Conclusions (Part 6)

This article is part 121 of 127 in the series Jīvana-dharma-yoga

But then, what is the use of lamenting over that? There is another side to this topic. We see this kind of admixture only among the rarefied urban population. Those who are wealthy or in prestigious positions or in seats of power are into mixed relationships for many reasons. These are the urban nouveau riche. If we leave them aside and look at populations of tribesmen and categories of poor people, we see resistance to the idea of this admixture. Such people have maintained the differences in clans and categories that have come to them from time immemorial. We see that the old ways and relationships persist among the Vaiṣyas, Okkaligas, Kurubas, Baṇajigas, Boyis and Nāiḍus. This admixture has not yet entered the lives of other Hindu classes as much as it has entered the Brāhmaṇa class. Thus the system of varṇa is still firm for most Hindus. Can this admixture spread to other classes? Let’s assume that it can. Admitting that it can spread is not the same as saying that the spread of admixture is acceptable. Not all that is inevitable can be considered acceptable.

What then should be done by those who believe in the system of varṇa? Their duty is twofold.

  1. Tolerate the admixture that has happened till now and the admixture that will happen after them as an effect of time. Hatred is not useful there. There’s no need to oppose it or imitate it. Consider it to be a new jāti. Let it be on its own.
  2. Protecting old kinships and purity of the clan as much as possible is the foremost duty of those who believe in the varṇa system.

Some argue that the existence of jātis and their subsects is in error and is destructive to society. I have no doubt that theirs is a confused argument.
Smaller sub-sects are useful in two ways. First: special qualities and areas of expertise are finely nurtured to perfection in a clan’s tradition. This is a positive quality of a guild. The expertise in a specific art or craft occurs because of increased specialisation and a conducive environment at home. Examples for these can be found in England’s artisanal guilds even now.

The second benefit from sub-sects is a feeling of security and intimacy. In the enthusiasm to extol the virtues of  broadmindedness and an inclusive life, we forget the value of a closed environment and the mind’s tendency to consider its surroundings as its own. Just as there is a place for inclusivity in human life, there is also a place for exclusivity. It is important to have a large living room to allow for friends, guests and relatives to mingle together. At the same time it’s necessary to have smaller rooms for married couples and children.

There was a king once who built a new palace. He invited his friend, another king, to showcase different parts of his palace. There were spacious maṇḍapas, capacious auditoriums; all well lit; all of them airy. After an exhaustive tour of the palace, the guest king asked his host.
"The palace is wonderful. But where do you live?"
"Right here."
"Friend, Can anybody live in these big halls? These are great for assemblies and large gatherings. But isn’t living something else?"
"What do you mean?"
"Living is personal and intimate. Don’t you need privacy for a dalliance with your wife? Can you do that in this open environment?"

Such is the use of limited space. In smaller sub-sects, man feels a sense of dearness and affection. He feels a sense of belonging through "I" and "mine". Belongingness and intimacy are the source of enthusiasm in life. If jāti and groupism is wrong, what will become of being Indian (belonging to India)? What then is nationalism? Even those are different groups among humans. In reality, only the ground below and the sky above are physical limits to man. Who is that person who would consider only the earth and sky as his limits and live in open ground without a roof over his head? Just as the body needs a home and neighbours, a mind needs jāti and the circle of relatives. It is only a complete jñānī that can be equanimous everywhere. For one who is a seeker of knowledge, though, home, jāti and society are still useful instruments.

This is the gist: the system of jāti and varṇa is not fundamentally defective. On the contrary, it is beneficial. Modern biological and genetic studies have not found anything opposed to this. Even Europeans have social and class categories. Even though it may not be as systematic as with us, social categories still exist informally. We do not need to imitate them, however they may be. But it has become imperative for us to adapt to changing times and circumstances. The rule of the manu-smṛti ended when kṣatriya rulers ceased to exist. In the present world, jāti lives only in personal life - marriage relationships to be precise. There is no inconvenience from this to the nation. Breaking up this ancient tradition is not necessary; it might even be dangerous.

2. The complex web of professional relationships

The choice of a profession to earn a livelihood was not a complicated conundrum during the era of the BhagavadGītā. The situation was similar till even a couple of hundred years ago - during the times of our great great grandfathers. There were no

  1. Dominance of machines and technology
  2. No travel facilities
  3. Limited competition in business
  4. No high population.

There were only three major vocations.

It is not possible to consider a brāhmaṇa’s duties as a means for livelihood. He had dedicated his life to knowledge and penance. He would fill his stomach with wild fruits or roots in the forest or whatever a king or merchant would give of their own accord. He could not be counted from a pecuniary perspective. From an economic perspective, he could be regarded as a cipher or even as a liability!

The kṣatriya was eligible to receive a share from others’ earnings. As far as earning money, his position was similar to the brāhmaṇa’s. Body-building in the gymnasium, hunting, riding on horses and elephants, thirsting for battle, and lording over other people - constituted a kṣatriya’s profession. Where in this do you find earning wealth?

Therefore from the perspective of wealth and means of livelihood, the only vocations worth considering are those of vaiṣyas and śūdras. These two can be termed capital and labour in modern economic terminology. The profession for them in that time was

Kṛṣi-go-rakṣa-vāṇijyam ||

-BG 18.44

(Agriculture, animal husbandry and commerce)

Ancillary to these main activities were professions such as astrologer, doctor, barber, weaver, palanquin bearer, carpenter, blacksmith, goldsmith, peons, and village announcer.  All these professions were hereditary. A barber did not become a carpenter. Neither did a blacksmith become a doctor. An astrologer did not become a trumpeter. Their professions were from birth.

All of this has changed now. Gargantuan machines, atomic machines, chemicals, steam, petroleum, technology and other advancements have made thousands of jobs possible. With steep growth in population, difficulty in professions has become unbearable. A Brāhmaṇa well-versed in the Vedas works as a machine operator. A kṣatriya drives an automobile. A born barber practises medicine. One born a carpenter becomes a lawyer. People have to now choose and work in professions that they had not even imagined. What should be done now?

Such questions take us to the realm of politics as the nation’s financial and economic decisions rest with the government. There are two key differences between olden days and now.

  1. The economic system was simpler then. The main profession was agriculture to which were attached a few subordinate occupations. Those were the only means of livelihood which were limited to their respective regions and had not spread to far flung places and foreign countries. Maintaining them was a simple and easy task. Now, however, every town in the nation has become a centre for several foreign businesses. Whatever town we visit, we can see products from America, Switzerland, England, Germany and other countries.  Thus from an economic perspective, today’s is a complex world.
  2. The old economic system was entirely under the control of a single ruler. The king did not intervene in his subjects’ financial lives. It appears that the construction of large tanks, large gardens and big roads were the only undertakings under the purview of the kings. The subjects as well as their kings followed traditions handed over to them through generations, as if it were their second nature. Thus, ancient practices would flourish in a generation, and be carried on to the next. With them, occupations would flow undisturbed. There were no reasons for this tradition of succession to be upset. Whether the Chola king invaded the chālukyas or the Kadambas attacked the Rāṣṭrakūṭas, these royal rivalries did not shake the foundation of the people’s economic systems.

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

Indian Perspective of Truth and Beauty in Homer’s Epics is a unique work on the comparative study of the Greek Epics Iliad and Odyssey with the Indian Epics – Rāmāyaṇa and Mahābhārata. Homer, who laid the foundations for the classical tradition of the West, occupies a stature similar to that occupied by the seer-poets Vālmīki and Vyāsa, who are synonymous with the Indian culture. The author...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the sixth volume of reminiscences character sketches of prominent public figures, liberals, and social workers. These remarkable personages hailing from different corners of South India are from a period that spans from the late nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. Written in Kannada in the 1970s, these memoirs go...

An Introduction to Hinduism based on Primary Sources

Authors: Śatāvadhānī Dr. R Ganesh, Hari Ravikumar

What is the philosophical basis for Sanātana-dharma, the ancient Indian way of life? What makes it the most inclusive and natural of all religio-philosophical systems in the world?

The Essential Sanātana-dharma serves as a handbook for anyone who wishes to grasp the...

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...