What are avatars? Are avatars similar to angels?
The word avatar, often translated as incarnation,' in Sanskrit means 'descent.'
To descend implies the idea of elevated, spiritual beings descending to the earthly realm from the higher spiritual planes. From this idea, we can then assume that these other-worldly 'descend' -ants are able to see more than us and are here to help and guide.
Interestingly, the idea of descendants (e.g. meaning to be related, as in human relatives, or ancestry) might also be imply some form of a relationship with those whom they interact. (Could some messengers from the heavens be our kin?)
Avatars, in spirituality and religion, are believed to function as mediators between God and mankind, much like beliefs concerning angels. Similar to angels, avatars are believed to bestow knowledge upon humans in order to further spiritual progress. Angels are messengers - those who communicate messages to people.
Avatars in Religion
In Hinduism, avatars are taught to be human incarnations of the Divine. Therefore, various holy men, from the past and present, are often considered to be avatars sent on missions to Earth to bestow messages of godly wisdom often to further peace and unity.
Though Hinduism has various avatars associated with its faith, there are others throughout history who have been considered to be avatars. For example, Christianity was formed by believers in Jesus, while Islam finds its roots in Mohammad - both are men who are believed, by adherents, to be divine and, thus, avatars.
Zoroastrianism begat Zoroaster, and Jainism was created by Mahavira - two more examples of a divine nature said to be notably manifested through men.
Modern-day holy people who have also been viewed as avatars might include Meher Baba, Mother Meera, Sathya Sai Baba, and Adi Da Samraj.
When looking at the definition of avatars we might recognize some similarities with Western beliefs, especially Christian teachings, concerning angels.
The idea of divine messengers who aid people on Earth and who bring messages of peace are interesting similarities between avatars and angels. Food for thought.
Final Thought About Avatars
From time to time, is mankind blessed to be in the presence of messengers, human beings with a highly-evolved consciousness (spiritual awareness)? If so, are they sign posts to help guide us on our personal journeys?