tato varnas ca catvaras
tesam brahmana uttamah
brahmanesv api veda-jno
hy artha-jno ’bhyadhikas tatah
tatah—among them; varnah—classes; ca—and; catvarah—four; tesam—of them; brahmanah—a brahmana; uttamah—best; brahmanesu—among the brahmanas; api—moreover; veda—the Vedas; jnah—one who knows; hi—certainly; artha—the purpose; jnah—one who knows; abhyadhikah—better; tatah—than him.
Among human beings, the society which is divided according to quality and work is best, and in that society, the intelligent men, who are designated as brahmanas, are best. Among the brahmanas, one who has studied the Vedas is the best, and among the brahmanas who have studied the Vedas, one who knows the actual purport of Veda is the best.
The system of four classifications in human society according to quality and work is very scientific. This system of brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras has now become vitiated as the present caste system in India, but it appears that this system has been current a very long time, since it is mentioned in Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita. Unless there is such a division of the social orders in human society, including the intelligent class, the martial class, the mercantile class and the laborer class, there is always confusion as to who is to work for what purpose. A person trained to the stage of understanding the Absolute Truth is a brahmana, and when such a brahmana is veda jna, he understands the purpose of Veda. The purpose of Veda is to understand the Absolute. One who understands the Absolute Truth in three phases, namely Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan, and who understands the term Bhagavan to mean the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is considered to be the best of the brahmanas, or a Vaisnava.
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