വർണ്ണാശ്രമ വിധായിനി – The One who establishes Varṇāśrama

The four age-based life stages are Brahmacharya (Students), Grihastha (Householder) Vanaprastha (retired) Sanyasa (renunciation). Then we have the Athivarna (Who are beyond the four Varnas).

Devi did not give birth and then neglect the creation She is also “varṇāśrama vidhāyini” Brahmins (Priests, Teachers) Kshatriyas, (warriors, administrators) Vaishyas, (agriculturists and merchants), and Shudras (service providers and laborers). Ashramas were also classified into four.

The four age-based life stages are Brahmacharya (Students), Grihastha (Householder) Vanaprastha (retired) Sanyasa (renunciation). Then we have the Athivarna (Who are beyond the four Varnas). Avadhutas (Mystic, sometimes considered to be mad monks) are beyond the boundaries of the four varnas.

Devi established the four varnas and defined the four Ashramas and explained the most suitable way to liberation for all beings, through these four stages and varnas. There are many people who argue that the establishment of varnas and Ashramas are not right. It was created for a good purpose.

Brahmins are those who should live solely focused on attaining liberation through Penance, Prayer, Inner and outer Purity, Self-control, etc. and they should also become the role model for others.

Kshatriyas are those whose vigor, strength, and skill are in arms. Their Courage and leadership in war and peace protect the country and its citizens.

Vaishya is farmers, protectors of cattle, merchants who trade wisely, and make money. Shudras find contentment in serving society.

This system has been put in place for the smooth functioning of society. Education should be given at childhood, because of the sharpness of a child’s memory. This is a stage with no responsibilities when education can be paramount in life.

A forty-five-year-old, with many responsibilities, will find it very difficult to learn and retain new knowledge. It is a law of nature that a child can absorb knowledge faster.

During childhood brahmacharya (bachelorhood) should be maintained. Care should be taken to gain knowledge of the scriptural sciences and skills and learning that are necessary to succeed in this world.

This is the goal that should be achieved in Brahmacharyashrama. After gaining all this knowledge, if sufficient purity of the mind is not achieved to be a seeker of the pure self.

Grahasthashrama or married life, with its unique responsibilities, should be entered into. Married life will give the maturity to realize that the pleasures and privileges of this world are fleeting and the desire to know God and attain permanent bliss will become predominant.

He will free himself from the bondage of home and family and start Vanaprasthashram, or a life of renunciation. He will accept Sanyasam which looks upon pain and pleasure, loss and fortune with an even and detached mind, from all desire.

Renunciation or sacrifice is the biggest component of Sanyas. They do not take anything for themselves. They will use only what is sufficient for themselves and attain liberation. They will be able to free themselves from the cycle of birth and rebirth and attain liberation. They will be free of rebirth, not having to take life inside another womb.

They will not have to drink mothers milk fall sick, then attain puberty and enjoy the luxuries of life. They will not have to grow old and become bedridden. They will not have to go dumb. They will not have to go through birth, death old age sickness, the sorrow of life on this earth.

They will understand the futility of such life on earth. They will accept Sanyas, they will discern the universal principle, the truth that god and I are one, they will merge their individual self with the supreme self and reach a state beyond, transcending Turiyam.

Devi is one who establishes and directs the cosmic law of righteousness. “ābrahma kīṭa janani” – She gave birth to all the beings in the universe from brahma to the lowest microbe, and through the establishment of the four varnas and four ashramas, Devi is protecting her children.

The four varnas are Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra, and the four ashramas are Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha, Sanyasa, and through them, Devi is maintaining and protecting her children. This is the general meaning of the mantra.