Do you celebrate Janmashtami?
There are various purposes for the Lord’s incarnation. It is foolish on the part of devotees to think that the Lord incarnates in order to kill demons and bad elements in society. Is it difficult for Him to simply lift His left eye-brow half way and kill all anti-social elements once and for all and even prevent them for taking birth again? It is well within His authority and power to take such a drastic step. An Avatara has multidimensional purposes behind His descent. The main objective of an Avatara is to demonstrate the value of Dharma and practically show civilization how Dharma has to be adhered to. The next dimension of the Lord’s appearance on the earthly platform is to associate with sages and serve them. No one is dear to the Lord as much as pure devotees. The Lord considers sages and seers as His very breath. So, through His physical incarnation, He also highlights the importance of sages and seers on earth, who take birth on the earthly platform for the sake of the Lord. The Lord, through His incarnation, demonstrates as to how an ordinary mortal should revere sages and seers thus setting the standards for the treatment of sages and seers by men of earth.
In the Krita Yuga (कृत युग), also known as Satya Yuga the Lord incarnates as a fish, tortoise, boar, the lion-man and as the human dwarf Vamana. In the Treta Yuga He incarnates as the perfect human being, Lord Rama; in the Dvapara Yuga. He incarnates as Sri Krishna who demonstrates super-human capacities. In the Kali Yuga the Lord shall incarnate roughly after a period of four hundred and twenty seven thousand years. So says the Srimad Bhagavatham. There is a statement in the Bhagavad Gita where Lord Sri Krishna proclaims that “Whenever there is a decline of Dharma, I shall incarnate.” Going by this statement, means that Dharma is still nowhere close to decline. Although the statement cannot be considered absurd, we have seen the level of Dharma in the current Iron Age. Now we can imagine the level of Dharma that shall exist at the end of four hundred and twenty seven thousand years.
In the Satya Yuga, it was a common scenario that elders were more intelligent and spiritual compared to the youngsters. As a part of culture elders would advise the youngsters and youngsters would listen and abide by the instructions given to them by their elders. By the end of Treta Yuga, the scenario had changed. Although the elders were intelligent and full of knowledge, the youngsters had started going astray, as they would not take the instruction given to them by older people seriously. This was considered as a lacuna, as a fall of Dharma for that age. The older Dharma that is applicable based on time, place and circumstances is called “Naimittika Dharma” (नैमत्तिक धर्म). This Dharma for the Treta Yuga was that son should abide by what father says. Disciple should abide by teachers. People of the village will listen to the older men of the village and so on. The fantastic thing about this culture of the Treta Yuga was that there was consistency in the teachings and views of all elders and hence there was no dilemma or dichotomy in the hearts of the younger people, as they listened to their elders. This culture powered the progress of the community as a whole. Culture underwent a decline, towards the end of Treta Yuga. It is important to note that in those great days of yore, culture was an offshoot of Dharma and the practices of culture conformed to the Dharmic practices, unlike these days, where culture has no connection with Dharma and exists just as a dragging residue of the olden days where some people forcibly try to impose culture as a matter of norm, negativity, force and supremacy. These modern day cultures include practices of the olden days when the current time, place and circumstances have nothing in common as compared to the olden days. The olden cultures, wherever they exist, exist as fearsome ghosts of casteism, hypocrisy, and torture when the same practices were purposeful at an earlier, appropriate time, place and circumstance.
The sages have documented the ethics for all times through scriptures such as the Puranas, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Their work is applicable as “Nitya Dharma” (नित्य धर्म), applicable at all times; irrespective of time, place or circumstance, which forms the basis of Sanatana Dharma. These are elders who are revered and venerated for eternal time. One has to trust, depend and respect the sages as our eternal parents. They never had any personal agenda or inner motive. They simply acted for us, to fulfill the Will of the Divine. If there were a certain spiritual preacher and a person from the audience, were to secretly sneak towards the preacher and whisper into the ears of the preacher, “Sir I have come for your benefit, to render you a favor” and if there were to be a sparkle in the eyes of the preacher with a smile on his face, know for certain that, all that the preacher is going to tell you, about God and about the duties of man shall have no worth, no meaning. It shall be false in all respects and a waste of precious time.
Compare the above situation with preachers of the like Sri Valmiki and Sri Vyasadeva who expect something else in return for having written the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Even these preachers desire some profit, but of a different kind. Just as worldly writers desire a royalty from every sale that their book makes, Sri Valmiki and Sri Vyasadeva desire an extra reading of their book for every single reading that a teacher makes of these divine works. This is the service charge that they require, nothing more. Their hearts simply desire that men follow the life of Sri Rama and engage with the teachings of Lord Krishna. Nothing more and nothing else.