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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Bhaktivinoda Vani Vaibhava > Bhaktivinoda Vani Vaibhava Part 2 and 3 > Vol 2 Abhidheya > Spiritual Varndsrama

87 -Spiritual Varndsrama


1. Is it proper to confine a Vaisnava within the rules of varndsrama?


Thinking that there is no difference between a Vaisnava and an ordinary person, many people inquire about a Vaisnava's caste and try to establish him as belonging to one of the four varnas. This endeavor is extremely detrimental to Vaisnava principles and is an act of ordinary people. (Sajjana Tosani 11/10)


2. Is the illegal system of varndsrama, known as the caste system and based on birth rather than qualification, the reason for the Indian Aryans' downfall?


Alas! The Aryans of India are the administrators and spiritual masters of all other castes. It is not a fact that their degradation has been caused by the fact that the culture is ancient. Rather, it has been caused by the illegal varndsrama system. If the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the controller of all living entities, rules and regulations, and who is capable of reestablishing auspiciousness where we see only inauspiciousness, desires it, then some empowered personality will again reestablish actual varndsrama-dharma.

(Caitanya-siksdmrta 2/3) 


3. Is it proper to destroy the principles of varnasrama?


The principles of varnasrama are the life and soul of the human beings. If the varnasrama system is destroyed, then the scientific basis of human society will be destroyed with it. We will be cursed by the old saying, "Again become a mouse," and will thus lead an illegal life like the wayward mlecchas. It is every man's duty to remove the contamination that has polluted the principles of varnasrama. (Sajjana Tosanl 2/7)


4. What qualities must one cultivate if he is to become a brahmana?


A person who does not possess peacefulness, self-control, austerity, cleanliness, satisfaction, tolerance, forgiveness, simplicity, knowledge, compassion, truthfulness, or devotion to the Supreme Lord cannot be called a brdhmana. {Sajjana Tosanl 4/6)


5. What kind of asrama should a devotee who desires to attain love of God accept?


One who desires to attain love of God, whether he belongs to the grhastha asrama, vanaprastha asrama, or sannyasa asrama, should accept whatever asrama is favorable for his cultivation of love of God and should renounce any asrama that is unfavorable for such cultivation. (Caitanya-siksamrta 6/4)


6. What is ksetra-sannydsa, or vanaprastha?


When one takes ksetra-sannydsa, he leaves his household life and goes to a place of pilgrimage devoted to Lord Visnu. Such places include Purusottama (Jagannatha Purl), Navadvipa-dhama, and Mathura-dhama. The ksetra-sannyasl lives in these places alone or with his family members. Ksetra-sannydsa is considered preferable to vanaprastha in this age of Kali.

(Commentary on Caitanya-caritdmrta Madhya 16/130)


7. Is it proper for a householder to accept the dress of a sannydsi? What is the fate of those who dress according to another asrama?


Among the householder Vaisnavas, many shave their heads, wear kaupins, and live at home as babdjls. What can be more of an anartha than this? Why do they need to change their asramas illegally? If they were really detached, let them accept the proper dress of a renunciant. But if they are not detached, then what is the use of accepting such artificial and external signs? By doing so they disgrace the Vaisnava religion in the world's eyes. Such persons will certainly suffer the consequences of their hypocrisy in their next lives.

(Sajjana Tosanl 2/7)


8. When did the destruction of the varnasrama system begin in India?


The varnasrama principles were followed purely in India for a long time. In due course of time, however, when the sage Jamadagni and his son, Parasurama, who were both ksatriyas, were illegally made brahmanas, the trouble began. Because they were ksatriyas, their warlike natures overcame their attempt at brahminical peacefulness. They broke the peace between the brahmanas and ksatriyas. The seed of quarrel that was then planted between brahmanas and ksatriyas resulted in people ascertaining their varnas according to birth. Over time, when this unnatural rule became included in the literatures of the Manus, the ksatriyas, no longer having a way to attain the higher varna, began to create a way to ruin the brahmanas: they invented the religion known as Buddhism. It is a fact that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. That is why the determination of varnas according to birth became prominent.

(Caitanya-siksamrta 2/3) 


9. Why did Buddhism and Jainism appear in the world?


By composing selfish religious literature, the so-called brdhmanas began to cheat people. Being unable to fight, so-called ksatriyas lost their kingdoms and eventually began to preach Buddhist philosophy. The so-called vaisyas began to preach philosophies like Jainism. As a result, India lost a great deal of business. The so-called sudras, being unable to engage in their natural service activities became plunderers. The study of Vedic literature gradually diminished. Taking advantage of the situation, the kings of the mleccha countries attacked and conquered India. {Caitanya-siksdmrta 2/3)


10.What caused the varndsrama-dharma to become degraded in India?


Since the time when one's varna began to be determined by birth, varndsrama-dharma has become degraded in India. (Sajjana Tosani 2/3)


11. Is spiritual life dependent on the practice of varndsrama-dharma?


The varnasrama or caste system is meant to maintain social etiquette. There is no tinge of spiritual cultivation in it. Spiritual cultivation is always based on the individual.

{Sajjana Tosani 9/9)


12. Why are the Indian Aryans still in existence in India?


At one time, the Romans and Greeks were more powerful and courageous than the present-day Europeans. What is their condition now? Being bereft of the qualities of their own original castes, they changed completely by accepting the qualities and principles of modern castes. Aside from this, they are no longer proud of the prowess displayed by their national heroes. Despite being older than the Romans and Greeks, our native Aryans have maintained their pride in their ancient heroes. Why? Because the varnasrama system was so prominent in ancient days, the caste qualities did not deteriorate. Rana, who was killed by mlecchas, proudly considered himself  a descendant of Lord Ramacandra. (Caitanya-siksdmrta 2/3)


13. What is the purpose of accepting tridanda-sannyasa ?


In order to control the body, mind, and speech, sannydsis accept the tridanda. (Commentary on Caitanya-caritdmrta Madhya 5.143)


14. Is there any point in ascertaining varna according to one's occupation? What is the purpose of varnasrama dharma?


A human being's nature is developed by birth, association, and education. If one does not accept a varna according to his nature, he cannot achieve perfection in life. Although there are many types of nature, there are four main categories. Those who are inclined toward the Supreme Lord and who cultivate spiritual knowledge are brdhmanas. Those whose natural propensity is to fight and administer are ksatriyas. Those who engage in farming, trade, and animal protection are vaisyas, and those whose nature is to work for the above three vamas are sudras. If one worships Lord Visnu while properly maintaining his life, situated according to the principles of varnasrama, his nature will become uplifted. If one acts contrary to this, one's nature will become degraded. Therefore religious life is the root of the human being's advancement.

(Commentary on Caitanya-caritdmrta Madhya 8.58)


15. Can anyone other than an incarnation of the Supreme Lord protect the principles of varnasrama?


I (Lord Krsna) incarnate by My own sweet will. I am always fully independent. Whenever there is a decline in religious principles and an increase in irreligiosity, I appear by My own sweet will. The rules and regulations by which I   maintain the functions of the material creations are beginningless, but in due course when these rules become perverted for some reason or other, then the principles of irreligiosity become prominent. No one other than Me is able to remove such a discrepancy. Therefore, I appear in this material world through My internal potency and stop the decline of religious principles. It is not a fact that I only appear in the land of Bharata (India). Rather, I appear among the demigods and animals according to the need by My own sweet will. Therefore, do not think that I do not appear in the country of the mlecchas and antajas. If the religious principles among these people decline, I appear as an empowered incarnation to protect their religion. Since the occupational duties based on varnasrama are properly performed in India, however, I take more care to reestablish My subjects' religious principles. Thus all My transcendental incarnations, such as My yugavataras and amsavatdras are found only in India. Where there is no system of varnasrama, karma-yoga, jhdna-yoga, and bhakti-yoga cannot be executed properly. But whatever little devotional service is found among the antajas you should know for certain that it has appeared spontaneously by the devotees' mercy.

(Commentary on Bhagavad-gitd 4.7)


16. What is the difference between Brahmanism and Vaisnavism?


Brahmanism is a stage or qualification of Vaisnavism, and Vaisnavism is the fruit of Brahmanism. (Sajjana Tosanl 4/6)


17. If one is attached to the principles of varnasrama, can he make progress in spiritual life?


Due to being firmly attached to its principles, many followers of varnasrama-dharma become indifferent to the achievement of bhdva and prema. As a result, their gradual progress on the spiritual path is hampered. (Caitanya-siksdmrta 3/1)


18. What kind of dealings are proper between brdhmanas and Vaisnavas?


No one can become a Vaisnava by disregarding the brdhmanas' position, and brdhmanas can never become successful by disregarding the position of Vaisnavas.

(Sajjana Tosanl 4/6)


19.How many kinds of brdhmanas are there? What is the stage of Brahminism prior to Vaisnavism?


There are two kinds of brdhmanas, namely ordinary brdhmanas and spiritual brdhmanas. Ordinary Brahmanism is based on caste, and spiritual Brahmanism is based on qualification. Unless one becomes a spiritual brdhmana, he cannot become a Vaisnava. (Sajjana Tosanl 4/6)


20. What kind of prestige do the caste brdhmanas and spiritual brdhmanas respectively deserve?


There are two kinds of brdhmanas, those who are brdhmanas by nature and those who are brdhmanas by caste. The brdhmanas by nature are almost Vaisnavas. Therefore, everyone should respect them. The caste brdhmanas deserve ordinary respect. (Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 6)


21. When is social, mental, and spiritual inauspiciousness destroyed?


Until the principles of varnasrama are refined and properly established, social, mental, and spiritual inauspiciousness will continue to trouble us. There is no doubt that the Supreme Lord, who is the source of all auspiciousness, will certainly bestow His mercy on us one day. (Sajjana Tosanl 2/7) 


22. Do the sastras approve identifying a person as a brahmana simply by his caste?


No one is either a brahmana or sudra by birth. Birth gives one only a worldly designation. If the sons oibrahmanas have no brahminical qualifications, no spiritual knowledge, no peacefulness, or self-control, then according to their vocations they can be called ksatriyas, vaisyas. or sudras. but not brahmanas. Manu himself clearly accepts this principle.

(Tattva-sutra, 44)


23.Do the rules and regulations of varnasrama affect how one performs devotional service to Hari?


The Vaisnavas are not busy establishing their own reputation in the four varnas and asramas. A Vaisnava is not embarrassed if his actions violate the rules and regulations of the varnasrama system, because the only purpose of his activities is to increase his devotion toward the Supreme Lord. It does not matter whether a Vaisnava is a brahmana, mleccha, or canddla, whether he is a householder or renunciant, because he has no honor or dishonor. If a Vaisnava goes to hell or heaven to practice devotional service to the Supreme Lord, it is all the same to him.

(Sajjana Tosanl 11/10)