MANUSMRITI IS VARNA NEUTRAL – 1 – Part -3

Varnvyvastha

Prajanam Raksanam Danamijyaadhyayanameva  I
Visayesvaprasaktisca Ksatriyasya Samasatah  II I / 52 II

Studying scriptures, persuing Yajna  and Dana, defending masses, rejection of indulgence, performing noble deeds constitute Dharma  of Ksatriya.

Ksatriya  is the one in whom Raja Guna  is on the ascendance with Sattva Guna  being moderate. While pursuing Brahmacarya, Ksatriya  is ordained to study and assimilate Vedic  wisdom vigorously, must perform Yajna  i.e. offering oblations into holy fire and Dana  i.e. donating appropriately to those who rightly deserve in charity. Protecting the weak and defenceless ones is the sacrosanct Dharma  of a Ksatriya. Indeed, Ksatriya  term itself connotes protector of the weak and oppressed. In spite of Raja Guna  being resurgent, Ksatriya  is mandated by Maharsi Manu  to shun indulgence of gross senses and pursue asceticism even amidst opulence. Entire gamut of resurgent Raja Guna  is required to be directed towards performing auspicious, noble deeds in the spirit of sacrifice dedicated unto others.

Like the Varna  of Brahmana, Ksatriya  too is required to consume his life and existence in pursuit of spirituality while honouring all the responsibilities towards a well-ordered society.

Pasunam Raksanam Danamijjyadhyayanmeva Ca  I
Vanikpatham Kusidam Ca Vaisasya Krsimeva Ca  II I / 53 II

Tending cattle, performing Dana  and Yajna, studying scriptures, conducting trade with optimum gains and pursuit of agriculture constitute Dharma  of Vaisya.

Vaisya  is the order of Varna  that is primarily engaged in generating wealth and economic well-being of entire society through trade etc. Generating wealth through trade and commerce is the forte of Vaisya Varna. Maharsi Manu  has mandated for Vaisya  not to earn unmitigated gains through trade at the expense of social well-being. It is interesting to note that Maharsi Manu  has directed even quantum of interest to be charged in financial transactions. Maximum limit of interest to be charged is 1.25% while minimum is 0.24%. Whenever return on investment doubles over a period of time, Vaisya  is not allowed to accept even a single paise more than that. However, rate of return must be as much on the lower side as possible. That ensures well-being and prosperity of the Vaisya  and his family otherwise ill-earned wealth shall be frittered away either directly or through wayward progenies. Study of Veda-s and other scriptures, performing Yajna, donating foodgrains etc. in charity, tending milch cattle, selling milk are the other imperatives for Vaisya. Members of this Varna  are also called upon to perform and conduct agriculture and all other related activities.

In the Varna  of Vaisya, it is Tama Guna  that is prominent albeit Raja Guna  too, is substantially active. The Varna  is primarily dedicated to economic well-being and progress of entire society.

Ekameva Tu Sudrasya Prabhuh Karma Samadisat  I
Etesameva Varnanam Susrusamanasuyaya  II I / 54 II

Isvara  ordained for Sudra, obligatory to serva other Varna-s imbued with sense of devotion and reverence.

Varna  of Sudra  is represented by those who are incapable of perusing Vedic  scriptures, protecting others from oppression and injustice or conducting trade yet always seized of the issue of self-development, are physically competent for carrying out miscellaneous errands that are essential in nature. These errands are necessary to be accomplished properly so as to enable members of other three Varna-s honouring their respective mandates towards society. Role of Sudra Varna  is so significant that in their absence, other three Varna-s would not be able to honour their mandates leading to a chaotic disorder in society. Even for those deprived of the mandates of Brahmana, Ksatriya  and Vaisya, Maharsi Manu  has thus, created another order of Varna  for them and consecrated them as essential as the other three instead of rejecting them altogether. Sudra  performs his role without any rancour or malice towards anyone. Sudra  takes up the role of serving three Varna-s with a sense of dedication unto Param Brahmatma. Varna  of Sudra  is never attained by birth. It is entirely governed by presence of personal attributes and faculties of those individuals. A Brahmana, Ksatriya  or Vaisya  who fails or declines to perform respective mandate of obligatory Karma-s, is immediately dislocated and included in the Varna  of Sudra. Irrespective of birth or economic status in society, it is Karma  that is supreme, sanctity of which is inviolable.

In the legendary wisdom of Manusmriti, Maharsi Manu  is as much biased in favour of the Varna  of Sudra  as he is in favour of the other three. Manusmriti  is all inclusive, encompassing and comprehensive giving rise to a magnificent civil code to ensure an honourable slot to all members of society irrespective of the role that they are required to fulfil.

Acarah Paramo Dharmah Srutyuktah Smarta Eva Ca  I
Tasmadasminsada Yukto Nityam Syadatmavandvijah  II I / 55 II

Dharma  enshrined in Smrti-s and Veda-s is sacrosanct, to be pursued assiduously by Dvija-s aspiring to advance spiritually.

Dvija  is the one who undergoes Upanayana  ceremony i.e. initiation into Brahmacarya  symbolised by the sacred thread that he is mandated to wear across torso. The ritual is undergone by Varna-s of Brahman, Ksatriya  and Vaisya  who are supposed to be capable of pursuing Veda-s and other scriptures after being initiated into Brahmacarya  in a hermitage of an enlightened Guru  i.e. preceptor.

After defining Varna-s based on Karma, it is imperative to define nature of Karma  for every Varna. Maharsi Manu  has held Karma  enunciated in Veda-s and Smrti-s for Varna-s as defined by him, sacrosanct and obligatory in nature. He ordains all Dvija-s i.e. Brahman, Ksatriya  and Vaisya  to pursue those Karma-s alone corresponding to the respective Varna. It is responsibility of Guru  of the hermitage to educate his pupils and disciples about respective Karma-s ordained for every member of Dvija-s to be pursued religiously.

Karma  for every Varna  has been formulated in Veda-s and Smrti-s based of unredeemed Samskara-s existing in the domain of Citta. There is an appropriate, compatible Karma  to match a given bouquet of Samskara-s for everyone. It is predominant Samskara-s that decide the order of Varna  to be bestowed upon a pupil by his enlightened Guru. Once the Varna  is decided upon, corresponding Karma-s are precepted unto the pupil to be acted upon. Karma  ordained in scriptures is mandatory and inescapable. If one declines to pursue Karma-s that constitute his / her Dharma  based on Varna  and pursues some other Karma-s, according to Sri Krsna  in Srimadbhagvadgita, the person is re-born with a much larger baggage of unredeemed Karma-s to work on. One’s Karma is one’s Svadharma  i.e. one’s own Dharma, sacrosanct and inviolable.

Acaradvicyuto Vipro Na Vedaphalamasnute  I
Acarena Tu Samyuktah Sampurnaphalabhagbhaveta  II I / 56 II

Dvija-s not pursuing Dharma  as ordained, are unable to attain Vedic  proceeds while Karma-s conforming to Vedic  injunctions alone beget the same.

Dharma  is Varna  specific, Varna  is Prarabdha  specific, Prarabdha  is Samskara  specific and one’s Samskara-s are rooted in past Karma-s enacted in one’s past lives. Sanctity and inevitability of a given bouquet of Dharma  is thus, rooted in one’s unredeemed Karma-s performed in previous lives. Unredeemed Karma-s are inescapable i.e. these must be dissolved through redemption while performing other Karma-s during the span of existing life in the spirit of renunciation to escape from Samskara-s being created afresh. That precisely constitutes one’s Dharma. Vedic  scriptures and Smriti-s vividly describe Dharma  for every Varna  to be performed in the spirit of Yajna.

If a Dvija  declines to pursue the Dharma  ordained in scriptures for his  Varna, that directly implies, he is rejecting entire Karma  enacted by him in his previous lives and leaving them behind unattended and unredeemed. In that scenario, whatever Karma  he performs in contravention of scriptural injunctions, continue being added to the stock of unredeemed Karma-s and the drag is augmented even if these are performed in the spirit of Yajna. On the contrary, if a Dvija  performs only those Karma-s that are ordained as Dharma  to his Varna, he shall enjoy proceeds of his Karma  without hindrance. If he performs his Dharma  in the spirit of renunciation of proceeds, not only no Samskara  would be created afresh but also unredeemed Samskara-s that are proceeds of Karma-s enacted in past lives, would be rendered redeemed.

Evamacarato Drstva Dharmasya Munayo Gatim  I
Sarvasya tapaso Mulamacaram Jagrhuh Param  II I / 57 II

After scrutiny of pursuit of Dharma  and it’s proceeds, Muni-s beheld pursuit of Dharma  being the greatest ascetic endeavour.

That the sole purpose of human existence is to attain emancipation from the shackles of Prakrti  by redeeming outstanding Karma-s enacted earlier owing to sheer ignorance and delusion, is well-established and axiomatic in nature. Emancipation from Prakrti’s fetters leads to complete purification and sanctification of one’s Self. Once attained to the ultimate state of purity and sanctity, Self is poised to merge into the Absolute Self, state of ultimate existence and infinite bliss. Maharsi Manu has established beyond an iota of uncertainty that the only way to attain ultimate state of purity and sanctity of one’s Self is to perform one’s Dharma  constituting the order of Varna  in the spirit of Yajna. When Dharma  as ordained in Vedic  scriptures is practised in the spirit of Yajna, one is unleashed from the clutches of Prakrti and emancipated to the ultimate state of existence. Hence, pursuit of Dharma  is regarded as the greatest human strive by our Seers and Saints.

To Be Continued…

MANUSMRITI IS VARNA NEUTRAL – 1 – Part 1

MANUSMRITI  IS VARNA  NEUTRAL – 1- Part 2

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