Impulse and Incarnation

Excerpted from:

“A Treatise on Cosmic Fire – Section Two – Division D – Thought Elementals and Fire Elementals”

By Alice Bailey and Djwhal Kuhl

Perhaps light upon this very difficult question of the incarnating jivas, of adepts and of avatars may come if the student remembers that:

  1. An ordinary man demonstrates the third aspect of intelligent activity in his personality life, and is evolving consciously the second aspect, or the egoic manifestation on the physical plane.
  2. An adept in incarnation is demonstrating fully the second aspect as well as the third, and in his own internal life is in process of evolving the first aspect, or is endeavoring to bring through the monadic life into conscious activity on the buddhic plane.
  3. An avatar demonstrates one of two things, according to his peculiar karma:
    1. The pure light of the Monad, brought through by means of the perfected Ego and personality on to the physical plane. The line of force extends straight through from monadic levels to the physical.
    2. The light of the Logos Himself in one or other aspect, this being transmitted consciously via the Monad straight through to the physical plane from the planetary Logos, or even from the solar Logos Himself.

In the first two cases, desire for sentient existence, or desire for service to humanity, are the factors which produce physical manifestation (one through the force of evolution itself, the other through a conscious act of the will). Desire for sentient existence is but the latent second aspect seeking expression by means of the Not-Self, and in the other case the manifested second aspect consciously utilizes form as a means to an end. In the case of all avatars it is the will aspect which is brought into play, and which produces appearance – either the will of the perfected adept, such as the Buddha Himself, or (as in the case of the true Avatar, Who is, and Who has not achieved) the will of the planetary Logos or of the solar Logos, taking form for a specific purpose. It involves a higher display of the creative faculty than that displayed by the Adept in the creation of His body of manifestation, the Mayavirupa. 52 The terms “appropriation of a physical body” and “creation of a physical body” must be extended to include all the planes of the solar system, and not just our physical plane, the seventh subplane of the cosmic physical.

The causes which combine to produce incarnation, are seen to be three:

  1. Egoic impulse.
  2. The activity of the solar and lunar Angels.
  3. Karma, or the place which antecedent action plays in producing manifestation.

We can hardly dissociate them in the consideration of our subject owing to the innate constitution of the egoic body itself and the factor the indwelling consciousness plays in producing appearance through an act of will. Let us briefly, therefore, reconsider what we have learned anent the egoic body and its constitution, and then take up the steps followed by the Ego in producing results in the three worlds.

We have seen that on the third level of the mental plane, the egoic lotus is found and the student should picture it to himself as follows:

Concealed at the very center or heart of the lotus is a brilliant point of electric fire of a blue-white hue (the jewel in the lotus) surrounded, and completely hidden, by three closely folded petals. Around this central nucleus, or inner flame, are arranged the nine petals in circles of three petals each, making three circles in all. These petals are formed out of the substance of the solar angels, as are the central three, – substance which is not only sentient as is the substance of the forms in the three worlds and the lunar bodies, but which has an added quality of “I-ness” or of self-consciousness, enabling the spiritual unity at the center (by means of it) to acquire knowledge, awareness, and self-realization. These nine petals are of a predominant orange hue, though the six other colors are found as secondary colors in a varying degree. The inner three petals are of a lovely lemon-yellow hue. At the base of the lotus petals are the three points of light which mark the position of the permanent atoms, and which are the medium of communication between the solar Angels and the lunar Pitris. By means of these permanent atoms the Ego, according to its state of evolution can construct his lunar bodies, acquire knowledge on the lower three planes, and thus buy his experience, and becomes aware. On a higher turn of the spiral, the Monad through the egoic petals, and thus with the aid of the solar Angels, acquires knowledge and equally on more exalted levels becomes aware.

The light within these permanent atoms has a dull red glow and we have, therefore, all the three fires demonstrating in the causal body – electric fire at the center, solar fire enclosing it as the flame encloses the central nucleus or essence in a candle flame, and fire by friction, this latter fire resembling the glowing red wick which lies at the base of the higher flame.

These three types of fire on the mental plane – meeting and unified in the egoic body – produce in time a radiation or warmth which streams out from all sides of the lotus, and forms that spheroidal shape noted by investigators. The more fully developed the Ego may be, and the more the petals are unfolded, the greater the beauty of the surrounding sphere, and the more refined its coloring.


52 The Mayavirupa is literally the illusory form; it is the body of temporary manifestation which the Adept creates on occasion through the power of the will and in which He functions in order to make certain contacts on the physical plane and to engage in certain work for the race.

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At the early stages after individualization, the egoic body has the appearance of a bud. The electric fire at the center is not apparent, and all the nine petals are closed down upon the inner three; the orange color has a dead aspect and the three points of light at the base are just points and nothing more; the triangle which is later seen connecting the points is not demonstrated. The surrounding sphere is colorless and is only to be appreciated as undulatory vibrations (like waves in the air or ether) reaching barely beyond the petal outline.

By the time the third Initiation is reached, a wondrous transformation has transpired. The outer sphere is palpitating with every color in the rainbow, and is of wide radius; the streams of electrical energy circulating in it are so powerful that they are escaping beyond the periphery of the circle, resembling the rays of the sun. The nine petals are fully unfolded, forming a gracious setting for the central jewel, and their orange hue is now of a gorgeous translucence, shot with many colors, that of the egoic ray predominating. The triangle at the base is now quickened and scintillating, and the three points are small blazing fires, showing to the eye of the clairvoyant as sevenfold whorls of light, circulating their light from point to point of a rapidly moving triangle.

By the time the fourth Initiation is reached, the activity of this triangle is so great that it looks more like a wheel in rapid revolution. It has a fourth dimensional aspect. The three petals at the center are opening up, revealing the “blazing jewel.” At this initiation, through the action of the Hierophant wielding the electric Rod of Power, the three fires are suddenly stimulated by a downflow of electric, or positive force, from the Monad, and their blazing out in response produces that merging which destroys the entire sphere, dissipates all appearance of form, and produces a moment of equilibrium, or of suspension, in which the “elements are consumed with fervent heat.” The moment of highest radiation is known. Then – through the pronouncement of a certain Word of Power – the great solar Angels gather back into themselves the solar fire, thus producing the final dissipation of the form, and hence the separation of the life from the form; the fire of matter returns to the general reservoir, and the permanent atoms and the causal body are no more. The central electric fire becomes centralized in atma-buddhi. The Thinker or spiritual entity stands free of the three worlds, and functions consciously on the buddhic plane. Between these two stages of quiescent (though self-conscious) inertia and of that radiant activity which produces a balancing of forces, is a long series of lives.

In our consideration of the subject of the reincarnating jivas, we have touched upon three subjects:

  1. Avatars, with the intent of disposing of the confusion in the minds of students as to certain types of appearances. In our present study we shall deal only with the process followed by ordinary men.
  2. Pralayas, with the intent of arousing in the mind of the student the idea of interludes of quiescence dependent upon the intervening periods of activity.
  3. The appearance of the body egoic and its general conformation, with the intent of awakening the realization of the student to the fact that evolution affects that body also, and not only man’s forms in the three worlds. The effects of the process are interdependent, and as the lower self develops, or the personality becomes more active and intelligent, results are produced in the higher body. As these effects are cumulative, and not ephemeral as are the lower results, the egoic body becomes equally more active and its manifestation of energy is increased. Towards the close of the evolutionary period in the three worlds a constant interchange of energy is seen to be taking place; the lower forms become irradiated with light, and reflect the higher radiance; the egoic body is the Sun of the lower system, and its bodies reflect its rays, as the moon reflects the light of the solar sun. Similarly the egoic Sun, – through the interaction – shines with ever greater intensity and glory. On the higher levels a similar interaction takes place for a brief period between the Monad and its reflection the Ego, but only in the coming solar system will this interaction be carried to its logical conclusion.

Having, therefore, very briefly dealt with these three topics, we can now proceed to consider the process followed by the Ego when seeking manifestation in the three worlds. Let us endeavor in our thoughts to interpret all these processes in terms of energy and of force.

The old Commentary says:

“When the Spark is touched to the four wicks, and when spiritual Fire in its threefold essence meets with that which is combustible, the Flame bursts forth. Faint the flicker at the first appearing, and near to death it seems, but the wicks smolder and glow, and the heat is retained. This is cycle the first, and is called that of the glowing wheel.

The flicker grows into a tiny flame and the four wicks burn, but are not consumed, for the heat does not suffice. The light of these three fires is yet so small that the cave is not illumined. Nevertheless, the flame and the essential heat can be felt by the One Who approaches and watches. This is the second cycle, and is called that of the warming wheel.

The tiny flame becomes a lighted lamp. The fire flares up, but much smoke is there, for the wicks are burning fast, and the heat suffices for their quick destruction. The lamp, set in the midst of darkness, makes the thick blackness manifest itself; the light and warmth are felt. This, the third cycle, is called that of the lighted wheel.

The four wicks and the flame appear as one, and nearly all the smoke is gone, for flame is mostly seen. The cave itself is lighted up, though the lamp is yet apparent. Cycle the fourth is called the hour of the flaming wheel.

The final cycle comes when even the lamp itself is burned, destroyed through the intensity of heat. The One Who watches, seeing the work accomplished, fans the central point of fire and produces a sudden flaming. The wicks are naught – the flame is all. This, so the Sacred Science says, is called the cycle of the wheel consumed.”

Here in the arcane symbology is hid (in terms of energy and of radiant activity) the whole secret of egoic energy, and of impulse making its presence felt in the substance of the lower planes; the student should interpret the above sentences both macrocosmically and microcosmically. In all manifestation, the originating impulse comes from the first aspect which is hidden at the heart of the egoic lotus, but this hidden Identity works under law, and in the earlier stages (the first three cycles) the process goes on under the Law of Economy, which is the law of substance itself; in the final two cycles this law becomes merged (though not superseded, being still potent) with the Law of Attraction, which is the fundamental law of the divine Self. It is the failure to realize this which has resulted in the confusion existing in the minds of many metaphysicians as to which demonstrated first, desire or will, and as to the distinction between them, between impulse and purpose, and between instinct and intention. In the earlier stages man reincarnates under the Law of Economy, and though the will aspect lies back of the process, yet for a long time it is the pull of sensation and its reflex in consciousness, desire, which produces rebirth. Sensation, being a quality in matter or substance, the Self in the beginning identifies Itself with sensation. Later, when the Self is beginning to, identify Itself with Itself, and to recognize the nature of the Not-Self, the Law of Attraction and Repulsion becomes more active, and conscious will and purpose are displayed. Here it should be remembered that a profound difference in time and space exists between the Logos, or Macrocosm, and Man, the Microcosm. Average man comes into incarnation through egoic impulse, based on desire and on the relation of the second aspect to the third aspect or of the Self to the Not-Self. He will eventually bring about (through evolution) the revelation of the first aspect, and then egoic impulse (based on conscious mental apprehension of the purpose in view) will be the dominant factor, and will demonstrate through a definite will to act. In connection with the Logos, the first stage has been left far behind, and logoic manifestation is based on will and purpose and on conscious intelligent activity. The reason for this is that the Logos, and the planetary Logoi likewise, are on the path of cosmic initiation.

Therefore, though the originating impulse comes from the central point, it is not at first apparent. At the moment of individualization, the dim outline of a form such as earlier described has made its appearance on mental levels, and (which is a point not as yet recognized by students) it becomes apparent that a period on mental levels has transpired given over to a preparation for the imminent event. Through the activity of the solar Angels the twelve petals have gradually taken form, as the point of electric fire at the heart has begun to make itself felt even though not as yet localized. Then the first three petals take shape, and close down upon the vibrant point, or “jewel” under the potency of the Law of Attraction. One by one the nine other petals take shape as the vibrations begin to affect solar substance, the three types of petals being each under the influence of one or other of the major Rays; these, in their turn, come under the influence of force from cosmic centers.

As earlier said, these petals form a bud, each being closely folded. Only faint vibrations are to be seen pulsating in the bud, just enough to testify to its being a living organism. Shadowy and dim can the ring-pass-not be seen, the encircling limit of the activity of the coming Consciousness. It is an ovoid or sphere, and very small as yet. This process of forming the egoic lotus has gone on silently from the moment that the lower animal man, or the lower four principles, had reached a point where the energy (generated by him) could begin to make itself felt on mental levels. When the fire of the lower prepared sheaths (the threefold fire of substance itself) becomes radioactive, this nebulous appearance on the third subplane of the mental plane begins to be organized, as the result of the downward pull of the higher by the lower, and as the response of the Spirit aspect to the radiations, or attraction, of matter. But individualization as we understand it is not yet effected. This process of radioactivity on the part of the lower, and of a downflow of energy from the higher, covers a long period wherein the solar Angels are working on Their Own plane and the lower Pitris are also working on theirs; one group is producing the nucleus of the egoic body, and the other the receptacle for the life of God, or the Monad in the three worlds.

Then comes a set time in the life of the planetary Logos wherein His centers become active in a particular manner; this is coincident with the incarnation of the Monads, and their descent into the three worlds. A systemic triangle is formed (for ever the three produce the seven), and through this setting loose of threefold energy, the work of the solar and lunar Pitris is coordinated, and the three permanent atoms are appropriated by the jiva concerned, and appear at the base of the egoic lotus. Individualization has taken place and the work of at-one-ment is completed; the fourth kingdom in nature is a “fait accompli;” the Monad has clothed itself in material sheaths, and the self conscious unit appears on the physical plane. If all that H. P. B. has to say anent the first three rounds of our Earth scheme is read as dealing with the period of condensation of the causal body upon the mental level, and as covering the time leading up to the appearance in the fourth round of man as we now have him, some light may be thrown upon this difficult matter.

The egoic lotuses can be seen grouped together, and each of them forms part of a group. These groups in their turn form part of a vaster lotus which embodies the consciousness of a still greater Entity whose “jewel” may be found on the second subplane. All these in their turn may be divided into seven fundamental groups. These seven groups or aggregates of egoic lotuses form the seven types of consciousness of those Entities Who are the seven centers of force for our own planetary Logos. These seven in their turn will be synthesized on higher levels into the three higher centers, till the entire energy and force which they represent is gathered up, and absorbed by the center corresponding to the highest head center of the planetary Logos. Each Logos embodies one type of cosmic energy. Each of His centers embodies this type of energy in one of its seven differentiations. Each of these seven in turn manifests through egoic groups, and these again are composed of those points of energy we call Egos.

These multitudes of egoic groups form a radiant interlocking whole, though all are diverse and differing, both as to their point of development, and their secondary coloring. Just as the petals in the egoic lotus of the incarnating jivas unfold in differing order and at different periods, so the egoic groups also unfold diversely as to time and sequence. This produces a wonderful appearance. Again just as the Master can (by studying the group or larger lotus of which He is a part), ascertain the condition of the human units who go to its constitution, so the planetary Logos can ascertain through conscious identification (note the term) the condition of the various groups through whom His work must be accomplished.

It will now be apparent to the student that the appearance of the incarnating jivas on the physical plane will be governed by three things:

  • First of all, on impulse based on the will-purpose of the Life animating the aggregate of groups on any subray, or one of the seven larger groups.
  • Second, on impulse based on the will, tinged by desire, of the Life animating a man’s egoic group.
  • Third, on impulse, based on the desire of the Ego for physical plane manifestation.

As identification of a man with his group becomes matured the desire impulse becomes modified until it is eventually superseded by group will. If these facts are pondered upon it will be apparent that Egos come into incarnation therefore not singly but according to group urge, and thus collectively. This is the basis of collective karma, and of family karma. The individual urge, which is, of course, a reaction to group urge, is the result of personal karma. Hence, though we may by these reflections, have thrown some light upon this question of reincarnation, we have nevertheless said much to increase the magnitude of the question, and its complexity. Average man is confined to the use of the physical brain, and is, therefore, unable to think in group terms.

This egoic impulse in any group or any group unit makes itself felt as a pulsation, or access of energy, emanating from the central point. This central activity is produced by the action of the planetary Logos working through the groups in His centers, and according to the center under stimulation so will the groups concerned be affected. Beyond mentioning this fact, we cannot enlarge, for the subject is stupendous, and beyond a man’s comprehension; it is only necessary for him to appreciate his dependence in this matter upon the planetary Logos.

From the group center, therefore, emanates an urge to renewed activity, and this spreads throughout the group lotus until the units who respond to that particular ray vibration occultly “awaken.” All this time (as far as the jivas are concerned) this aspect of force has been that of the first aspect, and has passed from the central points to other central points. The positive nuclei in each case are affected by this flashing forth of electric fire, or energy. Each point concerned responds by a primary contraction followed by an outgoing or expansive display of energy. Each Identity concerned proceeds to sound a WORD. This sound expands into a mantram and the solar angels vibrate in response. There is a point of interest to be noted here.

  1. The first aspect works through a Word of Power.
  2. The second aspect works through mantric combinations.
  3. The third aspect works through mathematical formulas.

Having sounded the Word the first aspect, represented by the electric fire at the center of the lotus, sinks back into quiescence, and becomes an abstraction as far as the self-conscious unit is concerned. The work has been begun, the necessary vibration has been set up, and the whole process then proceeds under law. The solar angels have begun their activity, and until their work has reached a very high stage, the Spirit aspect must become, in the causal body, an analogy to the Silent Watcher. As the solar Angels continue sounding out the mantram, which is the basis of their work, the lunar Pitris respond to certain sounds in that mantram (not to all by any means at first) and gather out of those sounds the formula under which their work must proceed. So the Word is the basis of the mantram, and the mantram is the basis of the formula.

At each incarnation, finer forms are required, and the formulas therefore grow more complicated, and the sounds on which they are based become more numerous. In time, the formulas are completed, and the lunar Pitris respond no more to the sounds or mantrams chanted on the mental plane. This is indicative of the stage of perfection, and shows that the three worlds have no more a downward pull for the jiva concerned. Desire for lower manifestation and experience has no more sway, and only conscious purpose is left. Then, and only then, can the true Mayavirupa be constructed; the Master then sounds the mantram for Himself, and builds without formulas in the three worlds. At the time too that man begins to tread the Probationary Path, the mantrams of the solar Angels begin to die down, and slowly (as the petals of the inner circle open up) the true Word emerges until the three enshrining petals burst open, and the central spark is revealed. Then the Word is fully known, and mantrams and formulas have no further use. Thus is the beauty of the scheme revealed. When the planetary Logos is concerned, the Word sounded on cosmic levels is being resolved into mantrams on the cosmic etheric planes, for He is in a position to create consciously on those levels; He works nevertheless through formulas on the dense physical planes of His scheme, our three worlds of endeavor.

To return to the reincarnating jivas: When the initiatory impulse has been given, the vibration thrills through the petals, and activity starts in those of them which respond to the note of that Word. The solar Angels direct the vibration, and the mantram for that particular type of Ego is begun. Finally the vibration reaches the mental unit at the base of the lotus bud, and the lunar Pitris are called into activity. They begin to work out their formulas for the particular type of vehicle which is required.

The Doctrine of Avatāras – from The Secret Doctrine

Le terme avatāra (formé du préfixe ava, qui marque un mouvement de haut en bas, et de la racine tṛ « traverser »), en son sens originel et restreint, désigne une descente, c’est-à-dire une incarnation du dieu Viṣṇu, dans le dessein de rétablir l’ordre cosmique et moral troublé par des puissances démoniaques.

Cette notion s’est étendue par la suite à Lakṣmī, la parèdre du dieu, ainsi qu’à d’autres divinités brahmaniques, mais le mot est resté spécifiquement lié aux cultes vichnouites.

Viṣṇu, dieu de la stabilité, mainteneur des êtres et de l’univers, revêt des formes temporelles pour combattre les forces du mal.

Nirmāṇakāya (Sanskrit: निर्माणकाय, Chinese: 應身; pinyin: Yīng shēn) is the third aspect of the trikāya and the physical manifestation of a Buddha in time and space. In Vajrayāna it is described as “the dimension of ceaseless manifestation.” {Wikipedia}

I don’t think many scientists would be keen on the notion of Copernicus being a fast-track reincarnation of Cardinal de Cusa!!

These extracted from my Adyar Edition of the Secret Doctrine by H.P.Blavatsky which still smells a little of Watkins Books.

The Status Quo Always Resists

Yesterday I put up some videos pertaining to what were two anti-apartheid struggles, one in the USA and one in South Africa. I have been on the telephone to RSA for technical assistance and spoken to what were black African experts. I can tell from their accents because I lived in Zambia as a child. Back then there would not have been any black experts, so things have changed a bit and that is nice. For me it was enjoyable to hear their voices.

One could argue that King and Mandela were minor avatars of black liberation.

The status quo always resists and sometimes it does this by murder and intimidation. Biko and King died because they were trying to stimulate change.

This is the irony, the status quo, even if it practises apartheid believes itself to be in the right. It will hang on to its power structures with a grim determination. We see this happening in Belarus where protest is met by force. It will not change one iota unless the situation becomes utterly untenable. The status quo nearly always uses some means of intimidation or coercion, mild or otherwise, in order to maintain the status quo. The status quo is blind to its faults and does not like having them pointed out. History in this respect is repetitive.

I have lived in quasi-apartheid in post-colonial Zambia, in the mid-seventies. It was not enforced but there was financial and social exclusion. When I was 11 or 12, I had a fully grown man be my golf caddy and carry my clubs. I used to let him play golf on holes 2-17 out of sight of the club house. They weren’t allowed in the club house because they were not members. Membership costs were out of reach for them so there was a deliberate financial apartheid. There was lip-service to integration in the social structures but legislative rules regarding integration in employment.  At the metal refinery where my father worked whenever there was a new opening, if there was a Zambian applicant qualified “close enough” they took the role. It was with some pride that I heard my caddy won the annual members versus caddies competition. The rugby club was pretty much all white, as was the amateur dramatic society, the squash club and the tennis club. Occasionally we would see black children at the public swimming baths. We did sit and watch dubbed Chinese kung fu movies at the cinema with them in the hundreds. Because my dad was a Zambian Rugby Football Union referee, he would travel to ref. township style games.

It was the struggle of the birth pangs of Zimbabwe that caused us to return to the UK. There was a “terrorist” / “freedom fighter” base just out of town. They were unruly and caused problems in town. The Rhodesian Air Force bombed them from time to time. My mother did not like it, so we left. My dad was offered a job in Brazil for a German company, but he would be paid in cruzeiros not deutschmarks, so we ended up in Berkshire and then Kent. It is funny how one man’s terrorist is often another man’s freedom fighter.

Anyone who threatens the dominion of the status quo is deemed terrorist. If they win, they the erstwhile freedom fighter might then get attacked by a whole new generation bearing the terrorist label.

No doubt the British thought the Americans terrorists as they demanded independence. It is a label with which the status quo brands its perceived opponents. The status quo is rarely aware of its own hypocrisy, accusing others of brutality and terrorism whilst feeling utterly justified in dishing it out.

From Wikipedia:

“The Jallianwala Bagh massacre, also known as the Amritsar massacre, took place on 13 April 1919. A large but peaceful crowd had gathered at the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, Punjab to protest against the arrest of pro-Indian independence leaders Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlu and Dr. Satya Pal. In response to the public gathering, the British Brigadier-General R. E. H. Dyer surrounded the Bagh with his soldiers. The Jallianwala Bagh could only be exited on one side, as its other three sides were enclosed by buildings. After blocking the exit with his troops, he ordered them to shoot at the crowd, continuing to fire even as protestors tried to flee. The troops kept on firing until their ammunition was exhausted. At least 1000 people were killed and over 1,200 other people were injured of whom 192 were seriously injured.

Responses polarized both the British and Indian peoples. Eminent author Rudyard Kipling declared at the time that Dyer “did his duty as he saw it”. This incident shocked Rabindranath Tagore (the first Indian and Asian Nobel laureate) to such an extent that he renounced his knighthood and stated that “such mass murderers aren’t worthy of giving any title to anyone”.

The massacre caused a re-evaluation by the British Army of its military role against civilians to minimal force whenever possible, although later British actions during the Mau Mau insurgencies in Kenya have led historian Huw Bennett to note that the new policy was not always carried out. The army was retrained and developed less violent tactics for crowd control.”

People “conveniently” forget their own history for political purposes. It is funny how history takes a very dim view of brutality and yet it is nearly always ever present. The great and the good are allowed to kill hundreds of thousands in Iraq but should an Iraqi fire a missile back, he is the terrorist.

The terroriser calls the weak the terrorist so as to justify bullying them. This is the way of oppression.

The status quo always resists and is largely unaware of its own hypocrisy deeming itself utterly justified in its mores and its way of living which it inflicts by rules onto others.

Nevertheless, change is one of the constants of the universe.

The Doctrine of the Coming One

Excerpted from:

The Reappearance of the Christ – Chapter I – The Doctrine of Avatars

By Alice Bailey and Djwhal Khul

CHAPTER ONE

The Doctrine of the Coming One (Western Teaching)
The Doctrine of Avatars (Eastern Teaching)

Whenever there is a withering of the law and an uprising of lawlessness on all sides, then I manifest Myself.

For the salvation of the righteous and the destruction of such as do evil, for the firm establishing of the Law, I come to birth age after age.

– Bhagavad Gita, Book IV, Sutra 7, 8.

Right down the ages, in many world cycles and in many countries (and today in all) great points of tension have occurred which have been characterized by a hopeful sense of expectancy. Some one is expected and His coming is anticipated. Always in the past, it has been the religious teachers of the period who have fostered and proclaimed this expectancy and the time has always been one of chaos and difficulty, of a climaxing point at the close of a civilization or culture and when the resources of the old religions have seemed inadequate to meet men’s difficulties or to solve their problems. The coming of the Avatar, the advent of a Coming One and, in terms of today, the reappearance of the Christ are the keynotes of the prevalent expectancy. When the times are ripe, the invocation of the masses is strident enough and the faith of those who know is keen enough, then always He has come and today will be no exception to this ancient rule or to this universal law. For decades, the reappearance of the Christ, the Avatar, has been anticipated by the faithful in both hemispheres – not only by the Christian faithful, but by those who look for Maitreya and for the Boddhisattva as well as those who expect the Imam Mahdi.

When men feel that they have exhausted all their own resources and have come to an end of all their own innate possibilities and that the problems and conditions confronting them are beyond their solving or handling, they are apt to look for a divine Intermediary and for the Mediator Who will plead their cause with God and bring about a rescue. They look for a Savior. This doctrine of Mediators, of Messiahs, of Christs and of Avatars can be found running like a golden thread through all the world faiths and Scriptures and, relating these world Scriptures to some central source of emanation, they are found in rich abundance everywhere. Even the human soul is regarded as an intermediary between man and God; Christ is believed by countless millions to act as the divine mediator between humanity and divinity.

The whole system of spiritual revelation is based (and has always been based) on this doctrine of interdependence, of a planned and arranged conscious linking and of the transmission of energy from one aspect of divine manifestation to another – from God in the “secret Place of the Most High” to the humblest human being, living and struggling and sorrowing on earth. Everywhere this transmission is to be found; “I am come that they may have life” says the Christ, and the Scriptures of the world are full of the intervention of some Being, originating from some source higher than the strictly human. Always the appropriate mechanism is found through which divinity can reach and communicate with humanity, and it is with this communication and these Instruments of divine energy that the doctrine of Avatars or of divine “Coming Ones” has to do.

An Avatar is one Who has a peculiar capacity (besides a self-initiated task and a preordained destiny) to transmit energy or divine power. This is necessarily a deep mystery and was demonstrated in a peculiar manner and in relation to cosmic energy by the Christ Who – for the first time in planetary history, as far as we know – transmitted the divine energy of love directly to our planet and in a most definite sense to humanity. Always too these Avatars or divine Messengers are linked with the concept of some subjective spiritual Order or Hierarchy of spiritual Lives, Who are concerned with the developing welfare of humanity. All we really know is that, down the ages, great and divine Representatives of God embody divine purpose, and affect the entire world in such a manner that Their names and Their influence are known and felt thousands of years after They no longer walk among men. Again and again, They have come and have left a changed world and some new world religion behind Them; we know also that prophecy and faith have ever held out to mankind the promise of Their coming again amongst us in an hour of need. These statements are statements of fact, historically proven. Beyond this we know relatively few details.

The word “Avatar” is a Sanskrit word, meaning literally “coming down from far away.” Ava (as prefix to verbs and verbal nouns) expresses the idea of “off, away, down.” Avataram, (comparative) farther away. The root AV seems at all times to denote the idea of Protection from above, and is used in compounds, in words referring to protections by kings or rulers; in regard to the gods, it means accepted favorably when a sacrifice is offered. With the result that the root word can be said to mean “Coming down with the approval of the higher source from which it came and with benefit to the place at which it arrives.” (From Monier-Williams Sanskrit Dictionary.)

All the world Avatars or Saviors, however, express two basic incentives: the need of God to contact humanity and to have relationship with men and the need of humanity for divine contact, help and understanding. Subject to those incentives, all true Avatars are therefore divine Intermediaries. They can act in this fashion because They have completely divorced Themselves from every limitation, from all sense of selfhood and separativeness and are no longer – by ordinary human standards – the dramatic center of Their lives, as are most of us. When They have reached that stage of spiritual decentralization, They Themselves can then become events in the life of our planet; toward Them every eye can look and all men can be affected. Therefore, an Avatar or a Christ comes forth for two reasons: one, the inscrutable and unknown Cause prompts Him so to do, and the other is the demand or the invocation of humanity itself. An Avatar is consequently a spiritual event, coming to us to bring about great changes or major restorations, to inaugurate a new civilization or to restore the “ancient landmarks” and lead man nearer to the divine. They have been defined as “extraordinary men Who from time to time appear to change the face of the world and inaugurate a new era in the destinies of humanity.” They come in times of crisis; They frequently create crises in order to bring to an end the old and the undesirable and make way for new and more suitable forms for the evolving life of God Immanent in Nature. They come when evil is rampant. For this reason, if for no other, an Avatar may be looked for today. The necessary stage is set for the reappearance of the Christ.

Avatars are of all degrees and kinds; some of them are of great planetary importance because They express whole cycles of future development within Themselves and strike the note and give the teaching which will bring in a new age and a new civilization; They embody great truths towards which the masses of men must work and which still constitute an objective to the greatest minds of the age, even though as yet unrealized. Certain Avatars also express in Themselves the sumtotal, of human achievement and of racial perfection, and thus become the “ideal men” of the ages. Others, greater still, are permitted to be the custodians of some divine principle or some divine quality which needs fresh presentation and expression upon Earth; this They can be because They have achieved perfection and have attained to the highest possible initiations. They have the gift of being these embodied spiritual qualities, and because They have in fullness expressed such a specific principle or quality They can act as channels for its transmission from the center of all spiritual Life. This is the basis for the doctrine of Avatars or Divine Messengers.

Such an one was the Christ; He was twice an Avatar because He not only struck the keynote of the new age (over two thousand years ago) but He also, in some mysterious and incomprehensible manner, embodied in Himself the divine Principle of Love; He was the first to reveal to men the true nature of God. The invocative cry of humanity (the second of the incentives producing a divine Emergence) is potent in effect because the souls of men, particularly in concerted action, have, in them something which is akin to the divine nature of the Avatar. We are all Gods, all the children of the One Father, as the latest of the Avatars, the Christ, has told us. It is that divine center in every human heart which, when awakened into activity, can call forth response from the high Place where the Coming One awaits His hour of appearance. It is only the united demand of humanity, its “massed intent,” which can precipitate the descent (as it is called) of an Avatar.

To sum up, therefore: the doctrine of Avatars is paralleled by the doctrine of the continuity of revelation. Ever down the ages, and at every great human crisis, always in the hours of necessity, at the founding of a new race, or in the awakening of a prepared humanity to a new and wider vision, the Heart of God – impelled by the Law of Compassion – sends forth a Teacher, a world Savior, an Illuminator, an Avatar, a transmitting Intermediary, a Christ. He gives the message which will heal, which will indicate the next step to be taken by the race of men, which will illumine a dark world problem and give to man an expression of some hitherto unrealized aspect of divinity. Upon this fact of the continuity of revelation and upon the sequence of this progressive manifestation of the divine Nature, is based the doctrine of Avatars, divine Messengers, divine Appearances and Saviors. To Them all, history unmistakenly testifies. It is upon the fact of this continuity, this sequence of Messengers and Avatars, and upon the dire and dreadful need of humanity at this time, that the worldwide expectancy of the reappearance of the Christ is based. It is the innate recognition of all these facts that has led to the steadily mounting invocative cry of humanity in every land for some form of divine relief or divine intervention; it is the recognition of these facts which also prompts the order which has gone forth from “the center where the will of God is known” that the Avatar should come again; it is the knowledge of both these demands which has led the Christ to let His disciples in every land know that He will reappear when they have done the needed preparatory work.

The Avatars most easily known and recognized are the Buddha in the East and the Christ in the West. Their messages are familiar to all, and the fruits of Their lives and words have conditioned the thinking and civilizations of both hemispheres. Because They are human-divine Avatars, They represent what humanity can easily understand; because They are of like nature to us, “flesh of our flesh and spirit of our spirit,” we know and trust Them and They mean more to us than other divine Emergencies. They are known, trusted and loved by countless millions. The nucleus of spiritual energy which each of Them set up is beyond our measuring; the establishing of a nucleus of persistent energy, spiritually positive, is the constant task of an Avatar; He focuses or anchors a dynamic truth, a potent thought-form or a vortex of magnetic energy in the world of human living. This focal point acts increasingly as a transmitter of spiritual energy; it enables humanity to express some divine idea and this in time produces a civilization with its accompanying culture, religions, policies, governments and educational processes. Thus is history made. History is after all only the record of humanity’s cyclic reaction to some inflowing divine energy, to some inspired leader, or to some Avatar.

An Avatar is at present usually a Representative of the second divine aspect, that of Love-Wisdom, the Love of God. He will manifest as the Savior, the Builder, the Preserver; humanity is not yet sufficiently developed or adequately oriented to the life of the Spirit to bear easily the impact of an Avatar Who would express the dynamic will of God. For us as yet (and this is our limitation) an Avatar is one Who preserves, develops, builds, protects, shields and succors the spiritual impulses by which men live; that which brings Him into manifestation is man’s need and man’s demand for preservation and help. Humanity needs love, understanding and right human relations as an expression of attained divinity. It was this need which brought the Christ to us before as the Avatar of Love. The Christ, that great human-divine Messenger, because of His stupendous achievement – along the line of understanding – transmitted to humanity an aspect and a potency of the nature of God Himself, the love Principle of Deity. Light, aspiration, and the recognition of God Transcendent had been the flickering expression of the human attitude to God, prior to the advent of the Buddha, the Avatar of Illumination. Then the Buddha came and demonstrated in His Own life the fact of God Immanent as well as God Transcendent, of God in the universe and of God within humanity. The Selfhood of Deity and the Self in the heart of individual man became a factor in human consciousness. It was a relatively new truth to man.

However, until Christ came and lived a life of love and service and gave men the new command to love one another, there had been very little emphasis upon God as Love in any of the world Scriptures. After He had come as the Avatar of Love, then God became known as love supernal, love as the goal and objective of creation, love as the basic principle of relationship and love as working throughout all manifestation towards a Plan motivated by love. This divine quality, Christ revealed and emphasized and thus altered all human living, goals and values.

The reason He has not come again is that the needed work has not been done by His followers in all countries. His coming is largely dependent, as we shall later see, upon the establishing of right human relations. This the church has hindered down the centuries, and has not helped because of its fanatical zeal to make “Christians” of all peoples and not followers of the Christ. It has emphasized theological doctrine, and not love and loving understanding as Christ exemplified it. The Church has preached the fiery Saul of Tarsus and not the gentle Carpenter of Galilee. And so, He has waited. But His hour has now come, because of the people’s need in every land and because of the invocative cry of the masses everywhere and the advice of His disciples of all faiths and of all world religions.

It is not for us yet to know the date or the hour of the reappearance of the Christ. His coming is dependent upon the appeal (the often voiceless appeal) of all who stand with massed intent; it is dependent also upon the better establishment of right human relations and upon certain work being done at this time by senior Members of the Kingdom of God, the Church Invisible, the spiritual Hierarchy of our planet; it is dependent also upon the steadfastness of the Christ’s disciples in the world at this time and His initiate-workers – all working in the many groups, religious, political and economic. To the above must be added what Christians like to call “the inscrutable Will of God,” that unrecognized purpose of the Lord of the World, the Ancient of Days (as He is called in The Old Testament) Who “knows His own Mind, radiates the highest quality of love and focuses His Will in His Own high Place within the center where the Will of God is known.”

When the Christ, the Avatar of Love, makes His reappearance then will the

“Sons of men who are now the Sons of God withdraw Their faces from the shining light and radiate that light upon the sons of men who know not yet they are the Sons of God. Then shall the Coming One appear, His footsteps hastened through the valley of the shadow by the One of awful power Who stands upon the mountain top, breathing out love eternal, light supernal and peaceful, silent Will.

“Then will the sons of men respond. Then will a newer light shine forth into the dismal, weary vale of earth. Then will new life course through the veins of men, and then will their vision compass all the ways of what may be.

“So peace will come again on earth, but a peace unlike aught known before. Then will the will-to-good flower forth as understanding, and understanding blossom as goodwill in men.”

lo

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* I could say that I have telepathic permission to quote this work from one of its authors.

Avatars, Their Nature and Their Work

We have, in our discussion above, connected the phenomenon of individualization with the appropriation by the Logos, or by a planetary Logos, of Their dense physical vehicles, and Their self-conscious existence through the medium of the physical body. A very difficult and mysterious subject might be touched upon here, – that of AVATARS, and though it will not be possible for us to expound it fully, as it is one of the most occult and secret of the mysteries, perhaps a little light may be thrown upon this profound subject.

For purposes of clarity and in order to elucidate a matter of extreme difficulty to the occidental mind above all (on account of the fact that it has not yet grasped the rationale of the process of reincarnation), it would be wise to divide the differing types of avatars into five groups, bearing in mind that every avatar is a Ray, emanated from a pure spiritual source, and that a self-conscious entity only earns the right to this peculiar form of work through a previous series of lives of achievement.

 

  1. Cosmic Avatars.
  2. Solar Avatars.
  3. Interplanetary Avatars.
  4. Planetary Avatars.
  5. Human Avatars.

As just said, an avatar is a Ray of effulgent and perfected glory, clothing itself in matter for the purpose of service. All avatars in the strict sense of the word are liberated souls, but the cosmic and solar avatars are liberated from the two lower planes of the cosmic planes. While the planetary and the interplanetary avatars are liberated from the cosmic physical plane, our systemic planes, the human avatar has achieved freedom from the five planes of human endeavor. In a strictly technical and lower sense, a Master in physical plane incarnation is a type of avatar, for He is a “freed soul” and therefore only chooses to incarnate for specific purpose, but we will not deal with Them. Let us again subdivide these groups so as still further to clarify our ideas:

1.Cosmic Avatars: They represent embodied force from the following cosmic centers among others:

  1. Sirius
  2. That one of the seven stars of the Great Bear which is ensouled by the prototype of the Lord of our third major Ray.
  3. Our cosmic center.

They represent entities as far removed from the consciousness of Man, as man is from the consciousness of the atom of substance. Thousands of those great cycles which we call “a hundred years of Brahma” have passed since They approximated the human stage, and They embody force and consciousness which is concerned with the intelligent coordination of the starry Heavens.

They have achieved all that man can conceive of as the transcendence of will, of love and of intelligence, and in the synthesis of those three have added qualities and vibrations for which we have no terms, and which cannot be visioned by even our highest adepts. Their appearance in a solar system is very unusual, and is only recognized on the highest two planes. Yet, owing to the material nature of our solar system, Their advent is literally the appearance in a physical form of a spiritual Being Who is fully conscious.

Such entities from Sirius appear at the occasion of the initiation of the solar Logos, and They have a peculiar connection with the five Kumaras and through Them (using Them as focal points for force) with the Mahachohan’s department in all the occult Hierarchies of the system. Only once has such a Being visited our system, in connection with the appearance in time and space of the five mind-born Sons of Brahma. The effect of such a visit as that of the Avatar from Sirius is seen as the sumtotal of civilization and culture, viewing these from the standpoint of the entire system and in one flash of time.

An avatar from the cosmic center will appear as pralaya is nearing and will produce in the body of the Logos that which we call “Death.” He is the cosmic Reaper, and (to reduce the above to words of an understandable nature) He belongs to a group which represents the abstracting energy of the cosmos, of which we find faint correspondences in the work of the “destroyer” aspect of the Logos, and in the forces which produce physical death, and the disintegration of the physical body of man. It is not possible to say more oil these fundamentally esoteric matters, and the value of what is said lies largely in the bringing to the mind of the student the reality of our cosmic interrelation.

2.Solar Avatars: These avatars are of three types though there are really many more. They are also extra-systemic visitors, and are mainly concerned with certain processes in the system, among others the administration of the law of cause and effect, or of karma. They embody the karma of the past kalpas as far as our Logos is concerned, and give the initiatory impulse to the processes of adjustment, of expiation and of recognition as it concerns the present system as a whole. One such Entity, the “Karmic Avatar” appeared upon the second logoic vibration, being swept in on the second Breath; He has stayed until now: He will remain with us until all the schemes have entered upon their fifth round, and are nearing their “Judgment Day.” At that time, He can withdraw, leaving the planetary Logoi concerned to fulfil the karmic purpose unwatched. The vibratory impulse will then be so strong and the realization of the buddhic principle so consciously vivid that nothing can then arrest the onward march of affairs. Under Him work a number of cosmic entities who, as stated in the Secret Doctrine, have the privilege of “passing the ring-pass-not”; these are, nevertheless, not avatars for They are Themselves evolving through the administration of karma. It is Their work, and opportunity to progress.

An avatar can learn nothing from the place of His appearance. His work is to apply the force of some type of electrical energy to substance in one of its many grades, and thus bring about anticipated results.

Another type of solar avatar, Who can be seen appearing in the schemes, has relation to the heart center of a planetary Logos, and appears on the higher planes (never on the lower) when the heart activity is making itself felt, and when the energizing process is seen to bring about three things:

 

  1. An expansion of consciousness.
  2. An increase of spiritual light and brilliancy.
  3. Planetary radioactivity.

It is this planetary phenomenon which produces (in connection with the fourth kingdom in nature) the throwing open of the door of initiation to man. Such avatars do not come in connection with any particular Hierarchy but only in relation to the total system. They produce the blending of the colors, and the synthesis of the units in their groups.

At the initiation of a planetary Logos, an avatar may appear in His scheme on the seventh globe from that cosmic center or star which is ensouled by the particular Rishi Who (in the constellation of the Great Bear) is His cosmic prototype. This is, for the Entity concerned, the taking of a physical form, for our higher planes are but matter from Their standpoint. This has been emphasized frequently, as its significance is not yet sufficiently grasped. By means of the appearance of this Avatar on the seventh globe, the planetary Logos is enabled to preserve continuity of cosmic consciousness even when in physical incarnation; this solar avatar performs the same function for the planetary Logos as the Guru does for His disciple. He makes certain events possible by means of the stimulation and protection of His aura, and He acts as a transmitter of electrical energy from the cosmic center. We must be careful to hold this analogy very lightly, for the real work accomplished cannot be grasped by man. This avatar has naturally a direct effect upon the centers of the Heavenly Man and therefore upon the units or human Monads, but only indirectly and upon the Monad on its own plane. This influence meets with little response from the Monad until after the third Initiation when its conscious life becomes so strong that it grips afresh its egoic expression in one direction, and awakens to planetary realization in another. This type of avatar appears only at the time of the initiation of a planetary Logos. The number of initiations taken by a planetary Logos in this system vary from two to four.

3.Interplanetary Avatars. A very interesting group of avatars is here to be found. They are mainly concerned with three things: first with the superintendence of the transfer of force units or egoic groups from one scheme to another (not with individual units from chain to chain). They appear usually twice in the history of a scheme, and though unable to take physical bodies of grosser material than those formed of atmic and the buddhic substance, they work with impulse in mental matter and thus effect these group transfers. They Themselves are subdivided into three groups:

 

  1. Those effecting the transfer from the minor schemes or Ray manifestations on to the third Ray; They concern Themselves with the result of the merging of the polar opposites in the four lesser schemes until but one is left; and then with the transference of the life and quality of this remaining one on to the third Ray.
  2. Those dealing with the transference and interaction of the life forces between the three major Rays.
  3. Those producing the final systemic transfer at the end of the age.

 

Secondly, certain avatars from the fourth Creative Hierarchy, for esoteric and for us inexplicable reasons, leave Their Own Hierarchy, and appear in one or other of the deva Hierarchies. This happens only once in the history of each scheme and occurs at the time of its densest physical appearance, and has relation to the transference of deva impulse from one scheme to another. They are connected in this way with the appearance of the self-conscious units, being the primal embodiment of the latent self-consciousness of the atom of deva substance. They set the type for the devas of any particular scheme.

Once in the history of each scheme, an avatar from the constellation Capricorn appears on mental levels. This level is the lowest one on which these interplanetary deities appear. No more can be communicated on this matter. “The mystery of the goat” lies hidden here. This avatar makes His appearance in the third round of the third chain, and disappears in the fifth round of the fourth chain.

These interplanetary avatars come in, as the products of much earlier kalpas when systemic conditions are refined enough to permit of Their appearance. They are the nirmanakayas of an earlier solar cycle Who now again take the opportunity to effect (in an active sense and through physical manifestation) certain uncompleted work.

4.Planetary Avatars. These emanate from the central planetary Logos of a scheme and embody His will and purpose. They are of two different kinds. The first type is a manifestation on etheric physical levels of the planetary Logos Himself for a specific length of time. It involves the definite taking of a physical body by one of the Kumaras. Such an avatar is to be seen in Sanat Kumara, Who, with the three other Kumaras, embodies the four planetary quaternic principles. In a very real sense, Sanat Kumara is the incarnation of the Lord of the Ray Himself; He is the Silent Watcher, the great Sacrifice for humanity.

As noted in the above paragraph, there are secondly three Entities Who embody planetary principles. They are (speaking from the present standpoint) the dynamic energy which holds together the three lower kingdoms, viewing these kingdoms as units and not as differentiations. They are closely connected with the energy aspect of the three earlier chains, and it only needed the work of an interplanetary avatar (at the formation of the triangle which resulted in the individualization period in Lemurian days) to enable Them to take etheric bodies and incarnate among men. They act as focal points for the energy of the planetary Logos on His own plane. The first Kumara is in a mysterious sense the energy which produces self-consciousness in the human family. The three other kumaras, or the three Buddhas of Activity, act as similar focal points for the energy which animates the three lower kingdoms, and which produces their differing grades of consciousness. It is not possible to express this great mystery more clearly but if the student couples these few hints with those earlier given in the Secret Doctrine, the mystery of the “Holy Four” may be somewhat clarified from the standpoint of energy and evolution.

The times and seasons of their appearing vary according to the particular karma of the Lord of the Ray, and nothing in connection with these great cycles, and incarnation periods, can be revealed to the unpledged and the profane.

5.Human Avatars. These are fully dealt with by H. P. B. and there is nothing further to add to her information, for the time is not ripe.  All the above has its place here, as it concerns the mystery of force and consciousness, and the fullest manifestation of a planetary Logos and of a solar Logos in a dense physical body is hidden in the appearance of these various avatars and in their effect.

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Excerpted from:

A Treatise on Cosmic Fire – Section Two – Division D – Thought Elementals and Fire Elementals

Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul