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                        29.4  FOUR CHARACTER TYPES   P.4

Now let us go back to our illustration namely, one satva, three rajas, and two tamas as one type of response to the six sets of three alternatives. How many such types are possible? To see this, denote the above type as the sequence: 1,3,2. -- the first digit in the sequence standing for the number of satva modes of response, the second digit standing for the number of rajas modes of res-ponse, and the third digit standing for the number of tamas modes of  res-ponse. It is therefore a question of finding in how many ways we can partition the number 6 into an ordered partition (that is, a partition into parts taking into account the order in which the parts appear) into three parts which may vary among 0,1,2,3,4,5,6. The answer is 28 by a mathematical calculation). It can also be experimentally verified. These partitions are:


6 0 0 ; 5 1 0 ; 5 0 1 ; 4 2 0 ; 4 1 1 ; 4 0 2 :

3 3 0 ; 2 4 0 ; 3 2 1 ; 2 3 1 ; 3 1 2 ; 1 5 0;

2 2 2 ; 1 4 1 ; 1 3 2 ; 0 6 0 ; 0 5 1 ; 0 4 2 ;

3 0 3 ; 2 1 3 ; 2 0 4 ; 1 2 3 ; 1 0 5 ; 1 1 4 ; 0 3 3 ; 0 2 4 ; 0 1 5 ; 0 0 6.


It is worthwhile to represent the illustrative example of the type, one satva, three rajas and two tamas (represented by the partition 1,3,2), also by a symbolic color chart as in 29.7 (see the 3rd chart from the top on the left)


Here the blue line-segment represents satva; the red line-segment represents rajas; and the black line-segment represents tamas. Now we shall give the criteria of classification.


In this illustration above, the dominant mode is rajas, as can be easily seen by the three red lines outnumbering the other colors. Dominance is generally the criterion, as already Acharya Shankara declared in his commentary on Shloka 41.

Applying this criterion, we see that the above illustration (namely, the partition: (1 3 2) belongs to the character-type V. (Note that there are three rajas responses and two tamas responses. So in this case rajas is the dominant quality with tamas following). There is also another rider to the criterion. Since there are six responses in a type, any string of responses like (1,3,2) or (4,2,0) will not create confusion as to what is dominant and what is next. But in certain cases as in the following table, it is not so clear. The general principle is that when tamas and/or rajas is present they get more weight, in that order, for purpose of this classification. This is the rider. It is based on the common fact of experience, that a lower spiritual quality, when present, asserts itself even in the presence of the higher spiritual quality, unless the latter is really strong.


K – 1: 3 3 0 three rajas dominate the three satva

K – 3: 3 2 1 rajas and tamas dominate the satva

K – 5: 3 1 2 one rajas and two tamas dominate the three satva.But

tamas is not the most dominant, so not in S-type

V – 1: 2 2 2 border-line

V - 2 :1 4 1 one tamas dominates one satva, so tamas is the

second dominant

V – 4: 0 6 0 tamas is the second dominant

S -1 : 3 0 3 three tamas dominate the three satva

S- 7 : 0 3 3 three tamas dominate three rajas


We are now ready to display the 28 types and the four character-types into which they classify themselves.


The four character-types arising out of the 28 only possible types are mentioned in the Hindu scriptures as the four varNas There are only four, neither more nor less. By the very definition, there is a hierarchy among them in terms of spiritual evolution. The spiritually most evolved is the B-type just because of the dominance of the satva in that type. The hierarchy for the purpose of spirituality goes down as: the B-type; the K-type; the V-type; and the S-type. The hierarchy is only for the purpose of spiritual evolution and for no other purpose. For all other purposes they are like the four walls of the society. The entire humanity is subject to this classification of the sva-bhAva (one's-own-nature) of the mind for spiritual objectives. One's varNa at birth, is dependent, according to the scriptures, on the cumulative effect of responses in the previous life or lives to the six factors of past experience: the color of the Knowledge, the kind of Action, the quality of the Doer, the texture of the Intellect, the temper of the Fortitude and the brilliance of the Happiness There could certainly be other entities or factors which are relevant but Krishna mentions only these in the Gita and we stick to these six entities as if they are everything. These are the genetic roots of the individual's later manifestations. The soul in seeking a rebirth, seeks that kind of genetic environment which matches with its own vAsanAs. These four character-types were known as the brAhmaNas, the kshatriyas, the vaiSyas and the SUdras in the Hindu tradition. The qualities and the duties of each are mentioned by the Lord of the Gita very specifically in the 18th chapter after He talks about the three-fold division of the six entities. It is this triple division of the vAsanAs carried into a new life at birth that decides what are inborn for him in that life. The qualities that a brAhmaNa brings with him at  birth are listed. Krishna says (Ch.18-42): Serenity, self-restraint, austerity, purity, forgiveness, uprightness, the urge to learn and know the truth of things, and belief in God are the duties of brAhmaNa born of one’s own nature.


The words 'born of their own nature' (sva-bhAvajam) are important. These qualities must be inherent in him; then only he is a brAhmaNa. If they are not his natural qualities,then he is not a brAhmaNa even though a parent of his may be a brAhmaNa. The verse should be taken as a definition of a brAhmaNa thus: those who have these qualities as their own sva-bhAva (= one's own nature) are brAhmaNas.


Some others, because of their vAsanAs are born in an environment which makes them leaders and executives of society, men who can organize, govern and fight for a cause and even give their lives on the field for it. These are the kshatriyas of the society. Krishna describes

them: (Gita, Ch.18-43):


Bravery, vigour, constancy, resourcefulness, promptitude, courage in the face of

the enemy, generosity and nobility as well as a quality of leadership and lordship - these are the duties of a kshatriya, born of his own nature.


Again these have to be taken as the qualities defining a kshatriya. A third category of people is the group of technical personnel who have a skill, trade or profession and each one is a specialist in his own way. These are the vaiSyas; they are the hands and limbs of society. Without them the society cannot survive. When the Gita says (Ch.18-44):


Agriculture, cattle-rearing and trade are the duties of the vaiSyas, born of their

nature; it proceeds on the maxim that the mental temperament of a man determines what class he belongs to and each class has his own duties  (the so-called svadharma) for which he is temperamentally tuned. None belonging to the 'higher' varNas is justified in looking down upon the other varNas on the 'lower' rung of the ladder. In fact 'higher' and 'lower' are misnomers in the context of society and everyday life. The high-and-low concept originated in the levels of spiritual evolution at which the accumulated tendencies of an individual peg him. This idea of 'level' has been wrongly imported into the context of society by several centuries of degenerate application by the people involved. Each of these varNas has a function for which the inborn tendencies fit the individual well. That is why the Lord says: Better you follow the dharma that befits your nature and not something that is foreign to your nature.


shreyAn svadharmo viguNaH paradharmAt svanuShTitAt / 18-47  &   3-35


The rigors and standards of behavior expected of a brAhmaNa are far stricter than those expected of, say, a vaiSya or a SUdra. The 'lower' one is in the ladder of spiritual evolution the more liberal are the norms of behavior prescribed. There is an interesting anecdote in the Mahabharata, in this connection, where King Yudhishtira recommends four different punishments for four people, (who have individually committed the same crime), because they belong to the four different varnas. The punishments are; for the soodra it is just a warning, for the vaisya it is a beating; for the kshatriya it is a prison term, and for the braahmana it is death sentence!

If the nature of responses to the six deciding factors in the previous births cumulate into one of dominant tamas type, the individual is born of the fourth varNa, the S-type, whose nature will be to serve. Again where the Gita verse (Ch.18-44, 2nd line) says: the inborn nature of a SUdra is servitude, this has to be correctly interpreted.. Those whose inborn nature is one of servitude, they are the SUdras. Looked at this way, the verse loses all its 'sting' attributed to it by successive social reformers. Properly understood it means that all the clerks of the world, all the 'employees' who cannot do anything else except 'obey orders' -- maybe because they have been put in those circumstances, but more often because they cannot do anything better -- belong to the fourth varNa. The so-called brahmin who quill-drives all his life-time, not knowing anything else to do,and not having anything else to do, - he must be performing his ‘gAyatrI’ for the good of the world - is a Sudra by this definition. The 'brahmin' who has defaulted on the gAyatrI, the Queen of all mantras, must be considered lower in spiritual evolution than the fourth varNa who just chanted the names of God. The scriptures prescribe only four varNas and no more. 'varNa' should not be translated into 'caste' The caste system is man-made. But the varNa system is universally applicable for all mankind. The multiplicity of castes in Hindu  India is a fault of the sociological milieu of the religion and a massive misuse of the natural theory of varNa.


The context in the Gita , in which all this discussion of the varna system appears , is significant. Arjuna is told that he is a kshatriya, his foremost duty is not to run away from the field in compassion to his enemies, and it is better to do one's duty born out of one's own nature (sva-dharma) rather than adopt the dharma foreign to one's calling and nature. It is in this context the entire varna system is elaborated. So Krishna concludes this discussion by saying : Whoever performs diligently and contentedly the work allotted to him he is the one who finds perfection. Even if you put him in a different environment he would not blossom. And those whose natural instinct, born of his varna, is very strong, they will even transcend their immediate man-made limitations and will themselves, drawn by their Prakriti, seek the environment and the work which suit their nature.

A Ramanujan, though compelled to work as a quill-driving clerk in the Port Trust Office in Madras, could not restrict his braahmana urge toknow, which was predominant in him, and he finally ended up in Cambridge to become the twentieth century's most famous self-made genius of a mathematician. A shepherd boy of twelve could not be restricted to tend sheep and cattle in the distant land of Corsica, for his kshatriya genius would urge him to run away and seek aposition in the French army in which he quickly rose up to become the world's most well-known general, for all time, Napolean. Another lad of age sixteen, was sweating it out in the staircases of a multi-storeyed building in Calcutta carrying the share documents up and down, to the brokers and owners, and was not allowed, by the English overlords, even to use the lifts, because he was a 'native' -- but nothing could restrain his vaisya genius to become within the next decade so dynamic as to start his own business which in due time madehim one of the two tallest industrial giants of India, Ghanshyamdas Birla. All these three started their lives with a profession of servitude which was not in their inborn nature, but finally rose to shine in the work and calling that was theirs by their svabhaava, which they pursued diligently to perfection.

A Dhanurdasa, of low birth, a wrestler by profession, was spotted by Sri Ramanujacharya in a most lustful act of meanness, but was converted by him overnight into the most noble devotee of the Lord and disciple of his guru -- that the braahmana disciples of the Guru felt jealous; and the teacher taught them by putting Dhanurdasa and his wife, of equally condemnable antecedents, to the most severe test out of which the couple came out not only as the winners but became the model of Brahmana devotees to the rest of the disciples of their teacher.


Prince Siddhartha and Swami Vivekananda are two monumental examples of how whenever it is a question of conflict between VisheSha dharma (=special, extraordinary dharma) and SamAnya Dharma (=ordinary, routine) , it is the VisheSha Dharma that has to prevail. The internal urge to rise to the peak of spirituality led the Buddha to forsake his regal throne, his family and his country and seek the cause of Peace in the wide world through the Brahminical method of penance and meditation.  It was the same with Narendra who rose to the call of his Master to forsake his family to become the world-famous Swami Vivekananda.


There are scores of such instances in the ocean of Hindu tradition that emphasize the viewpoint that it is not the caste that one is born in but the present behaviour that really matters. Many of the Alvars and Nayanmars and several of the devotees we have listed belong to this category.


 Finally we present a mathematical calculation to answer the following two questions:

1: Why are there only 28 types of responses to the 18 questions?

2: What are the possible percentages of population for the various types?

There will be as many types as there are possible partitions of the number '6' into three

ordered parts, each part being any integer from 0 to 6. The number of such partitions is, the

coefficient of t^6 in the expansion of

(1 + t + t^2 + t^3 + t^4 + t^5 + t^6 )3 .

This, by a mathematical calculation, gives the answer 28.

For each such combination of one satva, three rajas and two tamas, there are several responses which belong to the same type; because the satva response could come from any of the six entities, and the three rajas responses could come from any of the remaining five entities. This can happen in 6 × 10 × 1 = 60 ways.

In a similar manner each type of response gives rise to several actual res-ponses. The total number of different possible responses for the 6 entities is 3 ×

3 × 3 × 3 × 3 × 3 = 729. So the

 probability of the above type is 60 / 729 which is, 8.2 per cent.approximately. For each type, this approximate percentage has been calculated and is given against the colored chart representing the type in the charts of the different type.

                      GO TO  B-TYPE CHART IN 29.5 ;          K-TYPE CHART IN 29.6


                                     V- TYPE CHART IN 29.7 ;         S-TYPE CHART IN 29.8

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