Yesterday at my Temple’s weekly Bhagavad-Gita study group, we covered the opening verses of Chapter 4, which relate to the origins of Sri Krishna. It is in chapter 4, verse 7 where Krishna reveals the key to Vaishnava Hinduism:
“Whenever there is a decline in dharma and a predominant rise in adharma – at that time I descend, myself.”
We have not yet arrived at this verse but did discuss the verses leading up to it in which Krishna tells Arjuna that he had originally revealed the Gita in time out of mind to the Vivasvan who instructed Manu in the same teaching, long before the birth of the physical charioteer Krishna who stood before Arjuna.
The devotee leading the discussion asked about how we know that we are making the right moves in our lives. I said that it was my feeling that if Vishnu descends in the form of a major Avatar whenever adharma overcomes the world, then it is my feeling that whenever a decision between right and wrong appears in our path, then it is at this time that Vishnu descends again over and over, but on a “smaller scale” in our thoughts. Of course we still have the choice to “mess up”, to fore-go dharma, but it is good to consider that the Gita is always taught, outright and aloud, or with a whisper on the inside. Some might call it the “angel on your shoulder whispering in your ear.”
Because the Gita says that “whenever there is a decline in dharma….” I suppose you could take that to mean a worldwide scale decline only. But I don’t see any reason why it has to be. It can be a personal decline. The Battle at Kurukshetra is a parable for the inner battle, so why not?