The Preeminent Divine Manifestations In Beings and Forms

While the reality is that the Divine Self manifests in all beings and forms, however apparently lowly or insignificant, the human tendency is to seek for and find divinity in those forms and beings which stand out and have a special quality of force, intelligence, or beauty. The beings which captivate us with their superior energy compared to others are those that most clearly and distinctly shout out the divinity otherwise hidden beneath a humble exterior.

Sri Aurobindo describes this phenomenon: “Then among all these living beings, cosmic godheads, super-human and human and subhuman creatures, and amid all these qualities, powers and objects, the chief, the head, the greatest in quality of each class is a special power of the becoming of the Godhead.”

Sri Krishna provides us some examples: “I am, says the Godhead, Vishnu among the Adityas, Shiva among thd Rudras, Indra among the gods, Prahlada among the Titans, Brihaspati the chief of the high priests of the world, Skanda the war-god, leader of the leaders of battle, Marichi among the Maruts, the lord of wealth among the Yakshas and Rakshas, the serpent Ananta among the Nagas, Agni among the Vasus, Chitraratha among the Gandharvas, Kandarpa the love-God among the progenitors, Varuna among the peoples of the sea, Aryaman among the Fathers, Narada among the divine sages, Yama lord of the Law among those who maintain rule and law, among the powers of storm the Wind-God.”

The Hindu tradition introduces each of these powers and personalities and those mentioned here represent the foremost of their kind. Similarly, among what we would call “inanimate” objects, there is a similar hierarchy by which there is a special force of manifestation: “…I am the radiant sun among lights and splendours, the moon among the stars of night, the ocean among the flowing waters, Meru among the peaks of the world, Himalaya among the mountain ranges, Ganges among the rivers, the divine thunderbolt among weapons.”

Sri Krishna recognizes that the human mind has trouble recognizing the divine in all, and he is willing to start by focusing our attention in the places most likely to find acknowledgement and acceptance, and extend our understanding further from that point of entry.

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part I, Chapter 8, God in Power of Becoming, pg. 349