An AVATAR is the descent into physical incarnation on Earth of an aspect, a portion, a part of the Universal Logos, through or via one of the 7 Celestial Lords.
The Universal Logos is referred to by various people and traditions under various names, such as Narayana, Maha-Vishnu, Shiva, Avalokiteshvara, etc. but really it is not a Being but a Divine Principle – the Central Spiritual Sun itself, the All-Ensouling Life of the Universe. The Universal Logos is not Parabrahm (Brahman) but is the first great LIGHT which radiates forth from Parabrahm at the beginning of the great Cycle and subsequently ensouls, encapsulates, and enlivens the entire universe.
The 7 Celestial Lords are also known under various different names in different religions. To some they are the Seven Dhyani Buddhas, to others the Seven Kumaras, to others the Seven Archangels. They are born from the Divine Mind, the Divine Thought, of the Logos, hence the Seven Kumaras being referred to in Hinduism as the “Seven Mind-Born Sons of Brahma,” Brahma again being another name for the Universal Logos, the First Cause, the Universal Heart.
Each one of these Seven presides over the angelic hierarchy of one of the seven sacred planets. Esoterically understood, they are the Seven Rays. Each one of us, in our highest spiritual nature as a Divine Spark, a Monad (the conjunction of Atma plus Buddhi) began our incarnational journey from the Fire of the Divine Allness Itself by passing through one of these Seven Rays on our way down into incarnation, i.e. right at the very start, when we first started off in the mineral kingdom and worked our way up from there, through the vegetable kingdom, animal kingdom, and into the human kingdom.
Monadically and esoterically speaking, each of us is “born” through one of the Seven Rays, one of the 7 Celestial Lords. Thus, when an Avatar of the Universal Logos is needed on Earth, the incarnation must of necessity come about via one of the 7 Celestial Lords. This is mysterious and complex but we can comprehend it, to at least some small extent. The souls, the Egos, which are chosen as vehicles and vessels for the great Avataric descent are ones who have made themselves intensely pure, holy, and spiritually attuned throughout their previous incarnations. The incarnation of the Logos then comes about through a partial incarnation (perhaps “involvement” or “connection” would be a better term) of whichever of the 7 Lords is the esoteric “Father” or “Parent” of that particular soul’s Monad.
Through its own efforts and merits, that soul has so raised and elevated itself that it becomes – for a time – the direct representative and vessel of its “Father in Heaven.”
Perhaps we can now understand more clearly Madame Blavatsky’s statement in “The Secret Doctrine” that “In ancient Symbolism it was always the SUN (though the Spiritual, not the visible, Sun was meant) that was supposed to send forth the chief Saviours and Avatars. Hence the connecting link between the Buddhas, the Avatars, and so many other incarnations of the highest SEVEN.”
A Buddha is a type of Avatar but in the case of a Buddha the process is somewhat different. The above description is relevant to such great Avatars as Krishna, Rama, and so on (most Avatars having been Indian and the concept and word itself being originally found in Hinduism) but when the time comes – once in each Epoch, each Root Race in other words – for a BUDDHA to manifest, one of the Seven Dhyani Buddhas or Seven Celestial Lords (and which one it is is predetermined by Cyclic Law) creates through the power of Dhyana (mystic meditation) a Bodhisattva, which we could think of in terms of being a direct “Spiritual Son,” emanated from the Dhyani Buddha.
This Bodhisattva has the mission to incarnate directly in a physical body on Earth and to then remain behind on Earth, after the death of the human body, to continue the work of the Buddha until the Buddha of the succeeding Root Race appears, many thousands of years later. The remaining Bodhisattva, lingering invisibly as a type of Nirmanakaya, may himself occasionally incarnate in (but not as) other individuals when necessary and when decreed by the Law of Karma.
In the case of the Buddha of this Fifth Root Race (the Aryan or Indo-Caucasian Root Race) the Dhyani Buddha is Amitabha Buddha – whose name means “Infinite Light” – and the Bodhisattva brought forth by his Dhyana manifested on Earth 2,500 years ago in the form of Siddhartha Gautama. Through his own efforts and trials during the first part of his life as well as in previous lifetimes, the human man Gautama assimilated and united himself completely and perfectly with the Bodhisattva and thus also with the Dhyani Buddha and so became enlightened and a human Buddha in his own right.
Since that incarnation, the “Gautama-Bodhisattva-Nirmanakaya” has incarnated himself more than once, firstly around 50 years after the death of the physical body of Gautama, as Adi Shankaracharya, the founder of the Advaita Vedanta system of Hinduism. This was necessary in order to tie up some “karmic loose ends” of Gautama. More could be said about this but this is not the place or time to do so. Shankaracharya chose to put off his body by his own free will at the age of 33 whereas in fact he was meant to have lived for 90 years.
A few hundred years later, out of compassion and the needs of suffering humanity, the Gautama-Bodhisattva-Nirmanakaya appeared in the form of the man Jehoshua, sometimes known as Yeshua or more popularly as Jesus, who himself had to die a violent death at the age of 33, due to the above, for such is the Law. Around 50 years after that, in order to tie up some “karmic loose ends” from the Jesus incarnation, the Bodhisattva appeared in the body of Apollonius of Tyana, who is referred to in the secret esoteric books of the Trans-Himalayan Brotherhood as Tiani-Tsang. And about 1,300 years later he incarnated himself in Tsong Kha-pa, the great reformer of Tibetan Buddhism and founder of the Gelugpa (Yellow Hat) branch of that religion, also the founder of the Trans-Himalayan Esoteric School and the beginner of the Panchen Lama lineage. There have been other and lesser instances of the Gautama-Bodhisattva-Nirmanakaya’s direct involvement with humanity, when a sufficiently great need arose. We can see that his work often revolves around radical reformation and the re-establishment of universal divine Truth.
The next Buddha – many thousands of years from now, appearing at the end of the Kali Yuga and looked for in Hinduism as the Kalki Avatar – will be Maitreya, the Bodhisattvic manifestation on Earth of the Dhyani Buddha Amoghasiddhi.
In regard to Tsong Kha-pa, Madame Blavatsky wrote that “The records preserved in the Gon-pa, the chief lamasery of Tashilhunpo, show that Sangs-rgyas [a Tibetan name for Gautama Buddha] left the regions of the ‘Western Paradise’ to incarnate Himself in Tsong-kha-pa, in consequence of the great degradations into which His [Gautama Buddha’s] secret doctrine had fallen.” Tushita, the Western Paradise, is in fact a place on this globe – albeit shrouded in mystery and inaccessible to all but the suitably initiated few – known as SHAMBALLA. And writing elsewhere about the Lord Gautama, she tells us:
“It is maintained that this Adept of Adepts lives to this day in his spiritual entity as a mysterious, unseen, yet overpowering presence among the Brotherhood of Shamballa, beyond, far beyond, the snowy-capped Himalayas.”
By MW, August 2012
NOTE: Some of the information in this article, particularly in regard to the “reincarnations” of the Gautama-Bodhisattva, may be entirely new to the reader but I wish to make it clear that none of this is my invention but can be found in the written teachings of Madame Blavatsky and her Mahatma Teachers by anyone who is prepared to make a serious and intuitive study of them.
* For further information about some of the things mentioned in this article, please see “The Logos in Theosophy” (http://secretdoctrine.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/the-logos-in-theosophy/), “The Mystery of The Buddha” (http://secretdoctrine.wordpress.com/2012/05/18/the-mystery-of-the-buddha/) and other articles on this site.