The successive revelation to humanity of new aspects of reality has taken place throughout history and continues to do so, as the emergence of Maitreya, the Christ, demonstrates. In the West our knowledge is more or less confined to Christianity, but buried in most ancient myths and legends, and then later in holy scriptures, there are preserved records of the lives, presence and teachings of other, earlier teachers or Avatars.
Our focus on the achievements of Jesus in Palestine frequently blinds us to, or at least dims our appreciation of, the contribution of other Avatars and other faiths. This blinkered view of the unfoldment of humanity's evolution makes the acceptance of the appearance of yet another teacher difficult for many Westerners. Each Avatar has brought some teaching which, correctly apprehended and gradually applied by humanity, expands our understanding and is the next step forward in our development.
One of the first such teachers appeared so far back in time that it is impossible to say when he lived, but ancient legend carries the memory of His achievements: Hercules, a hero-teacher, portrayed "through the form of a pictorial and world drama (symbolic in nature) the concept oaf great objective, only to be reached as the result of struggle and difficulty." The Reappearance of the Christ by Alice A. Bailey, Lucis Publishing Co. He presented to humanity the concept of tests and trials on the path back to the Father, the journey of evolution itself, epitomized and preserved in the Twelve Labors of Hercules. These are the tests all are subjected to prior to each initiation.
Vyasa was another great Avatar who brought to humanity the message that death is not the end. The impact of such an apparently simple concept was enormous, since it meant that the possibility now existed for identification with a higher immortal self rather than with the physical-plane life only.
There were many other lesser teachers between the time of Vyasa and the Buddha, but the Buddha was a major teacher who came to the East bringing enlightenment, the answers to the many questions which plague and puzzle humanity about its own existence. He came "to lay the foundation for a more enlightened approach to life, giving the teaching which would open the door to the work of the Christ who would, He knew, follow in His steps." (Alice Bailey, The Reappearance of the Christ)
By giving out the Four Noble Truths, He answered man's question: why? He taught that man's suffering was of his own making, and that the focusing of desire on the material and the ephemeral caused all despair, hatred and competition, and was why "man found himself living in the realm of death -- the realm of physical living . . . " His life, example and teachings prepared the way for the Christ. Coming approximately 500 years before the Christ, the Buddha was a manifestation of the Wisdom aspect of God, just as the Christ is the embodiment of the Love aspect. These two great Avatars continue to work together, the Buddha aiding and supporting Maitreya, the Christ, in His present mission to the world.
It is interesting to note that He who is known as the Buddha worked through His disciple, the Prince Gautama, in a way similar to that in which Maitreya, holder of the office of the Christ, overshadowed the disciple Jesus, who acted as His vehicle in Palestine. The Master Djwhal Khul says (in The Reappearance of the Christ) that, around about the time of the Christ's return, the Buddha will send two trained disciples to reform Buddhism -- this at a time when the Master Jesus will be taking certain initial steps towards reassuming control of His church. Buddhism, along with other religions, awaits the coming of another great teacher. He is known as Maitreya Buddha, the Fifth Buddha in the continuing line of divine revelation.
Krishna and Sankaracharya
Sri Krishna and Sankaracharya, two great Avatars, were both previous incarnations of Maitreya. Krishna appeared around 3000 BC, and Sankaracharya lived in about 800 BC. Sankaracharya gave "deep instruction upon the nature of the Self," while Sri Krishna, by demonstrating the need to control the astral, emotional nature, opened the door to the second initiation. In Palestine, working through the disciple Jesus, Maitreya the Christ completed the work of the Buddha by manifesting the Love aspect of deity.
A comparison of all religions shows their common elements. "Eventually a new world religion will be inaugurated which will be a fusion and synthesis of the approaches of East and West. The Christ will bring together not simply Christianity and Buddhism, but the concept of God transcendent, outside His creation, and also the concept of God immanent in all creation." Both approaches will come together in a new religion based on the Mysteries of Initiation and an informed knowledge of the Science of Invocation of Deity.
Gautama Foresaw the coming of Maitreya
"Now in those days, brethren, there shall arise in the world an Exalted One by name Maitreya (the Kindly One) an Arhat, a Fully Enlightened One, endowed with wisdom and righteousness, a Happy One, a World-knower, the Peerless Charioteer of men to be tamed, a teacher of the devas and mankind, an Exalted One, a Buddha like myself. He of His own abnormal powers shall realize and make known the world, and the worlds of the devas, with their Maras, their Brahmas, the host of recluses and brahmins, of devas and mankind alike, even as I do now. He shall proclaim the Norm, lovely in its beginning, lovely in its middle, and lovely in the end thereof. He shall make known the wholly perfect life of righteousness in all its purity, both in the spirit and in the letter of it, even as I do now. He shall lead an Order of Brethren numbering many thousands, even as I do now lead an order of Brethren numbering many hundreds." (Gautama the Buddha in DIGHA NIKAYA)
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS WITH BENJAMIN CREME
Q. You say that the Lord Maitreya was Krishna. Yet Sai Baba seems to intimate that He was Krishna. Can you explain this?
A. I believe that Krishna was a previous manifestation of Maitreya, but Sai Baba is also correct (if I may say so) in claiming to be Krishna. It is a question of the level of the energy associated with Krishna, namely, love. Sai Baba is a cosmic Avatar and embodies that energy at a cosmic level, while Maitreya, a planetary Avatar, does so at a planetary level. Each is a manifestation of the love of God. Maitreya's individual consciousness, however, manifested through Krishna by overshadowing (in much the same way as He did in Palestine through Jesus), while Sai Baba identifies with the cosmic Krishna, or Christ Principle.
Q. What is the role of the Buddha in our planetary Hierarchy? What is His relationship to Maitreya?
A. The Buddha no longer retains a physical vehicle but dwells on the highest center of our planet, Shamballa, which is in matter of the two highest ethers in the Gobi desert. He acts as the divine intermediary between Shamballa and Hierarchy, bringing the Plan from Shamballa to the three great lords of Hierarchy (the Christ, the Manu, and the Lord of Civilization) who approximate it to the possible and work it out through humanity. He is the brother of Maitreya. They were among the first group of earth humanity to 'achieve', that is, take initiation, way back in early Atlantean times. They have been at the forefront of humanity ever since. The Buddha is deeply engaged in the process of Maitreya's mission as World Teacher.
Q. Why do some Avatars grow old?
A. Some do and some do not. Certain `hidden' Avatars, such as Babaji and Sanat Kumara Himself, do not grow old, and the body in which Maitreya now presents Himself will not grow old throughout the Aquarian Age. Avatars such as Rama-krishna, Ramana Maharishi, Sai Baba and others who take a human body inevitably undergo human dissolution. But this happens only when their purpose in incarnating is fulfilled.
Q. Is it possible that an Avatar will incarnate as a group -- for example, to show us how to act as a group or to emphasize group consciousness?
A. This is a popular idea among some groups and individuals, especially in connection with the reappearance of the Christ. It stems from a belief in the Christ Principle or Consciousness manifesting through humanity, the idea being that as that principle demonstrates on a wide-enough scale, the reappearance of the Christ takes place. This outflow of the Christ Principle (which He embodies) is only one of the three modes of manifestation of Maitreya, the others being the overshadowing of the minds of certain disciples and His physical presence in the world. My information is that no Avatar today, or in the future, will incarnate as a group.