(29)
The main beliefs of our Sanatan Vedic Hindu Dharma.
Ans: 1. Sanatan Hindu Dharma is the oldest religion in the world.
2. Sanatan Hindu Dharma is based on the Vedas.
3. Our main incarnations and deities are: Bhagwan Swaminarayan, Shri Ram, Shri Krishna, Brahma, Vishnu, Mahadev, Ganapati, Hanuman, Surya. Main goddeses: Parvati (Durga), Sarasvati and Lakshmi.
4. The main beliefs are: Avatarvad: (Incarnation of God on Earth;) Karmavad: (there are consequences of all actions good or bad;) Punarjanmavad: (reincarnation of soul according to karma;) murti-puja: (worship of idols.)
5. Our scriptures: Four Vedas, Upanishads, Ramayan, Mahabharat, Purans, Shrimad Bhagvad Gita, Vachanamrut, etc.

 
 
(30) Kurma Avatar.
Ans: Devas and asuras are cousins. But this has not stopped them from going into many wars with each other. Once upon a time the Devas seemed to be on the verge of being defeated by the asuras. Bhagwan Vishnu suggested a way to achieve victory. He told the Devas that they should challenge their sworn enemies – asuras – to the Kshir Sagar where both the teams would churn the sea. The team that emerges victorious will have right over the nectar that is produced from the ‘manthan’ (or churning of the ocean). This nectar will give the victorious team an upper hand over the other. Some Devas struck a deal with greedy asuras and convinced them by promising them some nectar. Mandarachal mountain was brought to the sea and tied with Vasuki nag (snake) to churn the sea. But the heavy mountain started sinking into the sea. Bhagwan Vishnu once again came to the rescue and assumed the form of Kurma avatar (tortoise) and kept the mountain afloat as asuras tugged on one end and Devas on the other. Fourteen jewels were produced in the ‘manthan’ which went to the Devas, ensuring their victory.
 
(31) Vaman Avatar.
Ans: Prahlad was crowned king after his father. He was succeeded by Virochan, then Sena and finally Bali. Bali, king of Asuras, wanted to grab the position of deva Indra and also conducted a yagna to achieve this. During the yagna Bali was gifted four horses, a chariot complete with a flag, a bow and quiver full of arrows. Armed with these and aided by a large army of Asuras Bali stormed into the heavenly abode of devas and devis. He drove out everybody from heaven and Bali crowned himself the ruler after grabbing the throne of Indra. Devmata Aditi, pained by her son Indra’s sorrow, consulted her husband Kashyap and did penance to appease Bhagwan Vishnu and call for his help. Bhagwan Vishnu, satisfied with Devmata’s devotion, was soon born to Aditi as Vaman Bhagwan. When asura king Bali was busy carrying out his 100th Ashwamegh Yagna at the banks of Narmada River at Bhrugukutch (now Bharuch), to establish his supremacy over heaven and earth, Vaman Bhagwan made his entry. Guru of the Asuras, Shukracharya, knew that this was Bhagwan Vishnu in the form of the dwarf Vaman Bhagwan. As was the practice then, Bali wanted to know what Vaman Bhagwan wanted. Vaman Bhagwan said that he required only three small pieces of land, each a foot in size. Bali agreed. But, soon Bali took a step back in astonishment as Vaman Bhagwan suddenly grew in size. He assumed such an enormous form that with his one foot he covered the whole Earth, the next step Vaman Bhagwan covered heaven. “Where should I put my third step?” asked Vaman Bhagwan. Bali knew he was defeated and offered his head. Vaman Bhagwan put his third step on Bali’s head and pushed him into Patal (underworld). Pleased with Bali’s devotion, Bhagwan Vishnu blessed him too.
 
(32) Matsya Avatar.
Ans: Brahmaji was in yog nidra (sleep with awareness, typical to yogis) when suddenly he chanted four Vedic mantras. Hayagriv, a demon, who was nearby heard the Vedic chants and memorized the same, though he did not understand their meaning. To understand Veda one needs knowledge. Bhagwan Vishnu changed form, in order to protect the Vedas from falling on the wrong hands. He transformed into Matsya avatar (Fish incarnation) and plunged into the Kritwala river. When emperor Satyavrat was offering prayers to Surya deva near the river, Matsya avatar approached him and asked him to rescue him. Satyavrat lifted the fish into his kamandal (water pot) to protect it. However soon Matsya avatar grew in size and had to be shifted to a pond. It soon outgrew the pond too and assumed an enormous size. Matsyavatar then killed Hayagriv and thus protected the Vedas. Soon the universe was thrown into turmoil with forces of nature on the rampage. Every living being was wiped out from the face of Earth, except Satyavrat who was safe and secure under the protection of huge Matsya avatar. After the devastation ended, new life began on earth.

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