Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 4, Sloka 13, part 3

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath
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Sloka 13


The four-fold caste system has been created by Me according to the differentiation of qualities and actions. Though I am the author, know Me as non-doer and eternal.


***   continuation from last week   ***

“Though I am the author, know Me as non-doer and eternal.”

What does it mean?
Why does Krishna contradict Himself by saying that He is the author of this system and at the same time describes Himself as “non-doer and eternal.”

Krishna as such has been depicted as the son of Vasudeva and Devaki and leaving the physical body behind at the end. To dispel any doubt, He has made it clear at the beginning of this chapter that He is Eternal and He is the one who taught the sacred text to Vivaswan.

It is possible that the caste system was probably evident even in Dwapara yuga and Krishna did not like the practice. He therefore must have used the Gita as an instrument to express His opposition to the system and clarify the rules for the varnashrama.

He admits to be the author of “Varna” system but never said that He is the author of the caste system.

Also, as such, Parabrahman through the medium of the four headed Lord Brahma gave the Vedas to the mankind at the time of creation. Man, in course of time made changes every so often in the system of administration. The caste system is therefore one of such changes that has crept up somewhere in the middle of cycle of creation and dissolution. It does not befit us to blame Sri Krishna and the Hindu system for the misuse of the class system in the name of “caste”.

Further analysis of the sloka using the Purusha Suktam:
(Hymns in praise of Parama Purusha who created the entire universe.)

Here is a closer analysis of this sloka using the “Purushasookta” and is given for the benefit of those who would like to trace this system to the ancient teachings and practices.

“Purusha” in the most general sense means “a man”. By extension, it is said to mean “a human being” irrespective of sex. In the Vedas and Upanisads and allied scriptures it is applied to the Primeval God. It is derived from the word ”pr” which means “to protect” or “to fill up.” That which is the whole universe known and beyond the realms of known and protecting the same is “Purusha.” He is the manifested state of the un-manifested Brahman.

Purushasookta is an integral part of the Vedas and also the most important exposition of its teaching. It is one of the most commonly used Vedic hymns even to this day and will be for many more kalpas (eons) to follow. It is an integral part of Rigveda Samhita, Samaveda samhita and Atharvaveda samhita.

“Sukta” means that which is “well said.” It should be understood as a “true description.” The Purushasukta is a hymn that gives a true description of the Purusha. “Purusha” is “primeval being” who is nothing but the Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Omniscient Parabrahman.

This Purusha is said to have thousand heads, a thousand eyes and a thousand feet. He envelopes this world from all sides and has transcended it by 10 inches. All the beings in this universe form only a quarter of Him. The rest of His three quarters is immortal and is said to be established in heaven. The one quarter of Him here, in this universe becomes this world (made up of all forms of life) again and again.

He is the “Primeval being,” also known as “Adipurusha” (the first person) and from Him is born the “Virat Purusha.” Virat Purusha means “Immense being.” As soon as He was born, He multiplied himself and created this earth and its beings.

The Devas, who are the “Illumined ones” on creation performed a Yajna using the Purusha Himself as the oblation. From this yajna all the Vedas and all forms of life came into being in this universe.

The devas, sadhyas and rishis are the centres of various powers and action in the body of the Virat (indriyas and pranas). They in turn took up the task of secondary creation and conducted this yajna mentally. They offered oblation of Virat Purusha mentally to produce further creation.

Since it was before the creation, when no materials were available for oblation, they conducted the yajna mentally by imagining the various parts of the body of the Virat. Since the Purusha was everything in this yajna, it came to be called as “Purusha Yajna.” When they offered the various parts of the body of the Virat, the people of the four varnas groups were born.

***   will be continued ***

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