Re: Sri Aurobindo and the Future of Humanity--About Avatarhood
by RY Deshpande on Sat 23 Aug 2008 04:25 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link
We have already seen that as per the Gita there are two aspects of the purpose and process of Avatarhood: divine works, divyam karma, and divine birth, divyam janma. Of the divine birth itself, there are two further objects:
“…one is a descent, the birth of God in humanity, the Godhead manifesting itself in the human form and nature, the eternal Avatar; the other is an ascent, the birth of man into the Godhead, man rising into the divine nature and consciousness; it is the being born anew in a second birth of the soul. It is that new birth which Avatarhood and the upholding of the Dharma are intended to serve.”
The Avatar comes as the manifestation of the divine nature in the human nature in order that the human nature may by moulding its principle, thought, feeling, action, being transfigure itself into the divine. The law, the Dharma, the conduct of living in the truth-movement, of growing in it, in the ŗtam, the Dharma which the Avatar establishes is given for that purpose chiefly. His concern is further to build up the next stage of manifestive evolution in the widening possibilities of the great spirit, in its delight and awareness and truth-dynamism and knowledge and power and harmony and beauty and perfection. A stage must come when even the physical must open itself to these greatnesses and grandeurs of this marvellous creation.
This double aspect is the whole meaning of the Gita’s doctrine of Avatarhood. “Otherwise the Avatar idea would be only a dogma, a popular superstition, or an imaginative or mystic deification of historical or legendary supermen, not what the Gita makes all its teaching,” explains Sri Aurobindo, “a deep philosophical and religious truth and an essential part of or step to the supreme mystery of all, rahasyam uttamam.”
The idea of Avatarhood did not exist at least in its explicit sense prior to the arrival of the Avatar of the Gita. What was the necessity of him speaking about it, propounding the mystery of the divine birth in this humanity? Because things had matured up at this stage for making the revelation in order to further the possibilities of the mental being into the overmental realizations. Something absolutely remarkable had happened in the cosmic dimensions which could become the foundation for the next evolutionary structure to come up, from which could be taken the next evolutionary leap.
And the raison d’être of Avatarhood according to the Gita? “Many are my lives that are past, and thine also, O Arjuna; all of them I know, but thou knowest not, O scourge of the foe. Though I am the unborn, though I am imperishable in my self-existence, though I am the Lord of all existences, yet I stand upon my own Nature and I come into birth by my self-Maya. For whensoever there is the fading of the Dharma and the uprising of unrighteousness, then I loose myself forth into birth. For the deliverance of the good, for the destruction of the evil-doers, for the enthroning of the Right I am born from age to age. He who knoweth thus in its right principles my divine birth and my divine work, when he abandons his body, comes not to rebirth, he comes to Me, O Arjuna.”
Sri Aurobindo explains it as follows: When the eternal divine Consciousness takes possession of the human consciousness, then we have the manifest Avatar. But it is to assist that ascent or evolution the descent is made or accepted. It is to give a spiritual mould of divine manhood into which the seeking soul of the human being can cast itself. It is to give a dharma, a religion,—not a mere creed, but a method of inner and outer living,—a way, a rule and law of self-moulding by which he can grow towards divinity. It is too a collective business, a work and the work for the race, to assist the human march, to hold it together in its great crises, to break the forces of the downward gravitation when they grow too insistent, to uphold or restore the great dharma of the Godward law in man's nature, to prepare even, however far off, the kingdom of God, the victory of the seekers of light and perfection and the overthrow of those who fight for the continuance of the evil and the darkness. All these are recognised objects of the descent of the Avatar, and it is usually by his work that the mass of men seek to distinguish him and for that that they are ready to worship him. It is only the spiritual who see that this external Avatarhood is a sign, in the symbol of a human life, of the eternal inner Godhead making himself manifest in the field of their own human mentality and corporeality so that they can grow into unity with that and be possessed by it. Perhaps we can have that spiritual discernment when we talk about the Avatar.
But the upholding of Dharma in the world is not the only object of the descent of the Avatar, that great mystery of the Divine manifest in humanity. It is the new birth which Avatarhood and the upholding of the Dharma are intended to serve. Dharma for what? to hold the new birth in the gracious and felicitous advent of the Avatar. It is an advent to usher in a nobler and superior truth in this progressive life of ours. ~ RYD Reply