Prof. Kotovsky: Oh, yes, Hinduism. It is not all . . . It is really . . . to my understanding it is not religion from European point of view. It is a really a way of life . . .
Prof. Kotovsky: . . . religion, Indian, a way of philosophy, a way of life, a religion, everything . . .
Prabhupāda: No, this Hinduism, Hindu, this word, is not a Sanskrit word. It is given by the Muhammadans. You know there is a river, Indus, which is . . . Sanskrit name is Sindhu. Sindhu.
Prof. Kotovsky: Yes. Oh, yes, yes, yes.
Prabhupāda: These Muhammadans, they pronounce "s" as "h." "Hindus," "Hindus." Instead of "Sindhus," they made it "Hindus." So Hindu is a term which is not found in the Sanskrit dictionary.
Prof. Kotovsky: Yes.
Prabhupāda: But it has come into use. Real, I mean to say, cultural institution is called varṇāśrama, four varṇas and four āśramas: brāhmaṇa, kṣatri, vaiśya, śūdra—these four varṇas—and brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa. So according to Vedic concept of life, unless people take to this system or institution, institute of varṇa and āśrama, four varṇas and four āśramas, actually he does not become a civilized human being.
This . . . one has to take this process, four divisions of varṇas and four . . . four division of social order and four divisions of spiritual order. That is called varṇāśrama. So India's culture is based on these four . . . eight system, varṇa and āśrama.
Prof. Kotovsky: Varnāśrama.
Prabhupāda: Varṇa, varṇāśrama. And in the Bhagavad-gītā—perhaps you have read Bhagavad-gītā—there is also the statement, cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ (BG 4.13). It is . . . this system is created originally by Viṣṇu.
(break) So as everything is creation of the Supreme, they cannot be changed. That is prevalent everywhere, that a . . . sun. Sun is creation of the Supreme. So sunshine is here in America, in Russia, in India—everywhere. Similarly, this varṇāśrama system is prevalent everywhere, in some form or other.
Just like the brahmins. The brahmins means the most intelligent class of men, brain, brain of the society. Then the kṣatriyas, the administrator class. Then the vaiśyas, the productive class, and the śūdras, the worker class. These four classes of men are everywhere present in different names. And because it is creation by the original creator, so it is prevalent everywhere, varṇāśrama-dharma. (break)
So have you seen this little . . . how we are translating this? You can see little. Original śloka, its transliteration, then its English equivalent, then translation, then purport. Each and every verse is being done like that, whole Bhāgavatam Purāṇa.
Prof. Kotovsky: But you know what is interesting to . . . it is the opinion of some European and old, old Russian scholars, this varṇāśrama system . . .
Prof. Kotovsky: . . . is a bit late creation. If you would trace the old sūtras, texts, of Vedic literature, you would find much more simple and egalitarian society. And there is an opinion that this varṇāśrama system was introduced into Indian society on the late stage of Vedic era, but not from the beginning, about . . . If you would analyze scientifically the old texts, you'll find that . . . (break) . . .human estimations. (laughs) As many brains, as many estimations . . .
Prabhupāda: (laughs) That's it.
Prof. Kotovsky: . . . about the duration of this period. Because unfortunately the old classic India we have not so much information.
Prabhupāda: But so far . . . so far we are concerned, this Bhagavad-gītā . . . it is mentioned in the Bhagavad-gītā, cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭam (BG 4.13). Now, this Bhagavad-gītā was spoken five thousand years ago, and Bhagavad-gītā it is said that "This system of Bhagavad-gītā was first spoken by Me to the sun-god." So if you take estimation of that period, it comes forty millions of years. So whether the European scholar can trace out the history of at least for five thousand years together, not to speak of forty millions?
Prof. Kotovsky: Yes.
Prabhupāda: So we have got evidences that this varṇāśrama system is current at least for the five thousand years, varṇāśrama. And this varṇāśrama system is mentioned in the Viṣṇu Purāṇa also: varnāśramācaravata puruṣeṇa paraḥ pumān (CC Madhya 8.58). Varnāśrama acaravata. So that is stated in the Viṣṇu Purāṇa.
And so varṇāśrama-dharma is not a . . . within any historical period calculated in the modern age. It is natural. And in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam the comparison is given, just like in your body, in my body, there are four divisions: the face, facial, or the brain division, and the arms division, the belly division and the leg division.
Similarly, by nature's way these four divisions are existing in the social body. You may take history wherever you begin, but this is existing. A class of men, they are considered to be brain. A class of men, they are considered to be the arms, administrators. And a class of men, they are called productive class. So there is no need of tracing the history. It is naturally existing from the day of creation.