Tamasa Bahurupena Vestitah Karmahetuna I
Antahsamjna Bhavantyete Sukhaduhkhasamanvitah II I / 29 II
Owing to excessive Tamoguna, being proceeds of past regressive actions, are internally conscious yet deprived of proper manifestation.
Herein Maharsi Manu describes plants and trees as Caitanya i.e. conscious yet unable to perceive or discern any external stimulii. The Sloka is a profound narrative of Karmayoga and it’s aftermath. It is also in consonance with the dictum that Karma to be performed can be selected yet it’s proceeds cannot be. Plants and trees are very much animate beings but cannot perceive joy and agony. It is because the faculty to react to external joys and woes is terribly subsumed under the heavy weight of Samskara-s i.e. imprints left behind by the regressive, despicable and immoral actions committed in previous births. The magnitude of these Karma-s is so stupendous that such Souls are constrained to incarnate themselves into trees amounting to surviving in the state of coma yet alive. As a measure of penance with respect to those Karma-s, they are destined to sacrifice themselves perpetually so long as they remain live, by offering their fruits, leaves, roots, shoots and sprouts to man and herbivores.
Karma alone clouds our Cetana in the manifest of Samskara. Lesser the Karma, lesser the Samskara-s and higher is manifestation of one’s Cetana. Alternately, Karma performed in the spirit of Yajna i.e. in the spirit of sacrifice do not leave behind Samskara that would have clouded one’s Cetana otherwise. The spirit of Yajna entails spirit of sacrifice i.e. utter absence of interest in either owning the proceeds of Karma performed or consuming it by oneself instead of dedicating unto others without even a trace of delusion or affectation. Entire existence of all plants and trees is meant for others as a measure of reward for having usurped other’s rights and claims in their previous incarnations as animate beings. Since these are incapable of experiencing agonies, these constitute food for vegetarians. That is the cardinal principle of the virtue of vegetarianism too.
Sarsyasya Tu Sargasya Gupyartham Sa Mahadyutih I
Mukhabahurupajjanam Prthakkarmanyakalpayat II I / 50 II
For the well-being of all, Param Brahmatma created four orders based on actions undertaken by mouth, arms, thighs and feet.
It is an assertion of Maharsi Manu that does not leave any scope of misapprehension with respect to the rationale of allowing four Varna-s of Brahmana, Ksatriya, Vaisya and Sudra to exist. Four orders of Varna-s strictly correspond to the four constituents of human body with respect to their actions and functions. Just as four constituents of human body i.e. mouth, arms, thighs and feet are born together, exist together, act in perfect harmony with one another and die together, four Varna orders of society too, are created simultaneously, exist in perfect harmony with one another in a well-knit society, act in perfect co-ordination with one-another and die together, implying thereby, no Varna is capable of existing on it’s own.
Maharsi Manu has laid maximum emphasis on functional role of every Varna completely disregarding all other verticals authoritatively and with finality. His entire focus is concentrated on a vibrant, dynamic society that thrives in perfect harmony, no member of the society is belittled in any manner caused by any factor, gradually heading towards attainment of the ultimate purpose of human existence. An individual’s Varna is decided on the basis of nature of the functional role that is enacted by him or her.
Adhyapanamadhyayanam Yajanam Yajanam Tatha I
Danam Pratigraham Caiva Bramhananamakalpayat II I / 51 II
Pursuit and dissemination of knowledge, performing and conducting Yajna, receiving and offering donations, these six constitute Dharma of Brahmana.
Mouth is the organ of eating and uttering. Eating is essential for survival of entire body while uttering is for the dissemination of knowledge as a teacher and preceptor. Extent of knowledge and wisdom attained is reflected by the quality of utterances through mouth. Mouth is the gateway into human frame of existence whose purity enjoys utmost significance.
Counterpart of mouth in society on a larger scale is Brahmana. He is ordained to assimilate, disseminate knowledge and wisdom enshrined in scriptures. He is the representative of entire intellectualism in society. While pursuing elimination of ignorance from society, Brahmana acts like a torchbearer leading from the front. Brahmana is ordained to conduct Yajna wherein oblations are sacrificed into holy fire in the spirit of utter renunciation for the overall benefit of society i.e. in the spirit of Karmayoga. Proceeds of these oblations conducted in the spirit of Yajna, are ultimately dispensed to those members of humanity who happen to be incapable of performing such Yajna-s.
Brahmana is also required to conduct Yajna-s for the other Varna-s of society imbued with the same sense of renunciation for himself. Brahmana is mandated to donate dissemination of knowledge to those who are incapable of paying for that and also, gracefully accepting donations from those who are capable of donating in return for conducting Yajna or receiving knowledge. Brahmana is required to accept donations only from those whose means to earn are highly ethical, do not contravene cardinal principles of integrity. Out of these six functions of Brahmana, first three i.e. pursuit of knowledge and discriminative wisdom, performing Yajna and accepting donations constitute his Dharma while the other three i.e. dissemination of knowledge, conducting Yajna and accepting donations constitute his Karma, also means of sustenance. Action of accepting donations in general, is a regressive Karma unless it is in response to the actions of teaching and conducting Yajna.
Varna of Brahmana is entirely dedicated to the actions narrated as above. A Brahmana who fails to pursue his Dharma and Karma ordained as above, forfeits his privilege of being a Brahmana as well as be known as a Brahmana.
To Be Continued…