The first Avatar (descent of God on earth) of God was the Matsya ( Fish) Avatar, and then came the Kurma (Tortoise) Avatar, followed by Varaha (Boar) Avatar. God later incarnated as Narasimha (half man – half lion) who killed Demon king Hiranyakashipu. After Narasimha Avatar God descended on earth as a Dwarf (Vamana) to subdue the ego of King Bali (the grandson of Prahlada, the son of Hiranyakshipu) and finally assumed human forms as Parashurama, Shree Rama, Shree Krishna, Gautama Buddha and lastly* as our beloved Bhagawan Sri Satya Sai Baba, considered as a Poorna Avatar (Full Divine Incarnation/Appearance of the Supreme Being), just as Lord Krishna.
The various incarnations of the Lord, if observed from another angle, depicts an evolution from marine creatures (fish & tortoise), to animals (boar) and then half animal and half man (Narasimha), and finally to a dwarf (Vamana) before assuming the form of humans as Bhagawan Rama, Krishna and Baba. Some theories of evolution also states that man has evolved from marine creatures, to animals and then to homo sapiens. So even the decent of God on earth has taught us this lesson to evolve from animals and strive to become Manava (human) and from Manava to rise further to become Madhava (God) Himself.
If we are to grow from Manava to Madhava, we need to grow not only physically but more importantly we need to rise in consciousness, i.e. we need to grow spiritually. The lowest level of consciousness is the sleeping state, wherein we “dream”. During that sleeping state, we believe that the dream experience is actually real. But when we wake up, we know that the dream experience was not real. Try to remember your last dream and now think where is that dream?? Pause a few seconds and ponder over this question... The answer to this question is that the dream is only a mental experience and resides in the mind as thoughts. Therefore the sleeping dream was not real.
Now think harder and ponder seriously over a second question: Where is “yesterday”...?? Yesterday - and the past – exists only in our mind as bundles of thoughts, just like the sleeping dream. That is why Swami says that life is a dream and what we experience when we are awake is a waking dream. But both are dreams and both the sleeping dream and the waking dream are not real. Yes, as you must be asking yourself now, this experience of reading these few lines is not real, but just a dream. A waking dream!!!
Man needs to awaken from this waking dream (Maya - Illusion) and realise the eternal truth. (Asato Ma Sad Gamaya)
“Ru” is that which breaks and “dra” is that which flows. Therefore Rudra is He who breaks all barriers and makes us grow spiritually. One of the reasons why Swami emphasizes Rudram (verses from the Yajur Veda) chanting is that the process elevates the consciousness of mankind, and regular and consistent chanting of Rudram, leads to spiritual awakening. Once, brother Vinay Kumar asked Swami what kind of activities the youth must undertake as Seva. Swami replied: “All activities should lead to spiritual awakening!”
What is this awakening and this evolution that Swami wants us to achieve and understand?
To understand, let us refer to Lord Ganesha (elephant-headed God). Have you asked yourself, why we keep a statue of Lord Ganesha, pray to Him for four days and then immerse Him in water? Why do we keep His statue if we are to immerse Him in water? The inner significance of this ritual is that after focussing our thoughts on God with a form, the next step in spiritual progress is to rise above the form and to perceive God as formless and all pervasive.
Now that our Dearest Swami has left His physical body, we need to remember that Swami used to say: “Swami is not this body”.
Swami has left His body and even this act of Swami has an inner meaning. We now need to rise above the form of God, rise above this world which is nothing but a dream, rise above Maya (Illusion) which is binding and contemplate upon the supreme truth, a God who is formless and yet all pervasive and the Only Truth.
Brother Subheer Ramnoruth