But when Meher Baba says it, there must be some meaning in it. The meaning is something quite different. Let me explain it to you.
God is, remember. God is a pure isness, pure existence, and there is nowhere for God to go or come. The whole is full of him. He fills his existence, one thing. Second thing: but Meher Baba must be true. Then there must be some other meaning to it – not God descending and ascending. What can be the meaning? The meaning is there are two ways of man approaching God.
What do I mean by “man” when God is the only reality? Man is the God who has forgotten that he is God; man is a God who has forgotten himself.
Man can remember his godliness in two ways. One way is that of surrender, devotion, love, prayer; another way is that of will, effort, meditation, yoga. If a man tries to work his way through will, then he will feel he is ascending towards God or he is reaching towards God through his will. Hence Jainas call the man who attains to godliness a tirthankara. Tirthankara means consciousness has reached the peak; man has arrived by ascending, as if there has been a ladder, the ladder of the will, the ladder of effort and yoga. So is the concept of the buddhas; that too is the path of will. Avatar means God descending; that is another approach, when a man surrenders. He cannot ascend. He simply opens his heart and waits, prays and waits, and suddenly he starts feeling a stirring in his heart. Certainly he will see “God has descended in me.” Avatar means descendance, God coming down.
Mahavira went up. For Meera, God came down.
But God never comes down, never goes up. God is where he is. But your experience will be different. If you try hard to achieve God, you will go higher and higher and higher; naturally you will feel the God hidden inside you is arising, rising up, reaching to the zenith. But if you surrender, nothing is arising in you. You are where you are, you simply wait in deep prayer, in deep love, in deep trust, and one day you find God is descending in you, coming from above. These are the experiences of two types of seekers. It has nothing to do with God. It has something to do with the seeker and his way: will or surrender, effort or prayer, yoga or bhakti.
So the religions which believe in bhakti, in devotion…. Christianity says Christ comes from God. That is the meaning of saying that he is God’s son – he comes from above, he has been sent. And that is the meaning of Mohammed – he is a prophet, a messenger, paigambara. Paigambara means a messenger who comes from above, brings the message. He does not belong to this world; he comes like a ray of light into the darkness. And so is the concept of the Hindus’ avatar – Krishna, Ram – they come, they come into the world.