04.09: The Mystery of Avatara: The Descent and the Scent of Love
One of life’s greatest mysteries is: how can the Supreme who is beyond all limits of space and time appear within those limits?
Gita wisdom indicates that love alone can resolve this mystery, because love alone creates the mystery in the first place. It is Krishna’s love for all of us that motivates him to descend to the material world. Witnessing us undergoing the nightmare of material existence – suffering the traumas of old age, disease, death and re-birth, life after life – Krishna cannot stop himself from intervening to rescue us. He intervenes by personally entering into our nightmare; he descends into the world of matter, empowering with his inconceivable potency the finite to host the infinite. His unfathomable love for all of us inspires him to suspend the normal laws of nature and transcend the usual limits of logic. Though he appears and acts in the limited realm of matter, he remains unlimited and non-material. Though he seems to be another mortal to those whose thinking is bound to matter and materialist conceptions, he reveals himself to be the ultimate immortal to those who activate their devotion and thereby free their thinking from the fetter of matter.
Just as a scent can be sensed by only one human faculty: the nose, the descent of Krishna can be comprehended by only one human faculty: a devotional heart. When we engage in devotional service, we realize that Krishna’s love, even if inconceivable to our analysis, is undeniable to our experience. This inspires us to not let our head block Krishna’s entry into our heart. Once he enters our heart, the warmth of his loving presence there wakes us from our materialist slumber. Then we regain our spiritual wisdom and thereby unravel the mystery of avatara. When we thus conceive the inconceivable through love, the Bhagavad-gita (4.9) explains that we also achieve the unachievable: fall fully in love with Krishna and return back to him for a life of eternal love.
One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.