Hayagriva spelt Hayagreeva, is a horse-headed avatar of the Lord Vishnu in Hinduism. In Hinduism, Lord Hayagriva is an avatar of Lord Vishnu, he is worshipped as the god of knowledge and wisdom, with a human body and a horse's head, brilliant white in color, with white garments and seated on a white lotus. Symbolically, the story represents the triumph of pure knowledge, guided by the hand of God, over the demonic forces of passion and darkness. Origins about the worship of Hayagriva have been researched, some of the early evidences dates back to 2,000 BCE, when people worshipped the horse for its speed, intelligence. Hayagriva is one of the prominent deities in Vaishnava tradition, his blessings are sought. Special worship is conducted on the day of the full moon in August and on Mahanavami, the ninth day of the Navaratri festival, he is hailed as "Hayasirsa". Hayaśirṣa means haya = śirṣa = Head. In IASTjñānānandamayaṃ devaṃ nirmalasphaṭikākṛtiṃādhāraṃ sarvavidyānāṃ hayagrīvaṃ upāsmahe In Devanāgarī ज्ञानानन्दमयं देवं निर्मलस्फटिकाकृतिं आधारं सर्वविद्यानां हयग्रीवं उपास्महे This verse is from the Pañcarātra Agamas but is now popularly prefixed to the Hayagriva Stotram of the 13th-century poet-philosopher Vedanta Desika.
It is popular among devotees of Hayagrīva. Vedanta Desika's dhyāna-śloka on Hayagrīva typifies this deity's depiction in Hindu iconography: He has four hands, with one in the mode of bestowing knowledge, his beauty, like fresh cut crystal, is an auspicious brilliance. May this Lord of speech who showers such cooling rays of grace on me be forever manifest in my heart! In the Mahavairocana-sutra translated and copied in 1796 by I-hsing it says: “Beneath the buddhas is Hayagriva, his body is the color of the sun at dawn. He wears flaming effulgence and skulls as a garland, his nails are sharp. His hair is that of a burning lion’s mane, he is awesomely powerful and fierce! This is the fierce Vidyaraja of the Lotus section, he is just like a horse-jewel of a Cakravartin that wanders the four continents and never does he rest, having all the great and terrible force of all the buddhas’. This is his nature, therefore he possesses this terrible and all-mighty light. Amidst the greatest obstacles of death and evil he is without the slightest care for his own welfare, his conspicuous and uncommon gallantry and wrath is legendary among the gods, therefore he and vanquishes all who oppose him!
Many others submit to him at first sight! This is because though he is terrible. -- Hayagrīva Stotram, v.32 Later on Hayagriva is referred to as the “Horse necked one”, Defender of faith”, the “Terrible executioner”, the “Excellent Horse”, the “Aerial horse”. This said, the Horse Avatar of Lord Vishnu is seen as pulling the sun up to the heavens every day, bringing light to darkness. Hayagriva’s consort is Marichi, the goddess of the rising sun, more the sun’s light, the life force of all things, and, seen as the female aspect of Hayagriva. Marichi represents the essence of the power of creation of the cosmos. Whereas Hayagriva represents the other male aspect. In several other sources he is a white horse. In others such as the great epic Taraka-battle where the gods are fallen on and attacked by the Danava’s, Vishnu appears as a great ferocious warrior called Hayagriva when he comes to their aid, it says. There are many other references to Hayagriva throughout the Mahabharata, it is said that Vishnu comes from battle as a conqueror in the magnificent mystic form of the great and terrible Hayagriva.
The verda’s made up his shape, his body built of all the great gods. Agni was his tongue, the goddess Satya his speech, while his knees were formed by the Maruts and Varuna. Having assumed this form, an awesome wonder to behold to the gods, he vanquished the asura, cast them down, with eyes that were red with anger.” Invariably, Hayagriva is depicted seated, most with his right hand either blessing the supplicant or in the vyākhyā mudrā pose of teaching. The right hand usually holds a akṣa-mālā, indicating his identification with meditative knowledge, his left holds a book. His face is always peaceful, if not smiling. Unlike his Buddhist counterpart, there is no hint of a fearsome side in the Hindu description of this deity. Indeed, the two deities seem to be unrelated to one another. Hayagriva is sometimes worshiped in a solitary pose of meditation, as in temple in Thiruvanthipuram; this form is known as Yoga-Hayagriva. However, he is most worshipped along with his consort Lakshmi and is known as Lakshmi-Hayagriva.
Hayagriva in this form is the presiding deity of Mysore's Parakala Mutt, a significant Sri Vaishnavism monastic institution. A legend has it that during the creation, the demons Madhu-Kaitabha stole the Vedas from Brahma, Vishnu took the Hay
Rama or Ram known as Ramachandra, is a major deity of Hinduism. He is the seventh avatar of the god Vishnu, one of his most popular incarnations along with Krishna and Gautama Buddha. In Rama-centric traditions of Hinduism, he is considered the Supreme Being. Rama was born to Dasharatha in Ayodhya, the ruler of the Kingdom of Kosala, his siblings included Lakshmana and Shatrughna. He married Sita. Though born in a royal family, their life is described in the Hindu texts as one challenged by unexpected changes such as an exile into impoverished and difficult circumstances, ethical questions and moral dilemmas. Of all their travails, the most notable is the kidnapping of Sita by demon-king Ravana, followed by the determined and epic efforts of Rama and Lakshmana to gain her freedom and destroy the evil Ravana against great odds; the entire life story of Rama and their companions allegorically discusses duties and social responsibilities of an individual. It illustrates dharmic living through model characters.
Rama is important to Vaishnavism. He is the central figure of the ancient Hindu epic Ramayana, a text popular in the South Asian and Southeast Asian cultures, his ancient legends have attracted bhasya and extensive secondary literature and inspired performance arts. Two such texts, for example, are the Adhyatma Ramayana – a spiritual and theological treatise considered foundational by Ramanandi monasteries, the Ramcharitmanas – a popular treatise that inspires thousands of Ramlila festival performances during autumn every year in India. Rama legends are found in the texts of Jainism and Buddhism, though he is sometimes called Pauma or Padma in these texts, their details vary from the Hindu versions. Rāma is a Vedic Sanskrit word with two contextual meanings. In one context as found in Arthavaveda, states Monier Monier-Williams, it means "dark, dark-colored, black" and is related to the term ratri which means night. In another context as found in other Vedic texts, the word means "pleasing, charming, lovely".
The word is sometimes used as a suffix in different Indian languages and religions, such as Pali in Buddhist texts, where -rama adds the sense of "pleasing to the mind, lovely" to the composite word. Rama as a first name appears in the Vedic literature, associated with two patronymic names – Margaveya and Aupatasvini – representing different individuals. A third individual named Rama Jamadagnya is the purported author of hymn 10.110 of the Rigveda in the Hindu tradition. The word Rama appears in ancient literature in reverential terms for three individuals: Parashu-rama, as the sixth avatar of Vishnu, he is linked to the Rama Jamadagnya of the Rigveda fame. Rama-chandra, as the seventh avatar of Vishnu and of the ancient Ramayana fame. Bala-rama called Halayudha, as the elder brother of Krishna both of whom appear in the legends of Hinduism and Jainism; the name Rama appears in Hindu texts, for many different scholars and kings in mythical stories. The word appears in ancient Upanishads and Aranyakas layer of Vedic literature, as well as music and other post-Vedic literature, but in qualifying context of something or someone, "charming, lovely" or "darkness, night".
The Vishnu avatar named Rama is known by other names. He is called Raghava. Additional names of Rama include Ramavijaya, Phreah Ream, Phra Ram, Megat Seri Rama, Raja Bantugan, Ramar. In the Vishnu sahasranama, Rama is the 394th name of Vishnu. In some Advaita Vedanta inspired texts, Rama connotes the metaphysical concept of Supreme Brahman, the eternally blissful spiritual Self in whom yogis delight nondualistically; the root of the word Rama is ram- which means "stop, stand still, rejoice, be pleased". According to Douglas Adams, the Sanskrit word Rama is found in other Indo-European languages such as Tocharian ram, reme, *romo- where it means "support, make still", "witness, make evident"; the sense of "dark, soot" appears in other Indo European languages, such as *remos or Old English romig. This summary is a traditional legendary account, based on literary details from the Ramayana and other historic mythology-containing texts of Buddhism and Jainism. According to Sheldon Pollock, the figure of Rama incorporates more ancient "morphemes of Indian myths", such as the mythical legends of Bali and Namuci.
The ancient sage Valmiki used these morphemes in his Ramayana similes as in sections 3.27, 3.59, 3.73, 5.19 and 29.28. Rama was born on the ninth day of the lunar month Chaitra, a day celebrated across India as Ram Navami; this coincides with one of the four Navratri on the Hindu calendar, in the spring season, namely the Vasantha Navratri. The ancient epic Ramayana states in the Balakhanda that Rama and his brothers were born to Kaushalya and Dasharatha in Ayodhya, a city on the banks of Sarayu River; the Jain versions of the Ramayana, such as the Paumacariya by Vimalasuri mention the details of the early life of Rama. The Jain texts are dated variously, but pre-500 CE, most sometime within the first five centuries of the common era. Dasharatha was the king of Kosala, a part of the solar dynasty of Iksvakus, his mother's name Kaushalya implies that she was from Kosala. The kingdom of Kosala is mentioned in Buddhist and Jaina texts, as one of the sixteen Maha janapadas of ancient India, as an important center of pilgrimage for Jains and Buddhists.
However, there is a schola
In monotheistic thought, God is conceived of as the supreme being, creator deity, principal object of faith. The conceptions of God, as described by theologians include the attributes of omniscience, omnipresence, as having an eternal and necessary existence. Depending on one's kind of theism, these attributes are used either in way of analogy, or in a literal sense as distinct properties. God is most held to be incorporeal. Incorporeality and corporeality of God are related to conceptions of transcendence and immanence of God, with positions of synthesis such as the "immanent transcendence". Psychoanalyst Carl Jung equated religious ideas of God with transcendental aspects of consciousness in his interpretation; some religions describe God without reference to gender, while others or their translations use sex-specific terminology. Judaism attributes only a grammatical gender to God, using terms such as "Him" or "Father" for convenience. God has been conceived as either impersonal. In theism, God is the creator and sustainer of the universe, while in deism, God is the creator, but not the sustainer, of the universe.
In pantheism, God is the universe itself. In atheism, there is an absence of belief in God. In agnosticism, the existence of God is deemed unknowable. God has been conceived as the source of all moral obligation, the "greatest conceivable existent". Many notable philosophers have developed arguments against the existence of God. Monotheists refer to their gods using names prescribed by their respective religions, with some of these names referring to certain cultural ideas about their god's identity and attributes. In the ancient Egyptian era of Atenism the earliest recorded monotheistic religion, this deity was called Aten, premised on being the one "true" Supreme Being and creator of the universe. In the Hebrew Bible and Judaism, Adonai, YHWH and other names are used as the names of God. Yahweh and Jehovah, possible vocalizations of YHWH, are used in Christianity. In the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, coexisting in three "persons", is called the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. In Islam, the name Allah is used, while Muslims have a multitude of titular names for God.
In Hinduism, Brahman is considered a monistic concept of God. In Chinese religion, Shangdi is conceived as the progenitor of the universe, intrinsic to it and bringing order to it. Other religions have names for the concept, for instance, Baha in the Bahá'í Faith, Waheguru in Sikhism, Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa in Balinese Hinduism, Ahura Mazda in Zoroastrianism; the many different conceptions of God, competing claims as to God's characteristics and actions, have led to the development of ideas of omnitheism, pandeism, or a perennial philosophy, which postulates that there is one underlying theological truth, of which all religions express a partial understanding, as to which "the devout in the various great world religions are in fact worshipping that one God, but through different, overlapping concepts". The earliest written form of the Germanic word God comes from the 6th-century Christian Codex Argenteus; the English word itself is derived from the Proto-Germanic * ǥuđan. The reconstructed Proto-Indo-European form * ǵhu-tó-m was based on the root * ǵhau-, which meant either "to call" or "to invoke".
The Germanic words for God were neuter—applying to both genders—but during the process of the Christianization of the Germanic peoples from their indigenous Germanic paganism, the words became a masculine syntactic form. In the English language, capitalization is used for names by which a god is known, including'God'; the capitalized form of god is not used for multiple gods or when used to refer to the generic idea of a deity. The English word God and its counterparts in other languages are used for any and all conceptions and, in spite of significant differences between religions, the term remains an English translation common to all; the same holds for Hebrew El, but in Judaism, God is given a proper name, the tetragrammaton YHWH, in origin the name of an Edomite or Midianite deity, Yahweh. In many translations of the Bible, when the word LORD is in all capitals, it signifies that the word represents the tetragrammaton. Allāh is the Arabic term with no plural used by Muslims and Arabic speaking Christians and Jews meaning "The God", while "ʾilāh" is the term used for a deity or a god in general.
God may be given a proper name in monotheistic currents of Hinduism which emphasize the personal nature of God, with early references to his name as Krishna-Vasudeva in Bhagavata or Vishnu and Hari. Ahura Mazda is the name for God used in Zoroastrianism. "Mazda", or rather the Avestan stem-form Mazdā-, nominative Mazdå, reflects Proto-Iranian *Mazdāh. It is taken to be the proper name of the spirit, like its Sanskrit cognate medhā, means "intelligence" or "wisdom". Both the Avestan and Sanskrit words reflect Proto-Indo-Iranian *mazdhā-, from Proto-Indo-European mn̩sdʰeh1 meaning "placing one's mind", hence "wise". Waheguru is a term most used in Sikhism to refer to God, it means "Wonderful Teacher" in the Punjabi language. Vāhi means "wonderful" and guru is a term denoting "teacher". Waheguru is described by some as an experience of ecstasy, beyond all descriptions; the most common usage of the word "Waheguru" is in the greeting Sikhs use with each other: Baha, the "greates
The hamsa is an aquatic bird of passage, such as a goose or a swan. Its icon is used in Indian and Southeast Asian culture as a spiritual symbol and a decorative element, it is believed by Hindus to be the vahana of Brahma, Gayatri and Vishvakarma. Monier Williams translates the term from Sanskrit as "goose, swan, flamingo, or other aquatic bird of passage"; the word is used for a mythical or poetical bird with knowledge. In the Rig Veda, it is the bird, able to separate Soma from water, when mixed. In Indian philosophical literature, hamsa represents the individual soul or spirit, or the "Universal Soul or Supreme Spirit"; the word Hamsa is cognate with Latin "anser", Greek "χήν", German "Gans", English "goose", Spanish "ganso" and Russian "гусь". Jean Vogel, in 1952, questioned if hamsa is indeed swan, because according to Dutch ornithologists GC Junge and ED van Oort he consulted, swans were rare in modern India while the Indian Goose were common. According to Vogel and Indian scholars may have preferred translating hamsa in Sanskrit text as swan because the indigenous goose appears plump while the swan appears more graceful.
Paul Johnsgard, in 2010, has stated that mute swan do migrate to northwestern Himalayan region of India every winter, migrating some 1000 miles each way. The British ornithologist Peter Scott, in his Key to the Wildfowl of the World, states that northwestern India is one of the winter migration homes for mute swan, the others being Korea and Black Sea. Grewal and Pfister, in 2003, identified large swaths of northwestern India and northeastern Pakistan Kashmir and parts of south Pakistan as winter habitats of mute swans; the Sanskrit and Pali languages, both have alternate words for goose such as Jalapada, Cakragki, Majjugamana and others. Dave states that the hymns of Rigveda, verses in Hindu Epics and Puranas mention a variety of birds with the root of hamsa, such as Maha-hamsa, Raj-hamsa, Kal-hamsa and others, most of which relate to various species of swans mute swan, while some refer to geese. Dave's identification is based on the details provided in the Sanskrit texts about the changes in plumage over the bird's life, described voice, migratory habits, courtship rituals and flying patterns.
Some Sanskrit texts, states Dave, distinguish between Hamsa and Kadamb, the former being swan and latter as bar-headed goose. However, the earliest art in India, up until the early colonial period, does not depict swans, but rather birds that resemble the Anser indicus. Hence, the birds painted at the Ajanta Caves in the depiction of the Hamsa Jataka resemble the Anser indicus, which are famous for their yearly migration into the Himalayas; the hamsa, or the swan, is identified with the Supreme Spirit, Ultimate Reality or Brahman in Hinduism. The flight of the hamsa symbolizes the release from the cycle of samsara; the hamsa is the vahana of Saraswati – the goddess of knowledge and creative arts, her husband Brahma – the god with powers of creation, in Hindu trinity and his other wife Gayatri - the goddess of vedas, one of Adi shakti and her other husband Vishvakarma - the god of Architect. Lake Manasarovar in Hindu mythology, is seen as the summer abode of the hamsa. Poetical images are derived from the flight of the swans to that lake in the Himalayas.
During pranayama, a yogic exercise of breath control, hamsa came to epitomize the prana, the breath of life. In view of the association of a hamsa with several attributes as indicated above, Hindu rishi and sadhu have been given the title of paramhamsa, that is, the supreme hamsa, it connotes a particular person. For example, Paramahamsa Upanishad calls that Yogi a Paramhamsa, neither opinionated nor affected by defamation, nor jealous, not a show off, is humble, is oblivious to all the human frailties, he is immune to the existence of his body. He is beyond false lives realizing the Brahman. In chapter 3, the Paramhamsa Upanished states that the one who understands the difference between "staff of knowledge" and "staff of wood", is a Paramahamsa. Hamsa, or Hansa, are part of Indian mythology. Arayanna, or heavenly hamsa, are said to live in Manasasaras in the Himalayas, they are mentioned in the Ramayana. Hamsa, the swan, is part of the mythical love story of Nala and Damayanti, where it carries the stories, historical information and messages between the two strangers.
In Indian mythology, it is said to eat separate milk from water from a mixture of both. The hamsa was used extensively in the art of Gandhara, in conjunction with images of the Shakyamuni Buddha, it is deemed sacred in the Buddhadharma. The name in other languages in which it is culturally important are Hindi: hans, Tamil: அன்னப்பறவை; the hintha is depicted in Burmese art, considered to be "swan" in its mythology, has been adopted as the symbol of the Mon people. Vahana History of Buddhism History of Hinduism Lake Manasarovar Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend by Anna Dallapiccola Deussen, Paul. Sixty Upanishads of the Veda. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-8120814677. Olivelle, Patrick; the Samnyasa Upanisads. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195070453
Prithu is a sovereign, named in the Vedic scriptures of ancient India. According to Hindu mythology, he is an Avatar of the preserver god—Vishnu, he is called Pruthu and Prithu Vainya Prithu — the son of Vena. Prithu is "celebrated as the first consecrated king, from whom the earth received her name Prithvi." He is associated with the legend of his chasing the earth goddess, who fled in the form of a cow and agreed to yield her milk as the world's grain and vegetation. The epic Mahabharata and text Vishnu Purana describes him as a part Avatar of Vishnu; the birth of Prithu is without female intervention. Thus being a ayonija, Prithu is untouched by desire and ego and can thus control his senses to rule dutifully upholding Dharma; the Mahabharata traces Prithu's lineage from Vishnu. The Almighty Vishnu created a human named Virajas to bring order to the Humans. Virajas became an ascetic. Virajas' son was Krittimat. Krittimat's son was Kardama. Kardama's son was Ananga and Ananga's son was Atibala. Atibala called Anga, conquered the earth and ruled well.
Atibala married Mrityu's daughter and had a son named Vena. Vena's son would be Prithu; the Bhagavata Purana and Vishnu Purana tells the story of Prithu: King Vena, from the lineage of the pious Dhruva, was an evil king, who neglected Vedic rituals. Thus the rishis killed him, leaving the kingdom without an heir and in famine due to the anarchy of Vena. So, the sages churned Vena's body, out of which first appeared a dark dwarf hunter, a symbol of Vena's evil. Since the sins of Vena had gone away as the dwarf, the body was now pure. On further churning, Prithu emerged from right arm of the corpse. To end the famine by slaying the earth and getting her fruits, Prithu chased the earth who fled as a cow. Cornered by Prithu, the earth states that killing her would mean the end of his subjects too. So Prithu reasoned with the earth and promised her to be her guardian. Prithu milked her using Manu as a calf, received all vegetation and grain as her milk, in his hands for welfare of humanity. Before Prithu's reign, there was "no cultivation, no pasture, no agriculture, no highway for merchants", all civilization emerged in Prithu's rule.
By granting life to the earth and being her protector, Prithu became the Earth's father and she accepted the patronymic name "Prithvi". However, the Manu Smriti considers Prithvi as Prithu's wife and not his daughter, thus suggests the name "Prithvi" is named after her husband, Prithu; the Vayu Purana records that when born, Prithu stood with a bow, arrows and an armour, ready to destroy the earth, devoid of Vedic rituals. Terrified, the earth fled in form of a cow and submitted to Prithu's demands, earning him the title chakravartin. Prithu is the first king, recorded to earn the title; the creator-god Brahma is described to have recognized Prithu as an avatar of Vishnu, as one of Prithu's birthmark was Vishnu's chakram on his hand and thus Prithu was "numbered amongst the human gods". According to Oldham, the title Chakravarti may be derived from this birthmark, may not be indicative of universal dominion. Prithu was worshipped as an incarnation of Vishnu in his lifetime and now is considered a Nāga demi-god.
Shatapatha Brahmana calls him the first anointed king and Vayu Purana calls him adiraja. The epic Mahabharata states that Vishnu crowned Prithu as the sovereign and entered the latter's body so that everyone bows to the king as to god Vishnu. Now, the king was "endowed with Vishnu's greatness on earth". Further, Dharma and Artha established themselves in Prithu. Prithu became the first true king, he became a Kshatriya after he healed the Brahmanas of their wounds, inflicted by Prithu's tyrannical father, Vena. After acquiring many presents from the gods, Prithu conquered and ruled the earth as well as the Devas, Yakshas and Nagas in all glory, it was. Prithu liberated his father Vena, from the hell called Pūt, hence all sons are called Putras. Practicing detachment, Prithu ruled according to the Dandaneeti, his capital is believed to be somewhere in modern-day Haryana. Prithu used his Kshatriya power to make the earth yield its riches. Hence the earth is called daughter of Prithu. Prithu, by mere fiat of will, created millions of men, elephants and horses.
During his reign, there was no decreptitude, no calamity, no famine, no disease, no agriculture and no mining. Prithu enjoyed popularity amongst his subjects, hence all kings are called Rajas. Cows yielded buckets of rich milk. Trees and lotuses always had honey in them. People had no fear of thieves or wild animals. Nobody died of accidents. Kusha grass was golden in colour. Fruits were always sweet and ripe and nobody went hungry. People lived in caves or trees or wherever they liked. For the first time and commerce came into existence. Prithu himself made the earth even, he had divine powers of disappearing any mundane object with his mental power. His chariot could travel over land and air with complete ease. Mountains made way for Prithu on his chariot and his flagstaff was never entangled when Prithu trave
An avatar, a concept in Hinduism that means "descent", refers to the material appearance or incarnation of a deity on earth. The relative verb to "alight, to make one's appearance" is sometimes used to refer to any guru or revered human being; the word avatar does not appear in the Vedic literature, but appears in verb forms in post-Vedic literature, as a noun in the Puranic literature after the 6th century CE. Despite that, the concept of an avatar is compatible with the content of the Vedic literature like the Upanishads as it is symbolic imagery of the Saguna Brahman concept in the philosophy of Hinduism; the Rigveda describes Indra as endowed with a mysterious power of assuming any form at will. The Bhagavad Gita expounds the doctrine of Avatara but with terms other than avatar. Theologically, the term is most associated with the Hindu god Vishnu, though the idea has been applied to other deities. Varying lists of avatars of Vishnu appear in Hindu scriptures, including the ten Dashavatara of the Garuda Purana and the twenty-two avatars in the Bhagavata Purana, though the latter adds that the incarnations of Vishnu are innumerable.
The avatars of Vishnu are important in Vaishnavism theology. In the goddess-based Shaktism tradition of Hinduism, avatars of the Devi in different appearances such as Tripura Sundari and Kali are found. While avatars of other deities such as Ganesha and Shiva are mentioned in medieval Hindu texts, this is minor and occasional; the incarnation doctrine is one of the important differences between Vaishnavism and Shaivism traditions of Hinduism. Incarnation concepts similar to avatar are found in Buddhism and other religions; the scriptures of Sikhism include the names of numerous Hindu gods and goddesses, but it rejected the doctrine of savior incarnation and endorsed the view of Hindu Bhakti movement saints such as Namdev that formless eternal god is within the human heart and man is his own savior. The Sanskrit noun is derived from the Sanskrit roots ava and tṛ; these roots trace back, states Monier-Williams, to -taritum, -tarati, -rītum. Avatar means "descent, alight, to make one's appearance", refers to the embodiment of the essence of a superhuman being or a deity in another form.
The word implies "to overcome, to remove, to bring down, to cross something". In Hindu traditions, the "crossing or coming down" is symbolism, states Daniel Bassuk, of the divine descent from "eternity into the temporal realm, from unconditioned to the conditioned, from infinitude to finitude". An avatar, states Justin Edwards Abbott, is a saguna embodiment of Atman. Neither the Vedas nor the Principal Upanishads mention the word avatar as a noun; the verb roots and form, such as avatarana, do appear in ancient post-Vedic Hindu texts, but as "action of descending", but not as an incarnated person. The related verb avatarana is, states Paul Hacker, used with double meaning, one as action of the divine descending, another as "laying down the burden of man" suffering from the forces of evil. Mahesh is an avatar of Lord Vishnu; the term is most found in the context of the Hindu god Vishnu. The earliest mention of Vishnu manifested in a human form to empower the good and fight against evil, uses other terms such as the word sambhavāmi in verse 4.6 and the word tanu in verse 9.11 of the Bhagavad Gita, as well as other words such as akriti and rupa elsewhere.
It is in medieval era texts, those composed after the sixth century CE, that the noun version of avatar appears, where it means embodiment of a deity. The idea proliferates thereafter, in the Puranic stories for many deities, with ideas such as ansha-avatar or partial embodiments; the term avatar, in colloquial use, is an epithet or a word of reverence for any extraordinary human being, revered for his or her ideas. In some contexts, the term avatara just means a "landing place, site of sacred pilgrimage", or just "achieve one's goals after effort", or retranslation of a text in another language; the term avatar is not unique to Hinduism. It is found in the Trikaya doctrine of Mahayana Buddhism, in descriptions for the Dalai Lama in Tibetan Buddhism, many ancient cultures; the manifest embodiment is sometimes referred to as an incarnation. The translation of avatar as "incarnation" has been questioned by Christian theologians, who state that an incarnation is in flesh and imperfect, while avatar is mythical and perfect.
The theological concept of Christ as an incarnation, as found in Christology, presents the Christian concept of incarnation. According to Oduyoye and Vroom, this is different from the Hindu concept of avatar because avatars in Hinduism are unreal and is similar to Docetism. Sheth disagrees and states that this claim is an incorrect understanding of the Hindu concept of avatar. Avatars are true embodiments of spiritual perfection, one driven by noble goals, in Hindu traditions such as Vaishnavism; the concept of avatar within Hinduism is most associated with Vishnu, the preserver or sustainer aspect of God within the Hindu Trinity or Trimurti of Brahma and Shiva. Vishnu's avatars descend thereby restoring Dharma. Traditional Hindus see themselves not as Vaishnava, Shaiva, or Shakta; each of the deities has its own iconography and mythology, but common to all is the fact that the divine reality has an explicit form, a form that the worshipper can behold. An oft-quoted passage from the Bhagavad Gita describes the typical role of an avatar of Vishnu: The Vishnu avatars appear in Hindu mythology whenever the cosmos is in
Gaudiya Vaishnavism is a Vaishnava religious movement inspired by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in India. "Gauḍīya" refers to the Gauḍa region with Vaishnavism meaning "the worship of Vishnu or Krishna". Its theological basis is that of the Bhagavad Gītā and Bhāgavata Purāṇa as interpreted by early disciples of Chaitanya such as Sanātana Gosvāmin, Rūpa Gosvāmin, Jīva Gosvāmin, Gopala Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmin, others; the focus of Gaudiya Vaishnavism is the devotional worship of Radha and Krishna, their many divine incarnations as the supreme forms of God, Svayam Bhagavan. Most popularly, this worship takes the form of singing Radha and Krishna's holy names, such as "Hare", "Krishna" and "Rama", most in the form of the Hare Krishna known as kirtan; the movement is sometimes referred to as the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya sampradaya, referring to its traditional origins in the succession of spiritual masters believed to originate from Brahma. It classifies itself as a monotheistic tradition, seeing the many forms of Vishnu or Krishna as expansions or incarnations of the one Supreme God, adipurusha.
According to Gaudiya Vaishnava philosophy, consciousness is not a product of matter, but is instead a symptom of the soul. All living beings, are distinct from their current body - the nature of the soul being eternal and indestructible without any particular beginning or end. Souls which are captivated by the illusory nature of the world are reborn among the various species of life on this planet and on other worlds in accordance to the laws of karma and individual desire; this is consistent with the concept of samsara found throughout Hindu belief. Release from the process of samsara is believed to be achievable through a variety of spiritual practices. However, within Gaudiya Vaishnavism it is bhakti in its purest state, given as the ultimate aim, rather than liberation from the cycle of rebirth. One of the defining aspects of Gaudiya Vaishnavism is that Krishna is worshiped as the source of all Avataric incarnations of God; this is based on quotations from the Bhagavata Purana, such as "krsnāstu bhagavan svayam" "Krishna is God Himself".
A distinct part of the Gaudiya Vaishnava philosophy espoused by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the concept of Achintya Bheda Abheda, which translates to "inconceivable oneness and difference" in the context of the soul's relationship with Krishna, Krishna's relationship with his other energies. In quality, the soul is described as being identical to God, but in terms of quantity individual jivas are said to be infinitesimal in comparison to the unlimited Supreme Being; the exact nature of this relationship is inconceivable to the human mind, but can be experienced through the process of Bhakti yoga. This philosophy serves as a meeting of two opposing schools of Hindu philosophy, pure monism and pure dualism; this philosophy recapitulates the concepts of qualified nondualism practiced by the older Vedantic school Vishishtadvaita, but emphasizes the figure of Krishna over Narayana and holy sites in and around Bengal over sites in Tamil Nadu. In practice Gaudiya Vaishnava philosophy has much more in common with the dualistic schools closely following theological traditions established by Madhvacharya's Dvaita Vedanta.
The practical process of devotional life is described as bhakti-yoga. The two main elements of the bhakti-yoga process are vaidhi bhakti, devotional service through practice of rules and regulations and raganuga bhakti, taken as a higher stage of more spontaneous devotional service based on a selfless desire to please one's chosen Ishta-deva of Krishna or his associated expansions and avatars. Practicing vaidhi-bhakti with a view to cultivate prema creates eligibility for raganuga-sadhana. Both vaidhi and raganuga bhakti are based on the singing of Krishna's names. Attainment of the raganuga stage means that rules of lifestyle are no longer important and that emotions or any material activities for Krishna should not be repressed. Vaidhi-bhakti's purpose is to elevate the devotee to raganuga. Within his Siksastaka prayers, Chaitanya compares the process of bhakti-yoga to that of cleansing a dirty place of dust, wherein our consciousness is the object in need of purification; this purification takes place through the chanting and singing of Radha and Krishna's names.
The Hare Krishna is chanted and sung by practitioners on a daily basis, sometimes for many hours each day. Famously within the tradition, one of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's close associates, Haridasa Thakur, is reported to have chanted 300,000 holy names of God each day. Gaudiya Vaishnavas follow a Lacto vegetarian diet, abstaining from all types of animal flesh, including fish and eggs. Onions and garlic are avoided as they are believed to promote a more tamasic form of consciousness in the eater when taken in large quantities. Gaudiya Vaishnavas avoid the intake of caffeine, as they believe it is addictive and an intoxicant. Many Gaudiya Vaishnavas will live for at least some time in their life as monks. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was a Bengali spiritual teacher, he is believed by his devotees to be Krishna himself who appeared in the form o