What Is An Incarnation (Avtar)?
What is an incarnation (Avtar)? ‘ What descends from above is an incarnation.’ One is ‘Arohana’ (ascent) and the other is Avatarana (descent). ‘Arohana’ means rising from a lower position. From nursery school one goes to a primary school, then to a secondary school, then to a college, and finally attains a Ph.D. degree. From a clerk, one becomes an officer.This is ‘Aarohana’ But suppose, an industrialist goes to his factory and shares work and jokes with the workers as well as with the manager. This is the Sethji’s Avataravana. Or with public interest in mind an emperor may go to offices of mental staff and guide them about the methodology of and their attitude to work. This is the Emperor’s Avatarana. Similarly, when the wandering Jiva , observes fasts and pious vows, performs rituals, observances and thus slowly makes himself capable of attaining Self-Bliss –This is Arohona. But the Lord willingly attains Avatarana, i.e. incarnates Himself.
The Sethji going to his factory or office or the king going to the menial staff is motivated by selfish interest, but when the Lord incarnates Himself, He has no selfish interest whatsoever. He incarnates only out of compassion and mercy.
‘ O enemy of the demons! The only two disinterested benefactors in the world are Yourself and Your servants.” (‘The Sri Ramacharita Mansa’: Uttara Kanda: 46.3)
While the Gita (4.8) avers:
“ For protecting the virtuous and destroying the evil- doers, as well as for setting Dharma firmly a foot, I incarnate myself age after age”
When the Lord descends on earth to support and encourage those of a saintly nature, who know that God alone is the essential Truth and that the world, as such, is bereft of any essence, who live a life of righteousness, cheerfulness, piety and altruism; as well as to destroy and thereby deliver those who oppress others, who are extremely selfish, lustful, wrathful, deluded, avaricious and covetous; this is called an incarnation.
The Lord delivers the wicked even by destroying them. He does supreme good to them; for those killed by the Lord go directly to His abode. Besides, by destroying them physically, the Lord saves them from evil doings and further exploiting the people as also from lust for sense – enjoyments.
When the oppressors gained ascendancy in society; when the earth came under the rule of mostly brutish kings who oppressed the poor and distressed people while supporting the cruel and wicked people and the wrestlers like Chanura and Mushtika; when there was an atmosphere of fear and apprehension all around with cries of distress coming from all directions; in that dark night of the eighth lunar day of dark fortnight of Bhadrapada, Lord Krishna incarnated Himself. The day on which the formless, attributeless and steadfast Lord of Maya, the Supreme friend of all beings, took birth as a human being, that day is called Janmashtami. Congratulations to all of you on the occasion of Janmashtami!