How to Understand Bhagavad Gita Verse 9.32

This verse is misunderstood by many.  So, I share what I understand by the verse.

Bhagavaan Krishna says to Arjun:

माम् हि पार्थ व्यपाश्रित्य ये अपि स्युः पापयोनयः ।

स्त्रियो वैष्यास् तथा शूद्रास् ते अपि यान्ति पराम् गतिम् ॥

Translation by Sridhar Swami (of 15th century):

“Even they who are of sinful birth, women, Vaishyas, as also Shudras, taking refuge in Me, verily attain the highest goal.”

 A “sinful birth” would be one when a child is born of an unmarried couple because no Vedic scripture says to produce children without marriage.  A woman producing a child without marrying her male mate is seen with less respect in Vedic society.  That, however, does not mean the child is of lower status.  There is no reason to hate the child because it was not its fault to be born that way in social sense; but the society may not treat the child favorably, and consequently the child (and the mother) may suffer some insults.

Here I want to share a thought that Spiritual Advancement means living more and more sin-free, and moving closer and closer to God or His Abode. Each human is at a same or higher or lower spiritual advancement level than another human. When a person is seen at a higher level, the Vedic society gives more respect to such a person than the one perceived at a lower level.

Of the four Vedic social classes (brahmins, kshatryas, vaishyas, and shudras) brahmins are respect highly because they study the Veda and dharma shastras, know dharma well, and live per dharma, and guide the society for spiritual advancement.

The kshatriyas are also respected because they protect the society’s right to live per dharma and protect the innocent. They maintain law and order in the society.

Vaishyas are those who do cow protection, farming and trading per dharma.

These three classes undergo Vedic samskaaras, especially the yagnopavit samskara; and those who do not undergo the Yagnopavit samskara are called shudras.

A woman’s social class is identified by her father’s or her husband’s class.  Because most women’s time goes in taking care of the home, family and raising children, they mostly do not get time to study the Veda.  Similarly, the Vaishyas spend most of their time in business matters and do not get time to study the Veda.  Shudras mostly are the labor class, and do not get time, or have no interest, to study the Veda. For these reasons, it is generally thought that women, vaishyas and shudras are at a lower spiritual level, and are less equipped to advance spiritually.

With the above understanding one is less likely to understand Gita verse 9.32 negatively.

“Even they who are of sinful birth, women, Vaishyas, as also Shudras, taking refuge in Me, verily attain the highest goal.”

Krishna does not say that women, vaishyas and shudras are born from sinful wombs.  He only says that those on lower spiritual level can advance spiritually rapidly when they take refuge in Krishna.

I welcome constructive comments.

Jaya Sri Krishna!

Suresh Vyas

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s