QUESTION: In Varanashrama Dharma, are there any specific set of rules for each Social division (Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaisya, Sudra) ? I understand that whatever the Social division is, they should work and live in Krsna Consciousness, But how Krsna Consciousness is differently applied to each of these division. For example a Brahmana Devotes His full time to Krsna, but other Divisions do their Professional Job and they will not have so much time as Brahmana to devote to Krsna. Also does the four Spiritual orders (Brahmacari, Grihastha, Vanaprastha, Sannyasa) apply to all Social Orders?
Answer by Romapada Swami: Just to make it clear, Varnashrama system consists of 4 Varnas (Spiritual orders) namely, brahmana, Ksatriya, Vaishya and sudra and 4 ashramas (social orders) consists of Brahmachari, Grhasta, Vanaprastha and sannyasi.
Srila Prabhupada mentions in BG 3.7 purport, the following, “The prime svārtha-gati, or goal of self-interest, is to reach Viṣṇu. The whole institution of varṇa and ashrama is designed to help us reach this goal of life. A householder can also reach this destination by regulated service in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.”
The purpose of the Varnashrama system is to provide a structure which allows people to work according to their natural tendencies and to organize society so that everyone, regardless of which varna and ashram one belongs to, make spiritual advancement.
The Varnashrama system recognizes there are many different types of people who may not be spiritually inclined or may not have the same amount of time as you have mentioned in your question.
And therefore, Varnashrama system is meant to help us gradually progress to attain the goal of life which is developing pure love for Krsna by performing our occupational duties as a service to the Lord.
A grihastha who is working full time can also derive the same spiritual benefit as a brahmana by offering his work and the results of his work to Krsna.
In Varnasrama society all members are all important. An analogy comparing the social body to the human body is given to explain this.
The brahmanas are the head of the body as they possess the intelligence and give directions to the other parts of the body. They provide guidance to the king/leader/government. They also study the scriptures and teach the scriptures to others.
The ksatriyas are compared to the arms of the body and they serve as the administrators and protectors of the society just as the arms are meant to protect the body.
The vaisyas are compared to the stomach. The stomach provides energy to the body. The vaisyas, as the productive class, are the farmers and businessman who produce and distribute food to the social body. The vaisyas are also responsible for protecting the cows.
The sudras are compared to the legs as they provide the manual labor required by the society.