|NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura > Brahmana & Vaishnava > Appendixes > The Vareacrama of Vaineavas|
The varnashrama of Vaishnavas
In order to protect sanatana-dharma,
the followers of the varnashrama principles need to follow the scriptural rules and regulations.
The Aryans of India who belong to the four varnas are situated in four ashramas. The divisions of ashramas have been produced along with the divisions of varnas. The principles of varna can be protected while remaining in any one of these four ashramas-brahmacarya, grihastha, vanaprastha, or sannyasa. Those who belong to any of the varnas must certainly belong to one of the ashramas. The principles of varna and ashrama are under the jurisdiction of social provisions. Those who desire some benefit and reputation from the social varna and ashrama system should wholeheartedly protect sanatana-dharma by following the ancient rules and regulations of those systems.
Of the two propensities, pravritti and nivritti,
those following the path of nivritti are on
the topmost platform of society.
The social human beings have two propensities, both of which are beneficial to the society. The social Aryans have arranged various rules and regulations so that no enmity is created in society. The arrangements and behavior that are followed in order to fulfil this principle purpose simultaneously bestow many secondary fruits such as attainment of the heavenly planets and accumulation of piety. For persons who have fruitive propensities the Dharma-shastras prescribe the performance of sacrifices, offering oblations to the forefathers, undergoing samskaras, observing vows, residing in holy places, and bathing in holy waters. And for persons who possess the propensity for mental speculation the Dharma-shastras prescribe worshiping the demigods and brahmanas, respecting elderly persons, and attaining knowledge. Those who give up self-happiness and oneness with Brahman, which are the goals of these two propensities, are on the topmost platform of society.
Sectarian philosophers like the karmis, jnanis, and yogis, directly or indirectly desire the welfare of society.
While remaining in seclusion and eating foods cooked by brahmanas, the dry mental speculators try to assist society in reaching its perfection. The yogis proclaim that happiness is possible by minimizing one's necessities and thus increase people's attachment for enjoying happiness born of renunciation. Other sectarian philosophers benefit the society endeavoring for happiness through their manipulations and actions.
The Vaishnavas are beyond
the principles of varnashrama.
Although the behavior of people who follow the varnashrama system is similar to that of Vaishnavas, the Vaishnavas do not consider that maintaining or benefiting society is their main purpose. They do not fill their hearts with the thought of making society prosperous or ruined by their actions. The Vaishnavas are not busy in establishing their own reputation in the four varnas and four ashramas. The Vaishnava is not embarrassed if his actions violate the rules and regulations of the varnashrama system, because the only purpose of all his activities is to increase his devotion towards the Supreme Lord. It does not matter whether a Vaishnava is a brahmana, mleccha, or candala. Whether he is a householder or a renunciate, he has no honor or dishonor. If a Vaishnava goes to hell or heaven for the sake of devotional service to the Lord, it is the same thing. The love of God he exhibits while meeting the Supreme Lord does not diminish at all in separation from Him. A Vaishnava does not desire anything. He has no scarcity at all. One who is desirous of merging into Brahman is overwhelmed by the excellence of his unattained goal. When attained, his long cherished wonder in the form of Brahman becomes abominable. One who desires to become one with Brahman is very restless, being bound by material shackles. The Vaishnavas, however, do not become impatient. Although the appearance and activities of Vaishnavas appear to be like those of people who wish to enjoy the fruits of their karma, they are actually completely different.
Unauthorized endeavor to make Vaishnavas
subordinate to the varnashrama system.
Many people think that there is no difference between Vaishnavas and those who are inferior to the Vaishnavas. Hence they often inquire about the Vaishnava's varna and try to bury them in one of the four ashramas like the socialites. Yet this endeavor is a social endeavor and totally opposed to Vaishnava culture.
If we see the transcendental appearance pastimes of Shri Gauranga, who is the deliverer of the fallen souls and the only spiritual master of the whole world, then all our doubts will be vanquished. In the Vedas, which consist of spiritual knowledge, it is stated:
bhidyate hridaya-granthish chidyante sarva-samshayah
kshiyante casya karmani tasmin drishte paravare
“The knot in the heart is pierced, all misgivings are cut to pieces, and the chain of fruitive actions is terminated when one sees the Supreme Lord everywhere, within all superior and inferior beings.”
Under the guidance of Shri Gaurasundara, the Vaishnavas are servants of Gopi-jana-vallabha.
If we see the characteristics of the Lord, then all our doubts are cleared, the reactions of karma are diminished and the knots of the heart are untied. Then one realizes the Absolute Truth. Even if the well-behaved brahmanas who have undergone the ten samskaras attain the platform of Brahman, they cannot become doubtless until they see the transcendental characteristics of the Supreme Lord, Shri Krishna Chaitanya.
The characteristics of Shri Chaitanya are fully spiritual. Anyone who has seen this knows that a Vaishnava is neither a brahmana, a kshatriya, a vaishya, or a shudra, nor a brahmacari, grihastha, vanaprastha, or sannyasi. He is different than all of these, a servant of the servant of the most dear friend of the gopis. He has no other separate identification. The mundane conception of “I am great or tiny” does not touch him. A self-realized soul is unconcerned with temporary logics like “the sky in a pot,” “the vast sky,” and “the rope and the snake.”
The unauthorized interference in the authority of the Vaishnavas by the smartas, who are attached to fruitive activities, the prakrita-sahajiyas, and the caste Gosvamis.
Some people nowadays have acted in a most non-Vaishnava manner by trying to establish the word “Vaishnava” as a social designation by attributing abominable and contrary meanings to it. It hurts me even to mention such behavior. They only try to become socialites, and with their temporary material identification they endeavor to pollute the bodies of the Vaishnavas.
After the disappearance of the transcendental pastimes of Shri Gauranga deva, many smarta fruitive workers and mental speculators tried their best to defame the Vaishnavas, but on the pretext of cooperation the baula, sahajiya, and kartabhaja communities denigrated the Vaishnavas even more. There is no scarcity of such type of descendants even today. Gradually the number of such types are also increasing.
The attempt to make Shri Haridasa Thakura a brahmana, the endeavor to adorn Shri Ishvara Puri as a brahmana or a shudra, and the ability or inability of varnas other than brahmanas to impart Vaishnava teachings are the aspirations of the most grossly non-Vaishnava society. Such aspirations do not help to increase one's devotion, therefore these activities are not acceptable to the Vaishnavas.
The artificial servitorship of conditioned souls
to Krishna is an impediment for cultivation of
loving devotional service.
A Vaishnava should always remember that he is not independent but a dependent servant of the servant of the lover of the gopis. Mundane independence is not possible for him, because he has purchased his servitorship to Krishna by submitting his independence in the form of surrendering to Him. If this fact remains in the path of one's memory yet the above-mentioned arguments capture the heart, then it is to be understand that he has duplicitously submitted artificial independence to Krishna. Actually his subordination to the Lord has rather been sold to maya, and he is eager to be recognized as a servant of maya. A pseudo servant of Krishna is situated far away from a Vaishnava. Instead of cultivating love of God, he is simply suffering the temporary miseries born from cultivation of lust. The socialites have arranged their rules and regulations for the sake of these classes of people. (Sajjana-toshani, Vol. 11, Part 10)