rule



 

Canto 7

Nârada Muni

 

 

Chapter 11: The Perfect Society: About the Four Social Classes and the Woman

(1) S'rî S'uka said: 'After having listened to the story about him, [Prahlâda] the most important of all great devotees, him the master of the Daityas who was so faithful to the Lord who covers the world in a single step [Urukrama], he who is discussed in the assemblies of the saints, Yudhishthhira greatly pleased again asked the son of Brahmâ [Nârada] questions. (2) S'rî Yudhishthhira said: 'Oh great Lord, I would like to hear about the sanâtana dharma activities [the  eternal, common duties] of our human society that belong to the order of the status orientations [varnâs'rama] by which the common people find a better life. (3) You, oh fortunate one, are directly the son of our original father, the supreme person within this universe [Lord Brahmâ].  One considers you oh brahmin to be the best of all his sons because of your austerity, yoga and meditation. (4) Among the ones devoted to Nârâyana you are the sage conversant with the most confidential and supreme aspect of dharma; there is no devotee as merciful, exalted and peaceful as you are.'

(5) S'rî Nârada said: 'I offer my obeisances to the Supreme Lord, the Unborn One who defends the dharma throughout the universe. I will expound on sanâtana dharma the way I heard about it from the mouth of Nârâyana. (6) He who, begotten by Dharma Mahârâja in the womb of Daksha's daughter [Mûrti], descended [as Nârâyana] along with a part of Himself [Nara], executes [even today] for the benefit of all people austerities in Badarikâs'rama [the Himalayan resort for meditation]. (7) Oh King, the mind, the body and the soul find their full satisfaction in Bhagavân, the Supreme Lord who is the essence of all Vedic knowledge, the root of all dharma and the remembrance of the ones versed in that [what is called the science of devotional service]. (8-12) Truthfulness, compassion, austerity and cleanliness [with the vidhi]; tolerance, discrimination, composure and continence, nonviolence, celibacy, generosity and study of the scriptures, sincerity, contentment and to serve the holy ones [in yama and niyama]; gradually cutting with that what is unnecessary and to be of gravity in avoidance of empty talk, self-search, to share food and drink with all beings and to consider everyone first of all a part of God, oh Pândava; to listen and to sing and also  to remember Him who is the shelter of all the great ones, to attend, to worship and to propitiate, to be a servant, to be a friend and to be of surrender [in bhâgavata dharma]; to possess all the thirty characteristics as described constitutes the supreme of dharma that pleases Him the Soul of All, oh King [compare B.G. 12: 13-20]. (13) They who because of their prolonged reconsideration [or formally by means of undergoing the so-called sixteen samskâra's] are lead by [the spiritual] instructions [of the unborn Lord Brahmâ and his teachers], are called twice-born souls [dvijas] who pure by their birth and activities [on the basis of their education in normally the three higher classes of society and by their initiation of having received the sacred thread] are of worship, are versed in the scriptures and give charity. They are expected to behave according to the status of their [age-bound] spiritual departments [or âs'ramas *]. (14) For the brahmins there are the six [duties] of studying the scriptures and so on [to teach, to worship, to lead sacrifices, and to give and receive charity] and for the rest [the other occupations] there are the same six minus the duty to accept charity. The means of livelihood for the rulers [the kshatriyas] who maintain the people, consists of levying taxes and such [like customs duties and fines] from those who do not belong to the ones who are motivated from within [the brahmins]. (15) The vais'yas [the merchants] are to be engaged in their occupational activities [of farming and trading] and should always follow what the brahmins teach, while the s'ûdras [the laborers] for their livelihood have to accept the three types of twice-born souls as their masters to serve [see also B.G. 18: 41-44]. (16) There are [next to teaching, leading sacrifices and accepting charity] four different types of livelihood for the learned brahmin: to subsist on what is achieved without asking for it [s'âlîna], on what one obtains by begging [yâyâvara], on what one finds left behind in the fields [s'ila] and on that what is not wanted by others in shops and markets [uñchana]. The latter means of these are better than the former. (17) Without a good reason, the lower classes must not [desire to] subsist the way the higher classes do, but in times of emergency anyone, except for the ruling class, may take to the means of livelihood of any other class. (18-20) Rita [honest or courageous] is what one calls subsisting on what remained in the fields etc., amrita [sustainable or nectar] is called subsisting on what was obtained without asking, one speaks of mrita [finality of engagement]  when one asks for what one needs, while it is called pramrita [or cultivation] when one subsists on tilling one's own field. It is called satyânrita [simultaneously true and untrue] when one trades, but when brahmins and kshatriyas versed in the Veda, in subordinate positions have to serve the lower classes, one speaks of s'va-vritti [or doggery], an engagement that must be given up, for the brahmins and rulers embody all the gods. With rita or amrita one can live and one can even live with pramrita and satyânrita, but one can never reconcile with a life like that of a dog [see also B.G. 4: 13]. (21) The brahmin is known for his control of the mind and senses, his penance, cleanliness, satisfaction, forgiveness, straightforwardness, spiritual knowledge and compassion, the perfection of his service to the Lord, the True Self, and his truthfulness. (22) A kshatriya makes his mark by his fighting skills, by his bravery and by his resolution, strength, charity, restraint, forgiveness, faithfulness to the brahminical command, his kindness and his love of truth. (23) A vais'ya is characterized by his devotional service unto the God-conscious ones, the guru and the Infallible One, for his practicing the three virtues [of dharma, artha and kâma], his piety and his constant effort and expertise. (24) The s'ûdra is known for his obedience, cleanliness, service to the master who maintains him, his single-mindedness, willingness to make sacrifices without further prayers, truthfulness, his protection of cows and brahmins and the fact that he does not steal [see also B.G. 18: 41-44].

(25) A woman in divine respect of her husband will always following him in his vows, be of service to her husband, be eager to please him and be well-disposed towards his friends and relatives [see also B.G. 1: 40]. (26-27) By means of cleaning, mopping and decorating running her household and personally dressing up nicely in always clean garments, a woman should chastely and modestly answer to the small and great desires of her husband and be in control of her senses and her speech, be truthful, pleasing and loving and regularly prove her respect for her husband. (28) With contentment, freedom from greed, skill, conversancy with dharma, pleasure, speaking the truth, attentiveness, purity and affection, she should honor her husband for as long as he is not fallen [in being guilty of murder, theft, addiction, adultery or complicity in crime]. (29) When a woman meditates upon her husband as being the Supreme Personality she is of the same service as the Goddess of Fortune; in her devotion thinking of Hari she enjoys with her husband His spiritual abode [of Vaikunthha] just like Lakshmî. (30) The livelihood of those who were born from mixed marriages [of different classes, pratilomaja with a lower man and anulomaja with a higher man] and who are considered lower [antyaja] or have been marginalized [antevasâyî], should not consist of stealing and [other forms of] sinning, but should correspond to the respective family traditions.

(31) Oh King, when the occupational duty [the dharma] is in accordance with someone's societal position, that is in every age [yuga] by the seers of Vedic knowledge recognized as generally being auspicious for both one's present life and the life hereafter [see also B.G. 3: 25]. (32) When one for one's livelihood abides by the activities belonging to one's professional engagement one can, in gradually putting an end to the karma that resulted from one's own nature, attain the [nirguna] state transcendental to the [operating] modes of nature [see also B.G. 3: 35]. (33-34) [But...] a field over and over cultivated may, being exhausted, fall barren having become unsuitable for further harvesting so that seeds sown are lost. The same way a mind full of lusty desires enjoying over and over the objects of desire may [at some point be unable to enjoy any further and thus] become detached oh King. Just think of small drops of ghee that may be lost in a [sacrificial] fire, [but all poured at once may extinguish it]. (35) [And so,] if one happens to see a person behave according to the symptoms as described above that belong to another class than his own, that person consequently has to be respected accordingly [in other words, when for example someone behaves like a brahmin he must be treated like a brahmin].'

 

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Third revised edition, loaded April 12, 2012.

 
 

 

 

Previous Aadhar edition and Vedabase links:

Text 1

S'rî S'uka said: 'After having listened to the story about him, [Prahlâda] the most important of all great devotees, him the master of the Daityas who was so faithful to the Lord who covers the world in a single step [Urukrama], he who is discussed in the assemblies of the saints, Yudhishthhira greatly pleased again asked the son of Brahmâ [Nârada] questions.
S'rî S'uka said: 'Hearing the narration that is discussed in the assemblies of the holy did Yudhishthhira, the greatest of their lead after him [Prahlâda] the master of the daityas so loyal to the Lord that covers the word in a step [Urukrama], greatly pleased inquire again from that son of Brahmâ [Nârada]. (Vedabase)

Text 2

S'rî Yudhishthhira said: 'Oh great Lord, I would like to hear about the sanâtana dharma activities [the eternal, common duties] of our human society that belong to the order of the status orientations [varnâs'rama] by which the common people find a better life.

S'rî Yudhishthhira said: 'O great Lord, I would like to hear about the sanâtana dharma [the usual, eternal, common duties] of our human society belonging to the ordinance of the statusoriëntations [varnâs'rama] from which the people in general in peace may enjoy the better life. (Vedabase)

 

Text 3

You, oh fortunate one, are directly the son of our original father, the supreme person within this universe [Lord Brahmâ].  One considers you oh brahmin to be the best of all his sons because of your austerity, yoga and meditation.

You, my Lord, are directly the son of our original father, the supreme person within this universe [Brahmâ]; of all his sons are you considered the best of austerity, yoga and meditation. (Vedabase)

 

Text 4

Among the ones devoted to Nârâyana you are the sage conversant with the most confidential and supreme aspect of dharma; there is no devotee as merciful, exalted and peaceful as you are.'

Of the ones devoted to Nârâyana being the most learned do you know the most confidential and supreme of dharma; no one of the devoted is as merciful, exalted and peaceful as You are.' (Vedabase)

  

Text 5

S'rî Nârada said: 'I offer my obeisances to the Supreme Lord, the Unborn One who defends the dharma throughout the universe. I will expound on sanâtana dharma the way I heard about it from the mouth of Nârâyana.

S'rî Nârada said: 'I offer my obeisances to the Supreme Lord Unborn who throughout the universe defends the dharma; I will expound on sanâtana dharma the way I heard it from the mouth of Nârâyana. (Vedabase)

 

Text 6

He who, begotten by Dharma Mahârâja in the womb of Daksha's daughter [Mûrti], descended [as Nârâyana] along with a part of Himself [Nara], executes [even today] for the benefit of all people austerities in Badarikâs'rama [the Himalayan resort for meditation].

He who from Dharma Mahârâja announced Himself with a part of Himself [Nara-Nârâyana] in the womb of Daksha's daughter, executes for the benefit of all people austerities in Badarikâs'rama [the Himalayan resort for meditation]. (Vedabase)

 

Text 7

Oh King, the mind, the body and the soul find their full satisfaction in Bhagavân, the Supreme Lord who is the essence of all Vedic knowledge, the root of all dharma and the remembrance of the ones versed in that [what is called the science of devotional service]. 

The root of all dharma, the essence of all vedic knowledge indeed is Bhagavân, the Supreme Being, who is scripturally commemorated [in the sruti or the Veda's and the smrti or the scriptures following] by all the knowers of the Reality, o King, and by this principle become the mind and soul fully satisfied. (Vedabase)


Text 8-12

Truthfulness, compassion, austerity and cleanliness [with the vidhi]; tolerance, discrimination, composure and continence, nonviolence, celibacy, generosity and study of the scriptures, sincerity, contentment and to serve the holy ones [in yama and niyama]; gradually cutting with that what is unnecessary and to be of gravity in avoidance of empty talk, self-search, to share food and drink with all beings and to consider everyone first of all a part of God, oh Pândava; to listen and to sing and also  to remember Him who is the shelter of all the great ones, to attend, to worship and to propitiate, to be a servant, to be a friend and to be of surrender [in bhâgavata dharma]; to possess all the thirty characteristics as described constitutes the supreme of dharma that pleases Him the Soul of All, oh King [compare B.G. 12: 13-20].

Truthfulness, compassion, austerity, cleanliness, tolerance, discrimination, composure, continence, nonviolence, celibacy, generosity, scriptural study, rectitude, contentment, service to the holy, gradually cutting with the unnecessary and being critical about the waste of human opposing, gravity, self-search, to share food and drink with all beings, to consider everyone first of all as being part of God and, o Pândava, to listen and to sing with one's fellow man as well as to remember Him who is the shelter of all the great, to be of service, to worship and to propitiate, to be a servant, to be a friend and to be of surrender; for all human beings is this the highest principle: to possess all these thirty characteristics, o King, that please the Soul of All [compare B.G. 12: 13-20]. (Vedabase)

 

Text 13

They who because of their prolonged reconsideration [or formally by means of undergoing the so-called sixteen samskâra's] are lead by [the spiritual] instructions [of the unborn Lord Brahmâ and his teachers], are called twice-born souls [dvijas] who pure by their birth and activities [on the basis of their education in normally the three higher classes of society and by their initiation of having received the sacred thread] are of worship, are versed in the scriptures and give charity. They are expected to behave according to the status of their [age-bound] spiritual departments [or âs'ramas *].

They who by unbroken reform [with so called samskâra's], by accepting a guru and with the support of the Unborn One [Brahmâ], are of worship, study and charity and they whose ways were purified from their birth and activities, are the twice-born [dvija's] who are advised to follow according to status [to one's age or âs'rama]. (Vedabase)


Text 14

For the brahmins there are the six [duties] of studying the scriptures and so on [to teach, to worship, to lead sacrifices, and to give and receive charity] and for the rest [the other occupations] there are the same six minus the duty to accept charity. The means of livelihood for the rulers [the kshatriyas] who maintain the people, consists of levying taxes and such [like customs duties and fines] from those who do not belong to the ones who are motivated from within [the brahmins].

For the brahmins there are the six to the Veda's [to study and teach, worship and model and give and receive in charity] and for the rest are there the same six minus the acceptance of charity; the means of livelihood for the rulers who maintain the people consists of levying taxes and such from those who do not belong to the ones motivated inward [the brahmins]. (Vedabase)

 

Text 15

The vais'yas [the merchants] are to be engaged in their occupational activities [of farming and trading] and should always follow what the brahmins teach, while the s'ûdras [the laborers] for their livelihood have to accept the three types of twice-born souls as their masters to serve [see also B.G. 18: 41-44].

The vais'ya's [merchants] are to be engaged in agricultural activities and trade and should always follow what the brahmins teach while the s'ûdra's [the laborers] for their livelihood as their master of instruction have to accept the three of the twice-born above them. (Vedabase)

 

Text 16

There are [next to teaching, leading sacrifices and accepting charity] four different types of livelihood for the learned brahmin: to subsist on what is achieved without asking for it [s'âlîna], on what one obtains by begging [yâyâvara], on what one finds left behind in the fields [s'ila] and on that what is not wanted by others in shops and markets [uñchana]. The latter means of these are better than the former.

Of the four different means of existence for the learned brahmin, of a livelihood achieved without effort [sâlîna], what one gets as a mendicant [yâyâvara], what one finds as leftovers in the fields [sila], or what is not wanted by others in shops [unchana] are to this the latter means better than the former. (Vedabase)

 

Text 17

Without a good reason, the lower classes must not [desire to] subsist the way the higher classes do, but in times of emergency anyone, except for the ruling class, may take to the means of livelihood of any other class.

Except for times of emergency, may a lower man for his livelihood when everything is secure not take to the higher of each status and certain occupation. (Vedabase)

 

Text 18-20

Rita [honest or courageous] is what one calls subsisting on what remained in the fields etc., amrita [sustainable or nectar] is called subsisting on what was obtained without asking, one speaks of mrita [finality of engagement]  when one asks for what one needs, while it is called pramrita [or cultivation] when one subsists on tilling one's own field. It is called satyânrita [simultaneously true and untrue] when one trades, but when brahmins and kshatriyas versed in the Veda, in subordinate positions have to serve the lower classes, one speaks of s'va-vritti [or doggery], an engagement that must be given up, for the brahmins and rulers embody all the gods. With rita or amrita one can live and one can even live with pramrita and satyânrita, but one can never reconcile with a life like that of a dog [see also B.G. 4: 13].

By rita or amrita one may live, by mrita or pramrita or even by satyânrita, but never by living as a dog. Rta is the living on leftovers one says, of amrita is what is obtained without begging, of mrita is the begging as a mendicant while pramrita so is recalled is of the eating of one's field. To be of satyânrita is to trade but to be of service to the low is for the brahmins and the kshatriya's well acquainted with the Veda the reprehensible business of dogs [s'va-vrittih] that should be given up; the wise and the leaders of state represent all the gods [see also B.G. 4:13]. (Vedabase)

Text 21

The brahmin is known for his control of the mind and senses, his penance, cleanliness, satisfaction, forgiveness, straightforwardness, spiritual knowledge and compassion, the perfection of his service to the Lord, the True Self, and his truthfulness.

The brahmin is known for his control of mind and senses, his penance, cleanliness, peacefulness, forgiveness, straightforwardness, spiritual knowledge and compassion, his service to the Absolute of the Lord and his truthfulness. (Vedabase)

 

Text 22

A kshatriya makes his mark by his fighting skills, by his bravery and by his resolution, strength, charity, restraint, forgiveness, faithfulness to the brahminical command, his kindness and his love of truth.

Fighting skill, heroism, resolution, strength, charity, restraint, forgiveness, loyalty to the brahminical, well tempered and loving the truth marks out a kshatriya. (Vedabase)

 

Text 23

A vais'ya is characterized by his devotional service unto the God-conscious ones, the guru and the Infallible One, for his practicing the three virtues [of dharma, artha and kâma], his piety and his constant effort and expertise.

A vaishya is known for his devotion unto the godly, the guru and the Godhead, the three virtues [of dharma, artha and kâma], his following to the injunctions and his constant effort and expertise. (Vedabase)

 

Text 24

The s'ûdra is known for his obedience, cleanliness, service to the master who maintains him, his single-mindedness, willingness to make sacrifices without further prayers, truthfulness, his protection of cows and brahmins and the fact that he does not steal [see also B.G. 18: 41-44].

Of the s'ûdra is there obedience, cleanliness, service to the master, single-mindedness, sacrifice without further prayer, truthfulness, protection of cows and brahmins and certainly no misappropriation. (Vedabase)

 

Text 25

A woman in divine respect of her husband will always following him in his vows, be of service to her husband, be eager to please him and be well-disposed towards his friends and relatives [see also B.G. 1: 40].

Following him in his vows, being regular, favorably disposed to her husband as well as to his friends and relatives and readiness one finds with a woman in divine respect with her husband [see too B.G. 1: 40]. (Vedabase)

 

Text 26-27

By means of cleaning, mopping and decorating running her household and personally dressing up nicely in always clean garments, a woman should chastely and modestly answer to the small and great desires of her husband and be in control of her senses and her speech, be truthful, pleasing and loving and regularly prove her respect for her husband.

She is of cleaning, mopping and decorating the house as a housewife and personally finely dressed with her clothes and household articles always clean; to the small and great desires of her husband is she a chaste and modest woman of sense control as well as of controlled speech and she is veritable, pleasing, loving and of respect for her husband when it is called for. (Vedabase)

 

Text 28

With contentment, freedom from greed, skill, conversancy with dharma, pleasure, speaking the truth, attentiveness, purity and affection, she should honor her husband for as long as he is not fallen [in being guilty of murder, theft, addiction, adultery or complicity in crime].

Of contentment, not greedy, expert in serving, knowing what is dharma, kind, speaking the truth, attentive, pure and affectionate, should she worship the husband as long as he is straight with her. (Vedabase)


Text 29

When a woman meditates upon her husband as being the Supreme Personality she is of the same service as the Goddess of Fortune; in her devotion thinking of Hari she enjoys with her husband His spiritual abode [of Vaikunthha] just like Lakshmî.

Any woman who accepts her husband as the Supreme Personality is of service exactly like the Goddess of Fortune; devoted is she to the spirit of Hari with her husband in the spiritual world of Vaikunthha just like Laxmi enjoying the eternal herself. (Vedabase)

 

Text 30

The livelihood of those who were born from mixed marriages [of different classes, pratilomaja with a lower man and anulomaja with a higher man] and who are considered lower [antyaja] or have been marginalized [antevasâyî], should not consist of stealing and [other forms of] sinning, but should correspond to the respective family traditions.

Of the ones born from a mix of class [pratilomaja with a lower man and anulomaja with a higher man] is there according the family tradition the duty not to be of the theft and sin of the lower outcast. (Vedabase)

 

Text 31

Oh King, when the occupational duty [the dharma] is in accordance with someone's societal position, that is in every age [yuga] by the seers of Vedic knowledge recognized as generally being auspicious for both one's present life and the life hereafter [see also B.G. 3: 25].

In general is the dharma to one's own material position in society in every age [yuga] by the brahmin recognized, o King, as being auspicious for as well one's present life as the life hereafter [see also B.G. 3: 25]. (Vedabase)

 

Text 32

When one for one's livelihood abides by the activities belonging to one's professional engagement one can, in gradually putting an end to the karma that resulted from one's own nature, attain the [nirguna] state transcendental to the [operating] modes of nature [see also B.G. 3: 35].

Existing from one's occupation according one's own mode of action may one with the minding of one's own business in giving up the karma that belongs to that particular way, gradually attain the transcendental position. (Vedabase)



Text 33-34

[But...] a field over and over cultivated may, being exhausted, fall barren having become unsuitable for further harvesting so that seeds sown are lost. The same way a mind full of lusty desires enjoying over and over the objects of desire may [at some point be unable to enjoy any further and thus] become detached oh King. Just think of small drops of ghee that may be lost in a [sacrificial] fire, [but all poured at once may extinguish it].

A field over and over cultivated may fall barren not fit for further harvesting from seeds sown as it was spoilt; this way with a mind full of lusty desires over and over enjoying the objects of one's desires can one run into the rule of Brahmâ just like, o King, small drops of ghee do in a fire. (Vedabase)

 

Text 35

[And so,] if one happens to see a person behave according to the symptoms as described above that belong to another class than his own, that person consequently has to be respected accordingly [in other words, when for example someone behaves like a brahmin he must be treated like a brahmin].'

And if with a person the symptoms indicating a certain class other than his own are observed, should one for sure also designate him by that [: who behaves like a brahmin e.g. must be considered so].' (Vedabase)


*: This concerns the âs'ramas or civil status groups related to one's age of being a celibate student - a brahmacarya, a married person - a grihasta, a middle-aged withdrawn person - a vanaprashta or someone of the renounced order - a sannyâsî, usually a senior.

 



 

 

 

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The image is titled: "Lady going for puja". It is painted by
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