[Advaita-l] shudra

Anbu sivam2 anbesivam2 at gmail.com
Tue Aug 18 16:10:59 CDT 2009

Dear Michaelji,

I was writing a series called "Musings on the Fundamentals of Hinduism" for
another blog.  The following musing with the the notes appended thereto
might through some light for you.




As you know this Virata Purusha projected Agni (the God of Fire) out of
himself while he remained a Brahmana on earth in the form of Manu. Therefore
both were Brahmanas. He was alone on earth without other castes. Without the
protection of Kshathriyas and other helpers he did not prosper. Therefore he
created a noble form, the Kshathriya consisting of those who are kshathriyas
among Gods – Indra (the king of Gods), Varuna (the king of the animals of
water), Soma (the king of Brahmanas), Rudra (the king of beasts), Parjanya
(the king of lightning), Yama (the king of manes), Mruthyu (the king of
diseases), Isana (the king of luminaries) etc. Kshathriya is considered
superior so in Rajasuya yaga the Brahmins adore the kshathriya from a lower
seat. However the kshathriya quickly restores the higher position to the
Brahmana because the Brahmana is his source. Therefore anyone who denigrates
a Brahmana becomes more vicious like the one who would insult his superior.

He did not prosper still.


Because there is none to procure wealth.

What is the need for wealth?

Wealth is required for the performance of karma.

Why perform karma?

Karma is to be performed to secure this earth.

Why secure this earth?

So he can come back.

How does he come back?

Through a son.

How does he get a son?

Through a wife of course.

So desire consists of wife and wealth. And desire is this much only, nothing
more! A man with a wife working hard to get wealthy is a Grihastha. He is
the Samsaaree!

Now back to Virat. He created Vaisyas – those classes of Gods who remain in
groups. They are the eight Vasus, the eleven Rudras, the twelve Adhithyas,
the thirteen Visvadevas and fortynine Maruts.

He did not prosper still for want of servants. He therefore created Pushan
the Sudhra God. The earth indeed is Pushan for it nourishes all that exist.

He did not prosper still!


Because he feared that Kshathriya being fierce would become unruly. In order
to overcome this he specially projected this excellent form called Dharma.
Kshathrasya kshathram Dharmam. Dharma is fiercer than the fierce! Dharma is
therefore the controller. There is nothing higher than Dharma in this
prakrthi. With Dharma on his side a householder can contend with even a king
who is most powerful. This Dharma is actually the Truth. What is known as
Truth, when practiced becomes Dharma. And this Dharma cannot be practiced
without one identifying himself with one or the other of the four varnas
with which he was born to perform his karma.

This way the fourfold varnas – Brahmana, Kshathriya, Vaisya and Sudhra –
were created. Virat became Brahmana among the Gods only as Agni and among
men as Brahmana. He became Kshathriya among men through the divine
Kshathriyas, He became Vaisya among men through the divine Vaisyas and he
became Sudhra among men through the divine Sudhra. Therefore people desire
to attain their objectives among the Gods through Agni and among men through
the birth as a Brahmana since Virat assumed these two forms.

Now this self, the Grihastha, is verily the support of all beings. It is by
performing the Vedic sacrifices in the fire that he becomes the supports of
the gods. By reciting the Vedas he supports the sages who gave him the
Vedas. By offering to the manes and desiring children he becomes the support
of the Pithrus. By giving food and shelter to men he becomes their support.
By giving fodder he becomes the support of the animals. Even the beasts and
birds and ants feed in his home and he is their support. Thus supported all
of them in turn wish for his welfare.

Sri Gurubyo Namaha



The Seventh Musing has raised some important concepts that need some
elaboration. The first one is Varna. I had written on this Varna sometimes
ago for a Hindu conference but then it was in relation to stating our
differences with the secularists. I was wondering if I should post the same
writing or write merely on Varna per se without reference to the
secularists. I felt it would add clarity if I posted the old version rather
than write new one. So here it is.

Caste and the Secularists

We are talking so much about castes perhaps without knowing what they are.
The following article of mine published in SAAG forum in Jan 2005 gives my
understanding. Hope this helps our readers.

"Caste is a misnomer that the Europeans applied to the social divisions that
then existed when they first saw them in India. [Spanish casta, race, and
Portuguese casta, race, caste, both from feminine of casto, pure, from Latin
castus] Today's caste proliferation has nothing to do with Hinduism but to
the secular government's policy of reservations in the field of education
and employment. The imputation of this caste proliferation to the Brahmins
or Hinduism per se is a motivated misinformation. The ills that you see
today lie with sections benefiting from the man-made caste laws. The secular
government alone is responsible for this mess of caste proliferation.

The four varnas that Hinduism talks about is based on 'Guna' or the stuff
with which everything is made. The entire universe is made of this 'Guna'
stuff that is three in number - called Sathvam, Rajas and Thamas. It is very
difficult to explain in great detail in this blog and needless to say that
without detailed explanation it is easily misunderstood. Having initiated
the discussion, I do not wish to run away without saying something about
this Guna. Sathvam can be compared to transparency, clarity, light,
knowledge, subtleness, dispassion, love and so on. Thamas is the opposite of
Sathvam in character indicating opaqueness, darkness, confusion, ignorance,
grossness, passion, lust etc. Rajas can be compared to motion, work, order
and disorder, anger, violence, pride, deceit, etc. You can say, for
simplicity's sake, that mobility is its character. These three Gunas pervade
the whole universe and the absence of even one will collapse the world.

The world can be divided into broadly two categories viz. those that are
sentient and those that are inert. By sentience it is meant that it has
(sense) perception and by inertness it is void of or dormant of sense
perception. For example, a human being is sentient and a rock is insentient.
However you also notice that there is varying degree of sharpness in their
sentience among the sentient beings. Such degrees of sharpness are
attributed to the intellect. So the animals though sentient are devoid of
intellect. They are driven by their instinct. While animals move around, the
plants which are seen to be sentient compared to a rock do not move from its
fixed spot.

Now coming to humans, we see varying degrees of intellectual prowess from
those of extremely imaginative ones to those quite dull-witted. The
secularists who shout from the housetops about the equality of men and/or
women often lose sight of this fact. Why don’t they listen to the Fabian
Socialist George Bernard Shah who said that not everybody needs a
microscope? We Hindus treat all living beings by our instinct of Ahimsa and
not by secularists’ pretensions and professions.

A society needs both intellectuals as well as men who won’t be bothered
about it. This is because they both contribute to the well-being of the
society in their respective ways. Hindus understood that between these two
extremes there are others who would also constitute a society. They who are
between the intellectuals driven by Sathwa Guna and the dull-witted driven
by Thamasa Guna are the Kshathriyas and Vaisyas driven by Rajo Guna. Since
motion does not exist by itself but only with something else, for example
you see motion only when something moves such as the water flowing or fire
burning or wind blowing etc., so the Rajas has to cling on to either Sathwam
or Thamas. So you have two categories viz. Sathwik Rajas and Rajasic Thamas.
Since Rajas moves, Sathwic Rajas moves from Thamas to Sathwam and Rajasic
Thamas moves in the opposite direction from Sathwam to Thamas. So
intellectually you have a person who would go from ignorance to knowledge by
sacrificing immediate gains for Truth and you have a person who would move
abandoning reason to convenience. You see these two categories of people
also and the society needs them (If they were not needed they wouldn’t be
there). These are the fourfold varnas that you do see in society. Thus the
all pervasive Guna constitute humans in the way described above.

A knower thus unmistakably sees the play of the Guna in people and he sees
it as naturally residing in each individual as his driving force. The Guna
is not inherited from the parents but attained by the ‘Aathma’ or soul (I
hate to use the world ‘soul’ for it connotes a created entity whereas
‘Aathman’ is uncreated and eternal) by his poorva karma or actions in prior
births. Thus a person is a Brahmana or a Vaisya for example, not by being
born to Brahmin or to Vaisya parents and it does not also mean that a Vaisya
is not born to a Vaisya and so on. However the Hindus do not abandon lineage
as everyone has inherent pride in his heritage. Try asking M. Karunanidhi
who badmouths Hindus by sheer ignorance, to abandon his family and friends.
Actually many of DMK men themselves have voiced objections to making DMK a
family property of Karunanidhi. We call this “Abimaanam’ or attachment. Some
may say it is deceit or cheating! (People have a tendency to tell others but
not to themselves and Karunanidhi is a prime example.)

It is a fertile ground for a person to manifest his Guna in his own
environment, for example, a person with a Vaisya Guna (Rajasic Thamas) can
easily manifest himself in the company of Vaisya parents and Vaisya
community. Hindus see that also as a karma-phala. The secularists contend
that everyone can do everything and so a Vaisya need not be a Vaisya and
Sudhra need not be a Sudhra. To confine a person to a sect is a human right
violation they say. Very well, try it out.. I have no problem. We Hindus say
that you can do what you want but the outcome will always be the same. It is
also true that there is no gain without pain. The truth of this is for a
person to find out for himself. But however much the secularists might cry
aloud, not many people would risk abandoning their traits. It is their
nature. If a person abandons his nature he would soon find out he is a fish
out water when he abandons his nature.

My problem with the secularists is that they, in the name of advocating
human rights, themselves become violators of human rights by forcing others
to abandon their nature. If I say ‘be yourself’, I mean it out of the clear
knowledge that trying to be someone else is wrought with pain and suffering
in the end. By saying ‘be yourself’ I am not condemning anyone to be a
Brahmana or a Sudhra. But the secularists by abandoning the natural variety
in the name of misconceived equality, forces oneself to abandon his nature
and ask him to be different from who he is. This is clear human rights
violation. In our concept it is adharma.

A person who cannot learn beyond his parrot like repetition is difficult
indeed because he cannot be taught. He doesn’t know that he doesn’t know.
Hindus call him ‘aparaadhi’. An aparaadhi will have to learn by experience.
More difficult indeed is a person who knows, yet he does things contrary to
the knowledge. There is nothing to teach him and none for him to learn. He
is a man of wanton disposition called ‘abhachaari’. Punishment is to only
recourse to contain him. The secularists form the above two varieties."
____________ _____
Sri Gurubyo Namaha



The word 'caste' is a misnomer. Caste is a cliché of the secularists, of the
Christians and of the atheists to denigrate Hinduism. Caste is a stereotype
to brand people in bad light. And the word 'varna' should not be equated
with caste as one would be falling in the same trap of the clichés and
stereotypes. Pl. read my topic 'Caste and the Secularist' posted earlier
wherein I have amplified the term ‘Varna'. Can it be said that anyone who
pursues the path of knowledge is a Brahmin; anyone who is ready to fight to
uphold dharma is a Kshatriya? Such a statement appears to be correct on the
face of it, but what is important to know from my topic 'caste and the
secularist' is that a person is made up of a 'guna' that is the driving
force of who he is such as a Brahmana or a Vaisya etc. The significance of
this statement is that it contradicts the secularists' contention that every
person has a choice to belong to whatever ‘varna’ he wants to belong and
since wanting is fickle, a person could want to belong to any and all the
four varnas at different times! The 'guna' is one's innate tendency and it
cannot change. Even his thinking is driven by this 'guna' stuff. The wise
one is content with who he is and enjoys the world and his janma or life
while the not so wise is angry and tries to change the world or himself or
both and gets really messed up. He is often violent in expressing his anger.

The 'varna' is not unique to Hindus, it is actually universal. The Hindus
admit it while others do not. These four varnas are present among, Jews,
Christians, Muslims and anyone else you can name. The varnas are present in
Heaven too! The 'guna' that is the driving force pervades the entire

The general grievance of the secularists is that it is unfair that someone
is a Vaisya or a Sudhra while another is a Kshathriya or a Brahmana. This
stems from their idea that man was created, of course they added the word
'equally’ later! To them everyone looks alike and therefore they are equal.
We call this ‘DEhaathma Buddhi’ the idea that a man is his body and nothing
beyond! However it is for them to ask their creator as to why a person is
created/born blind and mute while another is not, why a person is born a
prince while another is born a pauper. It is for them to ask their creator
why everyone is born a sinner for no fault of his own. I AM TELLING THIS TO
POINT OUT THE POVERTY OF THEIR RELIGION. It is only the Hindus who hold a
view that stands to reason and that is the law of Karma and reincarnation.

According to the Karmic Law your 'poorva karma' or the actions of your
previous incarnations or births brings their fruits called 'karma phala'. If
you were to enjoy something then it is due to your punya karma. Conversely
paapa Karma brings dhukkam or misery. In order to enjoy and/or suffer the
fruits of karma, you are equipped with such means as your nature, your body,
your mind and your world. Bhagavan Ramana says: "Karthur Aagnaya Praapyathe
Phalam" i.e. by the ordainment of the creator the fruits of karma take
place. These fruits are proportional to what you have done, nothing more,
and nothing less. There is also a byproduct in this: With the body the
'bhoktha' (i.e. the enjoyer or the sufferer) in the process of enjoying or
suffering acquires a taste for the enjoyment or suffering for example the
smell lingering in a flower basket even after the flower is removed or the
onion smell that lingers in your hand even after you have eaten onion sambar
hours ago!. This is called 'samskaara' that a person carries with him. This
enables him to long for another birth to carry on with the tasting yet
again! That is the reason for the claim that the person is born again in his
own family due to his attachment with the members of his family. When you
see a child enjoys/suffers, you can easily infer the result of past karma.
If this is not the case then the child would be suffering something for
which he was never responsible. That is a fault called 'akrutha abyaagamam'.
Also a person does good and bad karma and dies before he enjoys or suffers
the fruit of that karma. If such fruit of karma does not follow him into his
next birth then there arises the fault of 'kritha vibranaasam' i.e. those
karmas getting destroyed without yielding fruit. These faults never arise in
God's ordainment.

The Hindus explain this way why someone is born a prince or a pauper and so
on. Neither the western religions nor the rationalists have any explanation
as to why you are who you are.

Now let us pick up this thread of grievance of the secularists that it is
unfair that someone is a Vaisya or a Sudhra while another is a Kshathriya or
a Brahmana. The secularists and Christians ignore THEIR God’s unequal
creation but would impute it on their fellowmen and clamor to change it.
That is their sense of justice. If you are born once and no more THEN this
grievance is valid, but if you are born again and again due only to your
actions, then you are what you yourself made yourself to be. YOU ARE YOUR

Forgive me for being tedious, the ‘Guna’ of a person changes from birth to
birth but not within each birth. An intriguing question is often posed if a
person also belongs to his Varna by parentage. Most likely yes, for that is
a conducive soil to manifest his Guna but it is certainly not an absolute
truth. Exception is also part of nature.

Please ponder: In this endless travel in time, you and I and all others have
taken many births as Brahmanas and Kshathriyas and Vaisyas and Sudhras and
animals and plants and what else! Why have 'abhimanam' or pride on the caste
you are born in and fight others?  (The answer is it is the work of the
guna!) One gentleman claiming himself to be a Sudhra said the Brahmins have
devised a system that oppressed him.  Who actually were the so called
oppressors?  Were they all Brahmins?  The gentleman conceded that that his
argument cannot isolate one varna but all others.  I asked if he came across
any specific person who did oppress him and if so under the law he could
take them to court.  There was no specific person that bothered him but he
was only talking about a system that enabled this discrimination in the past
because of which his community is downtrodden.  I asked him if he considered
the possibility that he could have been a Brahmin or a Kshathriya or a
Vaisya in the past life and could have been responsible for such
'atrocities'?  He knew that if he had to hold the accusation against a
community or communities of the past then he could do so only by giving up
the karma and reincarnation theory!  So he has to be a man of the bilical
religion or atheists that are the components of secularists!

Am I advocating fatalism? Not at all. THE HINDUS MAINTAIN THAT YOU CAN DO
WHAT YOU LIKE. All you need to know is, it is one’s Guna that is at work in
all his actions including liking!"

(to be continued)

Sri Gurubyo Namaha



Now let’s try to understand some of the characteristics of the four Varnas.

The Thamasa Guna has an opaque character indicating the nature of the
Sudhras. Those possessed of it see things different from what they are. In
other words, they are veiled by avidya and they are driven by inertia. (More
on Avidya in subsequent Musings.) It does not mean that they cannot know or
they cannot do anything right. Quite the contrary. They can know and do
excellent things but only at the bidding of others.

    *The exquisite carvings of our cave temples and sculptures are done by
Sudhras. Any evidence of greatness of any society be it in the great temples
of     India or the Pyramids of Egypt or the great wall of China, were all
built by Sudras, but they were told to do so. They do not have the
initiative and they     always get carried away. They band together among
themselves. The modern day union leaders exploit this feature to organize
them, collect             subscriptions from them use this banding feature
to extract money from the employers. (Both the employer and the union leader
belong to Vaisya             Varna. See below.)

    *A Sudhra is the one who will build a great dam across a river for the
benefit of humanity or will set fire to a bus full of college girls just
because a             certain politician told them to do so. They are a
tremendous power by themselves, but because of their lack of discrimination,
they are exploited         or harvested by others - in very large measure by
the Vaisyas.

The opposite is the Sathwa Guna that has a transparent character indicating
the nature of Brahmins. Satwa Guna generates knowledge and wisdom.

    *Because of the clarity of Satwa Guna the Brahmins can see things as
they are. Seeing things as they are is called Vidya (More on it later.) This
makes     them feel pacific, at worst resigned and at best quite content.

    *Though they have initiative, they seldom use it for their own
advantage. They are adept in using the initiative on behalf of a yajamana
who is either a     Kshathriya or another Brahmana or sometimes even a

    *They lack materialist pursuit even though they are capable of winning a
world or amassing wealth but would easily sell their prowess for a fee. Such
is     their contentment!

    *They are highly independent and therefore are incohesive among
themselves in terms of a material pursuit. However they would be seen to
band         together for spiritual pursuit. (This is because Agni Devatha
is their spiritual counterpart of the Heaven and they are all united by

Now we will deal with Kshathriyas and Vaisyas, who are driven by Rajo Guna.

    *A Kshathriya is made of Rajo Guna with Sathwa Guna as the underlying
factor. This makes them hold on to a view as sacrosant, otherwise known
as     truth or Sathyam and would enforce it by his command and would even
die for it. Thus he is a good keeper of the word and therefore be a
reliable     body guard, a Rakshaka and a King.

    *“Bahu Rajanya krithaha”, says Purusha Sooktham. Kshathriya rose from
the arm of Virat signifying valour and strength.

    *At the same time, his passions signified by Rajo Guna make him a great
family man and man of society and an increaser and protector of the
tribe.         He is witty and charming and a man given to partying and fun.
He likes limelight. He respects hierarchy and enforces them. Thus his
protective             abilities reach the world of manes and that of Gods.

    *Because of of his Guna a Kshathriya seeks clarity and would be a good
judge. Because of Sathwa Guna he likes to be associated
with                     Brahmanas and a great protector of them indeed.
Thus the maxim “Asathoma Sat Gamaya, Thamasoma Jyothirgamaya, Mrithyorma
Amriutham             Gamaya” would greatly apply to the Kshathriyas though
the maxim is common to all.

Now, who is a Vaisya?

    *A Vaisya is made of Rajo Guna with Thamasa Guna as the underlying
factor. Thus he has an opposite character to the Kshathriyas. This means
he         does not hold anything sacrosant. That is why a Vaisya, a
businessman would not hold on to anything as value but keep trading them in
order to         increase wealth.

    *A Vaisya, because of lack of passion, never seeks limelight and would
not enter into any controversy. He is always positive and thus prone to
mislead others.

    *A Vaisya besides being a good businessman, by the play of his Guna, is
well suited to be a diplomat or a spy and is capable of doings things that
are     to be done in discreet or stealth or behind the curtain.

    *A Vaisya because of the Rajo Guna seeks the company and audience of
Kshathriyas but only for the purpose of increasing his wealth. He is a
good         ally of the Kshathriya for he provides the Kshathriya with the
wherewithals. He generates immense wealth under the protection of a
powerful                 Kshathriya and he is prone to cheat a weak king.

    *Because of the underlying Thamo Guna a Vaisya is associated with the
Sudhra whom he persuades to labour hard and produce. Because of this
Guna he is stingy and exploitative.  Lying and misrepresentation are his
prowess!  They are the modern day politicians.  The French call them
the         bourgeoisie.

    *A Vaisya has a spiritual side that appeases the Gods to increase his
wealth. Thus he is a donor for temples and for the cultivation of the music
and     the dance that are associated with Gods and wealth.

Thus you will know the difference between a man who is less impressive but
has a lot of money in his pocket and a man who is well dressed up and talks
bravely but has little in his pocket. The former does not enjoy what he has
and the latter enjoys despite not having any. The underlying Thamo Guna or
Satwa Guna causes this as the case may be of those driven by Rajo Guna. This
is the difference between a Vaisya and a Kshathriya.
There is an important aspect of the Guna play. A person born in one Varna
can follow the Dharma of what can be termed as a lower Varna but not in the
reverse direction. This is by taking Sathwam to be higher than the Thamas,
though in terms of wordly needs both serve their purposes and therefore are
equal. The higher and lower classification would be only in terms of
knowledge of Reality such as transparency and opaqueness of the Anthakarana
or mind. A Brahmana can therefore follow the Dharmas of other Varnas with
ease i.e. he can follow Kshathriya Dharma, Vaisya Dharma or even Sudhra
Dharma, a Kshathriya, likewise can follow Vaisya Dharma or Sudhra Dharma but
not Brahmana Dharma, a Vaisya can follow Sudhra Dharma but not Kshathriya
Dharma or Brahmana Dharma and Sudhra can only follow his own Dharma and not
of anyone else.  This is due to the play of Shakthi the source of the Guna.
This is because the manifest Shakthi will always degenerate.  That is its

Sri Gurubyo Namaha

On Tue, Aug 18, 2009 at 2:41 PM, Michael Shepherd <
michael at shepherd87.fsnet.co.uk> wrote:

> Dear Sunilji
> Who am I to cavil with you ?... But my copy of BG 18.41 says nothing of
> initiation or second birth or specialised training. Rather, it speaks in
> 18.42-3 of the personal and moral qualities expected of the Brahmana and
> kshatriya.
> All that 18.44 offers is a 'job description' for vaishyas and shudras -- as
> if no personal qualities are required for these 'jobs'.. not quite a
> balanced  statement : who would not want a servant who does not possess
> something of all those qualities enumerated of brahmana and kshatriya when
> the need arises ?
> However, of the shudra, the requirement is 'paricharyatman'... now whose
> atman does that refer to ? 'Serving the atman' gives a different flavour to
> real service.. certainly more than 'shifting goods' with a fork-lift truck
> !
> I mention this only in view of what I read in some places as if shudra were
> merely a labourer in the 'service industries' without imagination.. and I
> still ask where and when the 'second birth' dvija came into Hinduism -- and
> what it implies ? Krishna goes on to say that that all that play these
> roles
> may achieve perfection.
> What I do find interesting is the karmic aspect. As we know, noble birth is
> not always lived up to; and humble birth can be a great stimulus to
> achieving greatness..
> Michael
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