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The Dharma that Avatars and men of God uplift...

Updated on October 8, 2015
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Aravind Balasubramanya has spent more than 2 decades with Sri Sathya Sai Baba. He has studied under Baba and been His photographer.

"Whenever there is a decline in Dharma, I incarnate from age to age." Lord Krishna
"Whenever there is a decline in Dharma, I incarnate from age to age." Lord Krishna | Source

For quite some time, there was a doubt that plagued me often. So many prophets, messiahs and incarnations of God have walked the earth, but the world does not seem to have improved greatly. The ego, selfishness, greed and hatred that have infected mankind seem to have remained if not grown stronger. What exactly is the impact of these wise men and people of God then? And this doubt ranged across all the Gods and prophets.

For instance, Jesus, the Christ, gave Himself up on the cross and Christianity has spread across the world. But has the world given up selfishness, anger, greed, hatred and violence. The same question could be posed of the Buddhists, the Muslims, the Hindus, the Jews - everyone. Being a Hindu myself, I have been exposed to the Bhagavad Gita where Lord Krishna says,

Yada Yada Hi Dharmasya, Glanir Bhavati Bharatha
Abhyutanaam Adharmasya Tadatmanaam Srujamyaham.

This means (in gist)
“Whenever Dharma (conduct/righteousness) declines, I incarnate from age to age to restore it.”

The Hindu concept of time revolves around the four ages or Yugas with the Sathya Yuga being the ‘golden age’ and the fourth, Kali Yuga, being the ‘iron age’ or the ‘worst period’. The Treta and Dwapara Yuga come second and third respectively. Again, though the Sathya Yuga saw several incarnations of the Lord, it still moved into the Treta. That was when Lord Rama came on earth and yet, once He left, the Dwapara Yuga began. Then, Lord Krishna, considered as the Poorna Avatar made His descent. In spite of the great Mahabharata war where the forces of Dharma were made to win by the Lord, the world ‘slipped’ into the Kali Yuga!

And more recently, when my dear Lord Sri Sathya Sai left His physical frame, the world did not seem any better than it was before He came!

I got a partial answer through the story of the atheistic barber but that was not completely satisfactory.

I threw this doubt across to all my friends and answers that came were beautiful. I am not going to quote all here but three answers stood out in their variety and uniqueness. The first one that I will share was given by Sangeta Claire and it was based on Dwaitha or the philosophy of a dual Universe where God and devotee are always separate.
Yatha Drishti Tatha Srishti (As is the vision, so is the creation). The only contradiction that exists is with our own vision. When the Lord descends he uplifts us individuals, he transforms us. Nothing ever changed with the world, the only thing that changes/or should change is our vision of the world which brings about our own personal transformation.”

The second one which I shall share is based on Adwaitha or the philosophy of a Universe where nothing but God exists and thus all discussion becomes meaningless. This was from Iyer Akshay and he explained it with an example.
“There is a rather unknown story about a warrior called Barbarika, who was the son of Ghatotkacha(the son of Bhima). Though it is the common notion that one among Arjuna, Karna or Bheema was the strongest, it is said that Barbarika was the strongest in reality. But he was very humble and very devoted to Krishna. Krishna knew that he would always fight on the weaker side but by virtue of his presence, the side opposite to him would get weaker. Therefore, any war involving Barbarika would result in overall death for all except him! To cut a long story short, Krishna asked for the head of Barbarika, as it was customary to start a battle by sacrificing the greatest warrior. Thus, Barbarika cut off his own head, but not before asking to place it such that he can view the entire battle. After the battle, there was an ego clash among the victors as to who was the greatest in battle. To resolve this, all went to Barbarika’s head, a neutral witness of the battle. He said, "What battle?? I saw only the Lord in the entire battlefield, it was Krishna who was dying, and Krishna who was fighting. It was Krishna vs Krishna - Krishna the victor and Krishna the vanquished.There was none else."

The third answer that I share here is based on Vishishta Adwaitha or the philosophy of a Universe which is dual in nature but evolves to oneness. The world is a stage to facilitate this process. This was from Arun Kharidehal,
“There was never a time when the world was good. There was never a time when the world was bad. There was never a time when God didn't walk on this earth in some form or the other. There will never be such times. There is a balance of things that makes it possible for the Self to realize itself. The Lord just restores the balance. Imagine an actual balance - if the bad side becomes too heavy, we put a weight on the good side right? That’s what God does from time to time in his mysterious ways. But, if good becomes too heavy, it is to be understood that the opposite will be done. This is his play.”

Beautiful answers and each of them appeals to different people based on the approach. I was also privileged to be privy to a discussion between two teachers who have served Swami in His physical proximity for more than 30 years. Based on their interactions with Swami and absorption of His teachings, this was the beautiful explanation.

The only Dharma that the Lord upholds is the Dharma of Prema (Love). And this Love is the Love for God. Whenever there is a decline of love for God in the hearts of men, the Lord incarnates to refill the hearts with Love. Viewed in this angle, every man of God, messiah, saint or incarnation of the Lord has been a tremendous success.

Today there are millions that love God due to what Christ did, Buddha did, Mahavira did, the Prophet Mohammed did, Rama did, Krishna did and Sai did. Through their lives and teachings, they have inspired great goodness long after they are ‘gone’. And that is precisely the reason why they live on forever.

Love for God or Daiva Preeti is the progenitor for Paapa Bheeti or the fear of sin. That, in turn, will bring Sangha Neeti or morality in society. Every divine being thus always nourished the roots which are made of Love for God. Love for God brings about great transformation - much more than great knowledge and wisdom. Isn’t that the reason why the Srimad Bhagawatham (stories of Lord Krishna) is more popular that the Bhagwad Gita ( the song celestial by Lord Krishna)?

“The only Dharma that is uplifted is Prema Dharma”

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© 2012 Aravind Balasubramanya


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