Canto 7: The Science of GodChapter 11: The Perfect Society: Four Social Classes

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 7.11.31

prāyaḥ sva-bhāva-vihito

nṛṇāḿ dharmo yuge yuge

veda-dṛgbhiḥ smṛto rājan

pretya ceha ca śarma-kṛt


prāyaḥ — generally; sva-bhāva-vihitaḥ — prescribed, according to one's material modes of nature; nṛṇām — of human society; dharmaḥ — the occupational duty; yuge yugein every age; veda-dṛgbhiḥ — by brāhmaṇas well conversant in the Vedic knowledge; smṛtaḥ — recognized; rājanO King; pretya — after death; ca — and; iha — here (in this body); ca — also; śarma-kṛt — auspicious.


My dear King, brāhmaṇas well conversant in Vedic knowledge have given their verdict that in every age [yuga] the conduct of different sections of people according to their material modes of nature is auspicious both in this life and after death.


In Bhagavad-gītā (3.35) it is said, śreyān sva-dharmo viguṇaḥ para-dharmāt svanuṣṭhitāt: "It is far better to discharge one's prescribed duties, even though they may be faulty, than another's duties." The antyajas, the men of the lower classes, are accustomed to stealing, drinking and illicit sex, but that is not considered sinful. For example, if a tiger kills a man, this is not sinful but if a man kills another man, this is considered sinful, and the killer is hanged. What is a daily affair among the animals is a sinful act in human society. Thus according to the symptoms of higher and lower sections of society, there are different varieties of occupational duties. According to the experts in Vedic knowledge, these duties are prescribed in terms of the age concerned.

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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness