AVATARAS – INCARNATIONS
From time to time when imbalances occur, then a great force descends to Earth to bring about a balance. That is what the Bhagavad-Gita says. What are the mechanics of this? How does it happen?
The Avatara is forever the eternal wanderer. He might live his life here on Earth, but in the concept of time that we have spoken about, he lives but a moment here and does what has to be done. Great teachers have come about, have come to Earth to give their teachings to suit the times, and those teachings are eternal.
Over time, our time, the teachings get eroded. They lose the force. So many misinterpretations take place. For people with their organisational needs, which has happened in Buddhism, Christianity, and Hinduism, the true teachings have been distorted.
There was a chap called Nasrudin, and a friend of his brought him a duck as a present. So Nasrudin made a lovely soup with this duck, and he ate a goodly portion of it, and there was a bit left. Then there was a knock on the door, and a person comes. Nasrudin asks, “What do you want?” and he says, “I am the friend of the person who gave you the duck, and I am hungry.” So Nasrudin gave him a little of the soup. A while later, someone else knocks on the door, and Nasrudin asks, “What do you want?” He says, “I am the friend of the friend of the person who gave you the duck.” There was not much soup left. So, Nasrudin took a bit of the soup and added some water to make up a bowl and gave it to this person. Then, a while later, another knock on the door and this person comes and says, “I am the friend of the friend who is the friend of the person that gave you the duck.” Now there was very little soup left. So Nasrudin added in water to make up the bowl and gave it to him. And this happened again until the soup was nothing but pure water. Then, this person said, “This is just like water!” So, Nasrudin replied that “You are the friend of the friend of the friend of the friend of the friend who gave me the duck, so this is the soup of the soup of the soup.
This happens with teachings. They get watered down, and the original essence is lost. That is why the eternal wanderer, the incarnation, has to come again and again to revive the original teachings of Love and faith and peace.
The Avatara, or the Incarnation, is a person that will not merge into unity consciousness; for, merging away in that consciousness, it would not be necessary for him to take birth. But he always sits on the fence, and it is his choice to merge away in that unity consciousness or come back into this world. Remember, it is not only this world that the incarnation is interested in. He goes from planet to planet to planet.
You will remember this: that this world of ours is duplicated and replicated thousands of times over. There are people similar to us on other planets that have not yet been discovered beyond our solar system or even beyond our galaxy. There are other planets where there are beings more evolved than us that does not even need verbal communication. Communication is just done by thought, just done on the feeling level. You have a feeling, and I know it, and I have a feeling, and you know it. More evolved, that operate on a subtler level, like that. There are so many worlds and worlds and worlds, and the incarnation travels everywhere where he is needed where a more significant imbalance has taken place, where truth has been buried, and he comes with the spade and digs.
THE INCARNATION IS FOREVER READY
Every person emanates something. A town emanates something. A city, a country, the whole world emanates a certain force. That force could be a good force, then the Avatara does not need to come. But if the force is of such nature that shows a great imbalance, that becomes a magnet, a magnetic force that pulls the Avatara to where he is needed. The incarnation is forever ready. His ever-readiness and the magnetic pull from the Earth are the two factors that bring the incarnation, such as Krishna, Buddha, Christ, Mahavir, Moses, down to Earth. His primary purpose is to awaken people’s hearts, to show them the way home. Therefore, Christ so rightly said that “I am the way; I am the life,” and that is the truth.
Yet, if you study the lives of these great men, these incarnations, their lives have been so simple, so beautiful, so ordinary. I have said this before to you, perhaps, that man must become more ordinary than ordinary in order to be extraordinary. This you will find portrayed in the lives of these great incarnations. Buddha, Christ, Krishna, they never cared for pedestals, all the show and sham. That is good for those that are not capable. They have got to put up a front, a show, fancy dressing. When you go into a shop, and the suit or the dress is not of such good quality, then you will find in the window all the different lights highlighting that particular suit or a dress to make it attractive. But in essence, it is of cheap quality, and they charge you double for the lighting! But the true incarnation, he does not care what people think, because to him respect or disrespect is immaterial. It is all the same because he has risen above it.
THE INCARNATION HAS TO SHOW HIMSELF AS A HUMAN
The question would remain that, once the Avatara has taken birth, why does he not start his teachings from the very birth? Here the incarnation, coming from this vastness and embodying himself in this little body, he, too, has to open himself up. He, too, has to know who he really is. He, too, has to take a bath after traveling through all these dust storms of the universe, and then the moment comes when he knows who he is, and then his mission begins. That is why Buddha did not start teaching until quite a good age; Jesus did not start teaching until he was 30. The same thing applies to Krishna and to Mahavir and to Moses.
This demonstrates the total humanness of even an avatara. The real Avatara never forgets the fact that he has become human. Within himself he knows that he is Divine, he is established in that knowingness, he is established in that Divinity, and yet he would behave as an ordinary human being. The reason for this is that to touch the Hearts, to open the Hearts of other humans, he has to show himself as a human, too.
Recently we visited some gurus where they come and prostrate themselves, and this chap takes something out and beats them on the head like that. Shame! What a mockery! The real Avatara does not require worship. No worship. He loves Love and devotion, and the Love and devotion that is accorded to the incarnation, he returns tenfold. As a matter of fact, he inspires that Love and devotion in you. You are doing nothing. If you look at it and look at it factually, you are doing nothing. He inspires that. He lights that spark, just that little spark, and it is up to us, the people, to let that spark become a big flame. So that Love and devotion grow. For whose benefit? Not for the benefit of the incarnation. He does not need evolving, but the people need evolving. If he had to give you the flame, the total fire just like that in a package, you will not benefit. He will give you the spark and say, “Right, you tend it and make it burn. Let it consume you; let it burn away the dross, the dirt.” In doing it yourself, you are purifying yourself. That is the spiritual path.
“A fire will destroy this world,” they say. What world? The world inside of you. Let this fire consume it, this yearning for that oneness with the Divine, and the rewards are so great! The rewards are so great; we do not even think of enlightenment. But, as we approach, life becomes happier, smoother, realisations dawn; our perspective, our attitudes, the way we look at things, change. That makes life smoother and happier. All this chasing after external things assumes a different quality because the incarnation teaches you to chase after that which is within, and all else is taken care of. So, being established in being, perform action. That is what the Gita says.
EFFORT IS NECESSARY
Through our meditational practices, we do become established in being, established within ourselves in the Kingdom of Heaven within. And all else is there; all else is there. But that does not mean you must sit on your fanny. Effort is necessary. Action is necessary. But the skill in action is to perform action while being in non-action. That means that, by being established in being, do anything, and you enhance the very action you are performing.
The reason for this is to evolve, to dissolve all the samskaras, that burden that we have brought on us. The avatars, the incarnations, they are clever buggers. You are walking down the road with that big load, that big bag; it is heavy, you are walking. If there is an acceptance in you, a yearning to lessen the burden, then the Avatara comes from the back, and he takes a sharp nail and pierces the bag. While you are walking, all that is dripping out. You do not even know it! Then, by the time you reach the end, it is not so heavy anymore, and you wonder. All the samskaras are dissolved through that Grace. Through that Grace, the burden becomes lighter. That is the purpose of the incarnation. His purpose is to love, for he is Love himself. He does not need to love; he does not give Love. He is Love, and he wants to see that everyone becomes that Love. See how beautiful!
People love because of need or dependencies or whatever. They use Love as a crutch. But this kind of Love that is generated is the Love that would permeate every cell of one’s being. That Love. In its train, it brings about all the positive qualities required: kindness, compassion, sacrifice, surrender, offering. You see how beautiful it is? When these things are there any child could think that if these things are there, then automatically life assumes a different proportion and everything is so beautiful and smooth and lovely. For life itself is joy. Life itself is joy, joy, joy. And we enjoy the joy.
THOU ART THAT
In that deep Love that we develop for Christ, or Krishna, or Buddha, that little “I” to which we have attached so much importance – “I” this, and “I” that, and “me” this, and “mine” that – melts away in the fire of that Love.
Then we say, “Tat tvam asi,” “Thou art That.” Not I, but Thou. Then this I-Thou relationship begins, where it first starts off as a surrender, the separation is felt that this little me and you are That. As this dawn, the gap narrows and you become closer and closer until you, the little I melt away in that consciousness which is Christ, or Krishna, or Buddha.
You see the force of such an incarnation! Just a touch, just a glance, just a look can change an entire lifetime. But the choice is yours: do I want to change? Do I accept that there is something greater than me? Even if these incarnations, although they come with them, bring with them, or they are the entire force of the universe — even if man does not realise that and if he only regards those incarnations to be a symbol of Divinity, that is sufficient enough for the start, until the realisation dawns that “Ah, I have seen Divinity; I have touched the hem of his cloak!” How fortunate, how fortunate we are? How fortunate we are.
THE INCARNATION HAS THIS MISSION IN LIFE
The incarnation has this mission in life. The mission is to enliven the living dead. For are we not the living dead? Where do our minds go? What do our minds think about? Just analyse this from the moment you wake up in the morning until you go to bed. How many times during those 16 or 18 hours in the waking state do we take our mind to something far greater than us, or even to a symbol that represents this greatness? How many times? We are either thinking of what will be for supper tonight or our little business problems, our work problems, our relationship problems, our girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife, children? That is necessary to live; but underlying that, there must be this constant awareness, constant remembrance, of that great force that is there and forever with you, in you, around you. That is the purpose.
WHAT IS THE INCARNATION
When incarnations suffer, what do they suffer? That was no suffering to be nailed to the cross. That was no suffering. Thousands of people get killed every day – motor car accidents, stabbed, shot, mugged, or whatever you call it here. Thousands of people. That is not suffering. The real suffering of the incarnation is to limit himself in a little limited body, He that is as vast as the universe.
For what is the Incarnation? He is the personalised God. As the world has its own emanation, so the universe also emanates a force, and the incarnation is that force. The entire force of the universe has to be capsuled in a little frail body. It is like going from the broad end of the funnel to the narrow end, that is the suffering of the incarnation. And he cries that “All this within the framework of my universe!” Because he represents the sum totality, he can truthfully say “my universe.” And he sees all these worms crawling about. Big fish eat small fish; brother kills brother; son defies father. For what! What is there to gain?
He comes to teach you the value of what one should really gain. In other words, he puts you on the path to the greatest gain for which you are destined. Divinity resides in man. Man is Divine, but this very Divinity within him must be brought to its fullest recognition. That is the mission of the incarnation, and it can be expressed so well in the terms of Love. Love is just another name for God, that is all.
This does not only go as far as human beings are concerned, it goes as far as everything. Even a stone has life, or else the stone will not undergo changes. We leave a stone outside, leave it for a few months, and it will change. Because that, too, is governed by a molecular structure, an atomic structure, which is forever in motion, and that motion itself is life. Plants have life. Plants can speak to you. You know of the experiments that have been done here in America where plants were wired up in a room. The experimenter burnt one plant, and the other plants started screaming. They felt hurt. Life, life, life. Life functioning within its natural forces.
But here, what do we humans do? Someone slips on a banana peel on the road and hurts himself. What do we do? We laugh, which is the secret of how Charlie Chaplin made millions, by working upon human frailties. A plant can cry and scream when another plant is hurt. A plant that cannot think! But we? Someone gets hurt, we laugh instead of running and say, “Oh, dear God! He must be so hurt!” We do not feel the pain. You see how we separate ourselves, and then we go shouting about: “Love thy neighbour as thyself.” For if you did love thy neighbour as thyself, you would not laugh at the hurt of your brother.
ALL TEACHINGS ARE THE SAME
These are the incarnations’ teachings, and if you study all these religions and theologies, you will find that the basis is the same. All the teachings are the same. There is not a single theology that teaches you to hate; they teach us, Love. There are many ways.
True teachings will always contain four elements. It will include the dispensing of knowledge, wisdom, understanding. It will still contain how to live rightly and act rightly, think rightly. It will always contain the element of devotion and Love, and it will also include how to achieve this.
If any teaching lacks any one of these elements, then know that that teaching is not complete. It must contain understanding, wisdom, knowledge; it must contain Love and devotion; it must contain injunctions of right thinking and right action, and it must also show you how to achieve this.
According to the Hindus that are the four yoga’s: jnana yoga, karma yoga, bhakti yoga, raja yoga. This is contained in Christianity, as well; in Buddhism, as well; in Taoism, as well; in Confucianism, as well. Every great theology worthy of its salt contains these elements.
In our organisation, what we do, we sift out the dross and all the mythologies and things that are attached to it, and we go to the basics, the essence, of what the Avataras, the Incarnations, have taught.
WE ARE PRACTICAL PEOPLE
What surprises me is that you find these long-winded speculations, all these various philosophies, arguments, you know, pros and cons. These philosophies are good for those philosophers. We are practical people, and if we cannot bring down the teachings and the knowledge and the wisdom into our day-to-day practical life, then it is all worthless, a waste of time, mental gymnastics.
I met a young man who was busy studying all kinds of philosophies. He started with Hegel and Nietzsche and Kant and, you name it, Schopenhauer, Spencer, and the works. He studied all these, he started studying all the Upanishads, and the Vedas, and he went into Buddhism, Mahayana and the Dhammapada. Everything he studied, studied, studied all the time. Meanwhile, his wife and three children were going hungry. I gave him a rapping over his knuckles. “All this is not going to help you. Any donkey can carry a load of books on its back. How practical is your life? Is your duty not to feed and give shelter to your wife and children first? No one says that you do not need to study these things. By all means do that but let your time be so apportioned, let it be so balanced that your wife and children do not suffer. Yet you can pursue your studies. Nothing wrong in that.”
In my travels in India, I met another man, not so young. He was, or is, an expert handbag maker. Everything done by hand. Every stitch he puts in the bag looks like a pearl. He starts in the morning, going from one temple to the other temple to the other temple to the other temple. He passes three-quarters of the day like that. He goes to Krishna’s temple, then Rama’s temple, then Vishnu temple and then the Shaivite temple, and goes praying everywhere.
Meanwhile, he has got work to do. He has got orders to execute. He takes the deposit for the order, and he keeps the customer hanging on for weeks and weeks. So, I told him, “Forget all those temples. Let your temple be in those stitches you put in that bag. For every stitch to you will become a mantra. Do that be practical. It does not help you spending three-quarters of the day going around when you cannot fulfil your responsibilities.”
He started doing that, and his business prospered. I said, “You do that, look after your responsibility and all those gods that you go around to worship, they will come and sit there with you. You do not need to go to them; they will come to you. Do your duty.”
This is what the incarnations teach—the practicality of life. You do not need to go to God. But do something to bring God home. Then you are a man, my son! You take one step; Divinity takes ten steps towards you. This man started doing that, and he became prosperous, became more harmonious within himself, became a happy man, and his wife and children became happy.
When I revisited India about a year later, he said, “While I sit and work here making my handbags, I feel as if all the gods are around me.” I said, “Now you are ready for me to initiate you, ” and I initiated him.
I saw him a year later – I used to go to visit India every year – and he says, “You know, Guruji, as I am stitching my bags, making them, cutting the leather,” all the paraphernalia that goes in making handbags, “while I am doing that, you know, I am not even conscious of the work I am doing. The mantra has taken me over so much that I am not working; the mantra is working, for I have become the mantra.”
The entire self, the little self, is lost, and yet all the work is done, and his bags, created in beautiful designs, better and better designs every time. All the memsahibs that used to come there had to stand in a queue for his bags. Because he used to look at the face and say, “Madam, this kind of bag I am going to design for you.” So, when he used to get 50 rupees for one bag, now he gets 250 rupees for a bag. Because he is not working anymore; the mantra is working currently, for he has become the mantra itself. That is what the incarnations teach. That is the unity one has to find, where you become that Divine impulse through your mantra. Yet, everything outside is normal. The bags are done, he eats, he sleeps; he has his wife, his children. Normal, wonderful. That is what the incarnation teaches.
STORIES OF ENLIGHTENMENT
I was taking my children around with me visiting some ashrams, and we met a few gurus. I was very sad, and I said, “Are these spiritual teachers? Are they real gurus?” They saw me being sad, and they asked me, “Why are you sad?” I said, “Are these people doing the Father’s work? Are they looking after the Father’s business?”
So, I told them a story I experienced some years ago when I was in a village. Of course, they were very interested in enlightenment. Never mind anything else. Enlightenment. All right, so, they said, “You met this one; is he enlightened?” I said, “Is that your bloody business?” Nevertheless, I like to satisfy my children. I said, “No, far from it.” And they said, “Guruji, have you met an enlightened man?” I said, “Yes, I have. Firstly, my guru, Pavitranandaji, was enlightened.” “Any more after that?” they asked, and I said, “Look, they do not come cheaper by the dozen! If you find one enlightened man in a hundred million people, you are lucky!”
Then I told them about an enlightened man I met in India’s far-out village where I was passing by. Those villages typically have one little sand road, and at the end of the village, a kumbar was there sitting and working. A “kumbar” means a potter. He makes pots. You will find in the villages that aluminium pots and iron pots are very seldom used. They use earthen pots, and you cook beautifully in them, that I promise you. I mean, I have tasted it all, and I know. The food assumes a lovely taste in those handmade earthen pots.
Here this chap, shabbily dressed and dirty, so full of joy, sitting shaping those pots at that potter’s wheel. And I stood there looking at this man, and I said, “What an unusual person!” Totally illiterate. Potters and carpenters and blacksmiths in India are regarded to be low caste. Here, of course, someone does pottery, and it is regarded to be something creative, and you are respected for being a good potter. But there, no. You have them in every village, and they make such beautiful pots. It comes down in the caste from generation to generation to generation; it is so in them, in this chap, and I sat down there watching him making his pots, looking at him.
I asked him a few questions. He said, “What do I know.” So illiterate. But I could not get up from that place for three days! An enlightened man, and yet so illiterate. The Divine powers are just shining through him. Yet all the villagers never used to take any notice of him. “Oh, that potter!” And if a little pot cost eight annas, they would argue with him and say, “Look, how can you charge me so much, you fool! I will give you six annas instead of eight.” An enlightened man! How many can you recognise that? Someone said the other day that if Christ should walk down the road, they will arrest him for vagrancy.
So here was this very poor potter. When it came towards the evening to eat, he brought out some of those dry chapatis, and he offered it to me. “Would you share with me?” That was the finest piece of bread I have ever eaten in my life! Of course, when I left there, I saw that he was provided for two years.
IT IS THE HEART
It is not the thinking mind and all those philosophies. It is the Heart. The realisation comes there, in that sense of knowingness that defies all analysis. That is what the incarnation comes down to Earth to do; it is to lead people to that enlightenment. Yet, he cannot change the entire world. If more than a dozen people are enlightened at a time on this Earth, this whole Earth will explode. It cannot take that force; it can never take that force. You can put four thousand million people on one side of the scale and the incarnation on the other side of the scale, and there will be a balance.
When we talk about some of these yogis, few enlightened people do not even come out, because they are not world teachers. They are just self-satisfied, like my guru. He said, “I came to this Earth for one purpose. That is done. Finish.” You find a few that would hide themselves away, that would never want to see anyone. But the Spiritual Force they are emanating is an excellent help to the world. It is a great help to the world. When the avatar comes down, he comes for a purpose. He comes to avert calamities that are to happen.
… Gururaj Ananda Yogi: Satsang US 1979 – 07