Nithyananda Hindu University

Home > News

Avatars and Their Cosmic Role: Insights from Vedic Scriptures

The word ‘Avatar’ (from the Sanskrit word ‘avatarati’) means ‘one who has descended’. In this case, the word specifically refers to the one who has descended from the very fabric of the Cosmos, the universal Consciousness. The descent of Consciousness into the material embodied form with the apparent attributes of a human being is the actual descent that happens. This is a conscious descent, as it happens from the pure intelligence, compassion, and energy of the universal Consciousness, which pervades all the dimensions of space-time.

The English word ‘incarnation’ (lit. ‘one who has entered flesh’), which means one who has accepted a material body, is sometimes used as a translation for the word Avatar. However, this word does not convey the full meaning of the sacred word ‘Avatar’.

Srimad Bhagavatam, the great Vedic scripture that precisely records and reveals the happening of various Avatars of the past, present, and future, describes the Avatars in Its complete form. The description is in the words of the Avatar Sri Krishna – for who but the Avatar himself can fully grasp his own glory?

idaṁ śarīraṁ mama durvibhāvyaṁ | sattvaṁ hi me hṛdayaṁ yatra dharmaḥ ||

pṛṣṭhe kṛto me yad adharma ārād | ato hi mām ṛṣabhaṁ prāhur āryāḥ ||

~ Śrimad Bhāgavatam, 5.5.19

My transcendental cosmic body (sac-cid-ananda- vigraha) looks exactly like a human form, but it is established on existential Reality; it is not a material human body. It is indeed inconceivable and non-cognizable. I am not forced by Nature to accept a particular type of body; I assume a body by My own will. Within My heart is found dharma, the cosmic truth and righteousness.

Far beyond My heart, I have abandoned irreligion (adharma). Therefore, due to all these cosmic qualities, people pray and connect with Me as Rsabhadeva, the Supreme Personification, and Aryah, the best of all living entities.

Brahma Sutras, the authority on Vedanta, reveal that the Avatar does everything ‘appearing like a wordly man, simply as a Divine play, a Cosmic sport:

lokavattu līlākaivalyaṁ

~ Brahma Sutras, 2.1.33

The Five Actions of the Divine

As per the Vedic texts, the Absolute Divine, Isha performs five sacred acts or panchakrtya – shrishti (creation or projection of the Cosmos), sthiti (maintenance of the Cosmos), laya or samhara (dissolution or withdrawal of the Cosmos at the end of every Cosmic cycle), tirobhava (veiling the Reality) and anugraha (liberating all beings through Grace).

To perform the first four sacred acts, Isha does not require our permission or involvement. But to bless us and grace us with liberation or enlightenment, He requires our cooperation. For this compassionate purpose of showering living beings with His anugraha, Divine grace, Isha becomes the embodied Ishvara and descends to the human plane as the Avatar. The Avatar inspires humanity by His own divine acts, His life and His teachings. Acting as the Jagadguru, the world teacher, He guides and initiates humanity to take the unfathomable leap into Superconsciousness.

The average human being, being limited by his sensory perceptions and mental conditioning, finds it hard to conceive of the concept of a formless Consciousness or God (called ‘Nirakara Brahman’). At the same time, when the Universal Consciousness or God descends assuming a human form (as ‘Akara Brahman’), he finds it even more difficult to comprehend that he is now in the presence of an Avatar.

In the Bhagavad Gita (9.11), it is declared:
avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam |
paraṁ bhāvam ajānanto mama bhūta-maheśvarwam || 9.11 ||

Fools deride Me when I descend in the human form. They do not know My transcendental nature as the Supreme Lord [maheshvara] of the whole creation.

The Supreme Pontiff of Hinduism Nithyānanda Paramashivam reveals:

When the pure conscious energy, the supremely matured soul, assumes a human body, that is an Avatar. The Cosmos Itself chooses Its body and plays the divine drama (Leela).

When The Avatar comes down to the human plane and expresses the ultimate Truth, He is ages ahead of His time.

Truth is never like a parrot talking; it is like a lion roaring. When the lion roars, you have to wake up! When the Avatar roars with the Truth and transforms and raises humanity, you have to wake up from the unconscious sleep of delusion and ignorance!

Vedic Civilization – Incubator of Avatars

In an era lost in timelessness, in the lush plains of the Sarasvati River in India, thrived a legendary civilization that conquered the boundaries of space and time with the power of knowledge. At a time when the human race elsewhere on the planet was still dwelling in caves, this civilization had already evolved a precise cosmology whose tenets modern science is only just beginning to comprehend.

This Vedic civilization, the world’s oldest living civilization, still flourishes in the Indian sub-continent. It gave to the world the sciences of Vedic mathematics, astronomy, navigation, medicine, yoga and above all, the sacred science of the Self. It is also the only civilization to have produced a living lineage of Avatars and enlightened beings that continues to grace our planet till today.

The Supreme Pontiff of Hinduism Nithyānanda Paramashivam is revered by millions worldwide as the living Avatar of superconsciousness of our time, who lives and moves among us today. He is heir to the 5000-year-old lineage of enlightened yogic masters who live on the sacred mountain of Arunachala in southern India, which is revealed in the scriptures as a spiritual incubator, where Avatars can assume a human form and descend to our frequency from the pure space of Consciousness.

Types of Avatar

Karana means cause. Karya means effect. Karya Brahman, also known as Hiranyagarbha, is the creative aspect of the Divine. Avatars descend from Karya brahman. Devi Bhagavata Purana, the historical Vedic text which reveals the nature of Devi or Shakti, the creative energy of the Cosmos, states that there cannot be any descent of an Avatar directly from karana brahman, since it is a field of potentiality.

Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, the Trimurtis, belong to the karya brahman. Brahma is the creative aspect, Vishnu is the preservative aspect and Shiva is the rejuvenating aspect of the universe.

Based on the dimensions (known as ‘rays’) that they possess, Avatars are classified as:

Purna Avatar – 16 dimensions e.g. Sri Krishna
Lila Avatar – 14 dimensions e.g. Sri Rama
Amsa Avatar – 12 dimensions e.g. Adi Shankaracharya

Garga Samhita, the sacred Vedic text that extols the glory of Avatars, describes the Avatars in Canto 1, text 16-27. The great sage Narada explains that the Lord descends in six forms:

amśamśo’mśas tathāveśaḥ kalā purnaḥ prakathyate |

vyāsadyaish ca smṛitaḥ śaṣṭhah paripūrnātmah svayam || 16 ||

  1. Amshamsha (a part of a part)
  2. Amsha (a part)
  3. Avesha (entrance into a jiva)
  4. Kala (a full part)
  5. Purna (full or complete)
  6. Paripurnatama (absolutely complete)

The amshamsha incarnations begin with Marichi, the amsha incarnations begin with Brahma, the avesha incarnations begin with Parashurama and the kala incarnations begin with Kapila and Kurma.

pūrno nṛsimho ramaś ca śvetadvīpadhipo hariḥ |

vaikunṭho’pi tathā yajno nara-narāyanaḥ smṛitaḥ || 18 ||

The Smrti-shastra explains that the purna incarnations are:

  1. Nrsimha
  2. Rama
  3. Lord Hari, the ruler of Shvetadvipa
  4. Vaikuntha
  5. Yajna
  6. Nara-Narayana

The paripurnatama or absolutely complete form of the Lord is Sri Krishna, who is the original Supreme Divinity Himself. As the master of countless universes, He is splendidly manifest in His imperishable and blissful abode. The amsha incarnations are said to oversee the execution of the Lord’s mission (in the world). The amshamsha incarnations are understood to perform the work of executing those missions.

In the various avesha incarnations, the Divine enters a jiva, an individual body, executes His mission, and then departs. His kala incarnations teach and establish the principles of religion and then disappear.

Why Avatar?

When positive consciousness declines, when collective negativity increases, O Bharata, at these times, I Myself happen in every age. To protect the pious and to annihilate the wicked, to re-establish righteousness, I Myself appear, age after age.

~ Bhagavan Sri Krishna in Bhagavad Gita, 4.7-8

Sometimes, when the created world has to be sustained, I Myself assume name and form and initiate manvantaras (great eras of time) and provide the earth with appropriate divine personalities and sages, who set examples to be followed and indicate the path of progress.

I end also the unlimited increase of beings, whenever it happens. For this sake, I take the form of Rudra (the destructive and rejuvenating aspect of God). I create the bad, to highlight and promote the good; and to protect the good, I set certain limits, both to the good and the bad, for they would otherwise stray into wrong ways and inflict great harm.

Once one is established in infinite Consciousness, one becomes silent, and though knowing everything, goes about as if he does not know anything. Though he might be doing a lot of things in several places to all outward appearances, such a one will remain as if he does nothing.

~ The Supreme Pontiff of Hinduism Nithyānanda Paramashivam

Signs (or Science) of Recognizing the Avatars

It is important to understand at the very outset that the multiple dimensions of an Avatar (including His attributes and powers) fall into three broad categories:

1. KNOWN (which can be intellectually understood, recorded or quantified in some way)

2. KNOWABLE (which cannot be recorded, but whose existence can be deduced by their effects)

3. UNKNOWABLE (which can be neither recorded nor deduced, but can only be grasped experientially by an observer in the same space)

The existence of these three categories has necessitated the bringing together of three kinds of recordings in this volume, with some natural overlap in their purposes:

1. Modern scientific research reports – which accurately record, analyze and present the Known dimensions of the Avatar

2. Sharing by devotees – who describe the effects experienced in the presence of the Avatar, supporting the scientific research and providing powerful evidence of the Knowable dimensions

3. Revelations from the Avatar Himself – which offer a glimpse of the Unknowable dimensions, as no other observer exists in our time with an experiential understanding of this state. These words, however, are powerfully supported by the sacred texts and scriptures, which are the revelations of the Avatars down the ages. Hence the many scriptural references included in this volume.

The uniqueness of The Supreme Pontiff of Hinduism Nithyānanda Paramashivam is that He has consistently allowed His known dimensions to be measured and analyzed by modern science to the extent possible, to take science to the next level and for the benefit of humanity.

He is also the only known Avatar in history to frequently reveal the ultimate Truth in the language of modern science, effortlessly bridging the chasm between science and spirituality. In a later chapter of this book, The Supreme Pontiff of Hinduism Nithyānanda Paramashivam will personally explain the ‘mystic science’ (if we may call it that) behind this process.

Some Attributes of the Avatar

  1. Kalpataru (Wish-fulfilment)
  2. Perpetual Completion (Enlightenment)
  3. Healing (Realigning the bio-memory)
  4. Deeksha Akarshana (Transfer of bio-energy)
  5. Akashic Readings (Accessing past and future)
  6. Vijnana Akarshana (True knowledge)
  7. Shiva Akarshana (Space of Shiva)
  8. Shakti Akarshana (Kundalini energy)
  9. Ardhanarishwara (Beyond all duality)
  10. Susadha (Beyond pain)
  11. Divyasharira (Divine body)
  12. Surabhi (Fragrant physiology)

Some Siddhis or Mystic Powers of the Avatar

Anima: Ability to be as small as one wants

Mahima: Ability to be as big as one may desire

Laghima: Ability to become light to any degree

Garima: Ability to become as heavy as desired

Prapti: Ability to reach any desired point in space and time

Prakamya: Ability to have anything as soon as one desires it

Ishatva: Ability to create things as one wants

Vashitva: Ability to influence everyone and everything, even to conquering death


Related News

Subscribe for updates.

Stay informed about our University's latest news and events. Subscribe for updates today!