VARNASHRAMA DHARMA – CAN ONE FOLLOW IT IN THE PRESENT SOCIETY?
A Girl devotee asked like this (Name hidden):
Hare Krishna Prabhu, Thank you very much for sharing a post related to Varnashram and the difference between Brahmin and Vaishnavas which i too had a doubt.Now ,I have a query in Bhagavdh Gita. In one sloka I learnt , Krishna has asked to follow their own Varnashra Dharma and following other Varnashram Dharma is dangerous. I’m not a brahmin by birth. Is Varnashra Dharma decided by birth or job. If it’s by job, then a brahmin can have a Vaisya children and Sudra Children also…Right ? So,I’m not sure how is this Varnashram Dharma to be followed. I was into IT for sometime and at present house wife. What is my Varnashra Dharma? Could you please clarify.Thanks in advance.
Varnashrama Dharma can be followed in any society, but, it is not followed by atleast 99.5% of people now a days. Varnashrama Dharma and Kula Dharma are closely related. However, Kula Dharma mean accepting the profession of father. Varnashrama dharma has no such conditions. However, it is always considered similar to Kula Dharma.
Let me explain the reasons and the state of Varnashrama Dharma now.
How about 0.5% of the people still follow Varnashrama Dharma even now?
In Brahmana families, a small percentage of brahmanas still follow vedic recitation and preaching as their kula dharma. You can see the Purohits from the Brahmin community who perform vedic rituals for marriage, death, Shrartha (annual ritual for deceased ancestors), etc. Those who perform Pujari Service (deity service) are also brahmanas.
These purohits or Pujaris are following Varnashrama Dharma or Kula Dharma if they earn only through this vedic profession. If they work in some companies and do this vedic profession in part time, they are not vedic brahmanas. Since they work in companies and earn, they come under Sudra varna. If they do some other businesses like shops, companies, farming, etc and also follow vedic profession as part time job, they come under Vaishya varna, ie, trading varna.
Only the full time vedic brahmanas come under Brahmana varna. Not part time folowers.
My father was a full time vedic Brahmana. He lived only through performing vedic rituals with very much difficulty. We have starved even without three times food every day once upon a time. He goes to perform rituals everyday and come with some petty cash in the evening. It will not be sufficient even for one time food. We ate only in the evening every day and was starving without food for all the other two times. Only one meal a day. Other times, we drank some milk supplied by a cow that we were having. Thus, I am a son of a pure Vedic Brahmana who is also a devotee of Lord Vishnu. He would recite Vishnu Sahasra Nama in the opposite Vishnu temple every morning before the sun rise. Only after hearing his recitation, the entire village would wake up.
But, none of his sons took Vedic Brahmana profession because it offered no food for us three times a day. All of us went to jobs and we resettled in two cities in Tamil Nadu after the death of our father. We went to jobs and managed ourselves. All of us are living only in these cities of Tamil Nadu even now. As far as myself is concerned, I do not belong to just a single city and I live in both the cities taking care of my business affairs travelling to these cities.
Thus, we, the children deviated from Brahmana varna and became Sudras and Vaishyas. One of my sister’s son joined as an officer in Indian Army and became a Kshatriya. Her another some joined an IT firm and thus became a sudra. In a single family, one son is a Kshatriya and another son is a sudra.
Therefore, in today’s society, father belongs to a varna, and every child accepts other varnas based on their profession.
If a Vedic Brahmana’s son likes to do the same Vedic Brahmana job, that family becomes a Vedic Brahmana family. Otherwise, it becomes a family of mixed varna.
This is how Varnashrama System and/or Kula Dharma is diminishing in India. Only in a numerable families, the son too accepts the profession of father. You would have heard that today’s farmers do not like to make their sons also as farmers seeing the non profitable trend of farming profession. Many farmers like to make their children as doctors, Engineers, government servants, etc thinking atleast their children can live without the struggle for money.
That is why, I said that Varnashrama System or Kula Dharma can be followed even now of the child also continues the profession of father.
But, according to Krishna in Bhagavad Gita, he did not insist on family profession (Kula Dharma) or Varnashrama Dharma. He never said that a son or daughter should accept the same profession of his/ her father. He spoke about ASSIGNED DUTIES in which the person is NATURALLY interested. If the son of a farmer is not comfortable with the farming profession, but, NATURALLY likes to become an engineer and he also becomes an engineer, Krishna does not object it.
Krishna gives preference only to the NATURAL TENDENCY of a person in choosing a job. My sister gave the Engineering education for his elder son in a hope that he can join in an IT company and earn well. But, after finishing his education, that boy found that he is not interested in the IT profession and he considered that profession as earning by spoiling his brain because these IT engineers work for 10-12 hours day and night with the targets making their brain tired.
He NATURALLY wanted to serve the country by becoming an officer in Indian Army. He wrote CDS exam just only once even without any coaching. He was selected in his first appearance itself and now enjoying his job like anything. He now has many assistants to help him and is getting promoted very fast. He says that HE ENJOYS HIS JOB. This is called NATURALLY ASSIGNED DUTIES. Krishna too wants us to do so.
So, accepting the same profession of father is not the condition of Varnashrama Dharma. It is doing our NATURALLY ASSIGNED DUTIES.
In India, some students get selected for both Medical and Engineering admissions. Some skip medical saying that they do not prefer a job as a doctor. Some others skip Engineering and join medical saying that they like to serve as doctors.
In your case, you were a sudra when you were working. Now you are a house wife. So, you have now become a varna of your husband based on his work or business. A house wife’s varna is that of her husband. If she too works, she accepts her own varna.
If your son/ daughter accepts a different profession, they will acquire their own varna. That’s all.
This is how, the varnashrama system or Kula Dharma is diminishing day by day in India.
Hope I have explained clearly.
Vaishnavas do not come under any varna and they have crossed that material status. However, for the purpose of maintaining the affairs of the temples, some vaishnavas accept the PUJARI service to the deities of Krishna or His forms. They are Vaishnava Brahmanas because they accepted Pujari service. That is why, only those who took diksha as a Brahmana are allowed to perform deity services as Pujaris in ISKCON and other Vaishnava temples.