परित्राणाय साधूनां विनाशाय च दुष्कृताम् |
धर्मसंस्थापनार्थाय सम्भवामि युगे युगे || 8||
paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṁ vināśhāya cha duṣhkṛitām
dharma-sansthāpanārthāya sambhavāmi yuge yuge
paritrāṇāya—to protect; sādhūnām—the righteous; vināśhāya—to annihilate; cha—and; duṣhkṛitām—the wicked; dharma—the eternal religion; sansthāpana-arthāya—to reestablish; sambhavāmi—I appear; yuge yuge—age after age
For the protection of the good, for the destruction of the wicked, and for establishing Dharma, I take birth in every age.
The Lord Himself protects the good and the righteous. By obeying the laws of Dharma, man acquires the right of protection by the Lord, whose protecting hand never fails at any time. Thus the Lord’s promise to the righteous is the only protection that a good man seeks in his perilous life. He escapes from the bonds of samsara easily. He crosses the ocean of ignorance quickly. He attains freedom. One should understand that there are internal enemies of man in the spiritual path and these foes in the heart of man are all destroyed by the Lord’s grace. So for those devotees who have faith in the Lord, there is no fear either from the external or internal enemies, whoever they are and whatever power they may wield.
Besides protecting the good, the destruction of the wicked is the second vow of the Lord. So the spiritual seeker should be careful and vigilant. He should be far away from evil and evil men. He should tread the path of Dharma, for then the Lord is pleased, and when the Lord is pleased, nothing is impossible for them.
The third vow of the Lord is establishing Dharma in the world. Dharma is the life breath of the Lord. It is the principle of human existence. It is the sustaining power of the whole universe. Any deviation from the law will immediately bring down the mighty structure of the universe. Hence the Lord has to manifest Himself to save the world from self-destruction by the force of evil.
When we study the history of the different incarnations of God, we find that He manifests Himself for any one or two or all the purposes mentioned above. The incarnation of Narasimha (Lion-man) came to eliminate Hiranya Kasipu and protect the devotee Prahlada. The incarnation of Sri Rama came to fulfill all the three vows of the Lord. He protected the good, destroyed the wicked Rakshasas, and established Dharma by holding sovereignty over the earth for several years.
The word `Sadhu’ is not limited to sanyasis only. It refers to all who are righteous whatever may be their caste or position or occupation.
In every age: This does not mean that the Lord appears only once in a yuga (i.e.) cycle of time. It means that the Lord is ready to appear whenever there is a need and wherever the necessity arises. The Lord responds to the call of the devotees at all times and under all circumstances.
The reader has to notice the special emphasis laid on the three keywords in the verse. ‘Paritranaya’ is used instead of `tranaya’; `vinasaya’ is used instead of `nasaya’; `samsthapanarthaya’ is used instead of `sthapanarthaya’. This shows the special significance attached to every one of the vows uttered by the Lord.
One may doubt how the Lord who is the embodiment of all love and compassion could punish the wicked who are also His children. To punish the wicked is not an act of hatred but a measure of the Lord’s mercy to bring them into the fold of the righteous. Besides this, unless evil is removed, it spreads like wildfire and consumes the entire humanity. Evil is like cancer in the human organism. If it is not removed by an operation, it will poison the whole system and destroys the entire man. So it is necessary that the evil-doers should be punished to save mankind from total corruption and death.
Swami Vivekananda Says —
In India they have the same idea of the Incarnations of God. One of their great Incarnations, Krishna, whose grand sermon, the Bhagavad Gita, some of you might have read, says, “Though I am unborn, of changeless nature, and Lord of beings, yet subjugating My Prakriti, I come into being by My own Maya. Whenever virtue subsides and immorality prevails, then I body Myself forth. For the protection of the good, for the destruction of the wicked, and for the establishment of dharma, I come into being, in every age.” Whenever the world goes down, the Lord comes to help it forward; and so He does from time to time and place to place.[Source]
A Hindu philosopher would say: These are the great souls; they are already free. And though free, they refuse to accept their liberation while the whole world is suffering. They come again and again, take a human embodiment and help mankind. They know from their childhood what they are and what they come for. … They do not come through bondage like we do. … They come out of their own free will, and cannot help having tremendous spiritual power. We cannot resist it. The vast mass of mankind is dragged into the whirlpool of spirituality, and the vibration goes on and on because one of these [great souls] gives a push. So it continues until all mankind is liberated and the play of this planet is finished.[Source]
Whenever virtue subsides and wickedness prevails, I come to help mankind. For the salvation of the good, for the destruction of wickedness, for the establishment of spirituality I come from time to time.[Source]
“Whenever virtue subsides and immorality abounds, I take human form. In every age I come for the salvation of the good, for the destruction of the wicked, for the establishment of spirituality.”[Source]
God understands human failings and becomes man to do good to humanity: “Whenever virtue subsides and wickedness prevails, I manifest Myself. To establish virtue, to destroy evil, to save the good I come from yuga (age) to yuga.”[Source]
God understands human failings and becomes a man to do good to humanity. “Whenever virtue subsides and immorality prevails, then I come to help mankind”, says Krishna.[Source]
“Whenever virtue subsides and vice prevails, I come down to help mankind,” declares Krishna, in the Bhagavad Gita. Whenever this world of ours, on account of growth, on account of added circumstances, requires a new adjustment, a wave of power comes; and as man is acting on two planes, the spiritual and the material, waves of adjustment come on both planes.[Source]
“Whenever virtue subsides, and wickedness raises its head, I manifest Myself to restore the glory of religion” — are the words, O noble Prince, (*) of the Eternal One in the holy Gita, striking the keynote of the pulsating ebb and flow of the spiritual energy in the universe. These changes are manifesting themselves again and again in rhythms peculiar to themselves, and like every other tremendous change, though affecting, more or less, every particle within their sphere of action, they show their effects more intensely upon those particles which are naturally susceptible to their power.[Source]
Religious knowledge became complete when Tat Twam Asi (Thou art That) was discovered, and that was in the Vedas. What remained was the guidance of people from time to time according to different times and places, according to different circumstances and environments; people had to be guided along the old, old path, and for this these great teachers came, these great sages. Nothing can bear out more clearly this position than the celebrated saying of Shri Krishna in the Gita: “Whenever virtue subsides and irreligion prevails, I create Myself for the protection of the good; for the destruction of all immorality I am coming from time to time.” This is the idea in India.[Source]
Our prophet says that whenever evil and immortality prevail on earth, He will come down and support His children; and this He is doing from time to time and from place to place. And whenever on earth you see an extraordinary holy man trying to uplift humanity, know that He is in him.[Source]
Since the dawn of history, no missionary went out of India to propagate the Hindu doctrines and dogmas; but now a wonderful change is coming over us. Shri Bhagavan Krishna says, “Whenever virtue subsides and immorality prevails, then I come again and again to help the world.” Religious researches disclose to us the fact that there is not a country possessing a good ethical code but has borrowed something of it from us, and there is not one religion possessing good ideas of the immortality of the soul but has derived it directly or indirectly from us.[Source]
We read in the history of the world about prophets and their lives, and these come down to us through centuries of writings and workings by their disciples. Through thousands of years of chiselling and modelling, the lives of the great prophets of yore come down to us; and yet, in my opinion, not one stands so high in brilliance as that life which I saw with my own eyes, under whose shadow I have lived, at whose feet I have learnt everything — the life of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. Ay, friends, you all know the celebrated saying of the Gita: “Whenever, O descendant of Bharata, there is decline of dharma, and rise of adharma, then I body Myself forth. For the protection of the good, for the destruction of the wicked, and for the establishment of dharma I come into being in every age.”[Source]
There are a great many similarities in the teaching of the New Testament and the Gita. The human thought goes the same way. … I will find you the answer in the words of Krishna himself: “Whenever virtue subsides and irreligion prevails, I come down. Again and again I come. Therefore, whenever thou seest a great soul struggling to uplift mankind, know that I am come, and worship.”[Source]
The central figure of the Gita is Krishna. As you worship Jesus of Nazareth as God come down as man, so the Hindus worship many Incarnations of God. They believe in not one or two only, but in many, who have come down from time to time, according to the needs of the world, for the preservation of dharma and destruction of wickedness. Each sect has one, and Krishna is one of them.[Source]
Life is short, but the soul is immortal and eternal, and one thing being certain, death, let us therefore take up a great ideal and give up our whole life to it. Let this be our determination, and may He, the Lord, who “comes again and again for the salvation of His own people”, to quote from our scriptures — may the great Krishna bless us and lead us all to the fulfilment of our aims![Source]