Gita Series – 169: Bhagavad Gita Chapter XVIII. Verse 40 – 44

There is no being on earth, or in the heaven or among the gods, or elsewhere without the three guṇas, originated from Prakṛuti.T Men are classified under four broad categories based upon their inherent qualities, based on the three guṇas. Subjugation of mind and senses, enduring hardships for the discharge of one’s prescribed obligations, both internal and external purity, forgiveness, honesty, behaviour, belief in Vedas and Sacred Scriptures, faith in God and life after death – all these constitute the inherent duties of brāhmaṇa-s. Gallantry, fearlessness, firmness, cleverness, solemnity in battles, bestowing gifts and leadership qualities are the inherent duties of kṣatriya-s. Agriculture, breeding of cattle and business are the qualities of vaiśya-s. Offering their services to other three classes is the inherent duty of śūdra-s.”

The entire creation is intertwined with the three types of guṇas. Prakṛuti has all the three guṇas in equal proportion. When Prakṛuti conjoins a soul, a creation is made and depending upon the predominance of a particular guṇa, his quality is determined. One has got the ability to alter the predominant guṇa. The determination of guṇa in a person largely depends upon one’s karmic account and impressions of subtle mind. Without the presence of guṇa-s, existence is impossible.

The entire humanity is being classified under four categories, depending upon the inherent qualities present in them. This classification is not based on one’s birth or lineage, but purely on their qualities. Due to one’s efforts, one can move from one guṇa to another guṇa. Any one of these classifications cannot exist on its own and has to depend upon the other three for a peaceful and safe co-existence.

Brāhmaṇa-s are those who actively engage themselves in gaining and imparting knowledge of the Brahman. By controlling mind and senses, they perform sacrifices on behalf of others. In the process of learning, they endure hardships. Their very purpose of existence is only for the sake of the society. They set an example for internal and external purity or purity of mind and body. They are supposed to be the embodiments of honesty and straight forwardness. They should have immense faith in the Lord and through understanding about souls. They stand as a connecting link between the Lord and His creations. They have to be compassionate and should not be greedy. Their main source of income is their fees for rituals and secondary source of income is the gifts given by other groups. They should set examples and make others follow the right spiritual path.

The next category is kṣatriya-s. They have inherent quality of leadership and they are basically the class of warriors, who are capable of protecting one’s mother land from enemies. They should remain fearless, not only against the enemies but also against the wrong doers of his own country. Their main responsibility is to keep their citizens happy and to ensure plenitude in their administration. The great epic Ramayana is based on these principles. They have to offer gifts to the other three classes of men.

A county’s prosperity depends upon its commercial acumen. Third category known as vaiśya-s, take care of agricultural production, commerce, milk and milk produce. They engage in trade with other countries and ensure that all the basic needs are available to their fellow countrymen at a price that they can afford. Their inherent quality is commerce and economics.

The fourth category is the work force. In today’s scenario this category can be compared to those of the employees, workers, skilled labourers, etc. They offer their services to the other three classes. They form the backbone of every economy. A country’s prosperity depends upon their dedication, sincerity and loyalty.

Only if all the three classes live in absolute harmony, a country can prosper. None of them is considered as superior or inferior. A person who excels in his class is highly respected. With the process of aging, there is a possibility that one class may move to other class. For example, a king, after ruling his country for years, may decide to seek the Lord and may enter into the path of spirituality. In this case, a kṣatriya becomes a brāhmaṇa. In the same way, a brāhmaṇa, if he is unable to pursue the path of spirituality could go for employment. When disharmony, mistrust and hatred prevail, that country will be heading for disintegration and becomes susceptible to attack by enemies.

Further Readings:

Bhagavad Gita Chapter XVIII. 33 - 35

Bhagavad Gita Chapter XVIII. 36 - 39