Das avatar is a very important concept in Hinduism. We question whether Buddha was an avatar or not. The question also has arisen as to who is a complete avatar and who is partial avatar and what is an incarnation, etc. Today I wish to say something quite revolutionary in spiritual terms.
Let us review this matter in a considered manner. When do we know that someone is a purna-avatar fulfilling God's wishes on Earth or living the way that God would like us to. We have our lives to live and do our duties and perform dharma as we see fit. God may like this work and support us in what we do. We would all want to do work as God would approve if there was a way in which we got to know God and his ways and we find a way of becoming at one with Him.
A purna-avatar is a human being who is living his life in as close to total surrender to God as is humanly possible. So anyone can become a purna-avatar. It requires faith and surrender to God under all circumstances. So God alone does not decide who is a purna-avatar. We humans have the choice to live the life of a purna-avatar.
The question that arises in our mind is why would one try and live the life of a purna-avatar. It is because we have seen what God is like and we like what we have realised about Him. We pay our reverence to God by adopting the life that He approves. We strive to become purna-avatars.
So my view is that anyone can become a purna-avatar. I am not being bombastic but I feel that I am a purna-avatar having lived my life in the past 18 years in total submission to God and not having too much time go by when He is not in my thoughts guiding me on my next course of action in my life.
The symbol OM is a very powerful entity in Hinduism. It is the essence of creation. When one writes it down it shows the number 3 which represents the guna consciousness triad of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. When OM chanted it symbolises Truth or the striving for Truth, through purificaition of the mind to eliminate all other sounds and thoughts. Chanting is therefore a legitimate form of meditation for access to the Creator. So it would therefore have miraculous effects because once someone has access to truth, all knowledge flows into his or her mind and that can overcome all ones difficulties and the problems that one faces in daily life. Perhaps Swami Vishwananda knows this as his Bhakti Marg, the path to Sri Krishna as Supreme God.
Hinduism is not really to be classified as a peacful religion on the grounds that we are encouraged to fight for our rights with all our might and intelligence when we are confronted with evil. This is the essence of Mahabharatta and Ramayana. Fight until you have destroyed your enemies who have wronged you. So gods carry weapons to symbolise this directive to fight for your rights. I agree that there is nothing wrong with the idea of depicting gods in the form of idols and images in order that the right attributes of a particular god/goddess becomes known.
People are always looking for a God to worship. Some even say that Lord Jagannath is one of the Das Avatars and is a Vaishnavic incarnation. Others say that he is Sri Krishna after the retirement of Sri Krishna he has come to rest in Puri. I do not think that Sri Krishna has ever retired from looking after the universe and is not keen to be worshipped in the way Lord Jagannath is worshipped.
Good for you, @Shantanu, but that hardly prevents others from worshipping him as they feel inclined to.
No doubt, that is our Hinduism in which we have our own individual conceptions of reality. Some Hindus even think of Jesus and Allah as deities in the Hindu conception/pantheon. Although I have debated this point I do not rule it out now. If people worship a God or gods, they exist in the subconscious that I call the guna consciousness triad ( rajasic, sattvic or tamasic) or as the Supreme Lord who transcends the gunas. We surrender to the Supreme Lord out of reverence and awe. We do not worship him as Lord Jagannath is worshipped with rituals. We consult Him for guidance.
Shantanu ji, of course Lord Krishna will never retire from looking after the universe, He is our sole refuge. But what is it that you do not like about the way Lord Jagganath is being worshipped? When one accidentally breaks a murthi, he is very sorry and becomes saddened, like he has physically hurt the Lord. Just so the devotees take Lord Jagganath a break because of over showering. They care for Him, they do not want His beautiful form to tarnish. By the way, Lord Jagganath is Lord Krishna, and is worshipped along with Balabhadra (Balarama) and Subhadra. It is all leela, as Devichaaya said. Our cerulean jewel lets us care for him, just like how he let Yashoda care for him
Until yesterday I thought I best give the benefit of the doubt that Lord Jagannath is Lord Krishna, but the litereature was so confusing that I asked God (Sri Krishna) in my usual way of using a digital clock for advice on this point and He categorically did not wish to be associated with Lord Jagannath of Puri. I am going by that guidance because it is an essential spritual practice for me as my own way of surrendering to God by such consultation. That is my faith in satya-advaita or truth accommodation in which God is the source of the ultimate knowledge. Call me a fool if you like but I am not giving this practice up. I personally have nothing against anyone worshipping God or any gods in any way that the person chooses and feels that God or god will be happy with that kind of worship. But I now have nothing to do with Lord Jagannath as a result of this consultation.
Ego is not a material thing and so does not lend itself to analysis in terms of laws of nature. It is an attribute of ourselves when we are absorbed in our self importance. When one knows God, and one does this through surrender in which one gets to know how great God is in terms of might, knowledge and intelligence one has no choice but to give up ones ego, that is the self importance that makes us want to be famous through wealth or through other activities. Maya to me is the unimaginable creative power of God that can do anything in this universe. We humans are not endowed with maya. But when we are devoted to God God uses His maya powers to do anything that is in the best interests of the jiva, including taking away his or her ego.
It is true that one can shift ones guna-attribute from even tamasic to rajasic and to sattvic guna, but guna melts away on its own when one surrenders to God in all ones activities because God transcends the gunas. One does not have any ego (tamasic, rajasic or sattvic) left when one has wholeheartedly surrendered to God in everything that one does from the moment one wakes up to when he retires to bed. God through his maya powers makes this happen in the jiva for he has been freed of all attachments, expectations and desires. Only knowledge and truth is his guide and salvation. The truth is that he is in God's hands to do as God pleases.
There is no such thing as a jnani, for knowledge can only be acquired from detailed consultation with God as the know-all and someone who is willing to share that knowledge with the devotee. This is to say that without God guiding the individual he can never acquire knowledge sufficient to be known to the world as a jnani. And this is a constant endeavour. It is not that one has acquired knowledge so one can now do away with God. A jnani has to be constantly surrendering to God to attain the blessing of knowledge. He must have all the answers to all the questions that would satisfy everyone's investigations brought to him. A jnana yogi independent of God knows nothing of use.
Wikipedia says that prakriti is a key concept in Hinduism, formulated by its Samkhya school, and refers to the primal matter with three different innate qualities (Guṇas) whose equilibrium is the basis of all observed empirical reality. Prakriti, in this school, contrasts with Purusha which is pure awareness and metaphysical consciousness. I subscribe to the Samkhya school in which ego of jivatman varies between the three gunas each person having a particular combination and choosing the right deities. As for maya different people are definining it differently. In Vedanta there are two schools, a theistic and an atheistic one. In the atheistic one maya is the power of Brahman that creates an illusion of the universe being real. For the theist maya is the unimaginable indescribable creative power of God Sri Krishna in the manifestation of the universe which is real.
God does His work silently but emphatically so that those at the receiving end of His actions feel the full weight of His abilities.
By which you mean there is an external entity. So is that entity static or dynamic?
The Entity is not only external it is also internal and it is highly dynamic in the way it corresponds with the human holder of the Entity.
You need to learn about evolutionary biology before you can understand humanity and the causes of racism, as distinct frorm religionism. You need to understand the aetiology of creation before you can understand guna consciousness energies and what causes people to believe in different religions. Hindus like myself understand diversity in humanity and appreciate it as Gods creation whilst at the same time we maintain our distance from those with whom we have irreconilable differences and so keep to our own castes and varnas, adhere to our religious practices and stick to our cultures. We do not consider Christians and Muslims as our brothers and sisters, just like a Brahmin does not consider a Shudra his brother or sister. We do not even consider our own brother as anything to whom we are attached if he chooses to follow principles that we disagree with. We Hindus are therefore individualistic and are not a single communal group and maintain our freethought to choose our own individual paths in life. We certainly discriminate against those who we disagree with. Equality is an alien Christian or Muslim value that we do not subscribe to. So you say you are a Hindu and a Christian and a Muslim at the same time: it is impossible to be a Hindu and belong to some other religions that have alien values, beliefs and practices.