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At the present moment we are not happy. This social system, observing the varnasrama-dharma, was so perfectly made as the king would see that they are actually being executed

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"at the present moment we are not happy. This social system, observing the varnasrama-dharma, was so perfectly made as the king would see that they are actually being executed"

Lectures

Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures

At the present moment we are not happy. This social system, observing the varṇāśrama-dharma, was so perfectly made as the king would see that they are actually being executed. In that way people were very, very happy, even in this material life, because everyone was confident that he was making progress to go back to home, back to Godhead. That is human civilization. But the aim was Viṣṇu.
Lecture on SB 1.2.8 -- Bombay, December 26, 1972:

So, svanuṣṭhitasya dharmasya. A brāhmaṇa must be truthful: satya sama dama titikṣa ārjava, jñānam vijñānam āstikyaṁ brahma karma svabhāva (BG 18.42). So the brāhmaṇas, those who are actually qualified brāhmaṇas, guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ (BG 4.13). Lord Kṛṣṇa said that cātur-varṇyaṁ māyā śṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ: by division of quality and activities. So everyone, brāhmaṇa must be qualified and must be engaged in his particular duties. Kṣatriyas also, they should be engaged in their particular duties. Vaiśyas and śūdras also. And it is the duty of the government that everyone is discharging his duties. That is king's business, rāja-daṇḍa. If one does not observe the regulative principle, then he should not declare himself as brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra. So, just like at the present moment, the government has got inspectors to see, inspect the schools, whether the teachers are duly discharging their educational curriculum, similarly, formerly the king, he was rāja-daṇḍa-vit. So not only he was inspecting that everyone is discharging his professional or particular duties, but everyone has got employment. That was also the king's duty. No one should be unemployed. The brāhmaṇa should be employed, the kṣatriya should be employed, the vaiśya should be employed, and the śūdra should be employed. If there was any difficulty, then it was the duty of the king to give them employment. So since we have lost our responsible monarchical government, the four divisions of social order—means brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśyas and śūdra—they are deviated due to unemployment. The brāhmaṇa could not get sufficient engagement in their duties, yajana yājana paṭhana pāṭhana dāna pratigraha. People become neglectful, so they thought, "What is the use of calling a brāhmaṇa for pūjā part? There is no necessity. Stop it." So naturally the brāhmaṇas were obliged to accept to the business or occupational duties of the kṣatriyas or the vaiśyas or even śūdras. What can be done? But in the śāstra it is said that a brāhmaṇa, if he's in difficulty, he may accept the profession of a kṣatriya or up to vaiśya, but never accept the occupation of a śūdra. These are described in the śāstras.

Besides that, the higher castes, the brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas especially, and the vaiśyas also, they must observe the dāsa-veda saṁskāra, ten kinds of reformatory methods. The first method is garbādhāna-saṁskāra. Before giving birth to a child. There is a ceremony which is called garbādhāna-saṁskāra, and it is stated in the śāstras that if the higher castes do not perform the garbādhāna-saṁskāra and beget children like cats and dog, then he immediately comes to the position of śūdra. These are the sastric injunction. There are twenty kinds of dharma śāstra, so they have to be followed. That is human society. Not that to live like animal. That is human society. According to Vedic system, unless the human society comes to the institution of varṇāśrama-dharma, they are not to be accepted as human society. The system, the whole system was to gradually educate people to be elevated to the spiritual platform for understanding Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That was the whole scheme. Viṣṇu, tad viṣṇoḥ paramaṁ padaṁ sadā paśyanti sūrayo, to train people to become civilized, sūrayo, means that they will observe(?) to the ultimate goal of life, viṣṇu paramaṁ padam: how to approach Lord Viṣṇu, how to approach the Vaikuṇṭha, paraṁ dhāma, by spiritual progressive life. That was there. Every human being was given chance to go back to home, back to Godhead. That is considered as human civilization. Human civilization does not mean to improve the method of eating, sleeping, mating and defending, as it is going on now. The quality or..., the quality has been polished, but actually the human civilization has not improved, because the quality... Eating, sleeping, mating and defending, that is given special stress, but not to the point of, goal of life, reaching Viṣṇu, oṁ tad viṣṇoḥ paranaṁ padaṁ sadā paśyanti sūrayo. That we have neglected.

Therefore, at the present moment we are not happy. This social system, observing the varṇāśrama-dharma, was so perfectly made as the king would see that they are actually being executed. In that way people were very, very happy, even in this material life, because everyone was confident that he was making progress to go back to home, back to Godhead. That is human civilization. But the aim was Viṣṇu. Therefore here it is said,

dharmaḥ svanuṣṭhitaḥ puṁsāṁ
viṣvaksena-kathāsu-yaḥ
notpādayed yadi ratim...
(SB 1.2.8)

Even we execute the method of varṇāśrama-dharma very nicely, svanuṣṭhitasya dharmasya. In another place it is said by Sūta Gosvāmī,

ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhā
varṇāśrama-vibhāgaśaḥ
svanuṣṭhitasya dharmasya
saṁsiddhir hari-toṣaṇam
(SB 1.2.13)

Hari-toṣaṇam. You may execute your sectional duties as a brāhmaṇa, you can execute your brahminical principles as they are let down in the śāstras, or kṣatriya, you can do your duty, but there should be a test whether you have become successful in discharging your duty. That test is hari-toṣaṇam, whether you have satisfied the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Then it is perfect. Saṁsiddhir hari-toṣaṇam (SB 1.2.13). Everyone should see perfection of his particular duties. And that is recommended that hari-toṣaṇam. This the example is Arjuna Mahārāja. Arjuna is a kṣatriya. His duty is to fight, to give protection to the poor and to annihilate the disturbing element. That is kṣatriya's duty. So Arjuna was trained in that way—he was a soldier—but by his soldier's business, occupational duty, he satisfied Kṛṣṇa. He fought for Kṛṣṇa, not for his personal sense gratification. That is his test, saṁsiddhir hari-toṣaṇam (SB 1.2.13).

So here also Sūta Goswāmī says, dharmaḥ svanuṣṭhitasya, dharmaḥ svanuṣṭhitaḥ puṁsaṁ viṣvaksena-kathāsu-yaḥ (SB 1.2.8). You can discharge your duty very nicely, but you have to see whether you are developing attachment for Kṛṣṇa. Attachment means love, whether you are trying to satisfy Kṛṣṇa. That is the test. If that is not done, simply formulas, if you execute the formula, as I explained the other day, niyamāgraha, without any satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa, then Sūta Gosvāmī says it is simply laboring and waste of time, viṣvaksena-kathāsu-yaḥ notpādayed ratiṁ yadi, śrama eva hi kevalam. Then he says, dharmasya hy āpavargasya na artaḥ arthāya upakalpate. Dharma, artha, kāma, mokṣa (SB 4.8.41, Cc. Ādi 1.90), these are called āpavarga. Āpavarga means nullifying the pavarga. Pavarga... This material world is called pavarga. Pa, pha, ba, bha, ma. According to Sanskrit grammar, there are five vargas, ka varga ca varga ta varga ta varga and pa varga. So pa varga, pa means pariśrama. Similarly, pha means phena, and bha means bhaya (?), ma means mṛtyu. So this material world is pavarga, means here we have to labor very hard. Sometimes by laboring, as you have seen in animals, bulls and horses, they produce foam in the mouth, that is pha. And then we are always full of anxieties, and at last there is death. This is material life. We work very hard, struggle for..., struggle hard for existence, and that also, at the end, we die.