One of the Trimurti (the holy trinity of Hindu gods), he is the Preserver, protecting the world. When needed, he descends to Earth as an avatar, or incarnation. Nine have appeared so far: Matsya, Kurma (tortoise), Varah (boar), Narasimha (man-lion), Vamana (dwarf), Parashurama, Rama, Krishna, and Buddha. A tenth, Kalki, will appear with a flaming sword to save humans from the darkness. Some cult followers worship him as Narayana, the primal being. He has dark blue skin, rides with the eagle Garuna, and sits on the snake Shesha. His symbols are the conch, disc, club, and lotus; his chief wives are Lakshmi and Bhu (the Earth). Kama, the god of love, may be his son.