The Ten Incarnations of Lord Vishnu
In Puranic lore, Vishnu is the preserver of the universe and the cosmic order. The Dasha Avatar is the Puranic story of the ten incarnations of Vishnu who descends to the terrestrial world to establish stability and order, time and again. The avatars occur in a sequence ? the first was matsya or fish representing life in water, followed by kurma or turtle signifying life in water and on land, then varaha or boar alluding to terrestrial life and so on.
The sequence of the avatars could be taken to symbolise various stages in the evolution of life culminating in the advent of the perfect being.