Varn Vyavstha

As per manu smriti [मनु-स्मृति], वर्ण-आश्रम या वर्ण-व्यवस्था, was established by Rishi Manu, as briefly described below. However, In Shrimad Bhagwat Gita Ji, Chapter 4, Shloka-13, Yogeshwar [Sri Krishna] says,

चातुर्वर्ण्यं मया सृष्टं गुणकर्मविभागश: |
तस्य कर्तारमपि मां विद्ध्यकर्तारमव्ययम् || 4:13||

chātur-varya mayā siha gua-karma-vibhāgaśha|
tasya kart
āram api mā viddhyakartāram avyayam || 4:13 ||

By this, we can infer that Yogeshwar divided the society into 4 varns based on individual’s guns [quality] for efficient functioning of the society. However, Mahabharat happened in Dwapar Yug and we know for sure that Ram Ji was Kshatriya, Vashishta Ji was Brahmin etc. in Treta Yug. In Ch 9 of Gita Ji, Yogeshwar explains many of his incarnations in which he explained Gita to others. Also in Ch15, Sh 15:

सर्वस्य चाहं हृदि सन्निविष्टो, मत्त: स्मृतिर्ज्ञानमपोहनं च |
वेदैश्च सर्वैरहमेव वेद्यो, वेदान्तकृद्वेदविदेव चाहम् || 15:15||

sarvasya chāha hidi sanniviho, matta smitir jñānam apohana cha |
śh cha sarvair aham eva vedyo, vedānta-kid veda-vid eva chāham || 15:15 ||

Yogeshwar confirms that HE resides in the heart of all. Today, we all accept that Manu Rishi established Varn Ashram/ Varn Vyavstha. Rishi Manu was well before Treta Yug. Hence one logical explanation wold be that Rishi Manu established Varn Ashram with inspiration from Yogeshwar. [I do belief most of our original thoughts are divine gift and not our own creation.]

So, here is an explanation of origin of Varn Vyavstha:

Manu Rishi was from today’s Himachal Pradesh. During his time, agriculture was not developed and locals were hunting for food. Hunting is a difficult and dangerous occupation as well as it needs to be done every day to feed family, leaving little time to develop civilization. He could not educate people there to adopt agriculture and build a civilized society.

Manu Rishi moved to coastal area of current Gujarat. There, main occupation was fishing. Fishing is less risky occupation and enables free time to society. He started preaching in that area – how to lead good (civilized) life, form an agro-based society etc. Some people liked his teachings some didn’t. Those who didn’t like as well as other people from neighboring groups, used to disturb the meetings and attack them. Change is always challenged. To ensure peaceful session, stronger people from the session started peripheral watch. Intelligent people from the group learnt the teachings and start spreading it in neighboring areas. Another set of people started agriculture and other trades. Some took up the task of maintenance of ashram/ villages. The tasks were rotated. The teachers were called Brahmin [ब्राह्मण]; the security staff became Kshtriya [क्षत्रिय]; Farmers, artisans became Vaishya [वैश्य]; and maintenance staff became shudra [शुद्र]. No rigidity in the role, it was inter-changeable, same as modern day professionals can change their profession by acquiring proper skill.

This system along with many other ways taught [evolved and taught] by Rishi Manu were adopted by many other Rishis and passed on verbally from Guru to Shishya, as Manu Smriti. When writing developed, these were written down and in recent past, some part of it has been modified as well. Original Manu Smriti is not available. One can download it from many online sites.