PASSAGE TO HINDU STATE
Social Polity of pre-Upanishad times
While the Vedas have been held as holy books whose authority is not to be questioned, the Upanishads are treated as works composed by the end of the Vedic era to present their essence. Some claim that the Vedas were the utterances of the Unseen Ultimate. Some others would assert that they too were composed by sages even as the Upanishads and other post-Vedic works were.
Visvamitra, Vasishta, Bharadvaja, Vamadeva, Gautama, Parasara, Kanva, Praskanva, Madhucchandas, Agastya, Kutsa etc were the main contributors to the Rgvedic anthology and Kashyapa, Angirasa, Atharvacharya, Bhrgu etc to Atharvaveda. These sages dealt with events pertaining to their times and the centuries immediately preceding these. Their themes were mundane rather than spiritual.
The Vedic anthologies are reliable chronicles providing useful chronologies and works that veered around the socio-cultural constitution as embedded in Rgveda and socio-political constitution as dwelt on in Atharvaveda. They were tuned to the informal code of Rta (and svabhava or personal aptitude and natural propensity) that prevailed during the early Vedic period and that of Satya (truth) that held sway during the middle and later Vedic periods.
The Vedas were anterior to Dharmasastra and were edited by scholars commissioned by the fourth Manu, Tamasa, and compiled by the students of Parasara among whom the most prominent was Vyasa (Krshna Dvaipayana). Among the ten sages entrusted by the first Manu, Svayambhuva, with the task of drafting the Dharmasastra, only Vasishta was the major contributor to the Rgvedic anthology and Bhrgu and Angirasa to the Atharvaveda anthology.
Only resort to Samkhya methodology of enquiry and deduction can aid us to cull from the three Vedas, Rg, Yajur and Sama, what constitutes dharma and what the sages deemed to be adharma. Vasishta and his colleagues toed Tamasas interpretation of Dharma. Tamasa was an advocate of satyavrata.
The Vedic social polity was dichotomous with a core society of the agro-pastoral plains (bhumi, prthvi) surrounded by a frontier society of the forests and mountains. The latter (antariksham) was a basically industrial society. The core society had two major strata, the ruling class of liberal nobles (devas) and the working class of commoners (manushyas). These two along with the frontier society (antariksham) formed three social worlds (lokas) of the larger society which were organized and had settled populations with distinct orientations.
The Indologists erred badly when they presented the three social worlds (lokas), divam, prthvi and antariksham as heaven, earth and intermediate space, peopled by gods, men and preternatural beings respectively. All the three social worlds were parts of this planet and were composed of human beings only.
Later works have traced seven social worlds or cadres---commonalty of the plains (bhu), rich industrial society of forests (bhuva), autonomous members of the patriciate (sva), legislators (maha), representatives of the native population (jana), academicians engaged in research (tapas) and the judiciary which implemented the laws based on truth (satya).
These seven social worlds (lokas) of the integrated polity were stratified with the judiciary occupying the highest position and the commoners the lowest. The commoners (manushyas) of the plains (bhumi, prthvi) were described as the natives born (jana) in that area (janapada). The natives of the industrial areas of forests and mountains were described as the other people (itara-jana).
The aristocrats (devas) and the plutocrats (yakshas) were the ruling classes of the two societies, core and frontier. The mobile (chara) cadres like gandharvas, vipras, vidyadharas and charanas, chakshus and siddhas were exempt from the laws binding the two settled populations, jana and itara-jana. These cadres were referred to as blessed peoples, punya-jana. Three social universes (jagats) of mobile populations, gandharvas, kimpurushas and kinnaras were so exempt.
Kashyapa, the chief of the council of seven sages during the tenure of the seventh Manu, Vaivasvata, identified eight classes in the larger society and urged that all of them should be treated as having the orientations approved by Aditi, the mother-figure who looked after the implementation of the ten rules of the liberalized code of ethics.
The puritanical code urged by the school of Angirasa Brhaspati had been amended by Prajapati Kashyapa and Aditi to meet the recommendations of the Rudra-Soma school of sages stationed in the forests and mountains.
This Atharvan ideologue-cum-activist (Brahmavadi) identified the feudal lords (asuras), the liberal nobles (devas), the sages (rshis), the retired elders (pitrs), the commoners (manushyas) who were mainly agricultural workers as five of these sectors. They belonged to the core society of the plains. The Indologists erred when they translated the terms, devas, asuras and pitrs as gods, demons and spirits of deceased ancestors.
The plutocrats (yakshas) and their guards (rakshas) and retinue (kinnaras) constituted one of the sectors of the industrial frontier society (antariksham). The technocrats (nagas), the mobile industrial proletariat (sarpas, uragas) and the counter-intelligentsia (paisacas) formed another sector of the frontier society. They were known as the other people, itara-jana functioning under the direction of theplutocrats (yakshas).
Gandharvas, apsarases, vidyadharas, charanas, vipras, chakshus, tapasas, siddhas and guhyakas were cadres referred to as punya-jana, blessed peoples. They were part of a social universe (jagat) or mobile population and came in contact with all the three organized social worlds (lokas) and made valuable contributions to the development of culture and civilization and spread of knowledge and desirable ethos (punya-gandha). The orientations of these cadres differed from one another but were not dysfunctional to morality and ethics.
Upanishads and the enlarged core society
The major Upanishads were composed during the last decades of the long Vedic era. They concerned themselves with the core society---nobles (devas), feudal lords (asuras), sages (rshis), elders (pitrs) and commoners (manushyas) and with the social universe of gandharvas. Only the commoners were engaged in productive economic activities. The others had to be maintained by them from their earnings.
After they were trounced by the nobles and the commoners and chased away to the social periphery, the feudal lords were no longer members of the core society. But some of them who had retired from all activities were absorbed in the cadre of elders (pitrs).
The Upanishadic sages found it advisable to absorb several gandharva cadres in the enlarged core society. These cadres had each its own orientation but they were all part of the mobile population (jagat). The retired elders (pitrs) (among whom there were some reformed feudal lords) moved to the social periphery as vanaprasthas and so did the sages (rshis). Most of the sages were absorbed in the cadres of tapasvis and siddhas.
The enlarged core society had four active classes, nobles (devas), feudal lords (asuras), middle class of free intelligentsia (gandharvas) and commoners (manushyas) most of whom were agricultural workers and wage-earners. According to some Upanishads, the enlarged core society had four sectors, nobles (devas), elders (pitrs), free intelligentsia (gandharvas) and commoners (manushyas).
The pitrs included the reformed feudal lords and heads of clans.The other feudal chieftains were at the helm of the social periphery populated by discrete individuals (bhutas), militants (rakshasas) and counter-intelligentsia (paisacas). This sector of social periphery resembled the core society in structure.
Reformed Feudal Lords (Asuras) and Elders (Pitrs)
While the core society of the agro-pastoral plains, bhumi, (prthvi) was headed by the liberal nobles, devas, the periphery was controlled by reformed feudal chieftains (asuras) who were active in the political arena unlike the elders (pitrs). But they were not blatantly exploitative like the earlier feudal lords who had established a confederation (chakra) led by Sambara. Sakra Indra fought against him and his allies relentlessly and pulled down their fortified capitals.
Bhutas of the periphery obey Expelled Asuras
The term, bhutas, was used to denote the discrete individuals who had taken refuge in the social periphery after having been constrained to leave the plains (bhumi) where they were earlier associated with its agro-pastoral economy. Some of these bhutas were ex-servicemen recruited earlier from the commonalty.
They were no longer members of any social group, clan or community. It is imprecise to translate the expression, sarvabhutani as all beings. Only those individuals who lacked social protection were accommodated in the social periphery.They could not choose their masters and had to obey the feudal lords (asuras) who had been similarly expelled from the core society and taken control of the social periphery.
Rakshasas and Paisacas of the Periphery
Rakshasas had earlier been guards, rakshas of the plutocrats, yakshas. They had been discharged on grounds of indiscipline and disloyalty.
They too took refuge in the periphery between the core society and the frontier society. While the bhutas were counterparts of the organized class of manushyas of the core society, the rakshasas were the counterparts of the kshatriyas of that society.
It is imprecise to equate the asuras with rakshasas and treat the two terms as indicating demons or as but violent antisocial elements.Their orientations and backgrounds were distinct.
Paisacas belonged to the counter-intelligentsia and were not welcome in either core society or the frontier. They were counterparts of the new Brahman class of intellectuals and jurists of the core society.
Non-industrial social periphery and Industrial frontier society
It is wrong to present bhutas and paisacas as ghosts, rakshasas as demons and yakshas as 'evil spirits'. They were not preternatural beings. All these three human cadres claimed to have the patronage of the Rudras (one of the four traditional groups of nobles), especially of Siva, a yogi, who had his seat in the thick-wooded social periphery. The asuras who controlled the periphery did not enjoy the patronage of the Rudras who however had a soft corner for the plutocrats, yakshas.
It is imperative to distinguish between the social polity of the industrial frontier society and that of the non-industrial periphery which survived on coercion and had at its helm a power group that was authoritarian and harassed the population subordinate to it and also the two societies.
Gandharvas, the free middle class of intellectuals
The free middle class of culturally beneficial intellectuals, gandharvas who were absorbed in the core society occupied a place in between the nobles (devas) and the commoners (manushyas), the ruling class and the working class. The two classes (varnas), Brahmans who were intellectuals and Kshatriyas who were administrators-cum-warriors emerged from among the gandharvas.
Brahmans of the Upanishadic times were not a sacerdotal class. They were mainly jurists. Neither class, Brahmans and Kshatriyas, was subordinate to the class of aristocrats (devas) though they had to acknowledge the latter to be superior to them in status.
The two new classes which were formed during the final century of the long Vedic era from the ranks of the gandharvas by assessing the nature (innate traits) and nurture of the individual members of those ranks were superior to the two classes, Vaisyas and Shudras which were formed from the commonalty (vis, manushyas).
The two classes, Brahmans and Kshatriyas were involved in a dispute on who of the two, judiciary and executive, was superior to the other. New members of the nobility were promoted from the class of Vaisyas and were known as Visvedevas.
Gandharvas, apsarases, vidyadharas, charanas, vipras, chakshus, tapasas, siddhas and guhyakas were cadres exempt from the laws binding the settled populations of the two major societies, agro-pastoral core and industrial frontier. Earlier they did not belong to either society. They did not set up homes or houses and lived in the open. Some lived in caves. They did not have the institutions of family and marriage.
The Upanishads granted these free intellectuals, who had no property of their own, a status between the nobles (devas) and the commoners (manushyas). Members of these cadres who were closer to the nobles were called devagandharvas and those closer to the commoners as manushyagandharvas.
The latter were referred to also as naraloka, the social world of men free from social bonds. They served in the infantry and in the rural police and in the lower rungs of the rural bureaucracy. They were not part of any clan or community or economic guild.
They were not bound by kuladharma or jatidharma or srenidharma. But they were bound by desadharma, the laws and customs of the country where they lived.But the devagandharvas were not governed by these laws either. The commoners who withdrew from their clans and communities were admitted to the fold of naraloka, equivalent to manushyagandharvas.
Apsarases were free women. Some of them were associated with the nobles (devas). Naris were free women belonging to the lower ranks. Naras and naris were superior to the men and women of the commonalty who were constrained to work as labourers to earn their livelihood. It is wrong to treat the terms, manushya, purusha, nara and manava, as all implying 'man'.
A stri was a housewife while a nari was a free woman.The head of the household was called a purusha and his consort, stri. The two classes, intellectuals-cum-jurists (Brahmans) and warriors-cum-administrators (Kshatriyas) were formed from the ranks of devagandharvas. The class of manushyagandharvas was assigned to the class of Vaisyas. Brahmans and Kshatriyas were noted for the predominance in them of the trait of gentleness (sattva) and aggressiveness (rajas) respectively. Both devas and gandharvas were gentle but assertive.
Senior sages were engaged in sifting the members of these cadres and assigning them to the new class that each of them was fit for on the basis of his innate trait (guna).
The process of selecting individuals from the gandharva cadres for admission to the ranks of Brahmans (jurists and counsellors) and Kshatriyas (administrators and rulers) had begun during the later Vedic era. These new classes (varnas) were then not visualized as sacerdotal class and military class.
The Rajanyas were heads of the wings of administration and of political units. They were expected to be dignified and assertive. Rajanyas ranked next only to the nobles (devas) and above the jurists (Brahmans) who however ranked above Kshatriyas.
Intellectuals asserted that they were free from social and political control and that they were equal to aristocrats. Intellectual aristocracy demanded that it should be treated on par with cultural aristocracy. This desire could not be met until cultural aristocracy ceased to be the power elite.
The academies of the Upanishadic times trained their students many of whom were from among the ranks of high officials or from rich and powerful families, in courses of study that the Brahman jurists and Kshatriya administrators were expected to master.
Many states were headed by oligarchies whose members were aggressive and dynamic chieftains. They claimed that they were superior to the jurists but conceded that the second level of administrators (kshatriyas) could be made answerable to the judiciary( Brahmans).
The socio-political constitution, Brahma, of the Vedic times did not provide for an independent higher judiciary manned by Brahmans. It however did not make the ruling oligarchy all-powerful. It vested final authority in the house (sabha) of nobles (devas) and the council (samiti) of sages (rshis) and elders (pitrs), headed by Indra and Agni respectively. Agni was also the head of the civil judiciary. Indra-Brhaspati agreement between the aristocrats and the bourgeoisie required the Brahmans (whether ideologues-cum-activists or jurists, Brahmavadis or Brahmarshis) not to extend protective cover to the feudal lords who were enemies of the aristocracy as well as of the commonalty.
The New Upanishadic Constitution
The Upanishadic sages introduced a new socio-political constitution, Brahma. They were guided by Badarayana who belonged to the school of Parasara. This constitution gave the highest place to the constitution bench, whose head was designated as Brahma. He was an expert in all the four Vedas. He was assisted by three free scholars, Vipras. They were each an expert in one of the three Vedas, Rg, Yajur and Sama. These vipras were an independent cadre belonging to the social universe (jagat) of gandharvas.
[The stereotype, Brahma as the god of creation, Vishnu as that of protection and Siva as that of destruction, needs to be set aside. This imagery was not in vogue during the times when the Vedas and the Upanishads were composed.]
The Atharvan constitution, Brahma, visualized a federal social polity headed by Viraj elected by a college of social leaders (purushas) and free women (naris). He was assisted by Prajapati, chief of the people, elected by retired elders (pitrs). The oligarchy of rajanyas and its head, rajan, who headed the political unit that was a member of the federal state, were subordinate to these two officials. They were subordinate to also Indra, the head of the house of nobles and to Brhaspati who headed the civil administration.
The judiciary of Brahmans headed by Agni could not overrule any of the four authorities, Viraj, Prajapati, Indra and Brhaspati. It was a politico-economic state in which the role of the judiciary was minor but not insignificant. Agni was the liaison between the nobles and the commoners, the ruling class and the working class. [It is imprecise to state that Brahma was also known as Prajapati, father of mankind.]
The Atharvan concept of Virajam was an union without uniformity, union of autonomous (svarajam) eight units, nobles (devas), feudal lords (asuras), elders (pitrs), sages (rshis), commoners (manushyas), free intelligentsia (gandharvas etc.), plutocrats (yakshas) and technocrats and industrial proletariat (nagas and sarpas).
Of these the first five belonged to the core society when the proposal to distribute assign the gandharva cadres or the commonalty among the four new classes (varnas) had not yet been acted upon and the classes of Brahmans and Kshatriyas had not yet been formed and the vis not yet classified into haves and have-nots.
The Mahadeva constitution provided for a rashtra of four regions (janapadas) controlled by their respective native population (jana), an electoral college of Rajanyas, an ornamental head of the state (rajan), a vast populace (vis). The Prajapati, chief of the people controlled the eight-fold nation (rashtram) and the state administration (kshatram).
The Eight Officials of the Integrated Atharvan Polity
Before this constitution of small nation-states came into force and became universal, especially in north India,the Atharvan social polity had envisaged three distinct social worlds, divam, prthvi and antariksham, patriciate, commonalty and frontier society, headed by Indra, Agni and Soma respectively.
The head of the administrative wing was designated as Aditya. He controlled and trained the state army and it was for Indra to deploy it as permitted by the nobles (devas). Aditya (Surya) was the general of the standing army (sena).
The integrated society had an ombudsman, designated as Varuna, (wrongly interpreted as God of Rain) who ensured that every one discharged his duties including repayment of debts in full to become eligible for the rights and privileges of his rank.
Varuna ensured that none transgressed the bounds of his powers. He was assisted by Mitra, the friendly sheriff, to be precise the amicus curiae who put forth the defence of the person indicted by Varuna. Law and order was maintained by the influential magistrate designated as Yama. The mobile population was guided by the official designated as Vayu.
The western Indologists wrongly presented the eight officials, Indra, Agni, Aditya, Soma, Varuna, Mitra, Yama and Vayu as gods of thunder, fire, sun, moon, rain, punishment and wind. They described Vedic society as pantheistic and polytheistic.
The codes of the industrial frontier society (antariksham) were distinct from those of the agro-pastoral core society. During the Vedic times the three social worlds (lokas), urban patriciate (divam), rural commonalty (prthvi) and industrial frontier society (antariksham) were represented by Indra, Agni and Soma who were members of the eight-member executive (Adityas). The Adityas were guided by Aditi, the benevolent figure who assisted the Prajapati, the chief of the people. Aditi was aided by Soma, the guide of the intellectuals of the frontier society.
Triple Entente, Trisamdhi, which brought together the three social worlds, saw them represented by Indra, Angirasa and Arbuda. Indra school of socio-political thought upheld the interests of the aristocracy while Angirasa, a Brahmavadi, an Atharvan ideologue-cum-activist, those of the commonalty. Arbuda was a sage who protected the interest of the proletariat (sarpas). Arbuda was later killed by Indra for obstructing the flow of a river.
Indra-Brhaspati agreement was a corollary to Trisamdhi. It bound the two social worlds (lokas) of the core society, nobles and commoners. If Indra stood for governance by aristocrats, Brhaspati insisted on governance by the commonalty especially by its bourgeoisie. Brhaspati was an economist and a successor to Angirasa, who upheld the socio-political constitution embedded in Atharvaveda.
Five Sectors of the Expanded Core Society in the Upanishads
The above pattern of eight officials was amended by the Katha Upanishad whose protagonist, Naciketas, headed a judiciary which had jurisdiction over the three social worlds, manushyas, gandharvas and devas, agro-pastoral commonalty, free middle class and aristocracy.
This Upanishad kept out Soma who headed the frontier society of the forests and mountains and its intelligentsia. It also kept out Varuna who represented the riverine and maritime economy and the feudal lords, asuras, and his colleague, Mitra.
With Agni securing a very high position as the head of the three approved social worlds of the core society, the insentient sections of the commonalty were placed under the jurisdiction of Mrtyu. Neither Mrtyu nor Yama is to be described as god of death. Yama was the designation of the social regulator that Manu Vaivasvata was. He was an awesome magistrate who enforced the prohibitory orders (yamas).
The populations of the three organized, settled social worlds (lokas) which had not yet come under the orientations meant for them were covered by akasa.
Unlike the gandharva cadres who were a distinct social universe (jagat) of free intelligentsia, these populations treated as belonging to akasa were not members of any intellectual cadre. They were not economic classes either. Nor did they belong to the periphery that gave asylum to the exiles and dropouts.They were dahara, the flailed. They lacked the ability to resist the forces of nature. They floated with the winds like the dust in the sky.
The Upanishadic sages visualized an expanded core society of five sectors, nobility (devas) headed by Indra, administrators (kshatras) headed by Aditya, intellectuals (Brahmans) headed by Agni, insentient commonalty represented by Mrtyu and the nebulous free elements (akasa) looked after by Vayu.
The Mahadeva constitution of Atharvaveda provided for four classes in the organized and efficient core society, nobles (devas), warriors (kshatriyas), scholars (Brahmans) and commonalty (manushyas) represented by Indra, Aditya, Agni and Brhaspati. It did not accommodate the fifth sector, akasa.
The nebulous social periphery (akasa) which did not have the traits of the organized core society of the plains (prthvi) or of the industrial proletariat (sarpas) or of the free intelligentsia (gandharvas) or the liberal nobles (devas) has to be distinguished from the social horizon (antariksham), the industrial frontier society of the forests and mountains.
It was also distinct from the social periphery where the exiles and anti-social elements, asuras, rakshasas, bhutas and paisacas had taken refuge.
It is imprecise to translate the term, antariksham, as intermediate space and akasa as stratosphere or ether. Indra, Aditya, Agni, Mrtyu and Vayu were officials of the Vedic social polity and were not gods of thunder, sun, fire, death and wind.
Yajnavalkya Constitution: Election to the house of nobles (devas)
The Upanishads envisaged a thirty-three member house of nobles (devas) elected by a college comprising three hundred and three new nobles, visvedevas.
These three hundred and three members were delegates deputed by a larger assembly of three thousand and three candidates selected from the upper crust of the larger commonalty, that is, from the bourgeoisie. Rudras, Adityas and Vasus were the three major groups among the thirty three nobles (devas). They represented the intellectuals, the administrators and the commonalty respectively. (These three were later called Brahmans, Kshatriyas and Vis.)
Rudras also represented the frontier society of forests and mountains, Adityas, the urban patriciate and Vasus the rural commonalty. The new house of thirty-three nobles (devas) represented the three social worlds. The nobles were persons who had risen from the commonalty and represented the interests of all the three social worlds. The Maruts, the fourth traditional group of nobles was kept out perhaps as their traits resembled those of the feudal lords, Daityas, who could not be reformed.
The Upanishads gave up the Viraj pattern of social polity and made the Prajapati the head of the polity. He was to be assisted by Mahendra, the chairman of the board of finance officers (Indras) of the units of the polity.The federal structure continued to be present but the head of the polity was no longer an aggressive personality but was one who looked after the interests of the subjects.
Manu Vaivasvata had retained all the four traditional groups (Rudras, Adityas. Vasus and Maruts) of nobles (devas) and added the Visvedevas who were members of the bourgeoisie, the upper crust of the commonalty and also Asvins (Nasatya and Dasra) who represented the lower classes, Shudras and Dasas. Nasatya was one who had consented to abjure perjury but had not taken the vow to speak only the truth. Dasra was a loyal servant of the nobles (devas). Both Visvedeva and Nasatya represented the two strata of the commonalty, Vaisyas and Shudras, employers and employees.
Divam was no longer exclusively elitist.
Yajnavalkya, counsellor of the agrarian ruler of Videha who had the status of Janaka, a ruler who had arisen from the native commonalty, was not satisfied with the above step of liberalization. He wanted that the nobles (devas) should be selected from among the commonalty, especially from the bourgeoisie.
Every region had three large bodies of one thousand members each, representing the three social worlds, patriciate, commoners and frontier society. The born nobles ranked higher than the other nobles. They too were born in that region. The new janapada included the frontier society of forests and mountains.
The three bodies represented, abhijana (nobles), jana (commoners of the plains) and itarajana (others who belonged to the industrial areas).Each of these three bodies had a thousand representatives and a chief. The elite became democratized by this step.
The thirty-three member house of nobles headed by the Prajapati had ten Adiityas (born nobles), ten Vasus (landlords) and ten Rudras (intellectuals and technocrats of the frontier society).
The Prajapati was elected directly by the retired elders (pitrs). He was assisted by Mahendra. This polity must have had a jurist, Brahma. Yajnavalkya's account does not help us to determine whether the chief justice and guardian of the constitution, Brahma, was superior to the chief of the people (Prajapati) or not. He was however superior to the head of the state (who was a commoner and native designated as Janaka).
The new Upanishada socio-political hierarchy
Taittiriya Upanishad presents a more cohesive account of the new polity. The sage who was heading an academy where administrators and jurists were being trained dealt with a new core society which had four social classes, nobles (devas), elders (pitrs) some of whom were retired and reformed feudal chiefs, free intelligentsia (gandharvas) and commoners (manushyas).
He traced two strata among the gandharvas, devagandharvas who were closer to the nobles and manushyagandharvas who were closer to the commoners. Among the nobles (devas), he traced three levels. Those who were born in the janapada and had been recognized as having the traits of nobles (devas) formed the base of the nobility. (They were called abhijana or visvedevas.)
The members of the executive (karmadevas) were superior to these Visvedevas who formed the general body of talented persons. These talented persons belonged to the bourgeoisie rather than to the aristocracy proper. The thirty-three members of the house of nobles (devas) who determined the policy of the state were superior to the executive (karmadevas) (eight or ten Adityas).
The sage pointed out to his trainees that the manushyagandharvas, the lower ranks of the gandharvas who formed the middle class, had more privileges than the commoners (manushyas) who were mainly manual workers had and hence were happier than the latter. A nara was happier than a lad who belonged to the commonalty but had no responsibilities on his shoulders.
Devagandharvas, free intellectuals who formed the upper crust of the middle class of gandharvas and were closer to the cultural aristocracy, were happier than the lower middle class, manushyagandharvas.
The members of the new bourgeoisie, the Visvedevas, the lower rungs of the native nobility had more privileges and immunities and hence more happiness (ananda) than the devagandharvas, the free intelligentsia.
The retired elders (pitrs) seem to have been on par with the devagandharvas. Many of the sages had been absorbed in the cadres of chakshus, tapasvis and siddhas who belonged to the gandharva cadres.
The sage said that the members of the executive (karmadevas) had more privileges, immunities and happiness (ananda) than the newly elevated ordinary nobles who were native to that region had.
Of course, the thirty-three members of the house of nobles (devas) were more free and more powerful, more privileged and more happy than theeight (or ten) membersof the executive (karmadevas).
Sovereign Power vested in Brahma,
Chief of the four-member constitution bench
Indra who headed the house of nobles had greater power and more immunities and more happiness (ananda) than the other members of that house.
However Indra could be overruled by Brhaspati, economist and Atharvan ideologue-cum-activist (Brahmavadi) who controlled civil administration, the treasury and the army and enjoyed the support of the bourgeoisie and the rest of the commonalty. Brhaspati had more privileges and more happiness than Indra.
In the Rgvedic state, the chief of the people, Prajapati, convened the two houses of the legislature, sabha and samiti, was more influential than these two bodies and their heads, Indra and Agni. Indra, who presided over the joint-meeting when matters pertaining to war and peace and finance were considered, ranked higher than Agni. In the Atharvan pattern, Indra was on par with Brhaspati. Brhaspati could prevent Indra from being over-zealous and adventurous.
Taittiriya Upanishad took into account the practice that made Brhaspati the teacher of the nobles and Indra and gave him a higher place than Indra in the polity.
The Mahadeva pattern of small nation-states granted equal status to all the four officials, Indra, Aditya, Agni and Brhaspati. All of them were subordinate to the Prajapati who controlled both the nation (rashtram) and the administrators (kshatram). Taittiriya Upanishad made the Prajapati superior to Brhaspati who controlled the civil administration.
Brhaspati was superior to Indra who headed the house of nobles and the executive (karmadevas). The Prajapati could pronounce who among the members of the larger society could be extended the rights and privileges of a subject (praja) on par with the natural rights that the local born (jana) people of the janapada had. He determined the rights of the citizens (prajas) and protected their interests.
Janaka or Janadhipa was head of the native population, jana, while the charismatic authority and influence of the Prajapati extended to those people of the larger core society who had been accepted as part of the new nation-state (rashtram). But the Prajapati could not become an autocrat. He had to function within the framework, of the socio-political constitution, Brahma. .
Brahma, the chief justice who presided over the constitution bench of four members was the best among the jurists. The other three members who were experts in one of the three Vedas, Rg, Yajur and Sama, had the status of Vipras (scholars who had wide knowledge and wide influence). Brahma was an expert in all the four Vedas and the verdict that he gave after hearing their views was final. He had no interests of his own and was a stoic. He had the maximum immunity (ananda).
The interpretations given by Brahma of the provisions of the constitution could not be overturned by any authority. This Upanishad effected a major change in the Atharvan constitutions. Prajapati, chief of the people, was given a rank lower than Brahma's and had to abide by what the constitution said according to Brahma, the head of the constitution bench. Sovereign power was vested in Brahma.
Brahmadanda was superior to Rajadanda, Manava Dharmasastra acknowledged. The Chief Justice, Brahma, was superior to the Rajan, the head of the state, Rajyam.
The Vedas and Upanishads treated the Prajapati as the head of the nation-state, Rashtram, and the administration, Kshatram.
Brahma was superior to all the executives and all the legislators.But there was a dilemma.
Brahma the interpreter of the unalterable sociopolitical constitution and the chief pf the four-member constitution bench, had to depend on a highly dynamic and charismatic personage, Purusha, to get his verdicts on disputes carried out and to maintain law and order in a changing society.