Though they do not worship one ultimate god, Hindus do believe in a supreme being who has unlimited forms. This is not a contradiction in terms because of the many forms these deities take. For instance, Vishnu and Lakshmi have the full powers of a god, but Brahm and Sarasvati have only partial godlike aspects. The Hindu approach to all this has their philosophy of nonspecific inclusion at its core.
The search for the worship of the “One that is All” is made through a favorite divinity, of which there are many. However, there is no exclusivity in the choice of the divinity to worship during the search. Imagine that the search for the “One that is All” is like a revolving mirrored ball in a dance hall. The observer meditates on the search and a beam of light goes on illuminating one side of the glass ball, which is slowly turning in the light. As it turns, mirrored facets are visible and the observer selects one on which to concentrate. The ball is the “One that is All”; its mirrored facets are its deities.
The avatara is a Hindu concept, signifying the descent to earth of the deity. It has come to mean an incarnation or exemplar. Among the most popular and best-known avatars are some of the ten incarnations of Vishnu, which include Krishna and Rama. Krishna is probably number one in popularity.
Hindu teachings revolve around what, to Western eyes, might seem to be a vast series of interlocking narratives, rather like the actions in a play. In fact, that is exactly how some of them are presented. Their purpose is to draw the Hindu audience into a discourse. For several years, people have responded to prominent stories of a divine play and interactions between gods and humans. In watching the narratives played out, Hindus have often experienced themselves as members of a single imagined family. To play out the narratives, a deity enters this world as an avatar — a deity who descends and is manifest in a bodily form.
The plot of such a presentation follows. Women performers sometimes act out the story of a popular narrative called ramayana. The cast is comprised of Rama, Sita, and the wicked Havana. It is a tragic story, one of love, honor, and courage. Havana kidnaps Sita. Rama rescues Sita and kills Havana, but the lovers are forced to separate. The story represents the tragedy of life in the real world, where love of the soul for god is constantly tested.