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What does avatara mean in the context of our tradition?

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Lord Vishnu appears on this earth in various forms, at various times. This is called avatara in sanskrit, or incarnation in English. Check for more information in notes

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Jai Sriman Narayana

The Lord takes avatara in order to protect good people, and to establish the rule of the law, and his avataras happen when good people are in extreme danger, and when many bad people do not follow the rule of the law (called dharma). Lord Vishnu has taken countless avataras, 10 of which are very well known, and are called Dasa Avatara, or the 10 avataras. Of them, the first avatara is Matsya Avatara, or the incarnation in the fish form.

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