What is The Eternal & Constitutional Function of The Jiva/Soul?
Extracted From Jaiva-dharma, By Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur
Chapter “Six”
Eternal Dharma, Race & Caste
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Chapters 9 – 25 are Work In Progress

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Segment 45

What is the cause of eligibility for Karma, and what is the cause of eligibility for Bhakti?  What is meant by ‘nature, birth, and other practical causes’ that make one suitable for a particular type of work; are these sources of eligibility?

Nature, birth, and other practical causes that make one suitable for a particular type of work, are the sources of eligibility for karma.  The source of eligibility for bhakti is faith that is rooted in the Absolute Truth. 

The qualities that are found in the nature of a brahmana are: 

  1. Control of the senses, 
  2. Control of the mind,  
  3. Austerity,  
  4. Purity,  
  5. Satisfaction,  
  6. Forgiveness,  
  7. Simplicity,  
  8. Mercy, 
  9. Truthfulness, 
  10. Devotion to Bhagavan.   

The natural qualities of a ksatriya are, 

  1. Prowess,  
  2. Physical strength,  
  3. Resoluteness,  
  4. Heroism,  
  5. Tolerance,  
  6. Magnanimity,  
  7. Perseverance,  
  8. Gravity,  
  9. Opulence, 
  10. Devotion to the brahmanas 

The qualities that characterize the vaisyas are, 

  1. Theism,  
  2. Charity,  
  3. Faith,  
  4. Absence of pride,  
  5. Eagerness to accumulate wealth.   

The natural qualities of a Sudra are, 

  1. Service to the brahmanas, cows, and celestial deities,  
  2. And satisfaction with whatever is obtained.   

The qualities in the nature of an outcaste are, 

  1. Uncleanliness,  
  2. Dishonesty,  
  3. Thievery,  
  4. Atheism,  
  5. Futile quarrelling,  
  6. Lust,  
  7. Anger,  
  8. And hankering to satisfy one’s senses. 

The scriptures prescribe that one’s Varna should be determined according to these different natures.  The determination of Varna based on birth alone is a recent practice, and it cannot be justified in Vedic shastras.   

An individual’s inclination for a specific type of work and his expertise in it are both related to these natures.  A person’s nature gives rise to his inclination, and taste for particular activities, and it is this particular nature, that is known as the nature according to specific types of work. 

Some cases, birth is the prominent factor in ascertaining a person’s nature, and in other cases association is the primary factor.  Nature is formed by association, which begins from birth; so, birth is certainly one cause, that determines the development of nature.   

Indeed, nature develops from the moment of birth; however, that does not mean that birth is the only cause of nature and eligibility for a particular type of work.  It is a great mistake to think like this, for there are many other causes.  Therefore, the scriptures prescribe that one must study a person’s nature when one assesses eligibility for work. 

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