The Four Kinds of People -Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 40-45

The Four Castes

There is nothing on earth among living beings, or even in heaven among the gods, that can exist free of the three gunas of Nature. The innate actions of people — Brahmans, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Shudras — are therefore determined according to the gunas of Nature.

1. Brahman (God-person) – Priest, spiritual leader, teacher, scholar.

2. Kshatriya (Warrior) – Warrior or leader of the People.

3. Vaishya (Tradesman) – Merchant, journeyman, businessman.

4. Shudra (Servant) – Laborer. (Originally part of the Kashatriya caste but since degraded. For more details, read “Who Were the Shudras?”).

“Nothing on earth … can exist free of the three gunas” says that there is no such thing as not acting, for the gunas are forms of action in Nature. As beings we have bodily forms that exist in the realm of Nature, so we are not exempt from Action. So there is no one, not even among the gods, who can exist free of Action and its effects.

  • The gods – deva (m) or devi (f) — Divine Individuals on a higher plane of being than our own.

As long as you are being something, you are not exempt from Action. 

When a yogi is ill or suffering, it is often believed by others that he cannot really be a yogi, or even an avatara; he would be immune to such maladies, or would simply cure the problem and remain solidly in Divine Bliss. But they forget that his physical body, which is a part of nature, is as vulnerable to nature’s effects and maladies as anyone else. Bodies do not exist in the Absolute. Bodies can only exist in Relative realms. 

“The innate actions of people” refers to the way people tend to carry out action according to their natural traits, abilities, talents, interests, etc. We are all born with something that we can do well. It is only natural that we use this as an occupation in life. It was once believed, and probably still is, that these traits are inherited, and therefore set in stone.

There was probably a time when people naturally tended to stick to their own kind of people. However, with the descent from a more enlightened time into a darker and overpopulated age, this is no longer as prominent. Nowadays, likenesses are more likely to be based on intolerance. Standards are more likely to be based on class (money), religion and race. But the four kinds of people mentioned here, still have something equally valuable to teach us.

Four Castes

This verse is introducing us to the caste system. It is my opinion that the caste system as we know it today, was not originally meant as a hard rule to be followed at all costs, but as a guide. I also think that it is essentially correct. It provides us with some practical understanding of people and how people are ‘wired’ in general — their characteristics, traits and tendencies, and their various talents and abilities. But one must always leave room for exceptions. Even in the Mahabharata, which was written not so long ago (8th and 9th centuries BCE), and in which this Bhagavad Gita appears, there are instances of these exceptions. 

42  — The Actions of Brahmans (God-People)
Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, patience, integrity, knowledge, discrimination and faith, are the inherent actions of Brahmans.

Speaking in general where ‘people’ are concerned, I think of Brahmans as God-people, and God-people as those who practice God-action and therefore know God, and consequently have the above characteristics.

43 — The Actions of Kshatriyas (Warriors)
Valor, strength, fortitude, skill, not fleeing in battle, generosity and leadership, are the innate actions of Kshatriyas.

“Not fleeing in battle” Not quitting when the going gets rough.

The picture of a warrior is one of valuable traits, whether war is concerned or not. Kshatriyas are leaders of people, kind and wise whether in war or peace. In battle, they adhere to traditional rules, i.e., warriors on elephants battle with other warriors on elephants, not archers; an archer will do battle with other archers, not swordsmen; when an archer runs out of arrows his enemy stands down until he has replenished them.

Well, it starts like that. But in the story of the Mahabharata war, as with all wars, honor in battle ultimately falls apart. But it is interesting to know that these ideals existed among Kshatriyas, passed down from times long forgotten.

44 — The Actions of Vaisyas and Shudras
Agriculture, cow-herding and commerce are the innate actions of Vaishyas, and services are the innate actions of Shudras.

The Brahmans are the teachers, scholars and priests of the spiritual, and the Kshatriyas are the barons, warriors and leaders of the people. The Vaishyas are tradesmen who sell their products in large or small businesses, and the Shudras provide services ranging from healing to house-cleaning.

(It is my opinion that the caste system comes down to us from a more enlightened time, and that what was probably original has degraded. In our present age (kali yuga), we are at the bottom of the bucket, and our so-called traditions must surely be corrupted and misunderstood, for this is a characteristic of this age. I believe these four categories of people came down the slide from the satya yuga, the Golden Age, where intolerance and inequality did not exist, and have been degraded, ranked, and set in stone over time.)

Content in the performance of one’s own innate kind of action, one attains success. Hear now how one who is contented in his own innate action finds perfection.

We are being reminded that to do our own dharma poorly is better than doing another’s well, and that by doing this, we will ultimately succeed in our endeavors.

It is clear that the teaching here are centered on success, and that doing what you are best qualified to do is essential for attaining it and living a happy life.

Your Life Purpose lies within one of these four general kinds of people. Once you have determined this, you will consider your options within that category, choose one, and succeed. This places you in a position to attain perfection (siddhi – success, perfection and special powers).

Namaste (I bow to the divine one that you really are),
Durga Ma



To Hell in a Hand Basket, Bhagavad Gita, Ch 16, Vs 12 – 19

Hell in a Handbasket

Bound by hundreds of desires driven by lust and anger, the Demonic strive to accumulate hoards of wealth by any means, all for the gratification of their own desires. 

“By any means” also means, “by unjust means.”

12 – 15
“I have acquired so much wealth today so I will now fulfill these desires of mine. All this is mine, and tomorrow I shall have more. I have slain that enemy and I shall slay others, also. I am God. I am the Enjoyer. I am Powerful. I am Happy. I am rich and highborn. Who is equal to me? I will perform sacrifice, give alms, and rejoice!” So say those deluded by ignorance.

This is a look into the minds and self-talk of the ‘demonic’.

16 – 17
Beset by this net of illusions and many confused imaginings, and addicted to sensual pleasures, they descend to a foul hell of torment. Self-conceited and obstinate, full of pride and arrogance for all their wealth, they perform ostentatious sacrifices in name only, with no regard for scriptural injunctions.

“A foul hell of torment” refers to the end result. It also means, ‘inferior states of existence’, which is where this kind of person finds himself here in this life, or in the next.

18 – 19
Blinded by egoism, power, arrogance, desire and anger, the demonic hate Me in their own bodies and in the bodies of others. These hateful, cruel and vile men, I hurl again and again into the cycles of rebirth and demonic forms of existences secured at birth.

“The demonic hate Me” also means “the demonic abuse Me.”

ArrivalBecause of their demonic natures, their lives and deaths are inauspicious. Returning after death, this brings them into situations with unfortunate families of evil people, where they will reap what they have sown.

Some of demonic natures who are not overtly hateful, cruel and vile, take the form of a kind of shallow apathy. They have no real interest in others, the planet, the lives of people or innocent creatures. They say, “There’s nothing we can do about it. We just have to accept these things.” Instead, they indulge in a morass of “many confused imaginings.” Looking for something to do, and trying to make themselves feel something, they seek experiences provided by other people, or they become addicted to sensual pleasures. They are dead inside. Their idea of “deep” is completely superficial and produces nothing of value or merit.

“Let the dead bury the dead.” —  Lord Jesus

The Way of the World in the Kali Yuga

Kali Yuga – the darkest of the four ages

This is the way of our world today. With all the positive things our technology has brought us, it has come at a huge price — an overall disinterest in anything other than self. I have noticed this even with my posts. When a title has the word “self” in it, there are more viewers. When a title has the word “God” in it, there are few.

People seem to be enamored with themselves. We are supposedly adults, but we are really only two years old — with two year old emotions and behaviors (i.e., all or nothing, black or white, etc.). We bonk the other kid over the head who tries to play in our sandbox, and we think we’re hot stuff. We are small children in big bodies. We must grow up. We must grow into our adult bodies and become the mature adults we were meant to be. 

If you think I am just being some kind of religious zealot, think again. I challenge you to look at what is going on around you, and in the world, with an objective eye. Just watch, notice, pay attention, and you will see it, too. And once you have seen it, you will be shocked to the core, and motivated to grow more — for your own sake, and for the sake of everyone else — and be welcomed into the fellowship of those who have seen what you have seen.  

This observation should not be taken up with judgement, or with efforts to change other people. Your own forward growth and enlightenment will take care of them. Free and conscious choice is a power that exists within each person, and should never be violated. To violate this, even with good intentions, can only send us backward. 

There is only one thing you can do to help: Upgrade your present commitment to improve your life (no matter how great it is now), increase your spiritual knowledge and practice and advance yourself.

Everything you do affects everyone else. 

Please enjoy this very good read:  “Gita: The Unparalleled Manual of Social Harmony” by Ved Prakash Saxena.

Namaste (I bow to the divine one that you really are),
Durga Ma

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