The essay about how the concept of Hindu societal castes can be applied to the personal philosophy
As soon I started to investigate myself striving to solve my personal issues and learn how to master my mind I became keen for understanding the human nature and the principles that govern our behavior.
I started to study different religious scriptures and philosophical works assembling my mindset as a puzzle game piece by piece.
At one point I bumped into the concepts of castes in Hinduism that completely changed my perception of the nature of human callings and the way people select their profession.
Today I want to share it with you and hopefully, it will serve you as a food for thought.
Varna is basically a caste, a layer of societal hierarchy in Hindu communities. In Hindu literature, the society is divided into four castes: Shudra, Vaishya, Kshatriya, and Brahmin.
The community was segregated into these 4 casts based on the profession:
- Shudra — manual labor, craftsmen, service providers.
- Vaishya — merchants, traders, agriculturalists (sales and services, businessmen).
- Kshatriya — rulers, and warriors (managers, supervisors, politicians, CEOs).
- Brahmin — priests, scholars and teachers (professors, thought leaders, people of knowledge).
I was studying about the ways this system can be applied to our modern lives and precipitated it down to the level of practicality stating three major conclusions.
Bear 🐻 with me:
1️⃣ All people are different but all are equally important.
We are different from the moment we rock up to this planet. Every mother who has more than one child will undoubtedly confirm that her children are different right from the moment they open their eyes. It’s a fact. Buddhists will adduce arguments of the concepts of reincarnation and family karma, scientists will justify it solely by what we know about genetic heritage. Both are irrelevant to the practical implication of it which is
The mindset of acceptance.
I have accepted the fact that all of the people are different. There are people who are destined to do monotonous manual work, there are people who make a fortune chasing the financial abundance, there are people who strive for power, and there are those who harness the knowledge. No one is better or worse than the other. Everyone is equally important comprising the pyramid of society.
Shudras are the legs. They are a strong foundation. No one will be able to do their work if shudras didn’t do theirs. It doesn’t matter if I am a seller, a politician, or a professor, I can’t do my job if my toilet is not working. It is as simple as that.
Vaishyas are the metabolic system. They make sure that everything is moving. The whole organism can survive only if it has food, shelter, and other products that have to be constantly produced, consumed, exchanged and eliminated when they become obsolete.
Kshatriyas are the hands. They protect the whole organism from the external threats. More importantly, they establish the rules for all of the parts of the body so that they do not harm each other accidentally. The absence of governing power causes anarchy and chaos.
Brahmins are the head. They hear things, observe things, “taste” them and make conclusions about what is good for the whole body. They accumulate and transfer knowledge increasing the efficiency of the organism and select the direction beneficial for everyone.
All people are equally important as they have their specific set of functions and responsibilities that ensure the survival of the community as a whole.
The understanding of this is crucial because it has two very important implications that could be applied to the personal philosophy:
It makes you worthy.
Knowing that you have your own defined sector of responsibilities in this world gifts you the understanding that regardless how minor your contribution to the goodness of humanity is, it is important to do your best with what you have, where you are. Your work is always valuable.
It makes you humble.
I became more observant of the moments when I fall into the fallacy of thinking that I have a right to look down on people with professions I would previously call “low”. I harshly scold myself when I become so foolish.
2️⃣ Elevating consciousness is an individual mission of every person.
Although it is true that all castes are equally important in the society, in Hinduism all 4 varnas have ranks. Logically, Shudra is placed on the lowest level, with Vaishya, Kshatriya, and Brahmin building up correspondingly on top. It was a hierarchical system where a person found his place based on his inherent motivation.
Shudras do not have extraordinary ambitions. They can get fulfillment and happiness from simple life, good relationships and do not object addressing routine tasks mainly associated with manual work. Their inherent motivation lies in the perfection of their craft and doing their job well serving the others.
Vaishyas follow the money. Getting rich is what they strive for. They put their financial prosperity as their number one priority and dedicate their work to multiplying their assets and growing their wealth.
Kshatriyas are hungry for power. They want to be in control and govern the processes that involve people’s lives. Constant expansion of their Circle of Influence is chosen by them as a personal objective.
Brahmins dedicate their life to serve as a channel of knowledge. They are lifelong students and teachers. They absorb, accumulate, transform and transfer the knowledge and value it as the highest virtue. Developing the world through the development of intelligence is their inherent motivation.
So what’s the practical implication of these castes? The answer is
The varnas represent the steps in a personal evolution.
You know yourself well and you know what is your inherent motivation. You can instantly analyze and identify your Varna. It is essentially your level of mind.
Of course, there is no one single trait in one person. Most of the time it is a mixture of one or two varnas being dominant. One can have a mind of Shudra and Brahmin and be a brilliant craftsman or an artist confining the deep meaning and knowledge inside his masterpiece, another can be transcending from Vaishya to Kshatriya after selling a successful business and looking for the ways to scale up his influence to change people’s lives.
We can take Arnold Schwarzenegger as a perfect example of the mind evolution. He started with the mind of Shudra focusing all of the work of his spirit on his physical shell and honing it to the level of iconic perfection. When he started his cinematic career he elevated his mind to the level of Vaishya earning a lot of money and learning how to invest. When he exhausted the meaning from that level he excelled on the political arena as a governor developing the mind of Kshatriya. Finally, right now he is a respected old man with a rock solid life philosophy that he’s ready to pass on to younger generations and a legacy that will be remembered for years. He is an author, a philanthropist and a thought leader. He doesn’t crave for money or power anymore. He became Brahmin.
3️⃣ Automation will cause the shift in the planetary consciousness.
AI and robotics. Potential threats or a way to liberate the humanity from mundane routines? I am not here to argue about either scenario. What I know for sure is that automation will keep eradicating the necessity of manual labor at a pace we can’t even imagine. We will witness the scale of the Internet capture and the drop in the price of knowledge that will quake the very essence of our existence.
Having a smartphone and an access to the Internet will allow people with the minds of Shudra to evolve straight to the mind of Brahmin. We will see the rise of minds. Billions of new minds.
The planetary consciousness follows the Compound Effect just like anything else. We will transcend as species when the majority of people will have the access to the majority of information. The global evolution of consciousness is gifted to us by computers and the best part about it is that it has already started.
My essay about meditations was a first small personal victory for me. Hundreds of people from all over the world read it. It was a small stone thrown into the ocean of information but it creates ripples. What if I throw one stone every day? What if I inspire someone to pick up his own stones? What if we all throw a stone at once? How big of a wave can we create?
Meditations will remind us of who we are when the robots will come. As long as we all practice meditations and anchor to our center deep inside we should cherish the technological progress and look forward to the beautiful changes it brings. As a millennial, I anticipate the brave new world that could be just 10 years away and if someone would ask me if I plan to be a part of it I will say: “Hell yeah!”
How about you?