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Hinduism : The Eternal Tradition Sanatana Dharma


Perennial Wisdom 

Sanatana Dharma

Religion And Spirituality...

Religion Or Dharma

The Eternal View Of Hinduism

Idolatary And Dogmatism

Religion And Spirituality..

Religious And Spiritual Practices

Civilization And Social Issues

Hinduism And Sanatana Dharma

Hinduism And Other Religions



Major Sections
Books By David Frawley

Awaken Bharata

From The River Of Heaven How I Became A Hindu
The Myth Of Aryan Invasion Of India

Hinduism : The Eternal Tradition, Sanatana Dharma

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What are Avatars?

Sanatana Dharma recognizes a perennial stream of various great teachers and sages, some whose spiritual qualities are so pure that they could be called veritable incarnations of God. Certain special Divine incarnations can be called avatars, literally "Divine descents," though the term may be used loosely today for various great teachers, sometimes outside of its meaning in the Hindu tradition.

In the traditional Hindu sense, avatars appear to uphold and renovate Sanatana Dharma or the eternal teaching. They represent the manifestation of Lord Vishnu, the Divine power that preserves and protects the universe. Avatars do not come into being to found new religions in their own image or to establish different and contradictory religious identities and beliefs. Such great avatars of Vishnu were Rama and Krishna and, by some accounts, the Buddha.

The lives of avatars, which often contain various mythic and legendary elements, are grand symbols of the spiritual search and go far beyond anything merely human. They thereby become models for others to study and emulate. The worship of avatars is an important part of Hindu devotional practice, but only one of its several streams and not all Hindu groups follow it.

Yet such avatars, however great, are symbols of our own inner Being which should be the real goal of our seeking. More important than any historical avatar is the Self-realized teacher who helps us understand who we really are. More important than the teacher is the student and his or her practice. Sanatana Dharma requires that each one of us realizes our inherent Divinity. An avatar helps teach us how to do that, but worship of an avatar as an external being is but a preliminary part of our own Self-discovery.


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