THE BOXING MATCH
If you have witnessed boxing or other martial arts contests, you might be familiar with the strategy of the fighters. The idea is to knock the opponent out — K.O. That is achieved by a violent hit to the head and the opponent falls senseless to the floor. It is indeed amazing to see how even strongly built men, when knocked out, fall to the ground as if the entire body is paralyzed. That just shows how vital the head is in the body.
Why are we discussing martial arts here? There is a huge parallel between the human body and the human society at large. At least from the Vedic scriptural perspective, the entire human society is compared to a human body and different social classes of human beings form the different parts of that body.
VARṆĀŚRAMA — THE SCIENTIFIC DIVISION
Lord Kṛṣṇa elaborates on this point in the Bhagavad-gītā (4.13) as follows: cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ— “According to the three modes of material nature and the work associated with them, the four divisions of human society are created by Me.” The four divisions of human society are brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas, vaiśyasand śūdras. It is prudent to reiterate the point that these divisions are based on the qualification and work, not by birth as is misunderstood in the modern-day Hindu religion.
The qualifications of the four orders are pronounced in the Bhagavad-gītā (18.42 through 18.44) as follows:
śamo damas tapaḥ śaucaṁ kṣāntir ārjavam eva ca
jñānaṁ vijñānam āstikyaṁ brahma-karma svabhāva-jam
“Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, knowledge, wisdom and religiousness – these are the natural qualities by which the brāhmaṇaswork.”
śauryaṁ tejo dhṛtir dākṣyaṁ yuddhe cāpy apalāyanam
dānam īśvara-bhāvaś ca kṣātraṁ karma svabhāva-jam
“Heroism, power, determination, resourcefulness, courage in battle, generosity and leadership are the natural qualities of work for the kṣatriyas.”
kṛṣi-go-rakṣya-vāṇijyaṁ vaiśya-karma svabhāva-jam
paricaryātmakaṁ karma śūdrasyāpi svabhāva-jam
“Farming, cow protection and business are the natural work for the vaiśyas, and for the śūdrasthere are labor and service to others.”
This system of division cannot be abolished because it is a creation of the Lord. We may artificially remove the names of these castes but the qualities and work remain. There are always a class of people who are intellectually, philosophically or religiously oriented. You may call them priests, or scientists or whatever but they form the brāhmaṇadivision. There are others who are administers of state. You may call them diplomats but they form the kṣatriyadivision. There are others who are tradesmen or agriculturists. They are vaiśyas. There are others who are simply employed by others. They are called śūdras. The brāhmaṇasare considered the head or brain of the society. The kṣatriyasare likened to the arms, the vaiśyasto the belly and the śūdrasto the legs of society.
This scientific societal structure called the varṇāśrama-dharmaperfectly serves the mission of human life, satisfying both material and spiritual needs. From the material sense, everyone is employed according to their respective aptitudes and from the spiritual sense, everyone makes progress towards the kingdom of God. By their occupational duties in their respective caste (by qualification), everyone can satisfy the Supreme Lord by this process. The Viṣṇu Purāṇa(3.8.9) states:
puruṣeṇa paraḥ pumān
viṣṇur ārādhyate panthā
“One can worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead Viṣṇu, by proper discharge of the principles of varṇaand āśrama. There is no alternative to pacifying the Lord by execution of the principles of the varṇāśramasystem.”
MECHANICS OF VARṆĀŚRAMA
How exactly is the society conducted with the varṇāśramasystem in place? The brāhmaṇas, learned and experienced in the Vedic literatures, act as advisers to the rest of the society, especially to the ruling class, the kṣatriyas, in such a way that the entire population of the country become Kṛṣṇa conscious. The kṣatriyasrule over the citizens as kings according to the wise counsel of the brāhmaṇas. They are also expert in the art of warfare and engage in it whenever there is a need to either protect their citizens from external attack or to attack another king who is not ruling according to the Vedic injunctions, thus misleading the society. In fact, the kings in ages bygone, even until 5,000 years ago, were called rājarṣis, meaning that although they were royal kings, they were saintly in their character. Even the animals in the kingdom were taken care of nicely. The vaiśyas, the mercantile community takes charge of agriculture, cow protection and trade and the śūdraswork for the other three classes for remuneration. In this way everyone makes progress materially and spiritually.
In sharp contrast to this ideal, in today’s world, the brāhminical class is hardly given any importance. Moreover, we hardly find any qualified brāhmaṇas. There are many, especially amongst Indians, who claim brāhminism by birthright but hardly follow any principles thereof. Although there are statesmen all over the world, they are not real qualified kṣatriyasin the strict sense of the term. There are some mercantile men, vaiśyas, and there is an abundance of śūdras. Without the brāhmaṇas, the society is without direction just like a body without brain or head. Therefore, the entire population of the world is thrown into darkness about the aim of life which is to serve the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa and go back home, back to Godhead.
All the advancement of science and technology is certainly commendable but without Kṛṣṇa consciousness, which is propagated by the brain of the human society, the brāhmaṇas, it is just like a strong body but paralyzed or dead due a hard knock on the head. This is exactly why, despite great material advancement, there is widespread dissatisfaction among people in general. Strife at all levels of human interaction is increasingly witnessed — in families, between races, states and countries — posing a great danger to our very existence.
The authoritative scripture Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya(3.11) states in this connection as follows:
bhagavad-bhakti-hīnasya jātiḥ śāstraṁ japas tapaḥ
aprāṇasyaiva dehasya maṇḍanaṁ loka-rañjanam
“If the population is without knowledge of devotional service to the Lord, then great nationalism, fruitive, political or social work, science or philosophy are all simply like costly garments decorating a dead body.” When people do not know that the aim of life is to satisfy Viṣṇu or Kṛṣṇa, then sense gratification becomes the aim of their life and when one party’s sense gratification clashes with the interest of another party, there is strife. This is the case at all levels of interaction.
THE GREATEST NEED
Kṛṣṇa consciousness is therefore the greatest need of human society. As Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, the great ācārya, puts it, there is no scarcity in this world except of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. There is no other need. Any other scarcity is only a result of lack of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The Lord is able to supply necessities to an unlimited number of living entities and He is already doing it through His agency of material nature but when a living entity becomes disobedient to the Lord, the supplies are withdrawn as a punishment.
As Śrīla Prabhupāda many times said, this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is here to create some real, qualified brāhmaṇaswho can spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world by their missionary activities and thus save humanity from plunging into the depths of hell and show them the way back home, back to Godhead. Every sane man should cooperate with this movement in every way possible. [End]