Krishna descends to delineate, demonstrate and disseminate dharma
A careful study of the Gita expands this understanding by revealing how Krishna serves the cause of dharma in multiple ways that include delineation, demonstration and dissemination.
1. Delineation: Krishna speaks the Gita to answer Arjuna’s question (02.07) about dharma. And his delineation of dharma is not a one-off affair. The Gita (04.01) indicates how Krishna, at the dawn of creation, enlightened the Lord of light, the sun god, and through him set in place a lineage of royal sages who carried forward the tradition of delineation. And when that tradition was lost over time (04.02), Krishna took on the responsibility of delineating it again to Arjuna (04.03).
2. Demonstration: As actions speak louder than words and as the actions of leaders speak loudest to the citizens (03.21), Krishna during his tenure as a ruler, demonstrated dharmic living, doing his duties scrupulously (03.22 – 03.24).
3. Dissemination: To effectively disseminate dharma in society, Krishna arranged for the installation of principle-centered leaders who would use the resources of the state for helping people live righteously. In fact, Krishna wanted Arjuna to fight the Kuruskhetra war to replace the vicious Duryodhana with the virtuous Yudhisthira. He not only engaged his devotee-warriors in such dharma-yuddha, but also himself fought many times to rid the world of irreligious upstarts.
No wonder the Vishnu-sahasra-nama glorifies Krishna with over a dozen names connected with dharma such as dharmadhyakshah (overseer of dharma) dharmah (personification of dharma), dharmaviduttamah (best knower of dharma), dharmagupa (protector of dharma), dharmakrita (propagator of dharma), dharmi (exemplar of dharma), satya-dharma-paraakramah (champion of true dharma), satya-dharma (abode of true dharma) satya-dharma-parayanaah (shelter of true practitioners of dharma) and dharma-yupah (foundation of dharma).
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