MANUSMRITI IS VARNA NEUTRAL – 2

Varnvyvastha

MANUSMRTI  IS THE MOST ENLIGHTENED, PERFECT AND THE GREATEST CIVIL CODE EVER KNOWN TO HUMANITY.

In this series only those Sloka-s have been selected for exposition that confront all misgivings / untrue perceptions about the wisdom of Manusmrti  prevailing all around and facilitate accurate interpretation.

Vaidikaih Karmabhih Punyairnisekadirdvijanmanam  I

Karyah Sarirasamskarah Pavanah Pretya Ceha Ca  II II / 1 II

All Dvija-s are mandated to pursue all Vedic Samskara-s meant for their offsprings to consecrate present and subsequent incarnations.

There are some sixteen Samskara-s detailed in Veda-s to be pursued by all Dvija-s i.e. Brahmana, Ksatriya  and Vaisya  for their offspring. These Samskara-s begin with Garbhadhana  i.e. from the stage of conception to Punsavana  i.e. on completion of third month of pregnancy, Simantonnayana  i.e. during fourth month of pregnancy, Jatakarma  i.e. at the time of delivery of infant, Namakarana  i.e. preferably on twelfth day after birth for bestowing name, Niskramana  i.e. in fourth month after birth for moving out of the house, Annaprasana  i.e. in sixth month after birth for initiation into taking foodgrains, Mundana  i.e. between first and third year of age for removal of birth-hair, Upanayana  i.e. initiation into Brahmacarya  and Yajnopavita  by anointing with consecrated thread across torso, Vedarambha  i.e. initiation into study of Veda-s, Kesanta  i.e. on commencement of youth by shaving off entire head-hair, Samavartana  i.e. on completion of education and return to parents, Vivah-Grahasthasrama  i.e. betrothal to become householder, Vanaprastha  i.e. renouncing household and initiation into Sadhana, Sannyasa  i.e. ardent pursuit of Vairagya  and Moksa  and finally, Antyesti  i.e. funeral rites after demise. All these Samskara-s are performed methodically as prescribed in Veda-s accompanied by Yajna  i.e. offering of oblations into sacred fire. These Samskara-s when performed conforming to Vedic  directions, lead to self-purification and -sanctification during incumbent as well as subsequent lives. Right since inception of life, life is consecrated in the highest order by following these Samskara-s precluding the possibility of wobbling under delusion, then being lost to utter frivolity.

These Samskara-s are required to be pursued by Dvija-s alone as the fourth order of Varna  i.e. Sudra  opt not for study of Veda-s and further education but for rendering services to the other three orders of Varna-s. Hence, they are not expected to be conversant with the Vedic  requirements ordained for the three Varna-s of Brahmana, Ksatriya  and Vaisya.

Svadhyayena Vratairhormaistraividyenejyaya Sutaih  I

Mahayajnaisca Yajnaisca Brahmiyam Kriyate Tanuh  II II / 3 II

Pursuit  of Svadhyaya, Brahmacarya, Agnihotra, Yajna  and Siksana  alone constitute a Brahmana.

This Sloka  outlines stringent requirements for a “Brahmana” to qualify as a Brahmana  and continue remaining Brahmana. No sooner the stringent eligibility criteria are violated in totality or in part, Brahmana  hitherto, immediately forfeits all his privileges of being a Brahmana. To remain a Brahmana, he must assiduously continue pursuing Dharma  ordained for Brahmana-s in scriptures.

Rigorous study and teaching of scriptures including Veda-s, practising Yoga, performing all sorts of Yajna-s, Satsanga, pursuit of truth and philanthropy, personal conduct of the highest order, performing religious rituals are the salient features of Dharma  prescribed for Brahmana-s in scriptures.

Garbhastameabde Kurvita Brahmanasyopanayanam  I

Garbhadekadase Rajnyo Garbhattu Dvadase Visah  II II / 11 II

Those desirous of attaining Varna-s of Brahamana, Ksatriya  and  Vaisya  undergo Samskara  of Upanayana  in eighth , eleventh and twelfth year after birth , respectively .

In this remarkable Sloka, Maharsi Manu  has revealed availability of complete freedom to parents to select an appropriate Varna  for their progenies. Family or parents of a teenager enjoy the final word in deciding Varna  and the Samskara  of Upanayana  to be performed accordingly. Those who desire of being initiated into the Varna  of Brahamana, visit hermitage of Guru  in eighth year after birth for Upanayana  to be accomplished. Similarly, it is eleventh and twelfth year for those desirous of being initiated into the Varna-s of Ksatriya  and Vaisya  respectively.

Upanayana  may also be accomplished respectively in fifth, sixth and eighth year too, regarded as most auspicious periods. (II / 12 II)

Last opportunity for the Upanayana Samskara  is sixteenth, twenty-second and twenty-fourth year respectively. (II / 13)

The Sloka  is a resolute declaration to the effect that birth has never been the factor to decide Varna  of a young one and wishes of family and parents are supreme. Even parents and families belonging to the Varna  of Sudra  too, enjoy unmitigated liberty to initiate their offspring into Varna-s of Brahamana, Ksatriya  or Vaisya  and conduct Upanayana-Samskara  accordingly, as already explained in this Sloka. However, final Varna  is always decided by the Guru  after completion of education based on individual merits, propensities and accomplishments.

Indriyanam Vicaratam Visayesvapaharisu  I

Samyame Yatnamatisthedvidvanyanteva Vajinam  II II / 47 II

The way a wise charioteer restrains his horses, every effort may be exercised to introvert Indriya-s that steer Mana  and Atma  into Visaya-s.

Charioteer knows amply well about the nature of his assignment and all related risks and complexities, steers the chariot by monitoring the horses yoked and steers his master to the desired destination. While driving the chariot intelligently, he protects the master from all anticipated onslaughts and perils. Indriya-s are like horses yoked to one’s body and intellect, the charioteer. When Mana  i.e. mind chases Visaya  i.e. objects of enjoyment for sense gratification, it is the prime responsibility of Buddhi  to restrain and introvert mind, then redirect it towards greater objectives and virtues. If the mind is already restrained and introverted, Buddhi  is expected to engage it in pursuing higher portals of wisdom, virtues and possibly ultimate emancipation.

Primary function of mind is to intensify and aggravate whatever perception Jivatma  is undergoing. If faculties of mind are harnessed prudently, it leads to infinite bliss, peace and spiritual advancement upto attainment of Moksa. If mind is not disciplined wisely, it turns into an instrument causing unmitigated catastrophe.

Note : Aforesaid Sloka  establishes beyond an iota of doubt that the wisdom of Manusmriti  is so very much different from the image that it unjustifiably enjoys among masses. Far from being an exposition to promote misery for the Varna  of Sudra, Manusmriti  extends a philosophy of the highest order, eternal, sacrosanct and indestructible. The wisdom of Manusmriti  is equally valid for all, across all orders of society.

Na Jatu Kamah Kamanamupabhogena Samyati  I

Havisa Krsnavartmeva Bhuya Evabhivardhate  II II / 53 II

Fire of lust is not extinguished by the objects of lust. It conflagerates just as oblation does to the sacred fire of Yajna.

Sacred fire grows by leaps and bounds when oblation is poured into it. Any amount of oblation dedicated with the intent of satiating it, is incapable of quenching the thirst of fire. In reality, oblation augments fire. Similarly, enjoyment of objects of lust acts as an oblation into the fire of lust. Any amount of enjoyment is incapable of satiating the fire of lust. Adding more to the enjoyment of objects creates more Samskara-s on Citta  that demand more actions for redemption through consummation. Hence desire for more and more enjoyment is augmented exponentially.

Quite paradoxically, fire of lust is satiated by renouncing Visaya-s  i.e. objects of enjoyment. It is indulgence of renunciation and not indulgence of Visaya-s that satiates appetite of pleasure of Indriya-s. Through renunciation, no Samskara-s are created afresh and the older ones are gradually obliterated in the crucible of renunciation, dispassion and detachment. Renunciation alone is the extinguisher of the fire of lust.

Vedastyagasca Yajnasca Niyamasca Tapansi Ca  II

Na Vipradustabhavasya Siddhim Gacchantim Karhicit  II II / 56 II

Pursuit of Veda-s, Tyaga, Yajna, Brahmacarya, Tapa  etc. performed by a wicked and diabolical one, are never realised.

Evil oriented, wicked ones are ever engaged in pursuit of Bhoga  of Visaya  as they are completely subjugated by the pleasure of sense-gratification. They always discover themselves entirely at the mercy of their senses i.e. being Ajitendriya. When such diabolical ones perform Tyaga  i.e. renunciation, Yajna  i.e. sacrificial offerings of oblation into sacred fire, Brahmacarya  i.e. practice of continence, Tapa  i.e. observance of austerities etc., these are mainly directed at attaining more of the pleasure emanating from sense-gratification. Since these are never accomplished with the objective of strengthening Sattvika  traits, all these spiritual strives ultimately turn regressive for the wicked one. Sraddha  i.e. faith blended with reverence and Bhakti  i.e. devotion are the cardinal requirements for any spiritual strive to be realised in true sense. It is almost impossible for a wicked one to nurture sterling virtues of Sraddha  and Bhakti  to be able to pursue Sattva  and Adhyatma.

Indriyanam Tu Sarvesam Yadyekam Ksaratindriyam  I

Tenasya Ksarati Prajna Drteh Padadivodakam  II II / 58 II

Even one deviant Indriya  out of all leads to dissolution of wisdom like a leaking leather water-bag.

Even a tiny hole at the bottom of a water container leads to complete loss of water held by it sooner than later. Similarly, out of five, even one Indriya  that is unrestrained, chases it’s Visaya  for sense-gratification uninterruptedly causing dilution then dissolution of entire spiritual advancement. What happens in reality is that the deviant Indriya  continuously tempts and prods remaining four Indriya-s to fall in line and it does succeed ultimately in transforming all Indriya-s deviant. Final consequence is invariably disastrous for the seeker. Introversion and restraining of Indriya-s ought to be undertaken comprehensively as an integral component of spiritual strive without allowing any Indriya  to go wayward. Even a single deviant conduct not conforming to the tenets of Adhyatma  is capable of destroying entire spiritual gain and one is compelled to begin with the begining.

Na Tishthati Tu Yah Purvam Nopaste Yasca Pascimam  I

Sa Sudravad Bahiskaryah Sarvasmad Dvijakarmanah  II II / 62 II

One who does not practise spiritual pursuits at every dawn and dusk should be regarded as Sudra, excluded from the orders of Dvija-s and clubbed with Sudra-s.

Sudra-s belong to the order of Varna  who are exempted from pursuing spiritual-religious rituals every sunrise and sunset owing to their personal constraints. Maharsi Manu  has ordained it absolutely mandatory herein for the members of other three Varna-s to pursue such rituals religiously without interruptions. Brahmana, Ksatriya  and Vaisya Varna-s are known together as Dvija-s as they are consecrated through Upanayana  ceremony. All Dvija-s have to follow respective mandates as ordained and those who are unable to accomplish so, should no longer be regarded as belonging to the class of Dvija-s.

It is yet again affirmed by Maharsi Manu  that Dvija-s must continuously deport themselves as Dvija-s lest they are disrobed and excluded from the order of Dvija-s. Honour of being a Dvija  is an uninterrupted pursuit which does not belong to anyone as a measure of inheritance. Nor does it become a permanent accolade once awarded by the concerned Guru. Every Dvija  must continuously strive to remain worthy of the Varna  conceded to him.
Naprstah Kasyacid Bruyanna Cannyayena Prchhatah  I

Jannanapi Hi Medhavi Jadavalloka Acaret  II II / 85 II

One may never expound without being implored, never respond to those who pose with malevolent inclination. One may precept anyone blessed with pellucid, reverent and inquisitive mind even without being implored.

Maharsi Manu  counsels to proceed with abundant caution while expounding the sacrosanct wisdom enshrined in scriptures. The wisdom belongs to the highest order of perception and cognition, the ultimate one beyond which nothing more is left behind to assimilate, has been attained by the great seers after monumental strives and struggles spanning innumerable lives and deaths. A wisdom of absolute nature, so hard earned at the expense of one’s entire existence, certainly deserves to be treated with utmost reverence and devotion. Those who have not earned eligibility to receive the wisdom after considerable Sadhana, must not be allowed to access that. It must also not be extended and expounded to those who do not venture to pray for that or request for it imbued with inappropriate intentions. Those who possess a transparent mind full of reverence and devotion, vocally eager to attain the wisdom, may be precepted appropriately even without their express exhortations in this regard.

During colonial domination of the country by the Britishers, several missionaries trooped into with the sole intention to learn the wisdom enshrined in scriptures, contaminate with contrarians, only to mislead the society so as to ensure their utter ruin. Most prominent among them was a missionary Max Mueller who studied Veda-s, admired all that and did his best to distort the most ancient scripture and mutilate the wisdom. They understood very well, unless the nation is severed from her glorious past, splendour of cultural heritage, her monumental achievements, it would be impossible for the colonials to dominate and plunder the nation. Maharsi Manu  revealed his enormous, rather titanic foresightedness thousands of years ago while cautioning us, not to reveal the wisdom to those who did not deserve that.

Vidyayaiva Samam Kamam Martavyam Brahmavadina  I

Apadyapi Hi Ghorayam Na Tvenamirine Vapet  II II / 88 II

Even if an erudite one dies with his knowledge, he ought not plant that in an infertile land, howsoever severe be the adversities.

Knowledge and wisdom must not be bequeathed to anyone who does not deserve that even if it’s very existence is jeopardized. If knowledge is transmitted to anyone unworthy for the same, there is every likelihood of it’s being distorted and applied with nefarious intentions. Once damage is wrought, particularly on subtler planes of awareness, it is a long drawn, arduous battle to reverse the damage and prepare minds to receive the right knowledge. Indeed, the damage continues across generations leading to immense anarchy.

Maharsi Manu  is immensely conscious of knowledge being passed into right minds that are spiritually inclined and eligible to receive. Once in right hands and minds, the knowledge always flourishes for the benediction of all, harming none.

Brahmanam Kusalam Prcchetksatrabandhumanamayam  I

Vaisyam Ksemam Samagamya Sudramarogyameva Ca  II II / 102 II

On meeting, Brahmana  be enquired about bliss and spiritual pursuits, Ksatriya  about valour and health, Vaisya  about security of wealth and joys and Sudra  about health and well-being.

The Sloka  precepts on how to greet a Brahmana, Ksatriya, Vaisya  and Sudra  on meeting personally. Greetings precepted by Maharsi Manu  are perfectly in harmony with the occupational classification that he enunciated in previous Sloka-s.

A Brahmana  must be inquired of his spiritual pursuits and dissemination of knowledge; Ksatriya  of his valour and battle-preparedness; Vaisya  of wealth, it’s security while Sudra, of his health and general well-being. These are all based on their Varna-s and respective occupations. It is eminently obvious that entire conduct of all Varna-s is structured, completely unrelated to their origins or any other personal attribute.

Vittam Bandhurvayah Karma Vidya Bhavati Pancami  I

Etani Manyasthanani Gariyo Yadyaduttaram  II II / 111 II

Wealth, kinship, geriatric seniority, virtuous Karma-s and the fifth one, high order of education are venerable. Same is the increasing order of venerability too.

Maharsi Manu  herein catalogues qualifying attributes of man in an increasing order of respectability. Wealth symbolises materialistic possession, lowest in order of venerability. It is futile and regressive to pursue wealth even after all basic necessities and obligations are honoured. Whatever wealth is attained thereafter, should be largely mobilised for commonweal and charity.

Kinship with relatives, friends and associates is the second in order of importance. One must be conscious of honouring all social obligations with respect to all kin in a spirit of good-will, empathy and compassion. The desire to belong to is aptly satisfied through honest and pragmatic kinship.

Geriatric seniority represents experiences and lessons of life accumulated hitherto. That constitutes core of one’s wisdom that must be revered. It is third in the order of venerability after wealth and kinship.

Virtuous and noble Karma-s are next in order of venerability. If these Karma-s are enacted in the spirit of Yajna, Sattva  is rendered resurgent leading to extensive consecration of the inner being through purification. This process of purification entails dissolution of existing, outstanding Samskara-s of Karma-s yet to be redeemed, that remain embedded in Citta. Also no Samskara-s of Karma-s are created afresh to be added to Citta. In due course, Citta  is completely bereft of Samskara-s, heading towards the ultimate goal of Moksa.

Finally, education is the highest one with respect to venerability. It leads to attainment of wisdom which evolves after spiritual strive, into Viveka-Khyati  i.e. discriminative wisdom.Viveka-Khyati  is the penultimate step before the ultimate abode of Kaivalya  is attained. Beyond that, absolutely nothing remains to be attained.

In succeeding Sloka-s, Maharsi Manu  has explicitly defined order of venerability for nonagenarian Sudra, charioteer or passenger in a vehicle, patient, one carrying a load, women, graduate, king, bridegroom etc.

Kamanmata Pita Cainam Yadutpadayato Mithah  I

Sambhutim Tasya Tam Vidyadyadyonavabhijayate  II II / 122 II

Parents procreate for the desire of progeny and what is born is mere advent into the world.

Acaryastvasya Yam Jatim Vidhivadvedaparagah  I

Utpadayati Savitrya Sa Satya Sajaramara  II II / 123 II

Erudite Seers initiate him into a life that is real, neither decays nor ceases, through Upanayana  of Gayatri.

In these two Sloka-s, Maharsi Manu  distinguishes physical birth from spiritual one, into the world from the standpoint of personal advancement and consolidating the social order as ordained by him.

One’s physical birth into the world is a manifest of the natural desire or instinctual impulsion of man to procreate. This birth is purely physical, allowing human embodiment of Atma  to enter into the world as Jivatma. Gross birth into the world is the springboard to embark on various pursuits of spiritual refinement and advancement. While gross birth opens up plethora of possibilities to refine and rise, it does not for the acquisition of a respectable Varna. Gross physical birth is of no significance in assigning a social rung to the newly born.

On the contrary, when an erudite Guru  initiates a young learner through invocation of Gayatri Mantra  during Upanayana  ceremony, he is initiated into an existence that is ultimately proved to be the real one, the enlightened one, the ceaseless one and the emancipated one. The novice then, embarks upon a cosmic journey that assures him of dawn of Viveka-Khyati  i.e. discriminative cognition, a truly meaningful life of Sadhana  and Yajna  culminating into attainment of Kaivalya  i.e. the ultimate state of existence beyond which nothing remains to be achieved.

Varna  i.e. whether Brahmana, Ksatriya, Vaisya  or Sudra, is assigned on the basis of predominance of Guna  i.e. Sattva, Raja  or Tama  as well as performance appraisal of the beginner-learner by the Guru  over a period of learning in hermitage. Social order of family of the initiated one, does not exert any influence in awarding the order of Varna.

The word Jatim  herein refers to plurality of births and not caste which indeed, never existed in the entire wisdom of Manusmriti.

Vipranam Jnanato Jyaisthyam Ksatriyanam Tu Viryatah  I

Vaisyanam Dhanyadhanatah Sudranameva Janmatah  II II / 130 II

Brahmana  is venerable by virtue of erudition, Ksatriya  by valour, Vaisya  by wealth and Sudra, by age.

Causes of venerability of four orders of Varna  are decided on the basis of their respective Dharma.

Since Brahmana  is mandated to pursue and precept wisdom and knowledge, his erudition is the foundation of his acceptability and venerability.

Ksatriya  is honourable by virtue of his valour and expertise in warfare.

Third order of Vaisya  is respected on the basis of enormity of wealth generated in society and philanthropic errands undertaken.

Finally, fourth order of Varna  i.e. Sudra  is respected on the basis of his age and intensity of experiences of life accumulated. Thus, occupations based on Guna-s alone decide order of venerability.

All these causes and bases of venerability are in complete harmony with their respective Dharma. None of these are based on inheritance by virtue of birth or filial consanguinity.

Yasya Vangamanasi Suddhe Samyaggupte Ca Sarvada  I

Sa Vai Sarvamavapnoti Vedantopagatam Phalam  II II / 135 II

One whose Vani  and Mana  are consecrated, alone attains boons of Vedanta.

Mana  is the mind that acts like an usher at the entrance of intellectual and cognitive faculties. When boons of Vedanta  in the manifest of Vedic  wisdom approach one’s intellectual domain, Mana  ought to be consecrated to usher it into the cognitive faculty behind. Consecration of mind comes about when it is disciplined and restrained inward through persistent spiritual pursuits. An indisciplined, wayward mind devoid of consecration is always unable to hustle in boons of Vedantic  wisdom into it’s Buddhi  standing behind graciously.

Similarly, Vani  i.e. faculty of speaking too, must be disciplined and consecrated lest boons of Vedic  wisdom exit Buddhi, be lost forever. Vani  that is not consecrated, fritters away entire Vedic  wisdom attained as a measure of culmination of ardent spiritual pursuits and Svadhyaya  i.e. self-study of scriptures.

Sammanad Brahmano Nityamudvijet Visadiva  I

Amrtasyeva Cakangksedavamanasya Sarvada  II II / 137 II

Brahmana  ever be indifferent towards poison of accolades galore, expect nectar of scorn always.

Admiration, adoration and adulation have been declared venomous for Brahmana-s by Maharsi Manu. As Brahamana-s are mandated to be erudite, well-versed in Sruti, Vedanta Darsana  and spiritual pursuits, probability of their being arrogant, egoic runs high. Hence, as a measure of abundant precaution, Maharsi Manu  mandated Brahmana-s to shun the poison of admiration and adulation as these create Ahamkara  too quickly. Wisdom of the higher order must be escorted by humility of the highest order lest it wallows in decrepitude shrouded in egoism and arrogance.

Aspiration for admiration, adoration and adulation must be dissolved by imposing desire for the nectar of derision upon it. So directed Maharsi Manu  because erudition and humility are refreshed, strengthened when scorn heaped upon is addressed with utmost care and wisdom. Traces of Ahamkara  whenever raise their heads, are obliterated immediately when greeted with the nectar of scorn and derision. Sanctity of the consecration of inner being of a Brahmana  is thus, preserved unravaged.

Sukham Hyavamatah Sete Sukham Ca Pratibudhyate  I

Sukham Carati Lokeasminnavamanta Vinasyati  II II / 138 II

Because one inured to opprobrium sleeps, remains awake and exists blissfully while the other is attained to agonies and decline.

An enlightened one is called upon to be utterly indifferent to all the humiliations and derision that are poured upon him anywhere. Once detached to such opprobria, these fail to disrupt one’s peace and tranquillity of mind, intellect and routine life. Then the blessed one is also poised to even transcend these undesirable vanities in his consciousness and go far beyond attaining his hidden glory. Reflections emitted from such an enlightened one are so influential that the tormentor may eventually be accosted by his indiscretion, regret profoundly and inspired to reform ultimately.

On the contrary, if humiliation is accepted by the tormented one, it is immediately transformed into an intense agony that continues nagging him incessantly leading to distortions in his inner subtle being followed by decline and destruction.

Insult, humiliation etc. are the best ones to be ignored ruthlessly.

A Haiva Sa Nakhagrebhyah Paramam Tapyate Tapah  I

Yah Sragvyapi Dvijoadhite Svadhyayah Saktitoanvaham  II II / 142 II

Dvija-s pursuing Veda-s despite being householders, pursue Tapa  of the highest order upto their toes.

Study and pursuit of Veda-s have been accorded high order of sanctity by Maharsi Manu. It is regarded as the most significant element of one’s entire existence as it constitutes one’s Dharma  and Karma. Ascetics and renunciants move into Veda-s to pursue the wisdom like fish into water as it happens to be their major occupation.

However, Dvija-s who are betrothed and living like householders, may find it cumbersome to be regular with Vedic  pursuits owing to paucity of time and other resources. If a Dvija  is able to transcend these hurdles associated with householders, it is profoundly admirable and creditable as much as an ascetic pursues it incessantly with his entire being and consciousness, then succeeds in attaining the ultimate glory. Pursuit of Vedic  wisdom by householders is highly commendable spiritually.

Yoanadhitya Dvijo Vedamanyatra Kurute Sramam  I

Sa Jivanneva Sudratvamasu Gacchati Sanvayah  II II / 143 II

Dvija-s pursuing otherwise instead of Veda-s, are invariably attained to the Varna  of Sudra-s alongwith their kin in that life itself.

It is already mandated earlier by Maharsi  Manu  explicitly for Dvija-s i.e. those who have undergone Upanayana  ceremony, to study and pursue Veda-s. It is their prime responsibility and Dharma. Dvija-s who do not pursue Veda-s forfeit their privilege of being called Brahmana, Ksatriya  or Vaisya. Pursuit of Veda-s is so sacrosanct that such Dvija-s who fail to honour it as their prime responsibility, are immediately relegated to the Varna  of Sudra. Then they are rendered eligible to provide personal services to the other three Varna-s.

It is impossible for anyone to continue in a specified Varna  if he fails to honour tenets of Dharma  allocated to that Varna. Even one-time allocation of Varna  during discipleship in hermitage too, is not the ultimate one. One has to practise it continuously, honour the relevant norms established and preserve the sanctity of the Varna  assigned to him irrespective of any other factor.

Sevetemanstu Niyamanbrahmacari Gurau Vasan  I

Sanniyamyendriyagramam Tapovrddhayarthamatmanah  II II / 150 II

While dwelling in the hermitage of Guru, while pursuing enrichment of wisdom and knowledge, Brahmacari  is ordained to practise following instructions.

Brahmacari  is the one who lives the life of an ascetic in a hermitage with his Guru. Observing severe asceticism with augmented emphasis of celibacy, he is required to pursue study of Veda-s and other scriptures along with other disciplines of study. Brahmacari  compulsorily undergoes Upanayana Samskara  at the hermitage under the supervision of his Guru. As the discipleship advances a bit, Brahmacari  is awarded a Varna  depending upon his abilities, faculties and inclinations. Brahmacarya  i.e. the state of being a Brahmacari, continues in the hermitage so long as the Brahmacari  carries on with his studies before entering into the phase of being a householder.

Maharsi Manu  has prescribed a descriptive catalogue of mandatory duties and responsibilities to be practised by every Brahmacari  so long as he dwells in the hermitage in the august company of his Guru.

Svabhava Esa Narinam Naranamiha Dusanam  I

Atoarthanna Pramadyanti Pramadasu Vipascitah  II II / 188 II

Moral fibre being disrupted immediately after coming in contact of man with woman, is quite natural herein. Hence the wise ones must observe extreme discretion while interacting with women.

In this Sloke, Maharsi Manu  has likened man and woman with Indriya  and Visaya  respectively. If Indriya-s are conceded liberty of interacting with respective Visaya-s, it is known as the state of Bhoga. When Indriya-s are denied the liberty consciously, it is the state of pursuit of Tapa.

If Indriya-s remain in the state of Bhoga  perpetually, more and more Samskara-s are generated requiring increasing number of births and deaths in the world, more of agonies and miseries. Bhoga  is a certain recipe of decline and degradation. Revelling perpetually in the state of Tapa  leads to dissolution of incumbent albeit un-redeemed Samskara-s, purification and consecration of one’s Citta. Through Tapa, one advances towards Moksa  gradually.

Undesirable and purposeless interaction between man and woman too, leads both in the same direction of decline and destruction ultimately.

Yadi Stri Yadyavarajah Sreyah Kincitsamacaret  I

Tatsarvamacaredyukto Yatra Vaasya Ramenmanah  II II / 198 II

One is at liberty to be inspired even by a woman or Sudra  engaged in noble Karma-s. Or be engaged in the Karma  of his inclination ordained in Sruti.

In addition to advising Dvija-s to follow their Sva-Dharma  based on Varna-s awarded to them in Guru’s hermitage, Maharsi Manu  has also directed them to emulate every noble Karma enacted by anyone including women and Sudra-s. Sudra-s and women have been specifically mentioned because they do not belong to the three orders of Dvija-s and it does not in any way amount to any kind of derogatory reference whatsoever. Varna  system is certainly obstinate in casting upon Dvija-s the mandatory Karma-s based on their inherent Guna-s yet it extends the liberty to all for any noble, philanthropic acts meant to benefit those who deserve and need that, to be pursued generously.

It is profoundly and quite eloquently declared that not only Varna-s are not inheritable, acts of benediction and philanthropy are open to all and no body enjoys any kind of privilege over that.

Also, the act of emulating women and Sudra-s must not be hindered by egoic issues. We are mandated by Maharsi Manu  to rise above every narrow consideration whatsoever to support and emulate all acts of nobility initiated by anyone, irrespective of any social order or classification whatsoever.

Sraddhanah Subham Vidyamadaditavaradapi  I

Antyadapi Param Dharmam Striratnam Duskuladapi  II II / 213 II

While ardently pursuing knowledge and wisdom, one must accept wisdom and Dharma  graciously even from less fortunate ones, also an accomplished woman from the downtrodden.

In spite of the Varna  order and the order of attaining knowledge and wisdom from one’s Guru in a hermitage, Maharsi Manu  has not restrained anyone from obtaining wisdom even from an illiterate, downtrodden one. Underlying rationale is that wisdom dawns upon based on one’s level of spiritual awakening, past Karma-s and un-redeemed Samskara-s. Wisdom is never the proceed of one’s Varna  rather, it is Varna  that is the proceed of one’s wisdom. Since wisdom is directly linked with one’s spirituality, it ought to be respected irrespective of it’s source. Hence, wisdom must be accepted graciously even from a Sudra. There have been innumerable instances wherein members of Sudra Varna  too, have been profoundly enlightened and their pearls of wisdom received very well even by Dvija-s.

Similarly, women even from Sudra Varna  must be accepted by Dvija-s if they are accomplished with Sattvika Karma-s and wisdom of the high order. After such a betrothal, she shares her Varna  with that of her spouse. Such women are profoundly eligible and entitled to advance in Karma-s and spiritual pursuits. After laying down the Varna  order, Maharsi Manu  has mentioned all the digressions and diversions which happen to be only supportive of the order and impart the society with an augmented dynamism and vitality. Objective of the Varna  order is continuous forward movement on the course of spiritual pursuits rather than raising a static and regressive society to meet it’s inevitable end eventually.

Visadapyamrtam Grahyam Baladapi Subhasitam  I

Amitradapi Sadvrttamamedhyadapi Kancanam   II II / 214 II

One may accept nectar even from venom, wisdom from a teenager, noble conduct from foe and gold from impure.

If nectar is churned out of poison, it must be accepted as it is in no way imperfect or detrimental to one’s well-being. So is the precious metal gold that is always impure in it’s natural habitat. It’s ore is always processed and purified to redeem the metal.

Even a youngster may offer pearls of wisdom which is in reality, based on pursuits undertaken in previous life whose Samskara-s have manifested in current life. Karma-s have their own gestation period entirely independent of one’s age. Hence, wisdom offered even by a teenager does not suffer from any kind of infirmity, ought to be regarded as sacrosanct as that of an erudite Seer.

Noble conduct is never a prerogative of one’s friend alone. Even a foe for a principled stand, deports in a noble manner, a principled conduct. Such a principled, noble conduct must be respected and emulated, devoid of any egoic dilemma whatsoever.

Striyo Ratnanyatho Vidya Dharmah Saucam Subhasitam  I

Vividhani Ca Silpani Samadeyani Sarvatah  II II / 215 II

Accomplished and meritorious women, precious jewels, knowledge and wisdom, truth, sanctity, noble words and knowledge of various skills must be accepted from all climes and communities.

Maharsi Manu  precepts, women for matrimonial alliances be accepted who are accomplished, well-read and meritorious. Underlying rationale appears to be the reality that Soul is transmitted into foetus during conception through father alone while mother is the provider of an abode of her body for the foetus to grow and impart noble virtues after birth. Owing to lineage being patrilineal, origin of women is obscured by the merits and higher attributes earned by her through various pursuits.

Similarly, knowledge and wisdom truth, sanctity, noble words and skills do not really belong to a given country or community. All these belong to nature, are universal in attributes and meant to serve entire humanity. Hence, there should be no qualms in accepting these for one’s use.

Abrahmanadadhyayanmapatkale Vidhiyate  I

Anuvrajya Ca Susrusa Yavadadhyanam Guroh  II II / 216 II

In a situation of calamity with no other option available, knowledge may be received even from a non-Brahmana. Pupil-disciple must serve and obey such a Guru  too.

Continuing with the doctrine of utter meritocracy, Maharsi Manu  precepts all to accept knowledge and wisdom even from a non-Brahmana  in case of exigencies like natural calamities, war etc. when entire social order is disrupted and it is virtually impossible to follow established conventions of Varna  order. If the Guru  is erudite irrespective of his Varna  order, he ought to be accepted immediately as the regular Guru, venerated and served accordingly  with no discrimination whatsoever. After completion of preception, Guru  must also be offered Guru-Daksina  with maximum adoration and reverence as would have been in normal circumstances.

Nabrahmane Gurau Sisyo Vasamatyantikum Vaset  I

Brahmane Cananucane Kangksangatimanuttamam  II II / 217 II

Disciples aiming advancement ought not stay for long with a non-Brahmana Guru  as well as a Brahmana Guru  not proficient in Vedic  studies.

According to the doctrine of Maharsi Manu  illustrated earlier, non-Brahmana Guru  is advisable and acceptable only in extra-ordinary circumstances. However, as soon as circumstances change for the better, an ardent seeker of wisdom must look for a Brahmana Guru. Emphasis on a Brahmana Guru  is in reality, an emphasis on a Guru  who has attained enlightenment of the Brahma  and not necessarily the one born to a Brahmana.

Emphasis on the highest quality of Vedic  education in the hermitage of Guru  is further underscored by the mandate that if a Guru  is not learned, proficient in Vedic  studies, he must be discarded irrespective of his being a Brahmana. Indeed, it does not serve the avowed purpose of a Dvija  to cling to an incompetent and deficient Guru  albeit belonging to the Brahmana Varna.

Evam Carati Yo Vipro Brahmacaryamviplutah  I

Sa Gacchatyuttamasthanam Na Cehajayate Punah  II II / 224 II

Dvija-s who pursue Brahmacarya  uninterruptedly, are attained to the highest abode with never to be born again.

Brahmacarya  is the spiritual pursuit entailing one to deport oneself in the highest traditions of Adhyatma  without pause. When elements of Astangayoga  of Maharsi Patanjali  i.e. Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pratyahara, Pranayama, Dharana, Dhyana  and Samadhi  are ardently pursued by a Brahmacari, he is certain to attain the highest abode of enlightenment, highest order of sanctity and highest expanse of divinity. That is the state of absoluteness i.e. Param Cetana  when the Brahmacari  is in perfect communion with Param Brahmatma.

Once attained to that state of highest existence, Brahmacari  is left with nothing else to enact, attain or learn. That is the state of Moksa  from where there is no reversion to embodiment, to undertake cosmic journey across the world.

All these injunctions and mandates are entirely Varna-neutral.

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