Quora Answers

Santana Varna System

Why didn’t Lord Sri Krishna fight against the varnasrama system that existed in his period? Why wasn’t he eager to provide the rights of lower class people?

Let me try answering the second part first and that would answer the first part as well.


Because he didn’t need to do it. There wasn’t such a concept as high or low rank.

  • Shri Ramas best friend was a Nishad and they studied together.
  • Eklavya was an invited guest in Rajsuy yagana.
  • Vidur, the son of a maidservant, was the respected Prime Minister of Hastinapur.
  • Sons of fisherwoman were the Kings of Hastinapur.
  • Son of the same fisher woman authored the epic Mahabharata.
  • Krishna, a yadava, was deemed as a Vishnu incarnate.
  • Shalya, a kshatrya king, acted as a charioteer to Karna.
  • Adhiratha, another charioteer, was a close friend of Dhritrashtra
  • Sanjay, another chairioteer, acted as ambassador of Dhritrashtra.
  • What was the varna of Hanuman?
  • What was the varna of Maharishi Balmiki?


Why should he? Didn’t he himself said in Gita that I created the system? Why did he say so?

The society provided sufficient opportunity to everyone. Varna system existed, they differentiating, but they didn’t exploit. They differentiated, not discriminated, and not ranked. They were categorizations, not hierarchical — they didn’t make someone superior to other.

We must understand, varna was a categorization, and that is the divine law of the nature. A tiger will remain tiger and a rabbit can’t become a tiger. But does that mean I like tiger more than Rabbit? Actually, no. Divisions aren’t bad as long as they are not exploiting.


Consider our contemporary progressive society. Look at any corporate —

  • Don’t you find ranks(castes) like CEO, EVP, VP, Directors, Managers?
  • Do all of them have an equal say in decision making?
  • Are they paid equal salary or facility?
  • Do they get similar sitting space?
  • Can a normal employee challenge the CEO or even meet him without an appointment or even get an appointment if he so wishes?
  • Doesn’t a normal employee have to follow the hierarchy and has reach to only one or two levels above his hierarchy?

If you watch carefully we have more stringent caste system now and globally and ironically, I don’t see anyone complaining. Why? Is it because you need a proper hierarchy for an organization to work? The same rule applies to every walk of like — executive, legislature, and judiciary, schools, government jobs…

Remember, ancient varna system wasn’t exploiting, just differentiating. And that is why Krishna didn’t need to…

My answer is based on the story of Mahabharat, the Great Indian Epic. My answer refers to —

  • The English translation by Kisari Mohan Ganguli (KMG)
  • Bibek Debroy translation of BORI edition
  • Neelkanth Edition of Mahabharat (Geeta Press) Sanskrit-Hindi.
  • Mahabharat adaptation by Shri Rajgopalachari based on Dakshinayat.
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