One who realizes my energy and my actions
Never is reborn reaching me without fail 4.9
Free of fear, anger and desires, attached and surrendering to me
My wisdom purifies millions to reach me. 4.10
I reward all who surrender to me as they need
When they follow my wisdom completely 4.11
Those in this world who seek material success pray to demigods
They reap fruits of material success quickly 4.12
I created four human groups based on three modes of their nature and acts
Though I am its Creator, I remain inactive and unchanged by it 4.13
Action and results don’t affect me
Those who realize the truth of my nature do not get attached to results 4.14
All those I liberated in the past acted on this wisdom if mine
Do what you need to do and follow them in this respect 4.15
These verses create much angst among believers and non believers of Hindu philosophy.
Those who believe read in these verses a confirmation of the ultimate divinity of Krishna. “Look at the authority with which He speaks, they would say, ‘Doesn’t this show that He is God?’, much in the same way Christians believe in the inherited divinity of Jesus and Muslims of the Koran. Unfortunately, those who believe in the divinity of the Bible and the Koran for the same reasons, dispute the Hindu belief in the divinity of Gita. Human logic is indeed frail!
At another level, even those who believe and would like to say that they follow the Gita have no clue how to act and yet be unaffected by the results. They go through celebrations and frustrations the same way as would non believers of Gita.
The most controversial aspect of these verses is the reference to the four human groups, or the castes. Believers cite this as the authentic source for validating the caste structure among Hindus, while non believers berate Krishna for creating a social mess. Neither seems to read what Krishna says.
Elsewhere in the Gita, Krishna defines the three modes of human behavior, Satva as active calmness, Rajas as passionate action and Tamas as ignorant inaction. I have written about these earlier. Every one of us is a combination of these behavioral attributes, most being in Rajas, passionate action.
What i understand Krishna to say in this verse is that all humans form four groups based on these behavior patterns. Other scriptures classify Brahmins, the scholars and priests, as steeped in Satva; Kshatriyas, warriors and administrators, as operating in Rajas; Vaisyas, business people, executives and traders, as also conditioned in Rajas, while Sudras, manual workers, as being in Tamas.
We may or may not agree with the exact classification, but this developed as an occupational guideline that allowed the teacher or guru in training a child than as a social structure that it morphed into later.
The caste structure originated as a guild structure, similar to ones that prevailed in early industrial societies. It was far ahead of its time in concept. The teacher decided on the caste of a person in childhood based on the individual’s aptitude and behavior. It was never meant to be hereditary.
Unfortunately, as occupations developed into prestigious positions, children of a Brahmin or Kshatriya wanted to maintain that in-born advantage, and over time made the caste structure hereditary. In Bali, which follows the Hindu Buddhist tradition even today, one can study and pass an exam to become a Brahmin!
In its present form, caste structure is an evil anomaly.
I acknowledge this picture from the Net of Adi Shankara, the reformist Brahmin Hindu philosopher , chastising a low-caste Sudra blocking his way. The Sudra was Shiva who through Shankara wanted to teach humanity a lesson caste structure. See this clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ewta7YJCmyw.