Sri Sathya Sai on: What can we learn from Avatars?

Sri Sathya Sai at Brindavan
When we read the lives of Avatars and when we are told such stories, we should learn their ideals and put them into practice. Only then will we be responding to Divinity. But merely to read any text which comes our way and not put it into practice is not the right thing for educated people to do. 
- “Krishna was always a Lover of Peace and never a Warmonger”, Summer Roses on the Blue Mountains, 1976, Ooty

The essential quality of an Avatar is to teach you how to make good and proper use of your thought, word, and deed. Depending on the conditions in the country and the environment in the country, the Avatar comes to teach you and show you the right use of all your organs. 
- “Mahabharata contains many Valuable Lessons for Us”, 
Summer Roses on the Blue Mountains, 1976, Ooty

The way in which the Avatar has to be used for one’s liberation and uplift is: watch His every step, observe His actions and activities, follow the guiding principles of which His life is an elaboration. Mark His love, His compassion, His wisdom, try to bring them into your own life. 
- “Atom of Majesty”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 08, 
February 26, 1968, Prasanthi Nilayam

If you wish to lead an ideal human life, you have to follow the example of the Avatars. Avatars can come in human form. But you should not be misled by this phenomenon. Avatars may appear in human form, but you should not equate yourself with Them. In physical form both may appear alike. But there is a fundamental difference. You should not mistake the cotton fruit for the mango. 
- “Infinite Potency of the Rama Principle”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 29, May 20, 1996, Brindavan

Sri Sathya Sai with Rama-Sita-Lakshmana outside Yajur Mandiram
(The idols are now installed in the Sri Sathya Sai Hostel, Prasanthi Nilayam)
The life stories of Rama and Krishna are indeed treatises on righteousness. They are sacred works. They taught mankind how to sublimate human life. The message is clear: adhering to Truth, practising Righteousness, spreading Love everywhere, remaining ever peaceful, life should be sanctified. 
- “The Rama Path”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 21, 
March 26, 1988, Brindavan

God has four qualities and it is only when you cultivate them that you can understand Him. They are – Divine love (Prema), Beauty (Soundarya), Sweetness (Maadhurya), and Splendour (Shobha). The development of Prema is enough to add unto you the other three. 
- “Pranava: The Praana”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 06, 
November 23, 1966, Prasanthi Nilayam

Regard yourselves as children of God. There is really no difference between the Avatars and yourselves except with regard to the number of aspects of the Divine present in each one. These aspects can be enhanced by right conduct and by developing Divine love. 
- “Let the Conscience Rule”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 21, 
November 23, 1988, Prasanthi Nilayam

The Atma Tatwa or Divine consciousness is permeating the entire Universe. Not a blade of grass can move without this Divine consciousness. Everything in this Universe is the reflection of that Atma Tatwa or Divine consciousness. The same Atma Tatwa dwells in all human beings irrespective of religion, caste, creed and nationality. This is true even in the case of Avatars. The Avatars of Rama, Krishna, etc. may be different in names and forms; but the Atma Tatwa in Them is only one. They all lived in their human vestures till the completion of their Avataric mission and once their task was completed, They disappeared. Hence, the physical bodies are not permanent. In fact, nothing in this ephemeral world is permanent, not even the great Avatars. Atma is the only entity that is eternal. It is beyond birth and death. It is changeless. 
- “Develop Self-Confidence to Gain Success in Life”, 
Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 42, February 21, 2009, Prasanthi Nilayam

God is the embodiment of the Atma. The Atma is attributeless. The names such as Krishna, Rama or Sai Baba, etc., are the names of the bodies of the Avatars. The Avatars were not born with these names. Names were given to them by others. It is the body that has birth, not the Atma. 
- “Namasmarana is the Highest Spiritual Practice”, 
Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 41, May 24, 2008, Brindavan

The physical vestures last for a particular period and then cease to exist. Divinity takes different forms later. For example, you are now attached to this physical body (Sri Sathya Sai). You worship this body and derive great satisfaction and bliss thereby. But, after sometime, this body may disappear like the earlier Avatars. Then you should not feel sad. When the Divine Atma embodied in this physical body reaches its eternal Abode, it is a matter of joy, not sorrow. In Treta Yuga the Rama Avatar came. He went into exile in the forest and destroyed several demons including the great Rakshasa king, Ravana. Finally, having fulfilled His Avataric mission, He went into the Sarayu river and disappeared. Same is the case with Lord Krishna in the Dwapara Yuga, who left His mortal coil after having been hit by the arrow of a hunter in the forest. Thus, the physical vestures are always temporary and untrue.
Sri Sathya Sai with the Gitopadesha Statues
in the Bhajan Hall at Prasanthi Nilayam
Hence, you should never consider the physical body as permanent. The bodies appear according to the time and circumstances. Once the prescribed time is over, they just disappear. Even the experiences gained by the physical body vanish. Considering the physical bodies as true, if you wish to have the Darshan of Lord Krishna of Dwapara Yuga now, how is it possible? As long as He walked in that body, He appeared in Mathura, Brindavan, Gokul, Dwaraka, etc., and made people happy with His Darshan, Sparshan and Sambhashan. You take the example of an electric bulb. Each bulb has separate wattage, which remains for a limited period of time. The Avatars are also like these electric bulbs. Over a period, God has incarnated as several Avatars. You should not be attached to the physical form of a particular Avatar, rather you should be attached to Divinity as the formless, attributeless Parabrahma which manifested as different Avatars in different ages. 
- “Love God and Meditate on Him”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 42, February 23, 2009, Prasanthi Nilayam

Sri Sathya Sai at the Poornachandra Auditorium
Every concrete manifestation of God is significant. There can be no higher or lower. The story of each one of Them is elevating. Each is a full manifestation. Listening to these stories may make you feel that one manifestation is grander and more sublime than another. It would appear as if you get more inspiration from one Avatar than another. But all are equally Divine and mysterious. The manifestation is suited to the time, the task, the circumstance and the need. Its form is in accordance with the purpose.

God is omnipotent; He knows no distinction between the possible and the impossible. His Wizardry, His Sport, His Play, His Pranks cannot be described with the vocabulary that man commands. He is One but He makes Himself Many. Matsya, Varaha, Narasimha, Vamana, Parashurama, Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Kalki – people relate to each other that these are the Divine Forms He has assumed. But that is not describing Him as vast as His magnificence. We have to visualise all forms as His. The vitality of every being is His Breath. In short, every bit in Creation is He, the manifestation of His Will. There is nothing distinct or separate from Him.

But for the protection of the world, for the upholding of Dharma, for fulfilling the yearnings of devotees, He wills specially and assumes a special Form and moves in the world. He confers joy on the devotees by His Divine acts, which convince them of His Advent. 
- “Puranas and Incarnations”, Bhagavatha Vahini

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