Was Bhagavan Ramana An Avatar?
In Hinduism, the term “Avatar” refers to an “Incarnation” of some aspect of God in a form. For example, Rama (from Ramayana), and Krishna (from Mahabharata) are both considered Avatars of the Hindu God Vishnu. In Hinduism, many saints are also considered Avatars by their devotees. In this context, Sri Ramana was sometimes asked by devotees if he was an Avatar; and if so, of which Hindu God was he an Avatar of?
Bhagavan was generally aloof from such questions and kept silent letting people believe what they wished.
The curiosity in the mind of many Hindu devotees of Bhagavan was to find out his “true identity”. Bhagavan’s teaching on the Self, of course, makes such questions moot. However, once in a while when Bhagavan did indulge such questions, he always pointed to the heart of the issue. Below is an example of that.
A devotee named Amritanatha Yati wrote on a paper a Malayalam verse imploring Bhagavan to say whether he was Hari (Vishnu) or Sivaguru (Subrahmanya) or Yativara (Siva) or Vararuchi.
Bhagavan, in his answer, wrote his reply in the same Malayalam metre on the same paper. A translation of it is given below for the benefit of the devotees. The answer speaks for it self.
“In the recesses of the lotus-shaped Hearts of all, beginning with Vishnu, there shines as pure intellect (Absolute Consciousness), the Paramatman, who is the same as Arunachala Ramana. When the mind melts with love of Him, and reaches the inmost recess of the Heart wherein He dwells as the beloved, the subtle eye of pure intellect opens and He reveals Himself as Pure Consciousness.”
(Collected Works of Sri Ramana Maharshi, p143)