Varnasharma is condemned as hierarchical social order where maximum accumulation of powers, wealth and luxuries accumulated on the top. Nothing can be farther from truth. If we want to know moral-ethical concern of a society, the status of economic surplus is a good indicator. If surplus goes for luxurious consumptions surely such society ultimately becomes exploitative as it lacks higher visions. The Varnashrama order idealizes non-accumulation of surplus and wealth.
Dharma-Shastras explicitly command Kings, Vaisyas and rich people to spend wealth in Dana (to needy persons), Yajnas and Agnihotra; note that all these are intimately connected with Dharmic ethical and moral value order. Thus surplus is not seen as a mean for luxuries rather they are for propagation of right values.
In Dharmic society so-called higher Varnas had greater and tougher responsibilities. Role expectations from them too were exemplary. Brahmana being the head of order was to like a life of complete aparigraha or non-accumulation. A Kshatriya was expected to give his life protecting cows, Brahmana, land and other Varnas.
They were on forefront to secure the land and its values. The classical Varnashrama is portrayed as discriminatory even for attaining God; as it decrees Sannyasa for Brahmanas, Vanprastha for Khastriya and detached Grahasthashrama for Vaisya and nothing for Sudra. Four Ashrama cycle of life provide vision for an Individual to fulfill four Purusarthas. It preserves system that grades life according to stages of life towards ultimate goal of realization of Supreme reality or God.
A Sudra being least prone to pride arising out of Varna, Jnana, is most nearer to God owing to his observance of Sewa Dharma. Moreover, a cursory glance at rules and codes of Vaanprastha and Sannyasa are enough to open one’s eyes to the price that they are made to pay for their Varna status.
Dharma doesn’t rely on demographic majority for survival rather it depend on purity of conduct. If only one person with Shraddha in Vedas follows Varnashrama ideals, Dharma will survive with that individual in seed form. He will guide the whole humanity. In Mahabharata, Ved Vyasa says that he undertook arduous task of compiling Dharma Sashtras for that one genuine seeker who perhaps in some distant future would search for the way of Dharma; if even one such seeker benefits from Shastras, all his efforts will prove fruitful.
This is in contrast with Abrahamic tradition that heavily relies on majority that caters to base human desires. Naturally, growth and expansion of democracy in India also meant deterioration in moral values. Increased unhindered freedom has snatched away religious and cultural identities from individual. In Europe amoral and cynical science has snatched the moral argument from religion in general and Christianity in particular.
Acceptance of non-sectarian natural universals like Vedic-Dharmic values would enrich humanity and lead us towards better sustainable world; and provide us right content and tools to infuse moral–ethical concerns in scientific vision of development. We feel that it is high time India works to include Vedic Sadachara values in education.