The Eternal Varna Asrama Dharma – Part 22

Background 


Let’s go through the Rig vedic references to Varna names which will give us a sense of how these Varna names came about. That would set clear the real meaning behind the Varna name.

There are several lessons we learn from the Vedas, if we understand them in detail. Vedas are nothing but the experiences and wisdom of another generation. They are history and knowledge as well.

As they say, History gets repeated and we do the same mistakes again and again as the propensity to realize and learn from our mistakes is very limited in us. The primary reason for the limitation is the narrow vision our mind develops due to lack of history, due to lack of knowledge.

That’s where the Vedas come in. They give us a perspective to have balanced life that continuously evolves.

Let’s look at the instances in which the word Kshatriya is used in Rig Veda. In the Rig Veda Mandala 4, Hymn 12, talks about Kshatriya and Agni.


Rg Veda Mandala 4 Hymn 12

 

yas tvÀm agna inadhate yatasruk tris te annam  krnavat sasminn ahan

sa su dyumnair abhy astu prasaksat tava kratvÀ jÀtavedas cikitvÀn

 

yas tvAm – Unto you, of You

agna – the one who is agni

inadhate-  deposit, placed

 

agna inadhata – placed as Agni

 

yatasruk – raising out of this vessel (ladle)

tris te – thrice that, 3 times

annam – food, rice

krnavat – doeth (seigireer, seigirathu)

sasminn – in that

ahan – a day

 

You, the one who is placed as agni raising out this vessel (flames rising) does food (produces food, cooks) 3 times in that a day

 

sa – that one, (Agni)

su – good

dyumnair – Splenderous, glorious

abhya astu – repeated, exercise,

prasaksat – overpower

pra – filling/fulfilling, before saksat – crack or flaws prasaksat – one who covers the flaws

 

That good one, practiced/exercised/learnt to overpower (or fill the flaws) gloriously

 

tava –  Your

krtvA – having done

 

Your having done (that)

 

jAtavedas – knowledge of birth, knowledge of all beings born, possessing everything that is born (everything is born out of this)

citikvAn – understanding one (experienced)

 

Your having done that (is/becomes) the one who understand the knowledge of birth

 

idhmam yas te jabharac charamÀno maho agne anIkam À saparyan

sa idhÀnah prati dozÀm usÀsam pusyan rayim sacate ghnann amitrÀn

 

idhmam – fuel, wood

yas te  – exert self that

jabharac – fetch, bring

charamAno – the last one

maho agne – The great agni

 

Exerting the wood fetches the last one (as) the great Agni or Exerting the wood fetches the Agni at last

 

anIkam – appearance, face, front

A Saparyan – adoration, worship, homage

 

That has adorable appearance

 

Sa – that

idhAnah –  performer (of exerting the wood)

prati dozAm – in return deficiency, in return darkness

usAsam – dawn

pusyan- nourishment

rayim – property, wealth

sacate – assist

ghnaan – remover

amitrAn  – un-friendly beings, unfriendly elements

That act, in return for darkness, dawns, nourishes wealth, assists removal of un-friendly beings/elements. 

 

Exerting the wood fetches the last one (as) the great Agni or Exerting the wood fetches the Agni at last. That act, in return for darkness, dawns, nourishes wealth, assists removal of un-friendly beings/elements.

 

agnir Ise brhataha ksatriyasyÀgnir vÀjasya paramasya rÀyah|

dadhÀti ratnam vidhate yaviSTho vyÀnusan martyÀya svadhÀvÀn

 

agnir – Agni

Ise brhataha – the greatest master

Kshatriyasya agnir – the Agni that is powerful

Of the Agni gods greatest is the agni of Kshatriyas  

vAjasya – having Vigor

Paramasya rAyah– in everything honorable

Having Vigor and Honorable in everything

dadhAti – gift

ratnam – precious stones, gifts

vidhate – instructs, directs, guides, parts with knowledge (to others)

Gifts precious knowledge/wisdom

yaviSThovya – property of ‘last produced’

anusan  – adherer

adhering to property of last produced 

martyaya – mortality

svadhAvAn – inherently powered, self-powered one

Has Self-powered mortality

 

Of the Agni gods greatest is the agni of Kshatriyas, having Vigor and Honorable in everything, gifts precious knowledge/wisdom, adhering to property of last produced

yac cid dhi te purusatrÀ yavisthÀcittibhis cakrmÀ kac cid Àgah

krdhI sv asmÀm aditer anÀgÀn vy enÀmsi zizratho visvag agne

 

yad – that, whichever

cid – indeed

dhite – place/bestow that,

purusatrA – in that purusha

That/whichever indeed bestowed from that purusha

yavisthA – last produced one

the last produced one (agni)

citti – thinking, intention

bhikS – desires

mind wish/desire  (desire of mind, seeks)

cakr mA – circle/repeat/cycle

kaccid – perfect or ‘hope’

Agah – tortuously/complex/circuitous move

(to) repeat large perfect complex moves

That whichever is bestowed from Purusha, the last produced one, intentionally desires to largely repeat/cycle perfect the complex/circuitous moves

krdhI – shortened, mutiliated

svasmAm- of that self

aditer – from boundless

anAgAnvya – not transgressable

enAmsi – that one

Shortened of that Self(Atma), the boundless not transgressable Soul

zizrato – swift/rapid one

visvag – all pervading

agne – Agni 

Swiftly all pervading Agni

 Agni is a shortened form of that Boundless, non transgressable Soul, that is swift and all pervading 

Agni, the transfer of energy, is said to be bestowed from ‘Purusha’. It moves circuitously (in complex or meandering ways), largely and perfectly. It is Purusha’s ‘Citti-bhiksh’ or intentional desire.  Agni is a shortened form of that Boundless, non transgressable Soul, that is swift and all pervading, as it executes its large and perfect moves.

 

mahas cid agna enaso abhIka urvÀd devÀnÀm uta martyÀnÀm

mÀ te sakhÀyah sadam id risÀma yachÀ tokÀya tanayÀya zam yoh

 

mahas cid agna – greatness indeed agni

enaso abhIka – that is fearless

urvAd – large

devAnAm – divine force

uta – it is said

martyAnAm – to be mortal

Greatness indeed agni, fearless soul, large divine force that is said to be mortal

mA te – Not that

sakhAyah – friend/companion

sadam – ever, always, at any time

id risA ma – even fail me, even hurt me

yaccha – control, give up

tokAya – new born

tanayAya – for posterity

zam yoh – extinguishes/ceases that one

Not that friend ever even fails me (as it is mortal and have a specific life time), gives up the new born, ceases for posterity.

yathÀ ha tyad vasavo gauryam cit padi sitÀm amuncatÀ yajatrÀh

evo sv asman muncatÀ vy amhah pra tÀry agne prataram na Àyuh

 

yathA – in such a manner, in this way

ha tyad – that

vasavo – vasus, dweller’s

gauryam – shine, brilliance

In this way the vasu/dweller’s brilliance/shine

cit – perception

padi – trace, step, mark, to enter and in that way to take possession, impresison

SitAm – clear, pure, white

the pure perception mark/impression

amuncatA – Not the one who releases or leaves or gives up

yajatrAh – that deserves to be adored, worthy of worship

The one who does not give up, The one deserves to be adored

In this way the vasu’s brilliance is the pure perception mark of the one who does not give up, the one who deserves to be adored 

evo – that

sv asman – to the Self

muncatA- releaser, give up

The one who gives up the Self

vy amhah – troubles, anxiety, distress, illness

pra tAry – front/before crossed, crossing over to front, conquer

agne – agni

Agni that conquers troubles

prataram – crosses

na – not

Ayuh – life-time

Crosses not the life-time

Since Agni is mortal, it’s brilliance/shine is the mark of one who does not give up and its worthiness to be adored. That one which can conquer distress/troubles, crosses not the life, the one which gives up the Self. 


Agni – The Messenger of Gods

 

This hymn in my view is a beautiful piece on Agni. Agni is not just fire. Agni, in vedic lore, indicates the transfer of energy from one to another. Hence Agni is called the messenger of Gods.

Agni is in everything and everywhere because transfer of energy keeps happening everywhere. Agni, the transfer of energy is a manifestation of that Supreme Soul, as the transfer of energy is the way by which evolution is powered.

Agni, the transfer of energy,  is a service provider in this way like a Kshatriya. It transfers the energy present in one object to another object and provides its service. It transfers the energy from wood/gas/any other fuel to food and cooks it. It transfers energy between sub-atomic particles and atomic particles and hence is embedded in them. It is present in nuclear fusion, fission, chemical and biological reactions.

Thus Vedas declare Agni as manifestation of that Supreme Soul that is present everywhere. It is messenger to devas as it transfers the energy between the different ‘worlds’.


Description of Agni in this hymn


Agni, the transfer of energy, creates and does things. Agni overpowers, fills the flaws in others through the energy. It has the knowledge of birth, as the transfer of energy is the one that causes birth everywhere. 

When wood is exerted, Agni is born at the last. Hence it is the last-born. It has adorable form. In return for darkness, the transfer of energy dawns, nourishes wealth and assists in removal of unfriendly (corrupting) beings/elements. Hence it is adorable.

Of the Agni gods (among the various forces that transfer energy) greatest is the agni of Kshatriyas (that provide service).  Having vigor, Honorable in everything it gifts precious knowledge/wisdom.  Adhering to property of last produced has Self-powered mortality.

The property of last produced one is to be self-powered. In life the youngest one is often self-powered. Agni, being the last produced is self-powered.

Agni is mortal. The transfer of energy between anything stops after sometime. Hence Agni is mortal. Fire stops after sometime.

Agni, the transfer of energy, is said to be bestowed from ‘Purusha’. It moves circuitously (in complex or meandering ways), largely and perfectly. It is Purusha’s ‘Citti-bhiksh’ or intentional desire.  Agni is a shortened form of that Boundless, non transgressable Soul, that is swift and all pervading, as it executes its large and perfect moves.

Agni is a form of fearless soul and large divine force. It is mortal, not because it fails us. It is mortal because it gives up being new born and ceases itself for posterity.

Since it is mortal, the brilliance/shine of Agni is the pure mark (a perception) of one who does not give up, the one who deserves to be adored. Agni is a Vasu, as it ‘resides’ in every living being as a biological factor that enables life.

Agni, the transfer of energy, gives up its self, does not cross its life, though it crosses a lot of barriers.


Agni and Kshatriya


Just as Agni serves the different worlds by transferring energy from one to another due to the power vested in it, as a manifestation of the supreme soul, Kshatriyas serve the society by transferring ‘energy’ between different people and groups, due to the power vested in them. Kshatriyas are Service providers to society.

Just as Agni is the last-born and has adorable form, Kshatriyas are the last-born of the three Varnas and have adorable form as they nourish the wealth of a society and remove the enemies.

Kshatriyas have vigor, are honorable, gift precious knowledge to society. They are self-powered.

They are swift and are expected to make perfect moves in complex ways. They do not fail the society. They cross a lot of barriers, though they are mortal, but do not give up easily and hence deserve to be adored.

Hence Agni is considered equivalent to Kshatriyas.

Next – More from Rg Veda

-TBT

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