Everybody talks about Avatar these days, about the movie, of course. And in the last years the term avatar got very high usage because of the digital representations from the internet. But do you ever wondered where “avatar” comes from?
Well, it comes from Hindustani and Sanscrit, meaning “One who comes down to save others” and is a compund term of
अव <ava> down, away and
तरति <tarati> to cross over
In Hinduism avatar refers to a deliberate descent of a deity from heaven to earth and is most often associated with Vishnu (The Supreme God or the preserver or sustainer aspect of God within the Hindu Trinity). There are over 36 avatars of Vishnu described in the hindu scriptures including the ten most famous descents collectivelly known as Dasavatara. (see also here)
From the ten avatars of Vishnu only nine had appear so far. It is believed that the last one, Kalki, will appear, riding his white horse and drawing a flaming sword, at the end of Kali Yuga (the dark age which we are now passing) with the task of eliminating evil and restoring Dharma.
The term became similar with the concept of ‘appearance’ or ‘manifestation’ or “The physical embodiment of an idea or concept”.