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SRI CAITANYA SIKSAMRTA ch.2/3

20. 3. 2011

Identifying ones qualification is a very important item of conduct.  This qualification is of two types: qualification for a certain action and the extent of qualification for action.  All people are not qualified for all types of punya activities.  Though a person may be able to perform a certain activity, he may not be qualified to execute it  in such a way to produce  the desired auspicious result.  If a person performs an action without first seeing his suitability to do it, one cannot say  if the act will bring the intended result.  For that reason  it is necessary to consider ones qualification.  As the performer cannot judge his own qualification, he must inquire from an authority or guru on this matter.  And in undertaking a particular rite, a priest must decide on the suitable process.  Thus people must accept a qualified  guru and a qualified priest. The modern method of accepting guru and priest  is not the process envisaged by the writers of scripture.  Accepting guru and priest as a matter of formality is simply useless.  One must choose a qualified person.  If such  a person does not exist in the locality one must search elsewhere.  Giving an example will make this clearer.

Digging ponds is a punya karma.  If personally digging, one is qualified if he has enough strength,  tools, a piece of land and assistance.  If expenses are to be incurred, money is also necessary.  A person is qualified for the act to the extent that he has strength, tools, land, assistance and money.  Without these items  in sufficient quantity,   there will be no result, except loss of energy, time or money. For  marriage the qualification is a healthy body, ability  to support a family, and a mentality suitable for living with a wife.  In desiring to perform any act, a person should see his qualification. 

Qualification may be intrinsic or circumstantial.  Man has three divisions of life: time of learning (educational period of life), time of work and time of  recreation.  During education, the person studies books, associates with others, sees others working, and receives instruction. What tendency emerges prominently at this time is the intrinsic nature of the person.  Though a  person  usually gets association , instruction and information under influence of the family in which he is born, sometimes his instruction, association and nature are different from that of his family.  Thus the person may have a different nature than that of his family.   That nature which is perceived in a person after his education and before he takes up work is his intrinsic nature.  

The wise have scientifically classified nature into four types: brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya and sudra. Those who have sense control, mind control, tolerance, purity, forgiveness, nonduplicity, cultivation of knowledge and faith worship of the Lord have brahmanical nature.  Those who have valor, energy, determination, dexterity, fearlessness in battle, charitable inclination,  ability to protect others and ability  to control others  have  ksatriya nature.   Those who are inclined to agriculture, raising cows and trade have vaisya nature.  Those who maintain their life by serving others have sudra nature. 1  

Those who do not distinguish proper from improper action, have no inclination for righteousness, are fond of argument, are extremely selfish, think only of food, and are devoid of marriage rules, are called antyaja or outcast.  Without giving up such a nature, the real nature of a human being does not manifest.  Only four classes are admitted as human.  According to nature, a person possesses certain qualities.  According to those qualities a person should accept work and duty.  If one performs work contradictory to ones nature,  it will not give proper result.     It is hard to change a nature once matured. Therefore one should work and worship according to ones nature. 
According to these natures, the people of India were classed in four varnas.  If society is divided according to the varnas, all the work in society becomes effective. This is beneficial for the whole world.  That society which has the varnas has a scientific basis and is worshipable by all.  Some people may question the efficacy of the varnasrama system, since the countries of Europe attained great feats and fame without having a varnasrama system.  But such a doubt has no substance, because these people  are all recent.   Due to being very bold and energetic, they have taken all the previous skills, arts and sciences, and begun to act.  But gradually with time, these societies will  fall, because of lack of scientific organization of varnas.     Though the Aryan civilization is much older,  it has remained intact with  the same  characteristics  because of the varnasrama system.
   
The Roman and Greek civilizations were much more powerful than modern European nations, but where are they  now?  Those peoples have become devoid of their previous qualities and taken up the qualities and life style of the modern nations.  They have become so transformed that they have no pride in their previous glory. Though the Aryan civilization is much more ancient than that of the Greeks and Romans, even now the people of India take pride in their ancient heroes.  Why is that?  Because the varnasrama system remained strong, the  culture of the society was preserved and not lost.  Though the ranas were defeated by the Muslims, even today they identify themselves as the descendants from Ramacandra's line. Though the people of India may have declined to a decrepit state with age, as long as the varnasrama system is practiced, the Aryan identity will also remain.   The Roman  and other peoples , who were  offshoots of Vedic civilization, declined as they  mixed with the outcast cultures such as Huns and Vandals.  If one examines modern European cultures, one will notice that all its remarkable features are due to preservation of varnas,  based upon  intrinsic nature of the individual.    Those who have  the nature of  merchants prefer that occupation, and by that profession obtain their progress.  Those who have ksatriya  nature  join the military.  Those who are sudra in nature prefer to do menial service.  Actually no society can exist without a division of varnas.  Even in matching for marriage, nature and occupational status have to be considered. Though the European  nations incorporated  some aspects of varnas, the varnas were not  systematically established there.   Civilization and knowledge advance in proportion to the degree of systemization of the varnas. 

There are two methods of approach: systematic and unsystematic.  Things work ineffectively if a systematic method is not followed. If we do not follow a scientific procedure for making a boat, then we have to use a primitive craft for crossing the water.  In the same way, as long as the varnas are not scientifically incorporated, society  will continue run on an unscientific basis.  Except for India,  all places remain with unscientific  incorporation of varnas.  That is why India alone is known  as the place of action, karma ksetra.

Is the system of varna in India now in a healthy state?  No, though the system was established in a perfect way, it gradually deteriorated, and that is responsible for the troubles and degradation of present India.  If that were not the case, India could have taken the role of an elder brother, who in old age and retirement, could give good instruction to other nations.  One should deeply consider the reason for India's deteriorated state. The varnasrama system was established in India at the beginning of Treta Yuga, at which time the Aryans had advanced knowledge.2 The rule was established that  each person took up a varna according to his nature, and getting a qualification through that varna, he would carry out his duties and work designated by the varna.   By following this system of asrama and varna according to  nature, the work of  society went on smoothly. Varna was decided solely on the basis of nature for those people whose father had no varna.   Jabali, Gautama, Janasruti and Citraratha are examples from Vedic history.  For those whose father had a varna, their varna was decided on the basis of both father's varna  and individual nature.  From the ksatriya dynasty of Narisyanta,  the great rsi Jatukarna appeared, who started a famous brahmana lineage called Agnivesya.  In the Aila dynasty, Jahnu, the son of Hotraka became a brahmana.  From  King Vitatha of Bharadvaja's dynasty came Nara and others who were ksatriyas, and Garga, who was a brahmana.   In King Bharmasva's ksatriya line were born Satananda of the Maudagalya gotra and Krpacarya.   There are many examples like this in the scriptures, showing that birth is not the only qualification for occupation.   When the actual system was practiced, the glory  of India was as strong as the midday sun.   All nations worshipped the inhabitants of Bharata as rulers, administrators and teachers.   Egypt, China and other countries used to take instruction from the people of India with great reverence.

The varnasrama system continued purely for a long time, until Jamadagni and his son Parasurama, of ksatriya nature, claimed themselves as brahmanas.  By following a varna contrary to their nature, out of self interest, they created friction  between the brahamana and ksatriya classes.   Because of this seed of enmity  between the two classes,   the procedure of judging varna by birth became fixed. In time, this system of varnas without reference to nature entered  covertly in the Manu Samhita and other scriptures.  Without possibility of attaining a higher varna, out of frustration, the ksatriyas created Buddhism to destroy the brahmana varna. But for every action there is an equally strong reaction.  Therefore the class distinction based on birth became even stronger.  With the conflict between  exploitation of position, based on birth  (the brahmanas), and  disloyalty to ones culture (ksatriyas), they gradually destroyed themselves.  Those with no brahman qualities, brahmanas in name only,   began to write scriptures with their own interest at heart, thus cheating the other classes.   Ksatriyas, without ksatriya qualities  were defeated in battle.  Without their kingdoms, they began to support Buddhism.  Vaisyas without  vaisya nature began to preach Jainism.  By this act,  the great mercantile community became weakened.  Laborers without sudra nature, without qualification for works of specific nature, became thieves. Running without any scriptural reference, the country came under the control of the Muslims.   Shipping companies entered.  The concept of service vanished. Gradually the influence of Kali deepened.3  The present pitiful condition of India, which was once the controller and teacher of the whole world, is not because of old age, but because of the corruption of the varnasrama system. By the desire of the Lord, the controller of all living beings  and rules, may there arise again in India  an empowered person who can establish the varnasrama system.  The writer of the puranas also expectantly awaits the action of Kalki. 

According to the  scriptures, a person is qualified for action according to his varna.  In this book it will be impossible to discuss this in detail.   A  brahmana is qualified for the following activities: feeding guests, bathing three times a day, deity worship, reading the Vedas, teaching, serving as priest, taking vows, leading the life of a brahmacari and sannyasi.                       
The ksatriya is qualified for righteous war, ruling a kingdom, protecting the citizens, works of charity and social relief. The vaisya is qualified for raising and protecting animals, agriculture and commerce.   The  sudra is qualified for serving the deity without mantras and serving the three higher varnas.  All men and women of all varnas are qualified for marriage rites, worship of the Lord, helping others in distress, charity,  service to guru, welcoming guests, purity of body and mind, observing festivals, serving the cow, maintaining the population and proper conduct.   Women' special qualification is serving the husband.                                                                                                                               
A person should do that work and follow those rules of varna which are most suitable to his nature. By honest judgment  person can determine the work and lifestyle  most suitable to himself, and if he cannot do so, he should consult a competent authority. Those Vaisnavas who would like additional information on these matters should consult Gopala Bhatta Gosvami's Sat Kriya Sara Dipika.
1 Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, cleanliness, satisfaction, tolerance, simple straightforwardness, devotion to me, mercy and truthfulness are the natural qualities of the brahmanas. Dynamic power, bodily strength, determination, heroism, tolerance, generosity, great endeavor, steadiness, devotion to the brahmanas and leadership are the natural qualities of the ksatriyas. Faith in Vedic civilization, dedication to charity, Vedic civilization, dedication to charity, freedom from hypocrisy, service to the brahmanas and perpetually desiring to accumulate more money are the natural qualities of the vaisyas.  Service without duplicity to the brahmanas, cows, demigods and other worshipable personalities, and complete satisfaction with whatever income is obtained in such service, are the natural qualities of sudras.  S.B.11.17.16-19
Nonviolence, truthfulness, honesty, desire for the happiness and welfare of all others and freedom from lust, anger and greed constitute duties for all members of society. S.B.11.17.21
2 in the beginning, in Satya yuga, there is only one social class, called hamsa, to which all human beings belong.  In that age all people are unalloyed devotees of the Lord from birth, and thus  learned scholars call this first age Krta yuga, or the age in which all religious duties are perfectly fulfilled.  In Satya yuga the Veda is expressed by the syllable om, and I am the only object of mental activities.  I become manifest as the four-legged bull of religion, and thus the inhabitants of Satya yuga, fixed in austerity and free from all sins, worship Me as Lord Hamsa.  O greatly fortunate one, at the beginning of Treta yuga Vedic knowledge appeared from My heart, which is the abode of the air of life, in three divisions- as Rg, Sama And Yajur.  Then from that knowledge I appeared as threefold sacrifice.  In Treta yuga the four social orders were manifested from the universal form of the Personality of Godhead.  The brahmanas appeared from the Lord's face, the ksatriyas from the Lord's arms, the vaisyas from the Lord's thighs and the sudras from the legs of that might form.  Each social division was recognized by its particular duties and behavior. S.B.11.17.10-13
3 It is abominable for a person living in the grhastha asrama to give up the regulative principles, for a brahmacari not to follow the brahmacari vows while living under the care of the guru for the vanaprastha to live in the village and engage in so-called social activities, or for the sannyasi to be addicted to sense gratification.  One who acts in this way is to be considered the lowest renegade.  Such a pretender is bewildered by the external energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and one should either reject him from  any position, or taking compassion upon him, teach him, if possible, to resume his original position. S.B.7.15.38-39
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