Symbols of the world's religions



Francis Brabazon

A God-man simply means a man in whom the totality of divinity (Godhood) is manifest. The Indian word for such a person is Avatar; in Arabic, it is Rassoul; and in English, Christ. In the Hindu Scripture, the Bhagavat-Gita, there is the statement, "Whenever the spiritual law has been lost sight of, and materiality has become rampant, I come." In the Koran occurs the sentence, "We (God) have sent our Messengers into every corner of the earth, so that there is no-one who has not heard of Us." Jesus said, "Before Abraham was I am"; and intimated that he would come again in a future time. The North American Indians, the Maoris and the Polynesians also held the idea of a divine Incarnation, or God-man.

The function of the God-man is held to be the establishment of a "way of life" which brings man into harmony with himself and with the physical laws of life. Now, while the Christian and Moslem each believe that Christ and Mohammed respectively, was the last manifestation, the Hindus have always had, and still have, the tradition of continuance, namely, that the God-man reappears from time to time.

The latter view certainly appeals more to reason, because it is evident that neither Christ nor Mohammed established, once and for all time, such a "way of life" for all men and women. It is true that each of these men knew the way, lived it and demonstrated it, and taught the principles underlying it. But it is also apparent that neither the effects of the example, nor the teaching pertaining to it, survived beyond a certain time; and men reverted again to inharmony and confusion.

The contention that the Book which the God-man leaves behind is, in itself, sufficient guide for those who will listen, is proved to be false by the fact that the custodians of each Book cannot agree amongst themselves as to what the Book means! There are whole libraries of interpretation.

There now arises the all-important point: Has Divine Incarnation any basis in fact? Or is it merely a belief rooted in superstition and the desire to escape from the burden imposed by the processes of living? Everyone is aware of how, under pressure of this burden, we so often wish, and even try, to shift the responsibility of action onto someone imagined to have all power of forgiveness of "sin", and all power of carrying one's burden, e.g., a doctor or psychologist. Is this the basis of belief in Divine Incarnation? Evidence and consideration do not support this view.

Initially, we must accept that the theory of evolution of form and mental functions becomes meaningless, unless there is a possible culminating point of perfection to which one can evolve. Although it is obvious that humanity as a whole has not achieved this evolutionary goal, it is apparent from the study of their lives that men like Buddha, Jesus and Mohammed possessed something more than can be implied by the use of the term "genius". In other words, even from the evidence of observation, a few men have achieved a perfection of human qualities far above that level which characterises "genius". We might well call life irrational if a few could achieve a state of being permanently denied the rest of humanity.

The processes and struggle which is called life either has meaning and purpose, or it has not. The frightening insecurity which an intensive materialism has engendered, has generated a pessimism which, however, is denied by the fact of our continued activity: the simple fact remains that we are still continuing to work and dream and plan. If for no purpose, why? The eat, drink and be merry idea is absurd, because we can't get enough to eat and drink; and we are not merry. The philosophy of a planned economy that will distribute the world's goods equably, as being in itself sufficient goal, does not explain why we are still writing music and poetry, painting and making love. When the perfect economy has been wrought, men will still be troubled by a sunset, a sweep of mountain, and the amazing blooming of a flower.

In short, men will never be satisfied with less than their dream of perfection. Vision of something beyond his present self, is the very motivating force of every lover, inventor, artist or scientist.

It is also manifestly true than man has learnt alone from man, not from any outside agency — that his unfoldment of knowledge has been an unfoldment of his own consciousness; and that the qualities of humanity such as love, courage, endurance, forgiveness, etc., have come from nowhere but from within himself. In fact, the researches in physical science are aimed at nothing other than the Greek "Man Know Thyself" and the Hindu "Thou Art That." If there is any purpose in life it can only be the continued unfoldment of the qualities of humanity, the complete unfoldment of which is called divinity or God.

Christship is the direct devolvement of God into a man for the purpose of demonstrating to all men and women the possibility of attaining the same condition of Christ-consciousness or conscious(1) perfection; in the same way as a man who has attained mastership of some science or some musical instrument returns to the level of his pupils in order to assist them in fulfilling their desire for a similar standard. As Shankar puts it, "having crossed over they return to help others to make the crossing."

The extent to which each of us is prepared to accept someone's claim to Christship is purely an individual matter; and while we may know intellectually that we have freedom of choice in this as in any other matter, we are also only too well aware from experience of the difficulty of accepting anything that suggests a radical change in outlook and approach to life. Pressure has so often been exerted in our formative years to follow one creed or another, and to subscribe to this or that particular ideology or dogma, that our natural reaction is simply a desire for freedom.

One thing is certain, and that is, if any one can help us to gain that freedom (which we feel is our birthright) it can only be one who not only says he has won it himself, but demonstrates his claim in his actual day-to-day living. That one alone can help us to touch the depths of ourselves, who first touches our depths.

Whether Meher Baba is the totality of Godhood or not, I have personally no way of knowing — I can only measure to my own degree. But to that degree, he is the embodiment of that ideal which I call God. Since Beauty and knowledge has been the only God I have ever worshipped or pursued, and since this man appeals to my eyes as the very embodiment and manifestation of beauty and knowledge, I call him God. Not only the all-forgivingness and humour in his eyes, but the very movements of his hands and body, have unlocked regions within me which were unknown to me before. No man or woman, no flight of thought, no aesthetic experience, no sublimity of nature, has touched the depths of me as this man has. I have met no-one, or experienced no experience, which has melted my heart or sharpened my intellect as he has.

So it was that when the people of Andhra in their thousands folded their hands before him in devotion, I, in each one of them, folded my hands and bowed in my heart before the purity and completeness of his beauty. My own goal is that in that purity I become annihilate.

That man is the God-man who makes the path easy —
Nay, who wipes out the path altogether,
Goes straight to the heart of the matter
And gives one realization of the one Self.

(1)Conscious, not unconscious.     BACK


1971 © Francis Brabazon


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