According to the Hindu religious scholars and pundits, there are several shades and senses of meaning of the esteemed term avatar within the Hindu Dharma. It is to be highly noted that Purusha avatars are largely described as the original or the initial avatars of Vishnu within the said Universe. They are Vasudeva, Sankarshana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha.
Guna Avatars are the personalities of the Trimurti (Hindu trinity) mainly because of their esteemed roles of controlling and managing the three modes (gunas) of nature. In the general sense of the term “avatar”, they have not directly or indirectly descended upon an earthly planet in any manner. They are
- Lord Vishnu who is known as controller of the mode of goodness (sattva)
- Lord Brahma who is known as controller of the mode of passion and desire (rajas)
- Lord Shiva who is known as controller of the mode of ignorance (tamas)
Those who are largely beings responsible for creating successfully progeny throughout the Universe is known as Manvantara avatars. These avatars are said to be unlimited numbers in Hinduism.
According to the local legends and pundits, “during the hundred years of Brahmā’s life, there was 504,000 manvantara-avatāras.”(Śrī Caitanya Caritāmrita Madhya 20.322) Then there are Shaktyavesa and Avesa avatars plus the Avataric incarnations are largely classified as two kinds, they are direct (sakshat) and indirect (avesa).
Most of the Hindu religious scholars and pundits plus devotees have good knowledge regarding all the main Avatars of Lord Vishnu and other major and minor Lords and deities of Hindu religion to a great extend.