The Appearance of Avatars

Since the year 1400 (a date to which I referred earlier) there have been constant appearances of lesser avatars, called forth in response to minor crises, to national dilemmas and religious necessity. They have taken the form of those men and women who have championed successfully some truth or some right cause, some human right or correct human demand. All these people have worked actively upon the physical plane and seldom received recognition for what they truly were; only history, at a later date, laid emphasis upon their achievement. But they changed the current of men’s thoughts; they pointed a way to a better life; they pioneered into new territories of human achievement. Such a one was Luther; another was Columbus; still others were Shakespeare and Leonardo da Vinci – to mention only four who so lived and thought and acted that they conditioned after events in some field of human living and are still recognized as pioneering souls, as leaders of men. With these disciples I shall not deal. They embodied ideas and made history – not the history of conquest but the history of progress. I seek to consider with you those still greater Appearances Who come forth from some hidden center, remote from or near to humanity, and Who “release from crisis the sons of men.” These fall mainly into four relatively minor groups:

1. Racial Avatars. These Appearances are evoked by the genius and destiny of a race, The typical man (in quality and consciousness, not necessarily physically) foreshadows the nature of some race. Such a man was Abraham Lincoln, coming forth from the very soul of a people, and introducing and transmitting racial quality – a quality to be worked out later as the race unfolds. Coming forth correspondingly from the realm of cosmic evil, and responsible for the focus of materialism upon the planet today was Bismarck. Both men came forth within the same one hundred years, thus demonstrating the balance in nature and the constant interplay of the pairs of opposites. They are both types of the most powerful Avatars which humanity itself has as yet produced. They emerge along the lines of government, of the first ray and in the department of the Manu, and are very sensitive to Shamballa force. Such Avatars frequently emerge at the founding of a nation. This is true of both Bismarck and Lincoln.

2. Teaching Avatars. These Appearances sound a new note in the realm of thought and of consciousness; they reveal the next needed truth; they pronounce those words and formulate those truths which throw light upon the spiritual development of humanity. Such Avatars were Plato, the first Patanjali and Sankaracharya; they emerge upon the second ray line of energy, in the department of the Christ and are expressions of hierarchical force. When I say the department of the Christ, I would remind you that the name “Christ” is that of an office – an office that has always had its Head. I do not mention the Christ or the Buddha as among these Avatars because They are Avatars of another class and of infinitely greater potency.

3. Ray Avatars. These great Beings come forth at relatively long intervals when a ray is coming into manifestation. They embody the quality and the force of a particular ray. Next century, when the seventh ray has achieved complete manifestation and the Piscean influence is entirely removed, the seventh ray Avatar will appear. His work will demonstrate the law, order and rhythm of the creative process as it works out on the physical plane, blending spirit and matter. And as this ray is called the Ray of Ceremonial Order or Ritual, He will be largely instrumental in producing those conditions which will permit of the reappearance upon Earth of the Mysteries of Initiation, of which the Hierarchy is the custodian. He is necessarily connected with the Great White Lodge on Sirius. This fact does not, however, concern us now, for we await the coming of a still greater Avatar.

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 still higher on the evolutionary ladder. These Avatars issue forth in response to demand and are not so much concerned with racial development as They are with the subjective unfoldment of consciousness and with the stimulation of humanity as a whole. Of these Avatars the Buddha and the Christ are outstanding examples. They were not only human-divine Avatars, and hence able to link humanity with the Hierarchy, but They were something far greater and more important. They had reached the point where They could act as Transmitters of certain cosmic principles which – focused in Them in an extra-planetary sense – could stimulate the deeply hidden and latent corresponding principle in humanity. They transmitted and brought something from outside the planetary life – from the very Heart of God to the heart of man. 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, an aspect and a potency of the nature of God Himself, the Love principle of the Deity. Prior to the advent of 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 Transcendent; 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 man became a factor in human consciousness. It was a relatively new truth to be grasped by humanity. It had always been known by disciples and initiates.

However, until Christ came and lived a life of love and service and gave mankind the new commandment to love, there had been very little emphasis upon God as Love in any of the world Scriptures. After He appeared as the Avatar of Love, then 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. This divine quality Christ revealed, and thus altered all human living and human goals. At that time too there came a great impetus and extension to the work and growth of the Hierarchy, as there was in a lesser degree when the Buddha came. Many initiates became Masters; many Masters passed to still higher work, and many disciples took their places in the ranks of the initiates. There was numerically a great influx of aspirants into the ranks of accepted disciples.

I have considered some of these Avatars in my earlier writings under different names and categories. I deal with Them here simply in an effort to reach a wider public with the teaching on the doctrine of Avatars or of divine Appearances. The Bible is full of such Appearances, but little is really understood about Them. The above are the more familiar groupings.

In September 1940 I gave an interpretation of a new Stanza of the Great Invocation, and in that communication I spoke of Divine Embodiments as the highest type of Avatar for which humanity could look at this point in its evolution. I spoke of the activity of the Hierarchy and of Shamballa, should these two divine Agencies decide that intervention in the form of a widespread cataclysm (engulfing all peoples) was necessary, and I referred to the emergence of inspired leadership as another and lower aspect of divine guidance and participation.

Such inspired leadership is now being given to humanity by Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt, in contradistinction to the focused leadership of the forces of materialism through Hitler and another man in his group. But it is not with this form of leadership as expressive of the avataric principle that I deal here. Such leadership is called forth by elements present in humanity itself. I deal now with a fifth type of Avatar, greater than the other four. These Avatars have not, in this world cycle, experienced human life.

5. Divine Embodiments. These Avatars appear rarely; and when They do, the effectiveness and results of Their work are very great. They issue forth into manifestation via the center at Shamballa, because They are an expression of the will nature of Deity; They embody divine purpose; the energy pouring through Them and transmitted by Them is focused through the Lord of the World; They can only be reached by the united voices of the Hierarchy and of humanity speaking in unison; Their service is evoked only by realized need, and only after those who call Them forth have added to their faith strenuous action and have done their utmost, alone and unaided, to overcome evil.

They never descend lower than the mental plane, and the main emphasis and attention of Their work is directed to the Hierarchy; the Hierarchy is their transmitting agency; They occasionally reach those thinking people, focused on the mental plane, who have clear vision, potent resolve, directed will and open minds, plus of course, essential purity of form. These Avatars express the Will of God, the energy of Shamballa, and the impulse lying behind divine purpose. When They do come forth, it will be the destroyer aspect of the first ray of power which They will express; They bring about death – the death of all old and limiting forms and of that which houses evil. Their work will, therefore, fall into two categories:

  • They will destroy the forces of evil, using the agency of the Forces of Light.
  • They will reveal as much of the divine purpose as humanity is able to grasp through its best minds and most dedicated aspirants; They will clarify the vision of the world disciples and of all who have the disciplined will-to-know and who are dedicated to and expressive of the will-to-good. This knowledge and this will are needed in the coming period of readjustment.

How They will bring the present evil conditions to an end and how They will destroy the present evil state of materialistic aggression I may not reveal. It is not yet certain that human development and understanding and the massed intent of humanity will be adequate to the needed demand and strong enough to call Them forth. Time alone can determine that. God grant that the aspirants and disciples of the world will awaken to the opportunity and the imminent and waiting possibility. The plight of vast groups of people upon the planet today lies heavy upon the heart of the Hierarchy. But to bring release and the Appearance of the Power that can liberate, human cooperation is needed. Nowhere is this more desperately needed than among the German people in their unhappy land. God grant, therefore, that those Germans who have vision may join the forces of those who are seeking to free Germany and the German people from the imposed tyranny of the evil Lodge, working through their seven representatives in Germany. Once the Germans who are living free lives in other lands can think in terms of humanity as a whole and not in terms of national glamors, revenge or self-pity, then their voices will be added to those of the other free peoples and to those of the aspirants and disciples in all other nations.


Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul
The Externalization of the Hierarchy – Section III – Forces behind the Evolutionary Process