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Consider the persons who underwent the treatment, drugs, restrictions, limitations and all, and successfully emerged from the sickroom hale and hearty! They are of all castes and ages and of both sexes. Vasishta was born of a public woman; Narada's mother was a washerwoman; Valmiki belonged to the hunter caste; Viswamithra was a Kshatriya; Matanga was a member of the Depressed Classes. The inference is that what is important is constant meditation on the Lord, not the labels of caste or creed. Jnana is the attainment of the feeling of Oneness, the realisation that there is nothing high or low. That is the true Divine Principle, the Brahmam.

A sugar doll has head, neck, arms and limbs, but each part is as sweet as the other. From head to foot, it is one uniform sweetness; there cannot be two types of sweetness. That is why it is said to be not dual but non-dual, not Dwaitha but Adwaitha. Those who emanate from the Lord's Face and those who emanate from His Feet are both His children. The realisation of this Truth is the sign of Jnana.

There are trees like the jack tree which bear fruit from the root up to the topmost branch! Does fruit near the ground differ from the fruit on the tallest branch? They are all the same, is it not? Or do they taste differently like distinct fruits? Of course, among the fruits some may be tender, some unripe, some a little ripe and some fully ripe; and these may differ in taste too as is only natural. But you can never find bitterness in the bottom and sweetness in the top or sourness in the middle. Tender, green and ripe are three stages, or three characteristics.

So, too, the four castes are four characteristics, Gunas. According to their nature and their activities, the four castes have been ordained. Like the fruits on the same tree some tender, some green and some ripe, men too are considered as of four groups, according to their stage of development which is judged from their actions and character. Those in whose thoughts and behaviour the Sathva guna predominates are grouped as Brahmins who progress along the path towards Brahmam; those in whom Rajoguna is dominant are referred to as Kshatriyas. Thus, the Sastras have spoken of ingrained qualities as the basis of caste, not otherwise. Why? The Gita itself proclaims that the four castes have been established by the Lord taking into consideration (1) the dominance of the three gunas and (2) the practice of Karmas like Japam, Dhyanam and other disciplinary duties! Next