Change, is the only thing that is Constant in this creation.
The entire universe keeps changing and evolving into something new every moment.
Even we experience change in our lives. Our views, thoughts, perceptions change with our experiences and if recollect, we wonder how much we changed in past few years.
The ‘Theory of Evolution‘ proposed by Biologist Charles Darwin is similar to Vishnu’s Dasavatars (10 incarnations) as described in puranas.
Our Universe required at least ten billion years of Evolution before life was even possible here !
It took millions of years of trials and errors to provide us with the backbone we have now.
Charles Darwin (1809-1882), was an English Naturalist, who wrote the popular thesis Origin of Species in the year 1859 CE, and rocked the foundations of both scientific as well as religious world during his time!
Darwin traveled throughout the world and collected specimens wherever the ship docked. Those were handed over to experts when he landed in England for further analysis.
The research conducted on these specimens by various Anatomists, Ornithologists, Zoologists and Geologists, made the entire scientific world sit up and take notice of this radically NEW theory that Darwin had proposed.
Inspired by the geographical differences in the wildlife (past and present), Darwin finally conceived of the Theory of Natural Selection. Today, the ‘Origin of Species‘ is a widely acknowledged classic, and Evolution is universally and casually accepted as a truth of life.
Scientists now describe four zoological eras namely – Arshean, Paleozoic, Mesozoic and the Cenozoic which have led to the current plant and animal life on this planet.
Evolution of species into Human in Puranas
Ancient Indians believed that Life evolves only from pre-existing Life.
Vedas, Upanishads and Puranas state that :
‘First appeared the intangible substances followed by the tangible matter; followed by the immovable planets and landmasses; then the vegetation; birds, aquatics and animals; and finally the Higher species. ‘
Sir John Woodroffe (1865-1936), Advocate General of Bengal and Legal member of the erstwhile Govt. of India, quoted the same revelation after the study of Sanskrit texts :
“Ages before Lamarck and Darwin, it was held in India that man has passed through 84 lakhs births as plants, animals, inferior species and then came the ancestors of developed man existing today. The theory was an act of brilliant deduction in which observation may also have had played part!”
Puranas mention of 84 Lakh (8.4 million) different forms that a soul is obliged to take in order to reach a Human form which is remarkably close to the 8.7 million Eukaryotic species that scientists believe exist today!
Originally, there were 24 Avatars of the Lord Vishnu listed in Srimad Bhagvatam (Bhagavata Purana).
But Rishis glorified only 10 of them as they are enough to explain the Concept of Evolution !
First avatar ‘Matsya‘ (The Fish) indicates life that has started under water.
Second is Kurma (The Turtle) which lives both in water and on earth (evolved to survive on land too).
Third is Varaha (The Rhinoceros) which is complete animal, walks on earth but can also swim in water.
Fourth is Narasimha (Half Lion – Half Man) indicating evolution of four legged animals into two legged half humans.
Fifth is Wamana, who is a human boy.
Sixth is Parasurama, who is a fully grown up Human Man.
Seventh is Rama, who is a fully mature human with attributes like truth, honesty, justice and dharma. (even during his tenure, multiple evolving species like Vanaras existed)
Eight is Krishna, who is smarter and intelligent form of evolved human being.
Ninth is Buddha (The original one – not the Gautama Buddha), who is a matured evolution form of human, who understood this creation perfectly and taught methods to raise above it.
Tenth will be Kalki (Techno-Humanoid man of future) who will end this epoch and start a new one.
These 10 Avatars certainly represent much more than just the incarnations of Lord Vishnu and as we saw above, are an allegory for the Process of Evolution which is evident in nature and within our own beings as well.
This is how Charles Darwin Evolution Theory of Man is similar to Vishnu’s 10 main incarnations.