Avatars – what do they show us? They use powers, but not for show, and not to convince qualified seekers, but for the doubters. Avatar has an especial interest in the suffering and the lowly, and even the evil – those beings who cannot break through their evil tendencies.
Why do we sing Hari Om Ramakrishna? Is it so he will save us? No, we call on him as an Exemplar, not a Savior, in order to show us how to raise ourselves up, and to neutralize our karmas. The Avatar introduces one to Formless Reality. Superlative Souls merge like hailstones in an ocean – in the ocean of the formless Brahman.
So when we sing Hari Om Ramakrishna, at the very least, we are taking refuge, surrendering our rascal egos at His Feet. Or, better yet, for higher vision, to show the way.
The difference between a Savior and an Exemplar becomes clear once one engages in sadhana. It is like the difference between a professor and a knower of God, the difference between one who knows a city via a map, verses one who has actually been to the prime location — to Samadhi, in God.
Avatars are always looking toward the innate perfection of beings, as opposed to harping on sin.