Ch 4 VERSE 8
परित्राणाय साधूनां विनाशाय च दुष्कृताम् ।
धर्मसंस्थापनार्थाय सम्भवामि युगे युगे ॥८॥
vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām
sambhavāmi yuge yuge
paritrāṇāya—for the deliverance; sādhūnām—of the devotees; vināśāya—for the annihilation; ca—and; duṣkṛtām—of the miscreants; dharma—principles of religion; saṁsthāpana-arthāya—to reestablish; sambhavāmi—I do appear; yuge—millennium; yuge—after millennium.
In order to deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of dharma, I advent Myself millennium after millennium.
vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām
sambhavāmi yuge yuge
“In order to deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to re-establish the principles of dharma, I advent Myself millennium after millennium.”
So, I think that we will just clarify something first. This reference to miscreants: the Sanskrit word is duskrtina or duskrtam, which actually is—in the Sanskrit dictionary means miscreant, but it also means one who is acting wickedly, or criminal, or an evil doer. This reference should be understood from a specific perspective. As we have mentioned in one of the previous verses that we studied, there is a higher nature and a lower nature. The higher nature is the actual nature of the atma. The lower nature is the influence of the mind and of the body. When it is directed by material consciousness and self-centeredness it has a tendency to act in a way that is harmful, that is destructive, and is—it causes further entanglement and darkness, or ignorance. The higher nature is the acting in accordance with the actual nature of the soul itself. And these are separate principles.
So the idea here of wrongdoing and the annihilation of miscreants, it’s described here, it’s not just the idea—many people have this conception of the world in its highest state as being almost perfect, like heavenly, and it’s all evil the doers that wreck everything, and if we can just get rid of the evil doing, which may mean getting rid also of the evil doers, then this world can become like a paradise again, where we can all live happily ever after. This is an utterly materialistic conception. It’s influenced by a higher transcendental reality, but it is misapplied. The material world is not perfect, and it can never become perfect, nor it is the place that we should consider our home, and under no condition will it be a place where I can find shelter, experience the spiritual love that I actually seek, experience the highest transcendental blissfulness.
So what is being spoken about here is—it’s something akin to—and I’m just remembering a Biblical reference, a New Testament reference, if I recollect, that had something to do, or was along the lines of, “One should not fear those who are killers of the body, but one should fear the killers of the soul”—not that the soul can ever be killed, but the idea that one can become so utterly covered, their spiritual nature so covered, that one can exist in an incredibly fallen and hellish state that will perpetuate one’s almost eternal entanglement in the material ocean, which is categorized as an ocean of suffering. And so, the reference to the miscreant here is to those who cover the eternal nature of the soul, who cause people to become forgetful and lost in the material condition.
So first I will address the term which was used in the previous verse, and here it’s used here, “millennium after millennium.” The Sanskrit word is yuge yuge. Now you’ll begin to appreciate, when we discuss this, why the term millennium is quite appropriate, meaning the idea, not just of a thousand years, but an extended period of time, a vast period of time. In the Vedas they had extraordinary measurements of time. On one hand, they actually had a measurement that was 1,000th of a second. They had a whole system for measuring time that was quite, quite extraordinary, I mean really extraordinary. And they spoke about very vast periods of time.
The Vedas describe that the cycle of time that is experienced, specifically in the earthly, or the middle planets, is divided into what they categorize as four yugas, or ages. These four ages are characterized by different qualities and are existing for different periods of time.
So the very first period in the cycle is called the satya yuga. Satya yuga—satya is fundamentally truth. It is the age of goodness. It is an age of high spiritual thinking. And this age, this satya yuga, was said to run for one million, seven hundred and twenty thousand (1,728,000) years, and once that time has elapsed then we also see a significant change in the nature of people, and the time that follows.
In this next period of time—it is called the treta yuga, and this treta yuga runs for one million, two hundred and ninety six thousand (1,296,000) years, so I mean we’re talking about significant periods of time.
And then you have the third cycle—or not cycle, the third phase in a cycle, that is known as the dvarpa yuga. This dvarpa yuga lasts for eight hundred and forty six thousand (846,000) years.
Then at the conclusion of this period we have what is called kali, kali yuga. This kali yuga will run for four hundred and thirty two thousand (432,000) years. So in this current time in which we are living, by Vedic calculation, astronomical calculation, we are just a little over 5 000 years into what is known as kali yuga. This kali yuga was considered a time of great misfortune. The period was characterized by—it’s called the age of chaos, quarrel and confusion. All you have to do is look at what’s going on in the world now, and social and political philosophies, and how people are conducting themselves, and you will see these characteristics are quite outstanding, quite pronounced.
These four yugas taken together cover four million three hundred twenty thousand (4,320,000) years, and this complete cycle was called a maha yuga, or sometimes catur yuga or divya yuga. And this was considered, one of these cycles, was considered only a small blip on the radar of a much bigger picture. And they speak of multiples of these cycles, and things that are connected to multiples of these cycles.
So having now said this, when Krishna says, “I advent myself millennium after millennium,” He—actually the term, Sanskrit term, yuge yuge means that in age after age, or yuga after yuga, He advents.
So what I would like to do is read a passage from Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad, when he references these different avataras, or when the Lord descends. The understanding was that there were practically limitless varieties and numbers of these avataras, and they appear in different times and under different circumstances to engage in different types of teaching and activity. So speaking to these limitless variety of avataras, and here there’ll be some technical terms, just to give you an introduction to how the Vedas speak about the idea of an incarnation, or more accurately an avatara:
There are various kinds of avataras, such as purusavataras, gunavataras, lilavataras, saktyvesa avataras, manvantara-avataras and yugavataras—all appearing on schedule all over the universe. But Lord Krishna is the primeval Lord the fountainhead of all avataras.”
So the Vedas actually teach that Lord Sri Krishna is actually the original and supreme Personality of Godhead, and the origin of all of these avataras. Some people may find this to be a controversial statement because there is a lot of misunderstanding and misrepresentation. If you look in the dictionaries you will generally see that they say that Krishna is the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, but the truth of the matter is that Lord Vishnu himself is a plenary portion. He is one of the purusavataras of this original Param Isvara, Lord Sri Krishna.
So one reference to this reality is in the Bhagavata Purana. In the Bhagavata Purana it gives a list of all of the, what are called lila avataras, amongst them including Lord Buddha even. And these list of avatars, Krishna is spoken of as the eighth personality in this particular list, but after presenting that, this particular verse goes,
“All the above mentioned incarnations are either plenary portions, or portions of the plenary portions of the Lord.”
This is quite a profound idea. Plenary of course, means to be empowered with the same power, like if a prime minister or president sends an ambassador to represent him in another country to negotiate over something, he is called a plenary representative. So there are incarnations that are considered plenary portions, meaning that they may not possess all of the potency and characteristics, most, but maybe not all, of the original personality of Godhead. So continuing, I’ll read again:
“All the above mentioned incarnations are either plenary portions, or portions of the plenary portions of the Lord, but Lord Sri Krishna is the original Personality of Godhead. All of them appear on planets whenever there is a disturbance created by the atheists. The Lord incarnates to protect the theists”
So this particular verse counters the idea that Krishna is the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Although He is mentioned as the eighth personality in a list, it is a chronological presentation, and doesn’t indicate the potency of the individual avataras. And here there is the—I’ll draw your attention to the term, krsnas tu bhagavan svayam, that He is, in person, He is the original Bhagavan, personality of Godhead, personally.
So in addition to this we have a confirmation in a very famous verse in the Brahma Samhita. Brahma is considered the creator of this particular universe in which we reside. He is the empowered personality who took the prakriti, or this material energy, and arranged for its manifestation, the actual appearance of form. It was by his influence that this took place. And it wasn’t like a “shazam” with a magic wand, that suddenly everything just pops up. It speaks about a process of how things appeared. And (probably an inaccurate term that I will use) it’s like a condensation where things go from a subtle state to an increasingly more gross state, which is somewhat akin to how scientists, modern astrophysicists, describe the way in which the universe comes into being, that there is first a manifestation, as a result of this big bang of a tangible energy that gradually goes from manifesting in an almost gaseous like state, under the influence of gravitational forces it begins to form into planets etc. So there is something akin to this in the Vedas, but it’s way more complex how this takes place. So Lord Brahma is considered the great authority within this universe. And in this Brahma Samhita, in the fifth chapter, the first sloka, we have the very famous, this very famous verse:
isvarah paramah krsnah sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah
anadir adir govindah sarva-karana-karanam
And this is, in English, is:
“Krishna, who is known as Govinda is the supreme controller, the param isvara. He has an eternal, blissful, spiritual body. He is the origin of all. He has no other origin, for He is the prime cause of all causes.”
So these are actually very deep philosophical and technical terms, like this sat cit ananda vigraha; sat meaning eternal; cit means knowledge and awareness, but not like knowing things but this capacity for profound awareness, or absolute knowledge; ananda means absolute blissfulness; and vigraha means the form or embodiment of these characteristics, the nature of the transcendental form of this Param Isvara, Isvara Parama. It’s the Paramesvara, the Supreme Isvara, or the Supreme Controller.
Then it speaks of sarva karana karanam. Sarva means like all, everything, in a vast sense. Karana Karanam: karana is the cause. Everything that exists has a cause, and karana karanam means the actual cause of all other causes. He is the origin, the adi, the original cause, and He is without beginning.
So what we are speaking about is one aspect of the highest truth. It is the foundational aspect, but it is one aspect of the highest or the ultimate truth.
We see sometimes that there are two schools of thought or ideas. One of them proposes that ultimately the highest consciousness, or spiritual existence, is an impersonal spiritual energy, or force, addressed as Brahman, and that all emanations from Brahman are not eternal; meaning that when Brahman manifests as an incarnation, that this incarnation of God who comes to teach and to save, this is not an eternal manifestation. It is a temporary manifestation for a particular cause.
But when we reference the original Vedic teachings it contradicts this idea. The particular school that I mentioned, sometimes referred to as Advaita Vedanta, is actually not the original Vedic teaching.
There was a great spiritual personality. His name was Adi Shankara, who appeared in the 7th century the current era, and he had a specific and assigned purpose that is also spoken of in the Vedas. And what he did was to pluck a number of verses from different Upanishads, and from the Vedanta Sutra, and to weave it together into a theory that is referenced as Monism. And in this spiritual theory there is an outright rejection of anything other than Brahman as being real, and the definition of Brahman was an impersonal ocean of spiritual energy and light, this Brahmajyoti. But in the Bhagavata Purana, which was Srila Vyasadeva’s own commentary on the Vedanta Sutra, he states in this verse:
“Learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute Truth call this non-dual substance Brahman, Paramatma or Bhagavan.”
So here it is—we see something that actually is very difficult for somebody who is wanting— someone who has adopted the Advaita Vedanta philosophy. Their understanding of what is non-dual is somewhat limited. They do not know this higher spiritual principle known as a acintya bheda abheda tattva, this inconceivable oneness yet difference, that this highest truth can simultaneously and eternally manifest in—as an impersonal energy, but also in a personal form.
And so in this verse it states that greatly learned souls, they understood this tattva, this absolute truth, which is held to be non-dual (meaning it is without any material—without any contamination of the material energy, it is pure transcendence), that this highest truth is known in these three features as Brahman, as Paramatma, (Paramatma is the Lord within the heart of all living beings), and as Bhagavan. Bhagavan is the ultimate personality of Godhead residing within a transcendental realm, or in a spiritual place, on a spiritual platform. So these were the three types of understandings.
This was also addressed by the great Caitanya Mahaprabhu in His—in the great work known as the Caitanya Caritamrta. So, in the Madhya Lila, the 20th chapter, the 157th verse it is explained:
“There are three kinds of spiritual processes for understanding the Absolute Truth—the process of speculative knowledge, of mystic yoga, and of bhakti-yoga. So according to these three processes the Absolute Truth is manifested as Brahman, as Paramatma, or Bhagavan.”
So what was referred to here as the mystic yoga process, also termed sometimes the ashtanga yoga process, was a process by which the yogis strove to have the realization and vision of the transcendental form of the Lord standing within the heart, on a lotus, the whorl of a lotus, situated within the region of the heart of all living beings. The practice of meditation, specific type of meditation, is being referenced here to achieve this outcome.
Those who pursue the rigors of cultivating knowledge, but tend to be speculative in their approach, seek to connect with and experience the reality of the feature of the highest truth as Brahman, this impersonal ocean of energy; but it is those who practice bhakti, bhakti yoga, that realize and experience the feature of Bhagavan.
We understand from our spiritual masters that if you want to come to know something in truth, you must understand its essence, its position, and its natural function. The essence is fundamentally what something is made of. The position means, where do I fit—or the object whatever it is, where does it fit in relation to its surroundings and all other things? And the third is, what is its natural function? When we realize or understand these three things we can know something in fullness.
So in terms of self-realization, in terms of coming to know the truth of the atma, full self-realization, one must come to know that I am ultimately spirit, aham brahmasmi. But this only addresses my essence. It does not fully address what is the nature of my connection or relationship with other living beings. Is there one higher being amongst all other beings? And of course, the answer is, yes, nityo nityana, cetanas cetananam, that there is one eternal conscious being who is different than all other eternal conscious beings, and He is fulfilling the wishes of all these other living beings.
So when I understand that I am spiritual but I am a dominated part and parcel—and this is manifest in the reality that even in the embodied state I can never be in control of everything. I am constantly controlled by so many forces. I am not supreme. And then my eternal function: my eternal function is to love and to be loved, and to manifest that condition of love in a mood of seeking to be pleasing, to serve. So in order for me to have full realization of myself I must realize my essence as spirit; that I am not supreme, I am a dominated part and parcel; and third, that my natural function is to engage in the eternal loving service of the Lord.
Thank you very much.