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The ancient deity known as Shiva exists on the astral plane and intends to cross over into the mortal world to subjugated it to its rule. However, gods are far too powerful to exist on the mortal plane, as their power would disrupt this aspect of reality and ultimately destroy it. As such, gods need to limit their power by taking a human form through a process known as reincarnation. Through this process, a god is born on the mortal plane as a human, but contains the soul and abilities of the deity. The human form is used as a vessel, which is built specifically to hold a god's spirit in order to keep it contained. These vessels are called avatars, and allow the deity to traverse the mortal world without risking its destruction.

No single avatar is able to possess the entirety of Shiva's soul, as the deity is too vast and powerful to be contained in one shell. Therefore, Shiva must reincarnate pieces of itself through several forms, ending with a total of seven. Once all avatars enter the mortal plane, Shiva's soul can be said to have completely crossed over. At a designated time, these seven will combine and reconstruct Shiva's soul, allowing it to take its true form in reality. This being would be known as the super-messiah, the full manifestation of a god made flesh. With the deity at full strength, it can now rule the plane and exert its true power. However, instead of being reincarnated all at once in one specific location, these avatars have been born millennia apart, with many generations passing between them and at various places. This has greatly complicated Shiva's plan, as it has forced the current avatars to wait for their counterparts to arrive, dragging out shiva's goals over thousands of years.

What would prevent a deity from reincarnating itself all at once?

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  • $\begingroup$ Related answer to a previous related question which provides a potential solution, but may not be optimal. $\endgroup$ Sep 18 at 14:23
  • $\begingroup$ "their power would disrupt this aspect of reality and ultimately destroy it" - so, after full reincarnation, our world is doomed? $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Sep 18 at 19:18
  • $\begingroup$ I see there is a bounty on this question. Are the current answers not enough? What would you like to see? $\endgroup$
    – Trioxidane
    Sep 22 at 6:44
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The forces are too strong

The reason to not immediately reincarnate in seven bodies is that the power would prove too much. It is difficult enough to get part of a gods power into reality, taking the form of an avatar. Failure means the god is pushed out of reality again. Especially at the start it's unstable. If this happens, the god is back to square one for reincarnation.

If multiple reincarnations are attempted at once, the chances for failure skyrocket. It is safer and more easy to reincarnate over a long time. Each time making sure the last avatar is stable before attempting the next reincarnation.

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  • $\begingroup$ Sorry about my nitpicking, but in the second sentence did you mean the power would prove too much? $\endgroup$ Sep 19 at 0:45
  • $\begingroup$ @EkadhSingh-ReinstateMonica yes exactly. $\endgroup$
    – Trioxidane
    Sep 19 at 5:46
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Once in a blue moon:

Mortals who are capable of hosting god-like power are a rare breed. In fact, they may actually BE a breed apart. The first incarnation has to happen by sheer chance - the perfect combination of genes has to come up, like rolling a thousand sixes in a row playing dice. But once the perfect combination occurs once, the god inserts a presence into the world and can begin to influence fate. The descendants of the god's mortal body (or the relatives of the god's mortal body, if the god does not themselves have offspring). are guided to eventually recapitulate the combination of genes to make a new body for the god to reincarnate in. While incest might accelerate this process (as the Egyptian pharaohs did) it's a little too creepy for your god, who allows for a more organic process. As the prevalence of the "god genes" expands in the population, the likelihood of the perfect combination coming up expands. It's likely the last couple incarnations will come closer together for this very reason.

There's also the possibility of competition getting in the way of the process. If the god has rivals, they manipulate their followers to kill everyone related to the previous avatar, reducing the chances of the god reincarnating in a new body. Or perhaps the perfect bodies are a commodity, and rival gods are trying by any means necessary to reincarnate in those bodies themselves. After all, for every Kalki (yes, I know that's Vishnu), there's a demon Kali trying to start the new Kali Yuga age of suffering and evil.

Besides, to gods, ages are meaningless. What does it matter if a thousand or million years pass before the inevitable victory of Shiva in the universe? Sure, others may have their moments, but nothing can stop Shiva from inevitable triumph. Time exists outside the regard of such beings. So let all other things happen in the universe first, and then there will be only Shiva's endless influence.

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To conceal what he is doing

To be a seventh of his full power is dangerous. Foes can take advantage of it, that's why he needs to merge in the end. But for all seven to appear at the same time is to announce what he is doing to many foes.

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Reincarnation takes thousands of years of preparation.

From a mortal point of view, avatars seem to appear overnight. In reality they take thousands of years to create and only "awaken" overnight.

The cycle of birth and reincarnation of mortal souls is in equilibrium. Births balance almost exactly with deaths. That means the god can only transfer a few drops of their power into the mortal realm with each reincarnation, without blocking other mortal souls from reincarnating.

To create an avatar the god follows the cycle of death and reincarnation of a single mortal soul. Each time the soul passes into the spirit world, the god transfers a miniscule portion of its power to the soul, which is then transferred to the mortal world when the soul reincarnates. After thousands of years the mortal "awakens" as a new avatar.

At this point Shiva immediately starts constructing a new avatar. It just takes thousands of years for mortals to notice.

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  • $\begingroup$ This doesn't say why the god wouldn't be able to do this to seven mortal souls at once, though. $\endgroup$
    – Hearth
    Sep 19 at 5:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Hearth They can only transfer a little power at a time, without disrupting the cycle of reincarnation. They could create two avatars at once. But then it will take twice as long for them to awaken. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Sep 19 at 12:00
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Mortal lifetimes vs immortal lifetimes and points of reference

I'm going to guess and say that the gods of your story don't die of old age. Living forever will stretch your perceptions of time and make it hard to distinguish the passage of time without a point of reference. If they're not even on the same plane as the mortals I'm going to doubt they are aware of the passing of the days on the mortal plane, and I doubt the length of days is the same on the plane of gods as on the mortal plane. What feels like a day for a god might be as long as a thousand years for mortals, for example, and even if it doesn't feel like the time difference between reincarnations is that long for the god the passage of time between each reincarnation for mortals could very well lead to reincarnations happening centuries apart, which is suffice to say longer than most mortals are expected to live. Lacking a point of reference in the mortal plane can also explain why the reincarnations are happening in different locations, because they are essentially blind when it comes to time and space/location of another plane.

You could write it in such a way that the reincarnations are happening with greater and greater frequency, and closer and closer to each other as well as the years go by, because the god is using each reincarnation to learn about the mortal plane and with the death of each avatar allowing them to put that part of their soul that has come back into another mortal they're more and more prepared to have all of the reincarnations happen within a hundred years.

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His technicians partly mixed up time and space.

Time is very different on the astral plane*. It exists, sort of, but more of a vague impatience than the wheel in the sky that governs us. Place is a little more definite but also much more concrete and inflexible in the mortal plane.

Shiva's technical staff are like Shiva all astral natives. They have book learning about time and the mortal plane but no first hand experience. The cues that they used to determine the when misled them and instead of all avatars in specified places and the same time, they mixed up the time and place variables, so time was staggered with part of the pattern intended to be for place.

Beyond a vague impatience, the technicians (and Shiva) might not be aware that they screwed up.

/* "Dormammu! I've come to bargain."

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