Hindus were well aware of the theory of evolution some 4000-5000 years before Charles Darwin. This is attested by the Vishnu avatars (nine incarnations of God as Vishnu), which can be seen in many Hindu temples throughout India and in Hindu literature.
The nine Vishnu avatars are as follows, in the exact same sequence as they appear in the Puranas (dating at least 5,000 years back). Observe that each avatar represents an advancement in the evolutionary ladder that parallels the theory of evolution proposed by modern science:
- Matsya – the fish (water borne)
- Kurma – the tortoise (reptiles, amphibians)
- Varaha – the boar (mammal)
- Narasimha – the half man, half lion (ape man/pre-hominid)
- Vamana – the dwarf (australopithecus, cave man)
- Parasurama – depicted as a man with an ax (homo erectus, neanderthals, hunter/gatherer/tools)
- Rama – the evolved/civilized man (homo sapien)
- Krishna – the enlightened/advanced intellectual man (homo sapien sapien)
- Buddha – the enlightened/compassionate man (seated in Self-Awareness)
- Kalkin – the next logical evolution of man. It is said to transcend man (i.e. it is not as much as a man, but a collective consciousness). Nevertheless often anthropomorphised as “the restorer” – to appear towards end of Kali Yuga. Think of it this way: when the pendulum swings, and reaches it peak, it starts to swing the other way – devolution. It goes with the Hindu concept that everything functions in cycles.
An important point to take away from this, is that Krishna or Buddha for example, in this context, do not refer to the actual Krishna or Buddha but representations of that stage of evolution.
Also important to note is that, though 1 to 10 shows evolution, the percentage of more evolved people is less and less as you go from 1 to 10. The is caused by technology which is outstripping mans own evolution to keep up with the knowledge/power it enables.
In other words, much of mankind today is still at the Parasurama stage (very Neanderthal in their ability to solve problems and conflicts). A few are in the Rama stage (civilized, practical, family unit as basic building block of society, problem solving using discussion/debates). Even fewer are in the Krishna stage (intellectual/wisdom, long-term planning and problem solving, capable of abstract thought). And less than 1 in a couple of million are in Buddha stage (higher wisdom/enlightened).
When man’s evolution reaches an impasse and then starts devolving instead of evolving… then it will collapse on itself. Man will be in the Kalkin stage — self-destructive, to the point that there will be a handful of human beings in the Krishna/Buddha stage (represented collectively as the Kalkin avatar), that will be their only saving grace from total annihilation. Such, as by bringing in spirituality in its most broadest, most open, and most encompassing form: yoga in some form or the other (meditation, devotion, knowledge, service, etc). To do this on such scale when corruption of society is at its peak, requires a person of such stature harnessing tremendous spiritual energy. The Kalkin Avatar: not just one Krishna/Buddha, but a collective conscious of many such Krishnas/Buddhas.
A glimpse of that is already seen today in its very infant stage: the collective increase in number of people engaging in yoga. Again, the emphasis is to be laid on the actuator which is: yoga. That is, not the gurus themselves, the Buddha, nor the Kalkin Avatar. They are just the instruments for delivery.