Why should we not have that vision? All this talk about who created the world, who destroys it this is the talk of those who do not want higher truths. But when they want divine truth they say, I don’t care whether You create or destroy or don’t create or destroy. I want You. Let us go and talk. Come on! No creation this time!’ That’s the language of the devotee’s heart to God; and it is said that in the Divine Incarnation that longing is fulfilled. There is a very beautiful conceit in this connection in Indian thought. It is said that God becomes incarnated not for sinners, but for already illumined souls. You see, when God takes human form, there is an intimacy in which the soul enjoys Him much more than in flights of ecstasy. And it is for these souls that God becomes incarnated. It is said that that is the most intimate purpose of a Divine Incarnation.
Well, Vedantists find that these ideas do not conflict with their philosophy unless they live where there is no form, no condition, no attributes and there are some who are so immersed in contemplation of the Absolute that such things as Incarnations and communion and intimacy with God mean nothing to them. If you talk of Incarnation, they don’t seem to ignite to that idea. But the rest of the Vedantists believe in Divine Incarnations and feel that these God-men are indispensable for most of us. It is all very well to talk about union with Brahman and identity with Him or about meditation and contemplation and concentration, but we who have not reached those states yet can see them only in a person who represents them in his own life. We can read descriptions in the books, but unless we see those things in concrete form, even such descriptions may be misleading.
I can say that that has been true in my case. I remember when as a boy I became interested in spiritual life many spiritual ideas and truths had one meaning for me, but when I came in contact with great saints I began to see different meanings. Concrete, living demonstrations of subtle truths and realities are given by these God-men, and therefore they are indispensable for the practical pursuit of Vedanta and, for that matter, of any religion. Vedantists therefore take to this idea, and they wish there were many more Incarnations, because then we would have many more impressive demonstrations.
So then, as I have said, Divine Incarnations have become an almost essential part of the Vedanta philosophy. But if you remember the exception that I have mentioned, you would not become fanatical about it. You would not say that without an Incarnation you can never have salvation. We never say that; it would be a libel against the greatness of human nature. Man has within himself the power to transcend all his weaknesses, and, given time, to become perfect, because that is his true nature. Truly speaking, whichever way you look at it, he is divine, fully and completely.