Mahabharata and the Bhagavad Gita (September 2000, Super School Auroville) - Track 10

There is another aspect of the argument of Arjuna, which is not explicitly stated but which is behind our argument. We had to build that argument also into the forefront and there is a still deeper question what is the action from the argument. As I told you to examine an argument you should know what it states, but also that which it does not state, sometimes what is not stated is known but sometimes what is not stated is not even known. So my second point is regarding what is known but not stated. The third point is that it is not even known by Arjuna and therefore not stated. Now about sin and hell we shall see later on because it's a long proposal and I have to deal with that problem at a very deep level. So let us see if I can finish it today and come to that problem. Otherwise when I come again, we shall take it up. Let us come to the second point. What is known to Arjuna which is behind the whole argument but which is not explicitly stated. Arjuna knows that he is a kshatriya. This is a word, again a Sanskrit word, that must be understood −kshatriya. As you know Indian Society was consciously organized and in this organization the society was fourfold; there were four orders of the society. And each individual of the society was supposed to belong to one of these four orders and each order had a name − kshatriya was one of the orders and the other three orders were brahmin, kshatriya, vaishya and shudra. So either one was a brahmin, or a kshatriya, or a vaishya, or a shudra. And each one was supposed to be lead to the highest if he  followed the law of his own order. 

The brahmin was one whose very natural inclination was to pursue knowledge. 

Kshatriya was one who by his very nature would like to rule, would like to protect, would like to fight, and would like to fight for justice. 

Vaishya was one who by nature would like to accumulate, to exchange, to enrich by productivity, by cultivation and by means of merchandise. 

Shudra was one who would like to serve, who would like to obey, who would like to submit automatically by his own nature. Now ideally everyone should have all the four. Everyone, actually, everyone has all the four elements. But sometimes, or very often, in fact in general human beings tend to have one of these four more prominent. So according to the prominence he would be called a brahmin, or a kshatriya, or vaishya, or shudra. So it was said that if a brahmin pursues knowledge and also gives knowledge then he can rise to the highest. Namely he can reach the Divine. If a kshatriya rules and rules properly, right way, not merely for dominations sake  but rules properly, if he protects the weak and the oppressed, if he secures justice to the people, if he fights for injustice, then he can reach the highest, he can reach the Divine.

A vaishya is one if he does the work of production, cultivation, of exchange, of accumulation and distribution then he can also reach the Supreme. And shudra even if he not learned, even if cannot rule, even if he cannot protect, even if he does not produce, but he simply gives his hand as a servant, works even in the lowest kinds of activities (in the eyes of God there is no lowest activity) the people sometimes called them lowest activities, like sweeping the room, like washing the clothes, various kinds of services which are rendered. So if he does these services then he can also reach the highest. Now, this is the idea of Indian Society. Now, behind this activity there were two supreme ideas in a society. One, money should not become the Lord. This is a very powerful element in Indian social makeup. And secondly there should be minimal of conflict.

These are the two great ideas which have to be served by this kind of formation of a society. Minimum of conflict or no conflict. If conflict arose, even there, there was to be a great restriction. Brahmin was not supposed to accumulate wealth; that was not his Dharma. If he was in need of money then a law was imposed that the ruler, or the rich, Vaishya, should support him. So even if he had no money his life would not be affected. So money does not become the Lord. Basically it was only the vaishya who was supposed to collect money and he could become very rich, very powerful only because of money. But then it was laid down that his life should be given to giving; that was his Dharma.  If he only accumulated wealth he was not a true Vaishya. A true vaishya is one who earns and gives and gives profusely. Even kshatriya was not supposed to earn money but because he protected the oppressed, because he served the weak even by fighting for justice, he had the right to take the money from vaishya and vaishya was supposed to support the king and the prince. So once again money was not the Lord. Similarly for the sake of reduction of conflict in society it was laid down that even though kshatriya must fight he must fight only after making utmost effort by peaceful settlement. That was his duty. It would not be as if whenever conflict arose he would immediately plunge into war and try to settle everything by muscle power. He was required to see that all conflicts are resolved peacefully, amicably. It is only when you fail to do it and when you find that if you do not fight, the weak will be trampled under the feet of the oppressor then only you should raise your sword and fight. That was the Dharma of the kshatriya. As a result the conflicts in society were minimum. Even though the life of human society was full of wars as we might have read, but the surprising fact is that Indian society, among all the nations of the world, this was the only society which had a continuous survival. This is the only society which has remained continuously linked with the utmost past. There was no other nation in the world which had such a long history and such an unbroken history. That means the society could remain somehow united although unity was sometimes very weak, sometimes very powerful, but still could survive. The secret of it was this − money was not the lord and conflicts were minimum. It is only when the foreign invasions became powerful that both these elements came into picture very powerfully. 

Money became very powerful and conflicts began to be raged and wars began to be raged without imposition of the law of harmonisation. Since then Indian society has become weaker and weaker and weaker. And now when we rise again we have different systems. We are now thinking of restructuring and you will see that the two important words that the Mother has used in her dream. You must read the Mother's small article called 'The Dream'. I don't know if you have seen it? One day you should see. It's a very short article. You've seen? You've seen it. 'The Dream' Read again. Even if you have read, read again. Doesn't matter.  It requires to be read again, 500 times, 1000 times. And you will see in this article of the Mother there are two very prominent factors, which she has underlined − Money shall not be the Lord. That is a powerful element in this particular document. And she says that the impulse to conquest, impulse to fight, instinct to fight should be replaced by the impulse to do better. These two elements Mother has again got into the picture for the New World. If the today's world is very difficult to run it is because − money-power and violence. People are simply violent in their nature, in their temperament. And they allow violence to go haywire in fact. If these two things are controlled society can be more and more perfect. The Indian society had managed these two things through this particular kind of a system. Surely it was not ideal because so many loopholes were there in the system. Everybody did not follow all this system and they could not find out the ways by which this system can be worked fully and perfectly. It deteriorated, degenerated, all this is because the system was not ideal. Therefore, it is not supposed we should go back to this kind of formation but we must appreciate what was good in it and how it helped the evolving society and try to understand the truth behind it. And even the reconstruction the truth should be brought again back in another form. As Sri Aurobindo has said: it is not possible now to go back to this system. But in the modern world there is one very good tendency that has arisen; we should take advantage of it. All over the world there is a movement towards what is called classless society, a society where there are no classes, classless society, a society in which there are no classes, no castes. As a result, everyone is supposed to do any work that comes in his hand. Now sometimes it is very disadvantageous when wrong work comes in your hands because you're not fit for it, but the advantage is that you are obliged to develop a quality, which you did not possess earlier. Your work demands the quality. If war breaks out then everyone whether he is a hero or not, whether he is a soldier or not, he is supposed to fight. Everyone. In India,  the early India only kshatriyas were allowed to fight, others were not allowed. So when the war broke out only the kshatriyas were allowed to fight. Women were not allowed at all. But now, in the present world, if war breaks out every citizen is supposed to join the Army and everyone has to participate in one way or the other in the war effort. So even if you are not meant for fighting, you have to develop the faculty of fighting. This is the demand of the modern world. Now this has disadvantage but also advantage that even if you do not have capacity you develop that capacity. So if you want to develop a new world you take advantage of this system of classless society where whatever work is given to you should be able to do. This can happen only if we develop the qualities of all.

And this is Sri Aurobindo's proposal. He has spoken of fourfold personality. Everyone has to become brahmin, kshatriya, vaishya, shudra; everyone. You develop your qualities to such an extent. Sri Aurobindo has said a yogi can do any work that is given to him. Once in my class I was asked a question: do you think Sri Aurobindo was a philosopher? Now, Sri Aurobindo himself has written, "I am not a philosopher, not a philosopher, not a philosopher." And yet I was teaching philosophy of Sri Aurobindo. So she asked me the question whether Sri Aurobindo was really a philosopher? Sri Aurobindo's answer to the question was that I am not a philosopher yet I wrote philosophy, and became the most reputed philosopher in the world. That is because of fourfold personality. Sri Aurobindo had developed fourfold personality and he has written a yogi asked to do something he can do that work and marvellously and perfectly. If you read the small book called The Mother. I don't know if you have seen that book, small book called The Mother. Have you seen it? Yes? It is written about the Divine Mother herself and Sri Aurobindo said fourfold personality of the Mother, isn't it? She was at once Maheshwari, Mahakali, Mahalakshmi, Mahasaraswati. It is a fourfold personality. If you read the description, you will find the supreme knowledge, the supreme power, that is Mahakali, supreme Love, supreme power of exchange, supreme power of opulence, wealth, Mahalakshmi and supreme power of perfection every little work even at the ground level, everything is perfect, which only shudra can do that is the ideal of a shudra. Every little work, as Sri Aurobindo said, when all work is finished for Mahasaraswati, nothing remains forgotten; nothing remains omitted. Everything is done. Everything is perfect. So that is the greatness and glory of the shudra. That is Mahasaraswati.

Shudra is the son of Mahasaraswati. So instead of thinking the shudra as something low, no! In the eyes of God, there is nothing higher, nothing low. Everything is a manifestation of the Divine. So that is Sri Aurobindo's solution of that for the modern world, you develop  every individual to develop maheshwari, Mahakali, Mahalakshmi, mahasaraswati, every student should have all the four that is why in the education system that we want to develop we speak of integral education system. All the four qualities, four personalities should develop. It's a very big program. Unless you do that modern society cannot be built. If today modern society suffering it is because while on one hand you ask anybody to do any job we are not providing that education by which one can do it therefore education should be such that every individual gets all the aspects of his personality and again on the lines of his predominance. You should not impose upon the child, but ultimately you grow in such a way that all of the four faculties develop in him or in her. Now, this is the background I wanted to give which is in the Bhagavad-Gita where very often you hear the word Dharma of kshatriya because Arjuna was a kshatriya and Arjuna as a kshatriya had come to the war because he knew very well, what was the Dharma of the kshatriya. The kshatriya whenever there is injustice, he should come forward. He should not say it's not my job, I'm not called upon. No! Even if you are not called upon the moment you see injustice in front of your eyes. It is your function to protect the oppressed. You should work for the balancing of justice. You should not wait to be invited. It is your own Dharma. It is your work. It is your, your breath of life.