Mahabharat Episode 51: Krishna - Avatar or Bhagavan?
Somebody asks Sadhguru “What is the distinction between an avatar and a bhagavan? What is Krishna, really?” Sadhguru defines the difference and reveals which category Krishna fits into.
Questioner: What is the distinction between an avatar and a bhagavan? What is Krishna, really?
Whenever someone figures out how to perform or initiate action in such a way that it will naturally lead to that goal, that being is referred to as avatar. Avatar literally means manifestation. A manifestation of what? Every creature is a manifestation of the Creator. You, a tree, and an ant are all manifestations of the Creator. In order to act like one, you need to be conscious to a point where you have access to the possibilities of being a Creator. Once people recognize that a being has this access, they call him bhagavan.
Common people may refer to someone as bhagavan out of emotion. If a qualified person, a rishi or a sage, someone who is in a certain state of knowing, refers to someone as “bhagavan,” it means this being found access to the possibilities and the ways of the Creator. A bhagavan will simply sit and bless; he will not teach. If that same person moves into a semi-active state where sometimes he is like the Creator, sometimes he is a very ordinary down-to-earth man, then they refer to him as avatar.
Avatar means he is a manifestation of the Creator, but he is not living like that every moment. He has come down by choice to make the process a little more accessible to people around. An avatar will come down and teach, eat, and do things – he is a manifestation who is consciously coming down and going up as is required. So technically, the word “avatar” is a correct description of Krishna, when he comes down. But the moment people see him as Vishwaroopa, they will say Bhagavan Krishna.
To be continued..
Editor’s Note: A version of this article was originally published in the Forest Flower magazine, Aug 2019. To subscribe online, click here. The Mahabharat series is based on Sadhguru’s talks during the one-time Mahabharat program that took place in February 2012 at the Isha Yoga Center. Through the lives and stories of the varied characters, Sadhguru takes us on a mystical exploration into the wisdom of this immortal saga.