O Nārada! When I was performing Satra-Yāga, the Supreme Lord, who is worshipped through the process of Yagna, manifested in a form that is composed of all the Vedas, Yagnas and Devatas. He incarnated as Hayagriva and His complexion was golden. While He was breathing, supremely beautiful Vedic chants emerged from His nostrils.
11) Incarnation as a fish (Matsya):
At the end of Chākṣuṣa-manvantara (a period of creation) when the world was being submerged in the waters, Srihari incarnated as a fish (Matsya). Vaivaswata Manu took refuge in Him. The fish offered protection to the earth, which was in the form of a boat and thus showered all the living entities with a gift of life. Returning back to me (Brahma) the Vedas that had slipped from my mouth, the Lord in His incarnation of a fish, swam happily in those waters enjoying those tidal waves.
12) Incarnation as a tortoise (Kurma avatara):
In order to obtain nectar (amrita), the Devatas and the demons collectively churned the ocean of milk, using the Mount Mandara as the churning rod. During the churning when the mountain began to sink, Srihari, the primordial being, incarnated as a tortoise (kurma) and supported the huge mountain on His back.
The continuous movement of the mountain, caused due to the churning of the ocean created a lot of friction on His back. This friction relieved Him from the itching sensation that he was experiencing so far on His back and hence He could sleep peacefully for some time.
13) Incarnation as Narasimha:
Srihari, who dispels all the fears experienced by Devatas, incarnated as Narasimha. With his eyebrows that were rolling in intense anger and with His fierce teeth, the Lord appeared to create fear in both Devatas and demons. Laughing violently in a frenzied manner, while holding a club in His hand, he caught the demon king Hiranyakashipu who was about to pounce on him. Placing the demon-king on his thighs, the Lord tore open his stomach and killed him.
14) Srihari, the savior of Elephant Gajendra:
A very powerful crocodile caught the leg of Elephant-king Gajendra and began to pull him into the deep waters of the lake. Unable to withstand the pain, Gajendra held a lotus in his trunk and called out to the Supreme Lord, “O Adi Puruśa! O Lord of the universe! Singing Your glories purifies the living beings. Merely by listening to Your divine names, the living beings are blessed with auspiciousness.” He prayed fervently.
The Supreme Lord who holds the discus in His hand and who otherwise is beyond the reach of the senses and intellect was overcome with compassion when the pleas of Gajendra, who had surrendered to Him completely, fell upon His ears. Forthwith he mounted Garuda, the king of birds and arrived to help Gajendra, who was in great distress. Using his discus he shred the mouth of that crocodile into pieces. He caught hold of the elephants’ trunk and pulled him out and thus saved him.
15) Incarnation as Vamana:
Srihari incarnated as Vamana, the son of the couple- Aditi and Kashyapa. Although Vamana was the youngest amongst all the children of Aditi, in qualities he was the best. When Emperor Bali Chakravarti was conducting a Yagna, Vamana approached him and accepted from him, 3 feet land in charity. Immediately Vamana, in 3 steps, measured all the 3 planes of existence and on this pretext of seeking 3 feet of land, took away from Bali his entire kingdom.
In this deed of Vamana a profound teaching is hidden. Even the most efficient person finds it impossible to dislodge another person who is treading the path of good conduct (sanmarga) without begging from that person. This should be clearly understood.
O Nārada! With full reverence, Bali washed the feet of the all-pervading Lord who was in the form of Vamana and sprinkled that water upon his head. At that moment Bali felt that even the position of Indra (Lord of heaven) was trivial in front of this rare opportunity. In fact, as soon as Bali promised to give Vamana the 3 feet of land, his Guru Sukracharya intervened and objected. In various ways he tried to dissuade Bali from giving this land in charity. In his effort to dissuade Bali, Śukracharya went to the extent of stating that going against a given promise was perfectly acceptable. Yet Bali could not be deterred from the promise that he had given. He devotedly washed the feet of Vamana. When the Lord asked for a place to keep his 3rd foot, Bali offered his own body. With this deed he became a Mahatma.
16) Incarnation as Hamsa:
O Nārada! Lord Srihari, supremely pleased with your intense devotion, incarnated as Hamsa. In an understandable and clear manner, He preached to you the Bhagawata dharma that imparts the knowledge about the path of devotion (bhakti-yoga) as well as about the form of the Self. Those devotees who have sought refuge under Lord Vasudeva easily grasp this Bhagawata dharma.
17) Incarnation as Manu:
In each and every period of creation, Lord Srihari incarnates as Manu and protects all descendents of that lineage. Spreading His unchallengeable radiance in all directions like a discus, He zealously nourishes and protects all living begins. It is not limited to this! He punishes the evil and wicked demons and through His innumerable accomplishments makes his name known not only in these three planes of existence, but also in the supreme plane known as Satya-loka.
18) Incarnation as Dhanvantari:
The Supreme Lord incarnated in this world as Dhanvantari and obtained limitless fame. Merely by chanting the name ‘Dhanvantari’ even the most severe and deadliest diseases get quickly cured. He gifted the Devatas with nectar (amrita), and with an eternal life that is free from old-age and death. He also earned back the share of offerings in the Yagna, which had been stolen from him earlier. He preached the knowledge of Ayurveda in this world.
19) Incarnation as Paraśurama:
Once upon a time those belonging to the warrior clan (kshatriya) began to despise the Lord and having deviated from the path of the Vedas they were about to land in hell. Due to this unfortunate situation, the kshatriyas, who had become impediments to the society, had to be destroyed completely. In that situation, the Supreme Lord incarnated as Paraśurama. Holding in his hand a long and sharp axe, the mighty Paraśurama travelled around the globe 21 times killing all the evil kshatriyas.
20) Incarnation as Rama:
In showering blessings upon us all, Srihari is always happy. This Lord of illusion incarnated, in the Ikshwāku dynasty, as Rama, together with his brothers, all of whom were aspects of His incarnation.