Question: Will you explain the difference between an Avatar and a perfect Master?

Sri Chinmoy: An Avatar is a direct representative of the Supreme, a representative of the highest order. A perfect Master is also a representative of the Supreme. So if one is a real Avatar, then he is a perfect Master; and if he is a perfect Master of the very highest order, then he is also an Avatar.

Again, everybody’s Master has to be perfect to that particular seeker. Your Master is perfect to you and somebody else’s Master is perfect to him. Every Master should be claimed by his disciples as perfect. In that way only can he move himself forward. Otherwise, the disciple is not going to learn anything. Spirituality is not like a school lesson, where your teacher knows a little more than you. Although your geography teacher has many shortcomings, just because you have to study geography, you have to go and surrender to him and learn from him whatever he knows.

But in the spiritual life, when it is a matter of inner light, inner knowledge and inner wisdom, you have to feel that your Master is perfect. If you do not have the feeling that your Master is perfect, then you cannot go far. If from the very beginning you feel, “No, he knows only a little more than I do; he is not all perfect,” then you will not be able to progress. Disciples may think that someone else’s Master is absolutely useless; no harm. But each student should feel that his own Master is perfect for him. If the disciple does not see perfection in the Master, then how can he have perfection in his own life? If he sees the very thing that he wants manifested in someone else, then only will he strive to achieve it. But if he does not see the thing that he wants inside his Master then it is absurd for him to stay with the Master. He has to go to some other Master in order to see perfection.

In the case of an Avatar, it is a totally different matter. An Avatar is a direct descendant of God, so he has to be perfect in the absolute sense because he represents the Highest. Other Masters also are descendants of God, but you have to know that there is a great difference between a professor with a Ph.D. and a kindergarten teacher. Again, somebody will say that his Master is the highest Avatar, and then it may become a matter of quarrelling and fighting with others who also claim the same about their Masters. God alone knows who is an Avatar, who is a Yogi or who is a Swami. So no matter whose Master is an Avatar, or a Yogi or a perfect Master, the best thing is for each disciple to feel that his own Master is not only supposed to be perfect, but actually is perfect. If he does not have that kind of feeling, then he cannot make any substantial progress in the spiritual life.