Skandham-5. Chapter-1. Slokam-14.







My dear boy, all of us are bound by the Vedic injunctions to the divisions of
varnäsrama according to our qualities and work. These divisions are difficult to
avoid because they are scientifically arranged. We must therefore carry out our
duties of varnäsrama-dharma, like bulls obliged to move according to the
direction of a driver pulling on ropes knotted to their noses.


In this verse, the words tantyäà guna-karma-dämabhih are very important.
We each get a body according to our association with the guëas, the qualities
or modes of material nature, and we act accordingly. As stated in
Bhagavad-gétä, the four orders of the social system—namely brähmana,
kshatriya, vaiçya and südra—are arranged according to guëa and karma, their
qualities and work. There is some controversy about this, however, because
some say that since one receives a body according to the guna and karma of his
past life, it is one's birth that determines his social status. Others say, however,
that one's birth according to the guna and karma of his past life is not the
essential consideration, since one can change his guna and karma even in this
life. Thus they say that the four divisions of the social order—brähmana,
kshatriya, vaisya and südra—should be arranged according to the guna and
karma of this life. This version is confirmed in Srimad-Bhägavatam by Närada
Muni. While instructing Mahäräja Yudhiñöhira about the symptoms of guna
and karma, Närada Muni said that these symptoms must govern the division of
society. In other words, if a person born in the family of a brähmana has the
symptoms of a südra, he should be designated as a südra. Similarly, if a südra
has brahminical qualities, he should be designated a brähmana.
The varnäsrama system is scientific. Therefore if we accept the divisions of
varëa and äçrama according to the Vedic instructions, our lives will be
successful. Unless human society is thus divided and arranged, it cannot be
perfect. As stated in the Vishnu Purana (3.8.9):


varëäçramäcäravatä
puruñeëa paraù pumän
viñëur ärädhyate panthä
nänyat tat-toña-käraëam
[Cc. Madhya 8.58]


"The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Vishnu is worshiped by the proper
execution of prescribed duties in the system of varna and äsrama. There is no
other way to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One must be
situated in the institution of the four varnas and äsramas." All of human
society is meant to worship Lord Vishnu. At the present moment, however,
human society does not know that this is the ultimate goal or perfection of life.
Therefore instead of worshiping Lord Vishnu. People have been educated to
worship matter. According to the direction of modern society, men think they
can advance in civilization by manipulating matter to build skyscrapers, big
roads, automobiles and so on. Such a civilization must certainly be called
materialistic because its people do not know the goal of life. The goal of life is
to reach Vishnu, but instead of reaching Vishnu, people are bewildered by the
external manifestation of the material energy. Therefore progress in material
advancement is blind, and the leaders of such material advancement are also
blind. They are leading their followers in the wrong way.


It is best, therefore, to accept the injunctions of the Vedas, which are
mentioned in this verse as yad-väci. In accordance with those injunctions,
everyone should find out whether he is a brähmana, kñatriya, vaisya or südra
and should thus be educated accordingly. Then his life will be successful.
Otherwise, all of human society will be confused. If human society is divided
scientifically according to varëa and äsrama, and if the Vedic directions are
followed, one's life, regardless of his position, will be successful. It is not that
brähmaëas will be elevated to the transcendental platform but not the çüdras.
If the Vedic injunctions are followed, all of them—brähmanas, kshatriyas,
vaisyas and südras—will be elevated to the transcendental platform, and their
lives will be successful. The injunctions in the Vedas are explicit directions
from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The example cited in this verse is
that bulls tied by ropes in their nostrils move according to the direction of the
driver. Similarly, if we move according to the instructions of the Vedas, the
perfect paths for our lives will be set. Otherwise, if we do not move in that way
but act according to our whimsical ideas, our lives will be spoiled by confusion
and will end in despair. Actually, because people at the present moment are
not following the instructions of the Vedas, they are all confused. We must
therefore accept this instruction by Lord Brahmä to Priyavrata as the factual
scientific direction leading to the success of life. This is also confirmed in
Bhagavad-gétä (16.23):


yaù çästra-vidhim utsåjya
vartate käma-kärataù
na sa siddhim aväpnoti
na sukhaà na paräà gatim


If we do not live according to the injunctions of the çästras, the Vedas, we shall
never achieve success in life, to say nothing of happiness or elevation to higher
statuses of living.