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Abstract

“SUSHRUTA – A WARRIOR WHO CHANGED HIS CAREER” A CRITICAL REVIEW ON THE VARNA OF ACHARYA SUSHRUTA

*Dr. Narayan K. R.

ABSTRACT

Vedas have been our supreme adobe of knowledge since the time of our existence. They are believed to be originated from the revelations of various sages who dedicated their life to the path of acquiring knowledge through intense meditation. In Mahabharata, the creation of vedas is credited to Lord Brahma. Hindus consider vedas to be Apaurusheya, which means “not of a man but, Superhuman” and also Impersonal and Authorless. There are four vedas: Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda and Atharvaveda, each concentrating on specific knowledge. Ayurveda is considered as the compilation of medicinal knowledge that was scattered in the vedas. The knowledge received from the vedas are accepted as it is without requisitioning or rethinking because they are the result of years of meditation and self-realization from many sages. The complete knowledge about origin, existence and survival of all living beings including human beings are available in these eternal sources of knowledge. In Vedas, human beings were categorized based on their inherited characters and interests, not merely on their birth and family. Based on this human being were divided into 4 categories which were called “Varna”. 1. Brahmana – Priests, scholars and teachers. 2. Kshatriya – Rulers, warriors and administrators. 3. Vaishya – Agriculturists and Merchants. 4. Shudra – Laborers and service providers. Also in Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 18: Verse 41), we find references of categorizing people into these 4 types based on their Nature and Gunas. The intrinsic qualities alone decided the Varna of an individual and not birth alone. Even though the Brahmana varna was mainly assigned for the field of education, the right to study was not restricted to other three varnas. A misconception about this is seen in the present time as it is believed that all the rishis i.e saints are from brahmana varna, but it is not so because vedas clearly states that a person is categorized based on his intrinsic characters, interests and capabilities. In the present context an attempt has been made to infer the varna of Acharya Sushruta as it is not mentioned anywhere clearly and try to clear the dilemma between considering sushruta as a Brahmana or a Kshatriya.

Keywords: Acharya Sushruta, Veda, Brahmana, Kshatriya, Varna.


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