[Advaita-l] Re : Karma and Reincarnation (Chandrashekar)

Lakshmi Muthuswamy lakmuthu at yahoo.com
Fri Jul 21 05:21:18 CDT 2006

Namaste Rammohanji
The comments of Sri Dayananda Saraswati on Gita verse
4.13 chAturvarNyam mayA srushtam... guNakarmavibhAgashah  varNa  classification

 This topic seems to be a topic of fiery discussion and a burning issue in todays world.

I am going to be quoting from the Gita Home study. pages 60 -68 Book 1

If God made all these divisions among people - brahmanas, kshatriyas, vaishyas,sudras, to use the vedic context - then he must be definitely partial because the brahmanas seem to be better off.

In verse 4.13 to deal with this concern Krishna says he made them all, and at the same time, says that he is not to blame.

cAturvarnyam mayA srstam gunakarmavibhagashah

tasya kartAramapi maam viddhyakatAramavyayam

maya- by me, guNa -karma-vibhagashah - a division based on duties and qualities, cAturvarnyam - fourfold grouping of people srstam - was created: 
tasya -its kartAram - author api -even , mAm - Me: 
avyayam - changeless, akartAram - non -doer, viddhi - know.

Meaning of the verse:
The four-fold grouping of people, a division based on duties and qualities, was created by me. Even though I am its author, know Me to be a non-doer ever changeless

Here Krishna is referring to the Vedic system that divided people into four groups, saying that he has created both, the people and the groups. As the creator of everything, srsti-kartA, the Lord cannot deny his authorship, nor does he here while talking to Arjuna.

Although this classification into four groups refers to the Indian context, what Krishna says here is universally applicabale. in other contexts, we see people divided in terms of royalty, nobility, wealth and poverty. Still others refer to groups of people as the upper class, up[per middle class, middle class, lower middle class and so on. Wherever there are people, such classifications or groups are always to be found.

In the Vedic context, people are divided into four groups on the basis of their qualities, gunatah vibhagah, and on the basis of what they have to do, karmatah vibhaga. This division was created by bhagavAn.

The Nature of Gunas:

The division of people according to qualities, guNa vibhAga, is found all over the world, not just in India. The qualities upon which this division is based are psychological, meaning that they refer to the composition and disposition of the mind. The division based upon the quality of the mind, mano guNa is fourfold.

the GuNas or qualities themselves are three in number - sttva, rajas and tamas. every one has these three qualities and from certain combinations of these three qualities, four groups are derived.

One possible composition of these three gunas is sttava-rajas-tamas, wherin sattva is predominanat, rajas is less predominanat and tamas is least predominanat. A second combination in the order of predominanace is rajas-sattva-tamas. Similarly the third composition is rajas-tamas-sattva and the fourth is tamas -rajas-sattva. These four combinations are the only four compositions possible. There can be shades of each of these four, but a fifth combination is not possible.

Why, you may ask, can tamas-sattva-rajas or sattva-tamas rajas not be a fifth or sixth combination? By looking at each of these three gunas involved, we shall see why only four varnas or groups of people are possible when the division is based on their gunas.

Sattva stands for any type of thinking: - contemplativeness, inquiry, silence(shanti) and the disciplines,shama and dama stand for sattva.

Rajas  stands for activity: -  Discipline is also found in a person in whom rajas is predeominant: but there will also be a lot of ambition,energy, enthusiasm along with it - the go getter, for example.

Tamas stands for dullness, inactivity.- Tamas is a certain dullness, lethargy and laziness.

Every one is a combination of these three and as we have seen, the combinations can vary. Babies, for example. tamas -rajas-sattva. Tamas being predominant they sleep for most of the time. As they get older, rajas predominates. and they become very active. Finally when they are grown, we expect them to be sattvikAs.

To be continued in the next.

om namo narayanya

Lakshmi Muthuswamy


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