In one of the best-known passages of the Bhagavad Gita, God, represented in the form of Shri Krishna, tells the Pandava warrior Arjun that whenever there is a decline in righteousness and rise of unrighteousness, He manifest Himself for the protection of the good, destruction of the wicked, and for the establishment of righteousness. This passage essentially speaks of the creation of a new world order based on divine virtues.
The Gita tells us how to have a meaningful and fulfilling life by cultivating these virtues. Shri Krishna explains the concepts of the soul, God, the duties of an individual, the qualities that make us divine or demoniacal, and the path to liberation.
The war described in the Mahabharata, of which the Gita is a part, represents the struggle that takes place in every thinking man or woman’s mind, when desires, expectations, and vices try to get the better of the soul’s innate virtues. The Gita teaches how to win these inner battles and become a better human being. At the individual level, it is an inspiring handbook for self-transformation, but at a larger level, it is a blueprint for a new world order.
What will that order be like? Chapter 16 of the Gita gives some hints. It describes the traits that make a person divine. These traits are the hallmarks of the new world order, just as the demoniac qualities, mentioned in the same chapter, characterize the world as it is today.
Hypocrisy, arrogance, harshness, anger, and ignorance mark one who is born in a demoniacal state, the Gita says. Neither purity nor right conduct nor truth is found in them.
Such souls are full of insatiable desires, hypocrisy, and arrogance. Trapped in the web of delusion, and addicted to the gratification of lust, they fall into a foul hell that destroys the self. There are three gates to this hell — lust, anger, and greed. Therefore, one should abandon these three, the Gita says.
However, when we look around us, we find people increasingly under the influence of these three vices. Most of the crime, corruption, and violence in the world can be traced to these three gates of hell.
It is when human souls sink to the depths of viciousness, having gradually lost their purity and power over successive lives, that God comes to usher in the Golden Age once again, marking the start of a new cycle of time.
How does He destroy evil? He does this by opening the eyes of His children, the souls, to their true identity. He also reminds them of their relationship with Him – that they are His children and all that is His belongs to them.
When we become aware that we are souls, not bodies, the influence of vices, which stem from body-consciousness, begins to ebb away. And when we begin to remember God, we draw power from Him, which enables us to resist and, ultimately, overcome evil tendencies.
Regular practice of soul-consciousness and remembrance of God empowers the soul and brings out the virtues latent in us, so that from ordinary humans we are transformed into divine beings who are free of vices and full of virtues.
When a critical number of those of a demoniac nature are thus transformed into divine beings, the world turns from hell to heaven. This great change in the quality and consciousness of humans influences other creatures and the elements of nature, transforming them too in the process.
B.K. Brij Mohan is Additional Secretary General of the Brahma Kumaris.