|Canto 8: Withdrawal of the Cosmic Creations||Chapter 5: The Demigods Appeal to the Lord for Protection|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 8.5.46
tais taiḥ svecchā-bhūtai rūpaiḥ
kāle kāle svayaḿ vibho
karma durviṣahaḿ yan no
bhagavāḿs tat karoti hi
taiḥ — by such appearances; taiḥ — by such incarnations; sva-icchā-bhūtaiḥ — all appearing by Your personal sweet will; rūpaiḥ — by factual forms; kāle kāle — in different millenniums; svayam — personally; vibho — O Supreme; karma — activities; durviṣaham — uncommon (unable to be enacted by anyone else); yat — that which; naḥ — unto us; bhagavān — the Supreme Personality of Godhead; tat — that; karoti — executes; hi — indeed.
O Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, by Your sweet will You appear in various incarnations, millennium after millennium, and act wonderfully, performing uncommon activities that would be impossible for us.
The Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā (4.7):
yadā yadā hi dharmasya
glānir bhavati bhārata
tadātmānaḿ sṛjāmy aham
"Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion — at that time I descend Myself." Thus it is not imagination but a fact that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by His sweet will, appears in different incarnations, such as Matsya, Kūrma, Varāha, Nṛsiḿha, Vāmana, Paraśurāma, Rāmacandra, Balarāma, Buddha and many other forms. Devotees are always eager to see one of the Lord's innumerable forms. It is said that just as no one can count how many waves there are in the sea, no one can count the forms of the Lord. This does not mean, however, that anyone can claim to be a form of the Lord and be acceptable as an incarnation. The incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead must be accepted in terms of the descriptions found in the śāstras. Lord Brahmā is eager to see the incarnation of the Lord, or the original source of all incarnations; he is not eager to see an imposter. The incarnation's activities are proof of His identity. All the incarnations described in the śāstras act wonderfully (keśava dhṛta-mīna-śarīra jaya jagadīśa hare). It is only by the personal sweet will of the Supreme Personality of Godhead that He appears and disappears, and only fortunate devotees can expect to see Him face to face.
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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness