Vishnu is revered as a deity filled with compassion and mercy. Traditionally, Vishnu's role has been to incarnate himself in order to intervene at critical moments when humanity was in need of help and guidance. In fact, there have been at least ten avatars (incarnations) of Vishnu - some in animal form. The most popular and influential of his incarnations have been Rama and Krishna. Although devotion to Krishna takes many forms, it is safe to say that this devotion is usually characterized by an intense, tender love for Krishna - whether it is love for an infant, friend or lover.