In the previous episode, we had been amidst an important discussion of the important roles and responsibilities of the four “Varnas” of people as prescribed by the Vedas. In that, we’ve witnessed the roles of the Brahmanas and the Kshatryas. The Brahmanas, as we’ve seen are responsible for invoking the blessings and grace of Bhagawan through performing regular spiritual practices, chanting of the Vedas, Upanishads, etc. and exploring more on the “Shaastras”. Most importantly, the Brahmanas should not touch money with their hands, and should not focus their mind on worldly luxuries, etc. Similarly, a Kshatrya is a person who is to be totally involved in warfare, protecting the country or territory and in turn, protecting the Brahmanas from being attacked by enemies. The Kshatryas are also to be scholarly in Vedas, and other scriptures and should know the “Raaja Dharma” in and out. Not only should they know the “Raaja Dharma”, they should be meticulous in implementing them. In accordance to it, the Kshatryas are able admnistrators and they should be able to manage the kingdom effectively and protect it with all its wealth and subjects.
Having said that, we now turn our attention towards the third “Varna” of people – the Vaishyas. Normally, the Vaishyas are traders and business people. They are involved in bargains, trading of various commodities including food grains, vegetables, fruits and other eatable items, groceries, etc. In strict terms, the Vaishyas are the only people who are authorized to make dealings and transactions with money. In that way, the main role of the Vaishyas is to make sure that the Brahmanas are taken care of, by fulfilling their basic needs adequately.
It is not only that, the Vaishyas’ main role is to do business, but also are responsible for “ethics” in whatever they do. Since the Vaishyas are dealing with money matters, ethics comes into a crucial role to play. If the Vaishyas have to go to “Moksha”, their task is cut out – They should ensure that adequate money and wealth is put into use in such a way that the Kshatryas are able to source their weapons and other instruments, so that they are at ease in protecting the kingdom. Similarly, adequate wealth should be directed by the Vaishyas in procuring all the required items that are to be offered to Bhagawan through the spiritual practices performed by the Brahmanas. Essentially, as mentioned above, the Vaishyas are solely responsible for the welfare of the Brahmanas and they should ensure that the Brahmanas are peaceful, happy, well fed and that, they maintain the clear mindset for performing spiritual practices meticulously.
Thus, the context comes here as to why Brahmanas should not touch money with their hands – The main reason behind this is that, the Brahmana’s prime focus is to invoke Bhagawan and nothing else. This is a very important duty and nothing should come in between this. Since Bhagawan is directly involved in this, no worldly aspect of human life should cone in the middle of it. This is why the Kshatryas and the Vaishyas are given the responsibility to take care of the needs of the Brahmanas, thus protecting them in all ways – both physically and monetarily. The physical protection should be given to the Brahmanas by the Kshatryas and the monetary protection should be given by the Vaishyas. Thus again, I’m making the point very clear to the readers here – There is no superiority / inferiority between the four “Varnas” of people according to the Vedas. These four “Varnas” are four “categories” of people according to their occupation and their roles & responsibilities. There is no question thus, on who is important and who is not. If the Vedas specify that the Brahmanas should be protected by the other two “Varnas” of people, it doesn’t mean that the Brahmanas are given undue importance or something like that. It is only because, Brahmanas are supposed to directly invoke the blessings of Bhagawan through their rigorous spiritual practices and they do not have time and energy for taking care of other things. It is only because of this, the responsibility of “taking care” of the Brahmanas are given in the hands of the Kshatryas and the Vaishyas. Readers should make this point extremely clear here.
Finally we are left with the last Varna of people as prescribed by the Vedas. We shall witness their roles and responsibilities in tomorrow’s episode, followed by the important message that Vidura wants to convey through this lengthy point. Stay tuned! 😊