[Advaita-l] Notes on the Musings on the Fundamentals of Hinduism -7 (III)

Michael Shepherd michael at shepherd87.fsnet.co.uk
Sun Sep 13 08:00:32 CDT 2009

Anbu ji,

Your interesting generalisations and over-simplifications contain some
valuable half-truths, in my opinion.

They are only half-truths, because they ignore the fact that atmabrahma is
unlimited... every religion, every good educational system, every well-run
industry, every good family life, tell us this..varna of birth is the
mysterious grace of own atmabrahma.

And because of this, all attachments to varna should be surrendered : as you
say, it is attachment to 'I am a downtrodden shudra because of those wicked
capitalists who exploit my labour' that lead to revolutions based on
removing the vaisya class completely...

Take three 'shudra' working alongside each other on an assembly line.. Mr A
hates his job; does it just well enough not to be sacked, so he can take
home his money and spend it on drink -- or be, a good family man despite.
Mr B is the typical 'happy labourer' : he enjoys doing his job well, doesn't
envy his boss who lives in a big house but with a bickering family., But
karma has surprises in for Mr B : he gives such attention to his work, that
he is the one most likely to suggest an improvement in manufacturing
techniques and design; he may get appointed foreman, then teacher of the
apprentices; perhaps a textbook in time; or perhaps out of frustratuion, he
sets up as an excellent vaisya who knows how to care for his workers..
Mr C also does his job carefully; but he has a lively open mind; he learns
about the economic set-up of his firm and so on; he acquires all the
knowledge to become a good vaisya; he may be called upon to join regional
and national committees because of his acquired wisdom. He is the one most
likely, in his vanaprastha, to become an acharya -- as we see with certain
mambers of the diaspora in the US..

Yes, the guna play a large part in character; but there are those who are
'veiled by avidya and driven by inertia' as you put it, in all the varna
these days ?

And I agree that since the 19th century at least, Western society would have
done better to understand karma, dharma, varna, ashrama, and much else, from
Hinduism... OK, no more jokes about the need for floods of Hindu
missionaries to educate the West... :)


-----Original Message-----
From: advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
[mailto:advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org]On Behalf Of Anbu
Sent: 13 September 2009 03:30
To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta
Subject: [Advaita-l] Notes on the Musings on the Fundamentals of
Hinduism -7 (III)



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 Vaisya.

    *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 Agni).

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
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
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
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

(to be continued)

Sri Gurubyo Namaha
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