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Do they have to earn food, clothing and shelter? Or is it that their bodies are spiritual in nature and do not need these things?

Avataras of course eat food, wear clothes and so forth.

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  • I think you are talking about devatās. If this is true the answer is no. Because devatās were humans once, they did good karma and attained the birth of a devatās. Since they are at higher birth due to good karma, they don't have to do such work. Not just that they are in heaven. Mar 23 at 13:53
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Yes and No.

They do have duties to fulfill. Failure to do it gets them fired, just like in any company.

Taittriya Upanishad 2.8:

bhīṣāsmād vātaḥ pavate bhīṣodeti sūryaḥ
bhīṣāsmād agniś candraś ca mṛtyur dhāvati pañcamaḥ

It is out of fear of Brahman that Vayu blows, out of fear of Him that Surya rises
and out of fear that Agni, Indra and Yama perform their respective duties.

But they don't have to physically go grocery shopping for roti-kapda-makaan, because there is no hunger or thirst in Svarga Loka.
But it doesn't mean they don't eat anything because they do consume Amrit and Havis of Yagna offered by Manushya.

(I don't have scriptural links handy.Maybe someone can add them.)

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  • "But they don't have to physically go grocery shopping for roti-kapda-makaan" - sounds good. Any basis for this except negative evidence (no scripture says they have earn the basic necessitates)? @mar
    – S K
    Mar 24 at 19:37
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    @SK - i was researching this yesterday, apparently there are Jaimini sutras that describe heaven where it says there is no hunger or thirst (pipasa) in heaven. so that is positive evidence for lack of NEED to eat. and i'm sure someone has positive evidence for WANT to eat Amrit and Havis
    – mar
    Mar 24 at 19:39

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