Thursday, 13 December 2007

Avatar is...what??

I like watching the TV show 'Charmed' and never miss it. In today's episode there was this group called Avatars who are depicted as beyond good and evil- those with immense power and who wants a world without the unnecessary fight between good and evil.

After the show when I switched on my computer and started browsing, there were another set of Avatars waiting.

In chat rooms, forums, discussions, computer games; even Animated Avatars and talking Avatars...

In the Internet, Avatar is a visual representation of a person . It is these cute images that give or tries to give an impression about the person. It could be a picture of their own or anything which they think would represent them well in the world of Internet.

So we all know what it is , right?

But how did the word Avatar originate?

Avatar has its origin from Sanskrit. It means incarnation. In Hindu mythology Lord Vishnu, who is the protector and sustainor of life, took ten Avataras (called Dasavatara). These incarnations made at various points of time were meant to destroy evil.

  1. Matsya- Fish
  2. Koorma- Tortoise
  3. Varaha-Boar
  4. Narasimha-Half human, Half lion
  5. Vamana-The dwarf incarnation
  6. Parashurama
  7. Rama
  8. Budha (some believe it is Balarama)
  9. Krishna
  10. Kalki

The tenth incarnation, Kalki is yet to appear. It is believed that when he appears all the miseries and evil in this world will end.

Now how did the word come to be used so popularly in the Internet? I read in Wikipedia that in a book by Neal Stephenson called Snow Crash, Avatar was used to describe a human being in the virtual world. It seems that he adapted this word from a video game called Habitat. Since the book was a bestseller, Avatar became popular and soon took its present form.

If you are interested in knowing more about the stories behind the ten Avataras check this out:

(In this link there is some interesting explanation of how the Dasavatara concept runs parallel to the theory of evolution)

Please do leave ur comment..Thanks:-)


Rampantheart said...

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