In consequence of those remains of a Sudra's food in his stomach, he falls away from the status of a Brahmana. Such a Brahmana becomes invested with the status of a Sudra. There is no doubt in this. This Brahmana in his next life becomes invested with the status of that order upon whose food he subsists through life or with the undigested portion of whose food in his stomach he breathes his last.
Restraining all carnal desires, living abstemiously upon fruits and roots, controlling all his senses, he daily welcomed and entertained all that came to his retreat as guests, offering them herbs and fruits that grew plentifully around. In this way he passed a very long time in that hermitage of his. One day an ascetic came to that Sudra's retreat for the purpose of making his acquaintance.
Nor must it be said that the instance of the shell and the silver is not analogous, in so far, namely, as the error with regard to silver in the shell comes to an end as soon as the true state of things is declared; while the great cosmic error that clouds the Sudra's mind does not come to an end as soon as, from the teaching of another man, he learns the truth about Reality.
Professors of the healing art, mercenary soldiers, the priest who acts as warder of the house, and persons who devote a whole year to study without any profit, are all to be considered as Sudras. And those who impudently partake of food offered at ceremonials in a Sudra's house are afflicted with a terrible calamity.
Thou must have attained the Sudra's estate by reason of the fruition of thine own past karma. O magnanimous man, I long to know the truth about this matter. Do thou tell it to me with attention and according to thy own inclination. "The fowler replied, 'O good Brahmana, Brahmanas are worthy of all respect from me. Listen, O sinless one, to this story of a previous existence of mine.
The only works prerequisite for meditation are those works which are incumbent on a man as a member of a caste or asrama, and these consist, in the Sudra's case, in obedience to the higher castes. But how can meditation on Brahman be undertaken by a man who has not studied the Vedas, inclusive of the Vedanta, and hence knows nothing about the nature of Brahman and the proper modes of meditation?
Even this, I think, is the authority enunciated by the Grandsire with his own mouth. If a Brahmana, who has set up the sacred fire and who performs sacrifices, were to die with any portion of a Sudra's food remaining undigested in his stomach, he is sure to take birth in his next life as a Sudra.
As it is very difficult for a person born in the Sudra class to learn the mysteries of the eternal religion, I do not consider thee to be a Sudra. There must surely be some mystery in connection with this matter. Thou must have attained the Sudra's estate by reason of the fruition of thine own past karma. O magnanimous man, I long to know the truth about this matter.
Mere want or desire does not impart qualification to a person destitute of the required capability. And this absence of capability is due, in the Sudra's case, to absence of legitimate study of the Veda. And the same naturally holds good with regard to the injunctions of meditation on Brahman.
In the phrase, "his ordained place as a member of society," we have the keynote of the philosophy upon which the whole caste system rests. It suits the Maharaja of Darbhanga to have the people believe that his sons were "ordained" of Heaven to be rulers, even if "not fit to stop a gully with," and the Sudra's sons "ordained" to be servants, no matter what their qualities of mind and soul.