The forms taken by lord Vishnu in his ten incarnations bear a strange similarity to Darwin’s theory of evolution.
But before you read any further, I would like to add a word or two about myself. If you think I am writing this to propagate Hinduism, no I am not. In fact, I do not belong or rather do not want myself to be associated to any religion or sect or whatever. And I do not follow any ‘God’ for that matter. I am a proud atheist and what you will be reading now are some interesting observations that I came across. And it has nothing to do with religion. Now. Read further.
Darwin’s Theory of Evolution
The Theory of Evolution was originally introduced by the early thinkers and it was further emphasized by Darwin when he first produced his book called the “Origin of Species” in 1859. Later on some more people added their theories to the evolution theory of mankind.
General concept of the evolution theory says that about three and a half billion years ago microorganisms like bacteria originated and took the shape of amoeba (microscopic unicellular protozoa), and from that all the plants, trees, worms and animals were evolved. Mammals, birds, fish and reptiles were all evolved from aquatic worms about 600 million years ago.
The theorists use certain terms to express their process of evolution, like: natural selection, adaptation, recombination (of genes), genetic drift and mutation.
According to this theory, from the invertebrates came the fishes. From the fishes the Amphibians and from the Amphibians the Reptiles. The Reptiles in turn gave rise to two separate classes the Aves (or the birds) and the Mammals. And of course in mammals the final step in evolution was Man.
This theory was based on the principle of the survival of the fittest. So by those Amphibians had greater chances of survival than the Fishes, Reptiles had greater chances over the Amphibians and finally Man had the best chances of survival among all the beings.
So what are the similarities that we are talking about?
In the study of the manifestations of Lord Vishnu, better known as the Dasha (means Ten) Avatars, we find that the theory of evolution has been explained in a very subtle manner. They are
1. As we are given to believe, life first started in the great oceans and the first entry was made as The Fish (Macha-avatara).
2. There was then a progression and life that was in the oceans evolved and started moving towards land. This had to happen as the oceans that covered the entire face of earth slowly started to recede. Now came a life sustaining not only in water but also progressed to land to some extent. This is called the Koorma-avatara or a Terrapin (tortoise)
3. This gradual moment towards the land masses had to continue, while at the same time retaining the original support of water. And what we had at this stage was an animal in swamp and slush – a Boar or the Varaha-avatara.
The evolution of man is depicted in discrete steps. The first man was short, and then he evolved into something like the Stone Age man and then reached perfection. As the saying goes, “everything that rises has to fall back to the Earth” and so does Man too.
4. The progression led to a half-human half-animal which is called the Narasimha-avatara. The Narashima avatara, is seen as a half lion half human figure and this just denotes that stage in evolution where man was more ‘animal’. One may note here that there is general acceptance that man evolved from Chimpanzees.
5. Evolution, the path of progress took the half human to full human shape. The next avatar was that of a Dwarf (Vamana).
6. It is natural that Dwarf will progress to a full human… But with a wavering mind, uncontrollable, and acting without reasons – man with more ‘animal’ in him. Some one like a Stone Age man. This avatar was called Parasurama.
7. Slowly the man became perfect. A man who was in full control of his senses, dutiful, responsible, so on. He was Rama.
8. And then the perfect human form evolved with cleverness and ability to think and win. A person of intelligence, wits, taking decisions to suit the situation. He was Krishna. Ready to fight. Ready to mediate, and ready to love and ready to be loved. This avatar is more like the man of today.
9. Tranquility, submission, passion for peace is the next step from achieving everything. He was Buddha.
10. The cycle has to end, so that it can start again. Kalki, they say will come to destroy the world. So that evolution can take place again.
So are these similarities just a coincidence?