The Avatars have never made the issue one of the rightness or wrongness of paths: "All rivers lead to the sea." They have always made an issue of the depth to which one commits himself to the path he is already on. Can the Buddhist practice pure compassion? Can the Hindu practice bearing the torch of righteousness at all costs? Can the Christian love his neighbor as himself? With this emphasis Baba makes his claim: "I shall revitalize all religions and cults, and bring them together like beads on one string."
Man's imagination roams beyond his own capacity to fulfill his ideals. And for that reason he feels an intense frustration that, although he can conceive of beautiful life-styles, of utopias, of brotherhood and loving actions, he finds it agonizingly difficult to climb the stairway to the stars that he visualizes. The Avatar gives us a living example of one who, in human form, can really live up to the ideals propounded by all the great religions and philosophies. Many who have seen pictures of Baba comment that He always seems to be doing the right thing in every situation. He satisfies us intuitively that He lives well, not deviating from basic principles of love and truth. He is our living beauty and truth.
The Avatar shows us that suffering is a necessary part of the divine plan by suffering himself. Now, as in other times when He has come, suffering has reached epidemic proportions. Starvation, over-population, racial unrest, civil strife, and wars have magnified intensely the usual human tendency to find ordinary difficulties in everyday living. Does this suffering invalidate any idea of there being a God of love? Could such a God ordain such widespread and intense suffering? We must, says Baba, walk through the furnace of pain and pleasure, suffering and happiness, in order to melt down our egos. It is this melting down of the ego which can convert suffering into a blessing from God. Baba says that all our cares will seem as nothing when we reach the final union with God. And to show us that there is a purpose in suffering, Baba has taken the agony of a broken hip and other infirmities upon himself in this age.
Clearly in this age, war is the most dramatic and widespread source of suffering. Why does God plan wars? Why does the Avatar come at a time when we are blowing one another to bits? In such times the destroyer aspect of God is emphasized. He is like the farmer who burns off the remains of last year's crop to clear the way for the next planting season. Like the surgeon, he cuts away the cancerous growth so that the healthy parts of the patient may flourish. Behind the surgeon's scalpel is the compassion of the doctor who wants the sick man to recover.
There is a profound lesson to be learned from such a crisis period as ours. The threat of total annihilation reminds us in a crude way that there is a power greater than all of us together which can control our very lives. In the midst of this threat we can begin to grasp the nearness of