Why do many Hindu scriptures say that Varna is not based on birth and many also say that it is? Is it written in Indian scriptures that nobody is Brahmin by birth? Varna

4 points | Post submitted by suyash95 255 days ago | 4 comments | viewed 98 times

Why do many Hindu scriptures say that Varna is not based on birth and many also say that it is? Is it written in Indian scriptures that nobody is Brahmin by birth?

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  • suyash95 255 days ago | +0 points

    the Hindu scripturesconstitute a whole vast library and in that library there are many diverseopinions, narratives, laws, and paths. There is contradiction, agreement,abrogation, innovation and reform.

    Because of this morassof confusion the ancient school of Mimāmsa came up with rules ofinterpretation. The first principle is that there is an hierarchy of authorityin Shastra.

    1.       The highest authority is the Veda, then

    2.       Smritis -

    3.       Itihasas

    4.       Puranas

    5.       All the rest.


    So if there is aconflict between puranas and Itihasas - the itihasas are the authority, ifthere is a conflict between Itihasas and Smritis then Smritis are the authorityand if there is a conflict between Smritis and Vedas then Vedas re the finalauthority - like the High Court after all other avenue of appeals have failed.

    So it doesn’t matterhow many verses in Shastra say one thing about caste-by-birth - it only matterswhat the Vedas teach.

    The principal verse inthe Veda describing the VARNA system comes from Rig Veda 10:90:12 - this verseis the supreme judgement in this matter - PERIOD.

    ब्राह्मणोऽस्य मुखमासीद् बाहू राजन्यः कृत
    ऊरू तदस्य यद्वैश्यः पद्भ्यां शूद्रो अजायत

     It says that the fourcastes are the limbs of society like that of the Cosmic Being. How does it describe them?

    Brahmaṇo’sya mukham āsīt —the brahmins “were” - āsīt i.e. came or arose from the mouthof the cosmic purusha.

    From the mouth of the Social Being - theBrahmins arose.

     bāhū-rājaṇya kṛta —the kṣatriyas were “made” - kṛta from the arms.

    From the arms - theKshatriyas were created.

     ūrū tad asya vaiśyaḥ —the vaiśyas were also from the thighs (made)

    From the thighs the Vaishyas too[were created]

    padbhyāṁ śūdro ajāyata –from the feet were the śūdras “born” - ajāyata. So the qualifierBORN is only applied to the Sudras not the others who were “made” or “became”.

    From the feet - theShudras were BORN.


     This is then explained in the famousverse from the Skanda Purana.

    janmanā jāyate śūdra saṁskārāt dvijaucyate –

    everyone is by birth a Sūdra and throughsacraments one attains “caste” status as a dvija (twice-born).

    Furthermore in the Brihad AraṇyakaUpaṇiṣad discusses the concept of the four divisions ofsociety and says that Brahma created the Brahmā (Brahmanhood or spiritualpower) but he could not flourish so he created the principle of kṣatra ortemporal power represented by the gods Indra, Varuna, Soma, Rudra, parjanya,Yama, Mrtyu and Iśāna. — yet still he could not flourish so he created theprinciple of viś which means a settlement of agriculturalistand herders represented by the groups of gods known as the Vasus, Adityas(among them Vishnu), Vishvedevas and Maruts.

    Yet still he could not flourish so hecreated the Sūdras:–

    1:4:13. sa naiva vyabhavat | saśaudraṃ varnaṃ asrjata pūṣaṇaṃ | iyam vai pūṣā | iyam hīdam sarvaṃ pūṣyati yadidaṃ kiṃ ca ||

    He created the śūdra order, as Pūṣan.Verily this (earth) is Pūṣan the nourisher, for she nourishes everything thatis.

    This links up back to the Purusha Suktawhere the earth and the Sudras were linked together.

    Then finally he created DHARMA by which all should live andflourish.


     So this seminal verseon the varna-system clearly states that the 3 varnas are “created” but only the Sudra Varna is born.

    This is the case ofuniformity of birth established — EVERYONE is born a Sudra by DEFAULT.Confirmed in the Mahābhārata:–

    The cause ofbrahmanhood is not birth, or sacraments, or learning or progeny, good conductalone is the cause. (MB. Anusasana Parva 143:50)

    He in whom is seen truthfulness, charity,forgiveness, good conduct, absence of anger, austerity and compassion; he is abrahmin. (MB Vana Parva179;21)

    what the texts really say is that whileeveryone is born Shudra, ie, with some innate talent or facility,it takes years of training in brahma vidya and sastravidya to qualify for public service with the state (rulers,counsellors, law makers) or the military, or in law enforcement.

    So you could say that Shudra is in essence, another word for “citizen”, who can do whatever they wish to dowith their lives by aligning their talent or facility with the work they do. Intoday's world, the accomplished Sudra would be all the wellknown sportsmen, craftsmen, artisans, designers, painters, musicians and such.

    Varna” is really a behaviour-orientedapproach to selection of your Dharma. But there is onemore attribute - guna. So you could have a kshatriya varna with tamoguna,or have shudra varna with sattva guna. The formerwould make a skilled warrior but not a warrior-leader, and the latter could bean World class sportsman. So varna together with guna determines Dharma.


    This is then confirmed in the Upanishads (Vajra-sūcika Upaniṣad) many Smritis and Itihasas and thatfamous verse from Skanda Purana

     (Vajra-sūcika Upaniṣad) makes this crystal clear


    Now if you take theopposite argument that people are born as Brahmins etc. then there are versewhich also qualify this statement.

    The much maligned Manuhimself has stated that one’s birth as Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaishya (traivarnika)does not confer automatic privilege and status. That has to be confirmed byfour things:–

    1.       Upanayana - initiation

    2.       Veda-adhyayana - study of the Vedas

    3.       Sandhya-vandana performed daily.

    4.       Ācāram - fulfilling all the rules andregulations incumbent on a traivarnika.


    Failure to comply withthese four conditions forthwith renders one an OUTCASTE (vrātya) - which islower in status than a Sudra!!

    So the whole castesystem has thus been subverted and demolished by Manu himself 2000 years agoand is being maintained as a complete sham and farce by its duplicitoussupporters who Manu describes as “cats” and “herons”

    According to Manu,Sudras are higher in social status than all those fallen traivarnikas whohave failed to get initiated, have abandoned Vedic study, have neglected theirSandhya and are violating all the rules of ācāram. And worse stillis that they still have the audacity to pose as traivarnikas andclaim privilege by mere birth!

    According to the Veda they are like fourexperts sitting around a table not an hierarchy. They are the four essentialeconomic divisions of any society or industry. The best example of how thisworks in reality is to take the IT industry in which it seems most Indians areemployed :-)

    The innovators and designers are theBrahmins. The systems security geeks are the Kshatriyas. The marketers andmerchandisers are the Vaishyas, the computer builders, sellers, distributors,drivers etc. are the Sudras. Now there is an hierarchy of financialremuneration but what is the hierarchy of value? What happens if all the Sudrasgo on strike? The entire business comes to a literal standstill. All the other3 functionaries can go on strike and the company will still make money!

    The problems associated with this arrangement are universal —arrogance, hubris, discrimination, inequality, oppression, exploitation,coercion etc. - all of which are common to every society and indeed every humanbeing. They are not unique to the caste-system. If they were then there wouldbe no social-justice warriors anywhere except in India. Just wind back and readabout the treatment of the working class and the poor in Victorian England andthe theories of Marx - all based on European social conditions!


    Eg –

    According to the Purusha Sukta of theVeda the Sudras were born from the feet of the cosmic Being - along with MotherEarth (Bhū-devī) and the ever pure sacred Ganga. These feet are the prominentpart of Lord Vishnu that are worshipped and are featured in the caste mark ofVaishnavas who place the feet of Lord Vishnu on their heads.

    According to the ancient texts, Pushan(The Nourisher) who is a form of the Sun, is a Sudra - because “Sudra”means “one who nourishes society”.

    Vishnu incarnated mostly as a Kshatriyasince social change was his objective. But as Krishna he was adopted by afarming and cattle rearing community i.e. Vaishya. But Veda Vyāsa who isconsidered as a partial incarnation was born as a Sudra of the Nishāda jāti.

    So one of the greatest characters of Hindu literature who arranged the Vedas and their transmission and allegedlywrote the Puranas and Mahabharata which is considered as the Fifth Veda was aSudra. The most learned man in the court of Dṛtarāṣṭhra was Vidura - a genius -he too was a Sudra.

    The other renown author of the Ramayanawas also a Sudra - Valmiki.

    In South Indian tradition many of theBhakti Saints were Sudras (as they were in North India as well).

    The composer of the Tamil Veda -the Nalayiru Divya Prabandham named Nammālvār was also aSudra.

    So all of these outstanding Sudras - Veda-Vyāsa, Valmiki andNammāḷvār and many others are all worshipped by Brahmins (and everyone else).There are no outstanding Brahmin authors - except of the Smritis which arelargely redundant.



    So, 90% of Hindus have no right to claimany sort of dvija/elevated/privileged status at all.

    Even the jāti kshatriyas (warriorsby occupation) have merged into the general economy as have the vaishyas andeven the sudras and brahmins.

    It’s a new economic landscape (how couldone not notice!!) based on IT and very few of the original jāti (caste)agrarian-based occupations are still being followed as they were during thetime of Manu.

    So apart from the tiny number ofbrahmins who still live traditionally and act as priests for the rest of thecommunity there are no legitimate brahmins, kshatriyas & vaishyas by caste.

    The new caste system based on IT modelis as follows:–

    Brahmins =innovators, designers, developers etc.

    Kshatriyas =those involved in security systems, analysts, hackers etc.

    Vaishyas =those involved in branding, promoting and marketing the product,

    Sudras = the factory workers, the manufacturers, thetransporters, the packers, the sellers, the installers etc.

    • suyash95 254 days ago | +0 points

      The first three varnas are described in the Dharmashastras as "twice born" and they are allowed to study the Vedas. Such a restriction of who can study Vedas is not found in the Vedic era literature.The Word DWIJA is not found in Vedas,Upanishads,Tantras etc..It is mentioned in later DharmaShastras .

      The Mahabharata, estimated to have been completed by about the 4th century CE, discusses the Varna system in section 12.181.The Epic offers two models on The Epic offers two models on Varna. 

      The first model describes Varna as colour-coded system, through a sage named Bhrigu, "Brahmins Varna was white, Kshtriyas was red, Vaishyas was yellow, and the Shudras' black". 

      This description is questioned by another prominent sage Bharadvaja who says that colours are seen among all the Varnas, that desire, anger, fear, greed, grief, anxiety, hunger and toil prevails over all human beings, that bile and blood flow from all human bodies, so what distinguishes the Varnas, he asks? 

      The Mahabharata then declares, according to Alf Hiltebeitel, a professor of religion, "There is no distinction of Varnas. This whole universe is Brahman. It was created formerly by Brahma, came to be classified by acts.

      "The Mahabharata thereafter recites a behavioural model for Varna, that those who were inclined to anger, pleasures and boldness attained the Kshatriya Varna; those who were inclined to cattle rearing and living off the plough attained the Vaishyas; those who were fond of violence, covetousness and impurity attained the Shudras. 

      The Brahmin class is modelled in the epic, as the archetype default state of man dedicated to truth, austerity and pure conduct. Indeed, it goes on to assert that all men are children of Brahmins, which does not make sense, unless understood this way . 

      In the Mahabharata and pre-medieval era Hindu texts, according to Hiltebeitel, "it is important to recognize, in theory, Varna is nongenealogical. The four Varnas are not lineages, but categories

      ."The Bhagavad Gita describe the professions, duties and qualities of members of different varnas.There is no entity on earth, or again in heaven among the Devas, that is devoid of these three Gunas, born of Prakriti.Of Brâhmanas and Kshatriyas and Vaishyas, as also of Sudras, O scorcher of foes, the duties are distributed according to the Gunas born of their own nature.The control of the mind and the senses, austerity, purity, forbearance, and also uprightness, knowledge, realisation, belief in a hereafter– these are the duties of the Brâhmanas, born of (their own) nature.Prowess, boldness, fortitude, dexterity, and also not flying from battle, generosity and sovereignty are the duties of the Kshatriyas, born of (their own) nature.Agriculture, cattle-rearing and trade are the duties of the Vaishyas, born of (their own) nature; and action consisting of service is the duty of the Sudras, born of (their own) nature.

  • harigoyal 254 days ago | +0 points

    What is written in our Scriptures is one thing and real life society is another. For 1000’s of years, birth is the only criteria to decide your Varan/caste. That is the reality. 

    • suyash95 254 days ago | +0 points

      we cannot judge them based on the morals of today, that was just how the world was in those times and that is how all Ancient Civilizations n Societies behaved


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