Avatars: Messengers of God

“Great Avataras have come in the past and will come again in the future, whose grand figures loom and names of might echo through the haze of the ages. They have come and will come to close great epochs and to open greater ones, to call to birth new civilisations out of the ashes of the older forms of that self-same Phoenix, the Human Race.”

(The Laws of Manu in The Light of Theosophy, Bhagavan Das)

Throughout history, Avatars, or Messengers of God, have come and gone. But their legacy of wisdom, truth, and love is enduring. Such is their influence that they have swayed continents, influenced human thinking and aspiration for millennia, and set the note of future ages. History itself, so we are informed, is but “the record of humanity’s cyclic reaction to some inflowing divine energy, to some inspired leader, or to some Avatar”1.

The appellation ‘Avatar’ is a Sanskrit word meaning “coming down from far away.”2 Their descent allows the gradual ascent of humanity out of darkness into light. The collective revelation of divine Truth throughout time is known in the East as the ‘Doctrine of Avatars’. And, whilst, there have been many great servers of the race, such as Mohammed, Moses, Plato, Pythagoras, Sankaracharya, Spinoza, and Zoroaster, they are not ‘Avatars’ in the true sense of the word. Avatars are driven by the ‘need’ of God to contact the human family and likewise by the aspiration of humanity for divine guidance and leadership. Not without good reason is it said that “the establishing of a nucleus of persistent energy, spiritually positive, is the constant task of an Avatar.”3 It acts as a focal point of dynamic energy, radiating outwards, and attracting those responsive to its note. In time civilisations appear, founded upon the truths at the heart of the spiritual centre.

Avatars emanate from levels beyond the realms of human understanding. They act as divine Intermediaries between God in the “secret Place of the Most High”4 and, we, ordinary human mortals, living and struggling in the outer world. They are equally responsive to God’s Will as much as to humanity’s settled will. This reciprocal activity is rare but we are rapidly approaching such an event. At the close of one cycle, the Piscean dispensation, and the start of the next, the Aquarian age, there is a convergence of forces. When these conditions coincide, under law, a Messenger of God emerges.


They have been described 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.”5 In the annals of time, only a small number of God-men have fulfilled this role. Some are familiar to us, such as Hercules, Hermes, Vyasa, Krishna, Buddha and the Christ.

Hercules, the Sun-God, was one of the earliest teachers known to humanity. Although his name is a relatively modern term of an ancient hero-teacher, it is not possible to give the exact period of his incarnation. Through the symbolic pictorial and world drama embodied in ‘The Twelve Labours of Hercules’, he vividly portrayed the tests each disciple must endure to return to the Father’s House.

At another unknown period, Hermes, as spiritual teachings inform us, was the first Avatar to proclaim “I am the Light of the World”. He initiated “the process of enlightenment” and the dissipation of world glamour. These developments were instrumental in helping to bring about the illumination of human thinking and to focus light into the dark recesses of human life.

15000 years ago (circa 13000 BCE), the great Teacher, Vyasa, the poet-pantheist of India, appeared. His one profound, yet simple message was that death is not the end, that life or consciousness transcends the passing away of the physical form. Even today, his influence, so we are informed in the spiritual sciences, is re-emerging in the work of the spiritualist movement, and the investigation of near-death and out-of-the-body experiences by modern science. The quest to understand immortality continues, due, in part, to the work of Vyasa millennia ago.

8000 years after Vyasa (circa 5000 BCE), according to Brahmanical calculations, another great spiritual Teacher emerged. His name was Shri Krishna, a central figure in various Hindu philosophical and mythological texts, such as the Bhagavad Gita and the Bhagavata Purana. The Gita vividly portrays the ceaseless struggle of Arjuna, the tried and valiant disciple on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, in his solemn dialogue with Lord Krishna, his spiritual self. Krishna, a revered figure in the Hindu traditions, has been described as “the God Vishnu himself in human form”.6 In some esoteric circles, he is believed to have been a previous incarnation of the Christ.

500 years before Christ (circa 2500 BCE), a towering icon in the pantheon of Avatars appeared as the Lord Buddha, the supremely Enlightened One. At this time, the developing and enquiring mind of humanity was unfolding. Thinkers were reflecting on the nature of human life, and its relationship to God and the Universe. The Buddha came to address these and other pressing philosophical issues, enabling spiritual thinkers to move forward into ever wider spheres of understanding. Some of the profoundest truths of the ages emanate from the work of the Lord Buddha, such as the Four Noble Truths. These truths summarised simply and clearly the causes of human suffering and the path to transcend the limitations of manifestation in form. The Buddha built upon the work that Hercules, Hermes, and Vyasa initiated over 12000 years earlier. Throughout time there is a continuity of revelation, each period buttressing the work of Those Who came before, yet each sounding a new note fit for future centuries and millennia. So, it is not surprising that the Buddha paved the way for his great brother, the Christ. One from the East, the other from the West. Such is the potency and depth of teaching that these Messengers of God reveal that much time is needed for the new ideas to penetrate and take root in human life and thinking. In each period they embody a divine principle and truth which is particularly apposite for the time, future generations, and the millennia ahead.

500 years later, the Christ appeared to carry on the work of the Buddha and of other previous Avatars. In the sacred line of Avatars, the Christ is considered in the spiritual sciences to have been the most perfected Representative of God in human form: a God-man. He embodied in himself, so we are informed, the divine Principle of love in “an incomprehensible way”. Over the centuries, there has been much distorted thinking around the life and teaching of Christ. For example, in the Gospel story, the Christ brought attention to the truth that he had other folds: “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.”7 He was responsible for the spiritual development of all of humanity. It is interesting to note that he is known in other religious and spiritual traditions as the Kalki Avatar, the Lord Maitreya, the Messiah, the Imam Mahdi, and the Boddhisatva. But the separateness of the Church to divide the world into Christian or heathen, or believer or non-believer, has done much to foster religious intolerance and bigotry, and divorce the Church from the spiritual needs and aspirations of ordinary people—a far cry from the simple and inclusive worldview of the Christ.

In his recent book, ‘The Christ and Jesus, The Difference’, Ron MacGregor, a progressive ordained Christian minister, observed: “Christianity has become crystallised in its institutional form, and in my small opinion needs to break free from such constriction.”8 Perhaps, this is why so many, at least in the Western world, are turning away from orthodox religion, although it has to be said not just the Church. Ritual and dogma not suited to the twenty-first-century mind, and the failings of organised religion, to address the needs of the human family, are just some of the inadequacies of religious institutions. The inquiring and developing minds of many in the younger generation, and their inclusive worldview, are not attracted to the rigid and narrow mindset of orthodoxy. Religion has not kept pace with modernity and the discoveries of science in the quest for truth.

The Christ

However, what the Christ revealed in his short three-year ministry was ground-breaking, then and now. Even today, we struggle to grasp the enormity of his practical teaching and the truths he imparted to the world: God is love, the existence of the soul, and the science of service. Although wholly relevant now, these truths will at some point in the not-too-distant future be superseded by further revelation and teaching. Few would doubt that present-day humanity is more highly evolved than its ancestors 2000 years ago. All life is subject to the Law of Evolution, and even the Christ himself, the perfected God-man, also evolves. The Christ today is of a different stature than 2000 years ago. His understanding and expression of God’s nature and his role in the world are more acute and refined. It is difficult and probably impossible for us to speculate upon the development of consciousness on such advanced levels of awareness. But, if we consider, how human culture and civilisation have evolved over the last two millennia, perhaps we can get a better grasp of the role evolution plays in life – human, spiritual, and divine, and of course in the natural world too.

Spiritual philosophy informs us that the Christ has not yet completed his service to God and humanity. His work has spanned millennia, upon his return he will sound the note of the coming Aquarian age, and complete the work that he started long ago.

In the Alice Bailey teaching, we learn that the Christ decided in 1945 to resume his role as World Teacher in physical form. Until then, his reappearance in the outer world was not always a foregone conclusion. The expectation was that he would only use the emotional and mental planes to reach human hearts and minds. The reasons for his return as a physical presence are complex, but we do know that due to the acute suffering caused by the World Wars (1914-1945) and the partial shattering of old crystallised and separative thinking, and the consequent aspiration of humanity for a better world, the Christ responded to the united and invocative demand of humanity. The Christ, it is said, is “conditioned and determined by the reaction of humanity itself”9, and by other factors, and to these he must abide.

At the time the Christ made his momentous decision to return in ‘human’ form, the world prayer, the Great Invocation was released to the world through the worldwide spiritual work of Alice Bailey. The Invocation is used daily by countless thousands of people of goodwill, from all walks of life, religions, races, and social backgrounds. It plays a central role in preparing the world for Christ’s return. It speaks to the soul of all human beings. It is one of the oldest prayers ever known and yet it is described as “the complete new utterance of the Christ”10 for the Aquarian age. People of spiritual inclination and goodwill are encouraged to sound it daily to release light, love, and power into human consciousness. These three divine energies embodying the nature of God are at our disposal in the service of humanity.

Before we reflect further on the reappearance of the Christ and his future role, let us take a few moments to consider his momentous work 2000 years ago and some of the pivotal points of his ministry:

  1. The Principle of Love

For the first time in human history, the Christ, the God-man, embodied in himself the principle of love. He ushered in an age in which love or goodwill could be constructively used to transform consciousness and its practical demonstration in the world of human living. That this has only been possible in the last few centuries is woefully true and is symptomatic of the selfishness of human thinking over the centuries.

  1. The Kingdom of God

The Christ taught that the Kingdom of God was here on Earth. All who love their fellow human beings, who work tirelessly and constructively for the welfare of humanity, who have liberated themselves somewhat from the limitations of the material world, and who demonstrate a selfless life of service, are an intrinsic part of this Kingdom. Its ‘qualifications’ are a mind and heart attuned to the needs of the world.

  1. The Transfiguration

At the Transfiguration, the Christ revealed the divinity, which is latent in all human beings: the lower nature, the personality, bowed and prostrate before the Glory of God. In the acknowledgment of God, the Father, lies the hope of true brotherhood. Once we begin to recognise God immanent in our own nature, we begin to see it in others. The One Life pervades the Universe and binds all together in an incomprehensible way.

  1. The Divine Will

At the time of the Crucifixion, the Great Renunciation, the Christ anchored the first tenuous thread of the divine will on Earth, as it emanated from the Father’s House, Shamballa, where the inscrutable Will of God is held inviolate. During the Crucifixion, the Christ uttered the prophetic words: “Father, […] not My will, but Thine, be done.”11 Even now, we struggle to grasp its significance. Spiritual teachings observe that man, like God, is a triune of energies: Will, Love, and Intelligence. We are somewhat familiar with the concepts of love and intelligence, but Will, spiritual or divine, is more difficult to understand, as it is the highest aspect of the Godhead. But it is an energy or quality that the human family is responding to in greater measure, as more people become integrated personalities attuned to spiritual principles.

The Alice Bailey teaching points out that these four aspects of the Christ’s ministry, 2000 years ago, constitute the thread and the continuity of his future work.

And, so, 2000 years later we stand at another crossroads. The Piscean dispensation, characteristic of religious aspiration and devotion, lies behind. The age of light, universality, and the revelation of the Mysteries lie ahead. And, today, in our increasingly modern secular world, where scientific materialism, reason, logic, and rampant consumerism colour the landscape, leaves little room for human interaction with the divine. But out of this crisis, a new dawn beckons, driven by the overwhelming human need for inspired leadership and a new approach to God. Against this backdrop, “the human, the loving and the divine Presence of the Christ”12, the Avatar of Love, stands attentive, poised, and ready to take his place in the world at the appointed time. When the necessary conditions permit and humanity has earned the right for him to appear, the Christ and his disciples will emerge.

The Christ’s Future Work

As we look ahead, we may ask ourselves, what will be the primary focus of the Christ in his future work. In her book, The Reappearance of the Christ, Alice Bailey comments: “the probability is that His teaching will fall into four parts.” So, let us look at these in turn:

  1. The Establishing of Right Human Relations

It doesn’t take too much imagination or common-sense to recognise the overwhelming need for right relationships in family, community, and in national and international affairs. All around we see the devastating effects of its absence.

It is, in essence, the energy of goodwill in action and is the highest form of love that the human family is capable of expressing today. It is evident in the lives of millions of people in humanitarian, philanthropic, altruistic, and spiritual initiatives throughout the world. Through the future work of the Christ and his disciples, “the usefulness, the practicality and the naturalness of right human relations” will visibly demonstrate its power to transform individuals, society, and the world.

  1. Christ will Teach the Law of Rebirth

In the Kaballah, the seat of Jewish mysticism, there is an ageless proverb that somewhat captures the nature of evolution and rebirth: “The Breath becomes a stone; the stone, a plant; the plant, an animal; the animal, a man; the man, a spirit; and the spirit, a god.”15 In these few words, the vast panorama of life, its origin and destination, reveals itself. Modern science is unable to provide satisfactory answers to many of the fundamental philosophical questions of life, including reincarnation or rebirth. Also, reincarnation is not a part of mainstream Christian theology. Although, the early Church, in the first few centuries, was more pre-disposed towards this belief. One has to look to the religions of the East, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, to elicit a better understanding. In the Ageless Wisdom traditions, a belief in rebirth has always been a basic tenet that underlies its philosophy.

The Theory or Doctrine of Reincarnation will help to paint a broader picture of life, and answer many of the pressing philosophical questions that follow us century after century.

  1. Revelation of the Mysteries of Initiation

We are rapidly approaching a time when the Mysteries of the Ages, safeguarded from human eyes, since Atlantean times, will once again be revealed to humanity. Although, interestingly, these Mysteries are symbolically preserved in Masonry and Masonic rituals. Up till now, we have only caught glimpses, faint outlines of their majesty, breadth and depth. But, when, the Christ reappears, they will once again take their place, central stage, in the sciences, philosophy, and religion, and usher in an Age of Light, unknown in human history. They will help bridge the divide between religion and science, life and form, which have seemed impenetrable until now. Science has all too often focused on the outer Garment of God, on the nature of matter, at the expense of the evolving life or intelligence within. When the Mysteries are restored, human evolution will begin to be seen as a university of life, where certain lessons are learned, duties and obligations fulfilled, and where consciousness evolves to gradually reveal the inner splendour of the life within the form.

The Aquarian age will restore the Mysteries of Initiation, and reveal humanity’s journey on the great path of life, moving from one expansion of consciousness to the next, in a series of graded revelations into truth. In the Gospel Story, the Christ showed us the Path of Initiation, in the unfolding dramatic events in his life: Birth, Baptism, Transfiguration, Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension. All, like the Christ, will one day pass through these expansions of awareness.

Other truths will no doubt be revealed, such as the mystery of electricity and magnetism, which scientists have somewhat started to unravel. But their secrets remain hidden until humanity has earned the right and learnt to shoulder wisely the responsibility that these mysteries will reveal. In the mystery of electricity, it is said, is “hidden all knowledge”.

  1. The Dispelling of Glamour

Ever since Messengers of God have walked the Earth, the dispelling of glamour has been a recurring theme. Hermes, the Buddha, and the Christ all proclaimed: “I am the Light of the World.” Their ministries have aided human beings to wrestle their way out of darkness, the prison of matter, into ever-increasing intensities of light and truth. Their work is still incomplete, and glamour still casts its dark shadow over human life. We are all subject to it, in greater or lesser degree. It has its roots on the emotional plane and leads to a distorted presentation of reality. Its vehicle is desire but as the mind assumes control its influence wanes.

The dispelling of glamour is a slow laborious process. But the emotional tension and agony of the last century or so has somewhat enabled us to see and think more clearly about our own lives and the world in which we live. The Christ and his disciples will build upon these constructive achievements and help to awaken the spiritual consciousness of humanity.

The Will-to-Good

In the Christ’s last ministry, the divine principles of Intelligence and Love were perfectly demonstrated. But the divine Will, the highest aspect of the Godhead, was not fully realised or developed. Throughout the Gospel story, there are several references to his relationship to the Father’s House, Shamballa, and his unfolding recognition of the divine Will. For example, at the beginning of his ministry, when he was twelve years old, he uttered the following words in the Temple to his parents: “Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business.”16 At this point, it is said, he was conscious of his role as a World Teacher and his responsibility to the Will of God. Then towards the end of his ministry, in the Garden of Gethsemane, he said: “Father, […] not My will but Thine be done.”17 The omnipresence of God, and that divinity is all there is, were then revealed to him. At that moment, he recognised the complexity and extent of his mission as a World Saviour. He has waited 2000 years to once again proceed “to the high place of sacrifice”18 and walk amongst us to complete the work he started aeons ago.

Over the last two millennia, his identification with the Will of the Father has developed in ways that are impossible for us to speculate upon, let alone understand. And such is his stature today that he is the first great Teacher of the race to serve two zodiacal cycles, the Piscean and the Aquarian, in which divine love and the divine Will will become outstanding characteristics.

Destined to become the agent of the divine Will to the little lives of the natural world, humanity is learning to work with and wield this energy. A direct line of energy will then be possible between God in the ‘Secret Place of the Most High’ and the densest levels of His creation.

In the last 80 years or so, the divine Will (the Shamballa force) was loosed into the human family three times. This brought about two momentous developments: the World War (1914-1945) and the splitting of the atom (the release of atomic energy): “It split the thought-form of materialistic living (which was governing and controlling humanity everywhere) upon the mental plane and, at the same time, it produced a great agent of destruction upon the physical plane.” It destroyed some of the physical and mental barriers that inhibited the further development of spiritual awareness in the evolving life of humanity.

At some point, the Christ, assisted by Hierarchy, will stand as ‘the distributing Agent’ and ‘the directing Factor’ of the energy of the will-to-good. These factors will stimulate, on an unprecedented scale, the dynamic energy of goodwill within the human family. The distinction between the spiritual and the material, between the real and the unreal will become clearly apparent. Through his work with the new group of world servers and the people of goodwill, the will-to-good will be translated into universal goodwill. An era of right relationships will become possible.

Just as individual development and salvation were the characteristics of the last 2000 years, so group work will become a distinguishing feature in the Aquarian age. Groups dedicated to human welfare, to the upliftment of the little lives in the natural world, and our relationship with God, will immeasurably enrich human life. Groups will be seen as living organisms, with a spiritual dimension, and an outer form. Group work, consciousness, and initiation will reach new heights of development in the coming age.

The Christ’s Presence in the world will create great disruption and soul-searching: the gradual breaking down of separative and selfish thinking; the emphasis on sharing and cooperation; and the release of powerful divine energies will do much to question established conventions, institutions, and religious orthodoxy.

If we look for the Christ of 2000 years ago, we will probably not recognise him. Today, he stands as a supreme spiritual executive, attuned to the Will of the Father and the needs of humanity. He will use all available resources, all departments of human living, especially in global governance and education, and not just religion, to carry out his work as a World Teacher. He serves people of all races, religions, creeds, political persuasions, and backgrounds. His inclusive worldview and developed consciousness see all human beings as integral parts of the One Life.

He requires the support of every loving heart and enlightened mind. One way we can contribute is to sound the Great Invocation, a world prayer, each day. The Invocation helps to bridge in consciousness all aspects of planetary Life and create a pathway of return for the Christ.

Great Luminaries, Avatars, Messengers of God, Whose presences have graced human life, Whose messages have stood the test of time, Who have added their weight of wisdom and potency of thought to the unfolding philosophy of the ages, have presented a fuller picture of God, Man, and the Universe to the grand mosaic of philosophical thought, the Teaching of Living Ethics. They have bequeathed to humanity a science of life built upon the imperishable rock of ages.

“The fiat of the Lord has gone forth; Christ stands attentive to the demand of humanity. That demand is rising and mounting every day and ‘in such an hour as you think not, He will come.’”19

1 Alice Bailey, ‘The Reappearance of the Christ’, p.11
2 Ibid, p.7
3 Ibid, p.11
4 Ibid, p.6
5 Ibid, p.8
6 Helena P. Blavatsky, ‘Isis Unveiled’, ii p.538
7 John, 10:16, King James Version
8 Ron MacGregor, ‘The Christ and Jesus, The Difference’
9 Alice Bailey, ‘The Reappearance of the Christ’, p.67
10 Mary Bailey, ‘A Learning Experience’, p.114
11 Luke, 22:42, King James Version
12 Alice Bailey, ‘The Reappearance of the Christ’, p.65
13 Ibid, p.108
14 Ibid, p.112
15 Helena P. Blavatsky, ‘The Secret Doctrine’, Vol 1, p.107 (1888 edition)
16 Luke, 2:49, King James Version
17 Luke, 22:42, King James Version
18 Alice Bailey, ‘The Rays and the Initiations’, p.619
19 Alice Bailey, ‘The Reappearance of the Christ’, p.189



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