Readers will please pardon me for writing this, a controversial article; and compliment me if they are also convinced about my pragmatic approach to the subject.
Indeed there is neither a perfect yardstick nor a standardized formula to apply to the phenomenon of ‘Avatar’ within the ambit of any known definition. The fundamental question that crosses the mind even at the initial stage is whether there is anything like an “Avatar” and if there is one, whether the particular personality named can be classified as an ‘Avatar’. The obvious choice, in solving the riddle is to rely on certain authoritative statements made by men ‘known for their phenomenal intellect and spiritual out-standings’. For the purpose of my theory, I rely on Sri Aurobindo in his brilliant article on ‘Avatarhood in the Gita’ written in “Kalyana Kalpataruvu” (a journal devoted to Religion and Spiritualism) in its special number “Sri Krishnavataram” (1937) has made the following statement.
The learned author at the outset affirms: “Far from the world being a mechanism of law with no soul or spirit intervening in the moment of its forces, or the action of its minds and bodies, only some original indifferent spirit passively existing somewhere outside or above it, the whole world and every particle of it is on the contrary, nothing but the divine force in action and that divine force determines and governs its very moment, inhabits its very form, possesses here every soul and mind; all is in God and in Him moves and has its being; in all he is, acts and displays his being. every creature is the disguised Narayana”. Before I venture to submit the subject under question to the stress and strain of reason and knowledge, it is necessary to accept the statement of Sri Aurobindo as a fundamental principle of spiritualism. I insist on this because there can be neither compromise nor disagreement when fundamentals are not agreed upon.
Lord Rama, Krishna, Buddha and Christ about whom there is a mass of literature available, are accepted to be personalities of extraordinary human and divine qualities. While in Rama the qualities of humanism and divinity are blended in some recognizable proportion, in Krishna. the buoyancy of divinity is more pronounced. In Lord Buddha and Christ peculiarly, humanism is manifest in greater measure than in their predecessors. The world has recognized all the four as the greatest men known to humanity. Without hesitation they are called ‘Avataras’. By simple and plain meaning an ‘Avatar’ is a title given to them for the extraordinary achievements credited to them. Their achievements are beyond the comprehension of normal human intellect or even of so-called great men. We hear stories in the scriptures about Rishis, Yogis and Saints readily acknowledging Rama and Krishna as the personifications of Narayana. The incredible suffering of Rama for his consort, and his uncompromising attitude in executing ‘Dharma’, the establishment of ideal democracy, all proves that while he behaved with the feelings of a normal being, he yet excelled in performance of his duties. In the case of Lord Krishna, humanism was followed by boisterous divine demonstrations. In Christ and Buddha, the element of humanism is almost similar, and their divinity is expressed at the zenith of their human compassion. One thing is certain that humanism and divinity are two inseparable factors.
It is worthy of observation that these great Avatars’ have suffered more than normal beings. Could not Christ escape crucifixion if he wanted to? Could not Lord Rama escape the pangs of separation from his faithful wife if he wanted to? Indeed. they could do; but as a matter of principle they did not, since both suffering and enjoyment are unavoidable factors.
Mother at Jillellamudi is an unique personality to be studied. Mother’s life is a mystery. Mother of everything and all beings. even in her tender years, she treated every one as her own child.
It is astonishing to note that a child of hardly five years should place herself in such a position. The important factor is that even as a child. Mother used to pour forth words of wisdom and unparalleled philosophical sayings as though springing from a perennial stream. The most complicated and baffling problems or philosophical questions are answered by her in simple words.
In performing the duties of a housewife Mother does them with remarkable sincerity and fullness. In one word, she is a “Pativrata” in its full sense. Mother was always suffering from various ailments from our point of view. Her suffering at times was horrifying but at times vanishes as mysteriously as it comes, whenever a stream of visitors call upon her.
Mother had her own limitations by virtue of being a housewife. She had a husband, children and domestic chores to attend to. I believe that all the limitations that appear to be existing were of her own creation. With the progress of times, mysteriously she was revealing her divinity to people without shaking off a single responsibility accredited to her. Close observation would tell us that one need not take refuge in woods or Himalayas to seek divinity. All that exists and happens to us, and is done by us is due to the motivation of God. When He is the one who ordains what is the responsibility we have? Either He exists as the supreme force or we exist with our will and control. In simple words we are the pawns being played by Him. If that is a fact, how is a pawn responsible for its part in the game? That is what I understand from Mother’s words, poured forth occasionally in conversations and discussions. This is only one of many facets of Mother’s personality.
The greatest quality in her is the perfection of Motherhood. All beings respond to her call with childlike simplicity. In other words, there is nothing that she cannot do or undo, but yet for reasons best known to her, the prevailing conditions are seldom disturbed.
Miracles are an integral part of the lives of all great saints. So is with Mother. There are several instances narrated by several people, where fantastic incidents have happened to them by the grace of Mother. When Mother was asked about them she said, “Creation itself is a great miracle and all other miracles that you talk about look quite ordinary to me”. Another important factor is that Mother does not draw any distinction between castes. religions and nationalities. This is something strange for a devout Hindu lady to be. She identifies herself with all creation, existence and destruction and yet is unmoved by human emotions. There is no conflict of human emotions and divine qualities. Her divinity and human compassion are boundless. Her grace is showered on all those who have seen her and also who have not – How? As Mother she knows her children and she does not forsake them.
The concept of “Avataras’ ‘ may be strange to western philosophy but in Hindu mythology there are ten major Avatars. I fancy that if “Avataras” indicate a definite cycle of human existence, or a specified period of change in life, then surely Mother is an ‘Avatar’. When the values of life are degenerating owing to loosely woven relationships between man and man. Mother has taken upon ‘her’ the burden to point out to us that Reality is ‘One’ from which all creation has come about. That One which conceives all is Mother. The appearance of Mother at Jillellamudi is symbolic. It is for this reason that Mother says that she is “Mother” to one and all.
In her divine perception there is neither sin nor evil, because as Mother it is ‘She’ who guides all. I believe that ‘She’ rocks the cradle of the universe and rules the same.
I hardly portrayed an iota of Mother’s personality. Even with this material I do not hesitate to place Mother on the pedestal of ‘Avatarhood’. But that would be injustice to Mother; because the one divinity that pervades the whole universe guides everything. chose to exist in our midst as Mother sharing our joys and sorrows alike and hence I prefer to place Her in our midst as “MOTHER” only.