The varNas are four in number:
The Ashramas are sixteen in number:
1. gAyatro brAhmaNaH prAjApatyo bR^ihanniti brahmachAriNaH chaturvidhA bhavanti.
2. vArtAkavR^ittayaH shAlInavR^ittayo yAyAvarA ghorasannyAsikAshcheti gR^ihasthA chaturvidhA bhavanti.
3. vaikhAnasA udumbarA bAlakhilyAH phenapashcheti vAnaprasthA chaturvidhA bhavanti.
4. kuTIchakA bahUdakA hamSAH paramhamsAshcheti parivrAjakA api chaturvidhA bhavanti.
The ShoDashI mahAmantra is composed of four kUTas and sixteen letters which represent the vyApti of the mantra across every varNa and Ashrama and this indicates the following:
1. Usefulness of ShoDashI mantra for every varNa and Ashrama
2. Due to its vyApti across the spectrum of varNa and Ashrama, it represents dharma puruShartha, the basis for the other three puruShArthas.
While commenting on his stava on bhagavatI dharmasamvardhinI, shrI shankarAraNya reveals this elevating interpretation of the name dharmiNI from the nAmasAhasrI and quotes shrIgarbha kulArNava as pramANa.
karmAkarmavivarjite kavimukhe vAgvR^iShTikAdambinI
kAvyAlApavibodhinIshakalike kaumAri kAtyAyani |
kAntArdhenduvibhUShaNe smarakale shrIkAmakoTIshwarI
dehi shrIpadapadmabhaktimanishaM dharmAmbike shrIshive ||