Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 05 Jul 2022


Varna Vyavasthaa Prakaranam (Topic of Caste system)

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1) Varṇā rāgādayo jīva-nitya śīlaṃ vadanti hi|
Sandhyā raktaḥ sitaścandraḥ, varṇo nitya guṇāśrayaḥ||

[Varna means colour that represents the inherent character of a soul. We also find the general comment “he showed his true colour”. A person’s character may change from time to time due to various association-effects. But the person’s inherent character is always constant. Poet Kalidasa said that character may change temporarily due to association, but, inherent character will return back shortly just like the white moon may look red in the evening for a short time due to association with red twilight, but will become white immediately (Raktabhāva mapahāya…). A caste is called varṇa, which indicates the constant specific character based on an inherent set of qualities.]


2) Dṛṣṭāntābhyāṃ śruter jñātaṃ, jābālasya janaśruteḥ|
Gītaṃ ca guṇakarmānu-varṇaḥ sṛṣṭo mayeti hi||

[Caste is decided by qualities and not by birth. The two best examples for this concept are from the Veda itself, in which Satyakaama Jaabaala was decided as Braahmana by his quality of speaking truth even though his birth was an unknown secret. King Janashruti born as Kshatriya was addressed as shuudra by sage Raikva when the king was in worried state and a person with materialistic worry was called as shuudra (śocati iti śūdraḥ). The Gita also tells that the caste is created based on qualities and subsequent deeds and not on birth (cāturvarṇyaṃ mayā sṛṣṭam…).]


3) Kapūya caraṇāmnāyāt, pāpī pāpa kuṭumbajaḥ|
Kulasya tadguṇaiḥ pāpam, janmaneti na sammatam||

[There is a powerful argument that bad souls are born in the lower bad castes. They base their argument on the Veda (Kapūya caraṇāḥ kapūya yonim…). We also agree to this Vedic argument but we say that you should not decide a caste to be good or bad based on the birth stamp and you shall decide a caste to be good or bad based on its qualities and deeds. Certainly, a bad soul is born in a bad family which is characterised by bad qualities and not characterised by birth. The word Kapuuya yoni said in the Veda refers to a bad family and not to a bad caste. The reason is that, in any caste, there can be good and bad families. The Vedic argument is correct, but you have twisted such an argument at the end by saying that such a bad family is decided by birth. We object to your ending argument. The word yoni indicates the mother in whose womb, birth of the child takes place and hence, this word is confined to an individual only and not to a caste. An individual is related to a family and thus we can confine the meaning of this word to a family but not to a caste. If the entire members of a community of a caste are always worried about materialism only, not coming towards spiritual side, such an entire community can be called by the name of that caste. We cannot conclude that all the communities of a caste have that specific quality only so that we can call all the communities of a caste by the name of that caste only. We are not worried at all about the number of people in a caste. The conclusion is that a caste specified with a set of specific qualities must be used in the case of an individual or a community or a group of communities provided those specific qualities are seen in the individuals. Similarly, a soul or a family or a community or a group of communities having attraction towards spiritual knowledge alone, can be called as Braahmana. In fact, the word yoni stands strictly for an individual only and not even for family.]


4) Kutumbaguṇa saṅkrāntim, sahavāsavaśād viduḥ|
Raktasthāḥ kevalāśceṣṭāḥ, vaṃśa rakta mapi bhramaḥ||

[The misunderstanding comes when a child born in the caste of Brahmanas acquires the qualities of the Brahmana caste. The actual reason here is that the child acquired the good qualities of the Brahmana-caste since the child has grown up in the atmosphere of the family having good qualities and has picked up those good qualities. People misunderstand this thinking that the good Brahmana-qualities are acquired by the child due to the Brahmana-blood flowing in that caste from ancestors. If this is true, every child born in that caste, must have acquired good Brahmana qualities only. Actually, qualities are not transferred through genes (blood) and only certain physical mannerisms are transferred. Hence, it is also a wrong concept to think that qualities are transferred by blood. The soul does not acquire any quality from ancestral blood because the qualities are already present in the soul that was acquired by it through past several births.


5) Pitaro mātaro hatvā, pāpino ye catuṣkulāt|
Aśrutāḥ pañcamāḥ janmā'-spruśyo guṇī kathaṃ bhavet?||

[Only four castes are heard in the Veda and the fifth untouchable caste is never heard. This means that the horrible sinners of all the four castes were boycotted by society just like an indisciplined student is boycotted by the authorities of a school to reform the student and not for revenge against him. The horrible sins done were mainly two:- 1) After drinking milk from cows and buffalos, eating them in their old age, which were like mothers and 2) After taking help from bulls and he-buffalos in agriculture, killing them for the same purpose, which were like fathers helping in the financial side. But, the issue of an untouchable can’t be untouchable just by birth even though the issue is reformed by qualities. Untouchability is related to sinful qualities and not to birth.]


6) Rāvaṇo Rāmakṛṣṇau ca, Śabarī Romaharṣaṇau|
Prahlādo viditāścette, santo'santah kaler janāḥ ||

[Ravana, a bad soul was born among good sages. Prahalada, a good soul was born among bad demons. Rama and Krishna were born in lower castes, but they were worshipped even by Brahmana priests, who did not worship Ravana even though Ravana was a Brahmana. Romaharshana born in the caste of pot makers was made the chief priest in a sacrifice by sages. The photos of Shabari, a woman of scheduled caste is worshipped by Brahmana priests even today. All this means that caste was decided by qualities and not by birth in the ancient times of sages. Only the scholars of the recent past (after the beginning of Kali yuga) have done havoc regarding the caste system due to ignorance and made the Hindu religion to split and become weak.]


7) Yādava Kṣatriyāvṛttiḥ, karmaṇaiva vivartitā |
Guṇakarmakulam Kṛṣṇāt, akartu rjanma paddhateḥ ||

[Even in the personal case of God Krishna, His caste was decided based on the talents of professional deeds (guṇa karma). His ancestors were descendants of King Yayaati, who was a Kshatriya by caste because Kshatriyas are the rulers of kingdoms. Yayaati gave a curse to his first son called Yadu and the descendants of Yadu are Yaadavas. In this way, all the ancestors of Krishna lost the profession of ruling kingdom and hence, they were not Kshatriyas. They were involved in the profession of dairy of cows and hence, became Yaadavas (gopālas or cowherds). Yadu prayed God Datta to restore their original status. God Datta incarnated as God Krishna and established a kingdom for the Yaadavas and since then the Yaadavas became Kshatriyas. In this way, the caste changed with profession and did not stand forever when the corresponding profession was lost. Based on this personal experience, Krishna established the concept that caste is based on qualities and professional deeds and not based on birth. In this context, He said that He was the founder of such caste system based on qualities and deeds and that He was not founder of the caste system based on birth (Tasya kartāramapi…- Gita).]


8) Prathamātmaguṇo Daivāt, paraṃ śraddhārcito guṇaḥ |
Guṇāt karma kulaṃ karma-vyaktaṃ jane rna tu kvacit ||

[The soul is already filled with qualities of past births and its birth is not vacating those qualities to fill it with new qualities in the womb of the mother. Hence, the soul is born with its inherent qualities without influence of the blood of the parents. The soul can pick up some new qualities during its new life, but generally, the inherent qualities of the soul are always predominant. Due to this reason, birth has no influence on the qualities of the soul. Only the first soul of a specific caste was born with specific qualities given by God and in that case only, we can say that the caste is born by birth. This is told in the Veda (Brāhmano'sya mukhamāsīt). From the second generation onwards, the qualities never came by birth, which come only by the self-interest and the effort of the soul. Hence, the descendants of the first soul of a caste acquire qualities by their interests only and not by birth. The cause of the interest can be the surrounding atmosphere and the cause can never be the blood-relationship of the birth.]


9) Bhede noccāvacaṃ cādyā, nāma kṛtayuga prajā |
Kvacit Bhagavadiṣṭena, vaividhyaṃ dṛśyate bhave ||

[One should not think that the Braahmana born from the face of God is greater than the Shuudra born from the feet of God. The four castes were simply different and the difference need not be associated with greatness and lowness. Any limb of the body is equally important and there is no greatness-lowness except for the difference. The difference is linked with greatness-lowness only in the recent times (Kaliyuga) due to ignorant people. The most sacred river Ganga was born from the feet of God! The first generation means all the generations of the first Krutayuga or Satyayuga in which the child was picking up the qualities of its parents with full discipline and without free-will. The second generation means the generations of other yugas in which free-will was given by God to souls so that the child had no discipline and was fascinated by a set of qualities. Hence, the problem in the caste system developed from Tretaayuga onwards and became severe in the beginning of the Kaliyuga. Sometimes, a soul with a different set of qualities is born in another caste by the will of God for the sake of reformation of a soul or the community. For example, i) A strong good soul may be born in a bad family to reform the family. ii) A weak bad soul may be born in a good family so that the soul may be reformed by the family. Leaving these two cases, to avoid problems, a weak good soul is born in a good family and a strong bad soul is born in a bad family.

All these examples can be clearly explained like this:-

i) A strong good soul is born in a weak bad family so that the soul can reform the family. A weak good soul cannot do this work and in its case, the family itself may change the weak good soul. ii) A weak good soul is born in a strong good family so that the weak good soul strengthens its good qualities with the help of the family and become a strong good soul. iii) A strong bad soul is born in a strong bad family so that both have congenial association without disturbing any soul or any family. iv) A weak bad soul is born in a strong good family so that the family will easily reform the soul. In this way, there is interference of God in the system for the welfare of reformation of a soul or a family. Such interference makes special cases to appear in the world.]


[30 July 2022]

10) Dvivyavasthā guṇe sādhaū, cātruvarṇyaṃ tu vṛttije |
Satyajñāna pracārāya, vṛttilakṣaṇa satyavāk ||

[If we make the caste system based on good and bad qualities, it will be a two-tier caste system in which there are only two castes:- i) Caste with good qualities and ii) Caste with bad qualities. If we make the caste system based on professional qualities and concerned deeds, there are four castes as said by Krishna in the Gita. This means that when Krishna told that He made four castes, it means that such a caste system, which is four-tiered is based on professional qualities and not on good and bad qualities. This means that no caste in the four-tier system is good or bad by itself since in each caste, persons having good or bad qualities exist. Now, you may ask that in the Veda, Satyakāma Jābāla was decided to be a Brāhmaṇa by his spoken-truth and hence, the caste in four-tier system (Brāhmaṇa) was fixed based on the good quality of speaking truth. This is not correct, because speaking truth in the case of Brāhmaṇa is a professional quality only. A Brāhmaṇa is expected to do the profession of preaching true knowledge. Hence, the four-tier caste system is based on professional qualities and deeds only.]


11) Janaśrutau śūdra evam, vṛtti mohena śocati |
Varṇā bhinnāḥ kṛtā hyaṣṭa, nādhikya sādhutā kvacit ||

[When King Janaśruti, a Kśatriya by birth, was worried about  materialism, sage Raikva called him as ‘Śūdra’. Worry about  materialism or work of job (agriculture and public service) is the meaning of the word śūdra, which is also not a bad quality and it is only professional quality meaning concern towards job-work. Hence, the four-tier caste system shows only professional qualities and deeds as mentioned by Krishna in Gita (Cāturvarṇyaṃ). In professional qualities, there is no good and bad and there is no high and low. They are only different, one from each other. The integrated two-tier and four-tier caste system becomes an eight-tier system because each caste is sub-divided into good and bad people.]


12) Nivṛttyadhikatā hetoḥ, brāhmaṇo hyadhiko mataḥ |
Kintu brāhmaṇatā vṛtteḥ, nodbhavāditi ca smaret ||

[Except the Brāhmaṇa, who is preaching knowledge of Nivṛtti, all the other three castes are always concerned with the materialism or Pravṛtti only. Hence, the Brāhamaṇa is always greater than the other three castes because Nivṛtti or spiritual life is always greater than Pravṛtti or worldly life. But, here, one precaution is to be observed, which is that the Brāhmaṇa mentioned here is not by simple birth, but, by the professional quality of preaching Nivṛtti. Any soul can belong to any caste based on the professional qualities and deeds and not by birth in the four-tier caste system. Hence, there is no unjust bias in the above statement as partiality towards a caste.]


13) Guru lāghavatā paṅkteḥ, Gaṅgā pādādaghakṣayā |
Tanorarogatā padbhyām, calanā dannado mahān ||

[The caste of Śūdras feel that they are the lowest since they are born from the feet of God. If this is true, the most sacred river Gaṅgā is born from the feet of God. In a series, we cannot say that first member is great and the last member is low. In a series, both ascending and descending orders can exist from left to right. If the feet are absent, there would be no walking by which the entire body becomes ill. The agriculturist produces food for the entire society and thus the śūdra is considered to be the greatest.]


Chapter-1: Matāntarīkaraṇa Prakaraṇam

Chapter-2: Parabrahma Prakaraṇam

Chapter-3: Māyā Śakti Prakaraṇam

Chapter-4: Īśvara Prakaraṇam

Chapter-5: Avatāra Prakaraṇam

Chapter-6: Ākāśa Tejaḥ Prakaraṇam

Chapter-7: Vibhūti Prakaraṇam

Chapter-8: Sṛṣṭilakṣya Prakaraṇam

Chapter-9: Jagat Sṛṣṭi Prakaraṇam

Chapter-10: Jīvātma Tattva Prakaraṇam

Chapter-11: Matasamanvaya Prakaraṇam

Chapter-12: Yoga Vicāra Prakaraṇam

Chapter-13: Mokṣa Vimarśa Prakaraṇam

Chapter-14: Jñāna Yoga Prakaraṇam

Chapter-15: Bhakti Yoga Prakaraṇam

Chapter-16: Karma Yoga Prakaraṇam

Chapter-17: Pravṛtti Nivṛtti Prakaraṇam

Chapter-18: Dharmādharma Prakaraṇam

Chapter-19: Varṇa Vyavasthā Prakaraṇam

Chapter-20: Upanayana Gayatrī Prakaraṇam

Chapter-21: Yajñahoma Prakaraṇam

Chapter-22: Upadeśa Prakaraṇam