two individuals named Jay and Vijay, who were at one time gatekeepers of Vaikuntha, the residence of the Supreme God Vishnu."

How Jay and Vijaya Fell from Vaikuntha

Once it so happened that goddess Lakshmi was out of Vaikuntha. When she returned, the two gatekeepers asked her to wait outside because Vishnu Ji was in yoga nidra. This obviously annoyed Lakshmi Ji. She felt insulted, that she, being the mistress of the house, was made to wait outside by the gatekeepers who were, after all, her servants. She later complained to the Lord, telling Him how His gatekeepers had stopped her from entering His chamber.

Bhagawan Vishnu asked her to forbear a little. He pointed that it would not be seemly if He banished them at her instigation. People would accuse Him of being ruled by His wife. "I will banish Jay and Vijay the day they insult a sage," He promised. Lakshmi Ji was calmed by these words because she always obeys the Lord.

The Sanatkumaras

Soon after this incident, four saints, known by the common name ‘Sanatkumaras’, came to visit Vaikuntha. The Sanatkumaras are highly accomplished saints who view this whole world as a manifestation of God and are beyond all duality. Despite being older, they always maintain the appearance of five-year olds and go around without clothes. They too were stopped by Jay and Vijay, who laughed and made fun of them. Even though they knew the Sanatkumaras very well, because of God’s will, at that moment, they treated the Kumaras as mere children.

So, Jay and Vijay tried to block their access to Bhagawan Vishnu.It was God’s design that the great Sanatkumaras become angry at this intervention. Interestingly, the Bhagavata Purana, from where this story is taken, refers to anger as ‘kamanuja’, meaning the younger brother of kama (desire), just like Lakshmana is called Ramanuja. Anger follows desire, just like Lakshmana follows Rama (Bhagavatam 3.15.19). So, the Sanatkumaras, prevented from their desire of seeing Bhagawan Vishnu, were overcome by kamanuja when Jay-Vijay misbehaved with them. Their eyes reddened a little and they said: "You behave like ordinary men and hence do not deserve to live in this spiritual world." The Sanatkumaras then cursed Jay and Vijay saying: "Go where material people live (i.e. the earth). That is where you deserve to live."

Meanwhile, hearing the commotion, Vishnu Ji emerged from his abode. Seeing the great saints he welcomed them with reverence saying, "The curse you have given to these two is most appropriate." Here we see an example of the Lord’s tact. People should never side with their servants on such occasions. They should first pacify the enraged guests.

Bhagawan continued, "Despite being my attendants, these two did not understand My priorities. They go against my wishes when they show disrespect to brahmins. That is why it is proper for you to have cursed them. Respected Sirs! I consider saints My all-in-all. It is because the saints sing My virtues that Devi Lakshmi accepts Me. It is because of you that I live in Vaikuntha and am known as God. It is through your mouths that I eat. Indeed, I do not as much relish the offerings poured into the sacrificial fires as I do food dripping with ghee offered to brahmins. It is the dust of the holy feet of brahmins that I wear on my crown. Brahmins, milk-bearing cows and protection-less beings, all three are my own body. Those who look upon any of these three as different from Myself, are torn with rage by Yamadutas, the servants of death. I am won over by those who look upon even harsh speaking brahmins as Myself and honour those brahmins with a joyous heart (what then to say of people who revere virtuous brahmins like Sanatkumaras).

It is My principle, with regard to those who serve Me, that I consider their mistakes to be Mine. Therefore, while my two attendants will descend three times to the earth as demons, I will follow them even more, i.e., I will descend four times."

The following is the distribution of Jay-Vijay’s descent and Bhagawan Vishnu’s avatars (lit. descent):

Varaha Avatar of Lord Vishnu



1). Varaha Avatar for killing Hiranyaksha






Lord Narasimha Killing the Demon Hiranyakashipu




2). Narasimha Avatar for killing Hiranyakashipu





Rama Killing Ravana




3). Rama Avatar for killing Ravana





Lord Krishna slays Shishupala




4). Krishna Avatar for killing Shishupala.





Bhagwan concluded: "Four times will I go for their salvation and bring them back to My abode."

The Purpose of Avatar

Thus here we see the entire causal life-cycle of Bhagawan’s avatar. It is never for one single purpose but to fulfil many functions at the same time. For example, through His Varaha Avatar, God accomplished the following objectives:

1). Never leaving His bhaktas in distress. Bhagawan Vishnu followed Jay-Vijay all the way to earth, after they had fallen from Vaikuntha.

2). Born as evil demons, these two wrecked havoc on innocent people. By killing them, Bhagwan restored dharma and fulfilled the promise made by him in the Gita (4.7).

3). By killing them with His own hands, He ensured for them a glorious death.

4). By manifesting Himself in the lowly body of a ‘varaha’, Bhagwan Vishnu reminded us of the sacredness of all life.

5). Indeed, any of Bhagwan’s lilas takes into account the collective karma of all creatures.

Additionally, through the events leading upto to Bhagawan Vishnu’s avatar (Diti-Kashyap dialogue, conduct of Jai-Vijay etc), we are also instructed in the subtle nuances of dharma, which in the process, help us lead a richer, more fruitful life.


References & Further Reading:

Post a Comment
Post Review
I am overwhelmed with the amount of hard-to-find Hindu scriptural texts that I have been able to locate on the Exotic India website as well as other authentic cultural items from India. I am impressed with your fast and reliable shipping methods.
Lee Scott, USA
Your service is excellent.
Shambhu, USA
Exotic India has the best selection of Hindu/Buddhist statues at the best prices and best shipping that I know of.I have bought many statues from them.I am thankful for their online presence.
Michael, USA
Thanks for sharpening our skills with wisdom and sense of humor.The torchbearers of the ancient deity religion are spread around the world and the books of wisdom from India bridges the gap between east and west.
Kaushiki, USA
Thank you for this wonderful New Year sale!
Michael, USA
Many Thanks for all Your superb quality Artworks at unbeatable prices. We have been recommending EI to friends & family for over 5 yrs & will continue to do so fervently. Cheers
Dara, Canada
Thank you for your wonderful selection of books and art work. I am a regular customer and always appreciate the excellent items you offer and your great service.
Lars, USA
Colis bien reçu, emballage excellent et statue conforme aux attentes. Du bon travail, je reviendrai sur votre site !
Alain, France
Madhu, USA
I love your site and although today is my first order, I have been seeing your site for the past several years. Thank you for providing such great art and books to people around the World who can't make it to India as often as we would like.
Subscribe to our newsletter and discounts
Share with friends
Related Links
"There is Rama, the son of Ayodhya's king Dasharatha in his human birth, and there is Rama's divinity, his divine aura that overwhelms the Tulasi's entire Ramacharit-manas, one manifest - with attributes, and the other, unmanifest - without attributes. With main emphasis on his majesty in South Indian tradition this crown is taller than usual. His 'khadgasana' images are usually in three modes; one with his right foot moved forward represents him in a commander's disposition ready to rush for protecting a devotee in crisis or redeem him from some calamity. Harihara, a form in which he shares with Shiva half of the body. Basically a bird Garuda is seen for ages as Vishnu's ardent devotee, a learned human being and an auspicious presence, and in iconographic tradition often conceived with a man's face, anatomy, ornaments and ensemble. The Puranas are replete with tales of Garuda's divine exploits."
Iconography of Vaishnava Images: Vishnu
"During one such sacrifice, nine spiritually charged men entered the sacrificial hall….As for Bhagavat Dharma, it is the dharma spoken by God directly from his own mouth…. Like a person eating food finds himself gratified simultaneously in three ways…. We are all constantly taught by spiritual texts to offer or dedicate all our actions to God. However, the question remains as to how to practically carry out this injunction…..The only fruit of wealth is dharma... Therefore, there is no need for the Vedas to enjoin us to these things for which we already have a tendency….The real intention of the Vedic injunctions in these matters is to make a person abstain from them…”
Nine Teachings from Nine Yogis: The Essence of Bhagavat Dharma
"It concedes that for an orderly social life a division into four groups based on the principle of varnadharma is necessary…. Each individual sometimes acts in a sattvika manner while at other times he may act in rajasic or tamasic manner, which means that the manifestation of a particular guna depends on circumstances…. Though all the three gunas are present in everyone, different persons are driven to act differently…. The karma that I have to perform should depend on my inherent gunas and should have the ability to regulate these gunas…. There is no instant transition to moksha…. An individual has to make his way towards moksha only through worldly life."
Varnashrama Dharma: A Logical View
"But to pull this statement out of context and give it as an advice for anyone is far from correct…. But how is one to recognise the guru? Obviously, he will be able to understand the difficulties of the disciples and clarify to them the meaning of the scriptures on the basis of logic and experience…. They will have to search in their own neighbourhood only….The guru chosen by him should be at least better than himself!…. Of course, if the ideal guru whose features have been enumerated in the beginning is available, then the sadhaka should immediately go and surrender to him…. It is just like going to another teacher for higher education, after completing the education in a school."
The Qualities of a Guru and How to Find One
"Actually, the one who worships Bhagwan Vishnu should get rich and the one who worships Shiva should become an avadhuta like Him…. Then he works hard again to acquire wealth. I render all his efforts futile…. However, Bhagawan Vishnu is not like that, it takes longer to please Him…. As a consequence, they later harassed the great God Himself…. On the seventh day, he bathed in the holy waters of Kedarnath and began to cut his head with an axe to offer into the fire…. The boy bowed respectfully before the demon and asked…. No one who commits sin against a great person can be safe and happy in this world."
Shiva and Vishnu: A Unique Aspect of Their Worship
"Only a certain fraction of this karma is chosen by God in order to form the blueprint of our next birth…. The fruit that one experiences in this birth is due to prarabdha and a portion of the present agami…. Similarly, a fish in the Ganga does not accrue punya because of always living in Ganga…. A good karma can be annulled by a bad karma and a bad one by a good one…. Sometimes we also hear that prarabdha cannot be got rid of. It has to be spent through…. Bhagawan Vyasa says that for the full result of the karma to manifest, three things are necessary…. Then how to understand the statement that prarabdha should unavoidably be experienced?"
Theory and Practice of Karma: Some Salient Features
"Once as he was engaged in puja, a saint came to visit him….Like a true householder attached to his family, Gajendra sported in the water with his wives, children and friends…. Understanding that his end was imminent, they all slowly withdrew, till Gajendra was left alone…. If we reflect on it calmly, we will realise that there is no house in the world where the story of Gajendra does not play out…. The one who is careful towards the end is able to reform his death…. Gajendra’s hymn of praise is one of the greatest philosophical poems in the annals of world literature."
Moksha of Gajendra: Liberation by The Formless God
"Her epithet in the Devi-Mahatmya is Mahalakshmi. She is the wrathful four-armed goddess of battlefield represented holding in them various weapons…. A form of Lakshmi seated over a lotus laid over a golden seat and a pair of white elephants…. Except in some classical forms in Lakshmi-Narayana imagery Lakshmi is ordinarily two-armed…. Incarnation theory is the crux of Vaishnavism. Vishnu incarnates alone but Lakshmi also incarnates in simultaneity…. Though very rare some enthused artists have conceived on Ardhanarishvara line also Vishnu’s Ardhanarishvara images."
Title: Iconography of Vaishnava Deities: Goddess Lakshmi
"The Bhagavad Gita, while describing the qualities of a wise person says…. This verse is vividly illustrated in the story of king Rantideva occurring in the Srimad Bhagavatam…. He did not believe in hoarding, was above all attachments and was highly patient…. They were all trembling due to starvation and thirst….bowed to the dogs and their owner…. What I want is only this: That I be able to go and live in the hearts of all beings and undergo sufferings on their behalf, so that they may become free from all miseries."
An Example of Living Vedanta: The Story of King Rantideva
"Here is a fragment from one of the most poignant episodes of Indian history…. This piece of history is from the Mahabharata…. She was dying with shame but inside, like a true kshatrani (woman of the warrior race), she was burning with anger…. I have heard that women who follow dharma were never brought before a public court….Greed is the destroyer of dharma. I do not desire a third boon…. Draupadi was as forgiving as mother earth herself…. Just then Arjuna saw his dear friend Bhagawan Krishna approaching him…. “Leave him, leave him. He is a brahmin and worthy of our worship. Their mother should not cry, like I have at the death of my children."
Analyzing the Eternal Dimensions of Dharma Through Itihasa (History)
"Contrarily metaphysicians and theologians perceived his form as it manifested in the Upanishads and Puranas….The ‘Advaita’ philosophy also contends that the entire Creation is just the extension of One…. Dance illustrates one of the ever-first cosmic acts with which Shiva seems to have tamed violent motion and separated from it rhythm, moves that communicated emotions and states of mind – human mind and the cosmic, and disciplined and defined pace…. Unlike Vishnu who resorted to dance for accomplishing a contemplated objective, Shiva has been conceived more or less as a regular dancer performing for accomplishing an objective as also for pure aesthetic delight…. Unfurling locks of hair and his snakes floating into space portray the dynamics of the act."
Shiva, the Nataraja
"Whenever he gets the time, he should go and live amongst people who have given up worldly life…. A wise person should serve his body and family only to the extent that is functionally necessary…. The person who lays claim on the surplus wealth is nothing but a thief…. He should share all objects of enjoyment with everyone, right down to dogs, sinners…. Such is the attachment to one’s wife….How despicable is this body, which if buried is going to become the food of worms, or excreta if eaten by animals….Since a son is to thus revere his elders even after their death, what to say that he is expected to serve them when they are alive…. The person wishing to follow the path of dharma should steer clear of the five forms of Adharma."
Narada Teaches Yuddhishtra a Householder’s Dharma
"We assume that our happiness is the result of an interaction with external objects…. Suppose that an individual is deprived of sleep and food and pleasurable objects for a long time and then all of them are simultaneously offered to him…. Actually, seeking the answer to this question is the most significant pursuit in life…. The veil comes up again and the duality returns…. In this background, we can now analyse the nature of dukha (grief)."
Ananda: Understanding the True Nature of Happiness
"This middle path lies in between extreme asceticism on one side, and extreme indulgence on the other…. When standing under a Ashok tree, tired and exhausted, she raised her right hand for seeking support of a branch of the tree…. The unique balance that defined his entire life was pre-determined in this duality….One day, in the palace garden he frightened his attendants…. He ate less and less till his diet reduced to a sesame seed, and himself, to a mere skeleton…. Seven days after the attainment of enlightenment gods sent food for breaking his fast…. However, he postponed his ‘nirvana’ for three months till he visited the places he had reminiscences of."
The Light That Enlightened Millions
(The life of Buddha in the popular mind)
"She has always believed that this would redeem her of her distress….A coconut, otherwise an ordinary dried fruit or the source of edible, or at the most, beauty oil, has always been revered as an auspicious object effecting good and well-being and the food that gods most loved….The tree in the Buddhist tradition was later identified as Bodhi-tree, seated under which Buddha had attained Enlightenment….Body gestures and symptoms, signs, indications among others must have been the early man’s tools of communicating oneself and knowing and understanding the world around….Kirttimukha was initially conceived as a mystical mask….Lion does not figure in the wide range of animal toys or figurines excavated from Indus sites."
Auspicious Symbols in Indian tradition
Show More
All rights reserved. Copyright 2018 © Exotic India