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gita and varnashrama dharma

From: Krishna Kalale (krishna_at_nynexst.com)
Date: Mon Oct 30 1995 - 13:36:20 PST

I think a number of postings related to this and apasudradhikarana of bramha
sutras were posted a year or two back. please refer to those for some more
details.

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. 

NOTE: varnyam in the verse above forces a 2-fold birth and caste based
differentiation. varnyam means already belonging to. if it were varnam then
it would mean 4 castes were created. then it would be clearly classification
based on nature and karma.  this varnyam word makes the real difference! 

what does this mean ?  

one's gunas are not easily detectable.  so to start with people are 
differentiated by birth so as to start them in the types of works they 
should be doing.  ie. bramhin families suggest the kids to study vedas etc.
after thread ceremony etc. this is very natural and in almost all countries
it is very natural for a kid to follow the example of parents initially 
atleast in terms of vocation.

 women also have sthree dharmas based on castes.

but we do see in real life birth based brahmins with natures very much 
opposite to - calmness, mind control, austerity, study of vedas, 
absence of pride, abstinence from business, military and other non bramhanic
pursuits.

how should these birth based brahmins with non-bramhanic nature looked upon?

srimad bhagawatam has an answer :  it states that these cannot be looked upon
as real brahmins. they clearly are not brahmins!! ie. they need not be honored. but still by birth they
have a right to get thread ceremony etc. in practice.

 
coming to non-brahmins ie. vaishyas, sudras, others by birth - who may have
very true brahmanic qualities.  how should they be considered?
they should be considered equivalent to brahmins.  A brahmin can even go learn under them sastras.  examples are vidura's (a sudra - though son of
vyasa the great sage!!)
 sermon to dharma raja. ( a kshatria).  

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.

but they do not have the duty to get thread ceremony and are not bound to do
nitya karmas - like sandhya vandana etc. they will incur no sin for not
doing nitya karmas. but they can study the meaning of vedas!! and vedanta!!
but cannot learn to recite vedas or do agni karya!

SO in essence NATURE BASED classification is SUPERIOR and MORE VALID than 
birth based discrimination.   this is the one to be practised for treatment
and undergoing sastraic study.

Please note the meaning of "DVIJA" - ie. twice born.  what does that mean?
ie. one is the bodily birth. the second is the birth of realization of that 
person.  bodily birth does not mean anything. it only is a reservation for an
expensive thread ceremony and (tonnes of sin that could accrue if one
does not do sandhya vandana, bramha yajna  and agni karya
properly after having thread 
ceremony). some people erroneously state that after thread ceremony,
a person has automatically got the second birth..... this is wrong.
the second birth the the true spiritual realization.  for example -
most rishis who had spiritual realization were not born as brahmins -
they are honored all over in our scriptures : for example - vyasa
born to fisherwoman, vasishta - born to urvasi, agasthya born to a 
kumbha (pot), jabali - born to jabala (hunter woman). and so on.


WHY SHOULD LORD KRISHNA even bring up this partly birth based caste system?

Let me ask you a question - why is that one kid born in the midst of warring
factions in some place in middle east, and why one is born to a rich
business magnate , and why one is born in near a monastery in tibet
or an ashram in himalayas?  Note that each kid has a different genetic
trait and and environment at age zero.  this is according to our 
scriptures - based on karma- since nothing else can it be ascribed to.
today a pure brahmin and vaishnava are almost extinct entities. so
the family one is born may be a 5% brahmanic or 10% brahmanic. even then
it is better than being born in IDI AMIN's family! so it is just relative
at preset. 

THE POINT is that genetic and environmental blessing which causes birth is
god given and it is at birth. there is inequality in this. nothing can be
done about this.


KRISHNA