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Bhagavad Gita Chapter 18 Verse 41

भगवद् गीता अध्याय 18 श्लोक 41

ब्राह्मणक्षत्रियविशां शूद्राणां च परंतप।
कर्माणि प्रविभक्तानि स्वभावप्रभवैर्गुणैः।।18.41।।

हिंदी अनुवाद - स्वामी तेजोमयानंद

।।18.41।। हे परन्तप ब्राह्मणों? क्षत्रियों? वैश्यों और शूद्रों के कर्म? स्वभाव से उत्पन्न गुणों के अनुसार विभक्त किये गये हैं।।

Brahma Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

The word sattvam in the previous verse means the living entities. Those who have achieved moksa or liberation from material existence are not held captive by the three gunas or modes of material nature and are like demigods upon the Earth. Although they move freely in the material worlds they are not bound by the defects of the material worlds just as Vaisnava devotees living in a city are not bound by the sinful activities of the residents of the city. Among those situated in tama guna the mode of ignorance, the ones most despicable are those who obscure the truth from the rest of humanity hindering them from developing and evolving. These evil ones follow the path of darkness and sorcery and offer sacrifices and pay homage to demons for material gains. These demons are situated in raja guna the mode of passion and are very powerful in the material existence manipulating societies, religions, species, planets and even galaxies; but spiritually these demons are just like retarded cripples with no access to sattva guna the mode of goodness and subsequently higher consciousness. Any human who is situated in sattva guna is impervious to them and cannot be influenced or obstructed by the demons nefarious delusions. The most advanced among all humans are the Vaisnava Brahmins who by their internal potency acquired by bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations as revealed in Vedic scriptures, have the ability to free themselves from samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death and can guide others to do the same. Now begins the summation. Among the pure ones situated in sattva guna are those known as paramahamsa or one completely absorbed internally in relishing the sublime nectar of the holy names of Lord Krishna realising that He is fully present when His transcendental names are chanted and sung. Parivrajacarya or one who joyously travels extensively preaching the sublime glories of Lord Krishna everywhere they go. Bahudaka or one who dedicates their life to making pilgrimage exclusively to the holy places in India where Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations performed their pastimes. Kuticaka or one who practices renunciation in seclusion continuously reflecting upon the Supreme Lord and learning to depend only upon the Supreme Lord for everything. These four are the divisions in the fully renounced order of life known as sannyasi which can only be awarded to males who have been initiated as Vaisnava Brahmins in one of the four authorised sampradayas or channels of disciplic succession and none other. Brahmacari or those in celibate devotion throughout their lives. Vanaprastha can be male or female and is when husband and wife sever all physical connection and embrace only spiritual activities for the performance of bhakti to the Supreme Lord. All of the preceding are completely celibate. The grihasta ashram is not celibate and consists of married householder devotees who perform some devotion amidst taking care of family obligations. These four main divisions listed in descending order become decreasingly less situated in pure sattva guna and to the degree that there is exposure to external influences one becomes subjected to raja guna the mode of passion. Paramahamsas are known by their tranquillity, self-control and inherent righteousness. The demigods such as Brahma, Surya, Ganesh, etc. even though extremely passionate rarely exhibit any signs of passion because even when engaged in passionate acts their minds are constantly in communion with the Supreme Lord. As far as others are concerned due to the fluctuating nature of their minds their actions are usually equated with raja guna the mode of passion; yet when their minds are fixed upon the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord then they too can be considered situated in sattva guna. Inquiry into the eternal principles of the Vedic scriptures and performing prescribed ritualistic activities are the special attributes of the brahmacaris aspiring for the ultimate truth. Assuming familial activities, maintaining a wife, producing children are the symptoms of the grihastas. Becoming detached, giving up attachment to grown children and residence along with all conceptions of father, mother, wife, husband and wholly reflecting on the Supreme Lord are the expressions of vanaprasthas. For the sannyasis the absolute equanimity expressed towards all living entities is the symbol of their advanced development. The Brahmins although situated firmly in sattva guna may possess a small degree of raja guna and ksatriyas though anchored in raja guna could have some qualities of sattva guna such as righteousness as was exemplified by King Yudisthira of the Pandavas. Vaisyas are mixed with both raja and tama gunas could have some slight amount of sattva guna even sudras if exposed to good association might be found to have a percentage or two of sattva guna. Amongst those who are devoted to the Lord Krishna such natural distinctions are obvious as they are effulgent from within being empowered by the Supreme Lord. Even those born in non-brahmin dynasties such as meat eating mleechas and dog eating candelas as well as barbarians and other outcastes if they are purified by association with devotees and initiated by a bonafide spiritual master from one of the four authorised sampradayas then they are situated in sattva guna and entitled to be a devotee of the Supreme Lord. Yet those who although born in Brahmin families and perform prescribed Vedic activities are sceptical of the supremacy of Lord Krishna over all other gods are situated or consider other gods as equal to or superior to Lord Krishna are situated in raja and tama gunas. While those who do not know the supremacy of Lord Krishna and are indifferent to Him are situated in tama guna. The pitris or anscestors, the gandharvas or celestial musicians and singers, the ancient ascetics and the demigods are all situated in sattva guna and influenced by the three gunas with each one more superior then the previous one. The demigods, Indra the king of the heavenly planets, Brahma the secondary creator of the material existence and Shiva the destroyer are also situated in sattva guna, each progressively superior to the previous one. Effulgent amongst even the effulgent is Sri Laksmi, the expanded shakti or feminine energy of every incarnation of the Supreme Lord Krishna simultaneously as an eternal reality. Such progressive gradation exists even after moksa is attained and everyone is eternally blissful. Although the three gunas being material do not exist in the spiritual worlds. After moksa when one attains the spiritual worlds the gradation can be determined by how extensive the bliss is that one expresses and by the location where one is exhibiting this bliss such as Vaikuntha or Svetadvipa, etc. Among the best of jivas situated in tama guna are those who are neutral and indifferent to the Supreme Lord Krishna. The best of those in raja guna are those who utilise their power and wealth for the service of the Supreme Lord Krishna. Since all jivas possess an atma or immortal soul, they are all to some degree or other connected to sattva guna it is just that some are more obscured then others. Some are so obscured that there is no sattva guna visible. All are differentiated in classification according to the predominance of one of the three gunas. Commencing with the attributes of sattva guna every jiva can become qualified for moksa from Brahma downwards. Spiritual intelligence and wisdom only manifests from sattva guna that is why it is stated in the Vedic scriptures that from sattva guna arises spiritual wisdom and those who have perfected such wisdom are candidates for redemption and achieve moksa and those who have failed descend in darkness to lower existences while those who have neither perfected or failed remain suspended in samsara for another lifetime.