The Upanishads state that the four Varnas or categories of people were created from the Lord’s divine form. Individuals in each category are endowed with specific gunas and skills to enable them to function in daily life so that the world order established by the Lord would be maintained.

Sage Suka’s narratives of kings who ruled in the solar and lunar dynasties and of the people in those times while providing a sweeping sense of the vastness of bygone eras, also reflects the truth that the struggle for supremacy between the categories had prevailed since then, said Sri Damodhara Dikshitar in a discourse. In the ninth canto of the Bhagavata Purana, King Parikshit asks Sage Suka about how king Yayati, the Kshatriya king, married Devayani the daughter of Sukracharya, a Brahmarishi and the preceptor of the Asura clan. The sage then narrates the incidents that led to Yayati’s marriage.

It so happens that once Devayani, who enjoys a close friendship with Sharmishta, daughter of the Asura king, breaks into a quarrel with her. This is because on one occasion, Sharmishta unwittingly wears the garments of Devayani to save her modesty. Devayani is upset at this and speaks with great pride about her clan and calls it impudence and audacity on the part of the princess to wear her dress. Sharmishta is equally infuriated and humiliates Devayani. She disrobes Devayani in a fit of anger and pushes her into a well. King Yayati who happens to pass by hears her wailing for help and saves her. Since he held her by hand she pleads with him to marry her and Yayati agrees. The material structure of the universe comprises the constituents of Prakriti — the three gunas, Satva, Rajas and Tamas. People are differentiated according to their gunas born of their own nature.