WHAT IS AN AVATAR?

The Avatar must be compassionate towards all people, and the only way to do this is to live with them, he must experience sadness, joy anger, and happiness. By feeling all these emotions, it will help the Avatar understand how precious the human life is, thereby making it a priority for the Avatar to do anything to protect it.”

These words are the exact words of Avatar Yangchen to Avatar Aang in the comic movie “The Avatar”.  In recent times, I have been wondering what this movie really meant. What exactly is an Avatar? Or can I say who is an Avatar? What is an Avatar?  Is the Avatar a being? A myth or a reality? In my research all over in a quest to find a final answer to these questions, I came in contact with some interesting revelations, which am of course going to be sharing in this piece. So, let’s take a look at this topic a little further.

What Is an Avatar?

Speaking in a general term, an Avatar is the embodiment of an idea or a person. But if we consider the computer world, we can refer to an avatar as a character that represents an online user they are commonly used in games that are played by two or more people, online communities, etc. According to this site, the word “avatar” means “descent”. It is said to refer to a divinity from heaven to earth or maybe an incarnation directly from God. According to Paramhansa Yogananda, he explained that the term Avatar is the soul who has been freed from delusion (Maya) and is being sent by God back into existence to help human beings. He cited examples, such as the major founders of the world religions, Jesus Christ, Buddha, and even Krishna of India. According to him, he claimed that the birth of an avatar is not to show us his greatness, but it was to serve as a symbol of hope, telling us that we too can attain the state of consciousness he (the Avatar) had attained.

In some other Orthodox Hindu beliefs, they say that the Avatar is a direct manifestation of God, against the belief that the avatar is a re-incarnation or re- appearance on earth of a liberated soul. They said this is comparable to the belief that many Christians have in Jesus Christ, in whom they believe and considered as never to have been in the human form before he was called Jesus Christ.

In another belief which is a bit more traditional, the world Avatar is limited to a different incarnation of Vishnu. And of course, in modern times, the avatar is identified to an online computer identity, making it seems as if one can just take a class that will make the person become an avatar.

It has been explained that an Avatar is a computer related user identification that was first coined by Chip Morningstar and Joseph Romero in 1985 when they were designing an online game called “The Habitat”.

Isn’t this interesting?