Dharma Is Your Real Friend


In an ideal society, every soul ought to get complete scope for development without any impediment. But in a transitional period, when one era is about to end and the next one is yet to dawn, a critical situation arises in social life.

How the Giitá Addresses a Critical Situation

Yá Bhagavatá giitá sá Giitá – “The Giitá is that which is sung by the Lord Himself.” Bhagaván is another name for the Lord. What is Bhagaván? Bhagaván is [He who possesses] the totality of aeshvarya; and in addition yasha, shrii, jiṋána, etc.

Aeshvarya is the sum total of all [occult] powers – ańimá, mahimá, [laghimá], etc. The Lord ought to have powers. His mission is going to be accomplished [by] the use of His powers. Clumsiness is not going to help.

Another attribute of the Lord is yasha. His greatness is recognized and sung[, but] not by all people. Particularly in a transitional period, there is a sharp polarization. People get divided into two blocs. Some pray to the Lord, and some discredit Him.

The Lord has yet another characteristic, that is, shrii. Shrii denotes “attraction”. Shrii Krśńa is one who attracts. Within the word shrii, sha denotes the mutative principle and ra is [the] acoustic root of energy. “Shrii Krśńa”, with this shrii, is “the Lord who attracts everybody”. ([Krśńa] has another meaning, [krśibhúh] – that is, Krśńa is “He because of whom we all are”, that is, Krśńa is Parama Puruśa. We all owe our existence to Parama Puruśa, just as a fish owes its existence to water.)

Two more attributes of the Lord are jiṋána and vaerágya.

Jiṋána, or knowledge, is the subjectivization of an objectivity. And regarding vaerágya, vaerágya is not renouncing the world and going to the Himalayas. Vaerágya is derived vi – rańj [+ ghaiṋ + vyain]. If in spite of remaining amidst objectivities, a person does not get attached to them, then it is called vaerágya. Lead life fully, but keep the mind unaffected by it. Sádhaná is for the living, not for the dead.

The [propensities] are to be controlled by the mind, and not the mind by base propensities. The Lord said in the Giitá:

Yadá yadá hi dharmasya glánirbhavati Bhárata;
Cábhyutthánamadharmasya tadátmánaḿ srjámyaham.
Paritráńáya sádhúnáḿ vinásháya ca duśkrtám;
Dharmasaḿsthápanártháya sambhavámi yuge yuge.

[At a time when dharma is distorted and adharma is ascendant, I create myself out of my own fundamental factors. I incarnate Myself in this world from age to age for the protection of the virtuous, the destruction of the wicked, and the restoration of dharma.]

That is, whenever there is gláni, or downfall, of dharma, God appears on the scene.


Dhr means “to [uphold]” or “to support”. Dharma is that which supports life and its properties. Dharma alone stands forward, come what may. The dictates of dharma ought to be heeded. Everything else – wealth, logic, intellect – is secondary.

Those who abide by the dictates of dharma are called sádhus. In the traditional sense, a sádhu means a devotee wearing white clothes, with the word dása suffixed to his name, and after whose death the ceremony of shráddha and bháńd́árá is performed.

(A sannyásii, on the other hand, uses saffron clothes. Sannyásiis have the word ánanda appended to their names. No shráddha ceremony is performed after their deaths.)

But this is only a traditional meaning of sádhu. Sádhu really means “one who abides by dharma”. Lord Krśńa says [in effect]: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” That is, whatever is required by me may also be required by others. This consideration for others is dharma, and one who acts like this is a sádhu.

Dharma is your real friend. So, strengthen dharma when dharma itself starts deteriorating, when life becomes unnatural and [threatens] our destruction; because everything in life has to have its proper place. [When] dharma [is moved from] its place, that is called the gláni of dharma; when dharma gets displaced from its proper position in life, then there is dharma[sya] glánih.

In our shloka [couplet], bhárata means “king”. That is, one who does bharańa. Bhr means “to feed”. One who feeds life, in the physical, mental and spiritual strata, is a bhárata, a king.

Abhyutthána means abhi – utthána, that is, the “ascendancy” of adharma. In such a situation the Lord says, tadátmánaḿ srjámyaham – that is, “I create myself.”

Tráńa is just “relief”, as one is to give in floods, cyclones, earthquakes, etc., where the tragedy will recur. But paritráńa means “permanent protection or relief”. The Lord appears in order to give permanent protection to sádhus. [To build a perennial and just social order is the job of the sadvipras, spiritual revolutionaries.] But when the sadvipras are not able to do their job by their own power, the Lord [creates Himself] and applies His power to that job.

Vinásha is to be differentiated from pranásha and násha. Násha means “destruction”; pranásha means “transformation of an entity [back to its] original [source]”; but vinásha means “special destruction”.(1)

The word saḿsthápana is important. Sthápana means “placement”. Saḿsthápana means “replacement to the proper position from which a thing has been displaced”.

[Sambhavámi means] samyak rupeńa bhavámi [“I incarnate Myself in a proper way”]. Bhavámi means “to come into existence [by employing all the material factors] which He Himself has created” in order to protect the sádhus and to cause the [special or] total destruction of the wicked.

The Lord says, “I create myself in a special way;” that is, Parama Puruśa promises that in a period of transition, He will incarnate Himself with His special powers to destroy the wicked and to give dharma a proper place in society.



(1) “Something is apparently destroyed, but actually it metamorphosed into something better.” (Shrii Shrii Ánandamúrti, “Párthasárathi Krśńa and Vishiśt́ádvaetaváda”, in Namámi Krśńasundaram, 1981) –Trans.

19 October 1971 morning, Mumbai
Published in:
Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 23