The terms “Avatar” and “Guru,” are thrown around all too loosely and frequently, particularly in the West. An Avatar is a very rare occurrence. Avatars did not incarnate or go through incarnations. To explain exactly what an Avatar is takes some time and is better suited for a lecture or series of articles. However to say it briefly, an Avatar is an appearance of the Absolute within relative existence. Lord Krishna is a prime example. Certainly don’t expect to go to India to visit an Avatar.
“Guru” is a term that is used in a couple different ways. It can be used to mean teacher of most anything. However more commonly, it is a term used for a true spiritual teacher: One who has awoken to the true nature of the Absolute (attained enlightenment) and also has the rare gift of being able to guide other people to that awakening. Enlightenment is far rarer than people are led to believe. Among the enlightened, it is quite rare to find an actual Guru. If you believe the mainstream spiritual media, you’d think there is an enlightened Guru on almost every street corner in both the U.S. and India. You’d also believe the majority of people who have been on any sort of spiritual path, for even a short period of time, have attained enlightenment. That is all foolishness.