Devotees would often approach Sri Ramakrishna to get their spiritual doubts clarified. Caught between the two ideas of supreme Parabrahman and the concept of Avatar i.e. God incarnated on earth, they would seek his clarification. Sri Ramakrishna would explain the concept using a Pauranic story.
Praising Sri Krishna his favourite disciple Arjuna said, “Thou art Brahman Absolute”, meaning that he was the Advaitic Truth or one without a second. Sri Krishna replied, “Follow Me, and you will know whether or not I am Brahman Absolute.’ So saying, he led Arjuna to a certain place and asked him what he saw there. Arjuna replied that he saw a huge tree and on it fruits hanging like clusters of blackberries. Then Sri Krishna asked him to go nearer and look again. Arjuna went nearer and found that they were not clusters of blackberries but numerous Krishnas hanging from the tree in clusters. In other words, Divine Incarnations without number appear and disappear on the tree of the Absolute Brahman.
Sri Ramakrishna would further explain that Jnanis are those who practise the path of pure reasoning and think of God without form. They do not accept Divine incarnations. But, the devotees wish to enjoy the sweetness or Madhurya of God. So, they accept divine incarnations or God coming down on earth for the sake of mankind. Sri Ramakrishna would add that as one goes nearer to God one sees lesser and lesser of His Upadhis or attributes. A devotee at first may see the Deity as the ten-armed Divine Mother; when he goes nearer he sees Her possessed of six arms; still nearer, he sees the Deity as the two-armed Gopala. The devotee, at last when he comes into the presence of the Deity, sees only Light without any attributes. At that point of time he experiences the oneness or Supreme Brahman.