Varna Ashrama Dharma

colors

Varna

All chakras, excluding the ones above our head ascribe to some color. As we know, the chakras are energy centers and the energies in these centers ascribe to one or more colors.

One of the literal meanings for the term ‘Varna’ is color. The caste system that is widely spread and deeply rooted in India is based on this concept of Varna. It goes by the broad definition that the Brahmins (typically light skinned) belong to the highest class, followed by the Kshatriyas, Vyshiyas and then the Shudras (typically the darkest of all) belong to the lowest class. The colors that go with these classes are white, red, yellow and black respectively.

For many years till today, this is identified and practiced as a social classification and these castes further have sub castes. It is extremely pathetic how the Varna described by our ancient saints and rishis have been misunderstood and incorrectly but diligently followed till this date.  

The oldest scriptures including the Vedas do not describe Varna as a social classification of grouping people based on their colors. Since everything is born from the divine and goes back into that, how can one group of people be greater than the other?

Those who came later, either misunderstood or squeezed in this principle of ‘social classification’ of Varna, for their own benefit or for some unknown mysterious reasons perhaps. Irrespective, it is high time now we break our ideas and beliefs regarding the Varna that is based on social classification and try to understand what it actually means.

The goal of the soul is to attain moksha. Technically this happens when the kundalini or the Sakthi energy rises up from the Muladhara chakra and reaches the Sahasrara chakra. This does not happen in one day. It is quite a process.

When we are born, this energy is typically in the Muladhara and the only focus then is to eat and sleep. This is what babies do. As we grow, if this energy rises to the next chakra, Swadishtana or the sex chakra, the focus is not just eating, but also in sex. This is when we have attraction towards the other sex, fall in love, get married and involve in reproduction activities. When the energy rises another level, to the Manipura chakra, the navel chakra, we start to get a bit spiritual. The energy thus goes through the Anahata, Vishudhi and to the Ajna chakra. This is the final stage before enlightenment. The next step is unification of this Sakthi energy with the Shiva energy in the Sahasrara. The highest state we can reach as humans is when the energy is in the Ajna chakra, (beyond this we dissolve).

The energy in Muladhara if not directed rightly, it is inertia. This is indicated by the color black. Astrologically this is the house of the Saturn energy (Capricorn and Aquarius). Saturn indicates black.

The energy in Swadishtana is creativity, sex, reproduction. Astrologically this is owned by Jupiter and is indicated by the color yellow. Jupiter owns Sagittarius and Pisces here.

The energy in Manipura is greed, jealousy, generosity, joy. This is indicated by the color red. Astrologically this is the house of the Mars energy (Aries, Scorpio). Mars indicates red.

The energy in the final 6th stage is in the Ajna, 3rd eye chakra. This is the seat of Moon and Sun (Cancer and Leo). These energies are luminaries (either has light of its own or reflects light). The Ajna chakra is the height of alertness.

Having said that, every person should strive to move this energy up from one level to the other, and to achieve the goal of the soul; to attain moksha. If the energy is stuck in the muladhara, the energy is in the lowest level, representing the black color. This person is referred to as Shudra, irrespective of which family the person is born in.

If the energy is stuck in the Swadishtana chakra, this person is referred to as Vyshya. This is represented by the yellow color.

If the energy is stuck in the Manipura chakra, this person is referred to as Kshatriya. This is represented by the red color.

If the energy reaches the Ajna chakra, the person is referred to as a Brahmin irrespective of the family the person is born in. This is the highest level. This is represented by the white color.

This is a transition from Tamas to Rajas to Satvic guna.

Thus low class and high class refer purely to the chakra where the energy is. Varna therefore does not indicate the social classification, but the spiritual growth of an individual. A person should transition from a Shudra to Vyshya to Kshatriya to a Brahmin. We all transition through these levels. These have nothing to do with our birth or skin color. No one is born Brahmin. The transition happens at different speeds in different individuals.

It is pathetic that we have failed to understand this, and therefore we have failed to focus and attend to our own spiritual growth.

Keep in mind that a significant majority of the 63 Nayanmars in Shaivism were not born in the so-called ‘Brahmin’ family, but were able to attain moksha. They are worshipped in all Shiva temples till today. They were able to focus on their energy and bring it up to the Ajna chakra and then all the way to the Sahasrara.

Similarly among all the 12 Azhwars in Vaisnavism, most were not born in the ‘Brahmin’ family.

It is now time to understand this and not segregate people on the skin color. Varna means your own chakra color where the Kundalini has risen up to at a given point in time.

Ashram

Ashram means the dwelling or station where we are staged at a given time. We go through 4 such stations in our lives namely Bramacharya, Grahastha, Vanaprastha and Sanyasaa. These kind of give us an idea what these are about. Our childhood period until the age we are ready to get married is the Bramacharya station. The next is when we fall in love, get married, set up a family and bring up our children is Grahastha. All the running for the family is search of wealth happens this time. When our children settle in lives it is time for us to slowly focus on other aspects like spirituality and seva. We tend to look into ourselves. We slow down our running. This is Vanaprastha. In the modern day world, this is the time when we are in our mid 40s we try to look out for our old friends from school and college and connect with them through social medias. The next and the last station is when we retire from life, we renounce or try to. This is Sanyasaa.

In a typical person, it is the Brahmacharya station where the shakthi energy is in the muladhara. It rises up to the Swadishtana, the sex chakra in the Grahastha station. Then it moves to the Manipura chakra, where the focus is on wealth, desires, passion and growth. In the last station, Sanyasaa, the energy should be in the Ajna chakra, in the state of a Sadhu, ready to renounce everything and look out for moksha.

The varna ashrama is thus a two dimensional model that the Hindus defined, focusing on bringing up the Shakthi energy slowly up through the different stages of life, thus leading to moksha, which is the ultimate goal of the soul in Hinduism (not as a religion, but as a way of living).

 Dharma

This model does not look complete yet. Bringing up the energy through the different stages of life is fine, but what should we do at every stage of life to bring this energy up, in order to attain moksha? This is where the 4 purusharthas or the doctrines come into picture.

These are Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. Many of us have heard these already. How do these contribute to the varna ashrama model?

Dharma means righteousness. It is that which can sustain and endure all throughout. The earth rotates on an orbit around the sun. Never does the earth come out of the orbit. A mango seed always gives a mango tree. These rules of nature can never go wrong anytime. This is what Dharma is. If human goes against the laws of nature, then nature has its own ways of replying back. We have seen that a lot. Your dharma is the purpose of this life.

Artha simply means acquisition. What you acquire; the things that you ask for. These days, even in vedic astrology, Artha is simply translated as money. Artha is not just money. It is all that you need, not just all that you want. It includes food, clothing, shelter, long life, good health, wealth, peace of mind, rain, agriculture, good education, good leadership, kingship, harmonious country, good friendship and so on. It is all that you acquire in this lifetime.

Kama means desires and enjoyment. It includes sex, but not just that. Enjoyment to the five senses. The desire to buy a LCD television and enjoying watching your favorite hero’s latest hit on this television is kama too.

Moksha is enlightenment. To reiterate, the goal of the soul is to attain enlightenment and anything done in Hinduism is ultimately to lead you to the path of enlightenment.

Dharma is the righteousness you follow in order to achieve the purpose of your life (based on the past karmas, you take this birth and every birth has a purpose)

Artha is all that you acquire to help achieve the purpose of your life. It is like setting the stage for the drama to happen.

Kama is acting up on this artha to fulfill the purpose of life; it is the actual acting on the stage.

If the first 3 principles are done rightly, then moksha will follow. You do not have to chase for it.

Without Dharma, if we only acquire and enjoy (artha and Kama), then it is done without a purpose. This is like a building without a basement. It will obviously topple.

In today’s fast moving world, the order is tossed and is the other way round. Instead of Dharma, Artha and Kama, it is Kama, Artha and Dharma. We get the desire, then do all that we can to acquire to fulfill the desire and if everything is ok, we try to be a little righteous. We get the desire to build a big bungalow on the most expensive beaches. We then do all that is needed (corruption or whatever) to acquire the money to build this house. Thus, killing the dharma. This is not fair. This is violating the laws of nature.  There is obviously no question of moksha here. Do we even care?

Bringing up the Shakthi energy from the Muladhara all the way up to the Ajna (transitioning from a Shudra to a Brahmin, from balck to white, Varna), through the various stations of life (ashrams) by following righteousness, not deviating from the laws of nature (Dharma) is Varnashrama Dharma!! Such beautiful knowledge this is!!

Astrologically, the 1st, 5th and 9th houses are dharma houses also known as trikona houses, or the houses of purpose. Also, astrologically, 1,4,7 and 10 houses are kendras or power houses, which are houses of Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. Though there are 3 houses for dharma, artha, kama and moksha respectively in a vedic astrology chart, the Kendra houses are the strongest.

We once again see how vedic astrology is not a separate aspect, but is a part of the Hindu living and is a guideline to help understand our energy distribution, identify the strong and weak energies so we can bring them up and focus on the purpose of our life, leading us to the path of moksha.

The ancient Tamil literature Thirukkural, the one of the greatest works ever written in any language, is structured into 3 sections Aram, Porul and Inbam meaning Dharma, Artha and Kama. It totally contains 1330 couplets called Kural, each kural with only exactly 7 words, tells us all that one should do as part of Dharma, Artha and Kama. Thirukkural does not talk about moksha, because once Dharma, Artha and Kama are done correctly, it leads to moksha on its own. Thus it is not a literature to be appreciated by only the Tamils, but it should be celebrated by the whole world since it talks about the universal truth in simple couplets to be understood and easily followed by all.

Varna ashrama Dharma in ancient scriptures, vedic astrology principles, Thirukkural all speak the same in different tones. They all lay the path to the ultimate goal.

It is time now for people to unlearn what they thought was varna ashrama dharma, and relearn the ancient knowledge.

Take pride in where your own energy is and work on uplifting it. We all want to rise up from a Shudra to a Brahmin. Don’t focus on the social classification and be stuck as a shudra forever. Mine is traveling from Vishudhi to Ajna chakra at this time. Where is yours?

 

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