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The Eternal Varna Asrama Dharma – Part 2
People know about Varna Asrama Dharma through the Caste System. The Caste System as it was practiced in India went from social aggregation to segregation and outright discrimination based on one’s birth. Hence they think Varna Asrama Dharma means Caste system. This is not true.
I will talk about the Varna Asrama Dharma, its basic principles, its implementation in the Jati System, on possibilities of how it could have morphed to what we see now etc.
More important, I would talk about the lessons we take away from Varna Asrama Dharma and how do we create a society that offers happy evolution to all its beings.
Varna Asrama – Professions based on Guna-Karma
As I wrote in the last section Varna Asrama dharma simply states that there are three types of professions in the world based on the ‘Gunas’. They are the knowledge providers (Brahmanas), Service providers (Kshatriyas) and materials/good providers (Vaizyas).
Then there is a fourth profession which is not based on Guna, but based on Karma (work) called the Cheap/Slave Laborer (Zudras). These four professions are applicable to all social beings at all times including humanity.
In an ideal Varna Asrama Dharma Society there will be no Zudras or Cheap Laborers. It will be a society of Knowledge, Service and Material providers. Such a society will be a happy society that we need to strive for.
The Guna-Karma Division
Sankhya philosophy says the entire Universe is an interplay of Purusha, Prakrti and the three Gunas. The same is often repeated and stressed by Krishna in Bhagavad Gita in various places. There are three types of professions (Varnas) in the world at all times based on the three Gunas.
According to Sankhya philosophy,
Sattwa is light, illuminating, buoyant and triggers/initiates the evolution.
Rajasik is powerful, orderly and sustains/drives the evolution. This Guna causes the charge and serves the evolution by driving it.
Tamasik provides the mass or intertia and balances the evolution. Thus Sattwik triggers/initiates, Rajasik sustains/drives and Tamasik provides the inertia/mass/materials in every aspect of prakrti.
The Satwik Guna is said to be the cause of Indriyas (Jnanendriyas, Karmendriyas, in other words tools) and Manas (Intellect, Knowledge). That is Sattwik Guna is what drives the evolution of senses, intellect and knowledge.
The Tamasik Guna is said to be the cause of Mahabhutas that fill up the Universe. The Mahabhutas are Air, Space, Water, Fire and Earth. In other words Tamasik Guna causes the evolution of materials.
The Rajasik Guna drives the evolution or provides the energy for the evolution, according to Sankhya philosophy. This YjhrGuna provides the energy for other Gunas to evolve. In other words Rajasik Guna provides the services to evolve using Satwik and Tamas Gunas.
In Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 4 Text 13), Krishna says “catur-varnyam maya srstam, guna-karma-vibhagasah’,which means “the four Varnas are created by me based on the divisions of Guna and work done”. While the three Gunas are the basis of three Varnas, the fourth Varna is simply based on work done by the person.
The Four Eternal Varnas based on Guna -Karma
Varnas (Professional types) that‘trigger/initiate/create’new things for evolution of intelligent society belong to the Sattwik type. Such varnas discover knowledge and create new tools for society. They evolve knowledge and tools in all spheres from weaponry, agriculture, astronomy, astrology, medicine, music and even sex and trigger evolution of intelligent societies.
Varnas that‘sustain/drive’evolution of intelligent society by offering various services to the society belong to the Rajasik type. Such varnas use the knowledge and tools developed by Sattwik professions combined with their own power and skill to provide ‘services’ to the society to drive the evolution.
Varnas thatprovide materialsto the progress of evolution of intelligent society belong to Tamasik type. Such varnas also use the knowledge and tools that Sattwik people develop. They are dependent on producing or procuring basic materials for their living and provide those materials for other’s living. Thus they are material providers (producers or traders).
Apart from the three basic Varnas, there is a fourth professional type which is simply based on the actual work (Karma) done by a person. In other words, the fourth professsional type aids and abets the three professional types. It serves as‘LABOUR’ or BIO-MASS to any of the three professions with lot of flexibility.
To sum up, there are four basic Varnas or professional types in this world. They are:
Professions that discover knowledge and create new tools/techniques
Professions that provide services for maintenance and growth
Professions that provide materials (goods).
All professions in this world would fall under one of the above four categories.These four categories are valid at all times of evolution of human civilization. Hence these Varnas are said to be part of Varna-Asrama Dharma, which means the eternal law of professions.
Again Can we find one modern profession that does not fit into one of the four Varnas, viz., Knowledge/Tool providers, Service Providers, Goods/Materials providers and Labour..?