[Advaita-l] kshatriya dharma according to manu smriti and its interpretation today?

ravi chandrasekhara vadhula at yahoo.com
Wed Jan 24 23:08:20 EST 2018

Some thoughts/questions
1.Is it dharmic for Kshatriyas to expand kingdom by warfare which kills people ? Especially when it is not fighting evil kings but just expansion.2.Kshatriyas  hunt and eat meat but this is independent from meat obtained from yagnas; is that dharmically acceptable ?3.Is Kshatriyas dharma just applicable to Kshatriyas by birth and also non-kshatriyas kings/rulers ?4.Are non-kshatriyas dharmically permitted to rule/become kings ?5.In Kali Yuga in Bharat, there were many Shudra (e.g. Reddy Kings of Andhra, 2 of the Vijanagara dynasties, Jat kingdoms, etc), foreign (Muslims and Europeans), and some Braahmana kings (Dharbanga Rajas- Mithila Braahmanas and current figurehead maharaja of Varanasi- Bhumihar Braahmana, Kadambas).6.Would modern day India's Prime Minister be a Kshatriyas position ? Nehru-Kashmiri Braahmana, Indira Gandhi- Nehru's daughter married to a Parsi, Shastri- Chitragupta Kayastha (non-Dvija), Desai- Guj Braahmana, N. Rao- Telugu Braahmana, Vajpayee- Kanyakubja Braahmana, VP Singh- rajput Kshatriyas, M Singh - Khatri Sikh, Modi- Guj Shudra jaati.7.Kshatriyas by birth are supposed to undergo upanayna, wear yagnopaveeta, and do sandhya-vandana; doesn't appear that many perform nowadays .8.In Hindi serials of Chanakya, Mahabharat, Ramayan- Kshatriyas kings (except for battle and ruling) "behave " like South Indian Braahmanas- wearing Yagnopaveeta, maintaining shikha, doing Bhojan Vidhi (parichesane) before meals, and performing Sandhya Vandana. (Most of those actors are North Indian).9.If Kshatriyas don't perform their birth based duties (ruling, etc); are they still permitted to eat meat ? e.g. is a Rajput physician dharmically allowed to consume meat ?
Ravi Chandrasekhara 

    On Sunday, January 21, 2018 12:20 AM, Jaldhar H. Vyas via Advaita-l <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

 On Fri, 19 Jan 2018, Jaldhar H. Vyas via Advaita-l wrote:

> As this post has already gotten quite long, I will add some further excerpts 
> from gitaparvan in a part two tomorrow.


In the Gita proper, Krishna Bhagavans first response to Arjunas concerns 
is similiar to Bhishmas.  He says:

svadharmam api chAvekShya na vikampitum arhasi |
dharmayAddhi yuddhAchchhreyo.anyAtkShatriyasya na vidyate ||6|24|31|| (Gita 2:31)

"Look to your svadharma and do not waver, for there is nothing more 
salutary for a kShatriya than a dharmayuddha."

yadR^ichchhayA chopapannaM svargadvAram apAvR^itam |
sukhinaH kShatriyAH pArtha labhante yuddham IdR^isham ||6|24|32|| (Gita 2:32)

"Happy are the Kshatriyas who come upon a battle such as this, oh 
Partha[1]! veritably an open door to Heaven[2]."

[1] Descendent of Prthu i.e. Arjuna.

[2] Notice the metaphor of the door to Heaven just as in Bhishmas' speech.

atha chet tvam imaM dharmyaM saMgrAmaM na kariShyasi |
tataH svadharmaM kIrtim cha hitvA pApam avApsyasi ||6|24|33|| (Gita 2:33)

"Or if you will not fight this dharmic battle, then having abandoned your 
dharma and reputation[3], you will incur sin."

[3] Arjuna is already well-known for many great deeds.

akirtiM chApi bhUtAni kathayiShyanti te.avyayAm |
saMbhAvitasya chAkirtirmaraNAdatirichyate ||6|24|34|| (Gita 2:34)

"All beings too will talk of your eternal shame and to one who has known 
fame, infamy is worse than death."

bhayAdraNAduparataM maMsyante tvAM mahArathAH |
yeShAM cha tvaM bahumato bhUtvA yAsyasi lAghavaM ||6|24|35|| (Gita 2:35)

"The great chariot-warriors[4] will think that you ran from the 
battlefield out of fear and they who once esteemed you highly will hold 
you in contempt."

[4] The chariot-warriors (mahAratha) were the elite forces of the 
classical Indian army.

avAchyavAdAMshcha bahUn vadiShyanti tavAhitAH |
nindantastava sAmarthyaM tato duHkhataraM nu kim ||6|24|36|| (Gita 2:36)

"Your enemies too, taking your prowess lightly will abuse you.  What could 
be more painful?

hato vA prApsyasi svargaM jitvA vA bhokShyase mahIm |
tasmAduttiShTha kaunteya yuddhAya kR^itanishchayaH ||6|24|37|| (Gita 2:37)

"Killed, you will reach Heaven. Victorious you will enjoy the Earth. 
Therefore arise son of Kunti and resolve to fight!"

sukhaduHkhe same kR^itvA lAbhAlAbhau jayAjayau |
tato yuddhAya yujyasva naivaM pApam avApsyasi ||6|24|38|| (Gita 2:38)

"Holding pleasure and pain the same, gain and loss, victory and defeat, 
prepare for battle and you will not incur sin."

However as we shall see, Krishna Bhagavan ultimately has a different 
opinion on dharma which I shall discuss in part 3 of this post.

Back to the GitAparvan for now, there is another set of shlokas in the 
last adhyaya which I wish to show to illustrate how kshatriyas understood 
their dharma.

The Gita has been spoken and Arjuna has been reassured and he returns to 
the Pandava lines ready to fight once again.  However Yudhisthira now 
comes forward and actually crosses over to the Kaurava side to the 
consternation of his brothers and his troops. Sanjaya narrates:

evamAbhAShyamANo.api bhrAtR^ibhiH kurunandanaH |
novAcha vAgyataH kiMchidgachchhatyeva yudhiShThiraH ||6|41|15||

"Ignoring his brothers questions oh Kurunandana[5], Yudhisthira went 
silently onward without making a reply."

[5] Dhrtarashtra

tAnuvAcha mahAprAGYo vAsudevo mahAmanAH |
abhiprAyo.asya viGYAto mayeti prahasanniva ||6|41|16||

"Then with a smile the wise and great-souled Vasudeva[6] said, "I know 
what he intends to do."

[6] Krishna Bhagavan.

eSha bhIShmaM tathA droNaM gautamaM shAlyameva cha |
anumAnya gurUn sarvAn yotsyate pArthivo.aribhiH ||6|41|17||

"Partha[7] will only fight his enemies with the consent of Bhishma, 
Drona, Gautama[8], and Shalya[9], all his Gurus."

[7] See note [1] above but here it means Yudhisthira.

[8] Krpa who belongs to Gautama gotra.

[9] Bhishma is the elder of the Kuru dynasty and Drona and Krpa taught the 
Pandavas shastras and warcraft but why is Shalya considered a guru?  He is 
their maternal uncle, the elder brother of Pandus' wife Madri, the mother 
of Nakula and Sahadeva.

shruyate hi purAkalpe gurUnananumAnya yaH |
yudhyate sa bhavedvyaktamapadhyAto mahattaraiH ||6|41|18||

"It is said that in former times, when one fought without the permission 
of his Guru, he was despised by his betters."

anumAnya yathAshAstraM yastu yudhyena mahattaraiH |
dhruvastasya jayo yuddhe bhavediti matirmama ||6|41|19||

"[But if] he did seek  permission and then took up arms to fight his 
betters, he would be assured of victory in battle.  This is my opinion."

As I mentioned above, ultimately Krishna Bhagavan teaches a different 
orientation to dharma but it is noteworthy that He does not present it as 
His own or as something new or revolutionary.  Even here when He is giving 
His own opinion, He refers back to the conduct of former times.  And as 
Bhishma invokes the authority of the ancient ancestor kings such as Yayati 
and Nahusha, Krishna Bhagavan leapfrogs him by invoking _their_ ancestors 
Vivasvan, Manu and Ikshvaku (Gita 4:1) to support his views.

Then follows a series of formulaic conversations where one by one 
Yudhisthira asks for permission to fight from each of the Gurus mentioned
above.  Each of them say that if he had not come to them in this way they 
would have sworn to seek his total defeat but now they bless him that he 
should be victorious though they themselves will fight against him to the 

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
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