[ Originally written and posted on MySpace on April 14, 2009 ]
Somewhere I recall reading about a bumpersticker -- it must have been in fine print, given the length of the message! -- that ran something like this: " The good news is Christ is returning. The bad news is this time he's hopping mad! " This message came to mind when I read the following description in the Dabistan of the Kalki avatar:
" The tenth Avatar is to occur at the expiration of the
Kali-jug, for the purpose of destroying the Mlechas, or
enemies of the Hindoos. The Kalki Avatar is . . . .
to be of the Brahman caste. He will destroy
the corruptions of the world, and all the Mlechas, that is,
Muhammedans, Christians, Jews, and such like, are to be
entirely extirpated . after which the Satyog, or golden age,
is to return. "
According to the Hindu belief, the golden age preceded the existence of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. This reminds me of the parochial high school students who were sent to the library to research the Middle Ages. Sometimes they had to find out about clothing in the Middle Ages. Sometimes it was eating utensils, or even jewelry, always during the Middle Ages. That was the golden age before the modern age of evils such as science, contraception, and Lutherans.
The enumeration of the ten avatars, which ends with the advent of Kalki, last and greatest of the avatars, is followed by an explanation of why avatars exist. The rationale for avatars seems to be the same as that for angels in the Abrahamic faiths, the need for intermediaries between a transcendent deity and his creatures.
" They moreover maintain that the contingently-existing
inhabitants and beings of earth are unable to penetrate into
the presence of the necessarily-existing sovereign, and that
the essence of the Creator is too exalted for any created
beings to attain to an acquaintance with it, notwithstand-
ing the high knowledge and piety with which they may
be adorned. It therefore seemed necessary to the Almighty
God to descend from the majesty of abstractedness and
absolute existence, and exhibit himself in the various
species of angels, animals, man, and such like, so as to
enable them to attain to some knowledge of himself.
They therefore assert, that for the purpose of satisfying
the wishes of his faithful servants, and tranquillizing their
minds, he has vouchsafed to manifest himself m this abode,
which manifestation they call an Avatar and hold this to
be no degradation to his essence. . . . "