The doctrine of avatars can be found running like a golden thread through our spiritual consciousness, relating all great faiths to one central source. The whole system of spiritual revelation is based upon a conscious linking and transmission of energy from one aspect of divine manifestation to another ~ from God in the "Secret Place of the Most High" to the humblest human being struggling on earth.

The appropriate mechanism is always found through which divinity can reach and communicate with humanity. The doctrine of avatars describes this process of communication and the divine Beings who bring it.

Through the ages great points of tension have occurred, when chaos and difficulty abounded, yet there is contained within a sense of expectancy that an answer will come. Demand ... Readiness ... Expectation .... When our invocation is consistently strong enough, when the conscious Beings who know become clear enough, we will know an avatar has come. There is no exception to this Universal Law. Towards these Great Beings every mind can be directed, and in doing so, will be affected.

Avatar is the Sanskrit word meaning "coming down from far away." These divine Beings have completely transcended selfhood and separativeness. No longer the dramatic center of their lives as most of us still are, they have reached a stage of spiritual decentralization, allowing them to serve as spiritual events in the life of our planet.

Avatars have a self-iniated task, a pre-ordained destiny and a peculiar capacity to transmit energy or divine power. They bring about great changes or major restorations, inaugurating a new idea or restoring "ancient landmarks."

These Great Beings will lead humanity nearer to the Divine. To restore, they can generate crisis in order to bring an end to old ways that no longer serve, creating space for the new evolving life to emerge. To inaugurate, they can strike a note, giving impetus to a new way of being. They can start a whole cycle or future development towards which our focus must be directed so that it may be realized.

Ever down the ages, at each human crisis, always in the hours of necessity ~ at the founding of a new race or in humanity's awakening to a new and wider vision ~ the Heart of God, impelled by the Law of Compassion, sends forth a Teacher, a World Savior, an Illuminator, an Avatar. They bring the message which will heal, indicating the next step to be taken by humanity. They illuminate a dark world problem, providing humanity an expression of an unrealized aspect of divinity. The doctrine of avatars is demonstrated through the fact of the continuity of revelation and upon the progressive manifestation of the divine messengers, divine appearances, and inspired prophets.

An Avatar is a Being Who has developed their own nature, human and divine, and then transcended it. Avatars are capable of reflecting some cosmic Principle, divine quality, or energy which produces a desired effect upon humanity. This needed stimulation evokes a reaction, leading to the rending of a veil and the permeation of light. This energy may be generated within the human family and focused in a responsive Messenger. It may be generated within the planet itself and produce a planetary avatar. It may be the expression of the life impulse and energy of the solar system, or of sources outside the solar system and therefore cosmic. But it is always focused through a manifesting entity, called forth by demand or massed appeal, evoking response and consequent changes in the life activity, the culture and civilization.

Humanity’s response to the divine messenger establishes the recognition of something transcendent, indicating a vision to be desired and worked towards. This vision is at first only a possibility, later becoming an achievement. Each revelation brings us nearer to the world of causes. These revelations enrich the spiritual content of the human consciousness and enhance the spiritual life of the race, stimulating humanity to move a step forward into the world of reality and out of the world of illusion.




The Doctrine of the Coming One is linked to the teaching of every great religion. In all of them, the idea of a subjective, spiritual order, concerned with the developing welfare of humanity, is to be found.

The great and satisfying reply to all human questioning and human need is found in the doctrine of avatars, and in the continuity of divine revelations. This is the persistent belief ~ ineradicable and unalterable ~ that at major moments of world need God reveals Himself through Appearances, through a Coming One. This doctrine is found in all the basic world religions, in every time and age; it appears in the doctrine of the avatars of the Hindu faith, in the teaching of the return of Maitreya Buddha or the Kalki Avatar, in the belief in the western world in the return of the Christ and His advent or second coming, and in the prophesied issuing forth of the divine adventurer of the Muslim world. All this is tied up with the undying belief of humanity in the loving Heart of God, Who ever meets our need. As history reveals, the appearance of humanity’s necessity is always met with divine revelation.

The Buddha and the Christ ~
The two most easily recognized Avatars

At the present time, two powerful examples of avatars are the Buddha and the Christ. Their messages are familiar and the fruits of Their lives and words have conditioned the thinking and the civilizations of the world. They are divine-human avatars, with whom humanity can easily identify, "flesh of our flesh and spirit of our spirit." They are known, loved and followed by countless millions.

The consistent task of an avatar is the establishing of a spiritually positive nucleus of energy by focusing or anchoring a dynamic truth, a potent thoughtform or a vortex of attractive energy in the three worlds of human life. Consider the potency of the nucleus of force they have set up. As the centuries pass, the truth and effects of their lives and words begin steadily to condition human thinking. The established thoughtform acts increasingly as a transmitter of divine energy, expressing a divine idea, and in time producing a civilization, with its accompanying culture, religions, policies, governments and educational processes. History is the record of humanity’s cyclic reaction to an avatar or an inspired leader's inflowing divine energy.

Two different types of Avatars

At humanity's present point in evolution, avatars are of two kinds as our consciousness is subjected to the control of the pairs of opposites.

1. Those avatars who are the embodiment of the Angel of the Presence, whether that presence is the human soul, the planetary Logos, some extra-planetary entity, some cosmic being, or an expression of cosmic good.

2. Those avatars who are embodiments of the Dweller on the Threshold, whether that Dweller is the human Dweller on the Threshold, planetary forces of materialism, or some emanation of cosmic evil.

A correspondence to the doctrine of avatars can be seen in the disciple's individual life. When one has achieved right desire and has made a true effort towards correct orientation, then ~ when the conflict between good and evil is at its height ~ there comes a moment when the disciple demands more light, more power, more understanding, and the needed liberation to take the next forward step. Making this demand with firm intent, standing steady and unafraid, the response will inevitably come from the very Presence itself. Light, love and power will stream forth in recognition of this demand. The conflict is resolved. The Path ahead lies clear. The disciple can move forward with assurance.

So it is for humanity. A demand rises to the very gates of heaven; the massed intent of humanity is that evil must end and a better and truer life becomes possible. At the moment of greatest tension and of difficulty, the demand goes forth. Response comes. The avatar appears and light pours in, clearing the way. New hope awakens and fresh determinations are made. Strength to establish right relationships streams through the body of humanity, creating a more spacious life, conditioned by truer values. Fusion becomes possible between the outer world of daily living and the inner world of spiritual realities. A fresh influx of love and light is possible.

The Appearance of Avatars

Some 1400 lesser avatars are said to have made constant appearances, being called forth in response to minor crises, to national dilemmas and religious necessity. They have taken the form of those who have successfully championed some truth, right cause, human right or correct demand.

Working actively upon the physical plane, these people seldom received recognition for what they truly were; only history, at a later date, has laid emphasis upon their achievement. They changed the current of humanity’s thoughts, pointed the way to a better life, and pioneered into new territories of human achievement.

Luther, Columbus, Shakespeare and Leonardo da Vinci embodied ideas and made history ~ not the history of conquest but the history of progress. Recognized as pioneering souls, as leaders of humanity, their lives conditioned events in some field of human endeavor.

The Greater Avatars

There are still greater Appearances, avatars who come forth from some hidden center and release humanity from crisis. These fall mainly into five groups:

1. Racial Avatars. The genius and destiny of a race evoke these Appearances. The typical being foreshadows in quality and consciousness, and not necessarily physically, the nature of some genetic grouping. Abraham Lincoln was a racial avatar. Coming from the very soul of a people, he introduced and transmitted a racial quality ~ a quality that is being worked out as the race unfolds.

In contrast, Bismarck came forth from the realm of cosmic evil and was responsible for the focus of materialism upon the planet. Both men came within the same 100 years, demonstrating the balance of nature and the constant interplay of the pairs of opposites. First ray avatars frequently emerge at the founding of a nation, as is the case with both Bismarck and Lincoln.

2. Teaching Avatars. These Appearances sound a new note in the realm of thought and of consciousness, revealing the next needed truth. Teaching avatars provide the words and formulate the truths, casting light on the spiritual development of humanity.

Plato, Patanjali and Sankaracharya were such teaching avatars. They are expressions of hierarchical force, emerging from the second ray line of energy in the department of the Christ.

3. Ray Avatars. These great Beings, embodying the quality and the force of a particular ray, come at relatively long intervals, when a ray comes into physical manifestation.

4. Transmitting Avatars. These manifestations of divinity appear at those great cyclic moments of revelation when humanity needs the expression of a new truth or the expansion of an old one in order to progress.

These transmitting avatars come forward in response to demand. Not as concerned with racial development, they are concerned instead with the subjective unfoldment of consciousness and with the stimulation of humanity as a whole.

The Buddha and the Christ are outstanding examples of these types of avatars. They were not only human-divine avatars and able to link humanity with the Hierarchy, they were something far greater and more important. They have transmitted and brought something from outside the planetary life, from the very heart of God to the heart of humanity. Having reached the point where they act as transmitters of certain cosmic principles, they stimulated the deeply hidden and latent corresponding principle in humanity.

The Buddha, because he achieved illumination, stimulated the light in the world, in humanity and in all forms. He served the soul of man. The Christ, because of his stupendous achievement along the line of understanding, transmitted to humanity for the first time in human history the love principle of Deity, an aspect and a potency of the nature of God Himself.

Prior to the Buddha, light, aspiration, and the recognition of God transcendent had been the flickering expression of the human attitude to God. Then the Buddha came and demonstrated in his own life the fact of God immanent as well as God Ttranscendent; the idea of God in the universe and of God in humanity evolved. The selfhood of Deity and the self in the heart of individual became a factor in human consciousness. It was a relatively new truth to be grasped by humanity.

Until Christ came there had been very little emphasis upon God as love, in any of the world Scriptures. The avatar of love, living a life of love and service, he gave humanity the new commandment to love. God became known as love supernal, love as the goal and objective of creation, love as the basic principle of relationships, and love working throughout all manifestation towards a plan motivated by love. The divine quality that Christ revealed altered all human expression and human goals.

5. Divine Embodiments. This fifth type of avatar, being greater than the other four, expresses the Will of God, the energy of Shamballa, and the impulse lying behind divine purpose. They have not experienced human life in this world cycle. They appear rarely, and when They do the effectiveness and results of Their work are very great.

Only the united voices of the Hierarchy and of humanity can reach these Avatars. Their service is evoked only by realized need, and only after those who call them forth have added strenuous actionto their faith and have done their utmost, alone and unaided, to overcome evil.

When this avatar comes he will convey something for which we have yet no true name. Being neither love nor will as we understand them, the phrase the Principle of Directed Purpose feebly conveys something of the significance. This principle involves three factors:

1. Understanding the plan intuitively and instinctually, and intelligently interpreting impressions so the plan can be worked out right now.

2. Focused intention, based on that understanding, emphasizes an aspect of the will yet undeveloped in humanity.

3. Capacity to direct energy, through understanding and intent towards a recognized and desired end, eventually overcoming and destroying all obstacles that stand in the way. This is not the destruction of forms by force such as is now being imposed on the world, but a destruction brought about by the greatly strengthened life within the form.


Synthesis from The Externalisation of the Hierarchy,
p. 291–313, Alice A. Bailey, © Lucis Trust


The Avatar of Synthesis
by Dorje Jinpa (downloadable PDF)
Excellent interpretation of information
compiled from the Ageless Wisdom


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