Dasa Avatars

B. Shankar ShankarPll at AOL.COM
Fri Apr 25 09:28:25 CDT 2003


Reading from the archives I noted that there was a discussion on the Dasa
Avatara’s and in particular I noted the debate that ensued with regards to
whether Buddha or Balarama should represent one of Maha Vishnu’s Avatars.

I understand of course that there is a long-standing practice including
Buddha as an Avatar and I can appreciate that there may have been pragmatic
historical reasons for the development of such a tradition. However, and
with all respect to those who propound and adhere to such a view, I cannot
personally understand its logic. Nastika philosophies were rejected by as
heretical from the outset and the logic of continuing to consecrate Buddha
as an Avatar is (for me) highly dubious. He, after all, rejects the primacy
of the Vedas and denies their Revelatory status or intent and rejects the
notion of Atma. Though I can understand that the Madhyamika, under specific
interpretations, leads to a measure of intellectual convergence with
Advaita, I fail to see how even such syncretism warrants Buddha’s elevation
to an Avatar.

The problem is compounded by the fact that, in my opinion, even a
perfunctory exegesis of the Puranas reveals that the Sri Balarama tradition
as an Avatar is also exposed to a degree of logical disquiet. There are
many specific points for concern but I raise three for illustration:

Firstly, what is the rationale for having two concurrent Avatars? This does
not seem logical.

Secondly, to my view of thinking, it obviates some natural dichotomies in
the Puranas and the Mahabharata in particular– Bhagavan Narayana – Sage
Narada - Sri Rama- Lakshman  Bhagavan Krishna-Arjuna. That is to say it
does not seem consistent.

Thirdly, there are obvious difficulties in the Mahabharata with such a
view – Sri Balarama was particularly close to his pupil Duryodhana,
rejected the war and took no part in it. If He had taken up arms, there was
every prospect that He would have fought for Duryodhana and it required
Bhagavan Krishna’s ingenuity to ensure His elder brother’s absence during
the period of the war. Balarama is also Duryodhana’s teacher (the mace).

I suspect my concerns are ill-founded, in which case I shall await the
correction of my views from learned members.

However, if Sri Balarama is not an Avatar who is the eighth Avatar?

I believe that there may be a case for stating that Bhagavati Devi Herself
is the eighth Avatar. This is certainly more plausible than the Buddha case
and has certain Advatic merits. Though it suffers from some of the same
problems as before e.g. concurrent avatars, it is consistent with the
Mahabharata. I recall, for example, that before the battle Arjuna is
advised by Sri Krishna to pray to Devi and to invoke her blessing.

In order to make this case I shall need to rely on a number of
astronomical/ astrological features documented in the Srimad Bhagavatam.
Sri KV Venkataramana Aiyer first presented these features in a research
paper to the All India Astrological Conference for which he was awarded the
Title of Honour. He subsequently provided a synopsis in one of the
Astrological magazines in September 1991.

If I may quote from the article by Sri K.V. Venkataramana Aiyer (September
1991 Star Teller magazine):

“According to Hindu Scriptures, Krishna was born at midnight, Ashtami
Thithi, Dark Fortnight in the month of Padrapada in the constellation of
Rohini at the fag-end of Dwapara Yuga. Srimad Bhagavatham in the 10th
Skanda, 3rd Adaya, Sloka 1 to 8 avers that when He was born, the whole
nature, including all planets and stars were in a perfect shanthi. The sage
Vyasa has compressed in that passage a world of astronomical and
astrological truth suggesting by implication that all the planets and stars
were in their own or exaltation house. The scripture further adds that the
Lord lived for 125 years and left the world in His 126th year, when Kali
Yuga commenced immediately on His departure to Heaven. The year corresponds
3120 BCE. But the sages, for astronomical purpose, fixed the beginning of
Kali era next year on Friday, the 1st day of the Solar year Pramadi (3101
BCE) when the mean position of all planets were near the zero degrees of
Aries which can be verified by any astronomer well-versed in Surya
Siddhanta, the Vedic System of Astronomy. They named it as Gatha (expired)
Kali which means that one year expired from the actual Kali and count the
years in terms of Gatha Kali
I made dedicated research for over 6 years by
calculating planetary positions for 150 years before Kali Yuga. All my
efforts ending in failure, I was about to give up my research in despair on
the eve of a Janmashtami Day in absolute self-surrender to Him. When I was
in that prayerful mood, a wonderful horoscope not hitherto available
flashed before my mind. I immediately pressed all my astronomical knowledge
to find out the horoscope. Lo!, my joy knew no bounds to find the exact
horoscope 44778 days before Gatha Kali in 3224 BCE i.e 125 Lunar (not solar
years) before Kali Yuga. Later I found the explanation in the Virat Parva
of Mahabharata where Bhishma said that solar years were used for
astronomical calculations and Lunar years for civil and religious purpose.
Since I found out the horoscope on Janmashtami Day of Krishna, I consider
it revealed by Lord Krishna Himself and prepared a research paper under the
caption “Divine Revelation of Krishna’s Horoscope”.

For those interested the actual planetary positions given by the author:

Surya 145.23”
Chandra 50.5”
Kuja 236. 44”
Buddha 171. 9”
Guru 246. 53”
Shukra 187. 49”
Shani 286. 14”
Rahu 57. 48”

Balance of Chandra Dasa at birth – 2 years 5 months and 7 days.

“Rahu looked like the Serpent God Adisesha spreading His hood over the head
of Maha Vishnu. All other planets occupied own and exalted signs
consecutively and stood in orderly row as to salute Lord Krishna at his

The author also makes reference to the fact that a female child was born at
the same time – “who was none other than Bhagavathi , sister of Lord
Krishna, being the obverse and reverse of the same Saguna Brahman”. The
author further translates from Devi Mahatmiyam, Markandeya Purana Adyaya
11, sloka 40 to 42): “ In the 28th Yuga (Dwapara Yuga in Vaivaswatha
Manvanthra) when the world would be affected by two Asuras, Sumba abd
Nisumbha, I will be born of Yesodha in the house of Nandagopala”

Note also that when Kamsa catches the feet of the female child, Bhagavati
Devi tells him that She could have smashed him then and there but for the
fact that he had caught the refuge in Her sacred feet and informs Kamsa
that the means of his doom was growing in Gokulam before disappearing.

For any one with even a passing knowledge of Jyotisya will appreciate that
the planetary configuration above represent a truly extraordinarily divine
horoscope and one that cannot be replicated in Kali Yuga. This rests not
simply on the rarity of the configuration involved but also in the
fundamental Jyotisya dictum that Uccha sthana and Svakshetra beneficence of
the planets degrade with each yuga within a Chatur Yuga  – with the
greatest effects under Krita Yuga and the weakest under Kali Yuga.

I await the answers from our learned members.



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