By Subhash Marathe

This article is second in the series of articles on the concept of Avatars

WHY DOES GOD TAKE AVATARS?

The purpose of the Vedas is to establish such principles under the order of the Supreme Lord, and the Lord directly orders, at the end of the Gita, that the highest principle of religion is to surrender unto Him only, and nothing more. The Vedic principles push one towards complete surrender unto Him; and whenever such principles are disturbed by the demoniac, the Lord appears. 

From the Bhagavatam we understand that Lord Buddha is the incarnation of Krishna who appeared when materialism was rampant and materialists were using the pretext of the authority of the Vedas. Although there are certain restrictive rules and regulations regarding animal sacrifice for particular purposes in the Vedas, people of demonic tendency still took to animal sacrifice without reference to the Vedic principles. Lord Buddha appeared to stop this nonsense and to establish the Vedic principles of nonviolence. Therefore each and every avatar, or incarnation of the Lord, has a particular mission, and they are all described in the revealed scriptures. No one should be accepted as an avatar unless he is referred to by scriptures. It is not a fact that the Lord appears only on Indian soil. He can manifest Himself anywhere and everywhere, and whenever He desires to appear. In each and every incarnation, He speaks as much aboutreligion as can be understood by the particular people under their particular circumstances. But the mission is the same-to lead people to God consciousness and obedience to the principles of religion.
Sometimes He descends personally, and sometimes He sends His bona fide representative in the form of His son, or servant, or Himself in some disguised form.

OBJECTIONS TO GOD ASSUMING A FORM

Some people think that “form” necessarily means “limitation”. God is omnipresent, unlimited and therefore formless, they argue. When He reveals His avatar form within this material world, that form being limited to a particular place and time, cannot be the real God. It is only an indication of God. But the fact is that it is not God’s form that is limited. It is only our conception of the form that is limited, because that conception is grossly physical. Being spiritual, it is the most subtle. There is no contradiction between the omnipresence of something subtle and its having form. The most subtle material phenomena we can perceive is sound. Sound may be formless (as noise) or it may have form (as music). Because sound is subtle, its having form does not affect its ability to pervade a huge building. Similarly, God’s having form does not affect His ability to pervade the entire universe. Since God’s form is finer than the finest material subtlety, it is completely inappropriate for us to compare His form to gross hunks of matter.

To be continued…

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