PASSAGE TO HINDU STATE
BOOKS SEVEN, EIGHT
SCIENCE OF POLITY
KRSHNAS GITA AS RAJAVIDYA
C/o Sharada Nagarajan
501, Dipesh Enclave 402, Savitri Apartments
Pawar Nagar Laxmi Nagar (West)
THANE 400610 NAGPUR 440022
(Maharashtra, INDIA) (Maharashtra, India)
Phone: 022-21717590 8080138133
ONE WAR---A THREAT TO SOCIAL ORDER
The Historical Background and the Battle-array--- Prthvipati and MahipatiSocial Issues and Dharmas---The Bhagavad-Gita and RajayogaThe Society of the Later Vedic times
TWO SAMKHYA AND YOGA: DIALECTICS AND ENDEAVOUR
Arjunas DilemmaTo slay or to be slainKshatra Dharma and Kshatra DharmaKarpanya Dosham: The Snag in Krpas OfferApproach of the physicians, PanditasManushyas, Naras, Purushas, DevasSoul neither slays nor is slainApproach of the commoner vs. that of the leaderApproach of the free man, NaraTraits of the soulApproach of the unattached individuals, Bhutas---Samkhya Dialectics and the SoulSamkhya and YogaYoga as a positive disciplineThe three traits, Sattva, Rajas and TamasImportance of Study of the VedasRight only to Work, not to its rewardsBuddhiyoga, intellectual exercise and planningManishinas, honorary counsellorsEquanimity and SamadhiStable awareness, SthitaprajnaFocus on the alter ego, MatparaTranquillity of Mind, PrasadamPlacid and pleased scholarPrasadam and PrasannamPeace, ShantiIntellectual emancipation, Brahmanirvanam
THREE THE PATH OF DUTY
Samkhya and YogaJnanayoga and KarmayogaPurusha as a leader of a work-groupWork determined by natural propensityKarmayoga as a discipline of ActionKarma vs. Akarma: Prescribed work vs. Non-workWork in the spirit of sacrifice: Karma and YajnaThe institution of sacrifice as visualized by the PrajapatiCollective work, mutual benefit and DharmachakraManavas, the free citizensJanaka and social integrationJanaka as the elected chief of the agrarian societySreshtas and Itara-jana: Economic captains of the other societyWhy Krshna continued to do his dutyLokasamgraha without lokasamkaraThe learned cautionedNatural traits and functions: Gunas and KarmaKrshnas stand and the Manava school of PracetasSvadharma vs. ParadharmaRajas leads some leaders to commit sins
FOUR THE NEW SOCIAL ORDER
The Vaivasvata imagery and the Institution of ManusRajayoga: Training in Rajarshi constitutionKrshna as charismatic leader: Isvara-Krshnas diverse social roles and the myth of reincarnationKrshna committed to protect righteousnessKrshnas duties as a born aristocratKrshna emulated by manyIntellectual endeavour: JnanatapasKrshna and the commonersBuilding of charisma: bhaktiKrshnas reservations on recognition of plutocrats as DevatasFormula for rational social integrationKrshnas formula for four social classes: ChaturvarnaCultural aristocracy superior to the four classesPlanner vis--vis Executive: Akarta vis--vis KartaNot attached to the deed and its fruitsKarma and Mumukshus: Workers and Seekers of LiberationSocial legislators (Kavis)on Work (Karma) and Non-work (Akarma)Krshnas formula: Karma, Vikarma and AkarmaBuddhiman, the worldly-wise commonerBudha, the non-hedonist intellectual of the social peripheryMessage of Karmayoga to the active stoic-cum-intellectualBrahmakarma-samadhi: Equanimity of the guardian of the constitutionSanatana Brahma: Ideal IntellectualJnanayoga: Free offering of ones knowledgeKarma and Jnana: Duty and KnowledgeOutcasts too admitted to Krshnas academySanctity of KnowledgeSceptics warned
FIVE THE ACTIVIST INTELLECTUAL: BRAHMAYOGI
Performance of duty better than renunciationDetachment and constant renunciation advocatedSamkhya and Yoga as complementary sciencesThe four disciplines: Anvikshiki, Trayi, Varta and DandanitiImportance of Samkhya dialecticsSociability and social activismDetachment and self-purificationYukta, the properly trained personPrabhu, the head of the society, not an executiveVibhu, the head of the local communityEnlightenment about and attaining That Supreme: Tat ParamEquality of all beings and of all classesAll cadres of intellectuals equal and pureBrahmavid, the uninfluenced inward-looking intellectualBudhas, extrovertsYukta, the trained free man, NaraBrahmayogi and discharge from social dutiesAttainment of Brahmanirvana through social serviceYatis, the moderates among intellectualsSarvalokesvara, the head of all the social worlds
SIX THE DILEMMA OF THE RAJAYOGI
Who is a Karmayogi--Personal effort and self-conquestParamatma and Collective WillWho could become a RajarshiRajarshi as the head of the circle of statesDeliberation in solitudeTrainee and vow of celibacyAtmasamstha and Matsamstha: Rajarshi and RajapurohitaTraining of a RajayogiBrahmabhutam: Cadre of Independent IntellectualsRajayogi and his charisma among unattached intellectualsParama Yogi, the best among YogisPlace in the faculty, Kula
SEVEN KRSHNA AND HIS STUDENTS
Jnanam and VijnanamSamkhya and YogaThe segments of mans naturePara and apara: Alter and egoKrshna as Arjunas alter ego, MatparaThe latent Purusha talent of the free man, NaraThe ancient seed: Sanatana bijamThree traits of the seed, sattva, rajas and tamasDisappointed with the social universe, jagatDeva-guna: traits of the nobleSocial origins of Krshnas studentsFour categories of followersWho were the mahatmas, the great soulsthe devotees of devatasKrshna offers to assist all in their faithsKrshnas followersTechniques of Yogamaya: Illusion and Samkhya projectionsFreedom from delusionAdhyatma, the essential soulAdhibhuta, the basic individual
EIGHT THE YOGI AND THE TWO PATHS
Brahma and omniscienceAdhyatma and deep soulKarma and Creative actionBrahma, the sovereign constitutionAdhibhutam and Individual WillAdhidaivam and leadershipDivya Purusha, Aristocratic leadershipKavis on the subtle soul, AdhyatmaDivya Purushas, Yogis and YatisKrshnas academy and aged convertsRebirth, reorientation and the seven social worldsBrahmaloka of Intellectuals and Janaloka of legislatorsThe two paths, northern and southern
NINE RAJAVIDYA, SCIENCE OF POLITY
Rajaguhya, confidential affairs of the stateSocial universe, JagatRajarshi and informal leadershipRajarshi and Common WillSocial State and Limited Charismatic LegitimacyRajarshi and Isvara, Common Will and Discrete WillsNon-coercive Rajarshi ConstitutionSettling the Bhutas, individuals of the social peripheryInstituting Svadharma Personal Rights and DutiesBhutas and Prakrti: Unattached Individuals and Mass SocietyRajarshi and Discretionary PowersPresides over his personal departments, AtmasamsthaBureaucracy and Social ChangeKrshnas status and roleSocial integration and Individuals, BhutasSociety in TransitionKrshnas Mission and Mahadeva ConstitutionKrshna and his detractors, the MohinisBhuta Mahesvara and RajarshiApproach of the Mahatmas, the great liberalsEkatva vs. Prthaktva vs. Bahudha: Undivided Sovereignty vs. Diversity of Units vs. Total DecentralizationSatvata traditionThe Powers and Duties of the Rajarshi in the New ConstitutionThe Liberal ConstitutionSovereign Power and DialecticsOn Admission of the Intelligentsia to the Cultural AristocracyReservations on enlarging the Cultural AristocracyEnlarged Janapada, Local StateThe New Constitution and Sacrificial offerings to Devatas, PlutocratsRajarshi as Trustee of State WealthState and Privileged CadresTrust Funds in a non-taxation systemFreedom from bonds of work and Samnyasa YogiCharisma and creation of a civilized societyAll channels of social ascent thrown open to allKarmayogis as social reformers
TEN VIBHUTI YOGA: IDENTIFICATION WITH THE GREAT
Rajarshi Institution anterior to the Legislatures of Nobles (Devas) and sages (Rshis)Socio-economic divideKrshna as the spokesman of the Rajarshi constitutionPrescriptions for allSeven sages and Four ManusThe exercise of identifying oneself with the GreatThe Role of the Independent Intellectuals, BudhasWhat was KrshnaDevarshis, Maharshis, SarparshisKrshnas New Intellectual AristocracyKrshna as leader of the unorganized sectorsKrshna as the Head of the New Superior Aristocracy, DevadevaThe Theme of the Vibhuti YogaIdentity of Vishnu, an Aditya and Marici, the MarutIdentity of Pavaka, a Vasu and of Samkara, a RudraVasava, the Indra, a VasuAmsuman the Jyotisha, the Samkhyan PredictorNa-Kshatras, the non-Kshatriya GandharvasRole of Brhaspati, the Guide, PurohitaRole of the Senapati, the Independent GeneralKapila, the great SiddhaVasuki, the Mariner and Ucchasraivas, the KnightIdentity of Airavata, the GajendraSesha, Ananta the NagaApproval of the role of VarunaPrahlada, the reformed feudal lordAdhyatmavidya, study of the Deeper SelfAdmires Vyasa and UsanasTributes to great thinkers and leaders of the past
ELEVEN VISVARUPA: FORM OF THE UNIVERSAL SOCIETY
Krshnas essential personality, AdhyatmaKrshna as an IsvaraRajans, Isvaras and RajarshisThe Cadres in Krshnas GalleryThe dynamics of social integrationPerspective of the Nobles: Divya ChakshuHari, the great Yogesvara of the dark social peripheryBrahmana, the IsaVisvarupa, the technocrat, TvashtaKrshna as the guardian of the permanent moral codeThe huge awe-inspiring figureVisvesvara and the intermediate areasCadres who extolled VisvesvaraKrshna and Kala, the AnnihilatorIdentity of those on the death-rollTotal War and Total DestructionKrshnas natural roleThe Indicted FourKrshnas social system superior to the earlier oneReturn to the original concept of Purusha, the social leaderThe New Society and the New Leader-Director of the Social LawsThe New Social Order of Lokas and Jagats needs a JagatguruVisvesvara the Charismatic Chief and Visvarupa the CreatorVisvamurti the four-armed Leader and SovereignThe First Form of the New Social PolityVasudeva form of Krshna
TWELVE KRSHNA'S MISSIONARIES
The Bhagavata SchoolPersonal loyalty to the teacherThe alert and impartial rulerImpersonal Authority and Charismatic LeadershipPractice and Mental PreparationThe Student and the personal work of the TeacherThe stages in developmentTraining in the midst of the societyDharmyam Amrtam: Code of Intellectual Aristocracy
THIRTEEN KSHETRA AND KSHETRAJNA
Kshetras, Fields of AdministrationNormative format of the study of the fieldon BrahmasutraSamkhya dialectics and the fieldsAssessing the Conduct of the IndividualAssessing the conduct of the TraineeTrainee in Yoga to avoid socio-political gatheringsTrained official to be a missionary tooKnowledge of the Deep Self is JnanamBrahma, the Ideal Intellectual and the PrimordialKrshnas Icon of BrahmaSaguna Brahma, the Charismatic IntellectualSovereignty as extension of CharismaDistribution of Undivided SovereigntyVibhakta and AvibhaktaThe Secret to be known, jneyamKrshnas stand on the PrimordialVariations and Nature, Vikara and PrakrtiNirguna Purusha and Saguna PrakrtiWork and WorkerBenefit for the participant leader, PurushaAssessment of the Purusha and Noble BirthMahatmas, Paramatmas and Mahesvaras as Officials in EconomyTenure of the Purusha, Social LeaderValue of IntrospectionSamyogam, United EndeavourRole of Paramesvara, the highest charismatic chiefSarvalokesvara as the expert in all fields, KshetrajnaState and Collective Impersonal WorkBeneficial Entrepreneurship and the Brahma CodeThe Social Cadre of ParamatmasCommoner-Guardians of Social Conscience and Social ValuesKshetri, the Expert Internal OrganizerLiberation of the Individual, Bhuta from the Mass Society, PrakrtiMoksha, freedom for enlightened expansion.
FOURTEEN SOCIAL REORGANIZATION AND THREE TRAITS
Siddhas to implement the New Social OrderNote on the Seed vs. Soil PostulatesSattvam, Gentleness, Happiness and KnowledgeConventional Guna Classification ImperfectRajas, Passion and Attachment to WorkTamas redefined by KrshnaNew Definitions and Implications for Social ClassificationThe Positive Intelligentsia, the Economic State, the Counter-IntelligentsiaCultural Development of all the Nine ClassesCovetous Society CondemnedMrtyu-samsara: Insentient SocietyWhen to dissolve the Existing Social OrderThe Desirable Alternative LeadershipSocial Welfare activities only after spread of Sattva, gentlenessTheorem of Reification of Social AttitudesSocio-cultural Ascent through educationFall of the Immoral ElementsIntelligentsia to fill the vacuum in LeadershipRajapurohita as the Liaison between the State and the EliteKrshnas solution to the Dilemma of the CivilizationsCode of Conduct for Rajarshi and RajapurohitaThe Stoical Leader as master of all social situationsThe Recommendation of the Brahma Code
FIFTEEN PURUSHOTTAMA: THE IDEAL PERSONAGE
The Asvattha Treethe allegory examinedThe Ascent and Decline of the Cultural AristocracyDevas and Purushas, Nobles and Talented LeadersAdipurusha, the Social Leader according to the older codeThe Social Leaders, Purushas, of Krshnas High AbodeJivabhutas of Jivaloka, the Individuals of the pre-societyThe Rise of the IndividualThe Role and Charisma of the IsvaraTraining of the Activist IntellectualIsvara and the roles of Aditya, Agni and SomaTwo Types of Purushas, Kshara and Akshara, Temporary and PermanentVaisva Nara, Free Persons of the Universal SocietyThe Ideal Leader, Uttama PurushaKrshna as Uttama PurushaRajaguhya, Secret of the Desirable Type of Leadership
SIXTEEN DETRACTORS OF THE NEW SOCIAL ORDER
Traits of a Noble (Deva) vs. Traits of a Feudal Lord (Asura)The Pruned Cultural Aristocracy as a Separate ClassClassifying the fluid multitudeReorienting the people, JanaThe Dilemma of the New Administration of Liberated JanasthanaResistance to the New Social OrderDemocracy and Society with Minimal StateSocial Universe vs. Local Population: Jagat vs. JanaEthnic Nation-State a Feudal ConceptHedonists as RulersWarning against Lust for Power and WealthCorruption of the EliteKrshna for a New Cultural LeadershipOutlawing FeudalismRetrieval of the DelinquentFollow the Code
SEVENTEEN REORGANIZATION AND DEDICATION:
Krshnas volunteersThree types of Sacrifices and Honoured CadresThe New State and the CompromisePlutocratic Frontier Industrial State without Tax and LevyRestoration of the AcademiaAssuring Settled Communities, Old and NewReorienting the BureaucracyOfferings, Sacrifices RedefinedYajna, Bali, Kara: Sacrifice, Levy, TaxSacrifice, Yajna ReinstitutionalizedTapas and Tapasvi RedefinedTapasvi and Social EndeavourCivil Law and GiftsSocio-Legal Obligations and the Maxim, Aum Tat Sat
EIGHTEEN THE MISSION
Renunciation and RelinquishmentNo right not to workRelinquishment needs state approvalHonorary Experts, MedhavisThree Options in Assigning PaymentsFive Causative FactorsCivilian Executive and Prerogative of the EliteState and the free men, NarasLaw, Nyaya rulesBureaucratic arrogance deploredImmunity for the ExecutiveInstitutionalized Bureaucratic ProcedureAssessment of the ProbationersSagacious Planning and Perception of Unity in DiversityDiversity without Unity: Denial of Common Will and Common WealA single purpose for all is absurdKarmayoga respects Unity in DiversityImpersonal ExecutiveAggressive egotism deploredAvoid Unplanned and Speculative Enterprises The Sattvik, Stoical ExecutiveUndesirable Types Aggressive and Uncultured--Three types of Intellectuals-cum-AdministratorsSattvik, steadfast in adherence to the right code, DharmaRajasi lacks self-restraintDespair and fanaticism in TamasiSukha, Comfort, three typesSattvik Beatitude through Self-analysisRajasi Sensual and Sensuous JoyTamasi Self-deception, Indolence and DelusionGuna Classification of both Nobles and CommonersIntellectuals and their Duties, BrahmakarmaLiberal Governance and KshatrakarmaEconomic Activity, VaisyakarmaService, ShudrakarmaNote on salient features of Krshnas Varna schemeNaras, Free Men, Personal Pursuits, SvakarmaRights of Naras to choose occupations extended to BhutasApproach of the Maanava SchoolKrshnas recommendations on the VocationsIntellectual Aristocracy of Siddhas, vocation-freeBrahma, the Ideal Intellectual and JuristDispassion and the VairagiBrahmabhuta, Member of the Council of JuristsIdentification with Krshnas MissionThe Missionary, a Free IndividualBuddhiyoga, Training of the IntellectArjuna exhorted to carry out the missionArjuna to meet the expectations of his admirersKrshna imparts the Secret of SecretsThe Secret MissionExpects support from Free Men, Naras
PREFACE TO KRSHNA'S BHAGAVAD-GITA AS RAJAVIDYA
I have called for a radical rethinking on the postulates advanced by some western Indologists and accepted uncritically by most Indian scholars of the 19th and 20th centuries amd for adoption of a rigorously rational approach while interpreting the ancient Indian works, the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Gita, the epics and legends and the Dharmasastras and Arthasastra and not revere them blindly or discard them with contempt.
The present essay in Hindu Political Sociology traverses a ground that is slippery but a hallowed one. The Hindus respect Bhagavad-Gita as a religious work even as the Christians revere the Bible and the Muslims, the Koran. Most Hindus believe that Krshna gave this discourse to Arjuna, a Pandava prince, on the battlefield of Kurukshetra shortly before that famous and crucial battle began.
Numerous scholars have since the medieval times dwelt on the themes dilated on in this treatise. In the present treatise, I have examined at length and in depth the translation and annotation of the Bhagavad-Gita by Dr.Radhakrishnan. He could not bring out the enigmas behind most of the seven hundred verses of the Gita and had preferred to pass them by with cursory attention or trans-literation veiled in mysticism. I have perused also the text, translation and exhaustive annotations supplied by Goyandka of the Gita Press whose editions in different Indian and foreign languages have a very wide circulation among the religious-minded Hindu middle class. A third work which I have felt necessary to refer to is the Gita-Rahasya, a translation and commentary by Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the freedom-fighter and ideologue who exercised considerable influence over the intelligentsia of Maharashtra during the first two decades of the 20th century.
I have found the annotation by Kuppuswami Aiyar (1896) who brought together the interpretations of the Gita by the great medieval scholars, Samkara, Ramanuja, Maddhva, Vallabha, Sridhara, etc. as highly important and useful. I have not commented on the translations and annotations that have given undue importance to devotion. I have preferred to adhere to the approach of positive rationalism that has characterized my earlier writings. This approach scrupulously avoids both idolatry and wanton iconoclasm and is wary about all interpretations that are based on the unwarranted postulates proposed and propagated by the western Indologists who had no clear grasp of ancient Hindu social polity. Some of these Indologists were Christian proselytizers who, it has to be regretfully pointed out, deliberately distorted and misinterpreted Hindu concepts.
The Indian scholars of the 20th century who dwelt on aspects of Hindu Social Polity were eager to establish that ancient India was not ignorant of democracy and that many Hindu rulers were responsive to the interests of their subjects. But most of these scholars hesitated to endorse the State as described by the Arthasastra as they were prevailed on to hold that unlike the State advocated by Manusmrti, the former was amoral and even immoral. Some others would not approve the latter too. They think that it was a theocratic state rather than a secular one.
These scholars were enamoured of the concepts like Ramarajya, Dharmarajya and Rajarshi but could not define them correctly or explain their features. They were not able to unravel the Atharvan polity and many of them were ignorant of the socio-political constitutions advocated by social activists like Samkara, Mahadeva, Vaivasvata, Sanatkumara, Kashyapa, Parasurama and Vamana. These were then names to conjure with but their contributions that were taken into account by Krshna have remained hidden in the embers of time. They have now been brought to the notice of the readers in an attempt to set the picture of the ancient Indian polity on a sound pedestal.
Many modern scholars have proceeded under the assumption that the Kshatriyas and quazi-Kshatriyas who, as rulers controlled the army and the sacerdotal class of Brahmans either collaborated with them to keep the masses, especially the working class of Shudras, under tutelage, or were opposed to the former. Such postulates introduced by the Western Indologists of the 19th century have misguided the socio-political thinkers and jurists of modern India. There has been an unwillingness to study the past in an independent and rational manner. There has been hence a failure to look at the past as a long period dotted by a series of fruitless attempts by the state at arriving at a balance between social endeavour, needs and aspirations and state regulation of the conduct of individuals and groups.
Modern political thinkers have by and large confined themselves to the maxims incorporated in the Manusmrti, the axioms of the Arthasastra, the counsels given by Bhishma, Vidura and Krshna in the great epic, Mahabharata. They have not examined the basic concepts on which they were based. They could not do so as they had not come out of the clutches of the unwarranted postulates propounded and propagated by the western scholars.
The medieval theologians and philosophers had failed to stress the socio-political affairs as these were mundane and did not meet the ideals put forth by spiritualism. They had been cut off from the Vedic polity by more than two millennia. Venerable as they are, they cannot be looked up to for guidance on the efficacy of the socio-political mechanisms during the later Vedic and early post-Vedic centuries.
These centuries witnessed a significant shift from one social system to another in a conscious attempt to arrive at a new level of social integration and a new pattern of social organization. The features and salient aspects of this shift have been described at length in my earlier work, Hindu Social Dynamics. The present treatise takes into account this shift that has eluded the modern critics as well as the medieval scholars.
The present thesis on the Bhagavad-Gita of Krshna as an exercise in Rajavidya (Political Science) is the result of an in-depth study of every one of the 700 verses of the Gita from an angle other than those of the theologians and pontiffs. The latter have been engaged in disputation on which path, pursuit of knowledge of the Ultimate (jnanamarga), performance of prescribed religious duties (karmamarga) or unflinching faith in and devotion to ones personal god (bhaktimarga), can lead one to salvation, moksha. They have also tried to find out Krshnas stand on the relations between the human soul, jivatma, and the highest soul, paramatma. The present thesis does not overlook them but pays more attention to the socio-political issues handled by Krshna while guiding and exhorting his disciple, Arjuna, to undertake the mission that he had envisaged for the latter.
What Krshna was imparting Arjuna was knowledge of and training in political endeavour, Rajayoga. Krshna was trying to make him a Rajarshi (a saintly king in common parlance), a sedate sage capable of becoming a dynamic ruler and was acquainting him with the confidential aspects, Rajaguhya, of this training. The training needed to be an impartial and far-sighted jurist was known as Brahmayoga and the one needed to be an effective administrator or executive was known as Karmayoga.
The relations between Yoga that covered all these three fields and Samkhya, dialectics, the two disciplines emphasized by Krshna are examined in this thesis from the point of view of political sociology. So too are examined Krshnas socio-political theorems on performance of prescribed duty, karma, abstention from permitted but not prescribed duty, akarma, and resort to prohibited and harmful act, vikarma.
In my earlier works, Evolution of Social Polity of Ancient India, Origins of Hindu Social System, Foundations of Hindu Economic State and Hindu Social Dynamics (Lokayatra), I have refined many Hindu social and political concepts. I have drawn attention to these also while interpreting and annotating every one of the 700 verses of the eighteen chapters of the Gita. Some of them have been redefined while drawing the present outline and some more concepts have been refined while annotating the verses of the Bhagavad-Gita.
It needs to be clarified that the present thesis is neither a translation nor an annotation of the Gita in the conventional sense. I have examined in the present thesis, as I did in my earlier works, what the Hindu society was like before the system of the four classes was introduced and what the problems that the social thinkers, activists and rulers had to face were while introducing that system.
Modern sociologists while attempting an outline of the traditional Hindu society draw attention to the four purposes and pursuits of life (purusharthas), dharma, artha, kama and moksha, which they interpret imprecisely as religion, wealth, sexual pleasure and salvation, that every one is urged to keep in mind. They also describe the Hindu society as composed of four classes, Brahmans, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Shudras, with every one of them divided into several castes and sub-castes. They stress that membership of a class or caste was determined by birth in it and that it was not possible for one to change his caste or vocation. They also draw attention to the stratification among these classes and castes and to their respective practices and rites. These stereotypes need to be cast aside and so too the many stereotypes floating around the Hindu patterns of marriage and inheritance of property.
More important is the arriving at a correct appraisal of the traits and memberships of the classical intelligentsia, the ruling elite and governing bureaucracy, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. This study is expected to be valuable as it unites us with the mainstream of the modern academia all over the world while dealing with the compositions, influences and limitations, of these four major classes and their actions, reactions and interactions. Of course how the link with that universal mainstream has been arrived at is not openly dilated on or highlighted lest it be interpreted that the present thesis undermines the importance of the Bhagavad-Gita as a holy book.
What has been highlighted is the real status and role of Krshna. He was an eminent socio-political ideologue and activist who had a precise vision of the structure of the new society that he proposed to bring about. He was heading an academy where the activists who would bring into existence that society were being trained. From which ranks and sectors of the society his trainees and missionaries were drawn and what were his expectations from them are brought out in this work. So too what were the social forces that resisted the reorganization of the society that he proposed is brought out.
The heading given for each of the eighteen chapters has been chosen after a severe examination of the contents of that chapter and Krshnas intent therein. These headings may sound odd when compared with those given by other modern authors. There has been no effort to project Krshna as God or as an apostle or as a religious preacher. He has been presented as an ideologue with vision and catholicity of outlook and as a thinker who was noted for his holistic approach to social issues. It is not easy for those inured to viewing and worshipping Krshna as an incarnation of God Vishnu to accept that he was but a teacher and social activist. It may be clarified that positive rationalism does not concede the concept of ten incarnations of Vishnu.
As pointed out at various places in the body and also in my monographs on Struggle Against Autocracy included in my earlier work, Evolution of Social Polity of Ancient India, these incarnations shorn of myths were events veering round the careers of some eminent social activists. They were called upon to undo the harm done to the innocent and to the society at large by feudal forces. Krshna was expected to continue and complete a mission that had been set in motion by Vamana. That continuing mission and Vamanas part in it need to be appreciated correctly if we are to arrive at a precise picture of the task of social reorganization undertaken by Krshna.
Krshna had proposed that the new social order should acknowledge the right and duty of every individual to pursue a vocation in tune with his natural traits. This institutionalization of such an order was known as Svadharma Sthapanam. It assigned the individuals who had selected a vocation in accordance with this principle to the appropriate socio-economic class, varna.
Krshna appealed to every individual who was permitted to join the social class for which he was fit and pursue a vocation that was in tune with his natural propensities, to abide by his svadharma. He warned that no one should try to perform a duty not assigned to his class, or pursue a vocation, which was assigned to another, paradharma. Svadharma, svakarma, svabhava are concepts that need to be explained more precisely than it has been done in the recent past and so too some other concepts connected with them.
The rights and duties of an individual to pursue a vocation in tune with the hereditary one followed by his clan or community, kula or jati, were not ordinarily interfered with by the society and the state including the judiciary. While respecting the codes of these clans and communities, Kuladharmas and jatidharmas, the Dharmasastras and Arthasastra did not trample on the rights of the individual to strike his independent path. Krshna acknowledged the existence of only four classes (varnas) and rejected the concept of mixed classes (samkaravarnas). I have pointed out that every one of these classes was asked to accommodate the social groups, clans and communities and individuals who were closer to its main vocations.
While the later socio-cultural codes, Dharmasastras, have presented the Brahmans as a class of priests and teachers, Krshna assigned all intellectuals including the technocrats to this class. He treated the jurists who upheld, interpreted and implemented the provisions of the socio-political constitution, Brahma, as the best among the members of the intelligentsia. What they practised was known as Brahmakarma. It was not priesthood or even teaching. The traits and social origins of the different cadres of intellectuals assigned to the class of Brahmans have been brought out while examining the verses of the Gita.
All those who were required to protect the other members of the society and look after their welfare were assigned duties that were referred to as Kshatrakarma. Only those who were found competent to perform these duties were known as Kshatriyas. Krshna did not accept that mere birth to one in a particular class entitled the son or daughter to claim membership and privileges of that class. All those persons engaged in economic activities, Vaisyakarma, especially agriculture, pasture and trade were said to be Vaisyas. At that stage varna classification had not yet been extended to the industrial sector. All those who were found fit only to serve others, to perform Shudrakarma, as they did not have the know-how to pursue a vocation independently or as a member of an organized group, were treated as Shudras.
But Krshna called for giving equal attention and importance to all the classes and even to those who had been thrown out of these classes for immorality or who kept themselves out voluntarily. The issue of hierarchy has to be separated from that of social classification. It may be stressed here that the hesitation indicated by some modern social thinkers to examine the four-varnas scheme as a universal model has let down Hindu Sociology and Hindu Political Sociology.
The intricacies behind the social integration, lokasamgraha, and rational social reorganization effected by Krshna have been brought out in the present thesis. The structure of the Vedic society can be outlined correctly only if we resort to Samkhya dialectical methods. These methods lead us to the picture of the larger society being envisaged as a core society of the agro-pastoral plains separated from and surrounded by a technologically more advanced frontier society of the mountains and forests. The core society presented the picture of a commonalty, manushyas, led and protected by a liberal aristocracy, known as devas, nobles. The frontier society was dominated by greedy plutocrats (yakshas), who were given later the status of devatas, almost equal to nobles (devas).
Krshna had reservations about this move that his brother, Samkarshana, had approved, I have said. He was opposed to the feudal lords, asuras, who were rivals of the nobles, devas, and to the plutocrats, yakshas. He warned the aristocrats, devas, and their admirers, against following the values promoted by the feudal lords and plutocrats. While the asuras sought political power and adopted coercive methods, the plutocrats encouraged relentless pursuit of wealth. The emergence of new ruling elite that had the traits of all the three, aristocrats, plutocrats and feudal lords upset Krshna.
The new state that Krshna outlined was to be dominated by the cultural aristocracy assisted by the intellectual aristocracy that was self-effacing and not selfish. The cultural aristocracy (devas) retained the right to intervene whenever the social order went awry and the pious and innocent were harassed by the mighty and vicious. Krshna as Vasudeva belonged to the Vasus, one of the four sections of the traditional aristocracy. But he dressed and conducted himself like a commoner, manushya.
As a noble, deva, he had no personal interest to pursue but continued to work and perform the duties assigned to or undertaken by him lest the commoners should be set a wrong example. Though Krshna did not appreciate the commoners following the economic captains, sreshtas, of the other society, he did not condemn them. He permitted every one to worship his own ideal protector and even guided him to be devoted to that devata, model leader of the frontier society.
We have to be firm and consistent in refraining from describing devas and devatas as gods and demigods or the asuras and rakshasas as demons. They were all human beings and so too were gandharvas and apsarases, nagas and sarpas, bhutas and paisacas. These are not to be treated as celestial beings or as preternatural beings. Unless, the composition and structure of the pre-varna Vedic society is interpreted and presented in a rational manner we would not be able to arrive at a correct appreciation of the contents of the Gita or recognize the features and significance of the mission that Krshna had undertaken. Many sections of ancient works like Manusmrti and even the Upanishads would elude our grasp if we do not discard the misleading clichs and stereotypes.
The expression, manushya, indicated a commoner who stuck to the codes of his clan and community, kuladharma and jatidharma. The term, nara, referred to a free man who had walked out of his family, clan and community to pursue a vocation in tune with his natural traits, svabhava. He was however unable to follow a vocation reserved by and for specific groups. The term, purusha, is not to be loosely translated as man or male. It referred to one who had leadership talents. Purushas arose from the commonalty of manushyas or from the free men, naras. Krshna acquaints Arjuna with the different types of leaders and the ways by which they rose. A purusha, a social leader, was on the threshold of the aristocracy, divam. There were aristocrats who condescended to step down from their high abodes to guide and lead the commonalty. They were known as divya purushas. These were not angels.
The Bhagavad-Gita can be appreciated better by focussing on these fine distinctions. The expression, sarvabhutani, has been interpreted to mean all beings. It is found that the term, bhuta, referred specifically to the discrete individual of the social periphery. He did not belong to the agro-pastoral core society of the plains, comprising the two social worlds (lokas), aristocrats (devas) and commoners (manushyas) or to the frontier society (antariksham) of the forests and mountains, which was engaged in industry. These bhutas did not belong to the social universes (jagats), the populations that had not settled down in any territory as families and communities.
While the terms, jana (native people), itarajana (other people) and punyajana (blessed people) covered the three social worlds (lokas) and the three social universes (jagats), those on the social periphery were referred to as bhutas. Many of them did not have definite occupations and were at the bare subsistence level. But they were not antisocial elements though the organized clans kept themselves away from them.
Krshna had undertaken to integrate this large society with diverse social orientations, economic practices and traditions. He was acquainting Arjuna with the problems that the latter would be facing while bringing into existence a new larger society based on the four-varnas scheme. In this dissertation, I have traced on the basis of the verses of the Bhagavad-Gita that Krshna insisted on the scheme of classification of vocations and pursuits based on the natural traits of the free men (naras) and the unattached individuals (bhutas). But he handed over the task of implementation of this scheme to the school of Brahma, a group of experts in jurisprudence, functioning under the aegis of Manu.
He had allowed the graduates from his academy of Samkhya and Yoga to join that group. Scholars who depend on the stand inspired by the western Indologists that the Bhagavad-Gita could not have been composed before 500 BC are found to proceed under the assumption that the term, Brahma, referred to impersonal God and Purusha to personal God. This work departs from that approach.
A crucial concept to which attention may be drawn here is budha. This term referred specifically to the unattached intellectual of the social periphery even as the term, bhuta, referred to the discrete individual of that unorganized social periphery. It had no traditional codes to fall back on or to be bound by. The free intellectuals of the periphery who did not belong to the core society of the agro-pastoral plains or to the industrial society of the forests and mountains had a hold on the thinking of the populations on the move, especially their younger sections. The latter were recipients of new experiences and dispensers of new thoughts.
The free intellectuals are to be distinguished from the counter-intelligentsia that lay hidden in this periphery and in the woods and also from the positive rational intelligentsia that the school of Brahma encouraged. We have to free ourselves from the conventional issues that we have been identifying the Bhagavad-Gita with. Then only we can appreciate its crucial role in initiating and directing a major social transformation and giving fillip to a renascence that flowered into the thought of the Upanishads or Vedanta. Krshna was a Vedantakrt, initiator of the Vedanta way of thinking. [Vedanta is not mysticism.]
Krshna identified himself with all the great thinkers of his times and adopted a holistic approach that permitted cautious integration of the selected valuable experiences of the past and discarding of the useless and undesirable ones. He was against hedonism and was for tempering dynamism, rajas, with serenity, sattva. Who should be the ruler and from what ranks he was expected to emerge, he explained to Arjuna in his aphorisms, which have remained an enigma. They have remained an enigma as we have not until now treated the Gita as a science of polity. Political sociology deals with themes far more intrinsic and vital than the structure of the state.
The state comes into picture only where the role of the society ends. There were organized families, clans and settled communities both in the agrarian sector and in the industrial. It was easy to arrive at common socio-cultural and politico-economic codes, Dharmasastra and Arthasastra, for regulating the conduct of the members of these already organized social worlds, lokas. But the social universes, jagats, which lacked even the institution of families and where kuladharmas and jatidharmas were lacking, could not be easily brought under any code.
Social reorganization called for radically new steps to bring these social universes and the groups and individuals on the social periphery under the above common codes, Krshna pointed out. These steps and the unwillingness of the settled communities to grant them, rights and facilities on par with their own are pointed out to Arjuna. Social integration has never been easy. The problems highlighted by Krshna are comparable to those that modern society faces. In this connection the roles of the leaderships of the different social sectors have to be examined.
Rationalism is to be relied on to gain a correct appraisal of the social endeavour recommended by Krshna to arrive at an integration that would however not obliterate diversities and would ensure socio-political union without uniformity and not blind devotion or wanton iconoclasm.
The school of Karmayoga nurtured and floated by Krshna was a highly influential one. It built effective social bureaucracies that saw the society through without dependence on the state and even during interregna when there was no state worth the name. The influence of this school on that of Bhrgu and other great social legislators may be seen in the last book of the Manava Dharmasastra (Manusmrti). The Manavas who supported the four-varnas scheme as outlined in the Dharmasastra and the politico-economic code, Arthasastra, proposed by Pracetas Manu, were citizens of the world, as it were. The Manavas accepted the binding force of svadharma based on svabhava and svakarma, and the codes of the classes, varnadharmas, but not those of the clans, communities and economic corporations (kulas, jatis and srenis). They respected the codes of the regions (desas) where they resided but felt themselves free to move to any region of their choice provided its native populace (jana) permitted them to stay in its midst. The activist-intellectuals (among these manavas) who practised and pursued Brahmakarma, were jurists. They were astikas, realists, humanists and believers in existentialism. Astika does not mean merely one who believes in the existence of God.
The battle of Kurukshetra may be treated as a historical event that closely followed the Vedic era. Following the Indian calendar, we place it as c. 3100.B.C. The assigning of later dates to ancient Indian works and events has been found to be deliberate mischief and wanton disbelief rather than academically sound stands.
The Bhagavad-Gita was expounded shortly before the battle of Kurukshetra. This highly revered work was intended to enthuse Arjuna to join the mission undertaken by Krshna to dissolve the then existing social order and create a more rational one based on the four classes pattern. It was not intended to only egg Arjuna on to enter the fray and fight against his enemies. Krshna was a great teacher. He was not a God and did not claim to be a god. This recognition is a must for a correct appreciation of this work. He was training Arjuna to become a social leader. The Gita was a work on social polity. This is not to deny it the status of a great philosophical treatise.
The Vedic society was not classless. It had a hierarchy of social cadres dominated by the patricians, the Devas, who emerged from among the higher sections of the commonalty, Vis. Both these nobles and the commonalty who were often referred to as Prthvi belonged to the agro-pastoral core society. The parallel society that controlled the industrial economy was confined to the forests and mountains and was dominated by the plutocrats known as Yakshas. In the new integrated society these plutocrats were granted the status of Devatas and treated as almost equal to the liberal aristocrats, Devas. Krshna did not approve this agreement endorsed by his brother, Samkarshana, who was a champion of the cause of the agriculturists.
Krshna was himself a noble (Deva), though he preferred to dress himself like a commoner, a Manushya. He refused to accept the plutocrats who were after wealth and pleasure, as equal to the liberal nobles who upheld higher values of life. He was also against the feudal warlords, Asuras, who harassed the commoners who were engaged in economic activities. In his view, the Asuras and the Yakshas stood for values and practices that were an anathema to the Devas.
Some intellectuals were found to toe the lines of the feudal lords and the hedonistic plutocrats. Krshna is found to be highly critical of them. He stood for contentment and pursuit of knowledge that would assure true joy in serving the needy and protecting the weak. The new social polity needed guidance from trained selfless leaders to stay satisfied with the minimum needs fulfilled so that all might thereby experience delight within. He was engaged in selecting and training such leaders (Purushas).
Krshna himself was the best among the leaders (Purushottama). He taught Arjuna how one could become such a leader. As centuries rolled on and the Vedic context was forgotten in legends, myths, mysteries and miracles and was obscured by mysticism, this factor was ignored. Krshna was presented as an incarnation of God who was born on the earth to protect the good and destroy the wicked. This presentation has been welcomed by the masses and given them hope when in dire straits. Krshna's main aim was the creation of a new just society.
A correct appreciation of the Gita calls for distinguishing among the terms manushya, nara, purusha, manava. They are not to be all translated indiscriminately as man. Similarly the different cadres of intellectuals have to be distinguished from one another to be able to project their respective approaches correctly. It does not suffice to state that they were all scholars. We have to distinguish among the different levels of charismatic leaders of the social periphery, Isvara, Mahesvara, Lokesvara, Sarvesvara, Paramesvara etc. and not present them all as implying God. It would be advantageous to recognize and outline the methods by which Krshna mobilized the support of the intellectuals and discrete jobless individuals of the social periphery, Budhas and Bhutas. His charismatic relationship with them enabled him to emerge as a great social leader.
The Gita is held by some to have been composed during the fifth century BC after the times of the Buddha. This stand is unacceptable. The Gita was not a religious work intended to counter Buddhism. It was essentially a treatise on how to bring together the different sectors of the larger society including the unattached intellectuals and discrete individual residents who were not members of any of the then existing cadres. The part to be played by the social leaders in this assignment was explained to Arjuna and to his colleagues by Krshna. He recommended resort to Samkhya dialectics and Yoga methods. The Gita is not to be viewed as a work advocating inaction and blind faith in and devotion to a personal god.
It is unfortunate that many modern scholars have not presented the theory of Karmayoga, systematic endeavour, correctly. Some have tried to present this course as training needed for attaining salvation and becoming one with the Almighty God. It was in fact a course meant mainly for the administrators. It was meant for the ruling elite. It could be availed of also by those engaged in economic activities as independent persons or as members of organized groups. The discipline needed for this is expounded in this work. Most modern scholars have hesitated to underline that Krshna had undertaken to create a social order in which all cadres and individuals would be assigned to the appropriate class, varna. He did not rule out the possibility of some criminals being expelled from the society.
How an individual could rise to become a social leader and be revered was pointed out to Arjuna. Some modern scholars who have tended to follow the lines of the medieval theologians and philosophers have neglected this aspect. These theologians had given a wrong twist to the concept of renunciation. Social thinkers and activists would benefit if they understand how Krshna selected and trained his students to become charismatic leaders of the new integrated society. Several sociological concepts native and particular to ancient India are presented, explained, distinguished and discussed in the present work.
A re-interpretation of the ancient Indian works is needed to outline Hindu social dynamics correctly and the place of the Gita in it. Krshna came on the social scene when the Vedic order had become decadent and the intelligentsia incapable of guiding the masses along the proper lines. He proposed to revive the Rajarshi institution that had been proposed first by Samkara. The ruler who was trained to conduct himself as a Rajarshi, a saintly king, and follow this constitution is extolled and recommended by Krshna. Karmayoga, Brahmayoga and Rajayoga are explained to Arjuna even as he had earlier taught Prajapati Vivasvan the sciences of Rajavidya, Rajayoga and Rajaguhya, connected with the administration of the state.
He had played diverse roles and associated himself with different cadres to be able to present his theory of social and political action authoritatively. We have to arrive at a correct appraisal of the contents and intents of the Gita. We have to redefine Dharma and distinguish correctly between Svadharma and Paradharma. Rationalism requires that no credence be given to the postulate of Ten avatars or incarnations of God Vishnu. Arjuna did not believe in the theory of rebirth and Krshna too did not insist on it. Many verses of the Gita have remained enigmatic as the medieval commentators kept themselves away from concepts pertaining to social polity. The aphorisms of the version of Brahmasutra depended on by Krshna need to be explained rationally using Samkhya dialectical methods.
Dharma, the code of rights and duties of the individuals in accordance with their natural aptitudes, came to the fore only by the end of the Vedic era. It supplemented the laws of nature, Rta, which governed the conduct of men during the earlier portion of the Vedic era in their struggle for survival and the principles of truth, Satya, which regulated their conduct during the later Vedic era. As the latter regulations came to be challenged by some sections of the new composite society, more widely acceptable social laws that would protect all peaceful and honest citizens had to be promulgated and implemented.
The then existing codes of the clans and communities were granted approval and new minimal laws were introduced to regulate the conduct of those cadres, clans and communities and discrete individuals who consented to join the four-varnas scheme. This code has been known as varnasrama dharma. It did not supplant the laws of nature, Rta, or the principles based on truth, Satya. This code of conduct also provided for every one the pursuit of a permissible vocation to earn ones livelihood.
The code consciously selected by an individual was known as Svadharma. Having once chosen a code and consented to abide by it one was not free to opt for another that was described as Paradharma. A correct interpretation of the term, Dharma, is imperative. It is not to be equated with Religion. Religion calls for belief in the existence of an Almighty God, obedience to His dictates and faith in His ability to protect and ensure salvation for His faithful. Dharma is a mechanism for social control, Lokayata, for subordinating the individual to the will of the society. The role of the state begins where that of the society ends. Social polity covers both society and state. The sciences of polity, Rajadharma and Rajavidya emphasize this aspect.
Krshna envisaged a unified and enlarged society. It would however not obliterate the differences among the various social groups. He did not propose to dispense with the extant arrangement of clans and communities as their codes of conduct, dharmas were found to be useful in maintaining social discipline. But he would dissolve the arrangement of three separate social worlds, lokas, with distinct orientations and merge them in the four socioeconomic classes, varnas, with minimal binding rules. The three social universes, jagats, too which then comprised social groups and individuals not engaged in production economy were absorbed in these classes. So too the intellectuals, Budhas, and individuals, Bhutas, who did not belong either to the lokas or to the jagats, were to be absorbed in their appropriate places.
Social re-organization has to be effected from time to time. Sometimes major steps are necessary to weed out undesirable elements and to absorb the reformed groups. Krshna brings to Arjunas attention the distinguishing traits of these elements and groups. He was being trained to develop perspectives similar to those Krshna had developed by coming in contact with diverse sections of the larger society. Arjuna was introduced first to Samkhya and Buddhiyoga before he was admitted to the courses in Karmayoga. He had to first know correctly what he was expected to do as a trained social leader, purusha, before he could be given training in the mission.
Arjuna was trained in Krshnas private academy by Krshna months before the Battle of Kurukshetra took place. Krshna, himself a student of Gora Angirasa, treated Samkhya and Yoga as a composite discipline. Krshnas academy had different grades of teachers and students. The students who had successfully completed the prescribed courses were advised to go in for higher studies in administration and assume greater responsibilities. What these were has to be culled from the Gita.
Despite this training Arjuna hesitated to fight against his kinsmen, elders and teachers. He was afraid that their death would prove disastrous to his clan and that the battle might lead to the corruption of the unprotected Kshatriya women, women of the families of the soldiers. He feared the rise of mixed classes. Krshna did not find these mixed classes dysfunctional to the social order. He was only against treating the feudal warlords and plutocrats as equal to the aristocrats and the technocrats as equal to the scholars who had mastered the Vedas and Samkhya.
Krshnas orientations need to be presented correctly. He had a huge following especially among the people of the social periphery. He established himself as their guardian by ensuring that neither the agro-pastoral population, known as Prthvi, nor the nobles, Devas, of the then core society nor the industrial workers of the forests and mountains and their masters, Yakshas, harmed them. The demography of the Vedic times had been lost sight of even by the end of the Upanishadic era.
The theologians of the post-Upanishad times were unable to grasp the significance of this mission to ensure protection for the unorganized and unemployed individuals of this social periphery. It is hence no wonder that their modern followers have treated the Gita as an essentially philosophical treatise and been debating whether Krshna emphasized the path of knowledge or that of devotion or that of action. Krshna did stress that every one should recognize his own personality and regulate his conduct. He should not be attached to the work he was performing or to the fruits it promised. The duty assigned or opted for should be performed despite all odds. This was his exhortation to and expectation from his missionaries who were mostly retired householders.
Krshna headed an organization of volunteers drawn from the established clans and classes and also from among the peripheral sections of the larger society. His message in the Gita was addressed to them in particular. He did not expect the wealth-oriented classes to give up their vocations and join his movement. The spiritualism inspired by him was against hedonism and was not a call to give up all work. Krshna accepted the tributes paid to him by his followers but was not carried away by these. He expected his students to emulate him. Then they would have become eligible to be admitted to the courses of training prescribed for Rajayogis.
The significance of this training can be grasped only when we follow the distinctions he draws among the three innate traits, Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, when he classifies the larger society. Krshna did not approve pursuit of mirage, moham, and indolence. He called for the spread of the right type of education especially among the masses and contentment so that all could be really happy. His was a movement to reform the entire society. He felt that only the saintly rulers, Rajarshis, would be able to promote it. These rulers were not mere philosophers. They were men of action also. Unlike the conventional rulers who were noted for their aggressiveness, they excelled in both gentleness and dynamism, Sattva and Rajas. Arjuna was expected to become a Rajarshi. The Gita relates the three traits (gunas) to every aspect of social action. Krishna redefined these traits; it needs to be noted. For this he drew on Samkhya.
Krshna does dwell on the concept of the eternal soul. It is present in every living thing he insists but he does not declare unequivocally that it is the same as the Ultimate, God. He does not designate it as ones soul, 'atma'. He calls it dehi. It is what is present in the body, deha, and gives it its identity and individuality. Krshna was called upon to explain his stand vis--vis those of his detractors. He was not dwelling on theology or on metaphysics pertaining to mind and other senses. He had to justify his stand that Arjuna should enter the battlefield and kill his enemies and in this he would not be incurring sin. The enigma can be solved only if it is realized that he was explaining to Arjuna and his other students the provisions of the new Rajarshi constitution that was incorporated in his treatise on Rajavidya, science of governance.
Arjuna had opted for the vocation prescribed for the class of Kshatriyas and he was required to kill those who had been found by the appropriate authorities to be guilty of gross misdeeds that invited the pronouncement of death sentence against them. He was not free to refrain from performing his prescribed duties. Krshnas advice and argument have to be interpreted in the light of the implications of the social reforms and reorganization effected by him and not as issues of ethics only. Arjuna would not be guilty of killing men as he was only discharging his duties. Krshna had pronounced that his opponents who had gathered to fight against him were to be slain. The verses of the Gita are to be scrutinized from this perspective.
Not all individuals had been admitted to the four-varnas scheme. Those who had not been admitted to it were free to follow their own ways of life but were not protected by the state and its agencies. But having once been admitted to the class (varna) of soldiers (Kshatriyas), Arjuna could no longer exercise the option not to abide by its codes. He was impressed on that he had to do his duty and not shrink from it or shirk it. This counsel was given to him when he was undergoing training in Krshnas academy. Krshna reminded him about it when the latter hesitated after observing his kinsmen, elders and teachers arrayed against him on the battlefield.
The present dissertation is a continuation of the theme of Hindu Political Sociology developed in my earlier treatises. It does not transgress the ground claimed by theologians and scrupulously avoids commenting on any of the great commentators of the medieval times and the writings of their successors. It however closely examines the views given by two of the modern scholars, Radhakrishnan and Tilak. Dr. Radhakrishnan tried to explain the contents of the Gita to the western Christian world. B.G.Tilak tried to rouse Hindu India when he explained the path of action advocated by Krshna. Other modern Indian writers have been interested in finding out which philosophy Krshna advocated. None has dealt at length on the relations between the Gita and Rajavidya. The Mahabharata, the great epic, does provide a wealth of information on Krshnas political theory and diplomacy. But that work is not drawn on in this treatise.
Hindu political sociology has to be built on concepts native to India. It is an academic exercise intended to utilize the political theorems advanced by ancient Indian thinkers. This treatise scrupulously avoids the note of chauvinism but it needs to be stressed that the national society of India can be integrated better by drawing on its past experiences than by ignoring them and following western models. Krshnas role in effecting social integration is not to be overlooked or underestimated. This treatise describes the different facets of his approach and mission. The sociological theorems developed and used in this work and in my earlier works are however applicable to all societies, both ancient and modern. I prefer to keep away from both idolatry and iconoclasm and be rigorously rational while trying to find out the positions taken by Krshna. He was a great social thinker and organizer.
Scholars like Radhakrishnan opted to keep away from issues pertaining to social stratification and political action including social reforms. They have found many of the verses of the Gita obscure and enigmatic and preferred to skip them. It is necessary to bring out their implications if we are to interpret the work correctly. Krshna was a contemporary of Manu Vaivasvata and the famous political thinker, Bhishma. The Gita can be interpreted properly only when the significance of this factor is recognized. It is not to be treated as a work calling for faith in Narayaniya or Vaishnava religion. Nor is it to be treated as one continuing and expounding the Vedic religion. It is a non-sectarian treatise on social philosophy. (The Vedas as edited by Vyasa and his team were essentially chronicles recording what several schools of scholars found it feasible to record.)
Dharma as upheld in the Vedas could be culled only by applying the methods of Samkhya dialectics as Kautilya, an advocate of Anvikshiki, recognized. He held Samkhya, Yoga and Lokayata, the three branches of Anvikshiki, the science of acquisition and application of knowledge, as more important than the texts of the Vedas. Kapila, Krshna and Brhaspati have been held to be the leading lights of these three branches of Anvikshiki, the science of knowledge and action. But the three did not have identical views.
Krshna paid compliments to several of his contemporaries and immediate predecessors for their contributions to social thought and action. He however had his reservations on some issues. These are noticed in the Vibhuti Yoga and other chapters of the Gita. Many modern scholars have not given adequate attention to the above aspect. Vyasa and his disciples edited the chronicles dealing with the events up to the times of Santanu, Mamdhata, Ikshvaku and Bharata and these have come to be known as the anthology of Rgveda. The Mahabharata is an anthology of chronicles recorded by Vyasas students and their successors. They describe the post-Bharata times.
The Gita is a record of what Krshna told Arjuna in the presence of Vyasa (often identified with Badarayana, the author of Brahmasutra). We have to look at these works from the point of view of political sociology also and not from that of religion or metaphysics alone. The Gita is a record of the social philosophy of Krshna. It needs to be studied as one that tried to bring together the diverse schools of Krshnas times and effect comprehensive social integration. The present treatise brings out this aspect without neglecting metaphysics and ethics. Social thinkers and activists, it is hoped, would benefit much from a re-examination of the Gita along these lines.