Fountain of Vedic Wisdom

 Fountain of Vedic Wisdom

Ved mantra Explanation in english.

Very easy and detailed explanation of 365 ved mantras from all vedas.

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Mantra 206

Vedic Division of Labour

ब्राह्मणोऽस्य मुखमासीद् बाहू राजन्यः कृतः। उरू तदस्य॒ यद्वैश्यः पद्भया, शूद्रोऽअजायत॥

-यजुर्वेद ३१ । ११ 

brāhmaṇoasya mukhamāsīd bāhū rājanyaḥ kṣtaḥ padbhyām śūdro ajāyata ||

-Yajur Veda 31.11

 Meaning in text order

brahmanah=the intellectuals, asya=his, mukham= mouth, asit=is, bahū=two arms, rajanyah-warriors or administrators, krtah=is, ürü=thighs, tadasya=his, yat=that, vaisya= producer of wealth, padbhyāṁ=two feet, südra=labourer, ajāyat=born.


Those who are mainly devoted to intellectual work are called Brāhmins, Warriors and administrators are called Ksatrias, those who generate wealth for the nation are called Vaiśyas and those who serve society by contributing manual labour are called Sudras.


This mantra is the foundation of Vedic sociology. The classification of the Varņa system of society is explained through the limbs of the body. Every limb of the body has its own significance according to its function and all the limbs are complementary to each other. In the same way every Varņa, however important it may be, cannot run society alone.

The purpose of this classification is to protect the right of the individual in society and to enlighten the duties of the individual within the society. Manu developed this theme later with a social and legal point of view to govern society in the precise spirit of the Vedas. He expounded the definitions of four Varnas in Manu Smſti in Chapter 1, Ślokas 88 lo 91.

The intellectual class, the brains of the society, here called Brāhmins; the men of administrative and militia qualities were called Kșatriyas, the men of trade and agriculture were called Vaisyas and the unskilled were called shudra..

We know that Manu was a great advocate of the Varņa

 system but he made it crystal clear that his ideology of Varņas was based upon the merit of the individual's occupation and achievement. He did not advocate Varņa on the basis of birth. In Chapter 10, Shloka 65 of Manu Smộti, he says, “the son of Śūdra may attain the rank of Brāhmin if he were to possess his qualifications, character and accomplishments, and as the son of Brāhmin may become Sūdra if he sinks to a lower level in his character, inclination and manner, even so it must be with him who springs from a Ksatriya, even so with him who is born as a Vaisya'.

In other words, a person should be ranked with the class of whose qualification, accomplishments and character he possesses. The Varņas were determined by the Acāryas of Gurukula after the assessment of the qualities of individuals. As in modern days, for a university degree, a written examination is conducted and an internal assessment has become part of it.

The Varņas are based upon the qualities of each individual. This has been further clarified by Lord Krsna in Bhagwad Gita: “Cāturvarņam mayā srstam guna karma vibhāgaśa' (4.13), i.e. 'The fourfold order was created by me according to the divisions of quality and work’. 

For the interest of readers I am quoting the classification of classes using modern sociology. It seems that the classification of society was part of civilised society. It is more interesting to know that India's society was well developed and civilised many centuries ago. Western Sociology classified these as follows:

Class 1.

Class 2.

Class 3.

Class 4.

Class 5.

Professional Occupations. Intermediate occupations. Skilled occupations. Semi-skilled occupations. Unskilled occupations.

The purpose of the classification of Varņas was to manage society well but when the Varņa system began to turn on the basis of birth it changed society and turned it to mismanagement and disarray.

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