Reading Time: 2 minutes

Chapter 4 Gnana Yoga Verse 8

Sloka

Chaaturvarnyam mayaa srishtam gunakarma vibhaagashah;
Tasya kartaaram api maam viddhyakartaaram avyayam.

Translation

The four fold caste has been created by Me according to the differentiation of Guna and Karma;
though I am the author there of, know Me as the non-doer and immutable.

Interpretation

In this shloka Lord Krishna shares with Arjuna the reason and secret behind creating the castes. One should understand that not only God created Humans, he also created castes. These castes were created by God by the characters and the Karma of an individual and not because he was born in a particular family. It means castes are not hereditary but they are dependent on the habits of a person. It is the dharma of an individual which plays a role in being born in a particular caste. The karma is also linked to the Guna of a person.

A person might be born in a particular caste due to his Karma. But the actions he does helps him to elevate himself to a higher level. This is due to his Guna. That means a person who is born in a shudra caste due to his Karma, possesses the Guna of a brahmin, ultimately becomes a brahmin due to his actions. Lord Krishna also tells Arjuna that though everything is done by the Lord Himself, nothing should be attributed to Him. It is your actions that gives the results and God is a non-doer.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

What are castes? Why human beings are different though they were created by the same God? According to puranas there are four castes. These four castes are Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Shudra. This division is according to the Guna and Karma. Guna is quality. Karma is the kind of work. Both Guna and Karma determine the caste of a man. The sync that arrives with the Guna of a person and the works he does ultimately determines the caste of the person. The gunas are Sattivik, Rajasic and Tamasic and they are distributed between the four castes.

In a Brahmana, Sattwik character predominates. He possesses serenity, purity, self restraint, straightforwardness and devotion. In a Kshatriya, Rajasic guna predominates. He possesses prowess, splendour, firmness, dexterity, generosity and rulership. In a Vaisya, Rajasic guna predominates and Tamasic guna is subordinate to Rajasic.

That means a Vaisya has a dominant Rajasic guna but he also is Tamasic. That means he enjoys his life with the wealth he got. He does the duty of ploughing, protection of cattle and trade. In a Sudra, Tamasic guna predominates and Rajasic guna is subordinate to the quality of Tamas. He renders service to the other three castes. Human temperaments and tendencies vary according to the Gunas. And this is the secret behind the evolution of caste system!

So one should clearly understand that Caste of an individual is due to his Guna and Karma and not because he is born in a particular family. The caste system we see today is hereditary and has no relationship with what has been created ages ago. Man has made it hereditary and this kind of caste system has no acceptance from the God.