The Protector of Goodness
Lord Krishna says to Arjuna – It is for the protection of the good, for the destruction of the wicked, and for the establishment of righteous Dharma, I come into being from age to age. It is the function of God as Vishnu, the protector of the world, to keep the world going on the lines of righteousness. He assumes birth to re-establish right when wrong prevails.
Paritranaya Sadhunam – Bhagavad Gita
paritrANAya sAdhUnAm vinAshAya cha duShkRRitAm.
dharma sansthApanArthAya sambhavAmi yuge yuge..
– Bhagavad Gita, Chapter IV, Verse 8.
Sadhus, or ascetics, are always engaged in making progress towards the discovery of truth. They are the true seekers. Lord Krishna says, it is my duty to protect them (paritrANAya) and destroy (vinAshAya) those who are engaged in the pursuit of wickedness and evil (duShkRRitAm.h.). I will repeatedly return in each and every yuga or age (yuge yuge), whenever necessary and feasible (sa.nbhavAmi), to re-establish (sa.nsthApanA) the rule of Dharma for future generations.
Spiritual Significance of the Avataar
Avataars fulfill many roles in the cosmic process. They establish the truth that there is no need for any struggle between leading a spiritual life or a worldly life. If, we happen to lead a worldly life in a world dominated by evil, it is our duty to redeem the world for the spirit. It is the avatar who shows us the way, the path by which we can rise from our “ruled by the flesh” worldly mode to a spiritual mode of existence.
Divine greatness is conveyed or transmitted to us in and through the avatars, the gurus, and all those who are immersed in the spiritual life – the life of goodness, of righteousness. Their lives are shining examples of the qualities, the essential constituents needed for human life to ascend the fulfillment of its destiny.
The Divine takes human form, undergoes human struggles, and overcomes them – to serve an example to us. We are asked to learn and take courage from the life of the Avataar. In this way, He teaches us the true doctrine by which we can come to union with Timeless Spirit. We are asked to die to our idea of separation from the Divine. By following this path, the Avatar helps us to realize our true potential, and become we potentially are.
Source: Adapted from Notes on the Bhagavadgita by S. Radhakrishnan (1948)