5. Vaman (Dwarf) Incarnation: Vishnu’s fifth incarnation, Vaman, took place in the second age, Tretayuga. During this time, Bali, the grandson of Prahlada, was a very valorous and mighty demon. By his penance, he conquered the whole world. He ruled well and loved by his people. He was righteous and truthful, and ruled his kingdom so well that there was peace, prosperity and happiness all around. Indra and other gods fearing that Bali would conquer all the three worlds, therefore they all went to Lord Vishnu for help. Lord Vishnu then incarnated himself as a dwarf in the household of Kashyapa and Aditi. Vishnu grew soon, but had the form of a dwarf, and came to be known as ‘Vamana’. Sage Kashyapa was thrilled at his good fortune.
After hearing Bali’s reputation for generosity, Vaman went to him and asked for alms. Shukracharya, the wise and visionary teacher of the demons, could identify Vamana as Vishnu. He advised Bali not to accept of Vamana`s wish. Vamana requested for the amount of land that could come under his three feet. Bali gracefully agreed. Lord Vishnu then grew in size and covered the earth and heaven in two strides. And due to lack of space, he put his third leg on Bali himself and crushed Bali to the nether or the Patala loka (underground world). He educated Bali about the demerits of pride and arrogance, which forbids man from optimum progress.
Lord Krishna is the eighth incarnation of Vishnu. He was born in Dwapara yuga to Devaki and Vasudeva. He appeared over five thousand years ago in Mathura in Kansa’s jail. King Kansa was the cruel demon king, who arrested Devaki and Vasudeva, after a prediction that the eighth son of Devaki and Vasudeva would kill him. Krishna was born in the midnight and was transferred to Vrindavana, where he was reared in a cowherd’s family by Yashoda and Nand Baba. Krishna spent his childhood in Vrindavana. Krishna grew up with a fondness for butter and no attempt to keep it out of his reach was ever successful. He stole butter with his friends and distributed stolen butter amongst other children. His childhood revealed his dual character, at times he seemed just an exceptionally lovable boy, in other episodes he began to show his strength and was recognized as a god.
Krishna's life falls into four main parts: childhood, when he performed great feats of strength; youth, when he dallied with the cowgirls; manhood, when he per-formed the task for winch he had been born; and middle age, when he became the great ruler of Dwarka and took part in the Bharata war, acting as Arjuna's charioteer and pronouncing his great teaching on the subjects of dharma and bhakti. He killed many powerful demons, who were sent to kill him by Kansa. Krishna killed Kansa and several other demons. In the great war of the Mahabharata, Krishna helped the Pandavas in destroying the Kauravas and reestablished dharma on the earth. Krishna is the philosopher of the Bhagwad Gita, one of the holiest Hindu texts.
Buddha was the founder of Buddhism. He was born to Mayadevi and the virtuous king Shuddhodhana, of the Shakya (Shaka) clan around 3000 years ago. Buddha's original name was Siddhartha. Gautama was Siddhartha's family name. Siddhartha was known all over the world as Buddha. He did not claim to be a god or a prophet. He was a human being who became enlightened, understanding life in the deepest possible way. Siddhartha attained enlightenment and assumed the title Lord Buddha. He spent his boyhood at Kapilavastu and its vicinity. He was married to Yashodhara at the age of sixteen. Siddhartha had a son whose name was Rahula. Siddhartha began his search with philosophical learning, asceticism and travels to religious places attained enlightenment sitting under a pipal tree.
10. Kalki Incarnation: According to the Puranas, whenever there is decline of the noble values and dharma and evils powers increase, Lord Vishnu will incarnate himself in different forms. The Kalki incarnation will take place towards the end of Kaliyuga (present age). It is believed that at the end of the Kali Yuga, there will be a deluge when Kalki the tenth and the last incarnation of Vishnu, will ride forth on a white horse named Devaduta, to redeem humankind and re-establish righteousness. He will punish all evil doers from his blazing sword, in this world and recreate a golden age again. All paintings are courtesy of Art of Legend India.