Ch 18 Yoga of Single-pointed Surrender (Part 9)

This article is part 104 of 108 in the series Jīvana-dharma-yoga

In our times, the question of why is a brāhmaṇa given more importance has become more and more vociferous. The answer to that is in the description of the above qualities. A brāhmaṇa is devout and truthful; he regards that knowledge is of paramount importance and is always peaceful. All people of all countries respect such a person. Respect for those qualities are not out of drum-beating or force or even encouragement. It is born by itself from within the breast. These qualities are considered respectable by universal humanity that transcends caste, religion and other worldly attributes. If someone says that he does not respect those qualities, we do not fight with him. A brāhmaṇa is calm and merciful. He does not have any strife with anyone. That these qualities are respected by people is itself a praise of human nature. Even a person who is not truthful respects those who always speak truth. What does this show? It shows that even though a man lies because of some reason best known to himself, he respects truth. Even if he lies to others, he wishes that everyone should tell him the truth and not lies. The respect and faith a liar has about truth and truthful people gradually turns into love for truth itself. Similarly, the brāhmaṇic qualities that one respects will eventually be morally beneficial to himself.

A brāhmaṇa does not beg for respect. His venerability is because of his qualities and not because he asked for it. One who says “I am a brahmin, respect me”, shows his unworthiness by this mere statement. Manu says that one who expects reward is not a brāhmaṇa. He says that a brāhmaṇa should crave for contempt instead:

saṃmānād-brāhmaṇo nityam udvijeta viṣādiva ।
amṛtasyeva cākāṅkṣet avamānasya sarvadā ॥

Manusmṛti 2-162

The next aspect to be considered after giving up prestige and conceit is that of money. The greatest assault on our people due to British rule was caused by the revolutionary attack on our moral philosophy. Acquaintance with the British inflamed the desire of the elites or our society, for material wealth. It was natural that the English needed Indian help to establish communication between us and them, and also to keep accounts. It became an opportunity for Brahmins. They had been immersing themselves in education for generations. It thus became easy for them to learn new languages and sciences. Added to the natural proclivity towards knowledge, there was additional encouragement from monetary incentives. They forgot the wealth that Vyāsa prescribed; and sought the wealth that had the queen’s seal on it. Their qualities began slipping from them little by little. Brahminism became merely dynastic. They forgot ancient teachings and used their education, intellect and training to earn money. If they had at least remembered the old “riches”, their plight would not be as sorry as it is now. Because the Brāhmaṇa forgot his true nature and the true wealth of his glorious lineage, it gave an opportunity for others to say “this fellow is the same as others; he is just one among a thousand others. What is so great about him?”. If he had not forgotten his own wealth, he would not have been censured by others. A little brāhmaṇya would still remain in him. When others complain that many official posts are occupied by this caste called brahmins, a real brāhmaṇa should introspect about it with poignancy, and not argue that a brāhmaṇa is just more capable of earning. A brāhmaṇa may be capable and successful in worldly work; but the question is whether he has preserved his dispassion, calmness, penance and friendliness for the whole world. The story of the Brahmin community in the past one hundred and fifty years is testimony to the fact that there is a high possibility of pāpa in worldly transactions.

Valour, courage, power, strength, ability to work, steadfastness in war — these are the characteristics of a kṣatriya. A kṣatriya is one in whom these qualities are inborn. The world needs him to dexterously rule over the state. Just as we cannot include a money-minded brahmin in a group of brāhmaṇas, we cannot consider an incapable man as a kṣatriya.

Similarly, a person skilful in agriculture, commerce and wealth management is a vaiśya.

A śudra is one who is not capable of owning any work, but can perform tasks that are given to him by people more capable than him. It is easier for him to exert himself physically rather than intellectually; and to follow rather than think freely.
There are four services that are absolutely necessary for the wellbeing of any human society: 1. Education 2. Protection 3. Wealth and prosperity 4. Labour. If even one of these malfunctions, there will be deficiencies in the well-being of the society. They are all equally important. The skills required for them are respectively 1. Intellectual labour and self-restraint 2. Courage and strength 3. Mechanisms and strategies for making profit 4. Taking care of one’s bodily health and ability to follow rules. These four qualities are not present in any one man in equal proportion. It is even difficult to find two or three in one person. It is common to see one quality being dominant and that the other qualities are present in small amounts. The karma of a person is decided based on the quality that is predominant, varṇa is decided according to the karma. This is the secret of the system of varṇas. The fundamental concept here is that everyone is not equally capable of doing all work. Therefore, people should introspect about their strengths and qualities and choose a profession accordingly.

This is opposite to the theory of universal equality that is being propounded in recent times. The mainstay of this argument is — “what man has done, man can do”. It can only be a feeling in the mind but not practically feasible. Vāsudevācārya was a musician (a vāggeyakara of the twentieth century, in the court of Mysore Wodeyars.) . Can we all sing like him? Yes, we might — if we practice for a hundred lives. But my throat that sings then is not my throat of today; not that of the present life. A man who is skillful in handling machines should not be asked to become a schoolteacher. A mechanic shows skill with machines. A school teacher has oratory skills that can show the universe on his palm. Society will benefit if people are engaged in tasks that they are skillful at, tasks that they have natural inclination for.  That is the right economy — the ability to reap more out of less investment. A pin that is used to pierce paper to set them together is made by some man. I am also a man. Can I make a pin? Yes, it is possible, if I am given a boundless amount of material and infinite time. But a man who has received training for this job can make a thousand pins in a minute. There are some musicians amongst us. Bhagavān Brahma has forgotten to give them a good voice. For some reason, they think that they know music; they struggle to fix their voice. We listen to their struggle; however, we still haven’t had the good fortune to listen to and enjoy any meaningful outcome of the struggle. Thus, our efforts that disregard our natural strengths and weaknesses are not economical.

The vast diversity of human qualities, strengths, propensities and inclinations of humans has great use in the order of the universe. Because there is inequality, one man is curious about, and respects another. Because there is inequality, a man requires another’s help. Because there is diversity and inequality there is opportunity for friendship. We have seen that the Greek philosopher Plato has expressed the same opinion. If everyone becomes a musician, who will listen? If everyone becomes a doctor, who will get treated? If everyone becomes a teacher, who will learn? We need what we lack, from others. This is how we become friends with others. Because of inequality, one person feels friendly and respectful towards others. Because of diversity, we need one another.

In the present times, we are profusely misusing words like unity, equality, freedom, etc. It does not mean that these words do not have any meaning; they indeed have a beautiful meaning. People are merely uttering these words without understanding their true meaning, and with nary a thought to propriety or circumstance. It is similar to tying up the Gītā in a cloth (Texts with powerful mantras are to be tied in silk cloth and kept safe from prying eyes and hands), noting that Bhagavān said —

idaṃ te nātapaskāya nābhaktāya kadācana ॥

BG 18.67

This is a great sentence, pregnant with meaning. The word “equality” is like that. It is easy to misunderstand it. One must therefore be careful. Diversity and inequality are the arrangement of prakṛti. Because of them, people need one another, through which friendship and respect grows among people. Swami alludes to this wonderful principle in the chapter about karmayoga:

parasparaṃ bhāvayantaḥ śreyaḥ param avāpsyatha ॥

BG 3.11

Some disparity is seen in the system of varṇas and karma. Descriptions such as  — brāhmaṇa is the mouth, kṣatriyas are the shoulders, vaiśyas are the thighs and śudras are the feet — have become cause for objection. The objection is born of unthinking folly. From the point of view of the society, all karmas are equally required. What is the objective here? Firstly, the impurity of the three guṇas in an individual should erode. Secondly, his capability and strengths should flourish; thirdly, the workplace for these two objectives is to transact with the world. Fourthly, the world should benefit from the expression of his qualities and strengths. Thus, the objectives of a dharmic karma are individual elevation and the well-being of the whole world. From this perspective, an individual’s wealth, prestige, and authority are not very important. Service to the whole world is important; service to the divine is important; one’s own profit and prestige are not. The path of our karma is what agrees with our nature.

To be continued...

The present series is a modern English translation of DVG’s Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award-winning work, Bhagavad-gītā-tātparya or Jīvana-dharma-yoga. The translators wish to express their thanks to Śatāvadhāni R Ganesh for his valuable feedback and to Hari Ravikumar for his astute edits.



Devanahalli Venkataramanayya Gundappa (1887-1975) was a great visionary and polymath. He was a journalist, poet, art connoisseur, philosopher, political analyst, institution builder, social commentator, social worker, and activist.



Engineer. Lapsed blogger. Abiding interest in Sanskrit, religion, and philosophy. A wannabe jack-of-all.


Mother of two. Engineer. Worshiper of Indian music, poetry, and art.

Prekshaa Publications

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the fifth volume, episodes from the lives of traditional savants responsible for upholding the Vedic culture. These memorable characters lived a life of opulence amidst poverty— theirs  was the wealth of the soul, far beyond money and gold. These vidvāns hailed from different corners of the erstwhile Mysore Kingdom and lived in...

Padma Bhushan Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam represents the quintessence of Sage Bharata’s art and Bhārata, the country that gave birth to the peerless seer of the Nāṭya-veda. Padma’s erudition in various streams of Indic knowledge, mastery over many classical arts, deep understanding of the nuances of Indian culture, creative genius, and sublime vision bolstered by the vedāntic and nationalistic...

Bhārata has been a land of plenty in many ways. We have had a timeless tradition of the twofold principle of Brāhma (spirit of wisdom) and Kṣāttra (spirit of valour) nourishing and protecting this sacred land. The Hindu civilisation, rooted in Sanātana-dharma, has constantly been enriched by brāhma and safeguarded by kṣāttra.
The renowned Sanskrit poet and scholar, Śatāvadhānī Dr. R...

ಛಂದೋವಿವೇಕವು ವರ್ಣವೃತ್ತ, ಮಾತ್ರಾಜಾತಿ ಮತ್ತು ಕರ್ಷಣಜಾತಿ ಎಂದು ವಿಭಕ್ತವಾದ ಎಲ್ಲ ಬಗೆಯ ಛಂದಸ್ಸುಗಳನ್ನೂ ವಿವೇಚಿಸುವ ಪ್ರಬಂಧಗಳ ಸಂಕಲನ. ಲೇಖಕರ ದೀರ್ಘಕಾಲಿಕ ಆಲೋಚನೆಯ ಸಾರವನ್ನು ಒಳಗೊಂಡ ಈ ಹೊತ್ತಗೆ ಪ್ರಧಾನವಾಗಿ ಛಂದಸ್ಸಿನ ಸೌಂದರ್ಯವನ್ನು ಲಕ್ಷಿಸುತ್ತದೆ. ತೌಲನಿಕ ವಿಶ್ಲೇಷಣೆ ಮತ್ತು ಅಂತಃಶಾಸ್ತ್ರೀಯ ಅಧ್ಯಯನಗಳ ತೆಕ್ಕೆಗೆ ಬರುವ ಬರೆಹಗಳೂ ಇಲ್ಲಿವೆ. ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರಕಾರನಿಗಲ್ಲದೆ ಸಿದ್ಧಹಸ್ತನಾದ ಕವಿಗೆ ಮಾತ್ರ ಸ್ಫುರಿಸಬಲ್ಲ ಎಷ್ಟೋ ಹೊಳಹುಗಳು ಕೃತಿಯ ಮೌಲಿಕತೆಯನ್ನು ಹೆಚ್ಚಿಸಿವೆ. ಈ...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the fourth volume, some character sketches of the Dewans of Mysore preceded by an account of the political framework of the State before Independence and followed by a review of the political conditions of the State after 1940. These remarkable leaders of Mysore lived in a period that spans from the mid-nineteenth century to the...

Bharatiya Kavya-mimamseya Hinnele is a monograph on Indian Aesthetics by Mahamahopadhyaya N. Ranganatha Sharma. The book discusses the history and significance of concepts pivotal to Indian literary theory. It is equally useful to the learned and the laity.

Sahitya-samhite is a collection of literary essays in Kannada. The book discusses aestheticians such as Ananda-vardhana and Rajashekhara; Sanskrit scholars such as Mena Ramakrishna Bhat, Sridhar Bhaskar Varnekar and K S Arjunwadkar; and Kannada litterateurs such as DVG, S L Bhyrappa and S R Ramaswamy. It has a foreword by Shatavadhani Dr. R Ganesh.

The Mahābhārata is the greatest epic in the world both in magnitude and profundity. A veritable cultural compendium of Bhārata-varṣa, it is a product of the creative genius of Maharṣi Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vyāsa. The epic captures the experiential wisdom of our civilization and all subsequent literary, artistic, and philosophical creations are indebted to it. To read the Mahābhārata is to...

Shiva Rama Krishna

சிவன். ராமன். கிருஷ்ணன்.
இந்திய பாரம்பரியத்தின் முப்பெரும் கதாநாயகர்கள்.
உயர் இந்தியாவில் தலைமுறைகள் பல கடந்தும் கடவுளர்களாக போற்றப்பட்டு வழிகாட்டிகளாக விளங்குபவர்கள்.
மனித ஒற்றுமை நூற்றாண்டுகால பரிணாம வளர்ச்சியின் பரிமாணம்.
தனிநபர்களாகவும், குடும்ப உறுப்பினர்களாகவும், சமுதாய பிரஜைகளாகவும் நாம் அனைவரும் பரிமளிக்கிறோம்.
சிவன் தனிமனித அடையாளமாக அமைகிறான்....

ऋतुभिः सह कवयः सदैव सम्बद्धाः। विशिष्य संस्कृतकवयः। यथा हि ऋतवः प्रतिसंवत्सरं प्रतिनवतामावहन्ति मानवेषु तथैव ऋतुवर्णनान्यपि काव्यरसिकेषु कामपि विच्छित्तिमातन्वते। ऋतुकल्याणं हि सत्यमिदमेव हृदि कृत्वा प्रवृत्तम्। नगरजीवनस्य यान्त्रिकतां मान्त्रिकतां च ध्वनदिदं चम्पूकाव्यं गद्यपद्यमिश्रितमिति सुव्यक्तमेव। ऐदम्पूर्वतया प्रायः पुरीपरिसरप्रसृतानाम् ऋतूनां विलासोऽत्र प्रपञ्चितः। बेङ्गलूरुनामके...

The Art and Science of Avadhānam in Sanskrit is a definitive work on Sāhityāvadhānam, a form of Indian classical art based on multitasking, lateral thinking, and extempore versification. Dotted throughout with tasteful examples, it expounds in great detail on the theory and practice of this unique performing art. It is as much a handbook of performance as it is an anthology of well-turned...

This anthology is a revised edition of the author's 1978 classic. This series of essays, containing his original research in various fields, throws light on the socio-cultural landscape of Tamil Nadu spanning several centuries. These compelling episodes will appeal to scholars and laymen alike.
“When superstitious mediaevalists mislead the country about its judicial past, we have to...

The cultural history of a nation, unlike the customary mainstream history, has a larger time-frame and encompasses the timeless ethos of a society undergirding the course of events and vicissitudes. A major key to the understanding of a society’s unique character is an appreciation of the far-reaching contributions by outstanding personalities of certain periods – especially in the realms of...

Prekṣaṇīyam is an anthology of essays on Indian classical dance and theatre authored by multifaceted scholar and creative genius, Śatāvadhānī Dr. R Ganesh. As a master of śāstra, a performing artiste (of the ancient art of Avadhānam), and a cultured rasika, he brings a unique, holistic perspective to every discussion. These essays deal with the philosophy, history, aesthetics, and practice of...


इदं किञ्चिद्यामलं काव्यं द्वयोः खण्डकाव्ययोः सङ्कलनरूपम्। रामानुरागानलं हि सीतापरित्यागाल्लक्ष्मणवियोगाच्च श्रीरामेणानुभूतं हृदयसङ्क्षोभं वर्णयति । वात्सल्यगोपालकं तु कदाचिद्भानूपरागसमये घटितं यशोदाश्रीकृष्णयोर्मेलनं वर्णयति । इदम्प्रथमतया संस्कृतसाहित्ये सम्पूर्णं काव्यं...


इदं खण्डकाव्यमान्तं मालिनीछन्दसोपनिबद्धं विलसति। मेनकाविश्वामित्रयोः समागमः, तत्फलतया शकुन्तलाया जननम्, मातापितृभ्यां त्यक्तस्य शिशोः कण्वमहर्षिणा परिपालनं चेति काव्यस्यास्येतिवृत्तसङ्क्षेपः।


इदं खण्डकाव्यमान्तं मालिनीछन्दसोपनिबद्धं विलसति। मेनकाविश्वामित्रयोः समागमः, तत्फलतया शकुन्तलाया जननम्, मातापितृभ्यां त्यक्तस्य शिशोः कण्वमहर्षिणा परिपालनं चेति काव्यस्यास्येतिवृत्तसङ्क्षेपः।


इयं रचना दशसु रूपकेष्वन्यतमस्य भाणस्य निदर्शनतामुपैति। एकाङ्करूपकेऽस्मिन् शेखरकनामा चित्रोद्यमलेखकः केनापि हेतुना वियोगम् अनुभवतोश्चित्रलेखामिलिन्दकयोः समागमं सिसाधयिषुः कथामाकाशभाषणरूपेण निर्वहति।


अस्मिन् स्तोत्रकाव्ये भगवन्तं शिवं कविरभिष्टौति। वसन्ततिलकयोपनिबद्धस्य काव्यस्यास्य कविकृतम् उल्लाघनाभिधं व्याख्यानं च वर्तते।

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the third volume, some character sketches of great literary savants responsible for Kannada renaissance during the first half of the twentieth century. These remarkable...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the second volume, episodes from the lives of remarkable exponents of classical music and dance, traditional storytellers, thespians, and connoisseurs; as well as his...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the first volume, episodes from the lives of great writers, poets, literary aficionados, exemplars of public life, literary scholars, noble-hearted common folk, advocates...

Evolution of Mahabharata and Other Writings on the Epic is the English translation of S R Ramaswamy's 1972 Kannada classic 'Mahabharatada Belavanige' along with seven of his essays on the great epic. It tells the riveting...

Shiva-Rama-Krishna is an English adaptation of Śatāvadhāni Dr. R Ganesh's popular lecture series on the three great...


ಮಹಾಮಾಹೇಶ್ವರ ಅಭಿನವಗುಪ್ತ ಜಗತ್ತಿನ ವಿದ್ಯಾವಲಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಮರೆಯಲಾಗದ ಹೆಸರು. ಮುಖ್ಯವಾಗಿ ಶೈವದರ್ಶನ ಮತ್ತು ಸೌಂದರ್ಯಮೀಮಾಂಸೆಗಳ ಪರಮಾಚಾರ್ಯನಾಗಿ  ಸಾವಿರ ವರ್ಷಗಳಿಂದ ಇವನು ಜ್ಞಾನಪ್ರಪಂಚವನ್ನು ಪ್ರಭಾವಿಸುತ್ತಲೇ ಇದ್ದಾನೆ. ಭರತಮುನಿಯ ನಾಟ್ಯಶಾಸ್ತ್ರವನ್ನು ಅರ್ಥಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಇವನೊಬ್ಬನೇ ನಮಗಿರುವ ಆಲಂಬನ. ಇದೇ ರೀತಿ ರಸಧ್ವನಿಸಿದ್ಧಾಂತವನ್ನು...


“वागर्थविस्मयास्वादः” प्रमुखतया साहित्यशास्त्रतत्त्वानि विमृशति । अत्र सौन्दर्यर्यशास्त्रीयमूलतत्त्वानि यथा रस-ध्वनि-वक्रता-औचित्यादीनि सुनिपुणं परामृष्टानि प्रतिनवे चिकित्सकप्रज्ञाप्रकाशे। तदन्तर एव संस्कृतवाङ्मयस्य सामर्थ्यसमाविष्कारोऽपि विहितः। क्वचिदिव च्छन्दोमीमांसा च...

The Best of Hiriyanna

The Best of Hiriyanna is a collection of forty-eight essays by Prof. M. Hiriyanna that sheds new light on Sanskrit Literature, Indian...

Stories Behind Verses

Stories Behind Verses is a remarkable collection of over a hundred anecdotes, each of which captures a story behind the composition of a Sanskrit verse. Collected over several years from...