In some computer games, you choose your “avatar” or personal representation within the game world. In some cases, significant time is required to design your avatar. Or in commenting on blogs, you register an icon on Gravatar to show by your name.  Similarly, in the movie Avatar, some of the characters had the role of temporarily occupying alien life-forms so they could work with the aliens.

When the witness arises prior to or with Self Realization or Cosmic consciousness, if it’s distinctive enough, it may be described much like either of the above. We recognize ourselves as now being something outside of or beyond the body and observing through the body-mind. Experiences of the body-mind are observed by the detached witness, along with other kinds of experiences. Hence the body might be described as like an avatar. Only it’s not one we’re personally operating – just observing through.

There is however another meaning of avatar in spiritual circles. “A manifestation of a deity in bodily form on earth.” Krishna, for example, was said to be an avatar of Vishnu, one of the pancha devata or 5 primary forms of God. (also of the Hindu trinity) In this case, Krishna is God, walking in an avatar form on earth, sent to restore balance. The Mahabharata is his story, with the Bhagavad Gita (Song of God) section being the central teaching. Rama of the Ramayana was the prior avatar of Vishnu.

The occasional teacher also refers to themselves as an avatar of God but if they’re speaking from experience, we’re all such. Recognizing oneself as non-separate from God is a normal developmental stage called God Realization. However, it’s handy to remember that even a fully realized human does not have the capacity of an avatar.

The Kala scale helps illustrate this point. The highest avatar, Krishna, was said to be a 16/16 on the Kala scale of ability. Rama is suggested to be a 12, and Buddha a 10. By comparison, water-born animals are a 2, egg-born a 3, and womb-born a 4. Humans range from 4 – on par with mammals – up to a 7. Thus a fully enlightened person is around half of an avatar.

The development of refined perception in God consciousness can help illustrate who is actually animating the avatar we’re experiencing through. But then, in Unity, the parts are united and the detached separation ends. The avatar effect fades.

Still, it’s a distinctive enough experience during the first post-personal stage that it is widely described across traditions. And when some begin to lose the detachment, they may feel they’re falling backwards when in fact the fading separation is a good thing. That becomes clear in time.

Last Updated on January 15, 2016 by

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    1. The scale is based on demonstrated abilities. I’ve not seen a good translation of the upper part of the scale so it’s a little unclear here. And it varies how people rate them – for example Rama is usually in a 12 to 14 range.

      I’ve only ever seen avatars rated. And because of the above, I couldn’t say. I’m also dubious of using any scales or models to judge others. It’s tricky territory – where is discrimination and where is judgement? A few examples can be useful but what is the mind doing with this information?

      1. N

        Yes, I know – I just couldn’t help but ask. To be honest it is a bit like who is best superman or batman, although I know it’s not very spiritual to say :).

        I guess I also think, why wouldn’t we all just follow the teachings of the avatar which is highest on the scale?

        1. Actually, it does raise an important point. Who is best for who? Their rating on a scale doesn’t make them best for you.

          For example, Gangaji and I resonate on a certain level. She laughs whenever she sees me. But she was not a catalyst for awakening here. That kind of resonance arose with Lorne.

          Others don’t resonate with Lorne. I have good friends who don’t resonate with this blog at all. Different people need different things. And what they need can change as they grow.

          I’ve read the Gita cover to cover several times, including in Sanskrit. Krishna’s teaching is profound. But that didn’t trigger a shift. As I mentioned in the interview, I have an inner relationship with Krishna and he’s taught me important things. But that’s not what brought awakening.

          Just keep in mind, it’s not the mind and nice concepts that will cause awakening. It’s a deep inner resonance with awakeness.

          1. N

            Interesting. So what is the key when deciding – you said resonance here and discrimination in another comment, but what exactly do those mean?

            Is resonance a deep yearning or love for a tradition, a teaching or a guide?

            What criteria would you say, I should use when choosing which way to go?

          2. Traditionally, they’d use your jyotish chart or family history. 9th house, I believe.

            Resonance mean we deeply relate to them in some way. Discrimination is used to distinguish between say, liking someone because they’re cool and loving them due to a deep connection.

            Yearning isn’t resonance. But relating to it is. We can love someone, then yearn for them when they’re away, for example.

            Use the heart, not the mind. It’s like finding a mate. It’s not something you figure out. It’s something you know when it happens. 🙂

  4. Lindsey L

    Hi David, regarding the last part you wrote above,” in Unity, the parts are united and the detached separation ends. The avatar effect fades…
    …when some begin to lose the detachment, they may feel they’re falling backwards when in fact the fading separation is a good thing”, is this the same as going from the experience of spontaneous physical movements (or kriyas), when kundalini activity and bliss slows, then fades into just your own movement and not “alien”? Just a new normal flow and bliss is lower level in personal experience? Is this an example of the fading avatar experience going into Unity?

    1. Hi Lindsey
      With Self Realization, there is some value of detachment from experiences. We are the observer of them rather than in them as before.

      In the approach to Unity, sometimes that sense of separation ends as an intimacy grows with the objects of experience. Then we recognize we are that as well. Oneness dawns.

      “the avatar effect fades” is a reference to someone who might experience themselves as divinity but separate from others. It fades with oneness.

      Kriyas are a result either purification or opening (or both). They may or may not be related to kundalini process.

      I’m not quite sure what you mean by the rest of the question – in a specific experience or are you describing a trend?

      If trend, it can be an indication that that round of clearing has wound down. But I wouldn’t consider it done. We can feel clean as a whistle, only to discover some other deeply shadowed area to clear.

  5. Lindsey

    Thanks David for the clarity on that. Oh you are so right on about the “round of clearing” winding down (which I definitely have the multiple experience of). It seems for me, after a significant shift there is a period of cleaning up and clearing away and refinement of a new perception, then the “trend” is the same kind of pattern of clearing, although significantly different in quality within whatever seeming stage. Then it does seem a new obstacle or shadow in perception becomes apparent naturally to repeat process over again…is this sort of trend happening in every stage? Because for me it sure seems so. Also, refinement of a stage (for instance, Unity so it seems for me) really can be dramatic especially with the human senses refining and more of the layers of consciousness are revealing what is in-between the relative and the unboundedness of consciousness. This makes me feel like such a baby again…learning to live in a new way…thanks for all you do and share!

    1. Yes, Lindsey, it is the pattern with every stage but it won’t show up the same way each time. Some people will go through a faster process with one stage and slower with another. Greater or lesser intensity, and so forth.

      The processing does generally get more subtle too. For example, we may not at first recognize the process taking place due to the “different quality” and greater subtlety. There can also be the occasional elephant that wakes up.

      Yes – I call it being back in kindergarten again.
      You’re very welcome. Thanks for the feedback.

    1. The jyotish chart is used in Vedic traditions, of which Yoga is a branch. But there are many traditions that have some variation on a family deva or god. Some surnames are derived from that, although an example escapes me. It’s been awhile since I studied that.

      It would not surprise me if the Greeks had something related but they used the solar zodiac rather than the Vedic lunar one.

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