Shloka # 13:
चातुर्वर्ण्यं मया सृष्टं गुणकर्मविभागशः।
तस्य कर्तारमपि मां विद्ध्यकर्तारमव्ययम्।।4.13।।
The fourfold class-system according to the divisions of Prakrti’s constituents and works, has been ordained by Me. Though I am its author, know Me to be the immutable non-agent.
Continuing his teachings of Gita, Swami Paramarthananda said, Sri Krishna is talking about Varna Ashrama Dharma as described by him through the Vedas. According to Vedas, society is divided into four classes. Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra. These four classes can also be seen from three other perspectives. They are: Jati (parentage), Karma (profession) and Guna (character) respectively.
When a Jati Brahmana becomes an elected MP, he has become a Kshatriya by Karma. He could even become a Vaishya if he spends a lot of time chasing after money. Thus, there are many permutations and combinations that are possible.
Are there any gradations among the three?
In Jati, all four are created equal.
In karma too all occupations are equally important for the peace and progress of society. The mantra Purushasuktham says all four are parts of God. The four parts are Face (Knowledge, Brahmana), Arm ( Soldier, Kshatriya), Thighs and Knees ( Money, Vaishya) and legs (Movement or work, Shudra).
Every organ is important. You realize this only when an organ does not function. Thus, there is no difference between professions. Swamiji says India’s caste problems exist because this equality in professions has been violated.
However, in Guna there is gradation. A Noble person is superior to others. He will not demand it but people will themselves respect him. All of us should strive to become Guna Brahmana. Guna Brahmana is superior to Guna Kshatriya, Guna Vaishya or Guna Shudra. This is because he is the one closest to knowledge. He is a Satva Guna Pradhana. Guna Kshatriya is a little away, as he still has to attain knowledge. Guna Vaishya is even further away as he is still selfish, although very active. Guna shudra is lowest. He has not even started selfish activity. He has a long way to go.
Puranic stories such as Nandanar are about a non-brahmin although he was a Guna Brahamana.
Jati: Do we have a choice regarding Jathi?
In Jati, there is no choice. We can’t change our parentage. Moksha does not require Jati as a basis for it.
Guna: Do we have a choice regarding our Guna?
Can a Guna shudra become a Guna Brahmana? Here there is choice. Character change is possible. All sadhanas are to help us in this process. We are born Tamo Guna Pradhana. It is the intrinsic nature of our body to be lazy. In Tatva Bodha we learnt that body is made from Tamas Amsha.
So, we have to move from Tamas pradhana to Rajas Pradhana. Rituals (karmakanda) can help us in this process. And then, move from Rajas to Satva Guna. One should learn to be contemplative. Upasana kandam helps with this change. Thus, after I become a Guna Brahmana, one has to go to the Nirguna state (Ishwara Aikyam) through Gyana Kanda.
Do we have a choice regarding Karma or occupation?
We do have a choice. We can choose our occupation based upon:
- Jathi or hereditary profession
- Guna: based upon inclination.
Both have advantages and disadvantages.
With jathi, there is no need to choose. One is already exposed to the atmosphere. Even a child listens to its mothers singing in its womb. Preparation takes place early, including food.
Disadvantages: If he does not like the profession he choses, life can be miserable. Even today, Jathi based jobs are quite common.
Advantages: There is no strain in person. He looks forward to Monday. Doing what I enjoy is important to a healthy life.
Disadvantages: I can never get an early training. Inclination becomes evident later in life. I may not choose correctly.
Drona and Vishwamithra are examples where Jathi was dominant.
Shastra warns us; let not money be a basis for profession. If this happens arts and crafts may die.
This is the Varna Vyavastha per Vedas and as per God.
Sri Krishna says even though I have created the four-fold class of humanity; still I am active all the time. However, these actions do not bind me. So, Arjuna do not escape your Karma. You can, even performing your Karmas, enjoy peace. Even though I do all activity they don’t disturb me. I am not affected.
Shloka # 14:
न मां कर्माणि लिम्पन्ति न मे कर्मफले स्पृहा।
इति मां योऽभिजानाति कर्मभिर्न स बध्यते।।4.14।।
Works do not taint me; I desire not their fruits. Whoso knows Me to be such, is not bound by works.
Sri Krishna says Karma and its phalam cannot disturb me. I am not concerned about the results of action. Lord will not do any injustice to me.
As per Vedas planning for result is different from worrying about the result. Planning makes me efficient in the present, while worrying about result will make me deficient in present.
How to know if I am planning or worrying? Planning is a deliberate action. Worrying is not deliberate rather it is only a mechanical reaction. We cannot deliberately worry. It just happens.
Once planned and implemented, don’t worry. I am not concerned about outcome of Mahabharata war. I have knowledge, which is the best remedy for all problems. My knowledge is my weapon. It is my Sudarshana chakra. You can also get this Chakra.
“ So, this is freedom in spite of responsibility. This is the greatest secret. Such a Gyani is not bound by Karma.
Shloka # 15:
एवं ज्ञात्वा कृतं कर्म पूर्वैरपि मुमुक्षुभिः।
कुरु कर्मैव तस्मात्त्वं पूर्वैः पूर्वतरं कृतम्।।4.15।।
Knowing thus was work done by ancient seekers after liberation. Therefore you too do only work, as was done by the ancients in bygone days.
Sri Krishna says your forefathers knew this secret knowledge. They did not run away from responsibility. They had inner peace despite external activity. Therefore Arjuna staying in Grihastashrama perform your Jathi based Karma just like your forefathers did.
With Best Wishes,