When the Supreme Lord descends to this material world, how do we understand that He is God and not an ordinary human being?

The answer is, we can identify a person as God only if the following points are met:

  1. Details of his appearance are mentioned in the Vedic scriptures. The parents names, place of his appearance and the activities that he will perform in the world must be mentioned in the Vedic scriptures. For example: The prediction of the appearance the incarnations of Lord Krishna in the form of Lord Buddha, Lord Chaitanya Maha Prabhu and Lord Kalki are mentioned in the Vedic scriptures around 5000 years ago. This is the authenticity of the Vedas.
  2. When the Lord appears, great devotees recognize him by looking at various bodily features of the Lord. There are thirty-two bodily marks that symptomize a great personality:

    1. five of his bodily parts are large
    2. five fine
    3. seven reddish
    4. six raised
    5. three small
    6. three broad and
    7. three grave

The five large parts are the nose, arms, chin, eyes and knees.

The five fine parts are the skin, fingertips, teeth, hair on the body and hair on the head.

The seven reddish parts are the eyes, soles, palms, palate, nails and upper and lower lips.

The six raised parts are the chest, shoulders, nails, nose, waist and mouth.

The three small parts are the neck, thighs and male organ.

The three broad parts are the waist, forehead and chest.

The three grave parts are the navel, voice and existence.

Altogether these are the thirty-two symptoms of a great personality.

The fate lines on the palm are also considered to be auspicious bodily symptoms.

Lord Krishna possesses all the thirty two auspicious bodily symptoms of a great personality. He also had auspicious marks on His lotus feet and on His Lotus hands as follows:

On Krishna's right hand: are the flag, chakra, club, tree, goad, dagger and sword.

On His left hand: is a lotus, umbrella, swastika, an unstrung bow, plow, fish, column and a crescent moon shape.

Srila Vishvanatha Chakravarti thakura give the following details about Lord Krishna’s lotus feet in his book Sri Rupa Chintamani:

candrardham kalasam tri-kona-dhanushi kham goshpadam proshthikam shankham savya-pade 'tha dakshina-pade konashtakam svastikam cakram chatra-yavankusham dhvaja-pavi jamburdhva-rekhambujam bibhranam harim unavimshati-maha-lakshmy-arcitanghrim bhaje

“I worship Lord Hari, whose feet are endowed with the 19 great opulences of, on the left foot, the half moon, water-pot, triangle, bow, sky, cow's hoof print, fish, conch, and on the right foot, the eight-pointed star, svastika, wheel, parasol, barleycorn, elephant-goad, flag, thunderbolt, jambu fruit,urdhva-rekha, and lotus.”

On Krishna's right foot are: konastakam – an eight – pointed star; svastikam – a svastika; cakram – a wheel; chatra – a parasol; yava – a barleycorn; ankusham – an elephant – goad; dhvaja – flag; pavi – a thunderbolt; jambu – jambu fruit; urdhva-rekha – line traveling upwards; ambujam – lotus

On Krishna's left foot are: candrardham – half-moon; kalasam – waterpot; tri-kona – triangle; dhanushi – bow; kham – ether; goshpadam – cows hoof-print; proshthikam – fish; shankham – conch-shell

In the following verses the Skanda Puräëa states the particular places on His feet where Krishna carries the mark of the flag and also other marks, and the reasons for these marks:

dakshinasya padangushöha-mule cakram bibharty ajah tatra bhakta-janasyari-shaò-varga-cchedanaya sah

'At the base of the large toe on His right foot, the unborn Lord carries the mark of a disc, which cuts down the six [mental] enemies of His devotees.'

madhyamanguli-mule ca dhatte kamalam acyutah dhyatri-citta-dvirephanam lobhanayati-shobhanam

'At the bottom of the middle toe of that same foot Lord Acyuta has a lotus flower, which increases the greed for Him in the minds of the beelike devotees who meditate on His feet.'

kanishöha-mulato vajram bhakta-papadri-bhedanam parshni-madhye 'nkusham Bhakta cittebha-vasha-karinam

'At the base of His small toe is a thunderbolt, which smashes the mountains of His devotees' reactions to past sins, and in the middle of His heel is the mark of an elephant goad, which brings the elephants of His devotees' minds under control.'

bhoga-sampan-mayam dhatte yavam angushtha-parvani

'The joint of His right large toe bears the mark of a barleycorn, representing all kinds of enjoyable opulences.'

"The Skanda Purana also states, vajram vai dakshine parshve ankusho vai tad-agratah 'A thunderbolt is found on the right side of His right foot, and an elephant goad below that.'

Hence we should accept someone as God only based on the descriptions given in the Vedic Scriptures and confirmed by great devotees. In Kali yuga, people are innocent and ignorant about these facts. They simply tend to get cheated by swindlers who claim themselves as Gods without any reference to the scriptures. They do not possess any auspicious bodily symptoms. They are very ugly to look at. They show some cheap magic and produce some gold or ash and cheat innocent people claiming themselves as incarnations of God. These cheaters will be severely punished in hellish planets for their abominable act of cheating people in the name of God. We should become intelligent by taking guidance from genuine spiritual master. A genuine spiritual master will never claim himself as God, but he always remains a true servant of the Supreme Lord Krishna. He will try to convince all innocent people to surrender to the Supreme Lord. One such spiritual master who tried his best to preach Krishna consciousness in this world is His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta swami Prabhupada, founder Acharya of ISKCON. He himself remained in the background and made Krishna and his holy name ‘Hare Krishna’ most popular in this world. Only such pure devotees can guide humanity in understanding the Supreme Lord Krishna who possesses all auspicious bodily marks.

'At the base of the large toe on His right foot, the unborn Lord carries the mark of a disc, which cuts down the six [mental] enemies of His devotees.'