Under what circumstances god take an incarnation? How does GOD decide that this the time for his incarnation?

Like if we consider

  1. Sai Baba: people consider him incarnation of Lord Shiva or Lord Vishnu or Lord Datta.

  2. Swami Samarth: people consider him Incarnation of Lord Datta.

  3. Gajanan Maharaj: people consider him incarnation of Lord Shiva.

  4. Shripad Shri Vallabha: people consider him incarnation of Lord Dattatreya.

  5. Shri Krishna and Shri Ram are incarnations of Lord Vishnu.

    What is the condition or circumstance that God take an incarnation on the Earth? And on what basis does he decide the place of his incarnation?

Like Shri Ram was in Ayodhya, Sai baba in Shirdi, Swami Samarth in Akkalkot.

  • 3
    Your question is raising many more questions. Didn't heard other names But on what basis you are saying Sai baba was incarnation of Lord?
    – Vishvam
    Sep 8, 2017 at 8:25
  • @Rishabh en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sai_Baba_of_Shirdi Sep 8, 2017 at 10:11
  • @Rishabh If u have read aarti of Sai baba there are words. "Na Datta Guru Sai ma, majavari kadihi ruso." which means Lord Datta as Sai should not be angry on me. Sep 8, 2017 at 10:15
  • @Rishabh There was a devotee who use to worship Swami Samarth of Akkalkot. He is incarnation of Lord Datta. He was going to end his incarnation in akkalkot. At that time one devotee asked him as you are leaving this body where should I go. He gave him reply "I will be in Shirdi hereafter. You can go there. And continue your sadhana." Sep 8, 2017 at 10:18
  • @Rishabh I'm a devotee of Sai baba.All above saints were in MAHARASHTRA. Sep 8, 2017 at 10:19

5 Answers 5


Though always present as a witness, the supreme Brahman (God) incarnates explicitly when there is a decline in Dharma & increase in Adharma.

BG 4.7 - O scion of Bharata, whenever there is a decline in Dharma and influx of Adharma, then I manifest myself.

Dharma (born of Sattva) is Not limited to humans, it pervades everywhere. Refer this post.
Consider Dharma as an equilibrium and hence any auto adjustment or auto balance phenomena can be considered as manifestation of God. For example,

  • When a place which deserves greenery, is deprived of water, the god incarnates as rain.
  • When a forest is too much polluted due to various creatures, the god may incarnate as fire.
  • When too much of heat is gathered in earth, the god incarnates as volcano
  • God incarnates as change of seasons; i.e. If cold weather or rain or heat wave remains for too long, then it becomes inhabitable; If spring remains for too long, then unwanted insects also develop;
  • To counter too much grass, god incarnates as deers; To counter too many deers, god incarnates as lion; To counter too many lions, god incarnates as jealousy among them;
  • For bacteria which are causing havoc in a body, God incarnates as antibiotic
  • God incarnates as a punishment given to the wrong doers

Above is generalised meaning of incarnations of God, which includes all. With respect to just humanity (us), God incarnates when there are too many evil people who trouble pious people:

BG 4.8 - For the protection of the pious, the destruction of the evil-doers, and establishing virtue, I manifest Myself in every age.


These 2 verses of Gita combined are probably the most celebrated & popular verses in India and abroad. They were sung by late & great Mahendra Kapoor, as part of title song of BRC Mahabharata, which used to create virtual curfews at 9:00 am on every Sundays in late 90's.

  • but saint like swami samarth, sai baba, gajanan maharaj didn't do anything other than teaching of what is meaning of dharma. Considering "The destruction of evil doers" can we call them as an avatar or incarnation of GOD. Sep 8, 2017 at 6:55
  • 1
    @PraveenGaikwad, Those saints can be incarnations. They burnt the ignorance with power of knowledge. "Destruction" can be done in various ways. One is direct killing, which we see in various stories. In earlier times it was fine, as the "bad thinking" will die with "bad person". In today's era, killing their thinking is also important. e.g. Hitler as an evil-doer was untouchable. Killing him may accomplish less. However his thinking of "Nazism" was important to be killed. With the influx of democracy, the fascist thinking got subsided. Something new will balance the evils of democracy & so on.
    – iammilind
    Sep 8, 2017 at 7:05

The questions are:

  1. What is the condition or circumstance that god take an incarnation of Earth?

  2. And on what basis does he decide the place of his incarnation?

I would like to supplement the answer provided by (@iammilind) to this question at https://hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/20719/3869).

I agree to his statement that "Consider Dharma as an equilibrium and hence any auto adjustment or auto balance phenomena can be considered as manifestation of God."

I had already answered (https://hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/34975/3869) expressing my opinion that incarnation concept is Puranic but could not find place in Vedic Literature/Ramayana.

In order to bring equilibrium on the Earth, the God may inspire certain human beings for guiding/fighting for the sake of the fellow human beings.

These human beings, blessed with Divine nature, will inspire fellow human beings and achieve things which are apparently beyond the reach of ordinary humans.

Naturally, adoration towards them starts.

People like Sri Rama were human beings, endowed with DIVINE nature, which was the necessity at that point of time.

The popular belief is that Sri Shirdi Sai/Sri Swami Samarth, etc, exhibited supernatural powers and gave the darshan of Sri Rama/Panduranga, etc, and hence they are the incarnations of the God.

Yes, those saints did exhibit supernatural powers and gave the darshan of Sri Rama/Panduranga, etc, to some devotees.

Now, a question arises - whether those saints exhibited supernatural powers in front of everyone and gave the darshan of Sri Rama/Panduranga, etc, to every devotee?

The answer would be a big NO.

Those saints, with no EGO/desire left, lived in the ABSOLUTE BLISS (merged in the God), though moved in the midst of humans with different stages of maturity.

So each devotee got experiences according to one's stage of maturity.

As Sri Ramana Maharshi said many a time that Gunpowder catches fire in an instant, while it takes time to ignite coal.

So only a few devotees got those visions of God. Again, were those visions of the God real and have some value?

Those visions ONLY have the value of inspiring the devotees to strive further in the SPIRITUAL PATH, as those devotees after getting darsans of God, continue to lead mundane lives.

Further, those visions were occurred according to perception of the God of the devotees. Those saints did not show vision of Panduranga to everyone. Some got vision of Devi, some other had the vision of Dattatreya and few others got the visions of Sri Raama, etc.

We have a similar situation in Mahabharata, where Arjuna was told by Sri Krishna to see whatever he wants to see.

I had discussed the above issue at this answer (https://hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/34957/3869)


Krishna tells Arjuna when he manifests himself.


Whenever, O Bharata, loss of piety and the rise of impiety occurreth, on those occasions do I create myself. For the protection of the righteous and for the destruction of the evil doers, for the sake of establishing Piety, I am born age after age.

Notice the bolded words where Krishna tells when loss piety and the rise of impiety occurs, for the protection of the righteous and for the destruction of the evil doers, and for the sake of establishing piety, that is when he is born age after age.

In Mahabharat, gods incarnated to ease the burden of the earth because goddess earth was unable to bear the burden and herself along with many devas went to Brahma and Brahma told them to incarnate on earth.

And the Creator then commanded all the gods saying, 'To ease the Earth of her burden, go ye and have your births in her according to your respective parts and seek ye strife (with the Asuras already born there)'. ~ Shambhava Parva

Lord Vishnu approved of it also and they incarnated for the destruction of Asuras and also for the welfare of the three worlds. Asuras or demons caused chaos during Dwapara Yuga

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then Indra had a consultation with Narayana about the latter's descent on the earth from heaven with all the gods according to their respective parts. And, having commanded all the dwellers in heaven, Indra returned from the abode of Narayana. And the dwellers in heaven gradually became incarnate on earth for the destruction of the Asuras and for the welfare of the three worlds. ~ Shambhava Parva

The answer to the question can be found in this link.


Who incarnated as whom is described in What were the previous births of the characters of Mahabharata? post.

Bhishma had the boon of the past, present, and future given to him by Lord Krishna after war to instruct Yudhisthira.


"Learning by his Yoga prowess of the devotion of Bhishma, Madhava, otherwise called Hari, (entering his body) bestowed upon him heavenly knowledge compassing the Past, the Present, and the Future, and went away. "

Later, Bhishma told what Vishnu told to Narada in the beginning of the Kalpa through the grace of the boon that Krishna bestowed and also what he learned from his teachers.


these are the avatars of Lord Vishnu

I shall, assuming the form of boar and putting forth my strength, bring back the Earth with her belt of seas to her own position for the good of all creatures when she becomes submerged in water. I shall then slay the son of Diti, named Hiranyaksha, filled with pride of strength.

Assuming the form then of a Man-lion (Narsingha), I shall, for benefiting the deities, slay Hiranyakasipu the son of Diti, who will be a great destroyer of sacrifices.

Unto Virochana (the son of Prahlada) will be born a mighty son of the name of Vali. That great Asura will be unslayable in the whole universe consisting of deities, Asuras and Rakshasas. He will hurl Sakra from the sovereignty of the universe. When after routing the Lord of Sachi, that Asura will take unto himself the sovereignty of the three worlds, I shall take birth in Aditi's womb, by Kasyapa, as the twelfth Aditya. I shall (taking the sovereignty of the three worlds Vali) restore it to Indra of immeasurable splendour, and replace the deities, O Narada, in their respective stations. As regards Vali, that foremost of Danavas, who is to be unslayable by all the deities, I shall cause him to dwell in the nether regions.

In the Treta age I shall take birth as Rama in the race of Bhrigu, and exterminate the Kshatriyas who will become proud of their strength and possessions.

Towards the close of Treta and the beginning of Dwapara, I shall take birth as Rama, the son of Dasaratha in Iskshaku's royal line. At that time, the two Rishis viz., the two sons of Prajapati, called by the names of Ekata and Dwita, will in consequence of the injury done by them unto their brother Trita, have to take birth as apes, losing the beauty of the human form. Those apes that shall take birth in the race of Ekata and Dwita, shall become endued with great strength and mighty energy and will equal Sakra himself in prowess. All those apes, O regenerate one, will become my allies for accomplishing the business of the deities. I shall then slay the terrible lord of the Rakshasas, that wretch of Pulastya's race, viz., the fierce Ravana, that throne of all the worlds, together with all his children and followers.

Towards the close of the Dwapara and beginning of the Kali ages, I shall again appear in the world taking birth in the city of Mathura for the purpose of slaying Kansa. There, after slaying innumerable Danavas that will be thorns in the side of the deities, I shall take up my residence in Kusasthali at the city of Dwaraka. While residing in that city I shall slay the Asura Naraka, the son of 'the Earth,--him, that is, who will do an injury to Aditi, as also some 'other Danavas of the names of Muru and Pitha. Slaying also another foremost of Danavas, viz., the lord of Pragjyotisha, I shall transplant his delightful city furnished with diverse kinds of wealth into Dwaraka. I shall then subjugate the two gods worshipped of all the deities, viz., Maheshwara and Mahasena, who will become fond of the Danava Vana and do him diverse good offices and who will exert themselves vigorously for that worshipper of theirs. Vanquishing next the son of the Danava Vali, viz., Vana, who will be endued with a thousand arms, I shall next destroy all the inhabitants of the Danava city called Saubha. I shall next, O foremost of Brahmanas, compass the death of Kalayavana, a Danava who will be endued with great might in consequence of his being equipt with the energy of Gargya. A proud Asura will appear as a king at Girivraja, of the name of Jarasandha, who will quarrel with all the other kings of the world. His death will be compassed by me through some one else guided by my intelligence. I shall next slay Sisupala in the sacrifice of king Yudhishthira, the son of Dharma, which sacrifice all the kings of the world will bring tribute. In some of these feats, only Arjuna, the son of Vasava, will become my assistant. I shall establish Yudhishthira with all his brothers in his ancestral kingdom. People will call me and Arjuna as Narayana and Nara, when, endued with puissance, we two, exerting our strength, shall consume a large number of Kshatriyas, for doing good to the world. Having lightened the burthen of the Earth according to our pleasure, I shall absorb all the principal Sattwatas as also Dwaraka, my favourite city, into my own self, recollecting my all-embracing Knowledge.


There are very few points that i would like to join.

For eg if a man make a wish to God that then god take avtar. To fulfill your promise, god will take.

Now the problem is how ?? There are specified mantra and vrat that can help. Since I had done this , so I knew.

Eg:- Manu & shatrupa (shri ram & krishna)


When there a yearning for liberation by a large number of people then the SuperConsciousness or Cosmos descends down to show the path to liberation. This descent of SuperConsciousness in a human body is an Avatar, and the Avatar comes down with necessary "tools" to execute the task.

Avatars happen all the time and continuously, there are multiple avatars active all the time.

Hindu shatras describe the nature of classification of Avatars. I answered it in Is there any incarnation of God currently living among us?


  1. Why does an Avatar or Incarnation happen? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCLx-Y46Gs4
  2. What is an Avatar? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVrYm06e4ZU
  3. Perfect Master by Meher_Baba https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfect_Master_(Meher_Baba) // I am not sure about some of the specifics, people and terms , but overall gist is in line with Hindu view
  4. Avatar Shastra http://books.nithyananda.org/product/avatar-shastra/
  5. Atal Peetha 1008th Acharya Mahamandaleshwar Coronation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSFyFwOa3yc
  • @Wikash_hindu yes there is ::see en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avatar
    – user17294
    Apr 8, 2019 at 8:50
  • 1
    Youtube is not a standard reference for answer. You could ask questions on basis of youtube videos.
    – user17294
    Apr 8, 2019 at 9:00

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