The Varnas or professional types are a manifestation of the Gunas. The entire Universe can be seen as an interplay of purusha, prakrti and gunas. The Gunas manifest in everything from sub-atomic particles to stellar systems.
Karmas are actions that get performed due to this interplay of purusha, prakrti and gunas. The Karmas drive the evolution of Universe and its beings.
The three Gunas determine the three professional types or the three types of work (Karma) done in the Universe. These Gunas can be learnt, adapted and improved upon. These are the Knowledge Provider (brahamana), Service Provider (Kshatriya) and Material provider (Vaizya) professions.
There is also a professional type that is simply a Karma, that is done by human beings, that need not be learnt or improved upon. It uses the beings as the bio-mass. This is the Cheap/Slave Labor or Zudra profession.
There is no other being in the world except the human beings that have this professional type except the human beings. In an ideal Varna-asrama dharma society this profession does not exist.
What does these Varnas mean..?
Brahman means one that is evolving. Brahman indicates evolution. Atman when it is continuously evolving is called BrAhman. Those professions that help evolve further beings in the society are said to belong to the BrAhmana Varnas.
In some beings evolution is just reproduction. Evolution of intelligence and consciousness is limited. Hence in those beings, beings that concentrate on reproduction belongs to Brahmana Varna.
In some beings evolution is all about evolution of intelligence and consciousness. Here the evolution is all about evolution of knowledge and tools. Hence Brahmana Varna in human beings are Knowledge Providers.
Kshatriya means ones with power. Those professions that uses their power (both physical and mental) and deliver services to other beings are said to belong to the Kshatriya Varnas.
In some beings using power and providing services is all about providing protection from enemies. In human beings, it is not limited to providing security. There are a myriad of professions (including medical, entertainment etc) that provide services using physical and mental power. Hence in human beings they are Service Providers.
Vaizyas means one who are dependent. They are dependent on land, agriculture, natural resources etc. It can also be seen as the society is dependent on them. Those professions that exploit the natural resources and make them useful to society belong to the Vaizya Varnas. Hence they are Material providers.
In some beings, exploiting natural resources is all about collecting food. In human beings exploiting natural resources is not only for food, but also for clothing, shelter and other myriad needs of people.
Varnas in Social Insects (Castes)
Most social insects like ants, bees, termites etc have three castes or classes. There are queen and male ants, worker ants and Soldier ants.
A queen does not rule the colony, but she is an important member. She has one job—to lay eggs. Without her, a colony would die out. The reason is that only the queens in most species of ants can reproduce. They also live the longest—10 to 20 years. A colony may have one or more queens. Most male ants live only a few weeks or months. They do not work, and they die shortly after mating with young queens.
Queens and Male ants are the providers of Evolution. Queen and Male ants are the Brahmanas who help evolve the society of such social insects further. Here the evolution is primarily limited to reproduction and not knowledge.
Worker ants may be the smallest, but they do the most work. All the workers are females.
Worker ants build and repair the nest. They search for food and bring them to nest. They exploit the natural resources to provide food and shelter to their society. Worker ant is the Provider of the materials and goods for the ant colonies. Worker ants are the Vaizyas.
A special class of worker ants are the Soldier ants. They are very large in size with lot of power. Soldier ants are the Service Providers. They are Kshatriyas. Their only job is to provide service to ant colony. They fight off enemies, block the entrance with their large heads etc.
An ant colony can be seen as ‘One functioning’ organism in which different parts do different work. An ant colony can also be seen as a ‘society’ in which different ants do different work, but all for the progress of society.
None gets to rule in the ant colony. Brahmanas, Vaizyas or Kshatriya ants live equally each performing their functions and working together.
The implementation of Varna in social insects is through the ‘Caste’ mechanism which is fixed at birth and genetic though NOT hereditary.
Varnas in Primates
Most primates, including humans, spend their lives in large social groups or communities. Being in a large community helps provide protection against predatory cats, dogs, and hyenas (Kshatriya). It also helps protect scarce food resources (Vaizya). Such communities require newer strategies to survive in challenging circumstances (Brahmana).
The Brahmana function as above is generally provided by a ‘Lead’ male or female or some cases a combo of ‘lead’ male and female. In these societies the ‘Lead’ male is NOT a physically large or strong male. They are males that can scheme, dominate, use alliances to overpower others and establish their dominance inside the group and on other groups.
The Kshatriya function is provided by larger and stronger adult males in these groups. They provide protection against predators, fight off or in some cases raid other groups (chimpanzees).
The Vaizya function is provided by other males and females in such groups based on strategies devised by the ‘lead’ males/females.
Though there are no ‘specific’ castes in these groups that are fixed at birth as in the social insects, the three Varna functions are carried out based on capabilities as described above.
The implementation of Varna in human beings got derived from Primates, as we evolved from them. The ‘Jati’ system was born thus. The ‘Jatis’ based on our learning from our primate origins was NOT at birth, was NOT genetic and NOT Hereditary and are based on specializing in Capabilities.
Unfortunately Manu’s implementation of Varna through the Jati system made it more looking like the implementation in Social insects rather than in primates, though it started as in Primates. We will see more of it and why it happened as we go through this series.
-To be continued
More posts by this author:
- The Eternal Varna Asrama Dharma – Part 4
- The Eternal Varna Asrama Dharma – Part 2
- The Eternal Varna Asrama Dharma – Part 1
- The Eternal Varna Asrama Dharma – Part 9
- The Eternal Varna Asrama Dharma – Part 15