Avatar is a 2009 epic 3-D science fiction film which premiered in London on December 10 and is now on local screens. The term Avatar is a Hindu concept that is being used loosely in the West and especially Hollywood. Indeed, many computer users and gamers use the term Avatar regularly. In computing, Avatar is the graphical representation of a user. There was an Avatar (2004 film) starring Genevieve O'Reilly. Avatar is a main character in the Ralph Bakshi film Wizards. Avatar, a 1983 film directed by Mohan Kumar, and Avatar, the original title of The Last Airbender, is an upcoming 2010 film based on the Avatar. ?
There are many television characters, games, Web sites, records, and even racehorses with the Hindu name Avatar. In 1998, India even named a rocket Avatar! In Hinduism, Avatar is sanskrit for "descent," viz from Heaven to Earth, and is mostly translated into English as "incarnation," "appearance" or "manifestation." The term is most often associated with Lord Vishnu, though it has also come to be associated with other Hindu deities. There are lists of Avatars of Vishnu in different Hindu scriptures, including the ten (dasavatara) of the Garuda Purana and the 22 avatars in the Bhagavata Purana. The Avatars of Vishnu are a primary component of Vaishnavism.?Alain Danielou was a French author who spent more than 25 years in India studying music and Hindu philosophy under some of India's most eminent pundits of the Hindu tradition. Danielou has written many books on Hinduism but his book The Gods of India is used as a reference manual on many topics of Hinduism.
In a chapter titled "The Avatars, or Incarnations, of Vishnu" he writes: Vishnu, the Pervader, supreme cause of all, self of all, is everywhere, pervading all things, limitless. His qualities, his actions, the manifestations of his power, are endless. Having manifested the world, he enters it again as its guide and ruler. (Taittiriya Upanisad 1.2.6. .) At all the crucial moments of the world's history, the Pervader appears as a particular individuality who guides the evolution and destiny of the different orders of creation, of species and forms of life. Hence the story of his "descents," of his "incarnations," of his "manifestations," is endless. It would be impossible to give a full account of the descents of the limitless Pervader into the world form. Fire, the sun, the wind, the Creator, the Pervader, the lord of destruction, the cosmic intellect, the principle of existence, the principle of individuality, the five principles of the elements, the living soul, all are embodiments of divinity manifested through its power of illusion.
Just as from an inexhaustible lake thousands of streams flow on all sides, so also from the remover of sorrow (Hari), sum of all reality, come forth countless incarnations. The seers, the lawgivers, the gods, the human races, the lords of progeny, all are parts of him. Whenever, for a group of men or even for a single individual, those forms of knowledge that are essential for man's fulfilment of his spiritual destiny happen to be beyond reach and thus human life fails in its purpose; Vishnu is bound to make this knowledge available again and thus a new revelation has to take place. There is, therefore, a new incarnation for each cycle, to adapt the revelation to the new conditions of the world. With the purpose of protecting the earth, priests, gods, saints scripture, righteousness and prosperity, the Lord takes a body. The history of the present creation is spanned by ten main cyclic incarnations. There has also been a comparison between the Hindu concept of Avatars and Darwin's Theory of Evolution as the incarnations generally mirror.
The list of Avatars is as follows: Matsya is a fish, Kurma is the turtle, Varaha is the boar, Narsingh is half man and half lion, Varman is depicted as a dwarf man, Parsuram (Avatar with axe�tool) is a forest dweller, Ram is the ideal man, Krishna is the divine man, with Buddha as spiritual man. The tenth is Kalki, the high-tech savvy Avatar which is yet to make an appearance! Since February, concerned Hindus have asked James Cameron who is heavily involved in the production to attach a disclaimer in the beginning and end of his forthcoming film Avatar, saying that it has nothing to do with Hinduism or its concepts. Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) on November 5, said that the term "Avatar" was one of the central themes of Hinduism and insensitive handling of faith traditions sometimes resulted in pillaging serious spiritual doctrines and revered symbols, thereby hurting the devotees.
Zed, who is the president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, explains that Avatar, a sanskrit term, means descent or incarnation. Hinduism is shaped by its traditional belief in the incarnation of Vishnu (the preserver in?the Hindu trinity) into ten forms to establish dharma (divine law).
Satnarayan Maharaj is the
secretary general of the
Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha