Human Nature and Divine Nature

The new chapter “The Process of Avatarhood” focuses on gaining a detailed understanding of both the differences between what we call “human nature” and what we understand the Avatar to represent, namely the direct expression of Divine Nature in human form; as well as the methodology that brings about these differences.

First as to the human nature. Sri Aurobindo describes it thus: “The eternal and universal self of every human being is God; even his personal self is a part of the Godhead….–not a fraction or fragment, surely since we cannot think of God as broken up into little pieces, but a partial consciousness of the one Consciousness, a partial power of the one Power, a partial enjoyment of world-being by the one and universal Delight of being, and therefore in manifestation, or, as we say, in Nature a limited and finite being of the one infinite and illimitable Being. The stamp of that limitation is an ignorance by which he forgets, not only the Godhead from which he came forth, but the Godhead which is always within him, there living in the secret heart of his own nature, there burning like a veiled Fire on the inner altar in his own temple-house of human consciousness.” The “substance” is thus Divine and the limitation is a self-limitation for the purpose of the play of forms and forces in the manifestation, whereby each form is only directly conscious of its own limited self, not the universal or infinite Self which constitutes it.

Turning to the Divine Nature: We see here a similar manifestation of the Divine into forms, but in this case, the being in question does not have the limitation of the ignorance and is self-conscious of its Oneness with the Divine Knowledge, Power, Delight. “In the Avatar, the divinely-born Man, the real substance shines through the coating; the mark of the seal is there only for form, the vision is that of the secret Godhead, the power of the life is that of the secret Godhead, and it breaks through the seals of the assumed human nature; the sign of the Godhead, an inner soul-sign, not outward, not physical, stands out legible for all to read who care to see or who can see….”

“In the ordinary human birth the Nature-aspect of the universal Divine assuming humanity prevails; in the incarnation the God-aspect of the same phenomenon takes its place. In the one he allows the human nature to take possession of his partial being and to dominate it; in the other he takes possession of his partial type of being and is nature and divinely dominates it.”

This difference occurs through direct birth, rather than through the ordinary evolutionary process by which human beings grow and develop into a higher form of consciousness.

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, First Series, Chapter 16, The Process of Avatarhood, pp. 149-150