Commenced in January 2007
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Paper Count: 2

incarnation Related Abstracts

2 The Subtle Influence of Hindu Doctrines on Film Industry: A Case Study of Movie Avatar

Authors: Cemil Kutlutürk

Abstract:

Hindu culture and religious doctrines such as caste, reincarnation, yoga, nirvana have always proved a popular theme for the film industry. The analyzing of these motifs in the movies with a scientific approach enables to individuals either to comprehend the messages and deep meanings of films or to understand others’ religious beliefs systems and daily lives in a properly way. The primary aim of this study is to handle the subtle influence of Hindu doctrines on cinema industry by focusing on James Cameron’s film, Avatar and its relationship with Hindu concept of avatara by referring to original Hindu sacred texts where this doctrine is basically clarified. The Sanskrit word avatara means to come down or to descend. Although an avatara is commonly considered as an appearance of any deity on earth, the term refers the Vishnu’s descending on earth. When the movie avatar and avatara doctrine are compared, various similarities have noteworthy revealed. Firstly in the movie, Jake is chosen by Eywa to protect Pandora from evils. Similarly in the movie, avatar is born when there is a rise of jealousy and unrighteousness. The same concept is found in avatara doctrine. According to this belief whenever righteousness (dharma) wanes and unrighteousness (adharma) increases God incarnates himself as an avatara. In Hindu tradition, the ten avataras of Vishnu are the most popular. This standard list of ten avataras includes the Fish, the Tortoise, the Boar, the Man-Lion (Narasimha), the Dwarf, Parasurama, Rama, Krishna, the Buddha and Kalki. In the movie the avatar has tail, eyes, nose, ear which is similar to Narasimha (half man-half lion) avatara. On the other hand use of bow and arrow by Navis in the film, evokes us Rama avatara whose basic gun is same. Navis fly on a dragon like bird called Ikra and ride a horse-like quadruped animal. The vehicle for transformation of the avatar in the movie is also resemblance with the idea of Garuda, the great mythical bird, which is used by Vishnu in Hindu mythology. In addition, the last avatara, Kalki, will be seen on a white horse according to Puranas. The basic difference is that for Hinduism avatara means descent of a God, yet in the movie, a human being named Jake Sully, is manifested as humanoid of another planet, this is called as avatar. While in the movie the avatar manifests himself in another planet, Pandora, in Hinduism avataras descent on this world. On the other hand, in Hindu scriptures, there are many avataras and they are categorized according to their functions and attributes. These sides of avatara doctrine cannot be also seen clearly in the film. Even though there are some differences between each other, the main hypothesis of this study is that the general character of the movie is similar to avatara doctrine. In the movie instead of emphasizing on a specific avatara, qualities of different Vishnu avataras have been properly used.

Keywords: Hinduism, Film Industry, incarnation, James Cameron, movie avatar

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1 A Comparative Approach to the Concept of Incarnation of God in Hinduism and Christianity

Authors: Cemil Kutlutürk

Abstract:

This is a comparative study of the incarnation of God according to Hinduism and Christianity. After dealing with their basic ideas on the concept of the incarnation of God, the main similarities and differences between each other will be examined by quoting references from their sacred texts. In Hinduism, the term avatara is used in order to indicate the concept of the incarnation of God. The word avatara is derived from ava (down) and tri (to cross, to save, attain). Thus avatara means to come down or to descend. Although an avatara is commonly considered as an appearance of any deity on earth, the term refers particularly to descents of Vishnu. According to Hinduism, God becomes an avatara in every age and entering into diverse wombs for the sake of establishing righteousness. On the Christian side, the word incarnation means enfleshment. In Christianity, it is believed that the Logos or Word, the Second Person of Trinity, presumed human reality. Incarnation refers both to the act of God becoming a human being and to the result of his action, namely the permanent union of the divine and human natures in the one Person of the Word. When the doctrines of incarnation and avatara are compared some similarities and differences can be found between each other. The basic similarity is that both doctrines are not bound by the laws of nature as human beings are. They reveal God’s personal love and concern, and emphasize loving devotion. Their entry into the world is generally accompanied by extraordinary signs. In both cases, the descent of God allows for human beings to ascend to God. On the other hand, there are some distinctions between two religious traditions. For instance, according to Hinduism there are many and repeated avataras, while Christ comes only once. Indeed, this is related to the respective cyclic and linear worldviews of the two religions. Another difference is that in Hinduism avataras are real and perfect, while in Christianity Christ is also real, yet imperfect; that is, he has human imperfections, except sin. While Christ has never been thought of as a partial incarnation, in Hinduism there are some partial and full avataras. The other difference is that while the purpose of Christ is primarily ultimate salvation, not every avatara grants ultimate liberation, some of them come only to save a devotee from a specific predicament.

Keywords: Christianity, Hinduism, incarnation, Avatara

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