Sri Sathya Sai on: Why does an Avatar descend?

The Descent of God is for the Ascent of Man
When the Divine comes down as Avatar – whether it be as Rama or as Krishna, Matsya (fish), Varaha (boar) or Vamana (dwarf) – it is only for one purpose. You recognise only the momentary results of the advent. But you should note that the Divine comes as Avatar only to teach mankind the truth about Love. 
- “Role of the Avatar”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 21, 
August 03, 1988, Prasanthi Nilayam

We must try to understand the nature of Divinity. God always assumes human forms. Why? Only for the upliftment of mankind. Only then can men feel intimate kinship with Him. Therefore, an Avatar has both Divine and Human traits. When in human form, the Divine sometimes behaves like an ordinary man and acts as if He knows nothing. Devotees get misled by His acting and think, “He seems quite plain. How can He be God?” People concentrate on His human qualities and forget His Divinity. “He eats with us, walks with us, talks with us. What is special about Him?” they say. That is why they are surprised by miracles. This happens in the case of every Avatar. 
- “Birth of Sri Krishna”, Summer Showers in Brindavan 1995, Brindavan

The descent of the Avatar means the Divine coming down to the level of the human. No blemish attaches to the Divine as a result of this descent. There is no diminution in His puissance. Here is the example of a child playing on the ground. If the mother feels it is beneath her dignity to bend and calls upon the child to leap into her arms, the child cannot do so. But out of her love for the child, the mother herself stoops and picks up the baby. By bending down to take the child, does the mother bow to the child? Likewise, the Avatar descends to the level of the human to bless and rescue those who cannot rise to the level of the Divine. The ignorant assumes that because the Divine has descended with a human form God has lowered Himself to the human level. This is a case of bending and not kneeling down. It is an act of benediction and not of submission. 
- “Ideals of the Rama Avatar”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 24, March 24, 1991, Prasanthi Nilayam

God takes human form when the Godliness that is inherent in man is submerged, when the moral code and the spiritual discipline that have been prescribed by the experience of Godly seekers are neglected, when man slides into beast from which he rose and becomes a terror to brother man. 
- “How Far is God?”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 05, 
August 19, 1965, Prasanthi Nilayam

In response to the prayers of sages and seers, God comes down in human form. He strives for the welfare of humanity and bestows joy on one and all. The Avatar is a manifestation of Brahmaswarupa and Manavatwa (humanness). The same principle of Brahman is latent in all. One has to develop inward vision in order to experience Him. Eashwara Sarva Bhootanam (God is the indweller of all beings). In this cosmic drama, God alone is the director and also the actor. He is donning all the roles such as mother, father, husband, wife, daughter, son, etc. 
- “Develop the Spirit of Oneness”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 38, November 19, 2005, Prasanthi Nilayam

The common people can derive no benefit if the Formless Absolute remains in Kailasha or Vaikuntha. It is not possible to worship the Formless Absolute. An Avatar assumes the form that is beneficial to and within the reach of human beings. Men cannot comprehend the Formless and the Attributeless Absolute. Unfortunately, even when the Formless Absolute assumes a form, there are persons, who impelled by their own attitudes, attribute their own human foibles to the Avatar. “When He has the same form as ours, the same physical features, and eats, talks and moves about like any of us, what is the difference between the Avatar and ourselves?” they ask. Because of this narrow-minded approach, these persons are distancing themselves from the Divine. An effort must be made to understand the nature of Divinity. “Daivam Maanusharoopena,” declares the scripture (God in human form). It is only when God comes in human form can human beings have the full opportunity to experience and enjoy the Divine. 
- “Ideals of the Rama Avatar”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 24, March 24, 1991, Prasanthi Nilayam

Avatars make their advent with certain resolves. They also set certain limits to their roles. Krishna incarnated with three resolves: 

(1) Dharma Samsthaapanaarthaaya Sambhavaami Yuge Yuge (“I Incarnate from age to age to establish Dharma”); 

(2) Yogakshemam Vahaamyaham (“I shall promote the progress well-being of My devotees”); 

(3) Mokshayishyaami Maa Suchah (“I shall liberate those who take refuge in Me”). 

Rama also had three resolves: One word, one arrow, one wife. Rama declared that whoever sought asylum from Him, would be totally protected. Similarly all Divine personalities make their advent for some definite purposes. They will not deviate from them in any circumstance. Swami’s Prema Tatwa (essential nature of Love) is of the same character. Swami’s Prema (Divine Love) has no trace of self-interest in it. It is absolutely pure. Swami knows only how to give, not how to receive. Swami’s hand is held above for conferring something, not stretched for seeking anything. 
- “The Triple Promise”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 17, 
July 13, 1984, Prasanthi Nilayam

Sri Rama - The Maryada Purushottama
God comes in human form because man has strayed away from the path of righteousness. To reform man and bring him back to Dharma, God has to take the human form. Birds, beasts and insects lead lives according to their specific nature. They do not need Avatars. Today, only man has given up all righteousness, forgotten his Divine essence and degraded his humanness. To reform man in this state, God has to come in human form. The Avatar has to protect the good (Pavitranaya Sadhunaam), reform the erring and punish the wicked. 
- “Infinite Potency of the Rama Principle”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 29, May 20, 1996, Brindavan

When Sri Krishna declared in the Gita that the Lord descends as Avatar to punish the wicked and protect the good, it does not mean that the Avatar’s purpose is to destroy evil-doers. Evil refers to bad thoughts. These thoughts are in everyone. It is these that have to be destroyed. 
- “Foster the Vedas”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Voulme 20, 
September 28, 1987, Prasanthi Nilayam

The role of every Avatar is to establish the reign of Truth and Righteousness, banish all that is evil, false and unrighteous in the world, and help to manifest the Divinity in mankind. 
- “Message of the Avatars and the Epics”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 29, May 15, 1996, Brindavan

God incarnates for the revival of Dharma (righteousness) which includes morality, truth, virtue, love and a host of other qualities that uphold the communities of man as well as the individual. The other purposes usually given, such as serving the devoted, destroying the wicked, reestablishing the sacred tradition – these are all secondary. For, he who is righteous will be guarded from harm by righteousness itself, he who is unrighteous will fall into disaster through the evil that he perpetrates. The one task includes all else. 
- “Atom of Majesty”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 08, 
February 26, 1968, Prasanthi Nilayam

Avatars never come to re-establish Dharma – Dharma was never destroyed – but the practice of Dharma went on decline. 
- “Dharma Never Declines. It is the Practice of Dharma that Declines”, Summer Roses on the Blue Mountains, 1976, Ooty

Sri Krishna - The Poorna Avatar
Love is the form of the Supreme Lord. It is to preach the doctrine of love that the Krishna Avatar and other Divine incarnations made their advent on earth. According to the place, time and circumstances prevailing then, different names were given to the Lord. These differences are like the different figures made from sugar to appeal to the different preferences of children. These figures may be those of a peacock or a dog or a fox and so on. But what is common to all of them is sugar. 
- “Krishna: Incarnation of Love”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 24, September 02, 1991, Prasanthi Nilayam

The Divine is totally free from Anugraham or Aagraham (likes or dislikes). All that the Avatar (incarnate Divinity) thinks, speaks or does is entirely for the well-being of the world and for giving joy to mankind. The ways of the Divine have to be understood properly. Sometimes people may feel that Swami is angry and harsh. This is totally wrong. Swami appears to keep aloof from some persons when He feels they are pursuing wrong paths which may adversely affect their future. This is intended solely to correct the erring devotees. Not realising this, people subject themselves to various worries or doubts.
- “The Perennial Quest”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 20, 
November 23, 1987, Prasanthi Nilayam

The Avatars come to teach humanity the principle of oneness so that they may get rid of the idea of diversity and manifest their inherent Divinity, realizing their basic spiritual nature. The Avatar does not forgo any of His supreme powers merely because He lives and moves among human beings as a man. 
- “Ideals of the Rama Avatar”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 24, March 24, 1991, Prasanthi Nilayam

The Lord likes to be called Aarta-Traana-Paraayana (protector of, and devoted to, the distressed and oppressed) more than any other name, for He is most happy when He rescues those in agony. 
- “The Bottomless Pit”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 06, 
July 03, 1966, Prasanthi Nilayam

When the Lord (Narayana) incarnates in human form, He cannot avoid abiding by the regulations set by Him. You should not forget that even if the Lord is the Director of the cosmic drama, in His human form He is playing a specific role. If He does not act according to the role assumed by Him, either overdoes or underplays the role, departing from what is appropriate, He will be falling in His purpose. When the Divine assumes human form, He has to serve as an example by ideal actions. 
- “The Lord and the Devotee”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 19, August 27, 1986, Prasanthi Nilayam

Sri Sathya Sai - The Prema Avatar
In every Avatar’s life the first sixteen years are Leelas (sports). From sixteen to thirty-five years of age are Mahatmyas, miracles. From thirty-five to seventy-five years is the period of teaching. Every Avatar passes through these three stages. 
- “Birth of Sri Krishna”, Summer Showers in Brindavan 1995, Brindavan

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