7. Krsna gives His solemn word that whenever dharma righteousness declines and adharma unrighteousness increases ‘I will manifest Myself’. ‘I’ does not mean the personality of Krsna. An Enlightened Person will appear who will help shift the balance towards the good.
Whenever there is disruption in society and values are lost, no politician or scholar can help. It is only resurrection of values in the common man that helps restore the balance. Hence the urgent need for values to be spread to all sections of society.
Krsna is merely stating the law of demand and supply. When corruption and immorality take over there is a demand in society for values. Then a great master appears who restores the balance. In India there has been a greater demand for spirituality so there have been enlightened Gurus in every generation who have led society out of darkness and into light.
Dharma is one of the four ends of human existence as explained in Vedanta. It means many things. It could signify an external code of ethics. It may denote higher values indicated by your inner compass, the conscience. Or it could be the Divine nature of a human being. In this context it means righteousness, uprightness, honesty.
The world is a mix of virtue and vice, good and evil. It will always be so. It is only the relative strengths of the two that vary. When spirituality is on the rise and life becomes easy people fall prey to temptation and the downfall begins. As evil proliferates people feel the need for values and seek the Higher. It follows a cyclical pattern.
This verse is viewed by the devotional as a promise that Krsna will come again. To the intellectual it simply means that a spiritual leader will appear to lead people to higher values.
Our duty is to uphold and spread righteousness to the extent we have benefitted and evolved. In Kaliyuga you can create an oasis of high values that will influence the world. Like you can have 40% growth in a declining economy!
8. Great masters come to protect the good, destroy evil-doers and establish dharma righteousness.
At the individual level you must boost your positive qualities, root out negative traits and promote spiritual development. There is a natural gravitational pull towards evil as it is easy to be selfish and indulgent. Positivity needs a lot of effort. ‘I’ am born. Realised Souls have transcended their body, mind and intellect and have identified with Atman so when they say ‘I’ they mean Atman. Once vasanas are exhausted there cannot be rebirth so the individual cannot come again. Realised Persons appear in every generation to establish values in society. There are three categories of people:
1. Avatars like Rama and Krsna who are Realized at birth.
2. Great sages who were born ordinary mortals but transformed into extraordinary Immortals like Swami Rama Tirtha, Sri Ramakrishna, Ramana Maharshi etc.
3. Every one of us who has the choice to identify with Spirit or matter. To the extent we choose Atman we help protect the good, destroy evil and establish dharma.