I found the 10 avatars of Lord Vishnu in this chapter of Santi Parva.

Appearing in the forms of a swan (Hansa), a tortoise (Kurma), a fish (Matsya), O foremost of regenerate ones, I shall then display myself as a boar (Varaha), then as a Man-lion (Nrisingha), then as a dwarf(Vamana), then as Rama of Bhrigu’s race (Parashurama), then as Rama, the son of Dasaratha, then as Krishna the scion of the Sattvata race, and lastly as Kalki.

But, are there any other avatars of Lord Vishnu mentioned in Mahabharata.?

  • Hansa avtar doesn't get any attention. He gets less attention than even Hayagriva.
    – Rambhakt
    Commented Dec 15, 2022 at 13:42

2 Answers 2


Some other avatAras of viShNu are described in this chapter of harivamsa:

bhUyo bhUta-Atmano viShNoH prAdurbhAvo mahAtmanaH | dattAtreya iti khyAtaH kShamayA parayA yutaH ||1-41-104 tena naShTeShu vedeShu prakriyAsu makheShu cha | chAtur-varNye tu saMkIrNe dharme shithilatAM gate ||1-41-105 abhivardhati cha a-dharme satye naShTe a-nR^ite sthite | prajAsu shIryamANAsu dharme cha a-kulatAM gate ||1-41-106 saha-yaj~na-kriyA vedAH prati-AnItA hi tena vai | chAtur-varnyam a-saMkIrNaM kR^itaM tena mahAtmanA ||1-41-107

At another time, viShNu, the soul of all, incarnated himself as the highly forgiving datta-Atreya. When the veda-s disappeared, religious works and Vedic rituals slackened, four-caste system became hotchpotch, when dharma is collapsing and a-dharma is on the rise, when truth is lost and untruth flourished, when all people are about to face a cultural perish, when dharma is floundering in the morass of a-dharma, lord dattAtreya re-established the four Vedas with their rituals, and re-categorised the four caste system, as well...

navame dvApare viShNuH aShTAviMshe purA abhavat | vedavyAsaH tathA jaj~ne jAtUkarNya puraHsaraH ||1-41-161 eko vedaH chaturdhA tu kR^itaH tena mahAtmanA | janito bhArato vaMshaH satyavatyAH sutena cha ||1-41-162

After the ninth incarnation of viShNu, the lord having sent beforehand sage jAtUkarna to study veda-s and purANA-s, took his birth as sage veda-vyAsa in the twenty-eighth dvApara era, to segregate one veda in four sections, and even to categorise purANA-s, for easy comprehensibility... This sage veda-vyAsa, engendered by lady satyavati, is the originator for the dynasty of bhAratA-s...

This chapter of harivamsa describes avatAra kapila:

AseduH te tataH tatra khanyamAne mahArNave || 1-14-23 tam Adi-puruShaM devaM hariM kR^iShNaM prajApatim | viShNuM kapila rUpeNa svapantaM puruShottamam || 1-14-24

Then those princes unremittingly dug the place to oceanic depths until they reached shrI-hari reposing there in the getup of sage kapila.

hayagriva avatAra of viShNu described in this chapter

"Thus did the blessed Hari assume in days of old that grand form having the equine head. This, of all his forms, endued with puissance, is celebrated as the most ancient. That person who frequently listens or mentally recites this history of the assumption by Narayana of the form equipt with the equine head, will never forget his Vedic or other lore.....

Quadruple form - Nara, Narayana, Hari, Krishna described in this chapter

O monarch, during the epoch of the Self-born Manu, the eternal Narayana, the Soul of the universe, took birth as the son of Dharma in a quadruple form, viz., as Nara, Narayana, Hari, and the Self-create Krishna...

vatapatrashayi avatAra in this chapter

O king, wandering without cessation, through that flood, I become fatigued, but I obtain no resting place! And some time after I behold in that expanse of accumulated waters a vast and wide-extending banyan tree, O lord of earth! And I then behold, O Bharata, seated on a conch, O king, overlaid with a celestial bed and attached to a far-extended bough of that banyan, a boy, O great king, of face fair as the lotus or the moon, and of eyes, O ruler of men, large as petals of a full blown lotus! And at this sight, O lord of earth, wonder filled my heart...

mohiNI avatAra in this chapter:

Thereupon Narayana called his bewitching Maya (illusive power) to his aid, and assuming the form of an enticing female, coquetted with the Danavas. The Danavas and the Daityas charmed with her exquisite beauty and grace lost their reason and unanimously placed the Amrita in the hands of that fair damsel.'"

Prithu avatar in this chapter of Drona Parva and this chapter of Santi Parva too.

This high declaration of the Srutis is current among men that Prithu is the eighth from Vishnu.

vyuha avatAras i.e. Caturvyuhas are mentioned in this chapter:

The person who realises that inconceivable Purusha and comprehends his subtile existence in the quadruple form of Aniruddha, Pradyumna, Sankarshana, and Vasudeva and who, in consequence of such comprehension, attains to perfect tranquillity of heart, succeeds in entering into and identifying himself with that one auspicious Purusha.

Vishnu's submarine fire form- Samvartaka in this chapter of Harivamsha:

yaH purA hi analo bhUtvA aurvaH saMvartako vibhuH | pAtAlastho arNava gataM papau toya-mayaM haviH || 1-40-19

How, in the days of yore, did he sip the subterranean lava-like oceanic oblation assuming the form of a submarine-fire, called samvartaka agni...

Lord Vishnu already assumed in the form of Vishvarupa, before Sri Krishna shows this form to Arjuna. It is mentioned in the same chapter of Harivamsha:

sarva devamayaM kR^itvA sarva Ayudha dharaM vapuH || 1-40-22 garudaH tena cha utsiktaH kAlanemir nipAtitaH |nirjitaH cha mayo daityaH tArakaH cha mahAsuraH || 1-40-23

Who is he assuming the consistorial form of all gods, wielding every weapon with every limb, while his eagle-vehicle garuDa proudly airlifted him, slew the demons called kAla-nemi... besides, who is said to have vanquished demons like maya and tAraka...

Sanatkumara is indirectly mentioned as Vishnu's avatAra in this chapter:

He that takes his rise, from that Sankarshana, by his own acts, Sanatkumara, and in whom all creatures merge when the universal dissolution comes, is the Mind of all creatures and is called by the name of Pradyumna

This chapter describes Prishnigarbha Avatar and Lord Vishnu's 7 avatars as Aditi's son:

You have, as said in the Puranas, taken thy birth seven times in the womb of Aditi. It was thou that tookest birth in the womb of Prishni.

The above text says Vishnu incarnates seven times as Aditi's son, according to the Puranas. Maybe, See the Puranas to any reference for it.

Lord Vishnu's bull form described in his chapter:

Then Narayana, issuing out of the point of that shaft, assumed the form of a bull and raised that large car.

Vishnu's elephant form in this chapter of Harivamsha:

sarvakAmaphalairvR^ikShairvR^itaM ramyairmanoramaiH | chakAra ku~njaraM chaiva ku~njarapratimAkR^itim ||3-35-19 The mountains, covered by beautiful trees, pleasing the mind, fulfilled all desires of the mind. Then the Lord created the mountain ku~njara as well in the form of an elephant.

Harihara (Sankaranarayana) form in this chapter of Anushasana Parva and this chapter of Harivamsha.


The Twin Avatars of Nara-Narayana.:

Book 7. Drona Vadha Parva.:


Vyãsa said, "... He that is called Narayana is older than the oldest ones. For accomplishing some purpose, that creator of the universe took his birth as the son of Dharma. On the mountain of Himavat he underwent the severest ascetic austerities. ... he emaciated himself there for sixty-six thousand years, subsisting all the while upon air alone. Once more undergoing severe austerities of another kind for twice that period, he filled the space between earth and heaven with his energy. When by those austerities, O sire, he became like Brahma he then beheld the Master, Origin, and Guardian of the Universe, the Lord of all the gods, the Supreme Deity, who is exceedingly difficult of being gazed at, who is minuter than the minutest and larger than, the largest, who is called Rudra.

Having saluted Rudra, that destroyer of the Asura Andhaka, the lotus eyed Narayana, with emotion filling his heart, began to praise the Three-eyed one ... .

I am thy devoted adorer,--be graceful unto me. Do not injure me, by causing evil thoughts to penetrate my heart. ... Adored by me, grant me the boons I desire but which are difficult of acquisition. Do not hide thyself in thy illusion.
Vyasa continued, 'The blue-throated God, of inconceivable soul, that wielder of Pinaka, that divine Lord ever praised by the Rishis, then gave boons unto Vasudeva who deserved them all. The great God said, 'O NarayAna with my grace, amongst men, gods, and Gandharvas, thou shalt be of immeasurable might and soul. Neither gods, nor Asuras, nor great Uragas, nor Pisachas, nor Gandharvas, nor men, nor Rakshasas, nor birds, nor Nagas, nor any creatures in the Universe, shall ever be able to bear thy prowess. No one amongst even the celestials shall be able to vanquish thee in battle. Through my grace, none shall ever be able to cause thee pain by the weapon of thunderbolt or with any object that is wet or dry, or with any mobile or immobile thing. Thou shalt be superior to myself if thou ever goest to battle against me.' Thus were these boons acquired by Sauri in days of yore. Even that God now walketh the earth (as Vasudeva), beguiling the universe by his illusion. From Narayana's asceticism was born a great Muni of the name of Nara, equal to Narayana himself. Know that Arjuna is none else than that Nara. Those two Rishis, said to be older than the oldest gods, take their births in every Yuga for serving the purposes of the world.

Vyasa is the Avatar of Lord Vishnu as described in this chapter of Shanti-Parva.

I hope this clarifies your queries.

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