The Divine Presence In Forms is Disguised By Action of Maya

Much of the opposition to the concept of Avatarhood is due to the underlying misunderstanding about the actuality of the Divine Presence in all forms within the manifestation. People tend to imagine some God or Gods outside the creation, and do not experience the Presence in every aspect of their lives, except on rare and exceptional occasions.

Sri Aurobindo explains: “Those who know not the Divine lodged in the human body, are ignorant of it because they are grossly subject to this mechanism of Prakriti, helplessly subject to its mental limitations and acquiescent in them, and dwell in an Asuric nature that deludes with desire and bewilders with egoism the will and the intelligence….For the Purushottama within is not readily manifest to any and every being; he conceals himself in a thick cloud of darkness or a bright cloud of light, utterly he envelops and wraps himself in his Yogamaya.”

The Gita makes its own statement to this effect as cited by Sri Aurobindo:” ‘All this world,’ says the Gita, ‘because it is bewildered by the three states of being determined by the modes of Nature, fails to recognise Me; for this my divine Maya of the modes of Nature is hard to get beyond; those cross beyond it who approach Me; but those who dwell in the Asuric nature of being have their knowledge reft from them by Maya.’ In other words, there is the inherent consciousness of the divine in all, for in all the Divine dwells; but he dwells there covered by his Maya and the essential self-knowledge of beings is reft from them, turned into the error of egoism by the actions of Maya, the action of the mechanism of Prakriti. Still by drawing back from the mechanism of Nature to her inner and secret Master man can become conscious of the indwelling Divinity.”

The operative consciousness of Mind, Life and Body starts from the standpoint that it is separate, fragmented and isolated from other beings, and thus, does not recognize the inherent Oneness of the Divine Consciousness that permeates, and constitutes, all existence. By shifting the standpoint to that of the Purushottama, the awareness of this Oneness becomes clear.

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, First Series, Chapter 15, The Possibility and Purpose of Avatarhood, pp. 145-146