We have a reader question from Mr. Venkat
In the Bhagvada Gita, we have learned the famous shloka
यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य ग्लानिर्भवति भारत । अभ्युत्थानमधर्मस्य तदात्मानं सृजाम्यहम्
रित्राणाय साधूनां विनाशाय च दुष्कृताम् । धर्मसंस्थापनार्थाय सम्भवामि युगे युगे
We know the meaning of this shloka – Whenever, O descendant of Bharata, there is decline of Dharma, and rise of Adharma, then I body Myself forth. For the protection of the good, for the destruction of the wicked, and for the establishment of Dharma I come into being in every age.
This sholka tells us that the intervention of God is timeless. It will come down on earth in every age and time, whenever there is decline in Righteouness. Now my question is – how can we identify this God in our day to day life? What are some of the clues or hints which tells us that this is the God who is here to eliminate sin and establish Dharma?
This is a very interesting question and I am glad you asked it.
If you look carefully, you can feel the presence of Vishnu in every aspect of your day to day life. Vishnu is the preserver of order – the god who takes care of the preservation of Dharma and he is bound to be everywhere, no matter the place or situation.
This shloka from Bhagvada Gita tells us that whenever there is decline of order (dharma) and rise of Adharma (disorder or anarchy), I take the plunge and come into being to establish order so that the “Good” is protected and the “Wicked” punished.
Your question is – what is this definition of “I”? Who is this I and how can we identify him and say that – Oh here is vishnu in action, he is going to take care of this situation.
I will share some practical examples where you will be able to relate to the presence of Vishnu. But before I share the examples, let me tell you how this universe works.
The Universe is Always Seeking Balance
This entire universe is always seeking one and only one thing – Balance.
The universe is constantly re-structuring itself to achieve balance. Balance of what? Balance of energy, force, motion and direction. It is constantly moving to the direction of balance. It is constantly adding new things and eliminating existing ones to establish balance at any given point in time.
This is a fundamental law of the universe – it is always moving in the direction of Balance. The universe expands and contracts to accommodate and facilitate Balance as a whole and also in it’s parts.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. If the pendulum swings one way, it must always swing back the other way. If you will, for a moment, stop; and consider that these swings of rhythm are also evidenced in your life. Courage is preceded by fear. Happiness and sadness oscillate. Always remember that everything is subject to the principle of cause and effect. There is a cause for every effect, and vice versa.
Examples of Existence of Vishnu in our day to day lives
The question asked here is –
If Vishnu is timeless in nature, he must exist among us at all times and at any given situation. How can we identify him?
Let’s see some practical examples
Situation #1 Which Illustrates Elimination of Corruption
You are living in an urban city for work. You travel to work everyday on your own vehicle or motorcycle. The commute is very tiring as usual. One day your bike malfunctioned and you decided to take a local vehicle to commute, also known as an “Auto rickshaw” or “Tuk tuk”
But the local vehicle owner asked for a heavy fee, which by definition of law is totally unfair. He refused to go by the meter and asked for a flat fee. Since you don’t have a choice, you took the vehicle so that you can reach office in time. This phenomenon is repeated whenever you are outstation or taking a vacation. These people knowing that you don’t have a choice, try to exploit you and you choose to be exploited because there seems to be no “fair way out”.
This “Exploitation” continued for some time and the universe was watching it all along. An inflection point was reached when the universe said –
“Enough is enough. Now I have to intervene and restore balance”.
Vishnu had to manifest himself in the form of Cab hailing companies which makes transportation easy, fair, convenient and affordable.
In this case, each cab hailing company is the “Avatar” of Vishnu which is different in different parts of the world. Their way of working, appearance and philosophies are also different depending on the needs of the market but the core essence of each Avatar is the same – make travel simple, affordable and convenient.
In this case, Vishnu is the cab hailing company which is restoring order and eliminating “Adharma”.
Situation #2 Illustrates Elimination of Inefficiency
Every time you go to the bank for some work, there is a queue which wastes your time, money and energy. For a simple task which you need to do, you have to stand in the queue and wait for your turn.
This was happening to everyone worldwide and it seemed like a problem. This wasn’t “Exploitation” but simply a “waste” of time, resources, effort and money for both the bank and their customer. The cause is “Inefficiency of Process” and a better way needs to be found to overcome this solution.
Vishnu was observing this and upon reaching an inflection point with respect to inefficiency, he sent one of his avatars to fix the inefficiency and restore balance. That avatar is the ATM machine and Phone banking facility which banks provides to their customers for convenience, speed and efficiency.
In this case, Vishnu is the technology and process efficiency which each Bank must worship, or risk losing customers to their competitors.
These two examples are practical use cases of presence of Vishnu from a technology point of view. Vishnu manifests himself in the form of a technology or tool which restores order and harmony while inefficiency and corruption is eliminated.
Now there can be situations in your personal life where Vishnu manifests itself in the form of an event, occurrence, accident, co-incidence or outcome. You may not be able to relate to it that easily but if you think through the events of your life, you will be able to find out why Vishnu did something to bring you to the right path.
Situation #3: Vishnu’s way of teaching Manners and Being respectful to others
Let’s assume you don’t know how to cook yourself and usually eat meals prepared by your wife or mother at home. One day after returning from work you were eating dinner and didn’t like the food prepared at home.
You threw the plate away saying that the meal prepared is not worthy of eating thereby insulting your wife and mother of their efforts.
Vishnu took note of this incident but he decided not to intervene. He ignored it thinking that this is just the first time and you won’t repeat it in near future. He gave you a chance.
After a few months, you went to eat at a restaurant and repeated the same behaviour. You insulted the restaurant staff, yelled at them saying that the food prepared was not of good quality.
Vishnu took note of this incident as well.
In a span of 3-4 years, Vishnu observed that you have developed a habit of insulting anyone whom you don’t like including your family members and strangers. Vishnu decided to intervene now since you are creating an imbalance in the universe through your action and causing harm to others in some way.
So he decide to put you in a situation where you will not have access to any food and will have to learn how to prepare food not only for yourself but also for others. On top of it, you will have to bear the insult of other people, just like you did it to others.
On Vishnu’s action you have a Job transfer. You were transferred to a remote village where it is not possible to get domestic help or eat ready made food in a shop. There is no way to purchase meals and the only available option is to cook it yourself. Now you have to cook food yourself every day and also prepare food for your friends with whom you share your room. You don’t have your wife or mother with you and friends often ridicule your cooking and insult you for preparing bad meals.
You learnt your lesson the hard way. Vishnu had to teach you the lesson and restore order.
Now that you have learned the lesson, you are a slightly better human being. You don’t insult others and have learned to see the value in things – that your wife or mother is preparing a meal for you. You have learned to appreciate their efforts and not insult them if for some reason the prepared meal is not to your liking.
Lesson learned and balance is restored.
In this case, Vishnu is the “Situation” which puts you in a given context so that you learn the lesson and educate your own mind. After you have learned the value of service that others provide you, you will learn to appreciate them and not cause any further imbalance.
In conclusion, the whole goal of the shloka is that whenever there is an imbalance in this universe, the God takes a form and restores balance. It could be technology, a service, government, situations, contexts, accidents or any event.
Vishnu is present everywhere, at all times, in all forms. Sometimes, Vishnu is your driver, other times it is a cobbler on the road. Sometimes, it is a vegetable vendor, a milkman, a cow, a goat, a dog, a mosquito. It can be your computer, your phone, your boss, your wife, your children, your bed, your body, books, money – anything you can think of.
Vishnu is all of these things. Vishnu is formless and shaped at the same time and you can see Vishnu in everything, everywhere. And vishnu is always re-structuring you and your life so you do not cause imbalance in society. Vishnu is always re-structuring things around you so that you remain in peace, harmony and can attain your objectives. Vishnu is always re-shaping “Your World” so you can fulfill the task you have undertaken.
Vishnu is your friend, vishnu is your enemy. You are yourself a form of Vishnu playing your part in restoring balance in this world. Everything around you is nothing but different forms of Vishnu in action, doing their job in restoring peace, balance and harmony.
The Vishnu Mantra, “Vishnu Sthotra”
To end the article, I will cite the Vishnu Shloka
शान्ताकारं भुजगशयनं पद्मनाभं सुरेशं
विश्वाधारं गगनसदृशं मेघवर्ण शुभाङ्गम् ।
लक्ष्मीकान्तं कमलनयनं योगिभिर्ध्यानगम्यम्
वन्दे विष्णुं भवभयहरं सर्वलोकैकनाथम् ॥
Shaantaakaaram bhujagashayanam padmanaabham suresham vishvaadhaaram gaganasadrisham meghavarnam shubhaangam lakshmeekaantam kamalanayanam yogihriddhyaanagamyam vande vishnum bhavabhayaharam sarvalokaikanaatham.
Meaning of the shloka
I bow to Lord Vishnu the one master of the Universe, who is ever peaceful, who reclines on the great serpent bed, from whose navel springs the Lotus of the Creative Power, who is the Supreme Being, who supports the entire universe, who is all-pervading as the sky, who is dark like the clouds and has a beautiful form; the Lord of Lakshmi, the lotus-eyed One, whom the yogis are able to perceive through meditation. The Lord of the celestials. He supports the whole cosmos.His limbs are exquisite and his complexion is blue like that of the sky and the rain cloud. The consort of Lakshmi. He has eyes rivalling the lotus. The yogis meditate on him in their innermost heart.
Whenever there is imbalance around you or you see your life or family is going through imbalance or turbulence and that you are passing through a difficult time and things aren’t harmonious, you should chant this shloka 108 times a day just after sunrise. By chanting this shloka 108 times a day, you are actually inviting Vishnu to look into your life and create a condition of balance, eliminate fear, obstacles, diseases, debt and annihilate enemies.
If you don’t have the time to chant this Mantra every day or you are lazy and feel this is too much work, just download this MP3 version of this Vishnu Sthotra, copy it into your mobile phone and listen to it while you are working at office.
Download Vishnu Sthotra (MP3 file)
If you listen to this mantra every day for at least 21 days at a stretch, things will slowly get better. You will be able to feel the change in your way of thinking, behaviour, life events, stress levels and other negative things will slowly fade away.
Vishnu will manifest itself and restore balance in your life, work, family and soul.