|Chapter 4||Approaching the Ultimate Truth||Verse 8|
Rudra Vaisnava Sampradaya:
Another question may be postulated. For what purpose does Lord Krishna manifest Himself? Anticipating such a question Lord Krishna responds for the protection of the righteous and virtuous and for the annihilation of the sinful and evil. To uphold the tenants and precepts of righteousness that makes sanatan dharma or eternal righteousness invulnerable. For this reason the Supreme Lord incarnates from age to age on particular occasions. But one should not think that the Supreme Lord is biased against the wicked for it is not so, He being equal to all chastises them in the same way a father chastises his son while raising him as a necessary action to insure his proper development.
Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:
Actually there is no mandate that for the protection of the righteous and virtuous Lord Krishna must descend and save them. But by His causeless mercy and in some circumstances for sport He manifests Himself by His own sweet will. In the Rig Veda it is described that this will itself is as an inclination of the Lord. A comparison in human terms it is like the bliss that comes with spontaneous creativity. The Supreme Lord is complete within Himself so there is nothing to be gained for Him by any action; yet and still He still performs unlimited activities. Therefore those expert in bhagavat tattva or knowledge of the Supreme Lord Krishna declare that His impulses are all sublime and transcendental to prakriti or material nature. The word glanir in the previous verse does not mean decline as is often translated but glanir means obscure. If dharma meaning eternal righteous is a perennial principle then it must be devoid of any modification of decline. It has to exist eternally in pristine purity. What happens is that dharma becomes obscure to the masses due to material influences on the mind, agitated by the effects of sense gratification by the onslaught of maya or illusion. When such times arise the purpose of human existence becomes distorted and consequently the activities of humans become more and more degenerated and humans become degraded. At this time the dharma of human beings is said to be glanir or obscured.
Therefore as far as dharma is concerned there is no possibility of their being any decline even as darkness is unable to hide sunlight. However even as large clouds are able to obscure the light of the sun from human vision in the same way non-awareness of the independent supremacy of the Supreme Lord and the human beings total dependency on the Supreme Lord consequently obscures the faith in the Supreme Lord as well as any perception of the Supreme Lord in human beings. So the sense is that glanir is referring to obscurity.
The Supreme Lord Krishna is also designated as Brahman which means eternal in time and dynamic in creativity and is the all pervading luminosity of His effulgence. It is not inert or passive. The word Brahman which is derived from the root brh means to grow, to burst forth which infers constant, continuous creativity, perpetually manifesting. That which is dynamic and creative cannot remain static and passive. The dynamic, spontaneous, creative impulse is what is known as the Supreme Lord Krishna's lila or divine pastimes. The complete material creation and all its embodied beings is the result of one such impulse of the Supreme Lord Krishna and this is also known as lila. The reality of Lord Krishna's avatars or incarnations such as Rama or Buddha and the understanding of Lord Krishna's divine lila's has often been misconstrued and misinterpreted. But here in this verse He explicitly reveals that he comes to protect the righteous and to vanquish the sinful miscreants and to personally re-establish dharma or eternal righteousness.
Sam-sthapana-arthaya- ca infers to establishing one's true nature. The Lords divine nature assumes His divine form. Because prakriti or material nature is understood as svabhava the word sam has been used referring to that. The word sva also refers Lord Krishna's essential svarupa or transcendental form as svabhava refers to the innate form or essence and creation is manifested by this essence being the impulse of His will. There is no difference between the form of Krishna and Himself neither is there any difference between the name of Krishna and Himself. In the Narayana Sruti is states that : the Supreme Lord Krishna is immutable yet through the course of creation He manifests Himself in inconceivable many ways in unlimited forms.
Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:
The word sadhunam meaning virtuous refers to the sadhus or the saintly devotees, the eminent Vaisnavas who diligently seek refuge in Lord Krishna in every thing they think and do. These persons feel that without seeing and perceiving the Supreme Lord, without chanting His names, without continuously reminiscing over His phenomenal pastimes and without meditating on Him that there lives are devoid and empty and they find it difficult to even carry on their existence. There are even those with whom a single moment of absence from the Lord is like a lifetime. For the protection of these virtuous and holy beings, lest they in their agony of separation from me expire from this world, Lord Krishna bequeaths upon them the privilege of being able to perceive His confidential appearances and pastimes and partake in communion with Him. So in summary the following reasons of Lord Krishna's avatars or incarnations is: 1) for protecting the virtuous 2) for destroying the wicked 3) for re-establishing dharma or eternal righteousness which had become obscured. As dharma to all beings is factually the primary mode of worship for the Supreme Lord Krishna and His authorised avatars in order to attain moksa or salvation from the cycle of birth and death in the material existence; it should be known as the highest good for all beings. The words yuge yuge meaning from millennium to millennium is to indicate that the Supreme Lords incarnations may appear at anytime not being limited to a particular yuga.
Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:
Here the verse reads parittranya sadhunam meaning for protecting the virtuous such protection means specifically for the devotees like Prahlad a great devotee of the Supreme Lord even as a child. His father Hiranyakasipu the demon king was so inimical to devotion to the Supreme Lord that he tried to kill his own son many times but protected by the Supreme Lord, Prahlad was never harmed. Yamaraj the demigod in charge of death who weilds the rod of punishment meted out to the hellish planets; informs his servants to never approach the devotees of the Supreme Lord who behold all with equal vision having taken complete refuge in Him and are under His infallible protection; for neither old age or ourselves are qualified to chastise the devotees in any way. Bring to me those who have never meditated on the Supreme Lord within their heart, bring to me those unrighteous persons of unclean demeanour who do not perform their prescribed duties and bring to me those wretched sinners who are antagonistic and opposed to devotion to the Supreme Lord. So not only does the Supreme Lord Krishna destroys the miscreants but His servitors such as Yamaraj punishes them as well. All this is to enable sanatan dharma or eternal righteousness to be established once again.