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Avatāra (devanāgarī: अवतार) is a Sanskrit word meaning "descent", and in Hinduism refers to a deliberate incarnation of a deity or supreme being on earth.

In H. P. Blavatsky words:

Avatâra (Sk.) Divine incarnation. The descent of a god or some exalted Being, who has progressed beyond the necessity of Rebirths, into the body of a simple mortal. Krishna was an avatar of Vishnu. The Dalai Lama is regarded as an avatar of Avalokiteswara, and the Teschu Lama as one of Tson-kha-pa, or Amitâbha. There are two kinds of avatars: those born from woman, and the parentless, the anupapâdaka.[1]

In Hinduism

An Avatāra is a "descent" or incarnation of a deity. There are several avataras mentioned in the Hindu literature. Early writings talk about avataras of Prajāpati (Brahmā), while later on they are mainly assigned to Vishnu. In the many of the Purānas there are ten incarnations, assumed to save the world from some danger or trouble. They are Matsya (the fish), Kūrma (the tortoise), Varaha (the boar), Nara-sinha (the man-lion), Vāmana (the dwarf), Parasu-rāma (Rāma with the axe), Rāma-chandra (the moon-light Rāma), Krishna (the black or dark coloured), Buddha, and Kalki (the white horse).[2]

Kalki Avatar

In Hinduism, Kalki (Devanagari: कल्कि) is the tenth and final Maha Avatar (great incarnation) of Vishnu, who will bring to an end the present age of darkness and destruction known as Kali Yuga. He will establish a new era based on truth, righteousness, humanism and goodness, called Krita Yuga (or Satya Yuga). The origins of the name Kalki probably lie in the Sanskrit word "kalka" which refers to mud, dirt, filth, or foulness and hence denotes the "destroyer of foulness", "destroyer of confusion", "destroyer of darkness", or "annihilator of ignorance".[3]

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Notes

  1. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 44.
  2. John Dowson, A Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology, (London, Routedge & Kegan Paul Ltd, 1968), 35-38.
  3. The Kalki Purana