The Lord descends now and then to uplift the downtrodden and to re-establish righteousness (dharma). Many who read the Bhagavad Gita take it that the Lord incarnates when dharma is ‘destroyed’ and when the forces of unrighteousness (adharma) begin to prevail. This is a misinterpretation; the Gita does not say nor is there any basis to draw the conclusion that dharma gets destroyed. The word used is ‘diminish’ (glaani); that is to say, when the indications are that dharma is in danger, “The Lord will come to protect dharma from harm.” Lord Krishna did not say that He will come down to protect and preserve it after dharma has been destroyed! Of what use is a doctor after life has left? So too, the Lord will rush when the practice is declining or weakening. The protection of dharma is the task of the Lord, for dharma is the very breath of every soul (jivi).
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