The Lord is tri-yuga

The above translation states that the Lord descends in three yugas: Satya, Treta, and Dvapara. Or rather, the translation doesn't say that, but the commentary does. This makes no logical sense to me, because the Satya Yuga seems to be the age when everything is perfect, thereby non-necessitating an Incarnation of the Lord to fight demons and atheists.

For example, the "earlier" Incarnation of the Lord is Matsya, but if we correlate the Satya Yuga with the "Garden of Eden" (i.e. when everything is perfect), even the Matsya Incarnation would occur when Manu (i.e. Adam) had already left Eden (when the Satya Age had ended). Therefore the Manu that Matsya helps would be equivalent to Noah, but this wouldn't be in the Satya Yuga, it would be in the... Treta Yuga?

Furthermore we can't even really locate a pure Vaishnava Incarnation like Rama and Krishna as far back as the Satya Age anyways. (We only have animal Incarnations like Matsya, Kurma, and Varaha. Perhaps Narasimha would count as a "Perfect Incarnation," but even so, why would the Lord incarnate in the Satya Yuga?) It would seem to make more sense that the Lord would incarnate in the following three ages: Treta, Dvapara, and Kali, since there would be actual work to be done in those ages, both "intellectual," and "material."

But if everything is perfect... why an Incarnation of the Lord?

This makes way more sense to me:

  1. Rama in Treta
  2. Krishna in Dvapara
  3. Kalki in Kali

We can't really equivocate the Buddha with a "personal" Incarnation of the Lord because he doesn't even teach a theistic doctrine, rather he seems to represent the gradual decline of theism after its peak, which reaches its perfect expression in the Mahabharata (with Krishna). If we consider the Lord as Time, Time definitely reaches its full stature in the Krishna Incarnation, specifically because Krishna is involved in all aspects of life, material and spiritual, the Buddha seems to represent old age and death, this is probably why Krishna is regarded as the purnavatara. Even Krishna Himself states: "I am Time, grown to full stature." After the peak, there can only be the decline.

But it also seems like Kalki is explicitly theistic and IN the Kali Age, so it would make some sense for Kalki to be a personal Incarnation of the Lord. This website has some good information, particularly this page. This also makes sense.

Sometimes Vishnu descends personally, sometimes he sends his bonafide representative in the form of his son or servant, and sometimes he comes himself in a disguised form.

For example, personal descents would include: Rama, Krishna, and Kalki.

Representative in the form of a servant, maybe Muhammad (s.a.w.). Representative in the form of his son, maybe Jesus. As a disguised Incarnation, maybe ‘Ali. (There are some sects of Islam that believe ‘Ali was God, veiled by Muhammad (s.a.w.).)


For example, it's easy to provide correlations between Islam and Hinduism, Islam is the youngest religion and Hinduism is the oldest.

In all three "personal" Incarnations of the Lord, he always comes in "catur-bhuja" form, meaning he always comes with three co-incarnations or relatives who aid him in his fight against atheism. When he was Rama, he came with Laksmana, Bharata, and Satrughna. When he was Krishna, he came with Balarāma, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha. When he was Kalki, he came with Kavi, Sumanta, and Prajna.

This four-armed form doesn't occur for Incarnations like the Buddha, for example. Maybe the Buddha isn't even the "Lord of the World," but at that point we'd be bringing Theosophy into this.

Even in the Islamic "Incarnation" of ‘Ali, we find the Lord disguised by Muhammad (s.a.w.), literally veiled (i.e. hijab).

The most explicit Incarnation is Krishna, but even Krishna states that He is "veiled by His Divine Maya, unknown to the world."

For example, in Gaudiya Vaishnavism, we have, Krishna -> Balarāma, and then Balarāma -> Vāsudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha.

In Islam we have God (Allāh (s.w.t.)) -> Muhammad, and then Muhammad -> ‘Ali, Fatir (i.e. Fatima), Hasan, and Husayn.

If we want to add Samba, we add Muhsin.

Either way the correlation is clear. ‘Ali seems more like a "disguised" or veiled Incarnation (i.e. by Maya, the ism, or the hijab) then a "personal" Incarnation. But even Krishna in the Gita speaks of being veiled by His Divine Maya.

Veiled by My creative power (yogamaya) I am not revealed to all. This bewildered world knows Me not, the unborn, the unchanging. [Gita Society]

The idea that God (the ma'na) is a "veiled" "Incarnation" who appears concealed by a second divinity called the ism or hijab, is an Islamic one, possessed by a sect called the Nuṣayrī‐ʿAlawīs.

  • Lord Vishnu has incarnated in many Yugas.. for eg. He manifested as Narasimha, Varaha etc.. in Satya Yuga; Rama, Parashurama, etc.. in Treta Yuga; Krishna, Dwaipayana Vyasa etc.. in Dwapara Yuga; Pramiti, Kalki etc.. in KaliYuga...
    – Tezz
    Jun 1, 2017 at 5:29
  • Hi @Tezz, it doesn't make sense for the Lord to incarnate in the Satya Yuga (i.e. during the Garden of Eden phase), because there are no problems to fix...
    – James Yen
    Jun 1, 2017 at 5:35
  • Well, there can be many problems in Satya Yuga.. eg in Satya Yuga people have long life span and higher ascetic powers.. and this can cause some to acquire boon from Gods... and when power comes, arrogance rises... so there is again need of incarnations...(Analogously, it's like Heaven is a place where there is Happiness.. but there can also be Dukkha in heaven because it is also sometimes attacked by Daityas....)
    – Tezz
    Jun 1, 2017 at 5:39
  • "Further, we might notice that there, is no incarnation of Vishnu in the Sattya Age and the explanation of this is clear enough; for as that age corresponds to Buddhi, which is characterised by the single idea of the oneness of the Supreme Purusha, the question of a conflict of opinion does not arise. Hence it is only in the last three ages, which correspond to Mind-energy and Ether, characterised by duality, that we have room for difference of opinion."
    – James Yen
    Jun 1, 2017 at 5:41
  • I stand by the idea that there is no need for an intervention, and thus Incarnation, in an age where there is no intellectual disunity, and therefore, physical strife. This would contradict the Bhagavad Gita: "for the sake of... I incarnate Myself age after age."
    – James Yen
    Jun 1, 2017 at 5:42

1 Answer 1


Obviously my answer is fairly obvious, I believe that the three Incarnations of the Lord in those three millenniums are: Rama in Treta, Krishna in Dvapara, and Kalki in Kali. It simply makes sense. From a Theosophical point of view, the Buddha wouldn't be an Incarnation of the Lord, but rather an individual on the Eighth Rung.

On an unrelated note, and once again referencing this page, it seems that the principle idea of incarnation is to rid the world of false notions regarding God.

In the opinion of the present writer they refer principally to true and false ideas concerning the Supreme Purusha himself; and if we agree that all evil action arises from evil thought, and there can be no greater evil thought than false ideas regarding the Supreme Creator of life, the establishment of Truth in connection with the Supreme means the establishment of Righteousness in every direction. [Incarnations and Ages of Time]

A clear progression can be seen: ignorance (wrong views) -> wrong thoughts -> wrong actions. Incidentally... this is exactly what the Buddha taught. Perhaps then, we can see that Buddhism is not so discontinuous from Hinduism as was previously thought...

In my opinion, the appearance of Jesus seems to represent a clear stand-in for the "Vishnu guna-avatar." Since Christ is explicitly represented as "Incarnating," perhaps the second coming of Christ is really the coming of Kalki. Perhaps it's the "return of the Vishnu aspect." I've previously mused that the Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad (s.a.w.) are actually guna-avataras. This website believe that the present Kali Age actually began in 600 BC. Perhaps the Buddha is symbolically Brahma, played by the Buddha, Jesus is symbolically Vishnu (hence the emphasis on "Incarnation" in the Christian religion), played by Dattatreya, and Muhammad (s.a.w.) is symbolically Shiva (after all, Muhammad (s.a.w.) claimed that his arrival coincided with the end of the world), played by Narada.

But from another perspective, we could say that each of the Abrahamic religions represents a guna, especially since the first one (Judaism), places a heavy emphasis on the God of Genesis, who floats on the deep and dark waters of creation... (Incidentally, Brahma wakes up to find only darkness and water around him... )

But then again, the notion of Tamas, and its association with darkness, water, and prakrti is a recurring theme. The Narach website I've been continuously linking touches on this theme a lot. If it is true that Matsya is the same God of the Bible who aided Noah (AKA Manu), then that means that humanity has a primordial religious tradition grounded in God, and not necessarily in sectarian division.

Back to the ignorance issue, I agree with the Narach author (his name is Akash Thadani, I believe) that wrong thoughts or wrong perceptions are the greatest evil, since they lead to wrong actions. Simply put, incorrect views regarding the Greatest Object, AKA God, would be the greatest wrong thought, and therefore the most evil (the greatest wrong perception). Incidentally, Islam treats disbelief or atheism as the greatest evil, and not some arbitrary action, such as murder. Similarly, Buddhism states that ignorance is the greatest evil. The Buddha explicitly refutes the belief that actions committed with the body are heavier than actions committed with the mind, furthermore ignorance is the "greatest sin."

Ignorance in Buddhism, however, is simply an inability to distinguish between the Permanent and impermanent, or in Islamic terms... God and His creation. In other words, it almost seems like the Buddhist view of ignorance, the Islamic view of disbelief, and the Hindu view of incorrect conceptions regarding God, coincide. Meaning that God's work is mainly intellectual, i.e. combating false ideas, in order to bring about unity, and therefore, peace.

The Nuṣayrī‐ʿAlawīs are an interesting sect. In some of the works I've read, associated with the sect, the Twelve Imams are presented as manifestations of the deity. M.A. Amir-Moezzi translates some discourses by the Imam ‘Ali that sound like proclamations of divinity, I believe these same songs are translated on the bahai-library.com website. These songs sound eerily similar to Krishna's proclamation of divinity in the Bhagavad Gita. It seems however, that Krishna's incarnation is "unveiled" while ‘Ali's is "veiled." Both say very similar things, ‘Ali says: "I am the Lord of the Ka'ba, and the month of Ramadan … the secret of the letters, the meaning of tawasin, esoteric of hawamim, the Lord of the alif-lam-mim … I am the Mahdī of all moments, and the Jesus of the Time … the High, the Most High, the Lion of the sons of Banu Ghalib. I am Ali b. Abū Talib."

Whereas Krishna says: "of the seasons I am Spring, of the Vedas I am the Sama, … I am the luck of the gambler and the strength of the strong … of sages I am Vyasa …" and so on and so forth.

Both sound like proclamations of the ma'na.

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