THE ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA

A DICTIONARY OF ARTS, SCIENCES, LITERATURE AND GENERAL INFORMATION

ELEVENTH EDITION 1911

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AVATAR, a Sanskrit word meaning "descent," specially used in Hindu mythology (and so in English) to express the incarnation of a deity visiting the earth for any purpose. The ten Avatars of Vishnu are the most famous. The Hindus believe he has appeared (1) as a fish, (2) as a tortoise, (3) as a hog, (4) as a monster, half man half lion, to destroy the giant Iranian, (5) as a dwarf, (6) as Rāma, (7) again as Rāma for the purpose of killing the thousand-armed giant Cartasuciriargunan, (8) as Krishna, (9) as Buddha. They allege that the tenth Avatar has yet to occur and will be in the form of a white-winged horse (Kalki) who will destroy the earth.
Transcriber's note: A few typographical errors have been corrected. They appear in the text like this, and the explanation will appear when the mouse pointer is moved over the marked passage. Sections in Greek will yield a transliteration when the pointer is moved over them, and words using diacritic characters in the Latin Extended Additional block, which may not display in some fonts or browsers, will display an unaccented version.

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