This post is worthy to be brought to the top as in it Joseph accuses me of making it all up probably because he has never heard the term avatar before. By the way it literally means incarnation of god.
Way down below in this forum, Joseph and I were having a discussion of the term messiah or Christ. He maintained that there was one Christ who came once and will come again. I maintained that Christ has always existed and that Christ has incarnated many times. Even the Book of Revelations implies that Christ will come a third time, for Christians, a thousand years after he comes the second time.
I went further and said that in eastern religions the incarnation of God, what Christ means, has happened many times, 9 times that they know of, and that the avatars took on pre-human and then human bodies over the course of evolution, with the transition being half monkey and half man.
In response to this Joseph says the following:
6. "So with Christianity suggesting three Christs, why can’t you believe that they have been coming along since the human race evolved. Some of the Avatars came in more primative forms before humans evolved. The transition Avatar was half man nd half monkey."
Wow! Here is an entire story made up by "Richard" presented as fact, and no one really knows where he got it from. (Possably an appendix to your little dictionary?)
Since Joseph has impuned my integrety, I am compelled to educate him. First of all lets get established definitions of the key words:
messiah ---savior or liberator: somebody regarded as or claiming to be a savior or liberator of a country, people, or the world
christ ---- 1. bible founder of Christianity: a Jewish religious teacher who lived from about 4 b.c. to a.d. 33. His life and teachings form the basis of Christianity. Christians believe he is the Son of God.
2. incarnation, human embodiment of the divine.
avatar -----1. incarnation of Hindu deity: an incarnation of a Hindu deity in human or animal form, especially one of the incarnations of Vishnu such as Rama and Krishna
2. embodiment of something: somebody who embodies, personifies, or is the manifestation of an idea or concept
So we see from established definitions that christ does not mean messiah. Christ refers to a particular person or means incarnation, exactly what avatar means except here avatar is specific to the Hindu religion.
So let's now see what Hinduism saya about avatars. Here is my first link: http://www.hindunet.org/avatars/index.htm
Lord Vishnu's preserving, protecting powers have been manifested to the world in a variety of forms, called Avatars, in which one or more of his divine attributes were embodied in the shape of a human being or an animal or a human-animal combined form, possessing great and sometimes supernatural powers. All these Avatars of Vishnu appeared in the world either to correct some great evil or to effect some great good on earth. These avatars are ten in number, however, the Bhag wad Purana increases them to twenty two and adds further that are innumerable.
Of the ten universally recognized avatars, nine have already manifested whereas the tenth is yet to appear.
It is important to note that the all the Avatars are earthly form of Lord Vishnu , who himself is eternal, unchangeable and immutable.
Parashurama shows the man of power, Rama the Divine warrior and protector, Krishna the Divine lover, Buddha the Divine sage, and Kalki the completer and saviour . In this scheme we see the idea of the evolution of the soul from the animal realms to perfect spiritual knowledge.
The idea of the messiah came to the western religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam from the Zoroastrian religion of ancient Persia. Zoroastrianism has similar incarnations of Vrithragna (Indra). Hence it is related to the avatar idea of the Hindus.
Note : In some versions Buddha is replaced by Balarama. We have given a description of both.
Richard- So Kalki is the saviour, the messiah. He or she is probably also the second coming of Jesus, because he certainly did not save the Jews the first time. Most likely this time he will save the world from destruction.
But back to Joseph. So far I have established that Hinduism claims both human and pre-human incarnations of god. I would like to find reference to the monkey-man and also to Jesus being an avatar of Hinduism.
Here is a link where christ is considered by Hindu's to be an avatar:
And here is a link to the monkey god Hunaman
I have not found the half man half monkey avatar yet. Here is a link indicating that Hindus celebrate Christmas: http://www.indiaa2z.com/festivals/christmas.htm
So finally here is a link to all the avatars of Hinduism:http://www.geocities.com/smartchai/vishnu.html
The avatars are:
1. fish named Matsya
2. tortoise names Kurma
3. boar named Varaha
4. man-lion named Marasimha
5. dwarf names Vanama
6. man named Parashurama
7. man named Rama
8. man named Krishna
9. man named Buddha
10. man named Kalki who has not come yet
Opps. The transition avatar is a manlion, not a monkey man. So much for my memory.
Anyway the point of all this, besides restoring my integrity that Joseph malined, is that eastern religions believe in evolution, both physical evolution and evolution of the soul. Evolution is a religious principle that goes back to the Vedas - 1000s of years old. The concept existed in the east long before it was discovered by western science. You can see evolution in the above list of avatars. They are all Christs. I believe that Jesus will come back as Kalki, the saviour of the world.