In the previous episode we witnessed the extension of the important point that Vidura is discussing here, with respect to the roles and responsibilities of the four “Varnas” (Categories) of people as prescribed by the Vedas. We’re witnessing them one by one for each of the four categories, and so far we’ve done it for the Brahmanas, Kshatryas and Vaishyas. As per the Vedas and the point that Vidura is stressing upon here, the main roles and responsibilities of the Brahmanas are to gain a mastry and sholarliness over the Vedas, Puraanas, etc. and propagate them to the world. The sole purpose of propagating the Vedas to the world should be the welfare of all the people and living beings together and world peace. Moreover, the Brahmanas are responsible for the conduct of various types of spiritual practices as prescribed by our Sanaathana Dharma, that includes the likes of performing “Homas” (Sacrificial offering to the fire – Agni Bhagawan), “Yaagas”, “Yagnas”, etc. that are important for the sustainability of the world. Having said thus, the roles and responisibilities of the Kshatryas are to make themselves prepared for defending their kingdom or territory or whatever, by gaining mastery and expertise in various forms of warfare such as artillery, usage of various weapons that are involved in fighting wars with enemies. By doing so, their responsibility is not only to protect their territory as a whole, but also to ensure the safety and security of the Brahmanas who are dedicating their lives for performing spiritual practices.
Similarly, the role of the Vaishyas, as witnessed in yesterday’s episode are to make sure that all the other three “Varnas” of people are supplied with adequate materials for survival, such as food, clothing, etc. in a reasonable and ethical manner. Vaishyas are those who are business people and deal with money matters. As witnessed yesterday, when it comes to money, ethics follows as well. As we repeatedly emphasize even in the modern day, business practices should be carried out with the utmost level of sincerity and it should be for the benefit of all people equally. Also, as it is the responsibility of the Kshatryas to offer physical protection to the Brahmanas, it is the responsibility of the Vaishyas to offer support in terms of availability of essentialities like food, shelter, and other important things.
As we move on to the final category of people – the “Shudras”, this is the “Varna” of people who work on the ground and ensure the availability of all the important items that are required for the existence of the other three “Varnas” of people. For instance, farmers, builders, people who take care of some important household chores, etc. come under this category. It is widely mistaken in the later Vedic period that the Shudras occupy the bottom-most strata of the society, but actually that was not the case as per the Vedas. Even in the modern day, we classify certain jobs as “blue-collar” jobs and certain jobs as “white-collar”. However, if we look at the descriptions given in our Sanaathana Dharma, there are no classifications like this. Every job is important for the survival of mankind in this world, and there is a balance between all jobs, to ensure sustainability. Without the hard work of the farmers in the fields, how would be get adequate supply of food grains and other materials required for essential survival? Without the hard work of those people who are involved in construction and other allied activities, how do we ensure that our lives are spent inside beautiful buildings with air conditioners? Hence there is no point in demarcating people based on what they do. Every profession is important and we should learn to respect all of them.
Thus, the role of the “Shudras” is to make all materials available at the ground level to the three “Varnas” of people. Starting from food grains to buildings, to other essential activities, it is the responsibility of the Shudras to maintain the balance in the ecosystem.
Now having discussed the roles and responsibilities of each of the four Varnas of people, our next point of discussion here is, how did this contribute to the downfall of King Dhirdiraashtra and Co. Why is Vidura making this as an important point in this context? What is the inner significance of this explanation that Vidura gives at this crucial juncture? Let’s wait till tomorrow’s episode to witness an interesting discussion on these questions! Stay tuned! 😊