Basic Study of Hindu Religion
Many Avatharas - Manifestations of God
How they do not contradict but complement each other in Practice
 
Manifestations of the Unmanifest Supreme Brahmam
Avatharas of Paramathama to uplift the Jeevathma
Often a question arises in our mind that, if the Vedas teach us of One God, why do we have several images as different "Gods". Are they one and the same? Do these `gods' just represent people who once lived on this earth in ancient times, very much like us amongst our ancestors and are raised to a high position for prayers? The earliest verses of Rig Veda, later Vedantha theories of Vyasa Maharishi and Sankara's Advitha Philosophy teach us of One God as Paramathma who is unmanifest and all the Jeevathma or Souls of all created beings including humans, animals and plants and all inanimate objects of universe. They are considered as part of this Universal soul of Paramathma or the unmanifest Divine in His manifest form. The concept of Avathara is explained in all the Agamas, Ithihasas and Puranas. As the religious Dharma is practiced over the years, some amount of lust and greed occurs among the people with the decline of wisdom and peace, and injustice prevails over righteousness. This is the time, when God, as Creator and Preserver, wishing to ensure the continuance of this Universe, incarnate Himself in various forms through his Yogamaya.

Some of the other theories like those of Dwaitha, Panchrathra Agama and the followers of Vaishnava Sampradhaya believe that Paramathma is never Nirguna or unmanifest. He is actually manifest but not comprehensible. Sri Vasudeva or Narayana is the Savisesha Brahmam or Iswara who takes the various forms to be understandable for our prayers. Similarly, Saivas according to their Agamas, believe Siva as the Supreme God, as Nirguna Siva in the form of Sat-Chit-Ananda. He created the Universe and is the cause and effect of all beings with all His grace, force and energy. Sakthas worship Sakthi as the Supreme Deity, as the Mother of the universe, who created the world and all the forms of Gods for our worship. They consider Sakthi as the dynamic force of Brahmam and the Creative energy or Force behind Siva in His manifestations. Smarthas perform Vedic rituals to 'Devas'and perform prayers to Siva, Sakthi and Vishnu and to their various manifestations as "Ishtadevatha" at home.

 
 

One God in Many Forms as Our Choice
Are Gods Incarnations or Superhumans

Many historians and modern day religious researchers are quick to "prove" that these "gods" were ordinary people who were living in this society in ancient times and were popular by their social service. They were remembered through monuments, marker stones and statues in Temples, with prayers being offered to them as "Gods". They often quote other Religious and Mythological stories and historical events to support their theory. Do they really represent God Himself or just a fiction? The Puranas with various manifestations of God through the ages may appear as mere fictional stories to a Tamasic person with ignorance and limited knowledge. The Rajasic persons with their avidya or false knowledge consider them as ordinary people with super human powers who have been elevated with fame to the levels of Divine. The Knowledgeable Satthvic person with true understanding of the teachings realizes that the various Deities described are truly manifestation of the Divine. He only knows that God Himself takes these forms from time to time as His incarnations to protect the pious, to destroy the evil and to save the world from calamity and what is told in "Mythology" is true and factual narration of historical events.

The concept of Avathara is explained in all the Agamas, Ithihasas and Puranas. Avathara or Divine Manifestation is the descent of God on earth for the ascent of man, with the establishment of rule and spiritual discipline. The Bhagavathas followed Panchrathra Agamas, with prayers to God as Vasudeva. It greatly emphasized the doctrine of Avathara and popularized the immortal texts of Harivamsa, Vishnu Purana and Bhagavatha Purana. They were based on God's Grace to erring humanity. Similarly, Saiva Agamas and Sakthi Agamas gave rise to the several Puranas and the many manifestations of God. Worship of Deities in these Avatharas and studying their texts helps to get high spiritual attainment and God-realization. Swami Sivananda says: "Worship the Avatharas at all times with all your heart and all your mind. Glorify Him in your heart and keep Him ever in your Thoughts. He will soon reveal Himself to you and you will feel His presence. This will lead on to attaining immortality and eternal bliss."

 
Pranav Manthra - OM
The Meaning and the Significance
Sri Ganesha Avathar
Principles of Ganesha Pooja
 
Devotional Paths of Prayers & Rituals
Thank You
Bhakthi Paths [ Devotion to God]
Pooja Lessons - 01 ; - 03 ; - 05 . Slokas
Home Pooja methods & Slokas
Practice of Daily Rituals [Prayers]
Hindu Festivals : Siva Raathri, Dasara

Hindu Religion: : A Basic study