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The Caste System

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The first thing to understand is that there are two different caste systems. One is the divine caste system, and the other is the demoniac caste system. Krishna is the creator of the divine system, not the demoniac system. There are four divisions in society, Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita that he has created this system:-

catur-varnyam maya srstam
guna-karma-vibhagasahh
tasya kartaram api mam
viddhy akartaram avyayam

ISKCON Sri Krishna

According to the three modes of material nature and the work associated with them, the four divisions of human society are created by Me. And although I am the creator of this system, you should know that I am yet the nondoer, being unchangeable. (Bhagavad Gita 4.13)

There is a natural system of social organization which can bring about a peaceful society where everyone is happy. This system is described in the timeless Vedic literature of India and it is called Varnasrama dharma.

The purpose of the Varnasrama social system is to provide a structure which allows people to work according to their natural tendencies and to organize society so that everyone, regardless of their position, makes spiritual advancement.

The practical application of the Varnasrama system is to divide the society according to four occupational and four spiritual orders of life.

The Varnasrama system recognizes the natural talents and abilities of each person and provides work according to a person’s qualities. There are four qualities of work, the brahmanas are the intellectual and priestly class, the Kshatriyas are the government, the military and the administrative classes, the vaisyas are farmers and businessmen, and the sudras are workers.

There are also four spiritual divisions, brahmachari – celibate student life, grihastha – married life, vanaprastha – retired life and sannyasa – renounced life. If this system is properly implemented under the direction of qualified brahmanas the result will be peace and prosperity throughout the world.

The Brahmanas have a very important role to play in the society and to guide the society in the right direction which is towards spiritual life or Krishna Consciousness. Even in any organisation there is a Director, Manager, Supervisor and then the Staff members. So there is some sort of system but the goal is to work for one organisation. Similarly there are different classes of people i.e. brahmanas, kshatriyas, vaisyas and sudras and they all should be working together for a better and a healthy society. Brahmans are like the heads of the society as they guide people, now if there are no brahmanas then who will guide the society? That is why there can be chaos in the society due to lack of spiritual knowledge and guidance.

The classification of society into brahmanas, kshatriyas, vaisyas and sudras is very scientific. In the human social body, the brahmanas are considered the head, the kshatriyas are the arms, the vaisyas are the belly, and the sudras are the legs. At the present moment the body has legs and a belly, but there are no arms or head, and therefore society is topsy-turvy. It is necessary to re-establish the brahminical qualifications in order to raise the fallen human society to the highest standard of spiritual consciousness.

An explanation given by Sankarshan Das Adhikari:
The caste system is created by Krishna for the purpose of enabling the human society to function in a healthy, progressive manner. Now the caste system is stifling. Why is this?

The first thing to understand is that there are two different caste systems. One is the divine caste system, and the other is the demoniac caste system. Krishna is the creator of the divine system, not the demoniac system. Just as in the human body there are natural divisions of labor between the head, arms, belly, and legs–similarly in the social body there is a natural division of labor between the brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas, and sudras. Brahmanas are the intellectuals and priests. Ksatriyas are the administrators and warriors. Vaisyas are the businessmen and farmers. And sudras are the workers. This is the divine caste system. Krishna states in the Bhagavad-gita that these divisions are based on one’s qualities and activities. He does not state that they are based on birth, as in the demoniac caste system.

In the divine caste system everyone is encouraged, trained, and facilitated, in whatever occupation best suits their nature. In this way there is full employment in the society. There are no frustrated, unemployed people. Everyone is employed in an occupation which is according to their nature. Thus everyone is encouraged and enthused.

The modern day demoniac caste system, which is still going on today in India, is based on one’s birth. One is forced into a certain caste by his birth. This exploitative system was introduced by the unqualified sons of those who were actually qualified brahmanas to forcefully make themselves the leaders of the society.

A real brahmana is someone who knows the Absolute Truth and freely distributes it to everyone to elevate them also to the position of brahmana. The Krishna consciousness movement is presently engaged in the work of creating such real brahmanas to give spiritual guidance to a grossly misguided material society, which now needs it more than ever. Once the brahmana class is solidly established and respected all over the world, those engaged in the other occupations will take take guidance from the brahmanas how to execute their occupational duty in such a way that is pleasing to the Supreme Lord. In this way, when the the divine caste system is fully re-established, we will have heaven on earth. May that day come soon.

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