Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa and Swami Vivekananda are said to be incarnations of God. Is there any such incarnation currently living among us?

  • Sankaracharyas of Sringeri are considered incarnations of Dakshinamurty.
    – user1195
    Commented Dec 3, 2015 at 12:46
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    There are plenty of incarnations currently on Earth. Ask the followers and they will tell you. The followers of Yogananda believe in Mahavatar Babaji as the incarnation. The followers of Sai Baba believe He is an incarnation. The followers of Ramana Maharishi believe Him being Bhagavan (or God) and the followers of Ramakrishna assert that He was an incarnation.The Truth is this. The Guru is God the Guru is Brahman. That is why the followers believe that their Guru is God Himself. All scriptures assert that the Guru is the embodiment of God. All the best! :)
    – Sai
    Commented Dec 3, 2015 at 15:26
  • @Sai the followers of Sai Baba, Ramana Maharishi believe them to be incarnation of God but the disciples of Mahavatar Babaji don't believe him as incarnation because they actually saw his form changing to Lord Shiva so they are 100% sure.
    – Pinakin
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 10:43
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    @ChinmaySarupria Well just as disciples have seen Mahavatar Babaji (whom I do believe) there have been disciples who have seen Sai Baba changing His form (refer Shri Sai Satcharita for details). Also the followers of Ramana have also experienced His silence transforming them to unimaginable levels, as was the case during Shri Dakshinamurthi. Finally last but not the least, it is not about seeing visions or changing form (anybody with Siddhis can change their form at will) but about the inner transforming of disciples. Anyway I dont want to have a useless argument I choose to be silent. Thanks
    – Sai
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 15:29
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    please refer to the list of chiranjeevis. out of that Parasurama and Vyasa are incarnations of God who are still amongst us.
    – Gopaluni
    Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 7:41

6 Answers 6


From history it is evident that whoever revives Dharma in difficult times almost single-handedly is being considered as Avatar of God. Going by this definition in the recent past, in Mughal era, Chhatrapati Shivaji in Maharashtra could be called as an Avatar.

Similarly, at the time of Vivekanand, Christian missionaries were raising huge funds in the Western countries for missionary work in India to convert poor and illiterate Hindus. Even literate Hindus had started disbelieving Hinduism because of their misunderstanding of nature of dharma, especially as compared to western philosophies.

Vivekanand and, much before him, Adi Sankara revived the Hinduism, thus can be called as Avataras.

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    You should cite sources for your claims.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 14:26
  • This answer turns avatar into meaningless honorific. If everyone is avatar, no one is.
    – tejasvi
    Commented Feb 17, 2022 at 8:06

You might have heard of Mahavatar Babaji, the immortal saint who was born on 30 November 203 CE and is alive till date.

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He was the guru of Lahiri Mahasaya, the famous Kriya Yogi. It was Babaji who gave initiation to Adi Shankaracharya. Jesus Christ came to India and met him. He also had a disciple Maheshwarnath Babaji who in turn was the guru of Sri M, a yogi who currently lives in Madanapalle, near Bangalore.

In Sri M's autobiography "Apprenticed to a Himalayan Master", he wrote that once he went to Mount Kailash, he met Mahavatar Babaji who was none other than Lord Shiva himself. His form was changing continously between infinity(zero) and Bholenath.

To his disciples, Mahavatar Babaji is known as Sri Guru Babaji. He lives near Neelkanth Hill and around the areas of Badrinath with his disciples. Still he cannot be seen by the general public. He can only be seen if he wants you to see him.

  • Do you believe him as Avatar of Shiva?
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Dec 3, 2015 at 6:42
  • @AnilKumar Well he was born so I think he is avatar but I'm sure he is purna avatar just like Krishna was of Vishnu.
    – Pinakin
    Commented Dec 3, 2015 at 6:45
  • Might not be Purna Avatar of Shiva. If he was purna avatar why didn't he come and help us against evil Muslim and british invaders? I even wonder why these sages, who were/are believed as avatars of Vishnu and Shiva, didn't help people (devotees) of India in odd times. They might be Jnana Avatars of Gods like Vyasa. Or they were just highly realized or knowledgeable Saints.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Dec 3, 2015 at 6:53
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    @AnilKumar Everything works under the law of causation. Swami Vivekananda has already said that british will have to pay for what they did to India. They ruled India and now someone else will rule them! Swamiji didn't said that he was imagining it but rather he is seeing it.
    – Pinakin
    Commented Dec 3, 2015 at 6:57
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    @AnilKumar Why wouldn't Vivekananda give the knowledge of the eternal dharma to foreigners? All the 7 billion people on earth have the same soul and the goal of those jivas is one and only one - Moksha but right now they are deluded. That's the reason Vivekananda and Yogananda went to west to teach them or rather show them the path that will lead to eternal bliss.
    – Pinakin
    Commented Dec 3, 2015 at 7:32

Yes, http://buddhamaitreya.org. The Buddha Maitreya, the Buddha of this Age, in the reincarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ (and has been recognized and enthroned in every major Tibetan Buddhist lineage).

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    While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 8:25

Fortunately Hindu Shastras are very specific on concept of "Avatar"

Based on the dimensions (known as ‘rays’) which they possess, Avatars are classied as:

  • Purna Avatar - 16 dimensions e.g. Sri Krishna
  • Lila Avatar - 14 dimensions e.g. Sri Rama
  • Amsa Avatar - 12 dimensions e.g. Adi Shankaracharya

Garga Samhita, the sacred Vedic text that extols the glory of Avatars, describes the Avatars in Canto 1, text 16-27.

The great sage Narada explains that the Lord descends in six forms:

amśamśo’mśas tathāveśaḥ kalā purnaḥ prakathyate |

vyāsadyaish ca smṛitaḥ śaṣṭhah paripūrnātmah svayam || 16 ||

  1. Amshamsha (a part of a part)
  2. Amsha (a part)
  3. Avesha (entrance into a jiva)
  4. Kala (a full part)
  5. Purna (full or complete)
  6. Paripurnatama (absolutely complete)

The amshamsha incarnations begin with Marichi, the amsha incarnations begin with Brahma, the avesha incarnations begin with Parashurama and the kala incarnations begin with Kapila and Kurma.

pūrno nṛsimho ramaś ca śvetadvīpadhipo hariḥ |

vaikunṭho’pi tathā yajno nara-narāyanaḥ smṛitaḥ || 18 ||

The Smrti-shastra explains that the purna incarnations are:

  1. Nrsimha
  2. Rama
  3. Lord Hari, the ruler of Shvetadvipa
  4. Vaikuntha
  5. Yajna
  6. Nara-Narayana

The paripurnatama or absolutely complete form of the Lord is Sri Krishna, who is the original Supreme Divinity Himself. As the master of countless universes, He is splendidly manifest in His imperishable and blissful abode. The amsha incarnations are said to oversee the execution of the Lord’s mission (in the world). The amshamsha incarnations are understood to perform the work of executing those missions.

In the various avesha incarnations, the Divine enters a jiva, an individual body, executes His mission, and then departs. His kala incarnations teach and establish the principles of religion and then disappear.

Some Attributes of the Avatar

  1. Kalpataru (Wish-ful lment)
  2. Perpetual Completion (Enlightenment)
  3. Healing (Realigning the bio-memory)
  4. Deeksha Akarshana (Transfer of bio-energy)
  5. Akashic Readings (Accessing past and future)
  6. Vijnana Akarshana (True knowledge)
  7. Shiva Akarshana (Space of Shiva)
  8. Shakti Akarshana (Kundalini energy)
  9. Ardhanarishwara (Beyond all duality)
  10. Susadha (Beyond pain)
  11. Divyasharira (Divine body)
  12. Surabhi (Fragrant physiology)

http://books.nithyananda.org/product/avatar-shastra/ (page 16)

Based on the criteria from Hindu Shastras there are multiple avatars in existence simultaneously.

Avatars involved with public are "disruptors" of status-quo hence are almost controversial.

  • I have cited the reference "Garga Samhita" ... did you read it ?
    – Akhil
    Commented Jan 13, 2019 at 13:00

In order for any personality to be called an "Avatar" of Bhagavan, three criteria must be fulfilled.

1) There must be references to them in the scriptures (either in Upanisads or Puranas).

2)They must have divine markings on their hands and feet (all avatars have divine marks naturally on their body such as fish, conch, plough, lotus etc)

3) The personality must be able to perform extraordinary activities which no one else in the past can do.

  Based,on this three criterion, Babaji, Vivekanada and Sai Baba cannot be called Avatars as they are found nowhere in scripture. At most they were very powerful personalities which great yogic Siddhis, but not God himself.

  The latest Avatar of God was one thousand years ago as Bhagavan Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, in Bengal. The prediction of Lord Chaitanya's appearance can be found in many scriptures and the Lord was seen to have divine markings on his body too.

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    Hi Welcome! Please provide some authentic scripture based source for your claim or Answer. Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 16:35
  • Can you back up the assertion to your first point ? "There must be references to them in the scriptures (either in Upanisads or Puranas)." Does that mean there cannot be future Avatars ? That kinda contradicts the Hindu "cyclical" nature of existence ?
    – Akhil
    Commented Apr 11, 2018 at 18:28

Mother Meera as Sai Baba claim to be avatars, it is this claim along with their many deeds that underpin their avatorial status. Ramakrishna and Vivikenanda whom I love dearly were not avatars, their evolution, through meditational and mantra practices to spiritual heights shows this. This is also why I know Buddha was not an avatar, his story is one of human spiritual growth. Avatars descend full of perfect knowledge. Krishna is back again now with some few other avatars helping us find our spirituality during this confusing time.

  • 2
    You should cite sources.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 13:57

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