BackgroundThis sloka is from Yajur Veda, the Shukla Yajur Veda (Vajasaneya samhita), kanva shaka, Book 22 and hymn 22.
This sloka defines what a nation is, in a way. It is applicable for all nations of this earth and for all their people.
Yoga-kSemam- The concept of nation
How do we define a nation of people or a rAshtra..? Is it by territorial affiliations, linguistic affiliations or cultural affiliations or race of people or ethnicity..? Today people demand 'nation-hood' based on territorial, cultural, linguistic, race, ethnicity affiliations. But such affiliations are highly un-sustainable in the long run.
This sloka gives a view into how a rAshtra was looked at, in those days.
A nation is defined by Yoga-kshemam, which means joint welfare of all its people. Those people who join together and work for their joint welfare are a nation of people.
The land of bharata is a rAshtra because the people who live in this land, irrespective of their race, ethnicity, religion, language or culture commit to work together for the joint-welfare of all the people.
Book 22 Hymn 22
आ ब्रह्मन् ब्राह्मणो ब्रह्मवर्चसी जायतामा राष्ट्रे राजन्यः
brahman is evolution and is different from brAhman who is supposed to further the evolution. brAhman is not a caste of people here but the role and hence brahma-varcasa (empowering knowledge) goes along with it.
Rulers/administrators (rAjanyaH) skilled (shura), vigorous (iSavaya), piercing through (ativyAdhi) great fighters (mahA ratha), let there be born (jAyatAm) milk yielding milk cows (doghdri dhenuR),
Horse (sapti) well nourished /fully developed (puraMdhi) mares (yoSa) victorious (jiSNu) standing on chariots (ratheSTha) assembly which (sabha yah) of the youth (yuva asya) of entrepreneurs (yajamAna asya) brave (vIrah) let there be born (jAyata) our (nah) desire/will (nikAma) desire/will (nikAma)
शूर इषवयोऽअतिव्याधी महारथो जायतां दोग्ध्री धेनुर्वाढानड्वानाशुः
सप्तिः पुरन्धिर्योषा जिष्णू रथेष्ठाः सभेयो युवास्य यजमानस्य वीरो जायतां निकामे निकामे नः
Yosa here is ‘mare’ (in tune with Sapti, which is steed). It is wrongly translated as woman. Yosana is woman.
पर्जन्यो वर्षतु फलवत्यो न आषधयः पच्यन्तां योगक्षेमो नः कल्पताम्
Summary of the Sloka
In nation, let there be born evolution of knowledge, providers of knowledge and the empowering knowledge. Let there be born rulers skilled, vigorous, piercing through/Sharp and who are great fighters. mahA ratis are great fighters who never give up.
Let there be born milk yielding milk cows, steeds, well nourished mares on which the chariots stand.
Let there be born the assembly of young and entrepreneurs
We desire We desire the rain of clouds, ripening of plants and trees.
Let our joint welfare (of society) be possible.
Ensuring Yoga-kSemam (joint welfare)
A nation (rAShtra) ensuring joint welfare (Yoga-kSemam) requires
- Knowledge in various domains
- Administrative skills
- A whole lot of young population to work for the nation.
According to Brhadharanyaka Upanishad, brahman is ‘ati-sRsti’(1), super-creation, in which from lower order beings higher order beings evolve. In other words 'brahman' means evolution.
brAhman are those furthering that evolution. They are knowledge providers in every domain who help evolve the society to higher and higher levels of intelligence. They are scientists, researchers, technologists, teachers etc.
rAjanya means administrators. The Kings and the nobles were the rAjanya of the past. Currently the rAjanya are the political parties, bureaucracy, judiciary and the parliament. They are the ones's administering the nation. These need to have administrative skills.
yajamAna means an entrepreneur. One who creates institutions of people that serve the society's needs. yajamAna means one who instituted a sacrifice. A commercial institution such as businesses are also indeed sacrifices. People sacrifice their time, money, enjoyment etc to build such institutions that serve the test of time. Hence they were called yajamAna.
YajamAna now invokes the picture of a 'boss' or proprietor or 'owner' or feudal landlord. But in the past world people who ran businesses were called instituters of 'sacrifice', which is a 'humble' and right way to indicate them compared to 'boss'.
Ofcourse a nation needs a lot of young population. Young population not just in age, but in health. Young population that can serve the society covering up for those who cannot.
The knowledge providers provide the society with ever evolving knowledge and technologies.
The administrators guide the society to spread this knowledge and facilitate exploitation of this knowledge by people.
The entrepreneurs create long-lasting institutions which provide people with food, water and other amenities using the knowledge and administrative facilities/guidance provided by administrators.
The young ( physically, mentally) contribute to the society for their welfare as well as the welfare of the old, disabled and others who cannot contribute.
Ofcourse we need rains, vegetation and animals also to prosper in a society as they form the basis of prosperity of human beings at all times.
When all these join together, what results is Yoga-ksemam, the joint welfare of all people in a society.