Ideal classless society means proper division of labor without exploitation.
The Four Divisions
Brahmanas, the intellectual or priestly class: samo damas tapah saucam ksantir arjavam eva ca/ jnanam vijnanam astikyam brahma-karma svabhava-jam: “Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, knowledge, wisdom and religiousness these are the natural qualities by which the brahmanas work.” – Bhagavad-gita 18.42
Kshatriyas, the administrative class: sauryam tejo dhrtir daksyam yuddhe capy apalayanam/ danam isvara-bhavas ca kshatram karma svabhava-jam: ”Heroism, power, determination, resourcefulness, courage in battle, generosity and leadership are the natural qualities of work for the ksatriyas.”- Bhagavad-gita 18.43
Vaishyas, the mercantile class: Krsi-go-raksya-vanijyah vaisya-karma svabhava-jam: “Farming, cow protection and business are the natural work for the vaishyas.”- Bhagavad-gita 18.44
sudras, the labor class: Paricaryatmakam karma sudrasyapi svabhava-jam: “For the sudras there is labor and service to others.” – Bhagavad-gita 18.44
The Ideal Classless Society
The whole varnashrama system is so designed that each and every status of life is called an ashrama. This means that spiritual culture is the common factor for all. The brahmacharis, the grihasthas, the vanaprasthas and the sannyasis all belong to the same mission of life, namely, realization of the Supreme. Therefore none of them are less important as far as spiritual culture is concerned. The difference is a matter of formality on the strength of renunciation. – Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.7.2, purport
The brahmanas, as the intelligent class of men in society, must vow to steadily respect this regulative principle. The tendency in this age of Kali to make a classless society and not observe the principles of varna and ashrama is a manifestation of an impossible dream. Destruction of the social and spiritual orders will not bring fulfillment of the idea of a classless society. One should strictly observe the principles of varna and ashrama for the satisfaction of the creator, for it is stated in the Bhagavad-gita by Lord Krishna that the four orders of the social system brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaishyas and sudras are His creation. They should act according to the regulative principles of this institution and satisfy the Lord, just as different parts of the body all engage in the service of the whole. – Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.6.44, purport
There is no question of harassment. Different kinds of men engaged in different kinds of activities. Maybe a florist, maybe a potter, maybe a cobbler, maybe anything, grain producer . . . Society requires so many things. According to Vedic system, there is a class, and Bhagavata says, “You are engaged in your occupational duty; so whether you are getting success by such occupational duty?”
The Vedic system does not condemn anyone. “You are a potter. Oh, you are lower.” No. You are as good as a priest because you are doing your duty. That’s all right. Never condemns.
This is a development of later age when the so-called brahmanas became treacherous. They began to condemn so-called lower class. There was disruption, the whole social system. But in the beginning it was not. – Room Conversation, Montreal, July 16, 1968
These are different names of non-Aryans or chandalas, less than the sudras. They are called pancamas or fifth-grade men. Brahmanas are first-grade men; kshatriyas, second-grade men; vaisya, third-grade men; sudras, fourth-grade men, difficult to find who are these fifth-grade persons in present society. But the point is that they are less than sudra. The Srimad-Bhagavatam says even they, under the guidance of a pure devotee, can also be raised up to the highest standard more than the brahmanas. It does not matter if one is born of low-grade family or chandalas, if he is a devotee of the Lord, he is first-class man. – Letter to Janardana, January 16, 1970
Why Is Varnashrama Important?
There are many types of yajna performances recommended in the Vedic literatures, but actually all of them are meant for satisfying the Supreme Lord. Yajna means Vishnu. In the Third Chapter of Bhagavad-gita it is clearly stated that one should only work for satisfying Yajna, or Vishnu. The perfectional form of human civilization, known as varnashrama-dharma, is specifically meant for satisfying Vishnu.- Bhagavad-gita 9.24, purport
The distinction between human life and animal life therefore begins with the scientific system of varna and ashrama, guided by the experience of the sages in relation with the demigods, gradually rising to the summit of reestablishing our eternal relation with the Supreme Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krishna. – Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.16.31, purport
Occupational duties are known as varnashrama-dharma and apply to the four divisions of material and spiritual life namely brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya and sudra, and brahmacharya, grihastha, vanaprastha and sannyasa. If one works according to the varnashrama-dharma system and does not desire fruitive results, he gets satisfaction gradually. Discharging one’s occupational duty as a means of rendering devotional service unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the ultimate goal of life. – Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.20.9, purport
Acceptance of varnashrama means a little easy progress to spiritual life; otherwise it has no importance to us. For example, all my Europeans and American disciples have no varnashrama position, but spiritually because they have followed the rules and regulations and also my instructions, their spiritual advancement is being appreciated by everyone. Always remember that varnashrama life is a good program for material life, and it helps one in spiritual life; but spiritual life is not dependent upon it. After all the systems of varnashrama have to be realized before accepting spiritual life; and the renounced order of sannyasa is the last stage of varnashrama.” – Letter to Hamsaduta, October 19, 1974
The Need for Education
The politician’s business will be to exploit the poor citizens. And they will be embarrassed and harassed so much: by one side, no sufficient rain, and therefore scarcity of food, and the other side, taxation by the government. In this way, the people will be so much harassed that they’ll give up their home and go to the forest. Very [pitiful]… Unless they take to Krishna consciousness, they’ll not be saved. The varnashrama college has to be established immediately. Everywhere, wherever we have got our center, a varnashrama college should be established to train four divisions: one class, brahmana; one class, kshatriya; one class, vaishya; and one class, shudra. But everyone will be elevated to the spiritual platform by the spiritual activities which we have prescribed. There is no inconvenience, even for the shudras. – Morning Walk, Vrindavana, March 12, 1974
Varnashrama Is Possible and It Must Be Done
Prabhupada: Chanting will go on. That is not stopped. But at the same time the varnashrama-dharma must be established to make the way easy.
Hari-sauri: Well, at least my own understanding was that the chanting was introduced in the age of Kali because varnashrama is not possible.
Prabhupada: Because it will cleanse the mind. Chanting will not stop.
Hari-sauri: So therefore the chanting was introduced to replace all of the systems of varnashrama and like that.
Prabhupada: Yes, it can replace, but who is going to replace it? The… People are not so advanced. If you imitate Haridasa Thakura to chant, it is not possible.
Satsvarupa: We tell them go on with your job but chant also.
Prabhupada: Yes. Thakaha apanara kaje, Bhaktivinoda Thakura says. apanara kaja ki. Caitanya Mahaprabhu recommended, sthane sthitah. And if they do not remain in the sthana, then the sahajiya’s chanting will come. Just like the sahajiyas also have got the beads and…, but they have got three dozen women. This kind of chanting will go on. Just like our (name withheld). He was not fit for sannyasa but he was given sannyasa. And five women he was attached, and he disclosed. Therefore varnashrama-dharma is required. Simply show-bottle will not do. So the varnashrama-dharma should be introduced all over the world. – Room Conversation in Mayapur, February 14, 1977
On Reducing Inflation
Prajapati: Actually, I was concerned this morning about inflation. The government and the newspapers, they say the biggest problem today is inflation. From our Krishna conscious standpoint, how can we cure this problem of inflation?
Prabhupada: It is very simple. Don’t accept paper currency. It must be gold or some metal worth. Just like one dollar, it must be worth one dollar metal. Then it is solved. But they want to cheat. How it can be solved? Because if I pay you one dollar, I must pay you value for one dollar. But it is the cheating process is going on, “I pay you one dollar, a piece of paper. That’s all.” So you accept cheating, and I also cheat. Government allows. So how the problem can be solved? It is cheating. And you accept, I accept. Then how they can be solved, solution? This is the solution.
Prajapati: In the economy itself there isn’t actually enough money to, that’s even in the banks…
Prabhupada: That is cheating. Therefore I say cheating. I have no money. I give you simply paper. I promise to pay hundred dollars. What is the use of that promise if I have no money? But you want to be cheated. I cheat you. That’s all. You are satisfied of being cheated by me; so I take the advantage and I cheat you. I give you a paper. That’s all. – Morning Walk, Los Angeles, December 31, 1973.
Cure for Unemployment
What can these communists do? We can do better than them. Then it will be counteraction of communist movement: “Why are you sitting idly, no employment? Come on to the field! Take this plow! Take this bull. Go out working. Why you are sitting idly?” This is Krishna consciousness movement. Nobody should be allowed to sit down and sleep. They must find out some employment, either work as brahmana or as a kshatriya or as a vaishya. Why there should be unemployment? Just like this body is working. The leg is working, hand is working, brain is working, belly is working. Why there should be unemployment? You just stop this unemployment, you will see the whole world is peaceful. There is no complaint. And they’ll very happily chant Hare Krishna. Nobody’s working in this field. They’re all drawn to the cities to work in the factory. Condemned civilization. – Varnashrama Walk, Vrindavana, March 15, 1974
Secular means government’s duty is that “You call yourself a Hindu. Whether you are acting as Hindu? You call yourself as Muslim. Whether you are acting as Muslim?” This is government’s duty. Government does not say or prefer that “You are Christian. It is not good. You become Hindu.” You remain a Christian, but government’s duty is to make sure if he is acting as Christian. Not that you are acting like someone else, and you are calling yourself Christian. You are acting like a shudra, and you are advertising yourself as a brahmana. That is like a quack. If he writes, “Dr. something,” that is punishable. – Conversation with Governor, Vrindavana, April 20, 1975