[Advaita-l] Re: Question: Swadharma

ravi chandrasekhara vadhula at yahoo.com
Sun Feb 5 22:56:14 CST 2006

Dear All,

It appears svadharma refers to occupation based on
varna (birth&heredity). 

Brahmins can be purohits (temple or public), spiritual
advisors/ministers to kings, vedic teachers, yogis,
and astrologers and it would be obviously within their
swadharma. Many probably were like Sudama (Bhagavan
Krishna's friend) who had home/land ploughed/farmed by
others (from royal grants) who spent time in
sandhya-vandana,agnihotra,reciting their vedic shakha,
and participating in yagnas. But to extend this
further, they could possibly not violate swadharma if
they performed ntya-karmas and engage in laukika
activities: physician, attorney, engineer, scientist,
investment banker, IT and software industry; to name

Kshatriyas wre kings and engaged in the military; that
has diminished now. Some say being an administrator
could be akin to a Kshatriya. But can a modern day
Rajput who lost his kingdom several generations ago,
still be within his svadharma if he performed his
nitya-karmas(undergo upanayana and perform sandhya)
but engage in some of the laukika activities as
mentioned above ?

Similarly could vaisyas do the same if not involved in
mercantile activities ?

It appears some Shudra jatis could have the most
flexibility and opportunity (barring reciting vedas
and becoming purohits) like the following communities
who have engaged in a variety of fields from business
to farming to becoming physicians and in some
occasions kings: Reddys, Kammas, Chettiars, Vellalas,
Vokkaligas, Patidars, Kunbi-Marrathas, many Bengali
non-dvijas, and Jatts. Their traditional occupation
per history/schistachar hasn't been fully/explicitly
defined.  Some overlap kshatriya-vaisya fileds but
these people are not dvijas. (I dont know if there is
a whywhy not ? )

Others such as Bants (Aishwarya Rai's jati)of coastal
Karnataka and Kayasths of North India dont really fit
into the chaturvarna model and also seem to have

Kanchi Acharya in his book "Hindu Dharma" exorts all
to live by svadharma based varna by birth and live
frugally without luxury.  But should one in a
fisherman or butcher jati live as such ?

Also what varna does a job as a physician, attorney,
banker, and some "modern day occupations" fall under?

Are some occupations forbidden to some varnas ?
(purohit for non-brahmins and a brahmin being a

Also according to dharma-shastras: who can be a king ?
It appears those that are Kshatriyas by birth and per
apat-kaal, Brahmins can. But we have sudra dynastys in
history: Jatt kings, Reddy kings, and Nayaka kings of
Tanjore to name a few.

Ravi Chandrasekhara

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