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Failure to Quell
Riots Proof of Failure in
Talks on Varnashram Dharma
by His Divine Grace A.C.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Founder-Acharya of the
world-wide Hare Krishna Movement, Brahma Sampradaya Acharya
time of posting
[Sat, 5 November 2005], there are uncontrolled riots raging in France
from the suburbs of Paris around the country, already for nine days,
and riots in Argentina protesting the presence of the American
President George W. Bush at the 34-nation Summit of the Americas in
that country, not to mention war and civil unrest in many other regions
of the world.
TRANSLATION Lord Vishnu continued: My dear King Prithu, if you
continue to protect
the citizens according to the instructions of the learned brahmana
authorities, as they are received by the disciplic succession—by
hearing—from master to disciple, and if you follow the religious
principles laid down by them, without attachment to ideas manufactured
by mental concoction, then every one of your citizens will be happy and
will love you, and very soon you will be able to see such already
liberated personalities as the four Kumaras [Sanaka, Sanatana,
Sanandana and Sanat-kumara].
Lord Vishnu advised King Prithu that everyone should follow the
principles of varnashrama-dharma
; then, in whatever capacity one remains within this material world,
his salvation is guaranteed after death. In this age, however, since
the system of varnashrama-dharma is topsy-turvy, it is very
difficult to strictly follow all the principles. The only method for
becoming perfect in life is to develop Krishna consciousness. As
varnashrama-dharma is executed from different positions by
different men, so the Krishna consciousness principles can be followed
by everyone in every part of the world.
There is a specific
purpose in mentioning herein that one should follow the dvijagryas,
the most prominent
brahmanas, like Parashara and Manu. These great sages have
already given us instructions on how to live according to the
principles of varnashrama-dharma. Similarly, Sanatana Gosvami
and Rupa Gosvami have given us rules and regulations for becoming pure
devotees of the Lord. It is essential, therefore, to follow the
instructions of the
acharyas in the parampara
system, who have received the knowledge as passed down from spiritual
master to disciple. In this way, although living in our material
condition of life, we can get out of the entanglement of material
contamination without leaving our positions. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
advises, therefore, that one does not have to change his position. One
simply has to hear from the perfect source (this is called parampara)
and follow the principles for practical application in life; thus one
can attain the highest perfection of life—
liberation—and go back home, back to Godhead. In other words, the
change required is a change in consciousness, not in the body.
Unfortunately, in this fallen age, people are concerned with the body,
not with the soul. They have invented so many "isms" pertaining to the
body only, not to the soul.
In the modern age
of democracy there are so many government representatives voting for
legislation. Every day they bring out a new law. But because these laws
are only mental concoctions manufactured by inexperienced conditioned
souls, they cannot give relief to human society. Formerly, although the
kings were autocrats, they strictly followed the principles laid down
by great sages and saintly persons. There were no mistakes in ruling
over the country, and everything went perfectly. The citizens were
completely pious, the king levied taxes legitimately, and therefore the
situation was very happy. At the present moment the so-called executive
heads are more or less selected from materially ambitious persons who
simply look after their own personal interests; they have no knowledge
of the shastras. In other words, the
executive heads are fools and rascals in the strict sense of the terms,
and the people in general are shudras.
This combination of fools and rascals and shudras cannot bring
about peace and prosperity in this world. Therefore we find periodic
upheavals in society in the forms of battles, communal riots and
fratricidal quarrels. Under these circumstances, not only are the
leaders unable to lead the people toward liberation, but they cannot
even give them peace of mind. In Bhagavad-gita it is
stated that anyone who lives on concocted ideas, without reference to
the shastras, never becomes successful and does not attain
happiness or liberation after death.
division of society into 4 social classes (varnas) and 4
spiritual orders (ashrams). Those who function as the head of
society, i.e. the intellectuals, the visionaries, truth-seekers,
spiritual masters and teachers are called brahmanas; the
shoulders and arms who give protection and maintain law and order are
those who generate wealth and maintain prosperity in economy are called
vaishyas; and the legs of society, or those who have no
special qualification but give support and assistance to the other 3
are called shudras. The modern-day caste system is an
aberration of the ancient Vedic varnashrama dharma insofar as a
person's varna is determined by his nature, not his birth;
whereas the caste system imposes a life sentence on persons according
to their circumstances of birth.
brahmanas—See above. The
foremost duty of brahmanas
is to give spiritual guidance to society, in particular to government
masters, literally, those who teach by example. Here reference is made
to authorized spiritual masters descending in a line of disciplic
knowledge passing down from spiritual master to disciple.
the Vedas and supplementary literatures.
dharma. The shudras are generally the skilled and unskilled
laborers, clerks, working class.