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Avatars or incarnations in Hinduism is the descent of a Supreme Being on earth to accomplish a specific mission. This term has become famous with the ten avatars of Lord Vishnu who came to Earth. The ten main incarnations of Vishnu are known as “Dasavatars” and is part of any puranas or stories of Vishnu. Now why am I talking about Avatars and what am I coming to tell? Well, I was reading about avatars and came across a very nice article talking about the avatars in the Mahabharat, the greatest epic ever written. Did you know that almost all the main characters in the epic are reincarnations of some deva, deity, rakshasa or asura? I have collected them and here are some of them

Character

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NOTES

Krishna Vishnu
Lord Vishnu’s 9th incarnation was Shri Krishna
Rukmini Lakshmi
Lakshmi is Lord Vishnu’s consort. She incarnated as Rukmini who was Krishna’s wife
Draupadi Sachi
Sachi Devi is Lord Indra’s wife.
Duryodhana Kali  Kali is the reigning lord of Kali Yuga and is considered as a negative manifestation of Lord Vishnu. He operates to destroy this world and is a demon and arch enemy of Vishnu.
Bhishma Dyaus He is the divine consort of Prithvi maa and was cursed by Vasishta for hurting Nandini, the divine cow to be born as a human.
Drona Brihaspati
Brihaspati is the Deva guru to the devas.
Vidura Dharma  The diety in charge of dharma in this world
Ashwatthama Rudra
A god associated with wind or storm. An aspect of Lord Shiva.
Shantanu Varuna
Shantanu was the father of Bhishma. Varuna is the Lord of the Ocean
Bharata Kama
Bharata was one of the righteous king. Kama is the Lord of Love
Vyasa Vishnu Vyasa was also an incarnation of Lord Vishnu who came down to classify the Vedas
Abhimanyu Varchas
Varchasi is the son of Lord Soma who was destined to be on Earth only for 16 years.
Durvasa Shiva Rishi Durvasa is an amsa of Lord Shiva. He was known for his anger.
Balarama Shesha Shesha is the thousand headed snake on whom Lord Vishnu rests.
Kamsa Kalanemi
Kalanemi is a demon who had special powers to break himself into atoms.
Dhrishtadyumna Agni
Lord of Fire
Pradyumna Sanatkumara
One of the 4 sons of Lord Brahma
Jarasandha Viprachitti
One of the asura king who married the sister of Hiranyakashipu. Rahu was his son.
Arjuna Nara One of the twin reincarnations of Lord Vishnu – Nara-Narayana.

We all have read the story of Maabharatha many times but did you know about these avatars being in the story all along? Interesting isn’t it – how many things we still don’t know about our epics?