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Thread: Shrī Rg-Veda: A Theological Commentary On Varṇa

  1. #1

    Veda and Varna: The Way, of Works

    namaste forum members.

    "Varna" is spoken of as "Arya Varna" in RgVeda, and the all important Vedic ancestor, Manu, attributed with the creation of Varna, is also spoken of in glowing terms in the Veda. Yet, the hereditary basis of Varna is no where mentioned, except of course in the "purusha sukta" in the last chapter of the Veda, where, though, the use of a relatively new style and words clearly suggest the hymn to be of a very late origin; fittingly, this sukta will not be discussed here (roughly as a rule, the chapter 10 should be quoted in support or against an argument only under rare circumstances).

    So exactly how is Manu seen in the Veda? He is a Vedic Hero, a leader, a pathfinder, and a great guide of the Aryans. He is not a Rsi, though. He is something even "higher". So which class is that?

    The class is "Rbhu"; indeed, the Rbhus are directly associated with Manu and told to be his "descendants". Also, the Rbhus were composed of a variety of people, and they occupied very key responsibilities in the society: these facts are also clearly mentioned in the Veda.

    According to Veda, Rbhus attained their greatness by bringing the initiatives of Manu (and also a certain "Sudhanvan", another great ancestor) to perfection. So clearly, the establishment of Varna is being talked about. It is further proved by Vedic statements such as "the Rbhus made into Four what was initially only One"; by Four the four Varnas being implied.

    It should also be clarified here that "Manusmriti", meaning literally "in the memory of Manu", is a very recent text, and certainly not written by Manu himself as Manu is mentioned as a very "ancient" ancestor even in the RgVedic body of text. But it is also clear that but for Manusmriti, may be, we would have had no clear clue about who Manu was.

    "Varna" has root √vṛ which may mean "to cover" or "to embrace". So Varna is like embracing the Aryan way of life. The way of life, that is, the way of works. So what has the Rsis got to say about "the way of works" or "the way of life"?

    (Caution: now we have come to the spiritual aspects of the argument, so the reader is advised not to read the following too literally. I have, however, in my earlier HDF posts, not many as they are, tried to bring some alignment to these ideas.)

    The field of the RgVeda is no doubt Realisation and Knowledge. It is also about Evolution, that flows from an enlightened state, called Sat. And the realm of Rbhus is that of implementation, of works, for they "achieved immortality through works".

    The model for Sat in RgVeda, as given to us, is DyavaPrithvi. Here, Prithvi is the Triple Earth (we live in one of these), and Dyo is the triple Heaven. So DyavaPrithvi means Heaven Earth united, or Heaven-Earth created. I will not be fully going into the significance of DyavaPrithvi, for that is simply not possible, though I have mentioned it a few times in my posts, most significantly, in this one where I linked the unison of DyavaPrithvi notes to the "Awakening of Kundalini" in Yoga and Tantra. However, I must emphasise here that though Tantra and Yoga (as well as Vedanta etc) can validly proclaim their ancestry in the Veda, the Veda is much much more than the algebraic sum of all these sects. Into DyavaPrithvi, I guess, this much for now.

    A mental map for DyavaPrithvi, that is useful, is the number system: where the positive numbers, say, belong to Prithvi and the negative numbers to Dyo. The Zero is to be seen here as Asvini Kumar (why the guy always come back to A.K.?). Again, a caution, not to be too literal here: map can come from something real, but that doesn't make the map one and same as reality.

    So as Zero belongs to both negative and positive numbers, Asvini Kumar, too, belongs to both Dyava and Prithvi, and is, moreover, the Deity who makes it possible, makes Sat possible.

    To summarise it, the main goal of RgVeda is DyavaPrithvi. A being whose consciousness is limited to Prithvi is called Dasyu, similarly, someone limited in Dyo is called Vrtra (don't ask me his address); both Dasyu and Vrtra being states of Asat.

    The import is, our natural state is that of Dasyu, we are born into it. That is why even Rgvedic heroes have Dasyu suggestion in their names: Divodas, Trsadasyu, etc: kind of acknowledgement of their "Dasyu origins". And that is why the Veda says, "we are (overwhelmingly) surrounded with Dasyus".

    On the other hand DyavaPrithvi was the model which could lead humanity to unforeseen heights and to its true potential, on and as a whole, not in terms of a few individuals here and there. In other words, Varna was meant to make the Individual and the Society -both- realise their greater potential.

    The dual Gods extolled in Veda: Indra-Vayu, Mitra-Varuna, Indra-Varuna: emphasise DyavaPrithvi in the sense that in the duandva one God belongs to Dyo and the other to Prithvi. Now, here again I find myself in a tough spot. There is an anti-Gods trend nowadays, it is difficult explaining a truly polytheistic stand to someone. "What are Gods?", "Are they real?": well, Gods are in the "are", and it is the Gods that really make real "real": beyond this I am truly at a loss of words.

    I am really tired now. Hope to continue soon. In the meanwhile I will appreciate your thoughts on this. I will also like if some old-timers who have talked about Veda on this forum in the past, come out, if they are reading this, and share their thoughts. Please feel free to throw in your colors!
    Last edited by Sudas Paijavana; 09 January 2014 at 03:07 AM.
    Things to remember:

    1. Life = yajña
    2. Depth of Āstika knowledge is directly proportional
    to the richness of Sanskrit it is written in
    3. Āstika = Bhārata ("east") / Ārya ("west")
    4. Varṇa = tripartite division of Vedic polity
    5. r = c. x²
    where,
    r = realisation
    constant c = intelligence
    variable x = bhakti

  2. #2
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    Re: Veda and Varna: The Way, of Works

    Namaste Kalicharan Tuvij

    "So as Zero belongs to both negative and positive numbers, Asvini Kumar, too, belongs to both Dyava and Prithvi, and is, moreover, the Deity who makes it possible, makes Sat possible"

    This understanding of Zero is amazing! Yes, zero was invented by Hindus, no question about it. It is placed between, and is neither positive nor negative. Can you explain for me Asvini Kumar? I think Dyava is the Celestial and Prithvi is Bhu or Terestrial. But when I hear of Asvini Kumar I think of the Sons of Surya. Does this have to do with also the Lokas?

    Little off subject, but someone was describing colors in the following manner, as a map of regions in Bharat in relation to the Ramayana:

    WHITE - the far North as in the white snow of the Himalayas and Rishis and mendicants are found, and Shiva covered in ashes (the head)
    RED - the Gangetic valleys and fields where great battles of Hinduism were fought (the chest or the arms or both)
    YELLOW - South India where Monkey Armies were yellow (the arms or the thighs and legs or both - Hanuman was known to jump with strong thighs)
    BLACK - Lanka where Ravana ruled (the feet)
    ... of the body of Bharat and it's regions. The entire Bharat can be seen as a Holy Body, of Ram, who went all through Bharat on His quest for Sita. Anyway, I may have it wrong, it was a long time ago where Ram was being compared to the entire map of India.

    Thank you!

    Om Namah Sivaya
    Last edited by ShivaFan; 04 June 2013 at 10:10 PM.

  3. #3

    Re: Veda and Varna: The Way, of Works

    namaste ShivaFan

    I can accuse you of making a hodgepodge of Purusha-Bharata-Ram-Ramayana-Mahabharata-color-Sukta, a cocktail of diverse topics (in this Veda subforum), and on the top of that quoting purusha sukta in an oblique manner, against my disinclination to discuss it here, as stated clearly, with reasons, in the very first lines of the thread.

    Or one will have to see what is really written/ unwritten here. A Shudra (IMO what else a Shiva bhakt could be like?) wanting no more than to serve, to be at the feet, of mother India that is Bharati, the mother(and a real Deity too) of Aryan Culture and Civilisation.

    Someone wanting to serve is a sign of wide ness (brhat) of soul, if you may like to see what is really meant, or else it means -literally for you- a person belonging to the servile, slave, class.

    So I will rather accuse you of adopting Shudratva voluntarily, as your own choosing (kindly refute me if I have gone mad). Yet you reject the literal meaning that can translate into myriad insane dictums of servitude like the pouring of molten lead into ears, and so on.

    Hindus are generally introvert, but Shudras are even more so. That is one of the reasons there may be almost none here at HDF. The other reason could be that they have not been too much into shastras-pathan (reading) etc, again something that is exercised by them, rather than imposed upon. Yet if you visit one of their households, you will know that they have, in a way, best preserved the Hindu customs and deity worship. And don't be surprised if the average ShUdra youth, that you happen to talk to, doesn't know what Manusmriti is. Or if you do not find even one fibre of inferiority complex inside his psyche.

    Yes, I am talking about a different India, that is right there, but invisible to us all here, or to our shashtras.

    May be because they thought, Veda could not be written, may be not even named so. May be because they decided, a real long time ago, in the purvaJanma of BharataVarsha, that after all, the meaning of Dharma is not to be found in the secret coded painstakingly within the mantra, may be it is somewhere else. In here.

    This is not something that I imagined would be writing in this thread, not to forget of A.K. - that ShivaFan asked me about.

    Meanwhile Kalicharan Tuvij and ShivaFan have decided that in Veda sub forum anything can be discussed! So com'on forum members.
    Things to remember:

    1. Life = yajña
    2. Depth of Āstika knowledge is directly proportional
    to the richness of Sanskrit it is written in
    3. Āstika = Bhārata ("east") / Ārya ("west")
    4. Varṇa = tripartite division of Vedic polity
    5. r = c. x²
    where,
    r = realisation
    constant c = intelligence
    variable x = bhakti

  4. #4

    Re: Veda and Varna: The Way, of Works

    namaste everyone

    On a more serious note, it can be asked: exactly how much helpful the "everything else" i.e. mainly the other shrutis, are, when studying the RgVeda? Clearly shruti means "heard word", equated with revelation. In this sense RgVeda is the perfect shruti because its recording is perfect: be it the words, accents, meters or auxiliaries such as padapatha. Obviously the record was made at the behest of the Rsis themselves.

    The other shrutis on the other hand are the records of the "words" that were still reverberating around even though the Rsis as a species had gone extinct. Take for example "Asato ma Sad gamaya..." which is mentioned in Satpatha Brahman as a "quote" as if from some distant past. And then it is explained that Sat, Amaratva (immortality) and Light are one and same thing: a rhetoric no doubt imbibed from the days of Rsis yore.

    Or in the context of Varna, the rhetoric found in RV4.33.5 (where the Rbhus are busy making, from the intial one, 2, 3, and finally 4 "Soma cups") is paralleled by BrhadAranyaka Up.1.4.11-14 where one by one each Varna is being created.

    The creation of the other shrutis was important in the sense that much "informal" wisdom that went unrecorded was still doing the rounds. The "formal" part of it was added into the chapter 1 and not so "formal" into the chapter 10 of RgVeda. Thus the other shrutis can be seen more as "informal" ones, and this rule has to be applied even to the Brahmanas despite their outward exactness.

    So in the above Br.Up. quote, for instance, when it says (11) that the initial "one" was Brahman (this actually confusing between Brahm the deity and brAmin the varna, as opposed to intended double-meaning in the RgVedic thought), we know that this cant be, at least according to RgVeda. It is because the initial "one" was Dasyu on one level, and on the other level (i.e. cosmological) the initial "one" was Asat; because Veda is very clear that Asat came before Sat.

    Then the Upanishad says (12) that the second was created: the kshatra varna. And this varna is then extolled as even higher than the brAhman varna! This is also understandable since many Upanishads were written by sages belonging to the Kshatra elite.
    Next it introduces rather quietely the creation of the third and the fourth Varnas, Vis and ShUdra (12, 13). And in the very next line after the ShUdra, something unexpected hits: (14) says that even this much was not sufficient so "Dharma" was created. And then Dharma is equated with Sat. Again Kshatra is preferred over all (especially over the Shudra, in 13) to be "given" the association with this Dharma.

    The Kshatra of Upanishadic age is a confident class: the creative powers of Brahman and the power of Sat, that is Dharma: both fall under his disposal and purview!

    To summarise this one, and the last post, the circumstantial evidence from the "reality before us" and the other shrutis suggest a deep connection of the two: Shudra and Dharma. I hope to be corrected/ added upon by the members here, before moving ahead with the next post, if I missed something.
    Things to remember:

    1. Life = yajña
    2. Depth of Āstika knowledge is directly proportional
    to the richness of Sanskrit it is written in
    3. Āstika = Bhārata ("east") / Ārya ("west")
    4. Varṇa = tripartite division of Vedic polity
    5. r = c. x²
    where,
    r = realisation
    constant c = intelligence
    variable x = bhakti

  5. #5

    Re: Veda and Varna: The Way, of Works

    namaste forum members

    Let us revert to our "mental map" of DyavaPrithvi, that is, the number system. Or will be this a case of bad ethics for discussion: using modern tools (why not use, er, quantum field theory?) and imagining these to be applicable in the "proto history" of mankind?

    Or why bother at all understanding their beliefs? Or rather their superstitions?

    A good point. And we understand our academicians and historians have it all sorted out, too.

    But then, people do what they do, in fact, if smart people are capable of doing something, in all probability they usually do it! So if we look into an alternate expression of DyavaPrithvi used in the Veda, that is "Sira-Shuna" where Sira (Sans. "plough-mark") is a Prithvi Goddess and Shuna (Sans. "ploughshare") is a Dyo God, we can in fact see the direct origin of Zero (please don't tell the historians..). "Shunna" is what Zero is normally called in India, and Zero, evidently, is the export of Sira (through arabic sifr may be).

    "Sira" is also "Sita" in Vedic and Classic sanskrit (jai mA!).

    Indeed, Zero is actually the "identity element" in any logic group, not to be symbolised as "0" all the time, and quantum field theory is also built upon this very consciously.

    So let us refocus on the "quantum field theories" of the Veda, by making good use of our mental map.

    N.B.: Sira and Shuna, even if we try them reducing to mere ideas, are more than the "mental map". Just as A.K. is more (or shall we say Less?) than Zero.

    Jai Asvini Kumar. Jai Hanuman.


    next post: A.K. again!
    Things to remember:

    1. Life = yajña
    2. Depth of Āstika knowledge is directly proportional
    to the richness of Sanskrit it is written in
    3. Āstika = Bhārata ("east") / Ārya ("west")
    4. Varṇa = tripartite division of Vedic polity
    5. r = c. x²
    where,
    r = realisation
    constant c = intelligence
    variable x = bhakti

  6. #6

    Re: Veda and Varna: The Way, of Works

    namaste forum members.

    If I was not clear enough in the last post, Asvini Kumar is seen alternatively as Sira-Shuna. There are other images also.

    In our mental image of number system, negative numbers were assigned to Dyo. Now what can that mean? Let us take an example of business. If a person "A" has (-500) rupees what is that supposed to mean? It can mean that he has a debt of 500 rupees. Or a pledge of 500 units.

    Banks have a much bigger pledge, and cannot honour it if all the savers were to appear the same day demanding all their money back. Negative numbers are thus seen as creating a "imaginary" world that doesn't exist. So what keeps the imaginary world from falling apart? What keeps the savers from panicking and appearing on the same day?

    It is Dharma. Child of Dyo. Bull of Heaven. Like a Mother lovingly accepting our sacrifices. Or like Lord Rudra himself, thundering loud, fearsome, dealing Death, Justice, to the transgressors.

    He in his auspicious form is called as Parjanya in the Veda, and as Marut due to his fierce ways. DyavaPrithvi is created when Parjanya showers his rains on Prithvi, thus uniting Father Dyo with Mother Prithvi, and moving together with the Prithvi Gods as Marutgana.

    So Veda says, in the pair of the Asvins, one is "Dyo's Son" (Marut), and the other is the "best Sacrificer" (Lord Vayu in Prithvi). Hanuman who is Maruti, and who is VayuPutra, is therefore Asvini Kumar's manifestation. This alone makes Hanuman the most powerful Hindu Deity.

    Hanuman (Asvini Kumar) is the undying God of Immortality. He cures us of Asat, ignorance, darkness and disease. Powerful like Vayu, discerning like Marut. The only God who preserved all the three: Dharma, Veda and India: no doubt Hanuman Chalisa is the de facto national anthem of India.

    And this is not just an in-context, exaggerating, absolute praise of Asvini Kumar, in the way every deity is praised in Hinduism in some context or text. He is to be solicited even when our deity of worship is different. Without his presence a sect is no more than a cult, and a mandir is no more than a monument.

    P.S.: for those literal minded who may be still wondering about the connection between business and A.K., or as to why gods are necessary when numbers are "necessary and sufficient", there may be some hope still. Say, if there is "matter" which is real we have a corresponding "energy" which is real, but imaginary. Or, if there is "mind" there is "consciousness". Or if there is "life" there is "karma". Similarly if there is "Man" there is "God". That is underscored in the Veda, for instance, in the story of two birds on the same tree: one bird (Prithvi) keeps eating and enjoying the fruits and the other bird (Dyo) just looks on. The tree represents Antariksha, that not for now.
    Things to remember:

    1. Life = yajña
    2. Depth of Āstika knowledge is directly proportional
    to the richness of Sanskrit it is written in
    3. Āstika = Bhārata ("east") / Ārya ("west")
    4. Varṇa = tripartite division of Vedic polity
    5. r = c. x²
    where,
    r = realisation
    constant c = intelligence
    variable x = bhakti

  7. #7

    Re: Veda and Varna: The Way, of Works

    namaste all

    What does Veda mean when it says that Asvini Kumar distributes Yagna among us?
    Ask a devotee of Hanuman and he/she may tell you about the power of telling white from black. The power of accepting Sat and rejecting Asat. The power of discernment. That is how a Hanuman could tell a Rama from a Ravana (not as easy as it sounds now) or even a Rama from a Bharata!
    That is the meaning of Yagna: the constant process of seeing everything as binary, rejecting one and accepting the other. No shades of grey here.

    Sure, there are many levels of reality, but Yagna ensures that we achieve our becoming, over and above just knowing, of everything. Veda is full of descriptions where Asvini Kumar brings us Light from everywhere.

    What happens when a DyavaPrithvi is alive and kicking? what is an enlightened society supposed to do? It makes its behaviour conform to its inner consciousness. This is a point where Gyan meets Vigyan, and outer forms are transformed.

    Let us narrow down to Varna. The Varna theory posits a DyavaPrithvi structure for the state (country), in a form that is fully evolved and cannot be improved upon further:- a bold statement that says a state can be made so efficient as to behave like 'numbers'.

    The Rbhu sees Indra (the 'Brahman') and says, "let us make a cup", and they make the Legislature. Then the other Rbhu sees Mitra (the 'Daksha') and says, "let us make the second cup", and they make the Executive. Then another Rbhu sees Marut (the 'Rudra') and says, "let us make the third cup", and they create the Judiciary. And yet another Rbhu sees Dyo (the 'Vispati') himself and says, "let us make the fourth cup", and they create the Business.

    And this division had to mirror into the 'Prithvi' division, that is, as the Legislature, the Executive, the Judiciary and the Business limbs of the smaller units of the state.

    Therefore we have to have this double division to reflect DyavaPrithvi. That is why be it the GanaRajyas in India of the yore, or the functional democracies (of course limited to civilised societies) of today, we find this duality.

    Indeed this one will also be told by many as a Greek import to India, just like in the case of Astrology, only because Veda doesn't spell out the jargon. Well, the Veda was not meant to be an exposition on astrology, religion (Shiva was known but they still used 'Rudra'), rituals, science, economy, history, or politics.

    In the next post we will go into what the Veda has to offer regarding "the way of works", now that we know the Rbhus' efforts and achievements cannot be directly traced word for word in the Veda.
    Things to remember:

    1. Life = yajña
    2. Depth of Āstika knowledge is directly proportional
    to the richness of Sanskrit it is written in
    3. Āstika = Bhārata ("east") / Ārya ("west")
    4. Varṇa = tripartite division of Vedic polity
    5. r = c. x²
    where,
    r = realisation
    constant c = intelligence
    variable x = bhakti

  8. #8

    Re: Veda and Varna: The Way, of Works

    namaste everyone.

    The words "executive", "judiciary" and "business" suggest their origin in "Daksha/ Kshatra", "Rudra/ ShUdra" and "Vis/ Vaishya", at least there seems to be some sure connection.

    "Ksha" क्ष denotes "action", "da" द denotes "power", and "tra" त्र denotes "place". So daksha दक्ष means having the power of action, and daksha class may mean professionals given the power to act. Kshatra क्षत्र on the other hand means having power over a place, so it means "king", originally in Vedic, and "landlord" post vedically. We can conclude thus that "daksha", with a different accent than daksha the deity, is a Vedic varna, whereas the use of kshatra as a varna name is post Vedic and thus denotes a caste name and not varna.

    In the case of "Brahman" ब्रह्मन् this story is well recorded: "brhman" (neuter action noun) means the deity, "brahmn" (agent noun) is the name of a professional (more often one of the four vedic priests) in the RgVeda. And then we have the post Vedic "brAman" ब्राह्मण which is a caste. brAhman word makes its appearance in the RgVeda only in the purusha sukta, so it is clearly the caste name mentioned in the post vedic purusha sukta.

    Again, in रुद्र, रु means cry (as in रुद्) and द्र means to run (as in द्राति) or continuation (as in निद्रा, sleep) or the state of . So रुद्र means the state of crying (or anger). Sounds good to be the word for Judiciary which anyway doles out punishment and fear to criminals, including those in Legislature and Executive. On the other hand, in the caste name शूद्र, शू (as in शूभा) could be seen in the light of the replacement of a negative रु of रुद्रwith a positive शि (auspiciousness) of the name शिव of रुद्र. So शूद्र was meant to reflect दया (compassion)- towards the weak- more than दण्ड (punishment) part of it. To sum it up, रुद्र, with a distinct accent, looks likely to be representative of Judiciary and its professionals of the Vedic age.

    We can leave Vis (too much already).

    Prithvi being a dual of Dyo, the state-level structures mirrored the country-level structures, and thus had classes classified with the same varnas:- though their work domains remained vastly different, we can as well say complementary, just like in DyavaPrithvi.

    The dynamics of Varna eventually devolved into the statics of Caste. This is an altogether different study. Regarding the "way of works", that I originally intended to write in this post, we will have to wait for the next one..



    hare rAm hare rAm /rAm rAm hare hare
    hare krishna hare krishna /krishna krishna hare hare
    Things to remember:

    1. Life = yajña
    2. Depth of Āstika knowledge is directly proportional
    to the richness of Sanskrit it is written in
    3. Āstika = Bhārata ("east") / Ārya ("west")
    4. Varṇa = tripartite division of Vedic polity
    5. r = c. x²
    where,
    r = realisation
    constant c = intelligence
    variable x = bhakti

  9. #9

    Re: Veda and Varna: The Way, of Works

    pranam forum members

    I will add a correction to the last post where brhman is said to be a deity, whereas in fact it is only in the post Vedic literature that brahman (no accents) is vocally made a deity. From a vyakarana pov brahman can be seen as coming from brhman since both are neuter nouns, even though in the RgVeda brhman denotes only an abstract noun (and not a proper noun) and has the meaning "prayer": but then other words such as ila, daksha, etc are freely used as both abstract and proper nouns. There is a deliberate attempt by the Rsis, therefore, to not name brhman/ brahman the deity at all. It is only in context of brahmn that we see very oblique reference to the deity (behind the usual meaning of "priest") in a few places. But again from a vyakarana pov, brAhman has to be seen as coming from brahmn as both are masc. noun. (as far as I remember in some villages brAhman is called something like "babhn").

    As for the "way of works", I am copying the following from my blog (apologies for that).


    ...If Varna is attributed to the efforts of Rbhus (ऋभु), the Rsi-like people who no doubt graduated from the Rsis schools, their efforts and motivation should have an image in Veda.

    But, then, the domain of Rbhus was works, and enlightenment was that of Rsis. Varna, in its most general form, is related with works, after all, so there is seemingly no common ground between Rbhu and Rsi. Is there no work, of professional character, in Veda? Well, there is.

    Vedas soul is Yagna, or Sacrifice, which is the mechanism for a continuous growth, and evolution, into Immortality. And, rituals are the tools used, very festively, to create a conducive environment for the same.

    Moreover, it was good fun to the Rsis, who doubled up as Rtvijas and conducted the Yagna rituals. The question is, granted the Yagna ritual belonged to works, was it seen sufficiently in that light by Rsis, and therefore professionally undertaken?

    If the painstakingly detailed rituals described in the later texts such as Brahmanas and Srautas are any indication, or if the sophisticated Soma rites still performed in some parts of India are any evidence, certainly, the Yagna rituals were very professionally performed.

    In addition, if the likes of (future) Rbhus were to be inspired, the Rsis had to show the "way of works" in their rituals, in which, indeed, the students too played their parts.

    So what we know today for sure, based mainly on Rig Vedic body itself, the Rtvijas had a fourfold division: the Hotr (होतृ), Brahmn (ब्रह्मन्), Udgatr (उद्गातृ), and Adhvaryu (अध्वर्यु). The fourfold Varna of Rtvij.

    Among these, Brahmans work was to observe and to steer the event in a purposeful direction, by the use of timely interjections. Udgatr, the Chanter, on the other hand, was moved with Faith, Love, and Devotion; in his songs the ritual achieved its culmination and fulfilment. Adhvaryu, the Skilled one, was responsible for connecting all diverse elements of Yagna, for a hassle free passage of the events, which he did in a most graceful manner. Finally, Hotr was responsible for apparently everything, doing bits of direction, chanting and manipulation. Hotr was, above all, also responsible for money matters, and interactions with the patron, or Yajmana (यजमान) of the Yagna.

    To be explicit, Hotr, Brahman, Udgatr and Adhvaryu correspond, respectively, to the example of Varna that we discussed earlier: Vispati, brahmn, rUdra and daksha.

    However the real motivation of the Rbhus behind the establishment of Varna in the urban society was the evolution of the state of affairs from the Dasyu mode (of Asat) to the Dyava-Prithivi (Heaven-Earth) mode of Agni.

    It necessitates the existence of the Earth counterparts of the aforementioned Rtvijas. And Rig Veda doesnt disappoint, either. Hence, we have Potr (पोतृ) for Hotr, Nestr (नेष्ट्र) for Brahman, Prashastr (प्रशास्तृ) for Adhavaryu, and Agnidh (अग्नीध्) for Udgatr. If Hotr represents the whole Soma (Homa), the presiding God of Heaven, then Potr speaks for the whole Pusan, the presiding God of Earth in the Veda. Each of these Rtvij classes were, apparently, divided into subclasses which themselves were of Dyava-Prithvi, or Varna, constitution: this elaboration was required when the Yagna ritual and event grew voluminous.

    thanks for your endurance.
    Things to remember:

    1. Life = yajña
    2. Depth of Āstika knowledge is directly proportional
    to the richness of Sanskrit it is written in
    3. Āstika = Bhārata ("east") / Ārya ("west")
    4. Varṇa = tripartite division of Vedic polity
    5. r = c. x²
    where,
    r = realisation
    constant c = intelligence
    variable x = bhakti

  10. #10

    Re: Veda and Varna: The Way, of Works

    namaste everyone

    So much for "Veda and Varna: the Way, of Works". In this post I will try to summarize the thread, and also lay out some random thoughts.

    A) To summarize the thread,

    1. Varna is a product of Vedic worldview. Both have to be seen and understood together.

    2. Varna created a structure for the state, by making good use of "DyavaPrithvi" framework. Further, the tripartite division of state that we see today has its origin in Varna.

    3. Varna meant secular division of work. Nothing hereditary here.

    4. Varna names were probably slightly different than what we know them today.

    5. Shudra the Varna was entrusted to safeguarding Dharma in the Aryan Society. Much like the Judiciary.

    6. Varnas dont have any hierarchy, just as in Veda Gods have no hierarchy. No hierarchy, just harmony.

    7. If you dont understand A.K. you dont understand a thing.

    B) Some random points:

    1. To the Veda, DyavaPrithvi is present everywhere, even in something as small as an electron. So in Varna also all the entities and the entities within the entities had to be of the same constitution. I will not venture into all details, but just to cite an example, it translates into military power for all varnas. Army for instance is created into brahman varna as a part of its internal DyavaPrithvi constitution, just like Police into shudra, and para-military into kshatra.

    2. Army is a brahminical institution. This may surprise you, for sure. Indians at large were not influenced by this institution as it was mostly stationed outside BharataVarsha (on both western and eastern frontiers). There was a time when the whole world was ruled by the Aryans, its Army classes could be the source behind many later western civilisations and peoples. Even today some traces of brahmin warrior castes are found in India (Bhumihars in the east and Dutts in the west, etc).

    3. The enduring image of the brahman varna, however, will be that of the class of policy makers and politicians. Surely this is very different from the "mentor" duties (surely not effective) in the classic period. Another false image is that of a "teacher", whereas in the vedic age, the ashramas (schools) of many Rsis were positioned right on the frontiers of the Aryan Civilization where the process of "assimilation & expansion", by educating the tribals into SD, went on vigorously. The methods adopted ranged from education to war to gene-flow: all of them. So there was always a "buffer" zone where the people were neither fully Aryan nor fully tribal. At certain point of time the Aryan expansion stopped and all classes, including the "buffer", became frozen.

    4. Kshatra as a varna was the administrative class. This class was also patron to kalAchAr (culture), mainly because kshatras had a natural aptitude for arts. They were noble, and artistic. Obviously, the selection criteria was not like the today's clerical exams for the public servants.

    5. Shudras at one point of time probably had a showdown with the other two varnas. They were the guardians of Dharma, after all, and Dharma was on decline, and nobody was really to be blamed, for the Satyuga was on wane. One can understand the consequences, as in today's India where imagine if the Judiciary had police and investigation agencies constitutionally under its control. In fact Dr. Ambedakar, in his writings, is very conscious that less powers were given to the Legislature and the Judiciary in India after independence, and he justifies it knowing the state of Dharma in India, and that the state could have easily disintegrated.

    Shudras thus parted ways with the other varnas. They established their own separate kingdoms whenever possible, and Shiva worship also prospered under them. Even in Mahabharata there are clear referneces.

    6. Finally, the avarna. Dr. Ambedakar, one of the greatest Hindu leaders, belonged to the scheduled caste, something which enabled him to see the whole Indian society objectively, subjectively, and as a whole: be it the varnas or the tribals.No doubt, in the hindsight, he should have been the first officially chosen leader of India.

    7. Tribals: it was the Bharata tribe which started Aryanism. So we are fortunate that pure tribes are still extant in India. Not being limited by anything, they are a hidden source of strength for the rest of the Hindus.

    Finally, the word "varna" also means "color". I am currently searching the rik in the RgVeda that I remember mentions all the six different colors of DyavaPrithvi in the context of Agni. In my next post, and hopefully the last in this thread, I will present that rik.
    Things to remember:

    1. Life = yajña
    2. Depth of Āstika knowledge is directly proportional
    to the richness of Sanskrit it is written in
    3. Āstika = Bhārata ("east") / Ārya ("west")
    4. Varṇa = tripartite division of Vedic polity
    5. r = c. x²
    where,
    r = realisation
    constant c = intelligence
    variable x = bhakti

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