Shad Darshan – Vedanta philosophies (contd.):
Swaminarayan philosophy – Parabrahm
Parabrahm, Purushottam, or Narayan: Part III
Avatars of God are incarnations of God. Incarnation does not mean that God leaves His abode and comes on this earth or He divides into many incarnations. Incarnations or avatars mean manifestations of divine God by His full presence into human world for specific missions. They show both the aspects of humanity, externally, and divinity, from the inside. On one side they act as humble servants of God and on other side they show signs of divinity that do not exist in humans. When they appear as humans they act as perfect human beings. In the human form they act as normal human beings trying to hide their divine powers which come out occasionally to show God’s presence in them. In other words avatars are seen as Godly beings that have been sent by God from the spiritual world as an instrument of His divine revelation.
When God is not manifest on this earth, one should seek the refuge of the Sant who is God-realized. Even when such a God-realized Sant is not present at that particular time and place, one should keep faith in God’s murti (mental and physical image) and worship Him with navadhā bhakti while observing one’s religious vows and duties (swadharma). It also grants liberation to the soul.
Shri Swaminarayan says that, “When God is not manifest on this earth; one should seek the refuge of the sant who has the realization of God, because jiv can also attain liberation through him. Even when such a sant is not present, one should keep a firm faith in God’s murti and perform bhakti while observing swadharma (one’s religious vows), because doing so can also grant liberation to the jiv.” (Vachanāmrut: Vartāl 10)
It is said in the scriptures that wherever the manifest form of God resides, that itself is the highest abode of God. A person who has realized God perfectly has nothing left to realize.
There are three most important things to know about God: 1. Greatness: His greatness, His subtleness, His omnipresence, and His cause-effect (kārya-kāran) relationship with His creation. 2. Power: His supremacy or power in respect to the creation, control, and destruction of countless brahmands. 3. Form: God’s form has two aspects: Vyatirek and Anvay. As His vyatirek or distinct form, God is present in divya sākār swarup (divine personified form), surrounded and humbly served by Aksharbrahm and akshar-muktas. At the same time, as an anvay or indistinct form God, because of His inner guiding (antaryāmi), inspiring (prerak) power, and controlling (niyantā) power, is present as a witness (sākshi) within His creation, that is, His abode Brahmdham or Akshardham, ishwars, souls, maya and the effects of maya – the countless brahmands. When the same, extremely powerful, extremely luminous, and extremely great God with extraordinary qualities takes the simple human form, on this earth, with ordinary human qualities for the liberation of the souls, one’s mind boggles or hesitates to believe in Him, especially during His presence on the earth. After hundreds or thousands of years people have no hesitation to believe in Him as God. It is recommended in the scriptures that, both these forms, the one in His abode Akshardham and one in this world, have to be known perfectly.