Five Vulnerabilities The Avatara Is Not Susceptible To

[Shri Krishna]“Besides this inferior nature, O mighty-armed Arjuna, there is a superior energy of Mine, which are all living entities who are struggling with material nature and are sustaining the universe.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.5)

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अपरेयम् इतस् त्व् अन्यां
प्रकृतिं विद्धि मे पराम्
जीव-भूतां महा-बाहो
ययेदं धार्यते जगत्

apareyam itas tv anyāṁ
prakṛtiṁ viddhi me parām
jīva-bhūtāṁ mahā-bāho
yayedaṁ dhāryate jagat

1. Illusion

“I was in a meeting today and I could not recall something important. It was what I worked on for the entire day only a short time ago. How in the world could I forget so quickly? I need some assistance.

“I took a timeout, as they say. I sat down for a while. After being fully rested and eating a complete meal, it was like my brain cleared up. I was back to normal. It is still scary to think that brain faculties can diminish in so rapid a time.”

2. False identification

“I came to the realization recently that I create so many false impressions and interests based on my surroundings. This is a bad practice because the surroundings can change at any time. For instance, ten years ago today I had completely different people around me. I saw another group on a daily basis.

“Therefore, I had different interests. But just see the situation now. I live in a new area. I have other people in the home. It is the natural state, today, but I know that things can change. We are not entirely in control of what happens around us. This must mean that the identifications we make have little value.”

3. Lamentation over loss

“There was a serious injury during a professional sporting event recently. They decided to cancel the remainder of the match, as a result. I have never seen anything like that before. It did not make any sense to me, but if you raised an objection, people would get all over you.

“They would ask how anyone could play a game at a time like that. Well, is playing the game going to make the situation any worse? Is going home and worrying about the injury going to help heal the player?

“I don’t know what is happening to this world. People have lost their minds. They lament over anything and everything. If they are not sad, they find a way to develop an interest that will automatically lead to the sadness they crave.”

4. Questions as to the nature of it all

“Why are we here? Why do we have to suffer? Why do our identifications change? What is the meaning to it all? Why do we have to eat to stay alive? Why do we have to sleep so many hours each night? Is nobody else interested in these questions? I ponder these issues all the time, but rare it is to find an appropriate counterpart for the discussions.”

5. Birth and death

“The same thing repeats. Day after day. People are coming and people are going. What a terrible situation. Why be happy over anything? Nothing will remain. The decorations we have in the house, what is the purpose? This house will crumble to the ground one day.

“Why should I care how I look? The body will one day be burned to ashes. What are we leaving behind? Does it matter to have a legacy? We won’t be around to enjoy it. Birth and death are such crushing reminders to how helpless we are in this world.”

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada explains that the avatara descends from a higher realm in order to reclaim the fallen souls. The fallen condition is due to contact with the inferior nature. To understand God in terms of a juxtaposition with our current state of affairs, we see that there are two natures.

The superior and the inferior. The higher and the lower. The Almighty is not affected by this distinction. It is like our viewpoint of the sun. Because there is cloud cover in the sky on this day, I cannot see the sun. I could say that the sun is not there. It has disappeared.

[clouds]In reality, the sun is precisely where it always is. The difference is that my viewpoint is clouded. In the same way, the higher and lower natures of God the person are based on my understanding, in how I relate to Him.

The avatara has the eternal home in the higher nature. The avatara descends. This means that nothing gets created. There is no contact with the lower nature, though it appears that the avatara is in the same place. The less intelligent do not understand the supreme standing of the avatara.

अवजानन्ति मां मूढा
मानुषीं तनुम् आश्रितम्
परं भावम् अजानन्तो
मम भूत-महेश्वरम्

avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā
mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam
paraṁ bhāvam ajānanto
mama bhūta-maheśvaram

“Fools deride Me when I descend in the human form. They do not know My transcendental nature and My supreme dominion over all that be.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.11)

[Shri Krishna]We living entities are also part of the higher nature. We only think that we have fallen. We suffer through various miseries due to contact with the lower nature. Like a person gone astray after a touch of evil, associating with the wrong crowd, developing damaging interests due to newly assigned priorities, the contact with the lower nature is to our detriment.

Based on the supreme standing of the avatara, He can appear within the realm that is the lower nature but not be affected by the contact. There is no contamination for Him. There is no debilitating influence of time, for instance. The avatara does not suddenly fall into illusion.

The avatara is kind enough to empower others. These are His representatives. They are similarly above the effects of the lower nature. They can rescue the fallen. They show the way out. In the simplest understanding of the mechanism of delivery, there is a revival of consciousness.

यं यं वापि स्मरन् भावं
त्यजत्य् अन्ते कलेवरम्
तं तम् एवैति कौन्तेय
सदा तद्-भाव-भावितः

yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran bhāvaṁ
tyajaty ante kalevaram
taṁ tam evaiti kaunteya
sadā tad-bhāva-bhāvitaḥ

“Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will attain without fail.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 8.6)

The empowered representative gives a reminder as to our true nature. They show us the way to maintain that awareness, to keep it within the consciousness in a perpetual way, lasting until the end of life. With that proper consciousness in mind, the return to the higher nature is guaranteed.

In Closing:

Always supreme authority commanding,
Even when to this world landing.

Birth and death not to come,
Nor by illusion overcome.

Steady in action and thought,
Reminder of higher nature brought.

By example or through representative aligning,
Avatara the rescue path designing.

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