Whatever different bodies are attained in higher and lower wombs (forms of birth), they are all attained only according to one’s “karmas” (actions) and gunas (three constituents of Nature, qualities). It is only according to one’s qualities and actions that the human being is born; therefore man’s “jaati” (having to do with race, community, family etc.) is believed to be as per his birth only. Thus from a “gross body” perspective, for purposes of marriage, one’s food habits and one’s actions, the birth must be given importance. In other words, according to one’s “varna” (one of the four classes in society, caste), food, marriage and actions must be adopted.
Second point is, he who continues to have worldly aim of enjoyment, wealth, respect, rest, relaxation, happiness etc. for him it becomes essential to do his duty in accordance to what is specified for his “varna” (caste) and to live within the boundaries established for that “varna”. If he does not stay within the boundaries of his “varna”, then he will take a downfall. But he whose aim is only Paramatma, and is not after worldly pleasures and enjoyments, for him satsang, spiritual reading, japa, meditation, listening to divine stories of devotees, self-inquiry etc. and all work related to the Divine are most important. The point in that in God (Self) Realization, man’s divine sentiments, behavior, etc. are most important, not “jaati” (race, community, family) and “varna” (class in society).
The third point is, he whose aim is God (Self) Realization, he while perform all activities related to God. with the attitude of worship and reverence, considering them most important, and at the same time doing his duties as per his “varna” and stage in life (ashram), is doing only spiritual and divine work .
Therefore Bhagwaan has said –
“yatah pravrutirbhootaanaam yena sarvamidam tatam |
swakarmanaa tambhyarcha siddhim vindati maanavha || (Gita 18/46)
In this verse Bhagwaan (God) has said something quite extraordinary –
When one fixes their object of aim on That Paramatma, That by which this entire universe is created and by which the entire universe is pervaded, then one must do all work as His worship according to one’s varna. In doing this all men are entitled. Devataas, demons, animals, birds etc. are not entitled by themselves. However even for them there is no prohibition according to Paramatma. Because all beings are a part (ansh) of Paramatma, and all are entitled to God Realization. All beings have complete rights and entitlement over Bhagwaan. From this it is proven that in relating with the world (vyavahaar) i.e in behavior pertaining to earning a living, daughter and body etc. the birth is most important, whereas in attaining Paramatma the inner sentiments (bhaav), discrimination (vivek) and actions (karma) are most important. Taking this purport, those knowing scriptures have said that if those qualities are found in people of other “varnas” as the qualities and behavior of men of a particular “varna”, then they too should be considered to be of that particular “varna”.
“Yasya yallakshanam proktam punso varnaabhivyajyakam |
yadanyatraapi drshyet tat tenaiva vinirdeshet || (Srimadbhag 7/11/35)
Therefore it means that whatever be the signs, indication, distinguishing features, characteristics (lakshan) of a Brahmin, such as self-restraint and self-controlled (sham-dam) etc. if those qualities and characteristics naturally are in one from a different “varna”, then inspite of being in a different “varna” at birth, he must not be considered so. This has come in the Mahabharat in the conversation between Yuddhistir and Nahush, that if a Shudra is most eminent, then he must not be considered a “shudra” and if a Brahmin is not conducting himself according to the qualities and characteristics of a Brahmin class, then such a person must not be consider a Brahmin.
“Shudre tu yad bhavelakshma dvije tacch ne vidhyate |
Na vai shudro bhavechyoodro Brahmano ne cha Brahmanah ||
yattretlakshyate sarp vratam sa Brahmanah smrutah |
yattretanna bhavet sarp tam shudra miti nirdishet ||
(Mahabharat, vanaparva 180/25-26)
In other words, with that respect, it is actions which are important, not the birth. (to be continued)
From “Saadhan, Sudhaa, Sindhu” in hindi page 871-872 by Swami Ramsukhdasji.
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