Yadaa Yadaa hi Dharmasya
Whenever faith is in danger in the world, it is then that the divine descends in human form. The many incarnations of Vishnu for this purpose, including his complete incarnation as Lord Krishna, is explained in this shloka of the Bhagavad Gita.
yadaa yadaa hi dharmasya
यदा यदा हि धर्मस्या, ग्लानिर्भवति भारत । अभ्युत्थानम् अधर्मस्या, तदात्मानं सृजाम्यहम् ।।
– Bhagavad Gita, Chapter IV, Verse 7.
Hey Bhaarata (Arjuna). It is Faith which teaches renunciation and is responsible for the elevation and well-being of human beings. Whenever in the passage of time, (yadaa yadaa) Faith (or dharma) is weakened or is under attack, (glaanirbhavati) – and whenever adharma spreads without control (abhyutthaanam.h) – it is then (tadaatmaanM) that I re-incarnate myself (sRRijaamyaham.h) with all my powers to restore Faith.
Decline of Righteousness…
Whenever there is a decline of righteousness, and the rise of unrighteousness, then I re-incarnate myself to teach dharma.
Whenever there is a serious tension in life, when a sort of all-pervasive materialism invades the hearts of human souls – an answering manifestation of wisdom and righteousness is essential to restore equilibrium. The Supreme, though unborn and undying, becomes manifest in human embodiment to overthrow the forces of ignorance and selfishness.
The Avataar – God Descends…
Avataar means descent – one who has descended. God descends when man rises. The purpose of the avataar is to rejuvenate dharma in the world. The Divine comes down to the earthly plane to raise it to a higher status. He shows us how we can raise ourselves to a higher grade of life.
The issue between wrong and right is a decisive one. God works on the side of the right. Love and mercy are ultimately more powerful than hatred and cruelty. Dharma will conquer adharma, truth will prevail over falsehood. The power behind death, disease and sin will be overcome by the reality which is Being, Intelligence and Bliss.
What is Dharma?
Dharma literally means – mode of being. It is the essential nature of a being that determines its mode of behavior. So what is our dharma? So long as our conduct is in conformity with our essential nature, we are acting in the right way. That is our dharma. The harmony of society and the world depends on individuals abiding by their dharma.
Adharma is non-conformity to our nature. God does not stand aside when we follow adharma and abuse our freedom and cause chaos. He will, and does intervene when the weight of adharma becomes too great and starts to outweigh the influence of dharma.
The idea of Rita…
The concept of dharma is a development of the idea of rita – which connotes cosmic and moral order in the Rg. Veda. The rita which gives logical significance and ethical elevation to the world is under the protection of Varuna. The God of the Gita is the upholder of righteousness – he is not a God beyond good and evil, remote and unconcerned with man’s struggle with adharma.