Know the Nine Divine Avatars of Bhagwan Vishnu and the Planets They Govern
Bhagwan Vishnu is one of the trinities, along with Bhagwan Brahma and Bhagwan Mahesh. Taking different forms and shapes, Bhagwan Vishnu has taken various incarnations over the ages to impart to man the knowledge of life, love, and living. The characteristics of each incarnation resemble the specific traits of particular planets. Each planet is believed to be an incarnation of Bhagwan Vishnu.
1. Ketu associated with Matysa Avatar
The first avatar of Bhagwan Vishnu is Matsya or Mina. Bhagwan Vishnu had appeared as Matsya to guide King Satyavrata when the world was about to drown.
King Satyavrata was devotional and religious. While performing his daily oblations to the Sun God in the river Kritmala, he discovered a tiny fish had landed in his palms. The king was kind and released the fish back into the water. But to his surprise, he heard a tiny voice say, 'Do not leave me, dear King; there are huge and dangerous creatures in this water. Save me'.
Compassionate to the pleadings of this tiny creature, King got the fish home and placed it in a jar of water. Satyavrata was startled as the fish overgrew the size of the jug in no time until it was unable to fit into it. The king then placed it in the lake and then the reservoir, and with its ever-increasing size, the king had to finally release it into the ocean. But Satyavrata was a smart king. He realized that the fish he had wasn't ordinary and understood it to be Narayana himself.
Satyavrata prayed to Bhagwan Vishnu with folded hands, and He appeared and said, 'I will be your savior on the 7th day when the world is about to sink'.
On the seventh day, a boat was sent and tied to the horn of the Matsya avatar of Bhagwan Vishnu. Satyavrata hopped onto the boat with herbs, seeds, and Sapta Rishis and was taken to a safe place by Matsya, where the creation would begin again.
In Vedic astrology, Mina/Matsya is associated with Ketu, the planet of intuition and liberation, and the waters in which the world was about to sink were those of delusion. It's one night of Shri Brahma when creation slips into utter darkness and only intuition; the voice/the light of Shri Vishnu himself can save the man from drowning in it.
Ketu, the fish, is the intuitive energy floating in our consciousness, but it is submerged because we hardly pay attention to our spiritual progress. We just have to pay attention to this voice and listen to it.
Ketu is headless only, with a torso that houses the heart. The voice of Vishnu appears in the heart (Hridaya granthi), which is why no head is required. Ketu marks the beginning and the end of the karmic cycle. It represents the spiritual and creative energy with which a man, when applied diligently, can smash the samsara chakra and become one with Brahman, ending the night of Brahma.
Here, Satyavrata represents the soul, and the boat is the body (vehicle) of the man. When the body (boat) is tied to Ketu/Matsya (Vishnu), He will take the soul to its rightful destination. Ketu energies, when harnessed, enable the soul to use its vehicle to become one with Vishnu, the Supreme Consciousness. When you can't find your way and feel lost in the chaotic ocean, call upon Matsya/Ketu, and he will reignite your suppressed intuition.
Om Namo Bhagvate Matsya Devaya
ॐ नमो भगवते मत्स्य देवाय।
2. Saturn associated with Kurma Avatar
Kurma, the second avatar of Bhagwan Vishnu, played a massive role in the story of Samudra Manthan—the Churning of the Ocean. The way the story was set up, Vasuki (Naag) was entwined around Mount Mandrachal in the Kshir Samudra or the Ocean of Milk.
Tugging at both ends, Devas and Asuras were competing hard for Amrit (Nectar). But the problem was that, due to the constant movement, it was difficult to keep Mandrachala steady in one place. It was now time for Bhagwan Vishnu to help!
He assumed the form of a Kurma (tortoise) and fixed himself below the mountain, and the churning continued, which led to the emergence of nectar from the ocean. It was the solid, hard base that became the support for the lofty mountain over which the churning took place.
The main aim of churning was to yield Amrit, or, in literal terms, true and discriminating intelligence that leads to Moksha. Kurma is Saturn, which, like a tortoise, is hard and dry. To yield pure intelligence, Saturn becomes essential, as when worked upon it gives its bearer a unique capacity to withdraw the senses from external tumult like a tortoise, which further aids in spiritual enhancement.
Saturn causes an obstruction in the flow of energy out of the body. This energy retention makes the body stable and becomes essential to propelling one on the path of spiritual upliftment. Saturn is known to bring slow movement, but in literal terms it slows the motion of the body, making it less prone to disturbance and making a meditative pose possible for long hours; the more bodily movement, the greater the distraction.
Saturn is the planet of endurance, and with Kurma or Saturn in place, a person becomes steady and resilient and is sure to reach the goal that he's set for himself. When your senses run out of control and away from their set goals of higher purpose, you know whom to call upon to pacify your raging senses!
Om Namo Bhagvate Kurma Devaya
ॐ नमो भगवते कूर्म देवाय।
3. Rahu associated with Varah Avatar
Varah is the third avatar of Bhagwan Vishnu and is associated with Rahu.
Legend has it that Hiranyaksha, as a demon, dived to the bottom of the sea, taking Earth along with him. Shri Vishnu, disguised as Varaha, followed the demon. After a massive battle, Varah killed Hiranyaksha and emerged from the waters with Earth supported by its tusks. Rahu the head becomes an important connection with respect to Varaha Avatar as the tusks played an important role for the protagonist Shri Vishnu.
Rahu represents the karma to be done in this life. The native of this planet is fond of living in jungles and traveling, is often involved in manipulating and speaking lies, and is obsessed with material possessions.
If the energies of Rahu are channeled and Varah, the third avatar of Shri Vishnu, is called upon with reverence, then in relation to Rahu, Varah can lift one's dim intelligence out of the obsession of material possession and teach him to maintain a fine balance between his worldly karma and spiritual awakening.
Om Namo Bhagvate Varah Devaya
ॐ नमो भगवते वराह देवाय।
4. Mars associated with Narsimha Avatar
Mars is the red planet, and Narsimha is Kesari (the orange one). These colors are fierce, and both Mars and Narsimha pulsate with brutal and murderous energies. Narsimha (Nara-man, Simha-lion), the fourth avatar of Bhagwan Vishnu, has the face and claws of a lion and the torso of a human.
Narsimha is untamed, and aggressive, and drinks the blood of Hiranyaksha after slaying him for committing the heinous crime of hurting his son Prahlad, who is an ardent devotee of Bhagwan Vishnu.
Hiranyaksha was killed at the joint, or 'sandhi', of time and space. He was murdered neither outside nor inside his palace, at any time of day or night. In this time and space where all duality merges, Narsimha's avatar teaches us to harness the core strength to liberate the soul and transgress all duality and opposites.
Narsimha relates to Mars, as this is the planet that governs the inner strength. Shri Vishnu had taken the form of Narsimha to protect his devotees and rid the world of evil.
Martian energy is all about finding this inner courage and practicality to react in time to eliminate the evil within us, for if we do not react in time, the good could be hurt and harmed.
Narsimha is known as the protector of the weak. When you fall short of strength against your enemies (both internal and external), then calling upon Narsimha or Mars will harness your muscle to fight against all odds and come out a champion.
Om Namo Bhagavate Narasimha Devaya
ॐ नमो भगवते नरसिम्हा देवाय।
5. Jupiter associated with Vamana Avatar
It was Raja Bali who snatched Triloka, or the three, from Indra, the leader of the gods. Bhagwan Vishnu then, disguised as Vamana or a dwarf-Brahmin enters the place where Bali was performing his yagna.
Vamana, though he seemed to be a dwarf, was actually Bhagwan Vishnu himself and had the capacity to annex all three lokas. He asked for the amount of land covered in his three steps, to which Bali agreed. Vamana, in his three steps, covered the Triloka and brought Indra back to power. A dwarf could take back all that existed! Looks are deceptive and often misleading.
Vamana, though petite, is extremely expansive and extensive. Jupiter is the planet of expansion and hates stagnancy. He's benevolent and kicks out the darkness to let in the light of knowledge. Bhagwan Vishnu's avatar signifies the inherent capacity of the mind to expand and become wide-ranging.
When you feel that your talents are getting sluggish and inactive and they need a strong nudge to wake them up from their deep slumber, call upon the Vamana avatar. Vamana avatar will harness the Jupiterian energies inherent in you and help you broaden your consciousness, just like those three expansive steps of Vamana.
Om Namo Bhagvate Vamana Devaya
ॐ नमो भगवते वामन देवाय।
6. Venus associated with Parshuram Avatar
Parshurama is the sixth avatar of Bhagwan Vishnu and is shrouded in many myths and legends.
One of the most popular beliefs is that Parshurama killed Kartavirya Arjuna, a king who, by force, had taken the wish-fulfilling cow Surabhi from his father Jamadagni. Angry, Parshurama challenged the king and killed him with his axe. In the end, he abandons all weapons and turns to the Yoga marga.
In relation to Venus, Parshurama personifies anger and desires. Venus represents attachment to deep-seated desires accumulated over many lifetimes. When Parshurama forbade his weapons and chose yoga over worldly living, the Brahmin, through his spiritual axe, cut all the ties with this long lineage of desires.
When you tend to give in to your worldly desires or feel weak before your cravings, call upon Parshurama. Venus is not only the planet of love but is also a spiritual Master. With Parshurama by your side, Venus can swiftly cut off your materialistic tendencies and guide you towards higher forces.
Om Namo Bhagavate Parshuramaya
ॐ नमो भगवते परशुरामाय ।
7. Sun associated with Shri Rama Avatar
Shri Rama was born into the Ishvaku dynasty. It is a solar dynasty, and Bhagwan Rama was a Suryavanshi. Being a descendant of this supremely radiant lineage, it is no surprise that Shri Ram is related to the Sun.
The seventh incarnation of Bhagwan Vishnu was a combination of thunderous willpower and the softest of words. He is believed to preside over and govern all that is visible, like the Sun. Tied by his karma to nurse life, Sun religiously follows his pattern of rise and fall without being smeared by his duties. Shri Rama personifies Karma without being tied to its fetters.
Selfless and non-indulgent, he was a prince who wandered the jungles, killed the demons, repudiated his wife for his people, and ruled his time-bound kingdom. It is a Suryavanshi's power to remain faithful to his duties and values like a strongly fixed sun—impervious to corruption and decay.
When you realize that the situation is tough and your powers to stick to your values are being tested, remember Shri Rama/Sun and he shall give you the courage to fight all odds to keep your ethics upright and crisp.
Om Namo Bhagavate Ramachandraya
ॐ नमो भगवते रामचंद्राय ।
8. Moon associated with Shri Krishna
Shri Krishna was the protagonist of the Mahabharata and directed one of the greatest wars of all time.
To Devaki and Yashoda, he was a son; to Radha, he was Madhava; to Mira, he was her Mohan; to Rukmini, he was a husband; and to Draupadi, he was a Sakha (friend).
Shri Krishna is called the Poorna avatar of Bhagwan Vishnu, and this fantastic man had many roles to play. With the myriad characters that his stories are laced with, he represents the Moon in the truest sense. On top of the jumping oceans and playing tides, Moon paints a picture of perfect romance and unadulterated love, and that is what Shri Krishna is all about. His Moon-face was dear to his gopis, mothers, and wives.
Shri Krishna is the Jagadguru, the Universal Teacher, who knows the ups and downs of worldly life and can very smartly carve a way for his devotees to the ultimate spirituality, or Brahman.
The next time you seek spirituality along with the fine balance in your material life and want to know what unconditional love is, look at the Moon and invoke Sri Krishna, and he will be lurking somewhere around to guide you through the choppy seas of Samsara and convert your lusts into devotion at his lotus feet.
Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय ।
9. Mercury associate with Buddha Avatar
Bhagwan Vishnu was born Siddhartha to Maya and Suddhodana. 'Do not let him see your misery and sorrow, or he will not rule and will abandon your kingdom', soothsayers warned his father, Suddhodana. He made every effort to curb his son's view of sorrow and suffering. Giving him the most lavish life, he built Siddhartha a palace away from the sorrows of the world. But destiny had other plans.
While standing on his veranda, Siddhartha saw a dead man being carried by four people on a bier and that was the moment Siddhartha shunned his father's comforts and retired to the forest. Siddhartha, the Enlightened One, became Buddha after exploring spiritual practices.
Mercury is 'Budh' and presides over intelligence, wit, and wisdom. Buddha applied his supreme intelligence and came up with the Middle Path and an Eightfold Path.
Buddha is Bhagwan Vishnu's ninth avatar, and he remains calm in the midst of the most violent storms. The next time your mind runs out of patience and refuses to keep calm amidst the chaos of life, you know whom to call upon!
Om Namo Bhagavate Buddha Devaya
ॐ नमो भगवते बुद्ध देवाय ।
Bhagwan Vishnu and his incarnations as 9 planets hide a way of leading life. Every incarnation is completely different from the previous one and has a different mantra for living in the moment. To apply the meaning of every incarnation, check out the situation and what is required of you in that particular moment. In some ways, Bhagwan Vishnu's incarnations and planets increase our receptivity and sharpness for living in the present.
What is required now? Do you need to control your senses, react, keep mum, and stick to your ethics, or just love, live, and let go?
Every moment throughout the day has a different flavor, and to make the most of it, you perceive the moment and then invoke that particular incarnation of the planet. This will teach us self-control and let us sail through today smoothly and hassle-free. Bhagwan Vishnu is a True Teacher! Practice applying his attributes on a daily basis to make the most of this ONE-LIFE!
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