Avatarhood and Buddhahood

There are some who propose yet another method of development of an Avatar, which is based on the subjective experience of the growth of consciousness beyond the normal mental limits to identification with the Divine Consciousness. The ascent of human consciousness, leading to a divine consciousness, in this proposal, represents Avatarhood. Sri Aurobindo points out that in the Gita’s discussion, while the underlying action may occur, it does not actually lead to the manifestation of an Avatar necessarily. The criteria of the divine consciousness is only one part of the equation. The other part, the descent and active standpoint of the Lord of Creation is still missing.

“The Gita itself speaks of the soul becoming the Brahman…and of its thereby dwelling in the Lord, in Krishna, but it does not, it must be marked, speak of it as becoming the Lord or the Purushottama, though it does declare that the Jiva himself is always Ishwara, the partial being of the Lord…. For this greatest union, this highest becoming is still part of the ascent; while it is the divine birth to which every Jiva arrives, it is not the descent of the Godhead, not Avatarhood, but at most Buddhahood according to the doctrine of the Buddhists, it is the soul awakened from its present mundane individuality into an infinite super-consciousness. That need not carry with it either the inner consciousness or the characteristic action of the Avatar.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, First Series, Chapter 16, The Process of Avatarhood, pp. 152-153