Avatar, a Sanskrit word, signifying " a descending," usually applied in a religious sense, and in reference to the incarnation of the Hindoo deities. Whence the doctrine of the avatar is derived is a point that has received no satisfactory solution. The most important avatars of Vishnu, one of the persons of the Hindoo trinity, are: 1, that of the fish, in which he preserved Manu, the first man, during a deluge; 2, the tortoise, when Vishnu supported the earth while the gods and the Asuras extracted the immortal drink (amrita) from the sea; 3, the boar, in which he slew the chief of the Asuras, the opponents of the gods; 4, the lion-man, in which he killed the deceased Asura chief's brother; 5, the dwarf, in which form he played a trick on King Bali, of whom he asked as much ground as he could measure in three strides, and the king having granted the request, the god, at once manifesting himself, strode over earth, air, and heaven; 6, the man Parasurama, the son of Jamadagni and Renuka, when he rescued the Brahmans from the tyranny of the Kshatriyas; 7, Rama, the son of King Dasaratha, when he destroyed various demons by exploits described in the Sanskrit epic of Ramayana; 8, Krishna, the greatest of the avatars, when he assisted the family of the Pandavas against the Kooroos, and conquered the wicked of the earth - the subject of the Mahabharata; 9, Buddha, in which he persuaded the Asuras, the ancient enemies of the gods, to abandon their faith in the Vedas; 10, Kalki, the name of the avatar of Vishnu when he shall come again to restore peace and purity on earth.