Damodara dasa: Even when I was an atheist I was coming to conclusion that this modern civilization is doomed and only the simple living in village and farm based communities can be successful. Then when I came in contact with Srila Prabhupadaâ€™s books I readily took it up. To establish varnasrama villages in pursuance with Srila Prabhupadaâ€™s wish and vision has now become my life and soul. Modern civilization has, in its very basis, Godlessness.
Every action of this doomed civilization is challenging the authority of God. Because of this the whole world is suffering both spiritually and materially. The leaders are big demons who are planning systematically to destroy the whole world both materially and spiritually through a well designed Education system. The view of modern civilization is that there is no God in control, material nature is our enemy and we will have to fight against it or struggle against it to survive. This very thinking is making their every action a challenge to Godâ€™s existence. But due to this they are being punished by material nature and thus are suffering. The daiva-varnasrama system is a system designed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna. It is the system by which a conditioned soul (Human body) in this material world can fulfill his basic material necessities (Economic, social and political) in minimum possible time and save time to achieve the only aim of human life â€“ Krsna prema. Basic principle underlying daiva-varnasrama is that everything belongs to the Supreme Personality of Godhead Visnu, we are his servants and to satisfy him is the whole and sole aim of our every activity. Somehow or other we are fallen in this material world and to go back home back to Godhead is the aim of our life. As far as our material necessities are concerned itâ€™s all planned by God through Mother Nature. So every activity of the daiva-varnasrama setup fosters this view and makes us advance spiritually. For example, when a child sees that such a complex plant is growing automatically just by putting the seed in the ground he naturally thinks that there must be a God doing all this; living near nature he easily understands that how small we are in front of this material nature and does not undergo the foolishness to challenge it; he sees that he is maintained by God through the medium of plants. Moreover form the very beginning of his life he is fully trained systematically to achieve the only aim of Human life â€“ Krsna prema.
Daiva-Varnasrama Daiva-varnasrama society consists of four varnas (Brahmana- intelligent class, Ksatriya- Administrative class, Vaisya- Productive class and Sudra- Laborer class) and four asramas (Brahmacari- student life, Grhastha- household life, Vanprastha- retired life and Sannyasa- renounced life). Varna is the division of the people according to their nature or inclination and thus occupation. Asramas are the stages of spiritual emancipation of the person. First the person (except women and sudras) from his childhood (5 Yrs.) enters brahmacari asrama (gurukula) where he stays away from the parents, in guidance of spiritual master controlling his senses, following celibacy and understanding the aim of human life and how to achieve it. The basic training to any child in gurukula is to surrender to a spiritual master. The child is in close supervision of the spiritual master and thus spiritual master trains him according to his (childâ€™s) qualities and inclination. At about 10-12 Yrs. age the children with the vaisya inclination are allowed to return to their home where they playfully learn farming from their elders and village people. By the age of 15 Yrs. they become fully self dependent. Then they enter grhatha asrama by marriage and take the responsibility of that particular asrama. Only the children with Ksatriya and Brahmana inclination are given the formal education of Vedic literatures. Along with this, the children with brahminical inclination are taught their respective knowledge like ayurveda, jyotisa-sastra, etc.; while the ksatriya inclination children are taught how to manage, fight, etc. At the end of 25 years of formal education the child with the ksatriya inclination returns back home and takes the responsibility of a ksatriya king ruling his kingdom. He enters grhastha asrama by marriage and takes the responsibility thereof. The child with the brahmana inclination has two options â€“
1. To become a naisthika brahmacari (lifelong celibacy) and dedicate his life fully for achieving and preaching the only aim of human life-Krsna prema,
2. To enter grhastha asrama, and take the responsibility of a grhastha Brahmin.
Sudra generally does not enter the formal training of a brahmacari asrama but he gets the informal training of surrender to higher authority, through the society seniors and family seniors. He learns the skills of sudras right from the childhood and starts earning his livelihood by 10-12 years. Then they enter grhastha asrama and take responsibility thereof.
Women are never given any formal education. They are taught by their mother how to cook, clean, respect elders, surrender to husband, chastity, household work, etc. because that is their nature. Women are respected in the daiva-varnasrama society yet they are never given any responsible leader post. They are always to be under the protection of men â€“ Father in childhood, Husband in youth and elder son in old age.
Grhastha asrama is a stage of life where the person lives a married life, with the family. He takes the full responsibility of his dependents (viz. wife, children) to save them from the clutches of Birth and Death and take them back home back to Godhead. He himself follows the Vedic injunctions for this purpose and teaches them
(as he has learnt in brahmacari asrama) to his dependants. The center of all activities is Krsna. Only the persons in grhastha asrama works for achieving their livelihood and thus the four varnas are there only in grhastha asrama. People of this asrama take the responsibility of the material management of the whole society. Like the brahmana renders medical treatment, teaching, etc; Ksatriya takes the political responsibility of the society; vaisya takes the economic responsibility of the society; Sudra renders physical service to the other three classes. Besides this, a brahmana leads the varnas both spiritually and materially. A Sannyasi is the leader of both, the varnas and the asramas.
After the age of 50 years, Brahmanas, some ksatriyas and few vaisyas leave the intimate connection with family and enter the vanaprastha asrama in which he lives in holy places and prepares for the ultimate exam â€“ Death. The Brahmanas and few vaisyas who entered vanaprastha asrama take up sannyasa asrama â€“ the highest asrama â€“ and preaches the transcendental message of Godhead to the people in general traveling village to village. A sannyasi does not have any connection with women or family.
Implementation of Varnasrama Dharma in Todayâ€™s condition
Srila Prabhupada said â€“ â€śVarna first and then asramaâ€ť. Thatâ€™s logical too. As Bhaktivinoda Thakura says â€“ Sadhana kale ye paryanta hrdoye kama ache Se paryanta varnasrama adi dharma apekha thake. So long we are in sadhaka (practicing) stage of devotional service we have material
(social, economic and political) needs and thus we require varnasramaâ€™s arrangement for that. If we donâ€™t follow daiva-varnasramaâ€™s arrangement then we will have to follow a demoniac arrangement in the cities. Because we cannot become like Haridas Thakur or Raghunath Das Goswami (chanting 24 hours, not eating anytihing) at the sadhaka stage, our material necessities overpowers the spiritual emancipation. For instance, if we donâ€™t get to eat, our energy exhausts and we will not be able to chant. So although the spiritual activities are ultimately isolated from material activities but because we are attached to the material body, for us the material necessities are to be fulfilled properly then we will have proper mind and energy for spiritual emancipation. Thus for the establishment of varnsarama villages the first aspect to be established is varna and then asrama.
In material needs the first and foremost need is economic (Eating, sleeping, and defending), then political and social. So first aspect that needs to be stabilized in the society is farming and cow-protection â€“ If you have land and cows you can get all your basic necessities. (Grains, vegetables, wood for cooking and houses, castor oil for lighting, cotton for clothes, cowâ€™s milk for good health and brain to understand spiritual matters). Then as the society grows the other two aspects â€“ social and political â€“ needs to be stabilized. Thatâ€™s why Srila Prabhupada established 40 farm communities all over the world where he established this economic aspect first and was willing to visit those communities and make them perfect i. e. stabilize other aspects also.
At different places the devotees need to try to first grow their own food and other necessities. All the things should be done under the guidance of an expert devotee who knows Srila Prabhupadaâ€™s varnasrama mission. Initially we require some devotees with vaisya inclination who can take the responsibility of economic aspect. But he will require devotees with sudra inclination to get the work done practically. Majority of the persons living in the cities are infused with sudra mentality and thus we are practically seeing that even after understanding the benefits of the daiva-varnasrama system they are not able to take this task up. This is because they are afraid of security in case of any failure. The Sudra nature is that he requires a good dependable master and he will serve him and be ensured of his livelihood. He cannot take full responsibility on himself. So the confident devotees acting as vaisyas in the varnasrama community will invite the people with sudra inclination to work on the land and he (the vaisya) will take the responsibility of their livelihood. Thus the economic aspect will be gradually stabilized. Then as the society will grow generally the ksatriyas and brahmanas will emerge out of the society itself. Of course initially there may be no vaisyas available but then the devotees of brahmana & ksatriya inclination need to take up the job of vaisyas. The whole project must be under the close supervision of a devotee and no one else in order to preserve the spiritual aim behind implementing varnasrama society. Along with stabilizing these material aspect the basic program for spiritual upliftment â€“Harinam samkirtan and sravanam will go on for all. In the Varnasrama societies in other yugas personâ€™s spiritual advancement was through his occupation itself. But in the varnasrama system we are going to establish, a personâ€™s spiritual advancement depends wholly and solely on the fastest process of hearing and chanting the holy names and pastimes of the Lord, i. e. Harinam samkirtan.
The center of the whole society will be Harinam samkirtan.
Another startling property of this varnasrama society is that the lifestyle in this is an exact replica of the one in the topmost spiritual planet Goloka-Vrnadavana â€“ the planet where the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna resides. Lord Krsna himself follows this lifestyle and the devotees engage in his service in one of the occupations. Like Lord Balarama holds a plough in His hand while Krsna herds the cows with his flute. Thus in varnasrama society one gets the chance to practice the same lifestyle in Goloka-Vrndavana and gradually purify our same work to be fully in service of Krsna. For example, some one might be growing rice and dal, he can meditate that I am growing this for offering to Krsna and then offer those grains to Krsna in the Deity form. Thus gradually he will grow the grains fully for Krsnaâ€™s satisfaction and thus become pure devotee. While working in factories we cannot dedicate our work itself to Krsna but only the results. But in varnasrama society we can dedicate both to Krsna. Moreover in association of devotees the whole atmosphere becomes fully surcharged with Krsna Consciousness.
My Experience My experience in terms of farming is very feeble. I was born and brought up in the city and never even saw farming. Still by grace of His Divine Grace and my Guru Maharaja I am now here at Hare Krsna Farm, Kathvada, Ahmedabad since last year and half. In this little experience I am confident enough to get this thing done successfully. I am finding that farming is not at all difficult and can be easily learnt - at the most in three years anyone can be confident of growing his basic needs. We (two devotees) are here and have already been successful in growing 4 mounds of wheat last season and there is a standing crop of Rice and Dal in 1-Acre this monsoon season. All these farming we have done without any chemical fertilizers. We also have a small vegetable garden which currently have Brinjal, Chilly, Tomato, Bhindi, Gunvar, etc crops standing. I have hopes that after coming in the course arranged by GLOVESCO and discussing with the devotees there I will be able to choke out the detailed plan for the proceedings here.
Thank you very much, Your servant, Damodara Dasa.