Two Facets of God





"Consciously or unconsciously, all men recognize

God Transcendent and God Immanent. 
They sense God to be the Creator and the Inspiration of all that is."
                                                                                                   Alice A. Bailey

Though called by many names, God is alive for billions of human beings across the globe, East and West.  Many have sensed God within the human heart, "nearer than hands and feet," and have come to experience divinity as "God immanent."  Others recognize God as the Onlooker of His Creation and perceive this Being to be transcendent.

Today, a synthesis of both ideas is emerging as a new age of universality dawns and the wisdom of East and West blend within the human mind and soul.  The words of Shri Krishna in The Bhagavad Gita reflect this unified view:  "Having pervaded this whole Universe with a fragment of Myself, I remain."  The "I" referred to is the creative intelligence that exists both beyond and deep within the fabric of all creation.

During the course of human history, two divine-human beings have embodied these two aspects of God.  The divine intelligence that transcends its creation and is "greater than the created whole" was held before humanity by the Lord Buddha.  For countless millions the Buddha remains a symbol of divinity transcending the limits of form.  Treading the Path of Liberation to its end in the goal of ending human suffering, he encountered the formless realms of absolute freedom.

The Christ appeared on earth to serve suffering humanity.  Already liberated from attachment to form, he embodied for humanity the loving presence of God that is anchored beyond the world of form, yet pervades the whole and is present in the part.  For many human beings, Christ is the ultimate symbol of "the possible human."  He demonstrated the divine qualities and attributes of the perfected human being living in the world.

In the words of the Tibetan teacher, who conveyed the modern wisdom teachings through Alice Bailey:

  Preserved for us by the great Teacher of the East, the Buddha, we have the concept of the transcendent Deity… In the teaching of the West, preserved for us… by the Christ…[we have] the concept of God immanent.[1]  

The ageless wisdom presents the Christ and the Buddha as divine principles and examples of the process of spiritual evolution—a process that leads from the human kingdom into the spiritual kingdom.  They are seen as human-divine avatars or embodiments of divine qualities.  Both issued forth from the spiritual kingdom, the Kingdom of Souls, and reentered that kingdom at the end of their lives on Earth to continue, in unique ways, their service to human and planetary evolution.

As spiritual coworkers they share a universal mission—fostering the evolution of consciousness on Earth.  However, each has played a unique role in the scheme of evolution.  Each reflects a different facet of the whole and embodies a different aspect of divinity.  The Tibetan teacher states:

  The Buddha and the Christ…were the first of our humanity to come forth as human-divine Avatars and to embody in Themselves certain cosmic Principles and give them form.  The Buddha embodied the Principle of Light, and because of this illumination, humanity was enabled to recognize the Christ, Who embodied the still greater Principle of Love.[2]  

These two avatars inaugurated two ages in the evolution of humanity, during which two major divine principles came into expression.  Buddha represented the culmination of "the age of knowledge," which made possible the subsequent inauguration of a new age with a new goal—the "age of love."  Only because of the Buddha's evolutionary attainment, states the Tibetan, was the Christ enabled to come forth and embody "a new divine aspect, that of love."

The words "light and love" have been reduced to catch phrases by many within "the new age movement."  Yet in order to understand the roles of the Buddha and the Christ within the evolutionary scheme of our planet, it is necessary to perceive Light as a cosmic principle and Love as "an even greater principle."

The Buddha's legacy to humanity was the knowledge of how to purify the human personality so that it may become illumined by Light.  He demonstrated that the pre-requisite to Self-realization is self-purification, and taught the methods whereby the light of the true Self, the Soul, could irradiate the matter of which the human vehicle is composed.  "Light is substance," the Tibetan says, "and the Buddha demonstrated the consummation of substance-matter as the medium of Light, hence His title, the 'Illumined One.'"

The goal of the path of transformation is to turn the lower self or persona into an instrument of the soul.  Buddha taught that we could transform the threefold personality (the physical, emotional and mental "bodies") into a vehicle of light.  The key methods he conveyed were detachment from physical urges, dispassion from desire, and discrimination between "the real" and "the unreal".  The lower self, once purified, allows the soul—the "higher principle of love"—to become manifest in the world of form.  The mission of the Christ was to personify the principle of love—the attractive-magnetic force that unifies the parts and makes them whole.

Together, the Buddha and the Christ have presented humanity with a full picture of the spiritual Path.  Both have shown us a distinct phase of spiritual development and a different facet of our divine potential.  In the sequential stages of spiritual unfoldment, we must first triumph over the pull of material desires and transcend our identity with form.  Only then can the light and love of the soul irradiate the physical form in a way that heals and transforms the whole of which we are part.

Another way of perceiving the distinct roles of the Buddha and Christ through history is through their orientation to the world.  For much of humanity the Buddha has stood as the Enlightened One, revealing the path of liberation from the world of form.  Oriented toward the formless realms of spirit, he is the personification of transcendence—the one who frees the self from suffering by triumphing over desire (which governs the world of form).  He lights the way out of matter for troubled humanity, teaching us the path to inner peace and the way of return to the Source of all Life.

The Christ, oriented toward humanity, represents the way back into this world.  He personified God immanent—God in us (Immanuel)—the Soul alive in the world of matter.  Upon the spiritual foundations left by the Buddha, Christ embodied the divine-human relationship and the unconditional love that flows from that relationship.  Known as the world savior, he manifested the potential for love within the human soul that can transform—and redeem—our world.

Both the Buddha and the Christ are said to have "swayed hemispheres and centuries."  Viewed together, as two aspects of divine presence, they illustrate for humanity our full spiritual heritage.  From the Buddha we learn the way out of the imprisoning web of karma that each of us has woven.  From the Christ we learn the soul's identity with all living beings and the way of service and sacrifice to which that higher identity leads.  His commandment to "Love one another, as I have loved you" is a call to recognize God immanent in every soul and a keynote for the unfolding new age.

These two avatars, Beings who preceded us on the path of spiritual transformation, represent the divine potential that will flower within humanity in the coming age.  They demonstrate what lies ahead as we come to know ourselves as part of the One Life that animates the whole universe and exists at the heart of all things, great and small, visible and invisible.  The spark of livingness at the core of our being—the divine spark that is the soul—emanates from the one God, Transcendent and Immanent.

                                                                                                  Nancy Seifer and Martin Vieweg

                                                                                                                             [August 2009]

[1] Bailey, Alice A., Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II, p. 231.

[2] Ibid., pp. 347-48.

God the Sustainer

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