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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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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Sairam another brilliant article dear Arvind, thanks for the same. The problem lies in external view through sense organs, as long as this has a strong hold and internal view / introspection / meditation does not commence, all of us continue to deluded by what we perceive through our senses and believe all that to be true, from this our perception of good bad etc and consequent reactions occur. In reality all this is transient, a drama / a movie being played out. we need to get out of the trap called Maya.

    • Teekay63 profile image


      6 years ago from Singapore

      Perhaps what we see as a "problem" - that things don't seem to get better but appear to get worse as time goes by - stems from our limited assumptions about what "better" looks like? :)

    • profile image

      Parmila Singh 

      7 years ago

      Love for god brings about great transfomation.In practice when there are people or leaders who do not like to give or share ideas or knowledge as a taemwork fearing they may lose their post or status if the other person gets smarter.In situations like this especially in study circle ,singing or group activities what I find is let go all ego close your eyes see light in everyone and see swami and say swami I love you and every thing sorrounding is light -god and do everything for love of swami . At the end of activity there is only love for swami left.Beautiful massage

    • poornimasrinath profile image


      7 years ago from Midrand, Johannesburg, RSA

      @pardha saradhi uppala :Wonderful refelction about golden age! In summer showers brindavan Swami has spoken about the good and bad company in detail. He quotes Saint Kabir's prayer "I pray for both good and bad as Good should never dissociate and bad should never associate with me" If the minds of millions of people could associate only with good thoughts there would definitely be a transformation wave which eventually will lead to a better outer as well as inner world. Swami has sown the seed, He will come back to reap it when it fructifies!

    • profile image

      Mark Aspa 

      7 years ago from Berlin, Germany

      interesting answers to the debate in your article.

      my own response is not that philosophical but simply realistic:

      This is God's Plan...our planet is where all the problem egos (like me) are incarnated.

      If blessed, we can learn from the Saints' and Avatars in this painful school and progress a bit faster. Otherwise we remain here an awful long time.

      The pain and confusion must remain as teaching aids.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      7 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I forgot to thank Pardha Saradhi Uppala for the video link. I enjoyed it: Thank You! : )

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      7 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Thank You for the explanation Mr./Mrs. Darshi.

      I know nothing about Sath Yuga but I think I understand the point. Or what I understand/think is that in Its Creation, the Spirit moved so far away from Itself that sometimes it can no longer see Itself. If that ever makes any sense ...

      And yes, I can be brutally honest and it is percisely because of what Mr. Aravind said: "The crusades, inquisition, sunni vs shia etc. are all a result of man's misinterpretation and misrepresentation ". By being as honest as I can be, I try to eliminate any misinterpretations.

      I find it a little sad that there are great spiritual teachings, yet they are misinterpreted and instead of spreading love and compassion we get selfishness and greed. In that sense, it is difficult for me to give thumbs up for any religion or religious teaching.

      Of course, I can say that it is the fault of the students who are not understanding the teaching but in truth, I believe that it is the duty of the teacher to make the teachings understood and followed. With that in mind, if a certain lesson was not understood, perhaps there is a better way to teach it. Just some thoughts ...

      Thank You as well, Mr. Aravind for having this conversation. Indeed misinterpretation is frustrating. I get it here on Hubpages all the time too ... even when I speak the same language.

      And all the wars waged in the name of Christianity or Islam or any other religion for that matter has never been ordained by the Masters!!!! That is the shocking thing - they are all 'interpretations' of the followers - Perhaps there should be no following if this is what we end-up with ... or how do we better our "interpretations"?

      Questions and more questions. Haha!! That is what I do. : )

      Cheers everyone and thank You for taking part in this conversation!

      P.S. On a side note, here is an interesting article on Hubpages about radical honesty (not mine but when I read it about half a year ago, I had to smile since I saw myself in it):

    • poornimasrinath profile image


      7 years ago from Midrand, Johannesburg, RSA

      simply brilliant!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      @Aravind anna: I have a few christian and muslim friends who were discussing about the very same topic a few months back at the class. I felt this is going to be answering their query for sure and sending them the link to this hub. I'm so happy as for a long time now, Swami has never made a doubt remain a doubt for long in me. The answer comes even before the doubt takes its proper shape :) Simply loved your explanation to the doubt raised by Mr Happy

      Thank you anna.

      @darshi: beautiful explanation indeed :) learnt so much

    • aravindb1982 profile imageAUTHOR

      Aravind Balasubramanya 

      7 years ago from Puttaparthi, India

      @ Mr.Happy - Well, you would have read what Darshi has written for you...

      If I were to answer your thought-provoking questions, I would do it this way.

      When I write an article inspired by my Master and feeling Him in my heart, am so carried away by His love and message that I forget to explain some doubts that might arise.

      The crusades, inquisition, sunni vs shia etc. are all a result of man's misinterpretation and misrepresentation to suit his own selfish needs!!

      That is why I say that "I am spiritual but not religious." Spirituality is freedom while religion can get binding!

      As you rightly said, a person who does not have love and peace within cannot manifest it outside - whether he is a politician, a priest or a father in a church. Individual transformation alone can result in world transformation. And that is why every Master concentrates on making a difference for the individual.

      That is what I said - God incarnates to bring love in the individual's heart.

      And all the wars waged in the name of Christianity or Islam or any other religion for that matter has never been ordained by the Masters!!!! That is the shocking thing - they are all 'interpretations' of the followers...

    • profile image

      An Impressed Reader 

      7 years ago

      I liked the Vishishta Adwaitha answer best. I feel you need to experience darkness to be able to appreciate light. To be able to count your blessings, you should see and experience travails in life. So that balance between good and bad is needed.

      Every time God comes down, he gives directions on how to live life .He inspires through example. He gives us a taste of that intoxicating love that He alone can shower .The physical presence of God has such a powerful effect that it carries us forward for sometime in the right direction. But with time, as humanity once again starts slipping into the old ways, God comes afresh to wipe the dirt and re-ignite the goodness within us .The Bhagawatham was already available but we needed Swami to come down and initiate us into reading it .So I think avatars come for the purpose of reiteration and reinforcement which is much needed. Each Avatar of God also adds to the world’s repertoire of the various ways to attain him .The prescriptions are given in accordance to state that the world is in at the time of his coming . And during each yuga, there will be a bunch of people who would realise the goal of life to merge in him .. I think it is a gradual and on going process that cannot be clearly seen or perceived ..

      This was a very thought provoking post..

    • profile image

      Pardha Saradhi Uppala 

      7 years ago

      Very important topic and beautiful insights. We, in the Southeast Region of USA, dealt this topic of "Where is the Golden Age?" in a drama. The drama is written totally based on what Swami spoke and wrote. Here is the part of the drama that's relevant to the topic here:

      Swami has many times said, "Good and bad are inseparable." Asking for a world without bad is like asking for flow without pressure difference. As long as the physical world exists, both good and bad are bound to be there. There is no drama without conflict. The only moment when conflict disappears is when the whole universe is dissolved back into the Creator. And since the universe is simply a projection of mind, when the mind is dissolved and Atma merges with Paramatma, the conflict ends permanently.

      Each one can and must seek Golden Age (Moksha) in his own world (mind). The concept of collective Golden Age itself appears false to me because in Golden there is no collection, only single entity. The moment consciousness is separated from God, duality comes into play and 'bad' is inevitable. This whole play is going on, not outside, but in our minds. And each of us, have the right, duty and power to stop it the moment we want.

      This is the little I understood from Bhagavan's teachings, as answer to the same nagging question I had in mind and yeah, I could make peace with my mind with it. :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Dear Mr Happy,

      Love the way you were brutally honest - there is really no balance! :)

      I thought I'd just add a little to what you've said. Its true that balance is nowhere close to being seen, especially now.

      If we step back and look at it from a different perspective - the perspective where the Earth is now shifting to a higher vibration level, ie. shifting Yugas (from the Kali Yuga to the Sath Yuga again), it is possible that we can understand why there is a sudden outburst of negativity around us.

      As the Earth's vibration rises, we, as inhabitants and beings that have the same energy within us, must rise in our vibrations too. What does not resonate with this vibration - obviously won't fit! So how do we raise our vibrations?

      I suppose understanding what the Sath Yuga is all about first will help. If we go back and read about the Sath Yuga, I understood on a very surface level, of it as an age where there was nothing but Peace, Love, Bliss...everything BUT what we see now. As the yugas progressed, and our consciousness declined, we sorta lost 'touch' with the Truth of our true selves.

      Its now time to find that truth again..So in order to be nothing but Peace, Bliss, Love, etc...what does not resonate or vibrate with these must leave us, right? This is my understanding for the sudden burst of negative energy, in any way on Earth. It can be as simple as me getting angry all the time now, when I know, I've never been someone who loses my temper - all qualities that may be dormant within me that is not for my highest good is being forced to surface and leave.

      Maybe Aravind Anna, a discussion on the Sath Yuga will be something good for us? Just a thought :)

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      7 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I am not seeing much balance, Mr. Aravind. Then again, how do I measure balance ...? I do wish I am wrong sometimes.

      "The only Dharma that the Lord upholds is the Dharma of Prema (Love)" - So why the crusades? Why the Inquisition? And why do Sunnis fight Shi'as? And why do they both distrust the Sikhs? Why do spiritual texts speak of the woman as the matriarch but many Hindus do not follow in practice? Why do Greek Orthodox quarel with the Catholics?

      It boggles my mind ... really. When Love is the teaching, how do we end-up with what we have now, in terms of wars, corruption, greed, etc.?

      When there is no peace within the individual, there cannot be peace on a grander scale. Thus, I think it is a duty of teachers and healers to help bring peace and love in the hearts of men at this time; to show that things can be different.

      Thank You for the read Mr. Aravind. Great article! Much food for thought here.

      All the best!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      "The only Dharma that the Lord upholds is the Dharma of Prema (Love). And this Love is the Love for God."

      Maybe we can take it one step further - and see the Love OF God manifesting as people and experiences around us. I think, that's why He comes, time and time again. We all need someone to look to - for strength, courage, and unflinching Faith.

      Swami is my anchor of everything. I asked this question once - the answer that came, was not so much of an intelligent discussion, because I was only 12 years old lol. But the answer that came was " so I can help you get to where I want you to be. It will be difficult, but trust Me - I will be here always."

      So as the 27 year old me looks at this answer, and asks the same question - why are You here, Swami, age after age, yet nothing changes - the answer, is still the same for me.

      For me to realise that He is me, and I am Him...I first need to recognise Him as my Higher Self. That, will probably take a billion lifetimes :) But I pray I'm nearing the end of these lifetimes.

      He comes, He plays, He acts, He directs. It's all Him. This whole wide universe is just one single living entity.

      My one quarter cents. :P lol.


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