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Dashavatara refers to the ten Avatars of lord Vishnu, which are :

  • Matsya
  • Kurma
  • Varaha
  • Narasimha
  • Vamana
  • Parashurama
  • Rama
  • Krishna
  • Buddha
  • Kalki

But apart from the above, lord Vishnu has one more Avatar i.e Mohini, which is a female avatar of lord Vishnu and the only female Avatar.

Than why Mohini is not one of the Dashavatara of lord Vishnu?

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Well, Vishnu has many avatars that aren't part of the Dashavataram - Mohini isn't the only one left out. e.g. Bhagavatam 2.7 lists more than just the usual 10. – senshin Jul 8 '14 at 14:49
There are 24 avatars (I am not limiting Vishnu he can have as many avatars as he likes) but 24 that we know a lot about and the 14th one is Mohini. If you mean why Mohini isn't in the 'top ten' then you have me there... – user343 Jul 8 '14 at 14:55
Shortly " they descend to this material plane (earth) " , credit @jabahar – Kiran RS Jul 8 '14 at 15:22
@Mr_Green Buddha is definitely counted as one of the Dasavatar, please consult the original Dasavatar song by Jayadeva Goswami: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dashavatara citing wiki for simplicity in this case. – cheenbabes Jul 9 '14 at 2:49
@Mr_Green, Bhagawata Purana mentions Buddha as one of the Avatara (25th of 26; the last one being Kalki hinduwebsite.com/hinduism/concepts/avatar.asp). – Vineet Menon Jul 9 '14 at 4:56
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Lord Vishnu has many types of avataras. In fact, His avatars are innumerable:

O brāhmaṇas, the incarnations of the Lord are innumerable, like rivulets flowing from inexhaustible sources of water. [SB - 1.3.26]

But these ten are only the prominent ones; especially because they take place on this material plane, our earth.

avatarati it avatara - so those are called avataras because they descend to earth and take up material bodies of transcendental nature. Where as many other avatars take place on other planes of existences, just like the Mohini one. Hence, Mohini is not in the list of the ten avatars.

Shrimad Bhagavatam 1.3
A very good article to understand about the avatars

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The Bhagavatam does not say that the avatars take on a material body when they incarnate. If you are writing from the Vaishnava perspective, that statement is incorrect. Actually, the very source you cite contradicts that statement. – cheenbabes Jul 8 '14 at 23:54
Yes, by material body it means, those could have been viewed through our material eyes. It doesn't mean His bodies are material just like ours, those are divine: janma karma cha me divyam [BG -4.9], chidananda maya deha tumhari [ RCM -2.126 ] – Be Happy Jul 9 '14 at 1:55
That's confusing then. If you trying to say that their bodies are seen by material eyes, then you should state that. As of now, your statement above clearly says that the bodies of the avatars are material. You can rephrase by saying, "the avatars descend to Earth and take on what looks to be a material body; however their body remains treanscendental; see BG 4.9 and 9.11" – cheenbabes Jul 9 '14 at 2:50
@cheenbabes nah, didn't explain that much as it was not required for the answer. But people may take God's avatras to be completely material like ours, so added the transcendental nature. Thanks for the suggestion :) – Be Happy Jul 9 '14 at 3:16

For a 'person'(don't get offended) to be called Avatara, he/she has to be born on the our Earth in material form experience Earth-ness but without loosing any divine power.

The word, Avatar itself mean to descend as saviour as अव- (ava-, “down”) +‎ तार (tāra, “savior”).Wikitionary

By definition an incarnation is different. It requires the birth of God in physical form, through the natural process and his existence upon earth in physical form undergoing the same experiences as living beings. It is not necessary that the physical form needs to be that of human always. It can be a human, animal or semi human or even mythical form. The incarnation may exist for a brief period of time or for a life time. The incarnation may have all the powers and awareness of God in His absolute aspect or only a necessary portion of it.

Bhagavata Purana do list Mohini as an Avatar of Vishnu in the 26 Avatars, but also comments on it being infinite. It was Garuda Purana which counts the Avatars to be 10.

Ref: Hindu

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