I wrote this article in my diary on 13th January 2012. However, this article\’s importance and relevance is most appropriate now. In the recent times Hindu tradition is under fire from different sections of society. This is a time of test for Hindus to learn about their own tradition, about Sri Krishna, the Bhagavad Gita, the 4 attributes of human character, behaviour and action, and the so called caste system so that you can prevent yourself from being brainwashed by non-Hindu communities.
So, let us begin with Sri Krishna. Did you know that Sri Krishna did not create the caste system? The caste system was created barely 200 years ago by the Christians to divide and control people. People were misled to believe that Sri Krishna created the caste system. In the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna speaks about the 4 attributes of human character, behaviour and actions that exist in each one of us. Sri Krishna did not create the caste system.
Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita has said;
\”catur-varnyam maya srstam
tasya kartaram api mam
viddhy akartaram avyayam\”.
\”I have created the four attributes of human character, behaviour and action. Though I exist in you, I am not the doer.\”– Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita
The 4 attributes of human character, behaviour and action
The Hindu tradition has divided our tasks into 4 attributes or Varnas. These attributes are of human character, behaviour and action. They are Sudra, Brahmana, Vaisya and Kshatriya. Further, these four Varnas are not castes as widely popularised. The four Varnas are present in each one of us. In the modern day, I have interpreted these Varnas or attributes in the following way.
When we wake up in the morning, we begin our day with cleansing. This is the quality of Sudra in us. Internal cleansing by way of brushing our teeth and tongue and external cleansing after morning ablutions and bathing are the characteristics and actions of Sudra in us. Other behaviours of Sudra in us are reflected in tasks such as washing clothes, and keeping our house neat and clean.
The Sudra has to exemplify good personal hygiene, good health as well as good house keeping. He must also demonstrate examples of maintaining good hygiene in the social environment. He must maintain his garden and other beautiful arenas for public use.
Through such examples, he needs to share the wealth of knowledge with those ready to learn. Sudra is not a derogatory term.
Did you know that in the olden days, the doctor or Vaidya was called Sudras?
Once we have cleansed ourselves and our homes, the next task is to begin our prayers. This is our role of being the Brahmana. Brahmana means, one who connects with consciousness through practices such as prayers, chants and inner practice of meditation and other austerities.
The Brahmana must sanctify the spiritual space and set examples through chanting mantras and performing several austere rituals. Through these practices, the Brahmana shares values of such practices and teaches those who are ready to learn.
Did you know Ravana was a Brahmana of high acclaim in his time? Despite his ability to achieve the highest of the penance, he followed the way of a dacoit, a thief and a characterless person.
When you are done with your prayers, chants and austerities, your next task is to set out for your work. You take upon the role of the Vaisya or the person who conducts transactions.
The Vaisya has to maintain sanctity of the place where business is transacted through right conduct and fair practices. He has to set such lofty ideals and share them with those who are ready to learn.
You also have a responsibility towards maintaining a healthy home and healthy family and a social responsibility towards good governance. The sound functioning of both these systems will promote peace and harmony at home and in the state.
Disharmony arises due to ones inability to understand one\’s own purpose and role in ones personal life and in society.
Harmony in society comes from one\’s own understanding of one\’s place and value in society and ones willingness to contribute to society.
Did you know that Rama was a Kshatriya?
Women are pillars of light. They must shower this light gracefully through their work or by supporting their father or husband. The unmarried women must set an example of chastity and cleanliness. The women must show motherly feelings through their compassionate behaviour.
The men folk must act responsibly, treating all women likewise. They must treat women in a motherly or sisterly manner so as to maintain chastity in society.
Men must exemplify high morals through their behaviour and actions. They must always demonstrate examples of selfless service in society. Men must sacrifice themselves for the upkeep of the society. This can be achieved by replacing individualistic thinking with global thinking and their actions must reflect their thinking.
We all have these attributes in us. We need to discover the measure of these 4 attributes in us and use them to the utmost personal and social need. Such a society where people live with the 4 attributes of human character, behaviour and action, as Krishna directs through the Bhagavad Gita, will be a model for all the future societies and governments.
— Dr. Mahesh Krishnamurthy