The idea and the word avatar are always recurring in the hymns sung in Christian churches in India. Missionaries have also sought to graft the doctrine of Christ's atonement upon Hinduism, through one of the avatars. A common name of Vishnu, the second member of the Triad, as also of Krishna, his avatar, is Hari.
Malaprop, and was an excellent representative of that popular lady, though she will, I am sure, forgive me for saying not so perfect a one as my mother. Quite indescribably strange is the effect on my mind of looking back at my three Thespian avatars Falstaff at Cincinnati, Acres and Sir Anthony in Grand Ducal Florence, and Sir Anthony again in a liberated Tuscany!
Most of these are worshippers of Vishnu or of Siva, for Brahma- worship has wholly disappeared." J. Freeman Clarke. Vishnu occupies the second place in the triad of the Hindus, and is the personification of the preserving principle. To protect the world in various epochs of danger, Vishnu descended to the earth in different incarnations, or bodily forms, which descents are called Avatars.
What Toism, and especially Chwangtse as I think, did for the Chinese was to publish the syntax and vocabulary of that ancient language; to make people understand how to take these grand protagonists of Tao; how to communicate familiarly with these selfless avatars of the Most High. Listen to this: the thought is close-packed, but I think you will follow it:
From the twelfth century, the tendency of Japanese Buddhism is in the direction of universalism and democracy. While mysticism is a striking feature of the sect and the attainment of truth is by the grace of Amida, yet the native Kami of Japan are logically accepted as avatars of Buddha.
Because I have my greed, I break through them. You use your power: I use my craft. These are the realities of life. On these depend kingdoms and empires and all the great enterprises of men. As for those avatars who come down from their paradise to talk to us in some holy jargon their words are not real.
Swatha!" cries the choir of heavenly musicians, hailing the deity. In the Russian church service this is pronounced Swiat! Swiat! Swiat! and means holy! holy! holy! In one of his future avatars Vishnu will incarnate in Rama, the son of a great king, and Lakshmi will become Sita. The motive of the whole poem of Ramayana is sung in a few words by the celestial musicians.
Living in the middle of the nineteenth century, and in a hemisphere completely antipodal to that in which Utopia was situated, or "Bensalem" dreamed of, the appearance of a good-looking, well-educated, affluent bachelor could not fail to stir all gossipdom to its dreg; and society, ever tenderly concerned about the individual affairs of its prominent members, was all agog busily arranging for the ci-devant United States Surgeon a programme, than which he would sooner have undertaken the feats of Samson or the Avatars of Vishnu.
He is quite right; but as mythology far surpasses any philology in interest, as regards its relations to poetry, how much more wonderful is it to find to-day in England traces of the tremendous avatars, whose souls were gods, long ago in India. And though these traces be faint, it is still apparent enough that they really exist.
They had drifted about like Cosey's "Commonwealers" and developed into the most fiendish mob of God-fearing guerrillas and marauding cut-throats of which history makes mention. Compared with Joshua's murderous Jews, the Huns who followed Attila were avatars of mercy and the Sioux of Sitting Bull were Good Samaritans.