Gita Daily Readings

28th MARCH
Chapter Four: 7
Whenever there is a decline of righteousness, Oh Arjuna, and the rise of unrighteousness, then I manifest myself.

Commentary

When does God thus manifest himself? Whenever the forces divine, "the children of light," are overwhelmed by the un-divine forces or the offspring of darkness, there is a divine manifestation to restore the balance.

This, however, seems to run counter to the scriptural declaration satyameva jayate (truth alone triumphs). Is it possible for unrighteousness to overwhelm righteousness, even temporarily? No. Even that seeming triumph of unrighteousness is but a victory to righteousness.

Legend and history bear witness to this process. First there is oppression of the good by the evil. The wicked have no need to reflect, no qualms of conscience. The good are circumspect. The former take undue advantage. ("You need not turn the other cheek - I know where it is," says the wicked man who persists in his oppression of the good.) When this oppression reaches the limit, there is compression which disturbs the very core of the "good" being oppressed. At this core, there is God. When evil reaches this core, there is explosion; his power manifests itself in its own glory. This is the historical process: oppression, compression, explosion. The first two are necessary conditions for the third and hence it is possible to see in the seeming triumph of unrighteousness a true victory for righteousness. Extreme unrighteousness does a signal service of bringing God and divine power into manifestation.

If all this is puzzling, the Bhagavatam fans it further. It is not as though the children of light are God's and the wicked ones are the creatures of some other creator. They are all God's children. There are periods in the cyclic world-process when one or the other of these creatures holds sway. That, too, is God's play.

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