Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Avatar Mean?

Avatar has Sanskrit roots that mean literally to "descend" or "alight." It can also be translated as "making one's appearance," such as in Hinduism where avatar refers to the incarnation of a deity on Earth. For example, the Hindu god, Vishnu, is considered to have taken 10 avatars, meaning that he was born into the world 10 times in different forms.


Yogapedia Explains Avatar

In addition to incarnated deities, Hinduism also confers the title of avatar to certain extraordinary gurus and individuals. In this way, avatar can be considered to have a broader meaning that is not limited to the direct descent of a god to Earth, but also refers to those who experience Self-knowledge and Self-realization while on Earth. Regular practice of yoga is believed to help lead one to Self-realization, a state where one is united with the universe.

The idea of an avatar is found in other religions as well, including Buddhism and Christianity. However, yogic philosophy does not suggest worshipping avatars as a means to salvation. Rather, it recommends seeking Self-realization and superior levels of consciousness.

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