Hinduism And Hindu Theology - What Is Anshavatar Or Ansh Avatar?

    A divinity's "partial" (amsha) incarnation, which is said to have just a portion of the divine power. 

    Related to - Avatar.

    According to Vedas and Upanishads, there are only three types of Avatar: 

    1) Purna Avatar 
    2) Amsha Avatar 
    3) Avatar of Nimmitta 

    When it comes to Purna Avatar, Ram, Krishna, and Vishnu are Purna Avatar since their major purpose is to bring peace and Sanatan Religion to the globe. 

    • They visit the world while respecting nature (in the same way that other humans do) and then accomplish their task and return to where they belong. 

    Amsha Avatar has a certain duty in the world that is led by Purna Avatar. 

    • They have a definite aim on their appearance and return by imparting numerous valuable messages to humankind. e.g., Gautama Buddha, Parashu Ram, and so on....

    Similarly, Nimmitta avatar is a particular Avatar who arrives for a specific reason. 

    • They appear unexpectedly when needed, sometimes for their unique followers, and other times for the protection of the globe and humanity. Narasimha, Matsya, etc.

    According to the Dashavatar Book, there are four sorts of avatars:

    1. Transmigration

    • It believes in the acquisition of flesh via transmigration.
    • One soul has become a God in this place.

    2. Possession 

    • It is also a firm believer in flesh acquisition. 
    • The one soul is inspired by God. 

    3. Imanation

    • God's immanence is contained in a single soul. God does not appear in person. 
    • For example, all Anshavataras such as Shankaracharya, Vashishtha, and others. 

    4. Total Avatar:

    • God Himself develops into the universe, 
    • For example, all ten Avataras such as Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Vamana, and others.

    Narada says in Garga Samhita - Goloka Khanda - First Chapter


    श्रीबहुलाश्व उवाच -

    कतिधा श्रीहरेर्विष्णोरवतारो भवत्यलम् ।

    साधूनां रक्षणार्थं हि कृपया वद मां प्रभो ॥ १५ ॥

    Bahulāśva says - To protect the pious ones how many avatars did Sri Vishnu take, please kindly tell me o Lord.

    श्रीनारद उवाच - 

    अंशांशोंऽशस्तथावेशः कलापूर्णः प्रकथ्यते ।

    व्यासाद्यैश्च स्मृतः षष्ठः परिपूर्णतमः स्वयम् ॥ १६ ॥ 

    Narada said - O King. The avataras of Bhagavān are six types as told by sages like Vyāsa which are - amśa, amśāmśa, āveśa, kalā, pūrṇa and paripūrṇatama (or paripūrṇa). 


    अंशांशस्तु मरीच्यादिरंशा ब्रह्मादयस्तथा ।

    कलाः कपिलकूर्माद्या आवेशा भार्गवादयः ॥ १७ ॥ 

    Sages like Marīci are amśāmśa avatars, Brahma and his likes are amśā avatars. Paraśurāma and like are āveśa avatars.Kapila, Kūrma and the likes are kalā avatars. 


    पूर्णो नृसिंहो रामश्च श्वेतद्वीपाधिपो हरिः ।

    वैकुण्ठोऽपि तथा यज्ञो नरनारायणः स्मृतः ॥ १८ ॥ 

    Pūrṇa avatars are Narasimha, Śrī Rāma, śvetadvīpādhipati Hari, Vaikuntha, Yajna and Nara Nārāyaṇa. 


    परिपूर्णतमः साक्षाच्छ्रीकृष्णो भगवान् स्वयम् ।

    असंख्यब्रह्माण्डपतिर्गोलोके धाम्नि राजते ॥ १९ ॥ 

    Śrī Krishna is Paripūrṇatama avatar who is the lord of infinite Brahmāṇḍas and who resides in Goloka. 


    कार्याधिकारं कुर्वन्तः सदंशास्ते प्रकिर्तिताः ।

    तत्कार्यभारं कुर्वन्तस्तेंऽशांशा विदिताः प्रभोः ॥ २० ॥ 

    Those who like Brahma take up the authority of works like creation etc., are the sāttvic amśa avatars of Lord. Those who help in such works are amśāmśa avatars like Marīci and other prajāpatis. 


    येषामन्तर्गतो विष्णुः कार्यं कृत्वा विनिर्गतः ।

    नानाऽऽवेषावतारांश्च विद्धि राजन्महामते ॥ २१ ॥ 

    The all pervading vishnu who resides in the inner heart with his power to accomplish a certain work and leaves the person or body (though the person doesn't die) after the accomplishment, such avatars like Paraśurāma are called āveśa avatars. 


    धर्मं विज्ञाय कृत्वा यः पुनरन्तरधीयत ।

    युगे युगे वर्तमानः सोऽवतारः कला हरेः ॥ २२ ॥ 

    In every Yuga, when the Lord descends to earth, protects and establishes the dharma and takes back his avatara after that is called kalā avatar. 


    चतुर्व्यूहो भवेद्‌यत्र दृश्यन्ते च रसा नव ।

    अतः परं च वीर्याणि स तु पूर्णः प्रकथ्यते ॥ २३ ॥ 

    Where the four vyūhas are manifested like Rāma, Lakshmana, Bharata and Satrughna are manifestations of Vasudeva, Sankarshana, Pradyumna and Anirudhas (four vyūhas of Vishnu), where nine rasās are visible and where the utmost valour, power and strength are manifested like Rāma, Narasimha such avatars are called Pūrṇa avatars. 


    यस्मिन्सर्वाणि तेजांसि विलीयन्ते स्वतेजसि ।

    तं वदन्ति परे साक्षात्परिपूर्णतमं स्वयम् ॥ २४ ॥ 

    Paripūrṇatama avatar is the one in whos tejas, the tejas (lusture and splendour in all their fullness) of all other avatars gets absorbed. 


    Garga Samhita is a great book also called Garga Bhagavatam. The Hindi prose version is available here.

    Rama was 14 kala sampurna but Krishna was 16 kala sampurna thus Krishna is purnavatar.


    Lord Shiva tells him that there are 62 virtues that Lord possesses and lists all of them. 

    Then it delves into the distinctions of the avatars based on how many of these virtues the avatar has. From the verses shared above it would imply that:

    1. A Poorna incarnation has 62 qualities
    2. Partial or Amsa ones have 62/4 = 15.5 or roughly 16 qualities
    3. Sub-partial or Kalaa incarnations have 62/16 = 3.875 or roughly 4 qualities and
    4. Vibhuti incarnations have 62/100 = 0.62 or less than 1 quality

    Further it also says that Krishna is not an avatar but the Supreme God Himself therefore he is a Poorna Avatar.

    The text lists the Amsa or partial incarnations as:

    1. Rama,
    2. Matsya,
    3. Kurma,
    4. Varah,
    5. Narsimha,
    6. Hayagriva,

    Manvantar incarnations headed by:

    1. Yagna avatar,
    2. Sukla,
    3. RIshabh Dev,
    4. Nar-Narayan,
    5. Dattatreya,
    6. Buddha and
    7. Kalki

    The Kalaa incarnations are:

    1. The four Kumars, 
    2. Narad, 
    3. Vyasa, 
    4. Shukadeva, 
    5. Gaya, 
    6. Prithu and 
    7. Maharaj Bharat

    Thus the Complete or Purna Avatar of Lord Shri Krishna would have 62 Kalaas while Shri Rama would have 16.

    Kiran Atma

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