Is Kalki an avatar (incarnation) of Vishnu or Siva? Is he a purn-avatar (full incarnation) or ansa-avatar (partial incarnation)?

I'm in doubt because persons in Mahabharata like Ashwathama, Samba etc., are ansa-avatars of Siva and are responsible for the destruction. Since Kalki is responsible for the destruction in Kaliyuga, I am suspecting that he is an avatar of Siva.

  • 1
    he is sakty-avesa avatar which means he is a living entity(jiva) and lord vishnu empowers him. I will write answer when I find time and if no body answers this by then. Scriptures clearly declare kalki to be vishnu's incarantion. He is to be considered vishnu avatar like parasurama. See details about parasurama here.. hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/21040/…
    – user16618
    Commented Nov 30, 2018 at 7:38
  • Please provide a reference to point out that is he is considered as an avatar of destruction. To my knowledge, Kalki's purpose is exactly what Krishna says in Gita... paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya ca duskrtam dharma-samsthapana... That isn't exactly destruction.
    – Ambi
    Commented Nov 30, 2018 at 8:14
  • Isn't it destruction to preserve dharma? @Ambi
    – hanugm
    Commented Nov 30, 2018 at 8:17
  • I am just differentiating between calling someone as "avatar of destruction" and one who has destruction of adharma as one of the avatara purpose. There are several other questions on Kalki which give more detailed answers and clearly show Kalki is an avatar of Lord Vishnu. This question should be duplicate, technically, but since you bring a new dimension to it relating to Lord Shiva, I am not marking it as such myself.
    – Ambi
    Commented Nov 30, 2018 at 8:22
  • 1
    Many Vishnu avtaras are associated with destruction...for ex Parasurama destroyed evil Kshatriyas 21 times...and other avtaras too did some kind of destruction... Rama destroyed 14000 Rakshasas in very less time then destroyed Ravana & many others... Krishna, Varaha, Nrisimha destroyed evils...same way Kalki will destroy evils...
    – YDS
    Commented Nov 30, 2018 at 14:53

4 Answers 4


Kalki avatar is an avatar of Lord Vishnu only. There is no doubt in this.

It has been prophesied in many puranas that Lord Vishnu will incarnate to remove evil from Kaliyuga therefore restoring dharma again.

In this Kali Yuga itself, when the junction period is yet to lapse, the lord will be born under the name of Kalki and Viṣṇu Yaśā. He will be born in the family of Parashara and have great exploits. [Brahmanda Purana Upodhgata Parva Chapter 73 verse 104].

Above verse is talking about Lord Vishnu and his avataras in different manvantaras.

From Bhagavata Purana:

carācara-guror viṣṇor
dharma-trāṇāya sādhūnāṁ
 janma karmāpanuttaye

Lord Viṣṇu — the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the spiritual master of all moving and nonmoving living beings, and the Supreme Soul of all — takes birth to protect the principles of religion and to relieve His saintly devotees from the reactions of material work. [SB 12.2.17]

Lord Kalki will appear in the home of the most eminent brāhmaṇa of Śambhala village, the great soul Viṣṇuyaśā.[SB 12.2.18]

There are many other references in puranas and in the Mahabharata it is said that Lord Vishnu incarnates in the sandhi period of Kaliyuga and establishes the conditions of Kruta Yuga. There are stotras found in the puranas which include Kalki in Dashavatara (tem important incarnations) list.

Ashwathama, Samba etc., are ansa-avatars of Siva and are responsible for the destruction.

Arjuna caused more destruction than both these. On 14th day of Kurukshetra alone, Arjuna killed an akshauhini while searching for Jayadhratha. Bhishma killed many soldiers in the Pandava side that Yudhishtira was scared and thought they would lose the war if Bhishma continued to fight till the last day. So, these were also responsible for destruction. But these are not avatars of Lord Shiva. If we look into Mahabharata in critical way, many characters like Karna, Drona can be made the responsibility for the great Kurukshetra war. These are not avatars of Lord Shiva. So, the logic saying Kalki being avatar of Shiva because he will kill evil people doesn;t work.

Lord Vishnu takes birth out of his own will to bring back dharma and remove adharma time to time. From Bhagavad Gita 4.7

yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānir bhavati bhārata
abhyutthānam adharmasya tadātmānaḿ sṛjāmy aham

paritrāṇāya sādhūnāḿ vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām
dharma-saḿsthāpanārthāya sambhavāmi yuge yuge

Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion—at that time I descend Myself.

To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I Myself appear, millennium after millennium.

[The translator used religious but the word is Dharma and it is untranslatable]

Hence, there is no doubt that Kalki is Lord Vishnu's avatar.


Since Sarvabhouma has already answered that he is an incarnation of Vishnu, I will just answer this part:

Is he a purn-avatar (full incarnation) or ansa-avatar (partial incarnation)?

Amsa avatar are avatars like Matsya, Kurma which come under vishnu-tattva. Kalki is neither.

Kalki is a saktavesha avatar as per Vishnu Dharma Purana which means he is a jiva (living entity) empowered by Vishnu's power to perform certain tasks like Parasurama as I answered here.

I don't have an English copy of Vishnu Dharma Purana and just have a Sanskrit text which is in Devanagari and thus can't be searched.

The verses below are from Vishnu-dharma Purana quoted in Anuccheda 25 in Krishna-sandarbha by Jiva Goswami.

pratyaksha-rupa-drig devo
drishyate na kalau harih kritadishv eva tenaisha
triyugah paripaöhyate kaler ante ca samprapte
kalkinam brahma-vadinam anupravishya kurute
vasudevo jagat-sthitim purvotpanneshu bhuteshu
teshu teshu kalau prabhuh kritva pravesham kurute
yad abhipretam atmanah iti.

"The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Hari, does not personally appear in the Kali-yuga. Because He only appears in the Satya, Treta, and Dvapara-yugas, and not in the Kali-yuga, the scriptures call Him Triyuga (He who appears in three yugas). At the end of Kali-yuga, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva, enters the body of the learned brahmana Kalki and gives him extraordinary powers. Through the agency of Kalki, the Supreme Lord restores the universe to an auspicious condition. The Supreme Personality of Godhead then enters the hearts of all the great sages who were born before the Kali-yuga and grants extraordinary powers to them. In this way the Lord executes His purpose at the end of the Kali-yuga."

  • "tasks like Parasurama" This means Kalki will be only partial incarnation like Parshurama, not full incarnation like Raam/Krishna?
    – Vishvam
    Commented Nov 30, 2018 at 17:07
  • @Rishabh Yes, not full incarnations. Kalki also can't be considered partial incarnations like Matsya, Kurma, Varaha etc.. It is separate class called saktyavesa avatara. Read my answer about Parasuram, you will know what I meant. Even Buddha is saktyavesha avatar.
    – user16618
    Commented Nov 30, 2018 at 17:47
  • @Rishabh I meant " to perform certain tasks" for eg "Parasurama"
    – user16618
    Commented Nov 30, 2018 at 18:30

Who said lord kalki is partial incarnation and worst is that he is empowered one . What is dharma purana . On internet it is said to be published in 1890. Can that kind of text is to be considered religious text . No not at all . Now let me explain you which avatars are purna avatar of lord vishnu . Matysa avatar who is also called satyanarayan , rama avatar who is also called harinaryan , krishna avatar who is called i think jaganathnarayan(rukimini krishna) and kalki avatar who is also called harinaryan(paramkrishna or radha krishna) . Narshima who is called sheshnaryan and laxminaryan who is called is chatiyana mahaprabhu is not all purna avatar . They are not called purana avatar because they don't have speed thinking like these four . In terms of powerfullness , they all are equipowerful . That's why they all are deep blue.

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    – TheLittleNaruto
    Commented Jun 6, 2022 at 7:57
  • ref./citation by @user16618 seems to be consistent with Srimad Bhagavad Puran 7.9.38,इत्थं नृतिर्यगृषिदेवझषावतारै vedabase.io/en/library/sb/7/9/38 . Hence could be accepted as an authentic answer (by sources) Hence Kalki avatar isn't a Purnavatar
    – Athrey
    Commented Jun 6, 2022 at 8:39

Shri Kalki Bhagavan Ji has been mentioned as among the 10 main incarnations of Shri Vishnu Bhagavan. He will be like Shri Nrsimha and Shri Parshurama. He will wipe out all mlecchas/evil doers at the end of this yuga. I am not sure of definition of avataras as purna and ansa. Ashwatthama is considered by some to be an incarnation of Shri Shiva Bhagavan, Shri Yam Bhagavan, Kam and Krodh. Hence he is an ansa incarnation of Shiva. Shri Kalki Bhagavan Ji will be a full incarnation of Vishnu to cleanse Earth of countless evil doers.

  • You should cite sources.
    – TheLittleNaruto
    Commented Jun 6, 2022 at 7:58

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