Here I want to elaborate a bit on my understanding of the cycle of Avatars and Buddhas, and their relationship to each other. I take as a point of departure Valentin Tomberg’s presentation of Avatars and Buddhas in his Letter-Meditation on the Fool. He characterises Avatars as transcendent beings who descend in order to guide humanity out of a gesture of grace; on the other hand Buddhas are human beings who work their way upwards into the spiritual world out of their own efforts, becoming a beacon and an example for other human beings. He paints a picture of the successor to Gautama Buddha—Maitreya Bodhisattva—gradually working his way up to be able to unite himself with the descending Kalki Avatar, culminating in the 5th millennium as the being Maitreya Buddha. I pose the hypothesis that Maitreya Bodhisattva is none other than the Cain individuality in a previous article, and that Kalki Avatar is his twin-soul, who was rejected and smothered by Cain, an inner event that manifested itself outwardly in the fratricide of Abel. The story of our time is bound up with the gradual reunion of these twin brothers.
Now, traditionally there are ten Avatars of Vishnu, appearing or ruling more or less sequentially. The earliest of these Avatars are in animal form; the fourth is half man, half beast; only with the fifth do we have a fully human form (albeit in miniature). The tenth and last of these Avatars appears in our own time, in the Satya Yuga after Kali Yuga, as Kalki Avatar.
On the other hand, we have the circle of twelve Bodhisattvas who, in turns of 5000 years each, work their way upwards to Buddhahood, after which they pass on their mantle to the next Buddha-to-be. Gautama Buddha was the sixth Buddha; therefore, the first Buddha began his path to Buddhahood some 30,000 years before Gautama. This would put the start of the path of the first Buddha sometime around the fall of humanity and the extrusion of the Moon in the middle of the Lemurian Age (which began around the year 37,467 BC; the fall happened somewhere in the middle, so around the year 30,000 BC; Gautama incarnated in the 6th-5th centuries BC, so 30,000 years earlier would bring us more or less to the same time). Maitreya is the seventh bodhisattva, and will be the last to attain Buddhahood before the return of the Moon to the Earth (around the year 5734). After Maitreya there are five further Buddhas to come, who will lead humanity during the 6th and 7th Ages, up until the time of the Sun’s reuniting with the Earth.
It is notable that Kalki is the final Avatar, on the one hand, and on the other hand, that Maitreya is the last Buddha before the Moon returns to the Earth. For after this event, there will no longer be sexual procreation or physical incarnation in the sense with which we are familiar and have been for millennia. The five final Buddhas will not have accompanying Avatars because, after the advent of Maitreya Buddha, the alchemical marriage of transcendent and earthly will have achieved complete fusion. Thereafter, the Buddhas will in a certain sense be Avatars at the same time: they will be etheric incarnations rather than completely physical ones.
Let’s assume for the moment that up until the time of Maitreya, there is an Avatar guiding or accompanying each of the Buddhas—in a certain sense, as their guardian angel (the guardian angel of Gautama Buddha is mentioned often enough by Rudolf Steiner, and indeed is supposedly Vidar—the Scandinavian Archangelic being who has taken over as Solar Archangel for Michael after his rise to Archai or Spirit of the Age of the Consciousness Soul about a century ago. More on this perhaps in a future article). This would also give the Avatars a 5,000 year cycle. In that case, the first of the Avatars would have been guiding developing humanity some 50,000 years ago (give or take)—some time before the extrusion of the Moon and the start of the cycle of Buddhas.
In fact, we can see that the start of the cycle of Avatars began in the Hindu “Golden Age.” The cycle of Ages (or Yugas) begins with a 20,000 year Golden Age (Krita Yuga); a 15,000 year Silver Age (Treta Yuga); a 10,000 year Bronze Age (Dvapara Yuga); and a 5,000 year Dark Age (Kali Yuga) which just ended in 1899. Therefore, this cycle of Yugas began just over 50,000 years ago, and will finish in the 4399, after the 2,500 year Light Age (Satya Yuga).
It was around this time that the Sun separated from the Earth, in the Hyperborean Age preceding the Lemurian. And so we can see that the first three Avatars—appearing in animal form—incarnate during this Golden Age of Hyperborea into early Lemuria, before the human being is fully formed and fully incarnating. With the fourth, appearing in half man, half animal form, we have the first Avatar of the time of the Moon’s extrusion in the middle of Lemuria. This is the first Avatar to “overlight” or guide a bodhisattva on the path to Buddhahood. The ten Avatars overall, as a cycle of beings, are on a path of gradual descent—a process of birth and incarnation. They have their time from the separation of the Sun in Hyperborea, until the reunion of the Moon in approximately 4000 years time. The final seven of the ten Avatars work in conjunction with the first seven of the Buddhas—coming into ever deeper relationship and earthly union with them, culminating in the Maitreya Buddha uniting completely with the Kalki Avatar.
On the other hand, the Buddhas began their path when the Moon separated from the Earth in Lemurian times, and will only complete their path when the Sun reunites with the Earth in the last great Age, some 30,000 years from now. Theirs is a path of ascent, of death and excarnation—of re-spiritualizing that which has become completely mineral. They gradual work themselves up to being able to completely take in an Avatar being, a process that has become closer and closer and will again reach its culmination at the union of Maitreya and Kalki in 2400 years time. After this point, there will be no difference any longer between Avatar and Buddha—the final five operate in as different a modality in comparison to the first seven Buddhas as do the first three Avatar in comparison to the final seven.
Perhaps in a forthcoming article we will look at who some of these Avatars may have been, and how they are related to the twin souls of the Holy Family (for example, Krishna is the eighth avatar, but is also known to be identical with the Nathan Jesus, the twin soul of Adam/John the Baptist). More to come at some point down the road…