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Chapter VII

"When decline descends on the Dharma which has been laid down, I incarnate as the Naraakaara, from the state of Niraakaara, in order to revive it and protect it and save the good from fear," said Krishna. Now this statement might cause some misgiving. You may ask: will not common people then conclude that Dharma is something liable to decline and decay? Will they not condemn Dharma as neither Nithya nor Sathya?

Well. You will grasp the importance of the task of protecting Dharma only when you consider its origin and purpose. God created this Jagath on His own initiative and he ordained various codes for its upkeep and smooth running. There were rules of correct conduct for every being. These form the Dharma.

The word Dharma is derived from the root, Dhr, meaning 'wear'. Dharma is that which is worn. Desa, the Deha of the Lord, is protected by the Dharma it wears; it also gives it beauty and joy; it is the Pithambara, the Holy Apparel of Bharath. It guards both honour and dignity; protects from chill and lends charm to life. Dharma preserves the self-respect of this land. As clothes maintain the dignity of the person who wears them, so, Dharma is the measure of the dignity of a people.

Not only this country, every single thing in the world, has its own special Dharma or uniqueness of duty, and nature. Each has its distinctive clothes! Dharma rules the group and the individual. Take the five elements, the components of Prapancha. Of these, water has movement and cold as its Dharma; combustion and light are the Dharma of fire. Each of the five has its unique Dharma. Humanity for man, animality for animals, these guard them from decline. How can fire be fire, if it has no power of combustion and light? It must manifest the Dharma to be itself. When it loses that, it becomes a lifeless bit of charcoal.