Since the moment of creation – if we can call it a moment, for with this moment time begins – there is a race between the forces of creation and those of destruction. All creation, from point of view of a line of spiritual experience embodied in the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Gita, is a manifestation.
Manifestation of what, we may ask? It is an effortless effort to manifest the Consciousness that stands behind creation as well as enters it building and arranging various forms and names as bodies for the Bodiless. It is effortless when seen from the Origin, the Source, the Divine, call It whatever, for the two are simply two ways of seeing the same thing, one personal, the other impersonal. But seen from this end it seems a tremendous effort and a ceaseless labour. Because at the one pole of the One Origin, all is known forever and the plenitude of power and glory and the path and the goal all is clear. While at the other opposite pole it is a state of complete self-oblivion from where a long labour of love begins, a slow reversal, an emergence, the hazard of the evolutionary adventure, a struggle for the manifestation of the Divine possibilities hidden in the folds of unconsciousness. Each exerts its own pull, in mutually opposing directions and yet it is through this tussle and wrestle that evolution happens and the world progresses through clash and clasp towards its inevitable destiny, the divinisation of clay.
Generally, the struggle is a slow see-saw with an overall tilt in favour of evolution. Yet at times, the earth and humanity and things in general come in the grip of the primal Ignorance. There is a reeling back as it were, the risk of a general retrogression, the threat of civilisational collapse as mankind stands on the brink of disaster. According to one line of Indian spiritual thought, these are moments when the Divine, who is normally hidden behind appearances, steps in the forefront as the Avatar and turns the tide of Time and changes the destiny of earth and men. The Avatar assumes control and takes the charge of the collective march of humanity as its leader. Keeping one foot in humanity’s present as shaped so far by the past and another in the future divinity that is yet to manifest, he becomes a bridge between the World and God, between the human and the Divine.
The conception of Avatarhood, of the Divine become human so that the human in us may grow into the Divine, is central to the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Though they have not announced it publicly, – no Avatar does, – yet one can find its direct admittance in a few letters. One can see it all over in their life and the and teachings. Most importantly one can sense it clearly in the fundamentals of the path.
The conception of Avatarhood differs from the typical Master and disciple relationship in that in the latter, the Master instructs and the discipline follows the practice. In difficult moments the Master provides an inner help for the disciple to go through the journey. The Avatar however declares boldly that he is the way. This may sound strange and unacceptable to the modern mind with its strong belief in the surface individuality. The idea of another seemingly human being who looks like him being yet more than him, not just in quantity but in degree and quality, and to whom one must surrender for one’s progress sounds often like an anathema to the average mind. At best he can admit that there are some beings who can help or else who hold for him an example to be followed. But the Avatar is not just an example (that of course he is), nor just a great spiritual figure who can provide some kind of spiritual help. He is much more. He is the key or rather he has the key to unlock the doors of manifested creation and bring into it a new element. He not only opens the door but rather he is the door. His physical body becomes a gateway for man to access the unmanifested Beyond. This is the great mystery that the Mother and Sri Aurobindo represent. It is in this highest light that we ought to see them, not just as yet another Master or Guru or Teacher or Yogi and Rishi. They are these but much more, the Avatar who comes empowered from the Beyond to change future time.
Such Avatar is Sri Aurobindo and the Mother who usher in a New Age for mankind. It doesn’t matter whether the world recognizes them as such or not. What is important is that the work be done as it will be done and we give ourselves fully to Them and Their work of transformation of earthly life, and be ready to receive the countless gifts of Grace they have brought for earth and men.
The Mother reveals:
The consciousness is like a ladder: at each great epoch there has been one great being capable of adding one more step to the ladder and reaching a place where the ordinary consciousness had never been. It is possible to attain a high level and get completely out of the material consciousness; but then one does not retain the ladder, whereas the great achievement of the great epochs of the universe has been the capacity to add one more step to the ladder without losing contact with the material, the capacity to reach the Highest and at the same time connect the top with the bottom instead of letting a kind of emptiness cut off all connection between the different planes. To go up and down and join the top to the bottom is the whole secret of realisation, and that is the work of the Avatar. Each time he adds one more step to the ladder there is a new creation upon earth…. The step which is being added now Sri Aurobindo has called the Supramental; as a result of it, the consciousness will be able to enter the supramental world and yet retain its personal form, its individualisation and then come down to establish here a new creation. Certainly this is not the last, for there are farther ranges of being; but now we are at work to bring down the supramental, to effect a reorganisation of the world, to bring the world back to the true divine order. It is essentially a creation of order, a putting of everything in its true place; and the chief spirit or force, the Shakti active at present is Mahasaraswati, the Goddess of perfect organisation.
The work of achieving a continuity which permits one to go up and down and bring into the material what is above, is done inside the consciousness. He who is meant to do it, the Avatar, even if he were shut up in a prison and saw nobody and never moved out, still would he do the work, because it is a work in the consciousness, a work of connection between the Supermind and the material being. He does not need to be recognised, he need have no outward power in order to be able to establish this conscious connection. Once, however, the connection is made, it must have its effect in the outward world in the form of a new creation, beginning with a model town and ending with a perfect world. [CWM 3: 178 – 179]
And Sri Aurobindo reminds or rather reveals to us about the Mother:
There is one divine Force which acts in the universe and in the individual and is also beyond the individual and the universe. The Mother stands for all three, but she is working here in the body to bring down something not yet expressed in this material world so as to transform life here—it is so that you should regard her as the Divine Shakti working here for that purpose. She is that in the body, but in her whole consciousness she is also identified with all the other aspects of the Divine Force. [CWSA 32: 50]