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gita and varnasharma dharma

From: Krishna Kalale (krishna_at_nynexst.com)
Date: Wed Nov 01 1995 - 09:39:22 PST

-- 
  
this is an answer to sreekrishna's objections of the meanings of
chaturvarnyam verse :  guna and karma based classification.

The meanings I have assigned to guna and karma : were not meant to be
an explanation of that verse in particular.  I represented a traditional view.

Let me tell you that traditional view is not very far off from the Gita view
also. the support is as follows:

1.  chaturvarnyam verse clearly supports a scientific view rather than a
birth or parentage based view of classification of castes. this is true.
however - 

2. in the 18th chapter, "bramhana kshatria vishaam shudranaam cha parantapa
karmaani pravibhaktani svabhava prabhavair gunaihi".  

in this it is hinted that, the activities or preferable vocation of the
brahmins, kshatrias and so are classified based on the orientation of
their natures.  In this it seems that Lord Krishna has put the cart in front
of the horse. what I mean is that, it is fair, to say that that those who
do satvic works are bramhanas and those who do military related work as 
kshatrias etc. here in this verse the reverse or vice versa is indicated which
conforms more with a traditional view.  IN fact other samhitas such as
bramha samhita etc. indicate a traditional view as more appropriate.

2A :  NOTe that the verse - chaturvarnyam is not at all meant in the original
context to refer to caste system at all. that is probably an unintended
side effect. the real purpose of that sloka in that context is to explain
birth based variety as not God's discrimination but the effect of the previous
karmas and nature of the jeevas which bring forth variety. ie. that is why
Lord Krishna states that I am a doer and not a doer of this creation :
meaning the variety was created by the karmas of individuals and the 
samashti sristi : ie. the creation of mind, matter, etc. is my creation.

3.  further : the verse - madbhaava maanasaa jaataha teshaam loka imaha 
prajaaha : has brought the position of manus to be representative of 
Lord Krishna's views.

4. in manu dharma shastras : the traditional view is stated all over again
and again.

with these in mind the traditional view is upheld. 


BUT THE BOTTOM LINE WHICH I QUOTED TAKES THE STING OUT OF THE APPARENTLY
NEPOTISTIC TRADITIONAL VIEW IS:

SO A BHAKTA OF THE LORD WHO MAY BE BORN IN ANY COMMUNITY IS THE GREATEST AND
SHOULD BE TREATED AND RESPECTED AS EQUIVALENT TO A SAGE OR RISHI.

NOTE:

The way a particular issue is practised in real life makes it much more
disgusting than what it really is.  I do agree that the caste system in practice
is deplorable.

krishna







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>From Tatachar@aol.com Tue Oct 31 00:32:18 1995
From: Tatachar@aol.com
Date: Tue, 31 Oct 1995 00:27:55 -0500
To: prapatti@srirangam.esd.sgi.com
Subject: RE:Gita and Varnashrama

Mr. Krishna Prasad said:
>>>the essence of "chaturvarnyam maya srishtam" 
>>- is that as per the words, it is clearly indicated
>> that "beings belonging to 4 castes were created 
>>>by me according to gunas and karma" 
>>>- ie. varnas are both birth based and nature based. 
 >>>This is the clear traditional view of all the acharyas -
>>>shankaracharya, Sri Ramanujacharya and Madhvacharya. <<<<

I don't see how one can equate Guna and Karma
 to mean Birth and Nature. 
Actually it means Nature  and work.
 For example the guna of gold is non reactivity
(stability), malleability and ductility. 
These gunas make it suitable for being used 
to make jewellery and that is how gold 
works (it's Karma is jewelery). These Gunas of
gold were determined at it's birth(formation)
irrespective of what individual parent elements 
that were  involved in it's formation.

Likewise Guna of coal is ability to 
produce heat (calorific value/BTU) and Karma is
it's use in runnning a steam engine. The 
other forms of carbon (diamond, graphite,
fulleranes) have different gunas and serve 
different karmas.
In other words Guna predisposes one 
to particular type of Karma(s). 

The varna of an individual is
determined AT birth(conception) and not
BY birth. Unless the parents are 
homozugous, it is impossible to
recreate a progeny of identical
varnya. However, by carefully controlling the 
contributing parents, it is possible to
increase the probability of
reproducing  the Varna of the parents
in the child. This woud be similar to 
controlled breeding done with animals
(pets, thoroughbred horses, homozygous
mouse etc) after numerous
inbreedings (back crossings). In a human
situation, this is nearly impossible.

Clearly, there is no indication in this verse 
(Chaturvarnyam maya srishtam.........)
of anything to do with the Varna being 
determined by birth (ie., by parents).
Gita matches with the scientific view
but not our Purvacharyas interpretation
of this verse as stated by Mr. Krishna  Prasad.
K. Sreekrishna.


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