According to philosopher and academic Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the theory of ‘avatar’ is an eloquent expression of the law of the spiritual world. “If God is looked upon as the saviour of man, He must manifest Himself whenever the forces of evil threaten to destroy human values. An avatar is a descent of God into man and not the ascent of man into God, which is the case with the liberated soul.”The fact of avataran, descent, indicates that the Divine sees nothing wrong in manifesting Himself at the physical level. While living in a physical body it is very much possible for the aspirant to gain access to higher levels of consciousness and attain Self-realisation. Far from being an obstacle, human nature can, in fact, become a perfect instrument of the Divine.Though the Bhagwad Gita accepts the belief in avatar as the Divine limiting Himself voluntarily to accomplish some purpose on earth, possessing in His limited form the deep spiritual wisdom, it also attaches great importance to the eternal avatar, God in man, the Divine Consciousness always present in the innermost recesses of the human heart. These two views that reflect the transcendent and immanent dimensions of the Divine, complement each other and are regarded as two sides of the same coin. The teacher, who constantly endeavours to lift the human race at the spiritual level, speaks from the depths of the Divine in him. Krishn’s avatar, says Radhakrishnan, is an illustration of the revelation of the spirit in us, the Divine hidden in gloom.Srimad Bhagavatam informs that Krishn, who dwells in every heart in the form of Pure Consciousness, revealed himself at the physical level in the Divine Devaki at midnight, in the thickest darkness. At a time when the forces of evil had raised their ugly heads, the saviour of the world was born.According to Radhakrishnan, it would be equally true to say that the incarnation of Krishn is not so much the conversion of Godhead into flesh as the taking up of manhood into God. He plays his role as the Divine teacher, the noble guide, who trains his pupil by showing him the right direction and eradicating all his doubts through his words of wisdom. The pupil, Arjun, represents the struggling soul whose mind is surrounded by forces of darkness and whose power of discrimination has completely eluded him.At a stage when his whole being is bewildered and he does not know what action is to be taken, he takes refuge in Krishn, the Jagatguru, world teacher, and pleads with him earnestly to bestow upon him the grace of enlightenment. “I am thy disciple. Illumine my consciousness. Remove what is dark in me. Give me that which i have lost, a clear rule of action.”Anup Taneja
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