BhagavadGita (In Sanskrit, Bhagavath means 'of the Supreme God' and the Gita means the Song or poem) is the essence of Upanishads. In Bhagavadgita in the form of questions and answers, many of the worldly based principles were answered.
Arjuna, the warrior-turned-disciple and the cousin of Lord Sri Krishna, has put a question to Lord Krishna about the societal principles in the first chapter of Bhagavadgita. Let us have a look at this question and have our thoughts and discussion on it.
Arjuna in a sorrowful mood asked Lord Krishna,
"Krishna! There will be an enormous loss of human life with this battle. Particularly the youth will be charred in the fire of the battle. Consequently their women will become orphans and they need to depend on other men to have their children and make their families and future generations. As a result, there will be the 'Varna Sankaram' (adulteration of their community).
This Varna Sankaram (literally means adulteration of the dynasty) is a hell like situation. The Loka (world) becomes sinful. Therefore I don't want to fight this battle."
This is the short summary of Arjuna's perplexed mindset at that time. This was explained from 40 to the 45th slokas (verses) of the first chapter in Bhagavadgita.
||Verse|| "|Adharmaabhibhavaat Krishna! Pradushyanthi kulasthreeyaha| Sthreeshu Dushtaasu vaarshneya! Jaayathe Varnasankaraha" – A.41
||Verse|| "|Uthsannakula Dharmanaam Manushyanaam Janardhana| Narakeniyatham vaaso Bhavateethyanushushruma|" – A.44
The above two verses clarify the same question. But for this clear question, it appears that Lord Sri Krishna has not given any direct answer anywhere in Bhagavadgita but Lord Krishna has commented on Arjuna's statement by these following verses.
||Verse|| "|Kuthasthvaa kashmalamidham Vishame samupasthitham| Anaaryajushtamasargyama Keerthikaram Arjuna|" – S.02
||Verse|| "|Asochyananvashochasthvyam Pragnyavaadaanscha baashase | Gathaasoona gathaasoonscha naanu sochanthi pandithaaha| - S.11
As per the above said verses, Lord Sri Krishna has commented on Arjuna's statements, further he added saying, "At this odd time, why do you have this bondage. This is not something which is the very best, not a heavenly thing, and not graceful thing. You are unnecessarily worrying about something for which you should not be worried at all. Moreover you are speaking as if you are a scholar. The scholars or intellectuals do not worry about the mortals."
Though Lord Krishna has answered Arjuna's questions as mentioned above, the way the question of Arjuna is simply understood by this world is not similar to that in understanding the answer given by Lord Krishna.
For understanding the answer of Lord Krishna, it is apparent that we need to make an introspection into our minds. In this direction to explain this point better to our readers, we had glimpses on many thoughts that ran in our minds while doing our brainstorming. All of those are being presented to you in this article.
If we look at our daily examples in life, especially in the agricultural and the cattle-growing, we have witnessed revolutionary changes in the recent times due to the improvement in science and technology. By employing the means of adulteration (adopting 'Sankaram' as mentioned above) on the seeds and the plants, we have got more yields or results from the farming. Similarly among the cattle too, those which are hybrid varieties are stronger than the conventional cattle. They dominate the conventional cattle in terms of milk production.
We have also been observing the fact that those who get married with their closest blood relatives, will have weaker children and scientifically the doctors too advise the younger generations for establishing alliances with far-off families or with those who don't have prior blood relationships.
If we look in this way, probably Lord Krishna wanted this 'Varna Sankaram' to happen to have stronger future generations and so he insisted Arjuna to be prepared for the battle.
Another point to just have a glance at is that the 5 Pandavas (Yudhishtira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula & Sahadeva) were mightier and stronger and it appears that it was because they were born to their mother Kunti because of different Gods like Yama (the God of Death), Vaayu (the Wind God), Indra (the king of Gods) and Aswini (Gods named as Aswini).
But if we think beyond this point, we may feel that this may not be the right way of thinking. Pandavas are derived from the divine effects of mantras. So they are flawless.
As per Arjuna's justification, as per the societal principles (Saanghika Dharma) of those ages, the Varna Sankaram was not accepted in the society. So it was a serious blunder during those times. It was and is an established fact that the violation of the Societal principles (law of the society) is an offence or sinful for any race or nation at any point of time.
But to apply the societal principles of the old ages for the current generations, and to compare the existing laws of the land to those of the old ages and to blame them, is not a desirable thing. Therefore abiding by the time dependent societal principles is the proper responsibility of any human being.
In this case, then why Lord Krishna has urged Arjuna for the battle. This question has remained unanswered so far. At this juncture, we have another thought that has arisen in our minds.
Let us suppose that one man has become cruel, has grown wild and has murdered, say, some 10 people. And in the court of law, this criminal was introduced with all possible evidences affirming his crime. Now the only thing left out is the delivery of the judgment by the judges. Exactly during this time, the criminal's sick wife, blind daughter, handicapped son entered the scene and they beg the pardon of the judges on behalf of the criminal to waive out the punishment like death penalty. They claim that they will starve to death for no mistake of theirs if their sole bread-earner gets punished and killed.
Now what shall the judge do?
If the criminal is released, he may commit more crimes in the future. Or by looking at his example the other criminals may take the opportunity to commit crimes with an escape plan similar to this criminal.
If the criminal is punished, then unfairly the dependants of the deceased will suffer and may starve to death too.
But the right judge will definitely finalize the punishment to the criminal as per the law. He would think about the dependants of the deceased later. If possible he would provide an alternate means of living to the criminal's dependants or he could inform the relevant authority to take care of these dependants.
Coming back to the point of Lord Krishna and Arjuna's conversations, the judgments should be similar. As the Kaurava kings (foes of Pandava kings) had become scoundrels, ill-mannered and were violating the societal principles and responsibilities, and had spoiled all the diplomatic efforts of Lord Krishna by their behaviors, they had become punishable. Therefore to reinstate the Dharma (the good Principles) and to protect the general public, that was the time to scorch all the might of the kings in the Yagna of battle. So sidelining the issue of Varna Sankara as highlighted by Arjuna, Lord Krishna has prioritized the proceedings of the battle to get his job done as the God who punishes the evil to protect the good people. Thereafter he crowned 'Dharmaraj (Yudhishtira)' as the King for a prosperous rule of the kingdom.
By this it was understood that there is no second thought to the decision made by the Paramatma (the Supreme Lord) and his decision is beyond doubt.
Coming back to the point of Varna Sankara, let us consider the basics of Bhagavadgita for evaluating our thoughts. In Bhagavadgita, the Lord Krishna while explaining about the four kinds of the people, he explains in the verses,
||Verse|| "|Chaaturvarnyam mayaa srushtam gunakarma vibhagasaha| Tasya kartaaramasi maam viddhvakaraara mavyam|"
That means, "There are four categories of people which based on the Guna (the behaviors) of the people are created by Me naturally. As I am beyond the Karta (the doer) and the Kartruthvam (the things being done), immortal and infinite, all the natural consequences are nothing but My own creation." It is now learnt that God is Automatic and Man is dogmatic.
According to Arjuna's way of thinking, Varna Sankaram is a circumstance after the battle, but as per Lord Krishna, the same Varna Sankaram was an event that happened well before the battle. Why because, the kings have become egoistic, obstinate, abysmal and unlawful, they lost their qualities to be responsibility oriented towards people's welfare, possessing Rajo guna (controlled passion directed in the right way which is a quality needed for the kings to be stronger), instead they got diminished due to their Tamo guna (uncontrolled passion which leads to self destruction) and were out of control. In this way they have already become polluted (negatively adulterated) in terms of their Gunas (the behaviors), that means, the Varna Sankaram had already happened.
So by treating them as punishable criminals the Lord has punished them through the proceedings of the Mahabharata war.
In this scenario, the Varna Sankara issue as imagined by Arjuna was different from that of the Lord Krishna. This particular Varna Sankara issue was a problem that could be rectified very easily.
In the 'Ashrama Vaasa Parva' chapter of the epic Mahabharata, there happened a surprising incident.
Sage Vyasa has organized to bring back all the deceased warriors in the Kurukshetra battle field, from the waters of the Ganges river. All of those who came out of the river waters spent their time happily with their near and dear for a day. The blind Dritharashtra (the father of Kaurava princes) was given proper sight to see all his sons, his wife Gandhari too has removed the cloth around her eyes (which she did in devotion to her husband all through her life). Kunti, the mother of Pandavas, and her sons and their families have celebrated that day. All the people on both sides have enjoyed their time without any restrictions or hesitation.
The next day the time has come for all those warriors who arose from the waters to go back into the same tides of the Ganges waters. Then sage Vyasa has made an arrangement and he informed all the widowed women that if they wanted to go along with their husbands they could drown into those waters. Then all the women have finally greeted Dritharashtra, Gandhari, Kunti and Yudhishtira and have drowned into those waters liberating their souls from their human bodies. They were all decorated as if they were divine beings and looking at those passing away in such a way, all the people who watched the event were immensely surprised and their minds were filled with happiness.
In this way, all those women who were widowed due to the death of their husbands in the war have all gone to the Heaven with their husbands. There was no question of Varna Sankaram as was previewed by Arjuna. Later, the rule of Yudhishtira was all new, energetic, people oriented and was based on right principles. The Lord Sri Krishna has attained the results of his avatar (incarnation) in an easy way. And the Lord answered Arjuna's questions, not by the words, but by the deeds of his capabilities in prioritizing the events.
Courtesy: Sri P. Subbarayudu (Preceptor)of Sri RamaChandraji Maharaj Seva Trust, Kadapa City,Andhra Pradesh, India.