2 points | Post submitted by suyash95 19 days ago | 39 comments
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Dr BR Ambedkar's worksare the prime example of Edward Said's Orientalism thesis - an Indian taking onJudeo-Christian Eurocentric lens in describing Hinduism and India.Orientalism isthe imitation or depiction of aspects in the Eastern world. These depictions are usually done bywriters, designers, and artists from the West.Annhilation of Caste(Properterm is Jaatis) means an Utopian class of Darwinian Social Order where allpeople are equal,This is impossible and against Nature.
Caste is derived fromthe Portuguese casta = class which In Hinduism is translated as varṇa and jāti.But this dichotomy is false .Varṇa means "character" or "Nature"and refers to one's natural disposition. Jāti refers to the community in whichone is born,Communities are formed on basis of Similar Professions orIdeologies.
This is Coming fromJudeo-Christian View which is based on 1 book, 1 God and 1 type of people meansonly 1 Jaati . To understand this- consider There were more than 1000 of spokenlanguages in India during 1947 when India became independent. These languageswere spoken by 1000 of community groups forming Jaatis. If u want to collapsethem into 1 single JAATI ,than all these 1000 languages will also becomeextinct , This is just Linguistic difference ,Now include Culturaldifferences,Work differences etc.You will understand why there were so manyJAATIS.
Ambedkar was a highlyqualified economist, having done his doctorates from Columbia University andthe London School of Economics. He studied in the “Macaulayan model” Englishschools right through his growing years. Here are some effects of that -
These are some clipson the depiction of caste in American newspapers. Published in the VermontTelegraph in 1837, this article is representative
Caste is depicted aspervasive and inherent to the “Hindoo Religion.” As MichaelJAltman notes inHeathen, Hindoo, Hindu, this was an integral part of the broader project ofdefining American identity in contrast to the pagan, hierarchical Hindoo:
As we’ve seen, castedefined India as both a pagan and half-civilized nation, which served as acontrast to the enlightened, democratic, egalitarian civilized nations.
An interesting threadillustrating how prejudice was even built into maps! The cateogrization ofcultueres into stages of development (from savage to civilized) also featuredprominently in school textbooks from this time period in America. See below,e.g.:
This is fromMitchell’s textbook, “A System of Modern Geography” . Two more. The one withthe image is from Olney’s “A Practical System of Modern Geography,” the otheris from Mitchell’s (same as above). The reduction of all Indian society to thecaste system is a recurring theme:
Michael JAltman notes that this was part of a largerprogram of reinforcing in students’ minds the notion of Protestant America asthe democratic, egalitarian ideal in contrast to the superstitious,heirarchical society of the Hindoos: This is the profound influence of Hegel on19th C thought.
Continuing Further -
If you remember, MaxMueller’s job was to discredit the faith of the Hindu, to show it in poor lightthe world over and to disassociate Hindu history as mere mythology. The mannerin which this was done was so effective, that by the end of the 19th century,those graduating from these missionary schools were ashamed of being Hindu. Andthe only version of Manusmriti that Ambedkar read was the colonial version. InEnglish.
John Henrik Clarkesaid, “To control a people you must first control what they think aboutthemselves and how they regard their history and culture. And when yourconqueror makes you ashamed of your culture and your history, he needs noprison walls and no chains to hold you.”
And here is onetranslation:Let us take famous Purusa Sukta
Here’s the Britishtranslation:
At the top of thehierarchy were the Brahmins who were mainly teachers and intellectuals and arebelieved to have come from Brahma's head. Then came the Kshatriyas, or thewarriors and rulers, supposedly from his arms. The third slot went to theVaishyas, or the traders, who were created from his thighs. At the bottom ofthe heap were the Shudras, who came from Brahma's feet and did all the menialjobs.
The real translationis as follows (paraphrased):
From this cosmicintelligence humans derive the four most desirable traits of character, namelywisdom (brahmin), nobility (kshatriya/rajanah), industry (vaishya) and innatetalent or facility (shudra).
Dr BR AMBEDKAR hadmassive Ego problem and He was very impatient acc to my view. I think this wasbiggest mistake of people like Ambedkar who conflated Hinduism with itssociology - ignoring the foundation which is philosophy. He did not foresee thegreat advances in science and education and the mass migration of Hindus toother parts of the world not the fact that several million Hindus have beenliving in Indonesia for over 1000 years!
Take for eg - his bookRiddles in Hinduism
It is an example ofpolemics by a man who was genuinely angry with the behaviour of some Hindus ofhis time. Hindu scripture and philosophical thought is like a trackless forestwith many contradictory things in them. It is with the help of the Acharyas(they are not infallible either) and one's personal experience and thought thatHindu Dharma yields its fruits. This makes it extraordinarily difficult forHindu laymen to even understand Hindu teachings. It is one of the reasons forriddles. Moreover, Hinduism not being an organized religion like the Abrahamicfaiths has a quality control problem. Freedom comes with a steep price.Thereare many diverse voices and opinions under the rubric of “Hinduism” and thereis no consensus. So what one acharya permits another forbids - it is up to thediscerning individual to make his/her own choice.There is so much more toHinduism than meets the eye and Ambedkar should not have judged the ancienttradition from the corrupted and deviant modern customs and usages of theuninformed public.
I would like to quoteSwami Vivekananda’s comment on Prophet Muhammad which is quite relatable to DrBR Ambedkar’s works n views in present context
“Though Muhammad wasinspired, "he was not a trained Yogi, nor did he know the reason of whathe was doing." Vivekananda wrote that He had brought wonderful things forHumanity but also great evil has been done through Muhammad's fanaticism with"whole countries destroyed" and "millions upon millions ofpeople killed”
I can relate it withBR Ambedkar . In the name of uplifting some oppressed fews, he divided us inthe lines of caste and religion forever by institutionalizing it inConstitution which has the potential to incite Civil Wars in future.Crores ofpeople from several generations have paid price for his anguish againstHinduism. Ambedkar’s help was Sweet Poison . In short term,it benefitted but inthe longer run, it has caused unrest in society.
Basically , Ambedkarwas selling scraps from a Western orientalist and colonial story concerningIndian culture as facts about the world, much like those other marginalmerchants who buy crumbs from European dining tables at steeply discountedprices to resell these at marked-up prices in India. In the course of thenineteenth century, a dominant account about Hinduism and the caste system hadcrystallized in Western scholarship. one example -
Here’s Ambedkarfantasising about an imaginary shepherd in the Middle East, while clearlydrawing inspiration from Christian Europe for our constitution (copied) butlooking for social justice in a tradition that affirms the Vedic view which hewanted to escape !
Source - Ambedkar:life and mission by Dhananjay Keer
In its originalChristian form, this revolved around a contrast between true and falsereligion: false religion is the invention of men seeking to satisfy their ownworldly desires by invoking the name of God, whereas true religion is thegenuine revelation of God to humanity. In contrast to the universal spiritualteachings of true religion, the priests of false religion impose a set ofconstricting rules and rites on the believers and thus keep them in control.
According to thisWestern-Christian story, Indian culture was constituted by one such falsereligion, namely Hinduism: the Brahmin ‘priests’ imposed all kinds of rites andrules as sacred commandments; thus, they manipulated and oppressed the masses.The crowning piece of their deception, so it was said, was the caste system: animmoral social hierarchy sold as divine injunction.
Over the decades, thisProtestant-Christian account underwent a process of secularization: itsteachings about false religion were transformed into common-sense ideas aboutHindu religion. The predicate ‘false’ was dropped but the basic story remainedthe same, from the textbooks of colonial education to the treatises of socialscientists: (a) ‘Hinduism’ was the dominant ‘religion’ of Indian culture; (b)it was a flawed religion that did not present a message of equality tohumanity, but instead provided stifling rules for specific groups of people;(c) the variety of jatis across India are so many expressions of an immoralhierarchy sanctioned by religion and held in place by a priesthood.
Both Western andIndian authors endorsed this as a factual description of Indian society. Butthis is where the rub comes: without the support of an entire cluster ofChristian-theological ideas about false religion, this account of Hinduism andcaste could never make sense in the first place. Now listen to Ambedkar’sfamous undelivered speech The Annihilation of Caste (1936),often considered the clearest formulation of his thought on the matter:
‘The Hindus hold tothe sacredness of the social order. Caste has a divine basis. You musttherefore destroy the sacredness and divinity with which Caste has becomeinvested.’
‘What is calledReligion by the Hindus is nothing but a multitude of commands and prohibitions.Religion, in the sense of spiritual principles, truly universal, applicable toall races, to all countries, to all times, is not to be found in them …’
‘Caste is no doubtprimarily the breath of the Hindus. But the Hindus have fouled the air all overand everybody is infected, Sikh, Muslim and Christian.’
‘You must have courage to tell the Hindus,that what is wrong with them is their religion—the religion which has producedin them this notion of the sacredness of Caste. Will you show that courage?’
Elsewhere he writes:
‘Inequality is the official doctrine ofBrahminism and the suppression of the lower classes aspiring to equality hasbeen looked upon by them and carried out by them without remorse as theirbounden duty … There is no social evil and no social wrong to which the Brahmindoes not give his support.’
Ambedkar’s basicmessage was that (a) Indian society is dominated by an all-pervading religionnamed Hinduism, (b) this is a bad and wrong religion, which has no universalspiritual principles, (c) its evil Brahmin priests are responsible forinventing its multitude of commands and prohibitions, (d) the caste system hasits sacred foundations in Hinduism, (e) this Hindu system prevents a truenation and society from coming into being in India. To annihilate caste, onewould of course have to destroy its foundations – the religion that hasproduced it; consequently, the annihilation of caste entailed the annihilationof Hinduism.
This is what Ambedkarstood for. He echoed such utterances as though they constituted a rational andmoral analysis of a culture; in reality, these were discarded scraps of an oldChristian theology of false religion now presented as facts about the world. Ifour ‘colossus’ had even an inkling of the Protestant-Christian framework whichproduced the judgements he reproduced, he could have spared himself the effortand summed up his harangue in one simple sentence: ‘Hinduism is falsereligion and it needs to disappear.’
What, then, can onesay to the people who try to present Ambedkar as a great thinker and humanitarianvisionary? Imagine a preacher in today’s world who insists that a particularreligion is false and evil and needs to be wiped from the face of the earth. Hewould not be considered a paragon of humanitarian vision but a dangerousfanatic. Ambedkarites make an exception for Hinduism, which indeed needs to bewiped out according to them, but that is because they truly believe it is afalse and evil religion. Their hatred is not only inspired by centuries ofpreaching Western-Christian stories about India as God-given truth, but evenmore so by decades of emotional investment and vested interest. They areamong the dangerous fanatics of today.
Let us take some ofhis prepositions -
1 - Hinduism is aFalse Religion
Rami Sivan's answer to Is Hinduism a false religion?
Rami Sivan's answer toAre non-Hindu borns accepted as Hindus?
2 - Hinduism is basedon Inequality and Inequality is the official doctrine of Brahminism
Subhash ChandraGautam's answer to Does Hinduism promotes Inequality as said by Dr BR Ambedkar? (Check Comment)
3 - Hinduism is basedon Casteism
Rami Sivan's answer toHow can Hinduism have two contradictory philosophies like Advaita and CasteSystem?
4- As long as you arein the Hindu religion you cannot have freedom of thought"
Rami Sivan's answer toWhy did Dr. Ambedkar say,"As long as you are in the Hindu religion youcannot have freedom of thought"?
Ambedkar claimed thatcaste consciousness is the reason why neither the Hindus nor the Indians can besaid to form a nation or a society. How sensible is this? If we leave aside theProtestant-Christian conception of ‘the Hindu caste system’, which is anythingbut scientific, we can make one simple observation: it is characteristic ofIndian culture in general and the Hindu traditions in particular that theyaccommodate a tremendous variety of jatis and other groups,which follow their own traditions and have their own swamis, temples, andmathas (or similar such institutions).
People are part ofthe jati in which they are born; mostly, they continue thepractices transmitted to them by their ancestors and taught to them by theirparents; they go to their swamis for guidance and to their temples to do puja.Now, what is wrong with this?
Of course, there hasbeen discrimination and conflict among members of these groups. But how doesthis prevent nationhood or national unity? In every nation under the sun, therewas and is discrimination and conflict between groups that are not just socialclasses. In the United States, for instance, we see ethnic groups, linguisticgroups, and religious denominations, which are discriminated from each otherand have known conflict. In India, there are jatis. In America,apparently, the existence of such empirical groups and the undeniablediscrimination among them do not prevent nationhood. How could caste (and castediscrimination) then prevent India from becoming a united nation?
Only one framework canmake sense of this idea that members of a nation should all belong to one andthe same community without discrimination: namely, the notion of the nationintrinsic to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Each of these religions claims thattheir believers are united as a community in God, where they relate to eachother as equals: the chosen people of God for the Jews, the communitas or ecclesia forthe Christians, and the Umma for the Muslims. As such, inthese religions, all are equally part of the same community and this is whatmakes them a nation. Hence also, Christianity and Islam developed a typicalcondemnation of Hinduism: it does not create this kind of community and insteadchops up the believers into a hierarchy of castes; this shows that it is afalse divisive religion that denies the equality of believers before God.
Hindus speak dozens ofdifferent language come from different ethnicities, have vastly differentcustoms and traditions, wear different clothing, eat different foods, followdifferent religions and sects and come from different countries and every Hinduethnicity has a different history. Hinduism has never been, and can never be“institutionalised” or “collectivised” and any attempt at uniting Hindus into amobilised group is like herding cats . We all know the broad category of“Hindoo” during Brtiish times includes dozens of different religious and beliefsystems with thousands of different customs and usages and dialects.
The Europeans mappedthe protestan experience of India and we internalised it as fact. Tyranny ofthe church becomes tyranny of Brahmins, fiefdom and serfdoms of land owners inEurope becomes caste system in India, decentralised polity becomes corruptionand so on.We have internalised the colonial experience where the Europeans sawonly misogyny, caste and corruption. This says more about European society ofthe time rather than India. Brahminism is a mirror image from Europe Societywhere Pope and Church had supreme powers.Europe feudal system of the MiddleAges when the Church had total power over society,The majority of thepopulation were serfs and were exploited, down trodden and lived in abjectpoverty while the clergy and nobles lived in extravagant luxury. In India thiswas completely reverse. Here the Vaishya-Shudra community was the majorproduction n land owning power n the Brahmins were poor. this is completereverse
This condemnation wasreproduced in a ‘secular’ form not only by Western scholars, but also bycolonized Indians like Ambedkar. Stripped of rhetoric, factoids, and anecdotes,his writings on caste say one thing over and over again: Hinduism is not (like)Christianity; it should become (like) Christianity. But this is what themissionaries and colonials had been saying all along. Inevitably, our supposed‘fighter for Hindu unity’ also peddled the accompanying Western-Christian moraljudgements about the Hindus: they are anti-social, inhumane, and indifferent toothers’ suffering; they are slaves of their religion and its priesthood; theyhave ‘fouled the air all over.’To promote the annihilation of a culture and itstraditions without any understanding is one of the worst things one can do tohumanity. Our cultures and our roots are all we have to save us from the lossof bearings that is overtaking the contemporary world. For India, therediscovery of its cultural resources will be essential to its future survival.
Yet, instead of takingthis seriously, the country is witness to the rising celebration of a ‘thinker’whose ‘thought’ stands diametrically opposed to this endeavour. If there is onepiece of evidence that establishes the intellectual and ethical bankruptcy ofIndia’s ideologues on all sides of the political spectrum, it must be theirglorification of Ambedkar’s thought. Does that make him into the ‘jewel ofIndia’, the Bharat Ratna?
Ambedkar made a severemistake -He wanted a perfect society where all Human Beings are equal butInequality is ingrained in this World.Human Beings are divided byNations,races,clans,tribes,Ideologies,their own choices.Utopia is simplyimpossible,You can try as much you want but acheiving Perfect Equality isimpossible.Egalitarian is a communist utopian concept - an egalitarian societyhas never and will never exist. Society has been divided into classes since thevery existence of civilizations. The class struggle has always been there, notjust in india.
The problem lies inHuman Nature . It is noticeable that with the passage of time, any ideology isalso bound to create diversity since it is the very human nature to differamong them selves. This leads to strong irreconcilable differing subgroups thatdepend upon the mass appeal and acceptance. It assumes more materialisticoutlook than spiritual one over the passage of time and then the things startgoing wrong. Another human weakness that leads to disaster is its falteringweaknesses like ego, anger, greed, passion, jealousy, hatred and etc which swaythe opinions of various individuals and create differing strong subgroups;whether in castes, classes or races. Ultimately all lead to the same divisionsand diversity and this is precisely Why there were 1000’s of Jaatis in Hinduismbecoz of thousands of languages ,customs,traditions,Gods, etc . India has thelargest vegetarian cuisine of any nation on earth. It has the most languagesand dialects in one sub-continent and the greatest variations in local customsand traditions and even dress.
There is so muchvariety and freedom of thought and worship . The culture of India is extremelyancient and hundreds of different cults, religions, view-points, tribes andpeople lived together and encountered each other .Fundamentally India was notfundamentally different from the rest of the world, and jātis are very muchlike communities elsewhere in the world. The caste system as we see it was created by the Britishfor the jātis “were not aware of thespecific varṇa class they belonged to but were squeezed into the varṇa systemby the British administrators.”
There is a lot of BIASn hypocrisy in judging Indian Society.Indian society in the past is judgedThrough today’s modern day standards which is a complete FRAUD. No othersociety is judged like that. No culture or civilization in the past had socialequality, and no modern democracy or nation has social equality. Thiscomparative perspective is essential to get an unbiased and sincere view. Otherwise,we get these hypocrite pseudo-secular leftists who only find faults withHinduism, while conveniently ignoring the same faults in all other systems (Ihope you do not belong to this category).Simple fact is that medieval geopoliticaland sociopolitical dynamics can not be judged by 21st century standards.Onlythe regressive or utterly nefarious ones would do that for reasons wellknown....... not a secret.
a theoretical Conceptlike Varna had existed in other Civilizations
Zoroastrian Varnasystem in Iran
Confucian Varna systemin CHINA -
the shi (gentryscholars),
the nong (peasantfarmers),
the gong (artisans andcraftsmen),
and the shang(merchants and traders).
Plato Varna System inAncient Greece
Producers or Workers:
The Big Scandal ofIndology
Remember that varnawas a social theory . The actual reality of society can never be mapped into atheory. This is why when the British started to map different jatis todifferent varnas there were thousands and thousands of letters in protest ofthe mapping.Take the standard narrative—"India had a "static castesystem" for 5000 years (where wily Brahmins had installed themselves onthe top)." Static for 5000 years. Wow. Then everyone would be really clearabout their varna right? Why the hell were they protesting the mapping? It isintersting that Scheduled Castes were claiming themselves as Brahmin,Kshatriyawhen British were preparing their Census
Likewise, the Brahminswere not unlike priestly communities world over and their class was not closed.We know from modern times that communities can just declare themselves to beBrahmins (like the Saurashtras) and the same process doubtlessly occurred inthe past.
Jaatis were thrivingwhen the British set foot in India:
Jaatis wereoccupational guilds. For example, the steel making people were a jaati andthere were several thousand jaatis like this. There was competition among thembut no Conflict or Hierarchy. When steel- making flourished, the correspondingjaatis flourished and when the steel industry went down, the associated jaatiswent down. Each jaati had a distinct identity, complete with its occupation,religious practices and its own Hindu religious deity.It also served as asocial security net. So, if a person ended up broke, the community would cometo that individuals aid and provide him with the needs till he finds suitableemployment. In that way, it did protect a person from outside influence byforming a close knit unit.
The Indian Jaatisystem allowed diversity to flourish unlike what you’d observe in other regionsof the world. For example, in France or Italy, there were violentlanguage-based wars to impose homogeneity on everyone. In other words, a singleJaati survives in France or Italy today which is made up of a single ethnicityfollowing similar religious practices and speaking one language.
We can corroborate thestrong jaati social system by looking at high-quality Indian exports (of thosetimes) which were in high demand among the European elite. (No wonder Columbuswas sponsored by the Spanish queen to discover a sea route to India!)
Hindu Varna-Jaatisystem was a socio-economic arrangement of a sophisticated and complex andeconomically stable society. All societies have had and do have hierarchicalstructures based on birth and occupation. Farmers, workers guilds - now knownas unions, merchant guilds known as associations, law-enforcement and soldiers,nobility and clergy are all class compositions of almost every society.
In historical terms inIndia there were several benefits which the system known as varna brought withit.All members of the Jaatis were educated in their tradition craft and allwere employed and social security maintained through mutual channels of assistance.TheHindu Varna-Jaati system was a socio-political arrangement for a stable andsustainable economy. Each JAATI had a share of the market which wasspecifically theirs and each JAATI was an independent professional and legalbody. They made their own rules and laws and administered their own justice andprovided social security to all its members. All professional education wasundertaken by the caste for all its members in a time when there was nouniversal education.They decided what they would eat, how they would dress, who would marry and howceremonies and other functions would be carried out. Some JAATIS ate beef somedidn’t, some remarried their widows some didn’t, some engaged in child-marriageand some didn’t etc. etc.
When the Jews arrivedin India they were assigned the JAATIS of Saniwar Telis (Saturday oil-pressersbecause of their refusal to work on Saturdays) They remained as a distinctJAATIS until the 19 century when they adopted full status as Beni IsraelJews.The Parsis who sought refuge in India became vaishyas and survived withall their customs and language in tact to this day.The Christians of Kerala were also able to maintain their traditions andcustoms for nearly 2000 years BECAUSE of this system.
The incrediblemulti-culturalism of India where myriads of groups have maintained a distinctidentity for thousands of years is only because of the Varna-Jaati system andits group autonomy.
The unit of an ancientpre-industrial society was the extended family; a large number of familiesworking in the same profession constituted a jāti. The extended familyfulfilled all those functions which are now fulfilled by the market and thegovernment. Education, employment, health care, insurance, old age care,arranging of marriages, child-care and resolution of family disputes. Thosematters which could not be resolved within the extended family were referredfor arbitration to the elected governing body of the jāti community known asthe panchayat. Each and every jāti was autonomous and took care of their ownmembers providing training, employment, security, super-annuation etc. Theydecided their own laws and rules about marriage, food and personal andinter-personal conduct and every other aspect of social life. So for examplesome jātis ate pork and beef and others didn’t, some were vegetarian, somedrank alcohol and used marijuana, some were matriarchal some were patriarchal,some accepted divorce and remarriage of widows and others didn’t. The jāti alsoresolved land and stock disputes and also dealt with crime such as theft,murder, rape etc.
The different jātisalso had networks of other jātis with whom they would exchange goods andservices. One of the defining features of the jātis was the complex matter ofinter-dining and inter-marriage. Inter-dining consists of sharing water,raw-food, dry food and cooked (wet) food. There were rules about what item ofconsumption could be taken from which jātis. Many of these rules were obvious —like vegetarian jātis would not take cooked food from carnivore jātis orinter-marry with them.
Members of jātis woulddress in certain ways and wear insignia and forehead marks which would identifythem to others. On seeing another member of one’s jāti one could be assured ofmateship, help and hospitality.
Jaati hierarchies werealways changing and fluid. No single jaati was always at the bottom or alwaysat the top. Plus, there was no fixed, pre-defined hierarchy until the Britishcame and did a census, and forced a fixed hierarchy between jaatis Since the 3rdcentury when India began expanding international trade the 5 most powerful andeconomically influential caste were the 5 Sudra Vishvakarma Jaatis:–Goldsmiths, silversmiths, blacksmiths, stone masons and the carpenters. Thevied with the brahmins for social supremacy. Even from the 3rd century thedominant occupations of the Sudra were farming, craftsmanship and trade. Haveyou ever seen or heard of anyone disrespecting any of these
The kings wouldrefrain from interfering with working of the jātis and concentrated on thecollection of taxes. The jāti system in an agrarian society functioned tocreate a stable and sustainable economic framework. Nowadays it is no longerrequired since education, health-care, social security and crime is dealt withby the state and employment, business, insurance and retirement are all takencare of by the market. The vast majority of the traditional jāti occupationsare now redundant just as 40% of the jobs done today will become redundant inanother 30 years.
In ancient times,in apre-industrial agricultural world,people preferred to marry with their ownsocial, linguistic and cultural groups and those families with whom they sharedcommon, values, customs and traditions.This thing can be observed amongevery Civilization,every living species Even After converting to Islam,Thedifferent Tribes in Saudi Arabia still marry among their circles only eventoday. Until modern cities became populated with millions of migrants thathelped to increase diversity and heterogeneity, communities wereclose-knit and exclusionary and insular, both as a necessity for survival andfor the comfort of cultural familiarity.
Every society had ,hasa class structure, some more formalised than others. Like it or not .Theseclasses marry and socialise within their circles because of commonalities inculture and ease of movement within their circles. Social and economic progressare social issues not religious ones. As you well know the issue of kith &kin and caste runs very deep and is immensely complex.caste endogamy isabout preservation of specific culture/language/cuisine/traditions, notaspiring towards a different caste. caste isn't a pyramid, it's linear. Theterms "upper" and "lower" must be done away with, they areinaccurate
Moreover ,people wouldhave done it to ensure Stability,security n transmission of some social skills.human beings are naturally inclined to tribalism its in our DNA. So we look forany common ground to agglutinate together and to set ourselves against others.In ancient times,there were no modern means of transportation,communication. Lifewas hard.People spent their daily activities in collecting water,arranging npreparing for food and other basic necessities.There were no rapidcommunication methods ,communities were close-knit and exclusionary. one cannotimagine a life without smartphones today.. and Ambedkar commented about timesback then... when water lose by itself was a luxury... using pompous phraseslike " basic human rights"...People were self-bound to custom andtradition and trapped within the web of family and community. If one wasstrong-willed one can do exactly as one pleased. Living one’s life according tothe expectations and in order to please others (family and community) is amajor source of suffering even today. The biggest issue facing young people inIndia is the problem of career and marriage and the objections of familymembers to the choice of partner. In every other respect people are alreadyfollowing their own wishes.
India has made transitionfrom Pre Industrial Agricultural world to Industrial world n now to ModernWorld,so this is the process of Normalization,.As the society progresses andpeople belonging to differnt JATIS prosper,differences between people willbecome less,people will migrate n freuently marry each other.They have to move beyond Ambedkar
We need to understandthe world of 3000 years ago. Agrarian, low tech (Bullock carts, ploughs,buckets, ropes etc.), simple living, no consumerism. And then learn somesocio-economic history.
Your position issociety and the job you did on the farm was determined by your birth family. Sothe son of a farmer would be a farmer, a carpenter, a cobbler, a cowherd, apriest, a warrior - would all teach their own trades to their sons. So rigidcaste develops.
We cannot judge thembased on the morals of today, that was just how the world was in those timesand that is how all Ancient Civilizations n Societies behaved
Then comes the Guptaage of economic expansion - as society grows more sophisticated and morecomplex and consumerism increases - jātis develop to cater to the needs forfine goods. etc. etc. etc.
The tribes or clanwere confined to a geographical area as the village society in india was selfsufficient society they didnot have the urge to explore and andventure whichmade the jati's even more stronger.Labor was changing and so was the divisionof labor. The broader categories changed little. The warriors classes continueto be engaged in army. The priest classes also expanded into sectors related toeducation and math. The merchant classes expanded into different types oftrade. The details changed, but the broader structure survived to this day.
Post Industrial Ageall these jātis and castes became redundant - the majority of their hereditaryprofessions have disappeared just as the majority of the jobs we do today willdisappear in 20 years.
Since the firstIndustrial Revolution the ancient Vedic socio-economic model has becomeobsolete and what reformers are struggling against is the residue social odureof discrimination based on birth alone - the major form of which is related tointer-marriage in Indian society and which doesn't noticeably obtain in the 70million expatriate Hindu community.
So ,we get Varna-Jaatiwas a socio-economic model - religion was at one time pervasive - everythinginvolved religion. It is a universal principle. Since the Industrial Revolutionthe world has changed and the varna-jāti economical model is now defunct.Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma) is a philosophy of life concerned primarily withdukha (suffering) the causes and the solution. Economic paradigms do not answeror respond to the fundamental philosophical questions of life. Vedanta hasnothing to do with economical paradigms and hence the VJ system can happily bejettisoned in the 21st century.
There was nosystematic science and maths like we have today. Given that people were busy intheir family occupations through father-son apprenticeship, they would havelearnt the necessary trade knowledge in the family. A farmer would teach hisson practically. Physicians would have had their own private treatises to referto. Mass printing was started in Europe to print Bibles for various churchesacross Europe. There was no compelling need here to read religion from a book.Religion was spread through means of stories, songs and poems to generalpopulace. So, without mass printing, how would you expect to impart educationto as many people as possible? And why would people learn what they don't need.The nature of economy did not support education for all, unlike today wheninformation has exploded. The priest never learnt how to trade, and the tradernever learnt how to perform rituals.I would further like to ask- In whichcountry , was there a Universal Education system,-AFRICA Europe ,Middle East,North America ,South America ,Australia ,China ,Russia . where please checkand tell me ?Most of Religious books got translated in only late 19century?Before that they were only in hands of few.
The real problem waslack of dignity of some occupations due to notions of purity, and excessprestige of others, and this became rigid into a belief that abilities werehereditary. Breaking these misconceptions, and providing equal dignity, is theykey to dismantling discrimination based on caste. In today's world, the desireto make India progress has definitely made many to practice equality, and thiswill remain the motivator, and much needs to be done.
The problemsassociated with every hierarchical structure are the same - all based on greedand self-interest — exploitation, oppression, prejudice, discrimination,dissimulation, cruelty etc. etc.
So we see as societychanges norms, values and hierarchies change. So it was in Europe as well - butthe europeans were quick to respond to socio-economic changes becoz they werenot under Foreign Occupation but Indians are slow - still operating onVictorian models of 100 years ago.
If u consider IndianSociety without Hindu concept of Varna for a moment,U will realize that thisarrangement was common with all other societies n things were same.People neverthought it wrong. It is just that Hinduism is more refined and it went furtherin its description.
The greatest error ofmodern critics of Hindu Varna-Jaati is “presentism”. In literary and historicalanalysis, presentism is the anachronistic introduction of present-dayideas,values and perspectives into depictions or interpretations of ancientworks - they need to be analysed within their context and not through a modernlens .This presentation is called “Presentism” becoz we apply modern humanisticvalues in judgement upon ancient defunct texts.Nowadays much of criticalcommentary stems from “Presentism” - projecting todays’ values onto ancienttexts - which is a deeply flawed methodology. One needs to understand the textsin context and in comparison to similar texts.
You cannot judge asociety of 3000 years ago by our present modern values. Freedom is apost-modern concept. Every society is in transition and evolving. 200 years agothe British transported women who stole potatoes to feed their starvingchildren, to Australia for 7 -8 years. people were hanged in England forstealing anything above 40 pounds in value. The British had a very rigorousclass system. Gays have been outcasts in European society till 50 years ago. Itwas after the invasions and the colonization that the stratification got reallybad. Heck, when Marco Polo visited India in the 13th century, he said that bothmen and women walked around more or less naked and it was not consideredanything. He was pretty puritanical and pissy about it. Then came the Islamicinvasions, mass rape and worse - then women had to cover head to toe andrestrictions increased over time to the point many communities didn’t allowtheir womenfolk to go outside due to the danger then it became a “custom”.
Most folks today seethe ancient world retroactively through the lens of their current situationinstead of doing a mental time-travel thing and putting themselves back intime.
Life spans were shortin them days (40 - 50 years was very old) — and the imperative for most peoplewas to learn a trade and get to work, get married at puberty - have as manykids as possible because 1/3rd of them would die before their first birthday.
In the old days peoplehad to walk for kilometers to rivers to wash clothes and fetch water -sometimes twice a day. Then there was milking, churning, cooking, cleaning,child-rearing - 24/7 …
The only way to get aneducation was to learn the trade of your father and your community.
To study one Veda ittook a full-time study of 12 years ending at age 21. Most commoners wereparents of numerous children by then.
BUT there was a majorrevolution in 1439 when a German guy invented a printing press - not long after,printed books began appearing in India and in a flash we arrive at the 21stcentury when all the Vedas and allied literature is now IN PRINT!
This is also indicatedby Maslow's hierarchy. You need to satisfy the bottom tiers before you move up (esteem)and before Industrial Revolution in 18 century,most people were busy satisfyingtheir Basic needs. Context and perspective is important. All of humancivilisation for the past 100,000 years has been by default imperfectstruggling for perfection. We need to time-travel to make judgements, sittingin our comfortable middle class lounges, sipping chardonnay in AC with surroundsound is not a base for harsh judgements of past systems.
One need to get thepoint -
There is hierarchy(pecking order) in every living species on the planet. Dominance hierarchy isimprinted in our biological and genetic DNA.Individuals are constantlycompeting for dominance in every sphere of existence — as with individuals sowith groups.humans are social being. We eventually seek to form groups and likeminded people get together.
Hindu scripturesreflect reality. So an hierarchy of power and value is mentioned but there aremany variations on what exactly the hierarchy is.Hierarchy is a naturalphenomenon. If you watch David Attenborough’s nature series you would know thatsocial hierarchy is natural to every almost species and especially primates.The difference is that chimpanzees - our nearest cousins have a male dominatedhierarchy (patriarchy) and bonobos have a matriarchy. Even lobsters have ahierarchy as Dr. Jordan Peterson has illustrated. Hinduism teaches
There is a naturalhierarchy in every society. People have different “social value” - a pediatricheart surgeon has great social value than a car- salesman or a lawyer. A nursehas greater social value than a priest. All living beings have “intrinsicvalue” because they are all manifestations of God. We should treat all beingswith respect, kindness, consideration, equality, compassion and generosity. Inother words we should practice the Golden Rule - treat others as you would likethem to treat you.
Supremacism n Elitismin Caste like Japanese feudalism n Chinese imperial bureaucracy hv origins insociology n economics. Skilling limitations, less opportunities due 2hereditary transference of knowledge coupled vd stagnant urbanisation resultsin system like caste.It dies vd economic prosperity andeducation.
Every complexsophisticated society on earth has a hierarchy based either on power orcompetence or both.
Every power hierarchyhowever benign and benevolent at inception tends towards exploitation,oppression and tyranny.
Every human being willseek his/her advantage at the expense of others unless restrained by some moralforce. All primates naturally care for their own circle or tribe and willexploit and plunder others mercilessly.
Fear of the other,stereotyping, racism, tribalism, discrimination and all forms of separativejudgment and rationality are inherent human qualities which need to beoverridden by moral and ethical teachings and practice.
Our ego and thesubconscious craving for recognition led to the scientific and technologicaldiscoveries and inventions, the masterpieces in different forms of art, and,ultimately, to the creation of modern civilization. Our aggressive andcombative behavior, the desire to compete and dominate, to occupy the highestposition in the hierarchy, to be a part of the elite are the essential innatefeatures of human nature.
Obviously all thischanged with the market forces. Nowadays few people work in their hereditaryprofessions. The problems associated with the caste/class system are theuniversal ones — prejudice, discrimination, oppression, exploitation, corruption,coercion, etc. These faults are found in all Human Societies wherever they are.Even the Soviets and Chinese couldn’t eradicate the class system in theirCommunist Utopias.
These kind ofdiscriminations existed in every Society n Civilization n Culture at thattimes.Anybody can look this from China,Japan,Korea,Africa,America To EuropeanSocieties. All these societies reformed by themselves becoz there was noForeign entity reforming them. The main Problem is Hindus were never given thechance to correct things. by their own,Instead People who destroyed India maderules n labels for Indians ,
Castes in a Global Perspective - Is Caste Only a HinduProblem? (Part 6) - ChakraNews.com
We can relate to this- People evolve, moral ideas - ie. Dharma changes -even the Shastra says if ateaching or custom is repulsive or objectionable to the people it should beabandoned. So Dharma is democratic and is constantly evolving. Many things wedid 2000 years ago we find horrible now. 200 years ago the British exiled womento Australia for 7 years for stealing bread or potatoes to feed their starvingchildren. If a hungry man stole chicken he was hanged. For 400 years theEuropeans plied the transatlantic slave trade. Women were treated aspossessions and only given the vote in 1900. Until 50 years ago homosexualswere imprisoned for 2 years - today they have marriage equality. So allsocieties evolve and get better with every passing year.
Ambedkar did not lookat the Condition of Hindu society which was very poor with abject poverty amongmasses.He did not consider this fact that India was under Muslim n Chrsitianrule for 1000 years.The Mobility between different Varna n Jatis was reducedafter Islamic invasions .The Britishers made it officially static.Atleast sometime should have been given to Hindus for Reform.Did Ambedkar not notice theReform Movements which Hindus were running like Arya Samaj,Brahmo Samaj etc.Tell me in Europe too , The majority of the population were serfs and wereexploited, down trodden and lived in abject poverty while the Christian clergyand nobles lived in extravagant luxury.why they did not left Christianity.TheBlacks were persecuted n were forced into slavery ,But they did not leaveChristianity in America n Africa.The Arabs never considered Asian Muslims asEquals and exploited them.Why they did not left Islam. Why so partiality withHinduism ?India was suffering from abject poverty at that times .Millions ofpeople died in Famines every year .Islamic rule had already ravaged India ,Itdestroyed lakhs of temples , its indigenous education centres . Jawahar lalNEHRU said this - “ The impact of the invaders from the north-west and of Islamon India had been considerable. It had pointed out and shone up the abuses thathad crept into Hindu society -the petrification of caste, untouchability,exclusiveness carried to fantastic lengths.” Jawaharlal Nehru, wrote in hisbook Discovery of India, 1946 p. 218. Social stagnation in India startedhappening around 13th-14th century which Ambedkarite claim 5000 years ofoppression. Many "Dalit" castes were created during the Mughal timeas many were pushed into 'dirty' occupations.It so happened that that time period was already ripe forsocial stagnation to happen. Ritual purity was getting more and more strong.This notion of purity actually an influence of Jainism and Buddhism. Nowincreased massively with Islamic disruption of society.
Caste system in modernday India:
Caste system todaycontinues to be characterized by hierarchy, hereditary and endogamy. Somepositive aspects include the beauty of diversity, community and brotherhood,shared customs, traditions and ancestors, social security and trade expertise.The downsides are obvious – discrimination, violence, one group looking downupon another, social prejudices, untouchability and so on. Disadvantagesoutweigh the benefits since it is now a tool in the hands of unscrupulouspoliticians for vote bank politics and of course, with the latest CambridgeAnalytica scandal exposing caste-based research by Indian political parties, itis more than obvious that caste data can be used for anything includingundermining democracy. Destabilizing forces in India play a key role in firstcreating and then deepening the fault lines between say Dalit/Dravidian groupsand the rest of Hindu community, for instance.
In conclusion, Ido not believe, even for a moment, that everything was fine and dandy in theIndian society before caste was imposed. Of course, there was some amount ofinequality, discrimination, one group looking down upon another and severalother social grievances. But find me one place and time in history or even todaywhere everything and everyone was/is equal?! What I do find remarkable aboutthis Varna-Jaati civilization is that they did NOT indulge in mass genocides(both physical and cultural), violent language wars, aggressive and forcefulreligious conversions, massive destruction of public properties likeuniversities and places of worship, persecutions and illegal wars.
No country in theworld is free from inequalities. A constant human endeavour for moremoney and more power ensures that. A discriminatory system has been widespread,whether it worked against non-Christians, non-Muslims, blacks, homosexuals,women, AIDS patients or lepers. The racism that was historically prevalent inwestern societies and continues in various forms today is also a kind of perniciouscaste system. The holocaust has been blamed on Nazism andanti-Semitism, but few have noticed the caste system in which it was embeddedEven the United Nations Security Council has its own caste system with justfive permanent members, which have veto powers. The graduates from Ivy Leagueuniversities and members of exclusive clubs enjoy their own caste privileges.
It can be arguedthat India has put together the world’s biggest affirmative action plancalled “Reservations” to help the historically disadvantaged castes. Withreserved slots in government schools and colleges, positions in governmentservices and seats in electoral constituencies, there has been a massive effortto be inclusive. Whether the effort has yielded results or hasresulted in a “reverse caste system” is something that needs to be examined.
Those who ask try toargue that one's birth cannot be the criterion for the choice of one's work.Should we continue with the philosophy of birth driven fate in this world? Ifthey are considered as age old practices that perpetuate ignominy in ourculture, why not the caretakers of our religion should declare it null andvoid.
Well, I will ask tosend yourself back in a time machine - before government sponsored publiceducation. How would a person get an education or learn a trade? It was fromtheir fathers or their family. So priests son’s were priests, carpenter’s sonswere carpenters etc.Nowadays everyone gets education and few people followtheir traditional professions and everyone can follow a career of theirchoosing, therefore judging a person by their birth is wrong and should becondemned at every level.But registering a person’s caste on their ID card onlyreinforces and perpetuates the patriarchal hierarchical caste system.
The modernstratification of caste-identity in India and its bizarre expressions is anoutcome of the institutionalized policies of the British and Indian governmentsabetted by the Marxists and minorities, as well as poverty and lack ofopportunities for growth. It is not due to any imagined perversity of theoriginal classification of society in Hindu traditions.One example- acc. toHinduism- all Farming n Cattle breeding related works come under VAISHYA butOur Constitutions say otherwise.
A knowledge of Historywould be useful in understanding this .All the major religions and culturessince the beginning of time are guilty of discrimination, oppression,subjugation and exploitation at some stage in their history, and much of thisdiscrimination is sanctioned in their Holy Books (B & Q) by order of God.Both the B and the Q endorse slavery and a two tiered system of people -chosen/elite and the rejected or damned. The chosen heading to heaven and therejected going straight to eternal damnation and torture. This is ETERNALdiscrimination and torture which is far worse a doctrine than caste. The bigdifference is that the discriminatory practices of the caste system are adisgraceful social issue and are not endorsed by the Veda, Upanishads or theGita. So they are man-made as opposed to divinely sanctioned practices.
I suggest you study upon the European religious wars, the Inquisition, the witch-burning, slavery,the anti-semitism and diabolical treatment of the Jews in European Christiancountries for 1900 years culminating in the murder of 6,000,000 of them duringthe 2nd WW — just because of their religion — now THAT is discrimination!! howracism is the foundation of the Western university; epistemicide, i.e.destruction of knowledge of indigenous peoples.
1. Burning oflibraries of all rival peoples (including Muslims and the Aztecs) 1/2
Indigenouspre-Christian oral knowledge held by European women was destroyed by burningwomen’s bodies (witch-hunts; women’s bodies were living books). Then read aboutthe Islamic Jihad and the conquest of North Africa, Spain and the Middle East,and of course India and the discriminatory treatment of the unbelievers andschismatics. (Still on-going) Then read up on the history of conquest andsettlement of the Americas, the genocide of the natives and their subjugationand impoverishment. Then take a peek at the civil war in USA and browse the JimCrow laws. Then pop down to Australia to check out the treatment that the Aboriginesreceived the notorious “aboriginal hunts” in which they were hunted and killedlike animals and the deplorable conditions that they suffered and are stillsuffering. And on and on it goes — discrimination is not unique to Hinduism —it is a universal phenomena which all civilised nations are now working on inorder to rectify. Gender, race, sex and class inequality is still on the frontpage of the Western political agenda today!
Until the separationof Church and State religion and ethnicity and nationality were one and thesame. Christian and Muslim wars of conquest are the same. Hindus never extendedtheir empire to South East Asia through warfare - it occurred though gentletrade. Christians were responsible for untold tragedies in the world, theextermination of the natives of America is one of their outstandingachievements. The destruction of the vast libraries of the Incas and Mayas andtheir temples is still fresh. Then we need to discuss anti-Semitism -especially in Germany. The Jews have been the most hated and targeted group inChristendom since the alleged crucifixion. A pernicious and irrational hatredwhich was theologically justified and practically perpetrated by Holy MotherChurch - culminating in the holocaust. Ask the Jews what they think aboutChristianity.
Then there is the“Stolen Generation” - native children stolen from their parents are forced toconvert to Christianity in USA and Australia. Then let’s also not forget thehundreds and thousands of victims of clergy abuse. The list of inequities isvery long Warren.
Criminal tribe Act
Famines n Droughts
Epidemics n Plaguesduring 1000 yrs long Islamic n British rule there were also 6 waves of Cholerain India during 1820-1910 period n a massive Spanish flu in 1918 in which 3 -4crors people were killed all over India.all this is missing from History books.
Also British killedmore than 10 million Indians after 1857 revolt which they suspected. Creationof Zamindaari system by snatching of lands from Hindu Peasants. Creation ofScheduled Castes Creation of Caste system
British officials in1800s reports around 8 lakhs slaves in British governed indian territoriesacross Religious & communities. William Adam's book - Laws and customs ofslavery in British India this is completely skipped from our boooks
Destrucion ofClassical Europe by Christianity
Atlantic black slavetrade
Witch burning inEurope-more than 1 million women were killed as a result
British genocide inIndia in detail-killings n Epidemics.Vast numbers of Indians died due to thisneglect and bad sanitary practices in British made slums, that spread pandemicslike Malaria and Cholera.
Islamic invasion ofIndia
Slavery in India
Arab slave trade
Islamic conquest ofdifferent cultures
Creation of massiveuntouchability during islamic rule
Ambedkar severelyerrored on Hinduism . Hinduism by its very nature cannot be oppressive ordiscriminative since there is not one set of rules and regulations or standardsthat apply to everyone. There is no command and control structure and no one incharge.There is complete freedom to do as you please as long as it is legalaccording to civil law. No one is compelled to express belief in any dogmas orcreeds, to pray, fast, go to temple, eat vegetarian food, or to abstain fromalcohol of sex — it is up to the individual and his or her Karma — obviouslythere may be oppressive families and tyrannical patriarchs — but that hasnothing to do with religion.There was never any command and control structureand no one was ever in charge. The sacred law only applied to orthodox Brahminsand for them it was indeed be exceedingly oppressive The social disabilitiesand restrictions Brahmins submit to are overbearing for commoners and theBrahmins were forbidden to superimpose their values on others.reason whyHinduism can never be oppressive is because there never was any supervising andenforcing bureaucracy like in the Abrahamic religions.
Also,CheckSubhash ChandraGautam's answer to Do People convert out of Hinduism to other religions becozof Caste System?
There are 1.3 billionIndians - how many of them are involved in such atrocities, and is it based onShastra? If so, what are the verses they quote from Shastra to justify theircrimes? The overwhelming majority of crimes in USA are done by “Christians” -are they all religiously motivated crimes? Do they use the Bible to justifythem? Why is antisemitism on the rise in USA?
So ,stop being put inanxiety about the alleged persecution and discrimination 1000 years ago inIndia and lets’ move forward in peace and amity into the 22nd century. Anxietyabout the past only promotes DUKHA.
why do you dwell somuch on the past with such negativity bias? Why not celebrate the advances andimprovements in society? Why not look forward to the future in which all menand women and LGBTQIX will live in equality, peace and harmony? yad bhāvana tadbhavati - you become that very thing which you constantly contemplate. Try tobe a happy and peaceful and positive person - I really wish Neo-Buddhism willhelpNeo-Buddhists to become a bodhisattva rather than the preta they seem to be.
Oppression is there inIndia and in every other country as well (America is still fighting racial,gender and class disadvantage and exploitation and inequality). Reformationstarts with education. teaching youngsters about the true ethics of Hinduism -at school! The Environmental Movement is having huge success in westerncountries by teaching children at school - they then go home and hold theirparents accountable!! Likewise we need to start religious education in schoolsand the children will then change their own parents.
I would likeobjections to my answer in comment section.Check my comment
(Quora Moderation isdeleting my comment,So i am adding below)
Does Hinduism promotesInequality as said by Dr BR Ambedkar?
I am assuming you meanit in the post-modern Neo-Marxist sense of all humans being “equal” and areentitled to equity (equality of outcome).What u want is against NATURE.U wantan Utopian Social class of Darwinian order where all People r equal?
People’s efforts andcompetence vary. This will naturally lead to an unequal society. Inequality isnatural, found everywhere in nature. Thus, equality is an unnatural dogma.Where does it come from?From Judeo-Christian Values. Everyone can't be equal.Your skill ur strategy your struggle defines your future if everyone becamesame then why would anyone give time to job study work ? If you're gettingeverything for free.
Lack of discriminationon class? But discrimination is the very essence of class. Without that therewould be no class. You want a "classless society"? Has this everhappened in any country in any time? And why?Why would one treat everyoneequally? Those who have not studied should be treated equally to be rocketscientists or doctors? Rich and poor get treated equally in a 5-star?
Equality before law?But the law itself is unequal. And access to it is unequal. Who can afford togo to court? How many can access the Supreme Court? Inequality is part of the"system of justice." And if inequality is part of the justice, whatis justice?
Let's posit analternative. Instead of "equality" let us say our goal is to maximizehuman potential, or to maximize talent of a society. So one could do a broadtalent search to locate this talent, and focus on nurturing it, wherever itexists.
Here are two satiricalpieces
The Land of Equality, Part I
Land of Equality, Part II
In what biologicalsense are men and women equal? Do both sexes have the same reproductiveabilities, life-cycles, reactive dynamics, health issues etc?
Are all humans bornwith the same physical characteristics, talents, skills, intelligence,abilities, health, strength, character, self-management skills, aspirationsetc.? Are all humans born in the same socio-economic environment with the sameequal opportunities this affords?Do all humans have the same psychologicalprofile, aspirations and desires? So in what way are “all equal”?
Hinduism observesreality as it is and is pragmatic as opposed to idealistic in its approach.Hinduism teaches that on an ontological level of the jīvātman, all sentientbeings are “equal” in that we are all minute aspects of the totality of Being,the Unified Field. Popularly stated as “God dwells within each and everysentient being.” Hindus greet by saying NAMASTE which means “the divine in mesalutes the divine in you!” So from a spiritual perspective we are all equal.Hinduism teaches that people are born different, with different talents,skillsand aspirations.
Every individual isunique and has their own trajectory in life according to their Karma.Notwithstanding our biological and social differences, from a socialperspective, everyone should be given the same access to education, health-careand public transport - the three basic essentials for a modern society.
Everyone should beassessed and treated on the basis of their merits and not their caste,religion, socio-economic background, ethnicity or gender. Is it possible tohave equality of outcome? Clearly not - equity cannot be demonstrated nor is itlogically feasible
Social equality is afarce propagated by the followers of those religions which teach a true andpermanent inequality between followers (superior) and non-followers (inferior —“heathen”, “infidel”, etc). These religions teach a permanent spiritualinequality for eternity, while hypocritically preaching “universal brotherhood”
Hinduism, in itsinfinite wisdom, teaches spiritual equality of everyone, regardless of whetherthey are followers or non-followers. And in the mundane world, it says thatinequality in inevitable due to the material origin of mentions nature. No twotrees grow to the same heights, no two human beings are identical in theirtalents and abilities. Societies change with time, and social groups orindividuals rise and fall in their importance or status. So striving for autopian social equality is a futile attempt mentions In any case, Hinduismteaches that the ultimate goal of human life is to transcend society and thematerial world into a spirituality. Almost all Hindu saints and sages arepeople who were socially underprivileged, but spiritually rich.
Social equality is afanciful, unattainable pretense of the modern democratic world, which in factperpetrates many many types of social inequality.LEFT is doctrinated withuseless western social theories. It's a figment of imagination to achieve someutopian social justice.Utopia can never be achieved. Mao tried to usher in oneand ended up killing millions. I'd rather be in a realistic world where If Imake x widgets an hour, I should be paid more than someone who makes x/2widgets an hour irrespective of what our group identities are.
“Egalitarianism” is a20th century-spun. Abrahamisms had the worst form of human slavery till the20th century.
For example, someonewho spends years studying and doing research for a PhD doesn’t get paid even 1%of the money that a movie star with minimal education gets mentions paid for asingle movie. So even in this harmless situation, there are two types ofinequalities. And this, in a society which allows freedom of choice.
For another example,the top 0.1% richest people in the USA earn 188 times as much as the bottom90%.
AMBEDKAR ‘S PAPER -CASTES IN INDIA: THEIR MECHANISM, GENESIS AND DEVELOPMENT - RESPONSE
When investigatingancient social structures the most important factor is perspective and context.Modern social class categories do not really apply to ancient cultures.DrAmbedkar greatly errored here .The HINDU varṇa system refers to the classicalstructure of society first described in the Rig Veda where society described asa single socio-economic being (puruṣa) was divided into four sections: brahmins— teachers, priests, scholars, advisors were the head of the social entity, thekshatriyas — warriors and administrators were the arms of the social entity,the vaishyas — farmers, were the loins and the sudras — legs, were the support,the stabilizers and the locomotion of society. This was a purely idealisticdescription of society and not a socio-political functional model. Power inever society in invested in the economy and in those who control the means ofproduction.
The four Varnas are ageneral professional classification of human society — the same four categoriescan be found in every complex society.These were only a THEORETICAL
All politicians,governing agencies, law-enforcement, border protection, armed forces etc. are“Kshatriyas”.
All those who work inthe teaching, consulting and legal profession are categorised as “Brahmins”
Those who work infinance, investment, banking, entrepreneurs and investors, owners of the meansof production etc. are “Vaishyas”
And all those who workin service professions and vocations are “shudras”.
VARNA were merelyconventional designations signifying occupational differences and, since menwere free to change their occupations, these diffe-rences had no hereditary orgenetical basis.The distinctions between Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas andSudras are founded merely on the observance of diverse rites and the practiceof different professions. One who engages in trade comes to be known as amerchant, one who indulges in military pursuits is known as a soldier, and onewho administers the country a king. It was not by birth that one becomesmerchant, soldier orking but by the actions that one performs or the job onedoes.
Here is the Gist ofhis Paper - Castes in India: Their Mechanism, Genesis and Development -
In the paper, Ambedkarmade a presentation a social phenomenon that emerged from the strategy of theBrahmins who adopted a strictly endogamous matrimonial regime, leading theother groups to do the same in order to emulate this self-proclaimed elite. Hesaid that "the superposition of endogamy on exogamy means the creation ofcaste".
This is coming fromWestern Universalism where Situations in Europe is mapped into India
The Problem is -Therenever was any central organisation giving certificates of varna status topeople.there never was an administrative structure in place to ensure the varnastatus of any person ,the problem with forced Varna label is- is that there hasto be a central organisation and an administrative structure n bureaucracy inplace to ensure the compliance of the people fixed with varna and with theimposed varna behaviour n duties. There was no organized state machinery sovast and pervasive like in Europe and Middle East that it could enforce any ofthose laws outlined in the Dharmashastras, which were merely theoreticaltextbooks. Think about this-India consisted of more than 1000’s ofLanguages,Very few People spoke Sanskrit which is the Languages of Smritis.
the endogamy partdoesn't seem to have been too strict. Our puranas, itihasas, stories are fullof cross-jaati, cross-varna, even cross-species relationships and marriages,occurring usually without much objection or scandal.It was just a form oftribalism , a kind of extended family system gone even further to include peoplewith similar values and trade . They formed clans to fulfil their social needsand security . It is an ingenious system in which people of all varieties anddiversities were able to live together.Caste is neither race nor a system inIndia until the British devised & made it into one. No Indian emperor/kingmade lists. Caste was largely peer-regulated endogamous professional socialgroups. Aryan myth & Caste system are British gifts to India.
Historically, theBrahmins never had political sway over the population in the capacity of rulersand kings, (with the exception of a few sporadic examples). The education andSastras of brahmins were largely deemed unfit for making a living, up untilMcCaulay started the system of white collar jobs for ruling the empire cheaply,without having to pay high salaries to natives of Britain. Brahmins, with theirtraditional mastery over literary, linguistic and mathematical skills and aheridity wedded to poverty, jumped first to become the salaried employee classin the British Raj. In fact, some brahmins mistook the British empire as relieffrom centuries of Islamic oppression of Hindu religion and Brahmins' inparticular. The people who started with lowly clerical posts in courts,magistrate and accounting offices, within two generations, went on to becomesenior bureucrats, lawyers, judges, professors. The other upper castes withaccess to British education pretty much followed the same socioeconomic trend.The story of Brahmins, who probably never owned more than 2% of agriculturalresources (which was the only form of wealth in the pre 20th century anddespite being 8% of the total population) at any point in history, and whonever did any business whatsoever, has been rewritten by many political“reformers” in the 20th century to create a socio political bogeyman, whocontinues to provide a convenient political narrative, as you hinted, for anumber of political gains. Part of the blame must go to the Brahmins'themselves - the class of people who fought British tyranny vehemently fot over60 years became voluntarily complacent when the same acts of corruption,looting and deception are repeated under the 70 years of Congress rule by theNehru-Indira dynasty. Post independence, Brahmins' have forsaken theirtraditional life wedded to poverty, divinity and pure intellect, and startedchasing money in the public and private sector employment. They lost theircultural superiority, but never found the money they began chasing.
Now we get into moreDetails -
Humans evolved as socialanimals many centuries ago. We started off as nomadic creatures who hunted,farmed and reared animals. We were the simple folks who did manual labour andhardwork and found happiness in the mundane life. That was the foundation ofcivilisations.
Slowly when tribesformed, people started trading with each other to obtain necessary items.Barter system was established first and people gave what they had in excess inexchange for what they needed. Thus came to be the concept of traders whohelped the society progress .
As trades grew andresources in some places depleted, some rogue people decided to steal and loot.To protect themselves from such harms, some of the people fought. They providedprotection to their tribes and helped the workers and traders live peacefullyand safely. Warriors came to be so.
When societies becamemore complex, they needed leaders and guides. Philosophies were created andpreached by some. They became teachers. Since the teachers were wise, they hadthe power to command respect and decide on who would lead the people. Often thestrong, the warriors, would be the leaders while the wise would be the kingmakers. Thereby came to be the political masterminds and teachers. The men ofancient times had learned to worship the nature. Some of the wise regularisedand arranged methods of worship which slowly and over the centuries evolvedinto religions.
Why I wrote down thislong lesson of history is to show that the physical labourers, the farmers,artisans and the ones who do the day to day activities are the foundation ofthe society. If you see the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, you can see that themost basic needs of everyone are fulfilled by these people. That’s why they arethe base of every society.
Humans, like manyother mammals, live in various social groups. We often build a web ofrelationship known as the Kinship. Initially we were all in small bands ortribes & we were not in close contact with other groups. As we kept comingtogether to form more complex societies, some wanted to organize &formalize the group.
Band — Bands are thesmallest units. It is an informal group of a few dozen people who worktogether. It might not have a leader.
Clan — This is aslightly more matured group with a belief in a common origin & descent. InIndia, this roughly translates to Gotra.clans were in most ancient humansocieties. The clans formed a strong kinship & bonding among themselves.Also, most clans thought of others in the clan as brothers/sisters & thuswould not marry within the clan. The Khaps in Haryana take to this the extreme& can even give death sentences to those who marry within the clan.
Tribe — Mulitipleclans can come together to form a tribe & tribes can often be quite wellstructured. They can have their own leaders & build common culturalpractices. In many ancient societies, people married within the same tribe. Inshort, you marry out of a clan and within a tribe. In India, this roughlycorresponds to Jati.
Nations — Tribesformed even bigger groups named the nation. For instance, in the Battle of theTen Kings the tribal groups formed the nation of Bhāratas that won over theconfederation of 10 tribes in north India. Thus, we call our nation Bharat.
Division of labour —As we started forming civilizations, we also found it quite useful to dividework. Thus, some would produce milk, some would farm, others would weave etc.Like in other civilizations, India had this division of labor too. Thesedivisions then got superimposed over the much older clan & tribal divisions
It is the evolutionfrom hunter-gatherer to nomadic stock-herding to agriculture based society. InALL early civilisations there were four divisions of society — kings, priests,herders and farmers.
Ancient Hindu societywas very primitive and there were four sections to society, the nobility (Kshatriyas)the priests (Brahmins) the farmers and stock-breeders (Vaishyas)and all the rest — skilled and unskilled labourers and servants (Sudras.)
By around 3102 BCE orthe 4th Millennium BCE, humans figured a few awesome things that propelled usinto an era of technological advancements - we are still to witness since.During this time, we figured the following:
How to write - Which finally lead to the birth to‘History’ - anything that happened or is inferred before this time isconsidered pre-history (for all those getting confused about Indian epicspre-dating this timeline, remember, they are known as Shrutis or bookstransferred through hearing and memory).
How to growcrops - which lead to theadvent of the first human settlements. Leading to development of languages andeven music - this is the time when humans get their first pets as well.
How to make pottery onpotter’s wheel - Which helpedhumans store produce and water. The knowledge earned while making pottery wasapplied in metallurgy as well.
How to build sailboats - which lead tothe first cross country voyages and the advent of trade and exchange of ideas.
How to smelt Bronzefrom Copper and Tin -This was such a huge technological leap in human evolution that historiansnamed this era as the Bronze Age (3000 BCE to 1200 BCE).
The Indiancaste-system started in an unsophisticated agrarian society of 5000 years agoin which there were basically four possible vocations - (1) priest/scholar, (2)chieftain/warrior, (3) farmer/stockman or (4) labourer/craftsmen.
Leaving aside thefirst 2 vocations as being non-productive, we take a peek at the other two. Theeconomy of such an agrarian society was static and consisted of internal barterand exchange of goods and services. Trade did not develop until farmers beganproducing surplus. With a surplus of food they could began trading with othercommunities, villages, towns, kingdoms etc.
Trade then requiredtraders and brokers who received payment and thus wealth gradually accumulated.With the accumulation of surplus wealth an interest arose in fine goods. So thefourth estate rose to the challenge and started producing fine goods:–textiles, jewellery, pottery, tools and utensils - pots, pans, cups, platesetc.
The erstwhile farmers(vaishyas) abandoned farming and took to trading, shopkeeping, banking and toexpanding foreign markets – exporting and importing goods.
The former labours(sūdras) took up the farming and stock-breeding as well as all the crafts andconstruction.
This economicexpansion atomised the previous simple “varna-system” into hundreds ofdifferent jātis - which were highly skilled and professional guilds. Each andevery craft, and vocation was managed by a single community that had a monopolyon production. For example there were the weavers and their guilds which at onetime in the 1700’s had a virtual monopoly on the world’s textile production.Only the caste-weavers and no one else was employed in the textile manufacture.
Goldsmiths and silversmithshad their own guilds and would only employ and train men of their own caste,likewise for the sculptors, engineers, builders, carpenters, blacksmiths,ship-builders, tanners, cobblers, mechanics etc. name any vocation orprofession and they had their caste-guilds. And this is how the“caste-by-birth” meme was entrenched in Indian society, because you would learnthe trade of your father and become a member of the guild. There was novocational choice or mobility between guilds.
This structure and divisionresulted in highly skilled and specialist craftsmanship requiring cooperationand partnership with other guilds. For example a cart-builder would require thecooperation of the woodsmen, carpenters, wheel-makers, blacksmiths andleather-workers.
So there was anextensive network of cooperation and exchange of goods and services acrosssociety - and ancient India was renowned for the quality of the goods produced.
Needless to say theformer unemployed and economically unproductive warriors and priests fittedthemselves into the emerging complex economy by taking to farming,stock-breeding, security work, or in the case of the priests under the British-found employment in the expanding educational system and the extensive andcomplex bureaucracy.
As society developedand commerce and international trade flourished and expanded, mainly under theGuptas in the 3rd century, society underwent a drastic change. We now have theproliferation of jātis — thousands of new professional guildsemerging in keeping with the ever increasing of goods and services.there was anexpansion of temple building which required huge investment, labour and workersas well as the congregants to supply the services and income — all theseprojects relied on the work and financial support of Sudra-vaishya majority.
For a Society tofunction,u need different people who have different abilities,aptitudes,skillsto contribute in society..Hinduism is the oldest religion on earth that is min.5000 years old. Origins of Varna system. Compare old world with todays modernworld n u will get why at that point of time Varna system maked Sense .It wasmade when then there were no formal training centers for any particularprofession in India,In Ancient times,There was no car,train,or any such modernequipment that we use today.I am talking about a time when there was nocar,planes,trains,electricity,Internet etc
Suppose your fatherwas a blacksmith, so at the age of 6, the moment you were ready, you startedplaying around with the hammer and anvil. By the time you were 8, your fathersaw that you anyway wanted to hit it, so it was better to hit it with somepurpose. By the time you were 12, you were on the ,the time you were 18 or 20,you had some craft and expertise on your hand to make your own living. So ifyour father was a blacksmith, you became a blacksmith; if your father was agoldsmith, you became a goldsmith. Each profession developed its own trainingcenters within the family structure because that was the only training center;all the craft, professionalism and skills in the society could only evolve likethis. If you are a blacksmith, you do not try to go and do a goldsmith's job,you just do a blacksmith's job because we need a blacksmith in the society.When people multiplied and became a thousand blacksmiths, naturally they hadtheir own way of eating, their own way of marriage and their own way of doingthings, so they formed a caste. There is really nothing wrong with it if youlook at it on one level. It was just a certain arrangement of convenience forthe society. Between a blacksmith and a goldsmith, the kind of hammer they use,how they work, how they look what and how they eat, everything was naturallydistinctly different because the type of work was very different. It is over aperiod of time that it became a means for exploitation. We started saying thata man who runs the temple is better than a man who runs the school. A man whoruns the school is better than a man who runs the blacksmith shop. These aredifferences,everybody has to do something. But we established differences asdiscriminations over a period of time. If we had just maintained thedifference, we would have been a nice, colorful culture; but we made itdiscriminatory. These kind of discriminations existed in every Society nCivilization n Culture at that times.Anybody can look this fromChina,Japan,Korea,To European Societies.
Caste system develops,when the worth difference within a society sharpens to such a point that thesocial superior shuns fellowship and intermarriage with the inferior, thuscreating a society made up of closed hereditary classes. This happened inEuropean history for centuries. For example, among the Saxons of the eighthcentury social divisions were cast-iron, and the law punished with death theman who should presume to marry a woman of rank higher than his own. TheLombards, claims Ross, killed the serf who ventured to marry a free woman,while the Visigoths and Burgundians scourged and burned them both. Among theearly Germans a freedman remained under the taint of ancestral servitude untilthe third generation, i.e., until he could show four free-born ancestors.
As class lines harden,the upper class becomes more jealous of its status and resists or retards theadmission of commoners, however great their merit or wealth. This was themotivation of observed caste lines in the Roman Empire. Castes become a meansto block social mobility. Over time, it does not matter if an individual hasmerit or talent or creative energy. The birth or purity of blood becomes moredecisive for social status than the differences of occupation or wealth whichraised up the original social inequalities. Look for more details on globalperspectives and for “Thelast untouchable in Europe”.
The caste system wasjust a way of organising society and establishing hierarchy - it is common toall biological systems and every society on earth - even the Communists have acaste/class system with advantages and disadvantages for the elect.Manyclassical societies of the world had pre-modern social systems worse thanIndia. When transformed into modern states they dealt with unequal socialsystems by banning such official lists ®isters. If you want equalsociety you should stop using unequal measures-
What is deplorable isnot the structure, its the oppression, exploitation, suppression,discrimination etc. that humans engage in when given the opportunity - againcommon to all societies. How was the medieval Christian society with itscaste-system? How were the peasants treated? The system itself is not bad aslong as there are possibilities of human flourishing and access to health andeducation and social services. The ultimate form of spiritual discrimination isposited by Christianity and Islam - eternal sadistic torture for allunbelievers - for ETERNITY and the exaltation and bliss for the believers. InHinduism there is a human hierarchy based on many conditioning factors but theSelf(atman) is the same in all beings and all Selves will ultimately bereunited in the Godhead.
Since ages, there hasbeen a constant evolution in the way people make money. Times change,technology changes & incomes have only increased in the past decades. Thosewho moved with the time & upgraded themselves, they flourished. Those whodidn't, perished. Subjective or objective division will always be there in thebasis of Money , Muscle , Intellect , Religion , Caste , Job , Profession etc .It's a worldwide phenomenon. Political establishment will always create theirbase either by mutuality of interest or by division.
Simple fact is thatmedieval geopolitical and sociopolitical dynamics can not be judged by 21stcentury standards.
Hindu society as if itis a monolith that has existed unchanged since the beginning. There areinnumerable examples from ancient times when birth-based caste did not exist,and people chose their vocation freely. Please read more about the history ofbirth-based caste. It started only in the early centuries AD, and onlyprogressively became stricter. Even so, there are countless examples frommedieval times where “caste” was never a barrier for occupations. For example,most kings of medieval kingdoms were Shudras. The founders of the greatVijayanagara empire were shepherds.The communities in traditional India eachspecialized in an occupation useful to society. Each of those communities as aunit wielded sufficient power proportionate to their expertise, that they wereself-governing units. There was no organized state machinery so vast andpervasive that it could enforce any of those laws outlined in theDharmashastras, which were merely theoretical textbooks..No culture orcivilization in the past had social equality, and no modern democracy or nationhas social equality. This comparative perspective is essential to get anunbiased and sincere view.
Varna was only atheoretical description based on what the person is currently engagedwith.There never was any central organisation giving certificates of varnastatus to people.there never was anadministrative structure in place to ensure the varna status of any person, Theproblem with forced Varna label is- is that there has to be a centralorganisation and an administrative structure n bureaucracy in place to ensurethe compliance of the people fixed with varna and with the imposed varnabehaviour n duties .The pre-colonial written record in royal court documentsand traveller accounts studied by professional historians and philologists likeNicholas Dirks, GS Ghurye, Richard Eaton, David Shulman and Cynthia Talbot showlittle or no mention of caste.
Social identities wereconstantly malleable. "Slaves" and "menials" and"merchants" became kings; farmers became soldiers, and soldiersbecame farmers; one's social identity could be changed as easily as moving fromone village to another; there is little evidence of systematic and widespreadcaste oppression or mass conversion to Islam as a result of it. All theavailable evidence calls for a fundamental re-imagination of social identity inpre-colonial India.
IMPACT Of COLONIAL ANDINVASIONS ON SOCIETY -
Before British ,Hindulaw was never been formalised or applied uniformly anywhere in India or otherHindu kingdoms and empires in South East Asia for over 2000 years. the natureof the judiciary and legal system in India has been extremely complex over themillennia reflecting the multifarious diversity of Indian society, and anegregious attempt to rationalise and regulate it caused immense disruptionwhich echos even today. The Laws of Manu are incredibly complex, contradictory,out-dated and simply impossible to apply in any practical way or real-timesituation - ever! So they never formed the basis of any legal framework in anyHindu kingdoms in India or South-east Asia EVER. it was the description of whatthose many authors saw as the IDEAL society - it never was the basis of anyreal practical law in any Indian state. The British resurrected Manusmriti
The Laws of Manu areincredibly complex, contradictory, out-dated and simply impossible to apply inany practical way or real-time situation - ever! So they never formed the basisof any legal framework in any Hindu kingdoms in India or South-east Asia EVER.it was the description of what those many authors saw as the IDEAL society - itnever was the basis of any real practical law in any Indian state.
British created astatic mapping of varna and jati. They forced everyone into a varna. There were100s of kgs of letters in protest. Isn't it strange that for a system which wassaid to be frozen for 5000 years, people were contesting their varna. Shouldn'teveryone have known?
This doesnot meanDiscrimination was not there.-All kinds of discrimination is present in everysociety. This keeps changing. A zamindari system was created, on the lines ofEuropean feudalism. Lords had power over the commoners. The power-holdersbecame a jati. This is the core of discrimination.
What aboutUntouchables than ?-No one was untouched via successive invasions. Read bookabout formation of "untouchables" during Islamic invasion, when thepractise of carrying night soil around camps came about. Many British-time"untouchables" were formerly defeated kshatriyas.Yes, the defeatedkhsatriyas lost status, and were often pushed into degrading roles by invaders.They also themselves felt defeated and the status for the entire clan waslowered, they would move to the outskirts.
Here is a good book onthe group of SC and ST during Muslim rule. https://hindupost.in/review-of-growth-of-scheduled-tribes-and-castes-in-medieval-india-by-ks-lal/
the problem is withabsolutism. No one is claiming "no discrimination existed" or"British created everything." British created something they calledthe "caste system." This does not mean no discrimination, atrocityetc. happened in India before this.But if you look at the kind of socialstratification and institutionalized slavery & racism that was present insocieties across the world, India was at least as much, if not more advancedfor most of history.
Birth-based socialhierarchy is a very European idea where social privilege and rank was carriedby birth. Note how there is an explicit hierarchy of titles (which get passeddown by primogeniture) Archduke, Duke, Marquis, Count, Earl , Viscount, Baron ,Lord, Gentleman.
No surprise then thatthe British tried to map Indian society to the Birth-based privileges in theirown society. Hence the creation and enumeration of "the castesystem." Not that "gentleman" is also a rank in the socialhierarchy, coming from the notion of "landed gentry."
The"aristocracy" was based on blood and race privilege in the Britishsystem of peerage and the landed gentry was below this. Landed gentry werethose who could live off of rental income from the underclass. The Mughals hadsimilarly created "zamindari."
Shoehorning Jati/zatinto Varna was the Colonial Contribution. Census took hierarchical Zamindariimposition & badged everyone according to their job or nostrilwidth/skull-length/skin Colour where job couldn’t fit. It was pure pragmaticadmin. 3 generations later internalized. Indians never used surnames untilcensus. These became ‘caste markers’. Jati was far more fluid before that.Varna hardly known unless you were super-devout minority. Look at caste-names:allrefer to Zamindari roles! Pattnaik, Patel, Chaudhary, Roy. Nothing to do withDharma! . Interesting to distinguish between Zat and Jati as subtly differentuses of the term. Etymology leaves a trail of clues to stimulate fresh thinkingas it doesn’t co-operate with political spin, expediency or power-playrevision. Understanding needs multi-lingual scholarship.
Eg - Zat and jati?.Oonchi-Zat/Neechi-Zat predates the Varna imposition. It refers to therespect/reward afforded over centuries by Zamindari. Persian/Mughal andaaz ofclass/elitism in culture, dress, appreciation of ‘finer things’. Complete withrace-based aristocracy being serviced by neechi-zat. Thus scholars, militaryleaders, accountants, landlords all oonchi zat. Workers all neechi zat. From myreading, Jati was not a way of indexing people, but a local colloquial term,source of personal esteem/belonging/shared welfare.Individuated/Monetized/ranked thru Zat lens.
We all know thatSouthern India is about 40% richer than the Indian average in PCI, while UP /BIhar are about 50% poorer than the Indian average. But when did this gaporiginate? I have a hunch the chasm has its roots in 19th century and in ThomasMunro https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_Thomas_Munro,_1st_BaronetThomas Munro was appointed the governor of Madras presidency in 1819. And heintroduced the Ryotwari system in 1820 - a system where the cultuvators (ryots)(anglicized form of Raitas - a dravidian word) paid the government directlyrather than through the Zamindar - a middleman.
In the North, therevenue assessment system retained the Mughal Zamindari paradigm. In fact theBritish solidified the system further by granting Zamindars more powers andland ownership rights While in the South, thanks to Munro, there was a shift tothe Ryotwari system in 1820 . I am not particularly well read on this. So thisis more of a musing than a theory. Would be good to hear if there are otherswho have studied this topic, who feel similarly and think the South Northeconomic divide originated with Munro's legislation . The great 19th centhinker John Stuart Mill who worked for several years for the East IndiaCompany wrote this about the Ryotwari system (in contrast to the Zamindari andMahalwari systems of north india -Ryotwari system is "the System whereevery registered holder of land is recognized as its proprietor, and pays rentdirectly to the Government""He is at liberty to sublet his property,or to transfer it by gift, sale, or mortgage. He cannot be ejected byGovernment so long as he pays the fixed assessment, and has the option annuallyof increasing or diminishing his holding, or of entirely abandoning it."(Contd..) . "In unfavourable seasons remissions of assessment are grantedfor entire or partial loss of produce. The assessment is fixed in money, anddoes not vary from year to year, ..........nor is any addition made to theassessment for improvements effected at the Ryot's own expense""Thepeasants under this system is virtually a Proprietor on a simple and perfecttitle, and has all the benefits of a perpetual lease without itsresponsibilities, inasmuch as he can at any time throw up his lands, but cannotbe ejected so long as he pays his dues"
These are fine wordshighlighting the virtues of the Ryotwari (or Raiyatwari) system from none otherthan JS Mill himself.Though I haven't studied the issue it appears the Ryotwarisystem incentivized better cultivation and also by making the peasantindependent of the control of any middlemen, it also permitted greater mobilityand possibly more rural-to-urban migration.So I did a thread of mostly idlespeculation wondering if Ryotwari vs Zamindari settlement choices had a lastingimpact on South vs North economic development paths (Contd..).Now I discover acouple of MIT researchers had asked the same question 14 yrs ago and concludedthat settlement choices are INDEED a significant variable! Here's thelink https://economics.mit.edu/files/511 Feels very good!
Here's what theresearchers concude - "We analyze the colonial land revenue institutionsset up by the British in India, and show that differences in historicalproperty rights institutions lead to sustained differences in economicoutcomes"
"Areas in whichproprietary rights in land were historically given to landlords (zamindars)have significantly lower agricultural investments and productivity in thepost-independence period than areas in which these rights were given tocultivators (ryots)" Hunches are useful!
Table 1 in the paperis useful. Here's an examination of the % of districts in major states inBritish Raj where the individual cultivator was assessed for revenue directlyBIhar- 0% Bengal - 0% MP- 10% Ori - 32% UP- 42% AP- 66% TN- 75% Har- 85%Punjab- 87% Kar- 100% Guj- 100%
A postscript : Itappears "ryot" derives from the Persian "Raiyat" and is notof Dravidian origin. Here's an alternative paper (HT:) that has a differentnarrative on the origins of the Raiyatwari system https://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/26718768/FOA-DISSERTATION-2016.pdf?sequence=1
The Britishinstitutionalized the "Zamindari" system on the basis of"caste" & made it hereditary.
There was No officialdocuments or register of castes before alien rule.A Billion Indians were being told that a 5%Minority, who were traditionally neither kings / muscle-men nor landlords wereable to keep a Billion population hypnotized into submission. Check WorldHistory n one will be surprised to notice that nobody ever have such power. Formillennia, India was a collection of village communities. Each village was,practically, self sufficient in terms of production and consumption of goods& services. People formed sub-communities on the lines of their profession/ skills.Society changes as its economics and politics changes, as happeningnow
It should be notedwhatever disabilities we read about imposed on lower castes, it is primarilydue to the foreign regimes who caused it through their religious, social andpolitical discriminations and atrocious polices towards Hindus in general.Untouchablity was primarily due to the abhorrence of most of Hindus populationtowards anybody who takes beef or any similar animal, irrespective of caste,religion etc. The primary reason for rapid increase in massive number of SCsand STs in medieval india is large scale fleeing of city and village dwellersto deep forests and mountains, on account of upon staying disconnected fromtheir original culture, these fleeing communities developed new set of ownrites, rituals etc which shaped their new culture in forests from oppressiveIslamic tax collectors and rulers...
Restrictions on entryof lower castes into temples was never a widespread phenomenon. In the book,the author has talked about the basic design of most of the temples in Indiawhich does not allow much of public space for masses and thus restricts most ofthe population in the city or village in its premises .However, in all publicevents like Rath Yatra or any event where God or Goddess is taken around in areligious procession, there is no historical evidence of any restrictions onbasis of caste or Creed , those times too like now, there were some orthodoxnarrow minded Who discriminated against lower castes but such population wasalways minimal and their action was never in vogue.till 19 century, in Europe,Education was only available to Feudals ,the church started educating thecommon masses only in 19 century copying from Education system in India
Indian caste system”was not“an infinitely more elaborate hierarchy” in which “the subcaste, orjati, to which a person was born established the occupation their family fulfilledfrom cleaners to priests in the temples” but what people ignores is that themajority of people born into the “priestly” jati/kula are not employed aspriests. May be, in ancient times, when there were few of them, all the Brahminmales served as priests, but even then, the priest was expected to serveGod/king/community by learning the sacred texts, maintaining the temple, andserving people. The priest, almost always, was expected not to pursue wealth,and Brahmins therefore were mostly poor, and they were expected to go beg forfood from members of the community they served.
Jati relations werevery complex. For some "low caste" jatis, Brahmins were untouchableand could not be allowed into their homes. Social distancing was also practised*within* Brahmin communities.This was reduced to a story of a single"hierarchy.
Although the varnasand jatis have pre-modern origins, the caste system as it exists today is theresult of developments during the post-Mughal period and the British colonialregime, which made caste organisation a central mechanism of administration.
Starting with the 19thcentury, the British colonial government passed a series of laws that appliedto Indians based on their religion and caste identification.These colonial eralaws and their provisions used the term "Tribes", which includedcastes within their scope. This terminology was preferred for various reasons,including Muslim sensitivities that considered castes by definition Hindu, andpreferred Tribes, a more generic term that included Muslims.
The British colonialgovernment, for instance, enacted the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871. This lawdeclared everyone belonging to certain castes to be born with criminaltendencies. Ramnarayan Rawat, a professor of History and specialising in socialexclusion in Indian subcontinent, states that the criminal-by-birth castesunder this Act included initially Ahirs, Gurjars and Jats, but its enforcementexpanded by the late 19th century to include most Shudras and untouchables,such as Chamars, as well as Sannyasis and hill tribes. Castes suspected ofrebelling against colonial laws and seeking self-rule for India, such as thepreviously ruling families Kallars and the Maravars in south India andnon-loyal castes in north India such as Ahirs, Gurjars and Jats, were called"predatory and barbarian" and added to the criminal castes list.Somecaste groups were targeted using the Criminal Tribes Act even when there wereno reports of any violence or criminal activity, but where their forefatherswere known to have rebelled against Mughal or British authorities, or thesecastes were demanding labour rights and disrupting colonial tax collectingauthorities.
The colonialgovernment prepared a list of criminal castes, and all members registered inthese castes by caste-census were restricted in terms of regions they couldvisit, move about in or people with whom they could socialise. In certainregions of colonial India, entire caste groups were presumed guilty by birth,arrested, children separated from their parents, and held in penal colonies orquarantined without conviction or due process. This practice becamecontroversial, did not enjoy the support of all colonial British officials, andin a few cases this decades-long practice was reversed at the start of the 20thcentury with the proclamation that people "could not be incarceratedindefinitely on the presumption of [inherited] bad character". Thecriminal-by-birth laws against targeted castes was enforced until the mid-20thcentury, with an expansion of criminal castes list in west and south Indiathrough the 1900s to 1930s. Hundreds of Hindu communities were brought underthe Criminal Tribes Act. By 1931, the colonial government included 237 criminalcastes and tribes under the act in the Madras Presidency alone.
While the notion ofhereditary criminals conformed to orientalist stereotypes and the prevailingracial theories in Britain during the colonial era, the social impact of itsenforcement was profiling, division and isolation of many communities of Hindusas criminals-by-birth.
Eleanor Nesbitt, aprofessor of History and Religions in India, states that the colonialgovernment hardened the caste-driven divisions in British India not onlythrough its caste census, but with a series of laws in early 20th century. TheBritish colonial officials, for instance, enacted laws such as the LandAlienation Act in 1900 and Punjab Pre-Emption Act in 1913, listing castes thatcould legally own land and denying equivalent property rights to othercensus-determined castes. These acts prohibited the inter-generational andintra-generational transfer of land from land-owning castes to anynon-agricultural castes, thereby preventing economic mobility of property andcreating consequent caste barriers in India.
Nicholas Dirks hasargued that Indian caste as we know it today is a "modernphenomenon," as caste was "fundamentally transformed by Britishcolonial rule." According to Dirks, before colonialism caste affiliationwas quite loose and fluid, but the British regime enforced caste affiliationrigorously, and constructed a much more strict hierarchy than existedpreviously, with some castes being criminalised and others being givenpreferential treatment.
De Zwart notes thatthe caste system used to be thought of as an ancient fact of Hindu life andthat contemporary scholars argue instead that the system was constructed by theBritish colonial regime. He says that "jobs and education opportunitieswere allotted based on caste, and people rallied and adopted a caste systemthat maximized their opportunity". De Zwart also notes that post-colonialaffirmative action only reinforced the "British colonial project that exhypothesi constructed the caste system".
Sweetman notes thatthe European conception of caste dismissed former political configurations andinsisted upon an "essentially religious character" of India. Duringthe colonial period, caste was defined as a religious system and was divorcedfrom political powers. This made it possible for the colonial rulers to portrayIndia as a society characterised by spiritual harmony in contrast to the formerIndian states which they criticised as "despotic and epiphenomenal",with the colonial powers providing the necessary "benevolent, paternalisticrule by a more 'advanced' nation".
BR Ambedkar enactedthe most violative “Hindu Codes of conduct” Hindu code bills - Wikipedia inRajya Sabha directly, without consulting the Lok Sabha. He accused ManuSmritiof introducing caste system & making women slaves. These false pretextswere out rightly rejected by Pandit Malviya ji. However because of a hurry inpassing this bill for the purpose of breaking down Hindu Families byintroducing a strange thing like divorce, to make Hindus similar to Islam &European divorces, this Act was hurriedly passed in 1950s. This Act has taken alarge number of lives of Hindus rather than done any good.
BR Ambedkar never hadany knowledge of Sanatan Dharma or Hinduism. He got carried away by Arabic& Medieval European caste systems which were introduced through the BritishCensus in 1901 in India. BR Ambedkar completely ignored that it was theHammurabi code Code of Hammurabi - Wikipedia of Ancient Babylonia (now Iraq)which legalized slavery & equated good wives with prostitutes. He didcomplete rumor mongering and was extremely ignorant of real Santan Dharma.
BR Ambedkar also did asevere damage by introducing caste based reservations. In order to understandthis , one needs to know, that India never had a caste system. India had gotrasystem (biological family tree, biological family rights, extended and jointfamily systems) for personal relationships which no other country or continenthad. This biological family tree was also part of the legal framework of Familycourts in Ancient India. The courts had sufficient powers to keep the societyintact and the societal aspirations grow. Which is why the Family courtsaccepted a family upto 4th generation as a single unit of Family.
Refer - http://www.allahabadhighcourt.in/event/TheIndianJudicialSystem_SSDhavan.pdf for Ancient Indian Justice Systems whichwere far superior to the English Court systems.
The caste systems inIndia was introduced by the British in their 1901 census by erroneously mixingup communities (jatis) with caste. They could never understand our concept oflarge families where many people stayed in spacious houses and enjoyed thesocial security which most countries never had.
Refer - Census ofIndia prior to independence - Wikipedia
This was superimposedon a flexible & fluid society which had varna systems
After Independence, BRAmbedkar continued with the legalization of the Medieaval European Castesystems superimposed on India. Also introduced the caste reservation concepts
Let us take some of Ambedkar's Assertions
1 - Hinduism is a False Religion
Is Hinduism a false religion?
Originally Answered: Is Hinduism true?
In order to answer this question we need to define two words - “Hinduism” and “Truth”.
“Hinduism” is a term coined by the British for administrative reasons and refers to a collective of divergent schools of philosophy and belief systems that originated in the Sub-Continent of India over 5000 years ago. We ourselves refer to “Hinduism” simply as DHARMA - which translates as deontology.
These diverse schools of thought have been evolving, developing, modifying and adapting to changing circumstances over millennia. So under the umbrella of “Hinduism” there are sects and traditions which are contradictory to each other and some are in sync with each other. So there is nothing general and definitive which can be said about Hinduism. In fact everything and anything you say about India or Hinduism can be located and identified.
So Hinduism per se cannot be truth of untruth - it is just a name of a collective. One needs to ask which specific elements or beliefs within the vast collective of Hinduism are true.
Next we need to define what we mean by “Truth”.
“Truth” is that which corresponds to reality and is coherent i.e. non-contradictory and is rational.
Hindu philosophy adds another criterion to this definition - “utility”. So truth must be both reflective of reality and applicable to the interesting of daily like.
SO - “Is Hinduism true?” - The several philosophical schools of Hinduism deal with this metaphysical question and in fact the Vedas and the Vedānta and all the other esoteric schools have the ULTIMATE TRUTH as their sole inquiry - so you would need to start studying Indian Philosophy to ascertain for yourself what is and what is not “truth” and how it is applicable to your particular situation and stage of life.
Philosophical Hinduism is perfectly rational - perhaps the most rational of all the religions barring Buddhism its sister religion.
But under the umbrella of “Hinduism” there is also an abundance of nonsense, pseudo-science, superstition, erroneous beliefs, irrationality, immorality, fake guru and their deceptive teachings, social injustice etc. All the ills of any society.
Are non-Hindu borns accepted as Hindus?
This is a frequently asked question but we always need to parse what we mean by terms.
What is Hinduism?
The term “Hinduism” is a category of people for the purpose of civil administration created by the British. The Portuguese, prior to the British, referred to the same category of people as Gentoo.
Hindoo was a term also used for the inhabitants of the subcontinent of India - everyone who was not a Christian, Muslim, Jew or Parsi. And as well all know the broad category of “Hindoo” includes dozens of different religious and belief systems with thousands of different customs and usages and dialects.
So you could very well ask the question “are non-Indians accepted as Gentoos?” Which makes absolutely no sense.
There are 7 million Hindus living in Indonesia where Hinduism has been established for over a thousand years - long before either “Gentoo” or “Hindu” were coined.
The whole of South East Asia (the population of which are ethnically descendant of proto-malay) - was at one time part of a great Hindu empire - greater one may say than any empire in India - since these non-Indians aka non-Hindoos built the largest Hindu temple on planet earth which also happens to be the largest religious structure ever built - Angkor Wat. So one wonders what they called themselves since neither of the descriptors “Gentoo” nor “Hindoo” were available to them.
Having ascertained the imprecise and vague nature of the above terms we now have to examine the second part of the question “ACCEPTED”.
I will answer the question with several questions.
If you - the gentle reader - don’t know the answer to these questions then you are part of the problem!
2. Hinduism is based on Inequality and Inequality is the official doctrine of Brahminism
3. - Hinduism is based on Casteism
How can Hinduism have two contradictory philosophies like Advaita and Caste System?
Excellent question. The two are separate matters. Vedanta is a philosophy of mind and spirit, based on Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and Brahma-sutras. (Prasthana trayam) Vedanta discusses the three realities; Brahman, Jiva and Jagat and prescribes a methodology for achieving the highest goal - moksha.
The Varnashrama Dharma is an economic theory not a philosophy. It is a complex system for social management in the age of a balanced economy. The system in its pure form aims at the optimization of the three goals of human life - the tripod of material happiness; Dharma - occupation and value system for the society and individual, artha - production and expenditure of wealth, and kama - enjoyment, recreation, procreation etc.
These two aspects of life are known as trivarga - the three material goals of the householder and apavarga - ultimate liberation from samsara - the goal of the renunciates. So one can indeed study and practice Vedanta without any reference whatsoever to the caste system.
One can also practice the caste system without any reference to Vedanta - which is generally the case.
The message of the Gita is an integrated system where caste is not based on birth but rather on merit and all three goals of human happiness should be striven for, but without attachment but rather in a spirit of renunciation.
I want to be brief and just remind you that the caste-system is an extremely complex network of kinship and social relations involving transactions of goods and services. It has been very flexible over the generations but in its present form is a complete corruption and travesty - since society has dramatically changed since its formulation. The problems of the caste system are the same as any economic system - corruption, greed, oppression, exploitation etc.. There is no economic system in the world that is pure and benevolent - neither capitalist or communist.
Why did Dr. Ambedkar say,"As long as you are in the Hindu religion you cannot have freedom of thought"?
Because he was egregiously mistaken - but perhaps the context of his statement would be more intelligible.
In the Hindu social structure, even at it’s most rigid state, one had complete freedom of thought. It was one’s action which was curtailed and limited.
People were obligated by caste rules and social arrangements to conform to certain types of behaviour, diet, work, marriage, association etc.
There was absolutely no limitations based on “thought” - no one cared what you thought or believed as long as you observed social customs.
It is also important to note the the severest restrictions were placed on brahmins and the restrictions decreased as you descended the hierarchy. Sudras are completely free of all restrictions and can eat, drink, and travel about as they please. There are no rules of purity/impurity to ceaselessly and pedantically observe.
From SAHANA SINGH's POST - IS INDIA's ONLY COUNTRY WITH CASTE SYSTEM
There is an obsessive tendency to project the caste system as a form of social exclusivism found only in India. Clearly, not enough attention is being directed to the history of social hierarchies and exclusions in the western world, nor is the peculiar development of India’s social stratification under British colonialism being fully appreciated.
India’s caste system and ‘untouchability’ have been a matter of profound interest to a large number of social science researchers, historians, and even the general public in modern times. Perceptions of Indian caste have taken such deep roots in the minds of non-Indians that I am often asked whether I belong to an upper caste during casual conversations with westerners.
This is not surprising, because even today, high school textbooks in the US such as ‘World Civilizations: Global Experience’ (AP Edition) carry sentences such as: “The Indian caste system is perhaps the most extreme expression of a type of social organization that violates the most revered principles on which modern Western societies are based.”
Strangely, Indians themselves have internalized all these stories of exploitation of lower castes and untouchables and never asked questions about their validity or about similar practices in the western world. Was there really no caste system anywhere else except in India? How were the people who emptied human faeces from the privies of the rich citizens of Europe treated? How were the men who handled human corpses and animal carcasses treated? Did such people get the chance to sit at the same table as rich men or marry their daughters?
Executioners were shunned by European society even though their services were frequently used.
Many will be surprised to know that under the European caste system, the lowest castes lived in terrible conditions until the 20th century. In Defiled Trade and Social Outcasts – Honour and Ritual Pollution in Early Modern Germany, author Kathy Stewart describes social groups that were “dishonourable by virtue of their trade” in the 17th century and lists executioners, skinners, grave-diggers, shepherds, barber-surgeons, millers, linen-weavers, sow-gelders, actors, latrine cleaners, night-watchmen and bailiffs.
Ms Stewart goes on to connect the dishonourable trades with the times of the Roman Empire. “Throughout the Holy Roman empire dishonourable tradesmen suffered various forms of social, economic, legal, and political discrimination on a graduated scale of dishonour at the hands of ‘‘honourable’’ guild artisans and in ‘‘honourable’’ society at large. As a matter of course, dishonourable people were excluded from most guilds. In the case of the most extreme dishonour, that of executioners and skinners, Unehrlichkeit [concept of dishonour] could lead to exclusion from virtually all normal sociability. Executioners and skinners might be pelted with stones by onlookers, they might be refused access to taverns, excluded from public baths, or denied an honourable burial. Dishonour was transmitted through heredity, often over several generations. The polluting quality of dishonour is one of its defining characteristics. By coming into casual contact with dishonourable people or by violating certain ritualized codes of conduct, honourable citizens could themselves become dishonourable. Being labelled dishonourable had disastrous consequences for an honourable artisan. The guildsman, who was tainted by dishonour suffered a kind of social death. He would be excluded from his guild and forbidden to practice his trade, so that he would lose both his livelihood and the social and political identity which guild membership conferred. The fear of pollution through personal contact could go so far that neighbours and onlookers would refuse to help a dishonourable person even in the face of mortal danger. A dramatic example is the executioner’s wife who was left to die in childbirth in the north German town of Husum in the 1680s, because the midwife refused to set foot in the executioner’s house.”
Throughout history, the task of handling wastes and faeces has never been a dignified one. Until as late as the 20th century, human excrement had to be removed physically from cesspits and privies in Europe. The European lower-caste people who did the dirty job were called gongfermours (French) or gong farmers in English. Do you think they were treated with respect and allowed to mingle freely with the upper echelons of society?
Gong farmers or gongfermours in Europe were tasked with digging out and removing human excrement from privies and cesspits.
The gong farmers of England were only allowed to work at night, so they were also called nightmen. They came into respectable neighbourhoods in the dead of the night, emptied cesspits and carted away the wastes to the boundaries of the cities. They were required to live in certain areas at the fringes of the city and could not enter the city during day-time. There were severe penalties for breaking this rule. Even after water closets arrived on the scene, their contents flowed into cesspits for a long time and needed to be cleaned out by nightmen.
Worldwide, until modern systems of transporting and handling sewage and sludge came into existence, workers in this sector were ostracized from society. Until modern cities became populated with millions of migrants that helped to increase diversity and heterogeneity, communities were close-knit and exclusionary.
Interestingly, the English word ‘caste’ is derived from the Portugese ‘casta’. It was used by the Spanish elites who ruled over conquered territories. The terms sistema de castas or the sociedad de castas were used in the 17th and 18th centuries to describe the mixed-race people in Spanish-controlled America and Philippines. The castas system classified people on the basis of birth, colour and race. The more white a person, the higher were the privileges and lesser the tax burden. The casta was an extension of the idea of purity of blood developed in Christian Spain to denote those without the “taint” of Jewish or Muslim heritage. That concept had already been institutionalised during the Spanish Inquisition, when thousands of converted Jews and Muslims (European lower-castes) were killed on the suspicion that they had reverted to their previous religions.
Edward Alsworth Ross (Principles of Sociology, 1920) gives a detailed description of rigid and strict caste system of Europe and notes that it was a product of forces within the European society. He says:
“The tendency of the later [Roman] empire was to stereotype society by compelling men to follow the occupation of their fathers, and preventing a free circulation among different callings and grades of life. The man who brought the grain of Africa to the public stores of Ostia, the labourers who made it into loaves for distribution, the butchers who brought pigs from Samnium, Lucania or Bruttium, the purveyors of wine and oil, the men who fed the furnaces of the public baths, were bound to their calling from one generation to another… Every avenue of escape was closed… Men were not allowed to marry out of their guild… Not even a dispensation obtained by some means from the imperial chancery, not even the power of the Church could avail to break the bond of servitude.”
The Indian ‘caste system’ was a label imposed by the British colonialists and this label did not correctly represent the stratification of the society. In the Vedas, there was no concept of purity of blood, which was a characteristic of Europe’s caste system. On the other hand, there was a concept of actions and personal qualities determining one’s ‘varna’. The Indian term “jaati” that refers to occupational division of society into barbers, cobblers, cattle-herders, blacksmiths, metal-workers and other trades is not a concept exclusive to India (even though the concept of artisans’ guilds has most likely originated in India). In every settled society in the world, traditionally, sons followed the same occupation as their fathers. The sons of carpenters became carpenters. The sons of weavers became weavers. It made sense because the children were well acquainted with the trades of their father, and could keep their trade secrets with themselves.
In India, the lines dividing jaatis were initially loose and there were many instances of people moving across the hierarchy. There have been saints from lower castes such as Ravidas, Chokhamela and Kanakadasa who earned the respect of people and were not regarded as lesser than Brahmin saints. The Maratha Peshwas were Brahmins who became Kshatriyas. The Maratha king Shivaji was regarded as a low-caste in the beginning who, after his victory over many kingdoms, proclaimed himself as a Kshatriya with support from liberal Brahmins. Says M.N. Srinivas, the well-known sociologist:
“It is necessary to stress here that innumerable small castes in a region do not occupy clear and permanent positions in the system. Nebulousness as to position is of the essence of the system in operation as distinct from the system in conception. The varna-model has been the cause of misinterpretation of the realities of the caste system. A point that has emerged from recent field-research is that the position of a caste in the hierarchy may vary from village to village. It is not only that the hierarchy is nebulous here and there, and the castes are mobile over a period of time, but the hierarchy is also to some extent local.”
It must also be noted that the castes in India never had the upper-class/lower-class economic divisions as in Europe. The Brahmins were traditionally the poorest, often beggars. The Vaishya and Shudra merchants and tradesmen were often very well-off and hired the services of Brahmins. Land was typically owned by Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras. The famous mathematician Aryabhata was himself a non-Brahmin and yet he had Namboodri Brahmins studying under him. Even today, there are hundreds of Brahmins engaged in cleaning toilets in India, whereas one will find it challenging to find a white man driving a garbage truck in America.
Historian Dharampal, in his work ‘The Beautiful Tree’ on the indigenous education systems in 18th century India has laid out how British surveys carried out in Madras, Punjab and Bengal Presidencies revealed the widespread enrolment of children in schools. Almost every village had a school. In many schools, the Shudra children outnumbered the Brahmin children. These schools were gradually shut down as poverty became widespread under the British and villagers moved to cities in search of jobs.
Casta system of Mexico as depicted by Spanish colonial art.
The lines of caste became more rigid on account of various factors such as foreign invasions and the British policy of “divide and rule”. Until the British carried out a wide-ranging survey from 1881 to list down various surnames into separate castes, most Indians were not aware of the placing of various castes. Typically, some family names were affiliated with a particular caste in one village and with a different caste in another village. Suddenly, hard lines of division were drawn with the survey. The sense of caste identity emphasized by the British which was aimed at preventing natives from uniting and resisting foreign occupation created deep schisms within Indian society. The placing of several scheduled castes and tribes into criminal categories by the British also caused the hardening of the caste lines with disastrous consequences for free India. Funnily, even as the class and caste practicing British codified the Indian castes, they did not allow English women to marry Indian men, while they had no qualms in taking on Indian women as concubines.
It must be remembered that the stigmatising and hardening of India’s loosely-structured, occupation-based jaati system was a part of the strategy of the Christian missionaries. When Governor-General John Shore became a member of the evangelical Clapham Sect, missionary activity in India increased substantially. Hindus were declared to be the “most enslaved portion of the human race” on account of their superstitious religion. William Wilberforce, the anti-slavery champion who was also a member of the Clapham Sect declared in the House of Commons in 1813 that emancipating Hindus from their religion was as much the sacred duty of every Christian as emancipating Africans from slavery.
No country in the world is free from inequalities. A constant human endeavour for more money and more power ensures that. A discriminatory system has been widespread, whether it worked against non-Christians, non-Muslims, blacks, homosexuals, women, AIDS patients or lepers. The racism that was historically prevalent in western societies and continues in various forms today is also a kind of pernicious caste system. The holocaust has been blamed on Nazism and anti-Semitism, but few have noticed the caste system in which it was embedded Even the United Nations Security Council has its own caste system with just five permanent members, which have veto powers. The graduates from Ivy League universities and members of exclusive clubs enjoy their own caste privileges.
It can be argued that India has put together the world’s biggest affirmative action plan called “Reservations” to help the historically disadvantaged castes. With reserved slots in government schools and colleges, positions in government services and seats in electoral constituencies, there has been a massive effort to be inclusive. Whether the effort has yielded results or has resulted in a “reverse caste system” is something that needs to be examined.
The modern stratification of caste-identity in India and its bizarre expressions is an outcome of the institutionalized policies of the British and Indian governments abetted by the Marxists and minorities, as well as poverty and lack of opportunities for growth. It is not due to any imagined perversity of the original classification of society in Hindu traditions.
It is high time the world and Indians themselves stopped typecasting India as the land of the caste system and made an effort to understand its beginnings as well as the socio-economic hierarchies in every part of the globe. Having been the subject of sociological and anthropological studies of the western researchers for so long, the Indians have begun to believe that like laboratory specimens, their place is under the microscope. It is time to reverse the lenses. There is a whole world outside India waiting to be examined and understood from an Indian perspective.
INTER-JAATI MARRIAGES -
Rules of marriage in Hinduism have changed over the centuries .In the Mahabharata, for example, Kunti informs Pandu of a time before marriage, when men and women freely chose one another.The sage Shvetaketu enforced the rules of marriage so that children
In Mahabharata time,yudhisthira mentions that Men freely marry among each other ,so to identify Varna,only character conduct can identify it. We get - VARNA is independent of Birth.
After the emergence of Jaatis during Gupta Period , the Jaatis worked as a single cohesive unit and decided which Jaati to marry and which to not .At that point ,it made sense and was good
It is the society which must change its attitudes towards inter-Jaati marriage and accept the boy and girl belonging to different Jaatis if they decide to marry each other. Earlier people were busy in their traditional occupations and did not travel much and meet other people from different Jaatis. This has all changed with market based jobs.
According to Dharma Shastra if a young couple live together and have sexual relations then they are married according to Gandharva vidhi.
icchayā'nyonya saṃyogaḥkanyāyāśca varasya ca | gāndharvasya tu vijñeyo maithunaḥ kāma saṃbhavaḥ ||
Where the young lady and groom meet each other of their own accord and the meeting is consummated in copulation born of passion that form (of marriage) is called the Gandharva. (Manu 3;32)
This is a valid form of marriage and if at some later stage they decide to get married they are also entitled to a Vedic wedding ceremony known as PUNAR-VIVĀHA.
gāndharva vivāheṣu punar vaivāhiko vidhiḥ | kartavyaśca tribhiḥ varṇaiḥ samayena agni sākṣibhiḥ ||
For all those of the traivarnikas who have had a gandharva marriage, they should take their vows formally at some stage in front of Agni as witness.
For Those Hindus who dont approve of this marriage in today's age-
According to the Mahabharata, actions opposed by the people (loka-viruddha) are as sinful as those condemned by the Veda (veda-viruddha).
Other law-givers have this to say:–
karmaṇā manasā vācā yatnād dharmaṃ samācaret | asvargyaṃ loka-vidviṣṭaṃ dharmyam apy ācaren na tu ||
One should strive hard through body mind and speech to practice Dharma, but, a (so-called) dharma which will not result in happiness and is disapproved of by the people (loka-vidvista) must not be practiced". (Yajñavalkya 1:156)
parityajed artha kāmau yau syātāṁ dharma-varjitau | dharmaṁ ca-apy asukha udarkaṁ loka-saṅkruṣṭam eva ca ||
One should renounce artha (prosperity) and kama (pleasure) if they conflict with dharma (morality) and even dharma must be renounced if it results in future unhappiness or arouses people’s indignation. (Manu 4:176)
There is Lack of systematic religious education among Hindus.Caste based discrimination are happening and will keep on happening and will keep on shaming us and fault will be laid on Hinduism,when in reality No Hindu is aware about Basics of Dharma n Vedanta.Without teaching people,the basics of Dharma n Vedanta,These things will keep on happening .To stop them,we have to teach VedantaEvery Hindu must be taught these in Schools,Colleges..Otherwise things will not change.EVery Muslim,Sikh.Christian is taught the basics of his religion but No Hindu is taught the basics of his religion,For a Hindu,religion is nothing more than Food,Temple going.Festivals.The cases of Caste based discrimination happenede becoz Peple forgot Dharma and 1000 yrs of Foreign ruling highly affected their mind.This insanity will end when every Hindu is taught the Basics of Dharma n Vedanta along with Education,This will end within one generation
What is the single most neglected teaching of Hinduism, which, when practiced, would lead to the greatest social good in India?
An excellent question! There are so many teachings it is hard to choose but in my personal experience it would be the matter of Dharmic child-rearing.
This is what the Garuḍa Purāna advises:–
lālayet pañca-varṣāṇi daśa-varṣāṇi tāḍayet | prāpte tu ṣoḍaśe varṣe putre mitravad-ācaret ||
Which means: for the first 5 years children should be treated with protective indulgence. For the next 10 years they should be disciplined and when they reach the age of 16 they should be treated as FRIENDS!
The biggest problem today in Indian families is the micro-management of their children's lives. The parents decide what careers their children follow and who they befriend and marry. Any dissent leads to a domestic crisis and Bollywood-like dramas and untold suffering.
To treat as a FRIEND means to treat with equality, dignity and respect. To advise but never to coerce, to support but never to suppress, accept outcomes and never to direct them.
If all parents backed-off when their kids reached the age of 16, Indian society would be changed immeasurably.
Even if this teaching is supplemented with that of the Mahānirvāna Tantra still the situation would improve.
catur varṣā vidhi sutān lālayet pālayet pitā | tataḥ ṣoḍaśa paryantaṁ guṇān vidyāñca śikṣayet || 8:45 ||viṁśātyabdādhikān putrān prerayed gṛha-karmasu | tatas tāṁs tulya-bhāvena matvā snehaṁ pradarśayet || 8:46 ||A father should fondle and nurture his children until their fourth year, and then until their sixteenth they should be educated and taught their duties (45). Up to their twentieth year they should be kept engaged in household duties, and thenceforward, considering them as equals, he should ever show affection towards them (46).
catur varṣā vidhi sutān lālayet pālayet pitā | tataḥ ṣoḍaśa paryantaṁ guṇān vidyāñca śikṣayet || 8:45 ||
viṁśātyabdādhikān putrān prerayed gṛha-karmasu | tatas tāṁs tulya-bhāvena matvā snehaṁ pradarśayet || 8:46 ||
A father should fondle and nurture his children until their fourth year, and then until their sixteenth they should be educated and taught their duties (45). Up to their twentieth year they should be kept engaged in household duties, and thenceforward, considering them as equals, he should ever show affection towards them (46).
So here you will notice the period of protective indulgence is limited to 4 years of age and the period of maturity is raised to 20. This should be the maximum age at which parents should micro-manage the lives of their children.
Why did Hinduism fail to prevent violence in India?
How can any “religion” stop violence? Violence needs to be stopped by the police and military, waiting for an ideology to step in will be futile.
Anyway what has Hinduism to do with violence? AHIMSA is the highest moral value.
Hindus engage in acts of violence like Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists and everyone else does - not because of their religion but in spite of their religion.
If a person identifying as a Hindu or Muslim commits a criminal act of violence and mayhem are they acting in the name of their religion or for some political or social motive?
No contentious issue was ever solved by violence - everyone should calm down and rationally discuss their views.
It seems that members of the largest democracy in the world don’t understand how democracy works.
If you don’t like bill that is passed by your representatives then you don’t go out into the streets rioting, smashing and burning stuff and attacking and killing members the opposition you protest silently, write letters to the newspapers, lobby your local representative, get a petition signed, or wait for the next elections and vote the Government out.
According to the Mahābhārata there are 13 types of Sinners
Assertion of one's own superiority, the avaricious [lolupa], those who are unable to tolerate the slightest insult, the bad tempered, the fickle, those who neglect the protection of those who seek it. One who thinks only of his own sexual satisfaction, the bigoted, the arrogant, one who gives and then regrets it, one who is miserly, one who is fascinated by power/wealth and pleasure, and the misogynist, these are the 13 types of sinners. (M.B.Udyoga Parva 43:18,19)
Furthermore the Mahābhārata enumerates the following problems associated with “sinful” activity and their antidotes.
Anger (krodha) arises from avarice is increased by seeing the faults of others, it is stopped and decreased by forgiveness (kṣamā).
Craving (tṛṣṇa) arises from imagination (saṅkalpa) is increased by acting out, when an intelligent person renounces desire, it ceases.
From anger (krodha) and greed (lobha) and their acting out arises the desire to harm others (nṛśaṁsya), it is countered by practicing compassion (karuṇa) to all beings, as well as dispassion (vairāgya). From noting the faults of others, it is generated, an intelligent person knowing the true facts overcomes it.
From ignorance (ajñāna) delusion (moha) arises, delusion leads to harmful activities, association with the wise (satsaṅga) is the direct means of overcoming this.
Those who are opposed to Dharma and the Scriptures, in their mind arises the desire to do inappropriate things — this is overcome by knowledge of the facts.
Separation from a loved one leads to grief (śoka) reflection upon the useless nature of grieving is the way to overcome it.
Abandoning of truth and keeping bad company lead to envy (mātsarya), to serve and associate with good people is the antidote.
Arrogance (mada) arises from social status (kula), learning (jñāna) and wealth (aiśvarya) and beauty (sundara) – reflection on the true empty nature of these leads to the diminution of pride.
From desire (kāma) jealousy (īrṣya) arises, and it is increased by seeing the laughter and joy of others. A discriminating and reflective mind overcomes this.
Deprecation (ninda) arises from hating and treating low-born and marginalised people badly, but seeing the goodness in them remedies this.
Those who cannot retaliate to powerful people that offend them beget a grudge (asūya) – practice compassion to overcome this.
The greed and possessiveness that arises towards material objects of enjoyment has its source in ignorance, reflection upon impermanence is the antidote.
HINDUISM PROMOTES CASTE-BASED DISCRIMINATION -
Hinduism is not a religion of peace or war. It is simply a selection of belief systems and codes of practice.
Caste based discrimination was indeed there in the Dharma Shastras or codes of laws written 2000 + years ago by various law-givers. These codes are no longer valid and have been superseded by secular laws.
Modern Hinduism is not based on Dharma Shastras but rather on Vedānta which is a philosophy and on Pauranic/Tantric ritual practice. The Dharma now taught is the Universal code of ethics known as Deontology.
Discrimination based on gender, class, caste, race or any other physical characteristic is an evil SOCIAL practice arising from custom and usage and is abhorrent to the ethics of Vedanta. So everyone should avoid the crap of discrimination.
Why do Indians oppose castism, even though it is clearly mentioned in Vedas and are absolute God's word?
You need to clarify what is meant by “casteism”.
Does it mean division of society into interdependent and codependent socio-economic blocs and hierarchy or do you mean discrimination, inclusion/exclusion, oppression and exploitation based on birth in a specific community?
N.B. The Vedas are not the “word of God” and they are not “Absolute” - these are claims only made for the Q book.
Society is indeed personified as a holistic entity of four functional divisions in the Puruṣa Sūkta - and they are described as being the head, arms, thighs and feet of the social entity - but just as a person cannot function efficiently with the loss of any one of these four limbs - so can society not function without them.
The Vedas do not in anyway condone “discrimination” and “exploitation” of any section of society. This inclusion/exclusion and discriminatory policy is found in the secondary sources of ancient Hindu Law and Custom (the Smritis) composed over 2500 years ago by numerous human and fallible law-givers during the agricultural revolution era.
Since the first Industrial Revolution the ancient Vedic socio-economic model has become obsolete and what reformers are struggling against is the residue social odure of discrimination based on birth alone - the major form of which is related to inter-marriage in Indian society and which doesn't noticeably obtain in the 70 million expatriate Hindu community.
What does Hinduism say about the creation of the first man and woman? Are men and women equal according to Hinduism?
What Hindu mythology says about the origination of the species is irrelevant and only a topic of comparative interest. There are many different myths in Hindu literature but the basic one is a singular original being splitting into two halves - right side is the masculine and left is the feminine.
Origin of the Species is factually established through science and anthropology.
The second part of the question is more relevant to the WOKE movement.
N.B. Hinduism is an umbrella term for hundreds of different religions, sects, cultures, languages, traditions and cultures. There is no official “Hindu” position on anything but rather multiple and disparate opinions. So individual Hindus can make up their own minds on every issue and still remain “orthoprax”. Whatever one says about “Hinduism” both positive and negative has some resonance somewhere in India and South-East ASIA.
Are men and women equal?
What do we mean by “equal”? Physically? Biologically? Functionally? Intellectually? Legally? Sociologically? Psychologically? Professionally? Equality is a multifaceted concept with many different answers depending on the context.
Within the vast library of Hindu literature there are statements which affirm some sorts of equality and deny others. There are many authors who praised women and others who condemned them. The Dharma Shastras generally subordinate women whereas the Tantras elevate them to a superlative degree. This topic has been addressed by dozens of different authors and academic papers written on it - I shall just give some pointers.
Here’s a gem from Narada Pancharatra 1:14:96
ahāro dviguṇas tāsāṃ buddhis tāsāṃ caturguṇā |ṣaḍguṇā mantraṇā tāsāṃ kāmaścāṣṭaguṇaḥ smṛtaḥ ||Women consume twice as much as men, are four times more intelligent, six times more adept at counselling and eight times more passionate than men.
ahāro dviguṇas tāsāṃ buddhis tāsāṃ caturguṇā |
ṣaḍguṇā mantraṇā tāsāṃ kāmaścāṣṭaguṇaḥ smṛtaḥ ||
Women consume twice as much as men, are four times more intelligent, six times more adept at counselling and eight times more passionate than men.
What is most important is not what was believed or how things were done in the past but how we move forward into the future. Does Hinduism provide a blueprint for progress on gender equality?
In the traditional Vedic wedding ceremony the culmination is the taking of seven steps (sapta-padi) - the seventh step is taken for FRIENDSHIP. (sakhā-sapta-pada bhava!) After the seventh step the couple are officially married and the bride moves to sit on her husband’s left side.
Friendship can only obtain between people with an equal power balance. If there is an imbalance of power relationship then friendship is not possible. If one is the dominant and the other subordinate party then there is a power imbalance which can only result in suffering, exploitation, abuse and all the other social problems we see in connection with gender inequality.
So briefly - how does Hindu civilisation view FRIENDSHIP as an ideal and how does this relate to marriage? This is from the Nīti-literature
śoka trāṇaṃ bhaya trāṇaṃ prīti viśvāsa bhājanam |kena ratnam idam mitram jātyakṣara dvayam ||The two syllable mi-tram signify solace in sorrow, freedom from fear, and it is the vessel of love and confidence, by whom was this precious jewel of friendship created?ahitāt pratiṣedhaśca hite ca anu-pravartanam |vyasane ca aparityāgaḥ trividhaṃ mitra lakṣaṇam ||The threefold character of friendship is to restrain one from what is unprofitable, to encourage one in what is profitable and to stand by one in adversity.
śoka trāṇaṃ bhaya trāṇaṃ prīti viśvāsa bhājanam |
kena ratnam idam mitram jātyakṣara dvayam ||
The two syllable mi-tram signify solace in sorrow, freedom from fear, and it is the vessel of love and confidence, by whom was this precious jewel of friendship created?
ahitāt pratiṣedhaśca hite ca anu-pravartanam |
vyasane ca aparityāgaḥ trividhaṃ mitra lakṣaṇam ||
The threefold character of friendship is to restrain one from what is unprofitable, to encourage one in what is profitable and to stand by one in adversity.
So according to the Vedic teaching, the basis of marriage is friendship based on equality of power within the home. The gender functions may differ but the balance of power should be equal. Decisions should be made together with respect for each others views and feelings. And open, honest and free communication is the basis for a happy marriage.
This is the blessing which is given to the bride at a Vedic marriage ceremony.
ud u̍tta̱ram ā̱rohantī̍ vya̱syantī̍ pṛtanya̱taḥ |mūrdhāna̱ṁ patyu̱r āro̍ha pra̱jayā̍ ca vi̱rāḍ bha̍va || 1 ||Rise over conflicts and calamities, exceed your husband (literally - climb on your husband’s head!), and your children in dignity and pride and be you famous. (ApMB. 1.6.5)sa̱mrājñī̱ śvaśu̍re bhava sa̱mrājñī̎ śvaśru̱vāṁ bha̍va |nanā̎ndari sa̱mrājñī̎ bhava sa̱mrājñī̱ adhi̍de̱vṛṣu || 2 ||Be an empress over your father-in-law, an empress over your mother-in-law, be an empress over your husband's sisters, and an empress over his brothers too. (RV.10.85.46)
ud u̍tta̱ram ā̱rohantī̍ vya̱syantī̍ pṛtanya̱taḥ |
mūrdhāna̱ṁ patyu̱r āro̍ha pra̱jayā̍ ca vi̱rāḍ bha̍va || 1 ||
Rise over conflicts and calamities, exceed your husband (literally - climb on your husband’s head!), and your children in dignity and pride and be you famous. (ApMB. 1.6.5)
sa̱mrājñī̱ śvaśu̍re bhava sa̱mrājñī̎ śvaśru̱vāṁ bha̍va |
nanā̎ndari sa̱mrājñī̎ bhava sa̱mrājñī̱ adhi̍de̱vṛṣu || 2 ||
Be an empress over your father-in-law, an empress over your mother-in-law, be an empress over your husband's sisters, and an empress over his brothers too. (RV.10.85.46)
In every other sphere of operation too, gender equality should be implemented. This is in perfect accord with the Vedic view of life. In ancient India there were woman sages, theologians and philosophers. There were queens and warriors and there are the most powerful Goddesses who subjugated all the Gods. The Hindu goddesses themselves could be the poster-girls for the suffragette movement.
Why do Indians have such a poor understanding of Hinduism?
I think its due to a number of reasons.
This list is not exhaustive and I’m sure we will find many more reasons in the comment section below.
Why is there no Hindu nation in the world?
A nation is a stable community of people formed on the basis of a common language, territory, history, ethnicity, or a common culture. A nation is more overtly political than an ethnic group; it has been described as "a fully mobilized or institutionalized ethnic group".
Hindus speak dozens of different language come from different ethnicities, have vastly different customs and traditions, wear different clothing, eat different foods, follow different religions and sects and come from different countries and every Hindu ethnicity has a different history. For example, the history of the Hindus of South East Asia is very different to that of Indian, Nepalese or Sri Lankan Hindus. South Indian Hindus have a different history to Northern Indians.
Hindu Punjabis have more in common with Punjabi Sikhs and Muslims than they do with Tamilians or Balinese.
Nowadays there are a large number of “Western” Hindus or ex-patriate Hindus - none of whom feel an affinity with other Hindus or even a solidarity with them.
Hinduism has never been, and can never be “institutionalised” or “collectivised” and any attempt at uniting Hindus into a mobilised group is like herding cats.
Why doesn’t Hinduism preach conversion like Christianity and Islam?
There is a very wholesome teaching to which we have always adhered:–
na pṛcchataḥ kaśyacid brūyāṭ — without being asked do not advise (or teach) anything.
So we do not usually discuss our belief systems with others unless respectfully asked.
May all beings be free from suffering and attain abiding joy and happiness.
My own Hindu brothers hate me for my caste. Why shouldn't I embrace a religion in which I would be accepted regardless of my caste?
There is a difference between Spirituality and Social-justice. Firstly as previous responders have mentioned “hate” is against the Dharma. So anyone who allegedly hates you is not a Dharmik person anyway.
I personally follow Hinduism because the philosophy of Vedanta is unassailable and trumps all other religious theologies. Having studied all the major religions the only 2 which are worthy of acceptance are Hinduism and Buddhism.
Vedanta is completely free of caste considerations and is an objective philosophy of life. Vedanta is open to every one regardless of sex, gender, caste or race.
Caste discrimination is based upon spiritual ignorance and self-interest - both of which are condemned by Vedanta.
Both Ramanuja and Shankara - the greatest exponents of Vedanta rejected any discrimination based on caste.
Becoming a Christian or Muslim will not solve your victimhood - you will have to be either a Catholic or Protestant, Sunni or Shia - the sect which you do not choose will also be the ones to hate you. In the case of Islam you could actually find yourself being murdered by the opposition!
Why are there no single Hindu or even a Christian but two Muslims among the top 6 biggest conquerors in history in terms of land size conquered?
Hindus were not interested or motivated to conquer, pillage and oppress other nations.
Hindu civilisation spread to all of Asia through peaceful means - trade and cultural exchange.
It’s only megalomaniacs that set out to conquer and pillage - it’s like killing the cows for the sake of dung - better to care for the cows and nurture them, and you will not only have dung, you will have milk products and bullocks for ploughing and conveyance as well - Hindus were very logical like that - sustained prosperity comes from mutual cooperation, trust and exchange of goods and services.
Everywhere in the world, polytheism was supplanted by monotheism except for India. Why were Islam and Christianity not able to replace Hindu polytheism?
Hindus don’t care about “theism” of any kind — it is a unique Middle Eastern obsession.
For Hindus Godhead is time-space-consciousness — all-encompassing and all-inclusive. There is no need for arguing and fighting about whose concept of it is better and whose worse, who is right and who is wrong - all dogmatic theism is meaningless babble of the self-deluded.
What is the probability of all the earthly religions (e.g. Christianity, Islam & Hinduism) being manmade?
All religions are man-made. But of all the religions Hinduism is unique because it is open-source. It is a “God-project” in which God has playfully invited us to search for him/her/it!
It is like one huge wikipedia - everyone is entitled to give their own input - as stuff becomes outmoded and irrelevant it is dropped and new stuff added. The core doctrines are markers around which teachings develop.
Every acharya and guru is independent and each yogi, mystic and saint can add their insights and experiences for others to learn from and enjoy.
It is free from the handicap of set dogma and limitation of belief without evidence (faith). Everything is open to inquiry and investigation, there is no compulsion and each and every person can approach spirituality and transcendence in their own unique way, accepting or rejecting whatever they want.
What is your view on the Abrahamic religions as opposed to the dharmic?
The one great virtue of Christianity and to a much lesser degree of Judaism is their selfless charity and social service — none can excel them in building hospitals, schools and refuges and outreach to the homeless, underprivileged and destitute (albeit with the ulterior motive of proselytisation where Christians are concerned !)
Their theology is somewhat less commendable with exceptionally bizarre and fantastic claims with no evidence. It is based entirely on mythology and blind faith.
The Dharma religions are champions of philosophy, debate, free thinking, wisdom, logic and rationality and spiritual techniques and practices but somewhat deficient on charity, social services, outreach and social justice.
We have a lot we can learn from the Abrahamics about social service. They could learn a lot from us about rational philosophy :-)
Do the gods in Hinduism regard humans as equal to them or do they see humans as inferior creatures?
A very good question Mateus, and one that is answered beautifully in the Veda itself Brhadaranyaka Upanishad’s (4:10) states:
“योऽन्यां देवतामुपास्ते अन्योऽसावन्योऽहमस्मीति न स वेद यथा पशुरेवं स देवानाम् —yo anyām devatām upāste anyo asau anyo ahamasmi iti, na sa veda, yathā paśurevam sa devānām”,“One who worships a separate deity thinking that the deity is completely different from himself, he is ignorant; he is like a utilitarian animal to the deities.”
“योऽन्यां देवतामुपास्ते अन्योऽसावन्योऽहमस्मीति न स वेद यथा पशुरेवं स देवानाम् —
yo anyām devatām upāste anyo asau anyo ahamasmi iti, na sa veda, yathā paśurevam sa devānām”,
“One who worships a separate deity thinking that the deity is completely different from himself, he is ignorant; he is like a utilitarian animal to the deities.”
(credit to Ram Abloh for pointing this one out to me.)
The gods have to be meditated upon and worshiped as higher aspects of our own being. They represent cosmic forces and psychological principles which, when meditated upon and integrated, create greater inner harmony.
Other sūtras to this effect are:–
So the worship and meditation upon the gods, their iconography and their mantras brings about an inner transformation and advances our spiritual evolution. But one needs to see the gods as projections of our own minds.
Will Indian citizens not practicing dharmic religions be forced to atleast convert to the neo-vedanta or non-vedic dharmic religions if India ever turns into a dharmic nation?
You seem to be confusing your religions. Hinduism is focussed on DHARMA - ethical and moral values - the same higher human values found in every religion - the sacredness of all life, compassion, generosity, harmonious co-existence, inclusivity and respect for diversity etc. Values almost every secular state on Earth (except communism) promotes as foundational principles.
Vedānta is a philosophical system which is about PERSONAL self-development not about general compliance to a code or dogma.
There is neither thought-crime in Hinduism - which is found only in monotheism, nor any post-mortem consequences as a result of one’s independent views. All schools of Hinduism are vehemently opposed to thought-control in any form whatsoever.
Why are all the priest posts of high profile temples reserved only for Brahmins in India?
The article linked is hateful propaganda not serious journalism or even reasoned opinion.
In order to become a priest of a “high-profile” temple one needs to study for 8 to 12 years in an Agama college and memorise entire texts and procedures. in most cases one needs to belong to a lineage associated with that particular temple (Chidambaram for example).
All temples (in South India) have the organisation of hereditary functions. Specific functions have been allocated to families and their descendants and not all functions are in the hands of Brahmins. In Tamil Nadu many of the senior managerial posts in the temples are held by Chettiars and Vellalas.
And if the career of a temple priest were opened up to everyone - how many applicants do you think there would be lining up? In my 50 years of being a priest I have found perhaps 2 or 3 vaguely interested in becoming a priest but when they are given the syllabus and actually begin to study basic Sanskrit and are compelled to start memorising texts they all gracefully fade away!
So perhaps the Marxists should leave the temples and priests alone and focus on struggling for equality in the corporate and manufacturing sector which is their true remit. Lower the outrageous salaries of the management and raise the standards of the workers - this would be most beneficial to society rather than constantly attacking Hinduism, temples and the poor priests!
Is India the only country with a caste system?
Let’s assume that you have a party, where the Pope, Prime Minister, an entrepreneur and a farmer are invited. It could be in any major city. What would be the order of their seating?
In most places today, it would be Pope->PM->Entrepreneur->Farmer. Now, look at India’s varna system. It is not unique in such an order. However, India is unique in merging birth assigned systems [ethnicity, race] with professional hierarchies. Somewhere along the line this happened and worse this change became permanent. We will discuss that.
Most civilizations have had the system of caste in similar form as India. I have written a more detailed answer on how these things originated: What is the Indian caste system and how does it work?
Let me copy the caste systems of other civilizations and you can notice that the kings and priests usually take up the highest portion. The only difference is that in some societies the farmers had a higher rank than merchants and in other places the vice versa.
However, India is unique in some aspects.
If India were a republic of present type in say 1800 instead of 1950, we might have had progress in moving on from the ancient social structures. Rather we are a new republic and whose development has not reached large swathes of the country.
These factors make India unique in continuing systems that other civilizations have long moved on.
Do you agree with the statement that..Hindu religious faith is the main basis and source of Hindu law, but there are some secular sources are there.explain the statement mentioning the source of Hindu law?
There are two divisions to classical Hindu law:–
Vyavahāra or laws and legal procedures which arose because of the decline of Dharma.
dharma ekatānāḥ puruṣā yadāsan satyavādinaḥ |tadā na vyavahāro 'abhūn na dveṣo nāpi matsaraḥ ||naṣṭe dharme manuṣyeṣu vyavahāraḥ pravartate |draṣṭā ca vyavahārāṇāṁ rājā daṇḍadharaḥ kṛtaḥ ||When people had dharma as their only focus and were speakers of the truth, there was no legal procedure, no conflict, and no self interest.With the decline of Dharma declined, judicial procedure had to be established; and the king having the privilege of inflicting punishments, has been instituted judge of law-suits. (Nārada Smṛti 1:1–2)
dharma ekatānāḥ puruṣā yadāsan satyavādinaḥ |
tadā na vyavahāro 'abhūn na dveṣo nāpi matsaraḥ ||
naṣṭe dharme manuṣyeṣu vyavahāraḥ pravartate |
draṣṭā ca vyavahārāṇāṁ rājā daṇḍadharaḥ kṛtaḥ ||
When people had dharma as their only focus and were speakers of the truth, there was no legal procedure, no conflict, and no self interest.
With the decline of Dharma declined, judicial procedure had to be established; and the king having the privilege of inflicting punishments, has been instituted judge of law-suits. (Nārada Smṛti 1:1–2)
And Ācāram - personal conduct, practice, customs, norms, values etc. which is under the guidance of the priests, elders, and gurus.
These two division have been totally separated and the legal procedures are left to the democratically elected secular government of the country in which Hindus live.
So the only subject for exposition and practice in terms of the Dharma Shastra are issues pertaining to personal conduct - ācāram.
Does the Hindu religion contain any set of permanent rules, or does it keep on changing?
Rules and regulations in Hinduism are specific to estate (varna) and stage of life (ashram) - and they differ widely and change according to time, place and circumstance.
There is only the Loka-dharma or eternal code of good conduct which is always the same for everyone.
This is the list according to Apastamba.
— there is agreement that these standards apply to all orders of life. By practicing them according to the rules, one attains the summation of life. (Apastamba 1:23:6)
Virtually the same from the Mahābhārata
adrohaḥ satya-vacanaṃ saṃvibhāgo dayā damaḥ |prajanaṃ sveṣu dāreṣu mārdavaṃ hrīścāpalam |evaṃ dharma pradhāneṣṭhaṃ manuḥ svāmyabhuve'bravīt ||Abstention from aggression and prejudice, truthfulness, justice, compassion, self-restraint, procreation with one's own spouse alone, amiability, modesty and patience, the practice of these virtues is the best of all Dharmas, thus declared Manu Svayambhuva. (MB. Santi Parva.)
adrohaḥ satya-vacanaṃ saṃvibhāgo dayā damaḥ |
prajanaṃ sveṣu dāreṣu mārdavaṃ hrīścāpalam |
evaṃ dharma pradhāneṣṭhaṃ manuḥ svāmyabhuve'bravīt ||
Abstention from aggression and prejudice, truthfulness, justice, compassion, self-restraint, procreation with one's own spouse alone, amiability, modesty and patience, the practice of these virtues is the best of all Dharmas, thus declared Manu Svayambhuva. (MB. Santi Parva.)
N.B. The gentle readers will note there is no mention of belief in God or slavish worship demanded or necessity to believe in any “sky-stuff” whatsoever. DHARMA is about practice not belief.
Whi are there Scintific errors in hindusim?
There are no scientific errors in Hinduism because Hinduism is not an organization dedicated to the study of science. For scientific knowledge we need to go to the proper sources.
All schools of Hinduism are interested in metaphysics not “science”.
Metaphysics is defined as the branch of philosophy that examines the fundamental nature of reality, including the relationship between mind and matter, between substance and attribute, and between potentiality and actuality.
If there is contradiction between scientific evidence and any statement in the Hindu scriptures, then the scriptural statement must be rejected.
This is the verdict of all the ācāryas - here I will quote Madhvācārya
Na ca pratyakṣa siddhim anyena kenāpi bādhyaṁ dṛṣṭam | candra prādeśatvādi viṣayaṁ tu, dūrasthatvādi doṣā yuktatvās apaṭṭu | na ca jagat pratyakṣasya apaṭutve kiñcin mānas ||Sense perception is its own standard of truth. It cannot be negated by inference or Scripture. The moon’s small size and other such erroneous perceptions are accountable as being due to distance and other conditions. There is no reason to reject the evidence of sense-perception regarding the existence of a world external to our minds.(Madhvacharya — Tattvodyota page 7 refutation of māyāvāda)
Na ca pratyakṣa siddhim anyena kenāpi bādhyaṁ dṛṣṭam | candra prādeśatvādi viṣayaṁ tu, dūrasthatvādi doṣā yuktatvās apaṭṭu | na ca jagat pratyakṣasya apaṭutve kiñcin mānas ||
Sense perception is its own standard of truth. It cannot be negated by inference or Scripture. The moon’s small size and other such erroneous perceptions are accountable as being due to distance and other conditions. There is no reason to reject the evidence of sense-perception regarding the existence of a world external to our minds.
(Madhvacharya — Tattvodyota page 7 refutation of māyāvāda)
Who introduced the caste system (division mainly) in India even though the Varna system is not attributable at birth and one can adopt it by profession or knowledge?
Is there a word for “caste” in Sanskrit or any other Indian language or dialect? Tracing the etymology of the term “caste” should be sufficient evidence for you to determine the origins of the “caste system”.
Varna/Jati are often mistakenly translated to “caste”. But what are they?
Varna: our “spiritual orientation”, one that gives us our “direction” in life. It manifests as our attitude, beliefs and values, which drives character, which in turn finds expression as our thoughts, speech and behaviour.
Our texts assert that every child is born with some innate talent, janme jayate shudra, that is, everyone is born shudra. That’s all we can assert in infancy. By the time a child grows to about 5 years of age, varna becomes apparent in the child’s behaviour. Some are bookworms, others are permanently at play outdoors. Some are shy, introverted, yet others are uninhibited, friendly and outgoing. Some are thinkers, others thinkers, feelers, judgers! Some are sensitive, others extroverted, and yet others intuitive. At the other end of the schooling pipeline lie our categories of work. The type of work preference of someone who is introverted and sensitive would be very different from someone who is outgoing and noble. The modern HR field calls this “behaviour-orientation”, leading to the concept of “behaviour-oriented interview techniques” in talent acquisition processes. This is the essence of varna. However, from the perspective of “dharma” every individual, every role in society, every job has a dharma, an “essence”. When the dharma of an individual is in consonance with the dharma of the role or job, such a person is well matched, at ease with the role or job, and thrives. If the job and character/personality is mismatched, it becomes a perpetual source of disengagement, frustration, lack of job satisfaction, performance issues, stress and so on. When you interpret varna using the modern language of business, it is easy to see its significance. It is only when a person is well matched to his role or line of work that work becomes a form of worship. This is karmayog! And all yog leads to moksha! This is also why we assert that “Hinduism” is a “way of life”, even though it is really more a “state of mind” that leads to happiness, and meaningful work that leads to fulfillment.
Jati: our tribal/regional “origin”, a community, people who have shared culture, customs, traditions, festivals, food habits and so on; people with whom we are most comfortable with. Some may suggest that our “tribal origins” are irrelevant in the modern context. But think again. Is it all that difficult to determine why our jati is so important? This ancient association is civilizational, and one that is gradually fading in modern, cosmopolitan cities with nuclear families. So there is increase in marriages across communities. And as cuisine becomes more cosmopolitan, detached from its origins whether “south indian”, “punjabi”, “bengali”, “rajasthani”, “chinese”, “greek”, “continental” or “mughalai”, even our food preferences are gradually becoming similar across communities. Even then, given a choice, many fall back to their community food preferences even in cities for regular home cooked meals.
Our diversity is a cause of celebrations and it has a civilizational context, one that people of foreign faiths like Christianity, Islam and Marxists can never understand.
So varna is both by birth, and also based on the dharma of the profession you choose or adopt as your form of service to society. Seva paramo dharma.
How did Hinduism strengthen the caste system? Do you think the caste system will exist its countries that embrace a different religion? Why or why not?
Hinduism did not strengthen it, Hindu concepts from the Rg Veda were used to develop the “caste system” similar to the European “class system” comprising a hierarchy of dynastic classes like the royalty, the aristocracy, the professionals and businessmen, and the peasants/cottagers/labourers. Even the vagabonds.
What the British did from 1871–72, is to use various social, character and job categories (varna, jati, dharma, kula, gotra, etc) to create a rigid, hierarchical, birth based system and to force people to chose one identity. The chaturvarna fit nicely into the British colonial concept of a class hierarchy simply because it had four traits of character - brahmin (wisdom), kshatriya or rajanah (nobility), vaishya (industry) and shudra (talent or facility).
The four “most desirable traits of human character needed to sustain society” was converted into the “four original castes” of Aryan Invaders, the thinking of the time being that Aryans were “converting” Dravidian aboriginals into accepting “Hinduism”, that if nothing was done, there maybe no Dravidian aboriginals to convert to Christianity.
The colonials had good reason to “divide and rule”. They made policy in such a manner that it created rifts in Hindu society, granted “brahmin” status to the “brown elites” quite similar to the “aristocracy” in Europe (yes, there was a lot of jockeying for “brahmin” status among these new colonial elites), and created enough rift to justify “foreign rule” as arbitrators. It was a typical colonial tactic.
Now that the Aryan Invasion/Migrations theories have been conclusively debunked, all these colonial theories like Aryan, Dravidian and “caste system” will also be exposed as a myth in due course.
In Hinduism is it preferable to marry someone of the same varna i.e. caste based on occupation (not jaati i.e. caste based on birth)?
You got both Hindu concepts wrong.
Varna is “innate character” or “orientation”. It is also the “color of job”, meaning the intrinsic reason why you preferred one job over the other, your “orientation”. There are many varna, but four were considered most desirable to sustain dharma, which in this instance implies “that which upholds and sustains a society”, namely wisdom, nobility, industry and talent or facility.
Jati is “tribal origin” or just “origin” that identifies you with a geography, as well as customs and traditions.
Your parents may prefer that you marry someone from your jati (though not gotra) simply due to comfort of familiar customs and traditions. Often, the more traditional parents will insist. This is a practice that is continued in the tradition of “arranged marriages”, where a marriage was considered not just a union of two people, but a union of two families.
However, the choice is really yours.
What is the real purpose of caste system in Hinduism?
There is no caste in Hindu'ism'. Caste, or casta is a Portuguese term for race, first conceived and introduced in India by British colonial administration during the census's enumeration in 1871–72. The purpose of enumeration was to better understand and develop policies that were suitable for the subcontinent (seen as especially important after the East India Company rule imploded), though there is proof that this exercise was seen as an unnecessary burden by the administrators themselves, and appeared to be pushed largely by trans-European interests subscribing to eugenics, “scientific racism”, and polygenesis as the basis or God given authority or moral justification” for British colonial rule over “lesser mortals”.
A significant influence was also from the Evangelical organizations who wanted to harvest the maximum number of souls of “Dravidian aboriginals” before the “Brahminical Aryan invaders” brought them under the influence of Hindu'ism'. There are many letters by the protagonists of the enumeration imploring urgency in the enumeration “before all traces of aboriginal culture was lost in time”.
All actions by colonials were based on theories now discredited like the AIT, or on descriptions lost in translation.
For example, the Aryan Invasion theory or AIT based on the pseudo-science of archeolinguistics had been thoroughly discredited. However, the thinking in the 19th century was that the British were in a race with Aryan Invaders for the soul of India.
The colonials understood the four Vedic Varnashramas as “the four original Aryan Castes", instead of the four job categories so critical to the concept of Dharma they represented.
Early East India Company sample enumerations done more as a hobby than an administrative exercise revealed the different “Jati” (birth or origins) of Bengal. These where however, considered the basis of study of what was assumed to be aboriginal tribes being subsumed into Hindu'ism', albeit outside the four “main castes”, then later categorised under the “Shudra” or “Sooder” generics. More detailed enumerations revealed more “Jati” (that then became “caste”) under each of the four primaries. Another difficulty derived from the assumption that people from one Jati all had one primary occupation, whereas the reality was that each Jati was fairly self-contained and comprised many occupations. There was also movement between the four “primary Castes". Even outsiders could be inducted into communities and allocated a “caste” (Varna) if they were of means.
The constituent assembly should have rejected this practice, however decided to perpetuate it for a period of 10 years for two categories - SC/STs - purportedly to correct “historical" (60 years?) wrongs. Thereafter, it became politically expedient to continue the practice.
There is really no place for caste in India.
How did Dr. Ambedkar oppose the Varna system?
You have to remember that many of the elite in the pre-colonial era were schooled in the colonial English schools and had really no understanding of Hindu philosophy.
Besides, what Ambedkar opposed was not the varna, but only two aspects of colonial Hindu life (a) marriage and (b) messing, and both were based on colonially inspired misunderstandings.
He opposed marriage based on origin and families (jati/gotra), because he wished to have more intermixing between tribes, especially tribes who joined the mainstream during the period of Islamic, Company and colonial rule only to serve these foreign rulers. The scientific validity of the marriage customs are only now being proved by modern genetics.
He opposed messing, as he felt that food habits and preferences often lead to discriminatory practices, for example, a vegetarian would never eat in plates used by non-vegetarians.
Both are silly in that these differences in the diverse cultures of India would gradually be eliminated as urbanization afforded a gradual unification of individual tastes and preferences, as has been demonstrated.
For example, does an outlet like a Haldiram bother about which caste you belong before offering you a type of cuisine or a plate? Or for that matter the many fast food MNC outlets like McDonalds or KFC or Pizza Hut?
The “caste system” is still a reality in rural areas, and their history goes ever before the colonial period in that the Islamic rulers and Mughals coopted even the “traditionally educated” Indians into their revenue collection organization at the lowest levels, and the brutality of the rulers was copied by the lower level revenue officials, simply a matter of survival! A shortfall in revenue collected often resulted in the death of these low ranking and co-opted Hindu revenue officials.
How does Hinduism address or acknowledge nihilism?
There are two aspects to nihilism.
The first point is addressed in Indian philosophy — the world comprises of name (nāma) and form (rūpa) and ALL names and forms are impermanent (anitya), unsubstantial (asāra) and momentary (kṣaṇika) and therefore “unreal” i.e. māyā.
The second point is rebuffed since what sustains and maintains the world is DHARMA. Dharma is both the natural qualities and proclivities of things in the world and also the moral and ethical way in which we transact with the environment, creatures and other humans.
Dharma is what differentiates humans from animals.
The Charvakas who were the Hindu materialists rejected all notions of karma, Dharma and reincarnation and lived for total self-indulgence in the moment.
Does Hinduism teach universal salvation?
Every sentient being is a spark or mode (jīvātman) of the Absolute Supreme Being (paramātman).
We have never been truly separated from the Whole. It is only our delusion (Moha) and cognitive error (avidya) which keeps us enthralled with matter and in the cycle of becoming (saṁsāra).
When we finally attain enlightenment (ātmabodha) and realise our true nature as inherently blissful and divine we are reunited with the Whole.
This is the ultimate destination of all beings without exception - this is the view of the non-dual (Advaitavāda) schools of Hinduism.
The theistic schools of devotional Hinduism (bhaktivāda) have exactly the same concept of Universal Salvation but in a personal form. The Supreme Being is an ocean of compassion and love and is called by different names such as Vishnu or Shiva or Shakti etc. The Supreme Being resides in the hearts as the “over-self” and has boundless love for each and every individual Self. He or She wants nothing nothing more than to reunite with all the myriads of jīvas and all that is required is some excuse (vyāja) to reclaim the Self and reunite with love and affection. That excuse is provided by even accidentally mentioning the name of the Deity.
(This is the reason why Hindus name their children with one of the names of God - so that everyone who meets them will repeated pronounce the name of God and thus provide an excuse for their own salvation.)
The idea that “salvation” is only for “the tribe” is Palaeolithic.
What is said in the Dharma Shastras about raising a daughter?
The general rule is that a daughter is always to be protectively indulged and never punished harshly - it is forbidden ever to lift a hand to strike a daughter.
Manu 4:185. One's slaves as one's shadow, one's daughter as the highest object of tenderness; hence if one is offended by (any one of) these, one must bear it without resentment.
Mahānirvāna Tantra Chapter 8
A father should fondle and nurture his sons until their fourth year, and then until their sixteenth they should be taught learning and their duties (45). Up to their twentieth year they should be kept engaged in household duties, and thenceforward, considering them as equals, he should ever show affection towards them (46). In the same manner a daughter should be cherished and educated with great care, and then given away with money and jewels to a well educated and qualified husband (47)
Is Hinduism a kind of Capitalistic Communism?
Interesting question. I will just share the observations of two authorities.
The caste system has been highly eulogised and also most severely condemned by Western writers. Sidney Low in his 'Vision of India’ (pp.262-263, 2nd ed. of 1907) speaks of the beneficent aspect of the caste system in the following eloquent passage:—
‘There is no doubt that it is the main cause of the fundamental stability and contentment by which Indian society has been braced up for centuries against the shocks of politics and the cataclysms of Nature. It provides every man with his place,’ his career, his occupation, his circle of friends. It makes him at the outset a member of a corporate body, it protects him through life from the canker of social jealousy and unfulfilled aspirations; it ensures him companionship and a sense of community with others in like case with himself. The caste organization is to the Hindu his club, his trade union, his benefit society, his philanthropic society. There are no work-houses in India and none are as yet needed.'
Abbe Dubois, who wrote about 200 years ago after being in close touch with Hindus of all castes for 15 years as a missionary and not known for his love of Hinduism, remarks (in his work on the character, manners and customs of the people of India, translated into English and published in London in 1817)
“I consider the institution of castes among the Hindu nations as the happiest effort of their legislation; and I am well convinced that, if the people of India never sunk into a state of barbarism, and if, when almost all Europe was plunged in that dreary gulf, India kept up her head, preserved and extended the sciences, the arts and civilization, it is wholly to the distinction of castes that she is indebted for that high celebrity.” (p.14)
and he devotes several pages to the justification of this remark.
So there was certainly a Capitalist-communist element to the caste-system.
According to Hinduism, is it a sin to not have children?
There are many layers of belief within the sedimentary layers of Hinduism which is over 5000 years old.
There was a primitive belief that having a son was imperative for salvation.
Manu 9:138. Because a son delivers (trāyate) his father from the hell called Put, he was therefore called put-tra (a deliverer from Put) by the Self-existent (Svayambhu) himself.Manu 9:139. Between a son's son and the son of a daughter there exists in this world no difference; for even the son of a daughter saves him (who has no sons) in the next world, like the son's son.
Manu 9:138. Because a son delivers (trāyate) his father from the hell called Put, he was therefore called put-tra (a deliverer from Put) by the Self-existent (Svayambhu) himself.
Manu 9:139. Between a son's son and the son of a daughter there exists in this world no difference; for even the son of a daughter saves him (who has no sons) in the next world, like the son's son.
It is also believed in the context of ancestor worship - another early religious phase - that one’s status in the after-life is dependent upon the funeral and obsequies oblations and sraddhas offered by the son.
These beliefs are contradicted by the doctrine of rebirth and the Law of Karma - one’s spiritual progress and status is determined entirely by one’s own thoughts, decisions, intentions and acts - no one else can affect our spiritual journey and evolution for good or bad.
The Dharma Shastras also have a caveat - if a number of brothers have 1 son among them, then they all have a son and that one son can perform all the necessarily post mortem rituals for the uncles.
There is also the provision to appoint a daughter to perform the funeral ceremonies and the subsequent sraddhas - she is known as a “niyukta-putri” and acts like a son. The inheritance of the estate is due to the one who performs one’s funeral, if the daughter performs it, she takes the estate.
Manu 9: 130. A son is even (as) oneself, (such) a daughter is equal to a son; how can another (heir) take the estate, while such (an appointed daughter who is even) oneself, lives?
Whether having a son is a blessing or a curse is contemplated in the following verse from the Brihaspati Nīti Sāra.
jāyamāno hared dārān vardhamāno hared dhanam |mriyamāṇo haret prāṇān nāsti putra samo ripuḥ || 1:114.60 ||You cannot find an enemy like a son, on being born the son takes away one's wife from one [when a son is born mother's attention is directed more to the son than to her husband]; while growing up he takes away one’s wealth and if by chance he dies he takes away the life of the father too.
jāyamāno hared dārān vardhamāno hared dhanam |
mriyamāṇo haret prāṇān nāsti putra samo ripuḥ || 1:114.60 ||
You cannot find an enemy like a son, on being born the son takes away one's wife from one [when a son is born mother's attention is directed more to the son than to her husband]; while growing up he takes away one’s wealth and if by chance he dies he takes away the life of the father too.
How many non-Brahmin writers and scholars were there prior to the 19th century in India?
Some of the greatest names in Hindu literature were not born in brahmana families
Going back to the beginning - the father of Indian Philosophy is Mahidāsa Aitareya who was a non-Brahmin. Born of a Brahmin father and a Sūdri mother - technically known as a Niśāda or Parasara.
Vyāsa the alleged compiler of the Vedas and Puranas was born out of wedlock from a Sage Parāśara and the adopted daughter of a fisherman - Satyavati and therefore definitely a non-Brahmin - Niśāda.
Vālmiki the author of the celebrated Rāmāyana was a robber.
Vidura the wisest man in the world and the counsellor of King Dhritaraṣṭra was a śūdra.
Viśvamitra was a kṣatriya
Janaka the greatest rāja-riṣi was a kṣatriya.
The orator of most of the Parāṇas is one Sūta - a low-caste horse-breeder and chariot-driver.
Now there were also many others who composed great works in the vernacular I will just mention two, and other respondents will give their local and regional authors.
Nammālvar was a śūdra who composed 1352 among the 4000 stanzas in the Nalayira Divya Prabandam which are known as the Tamil Veda of the Vaishnavas and are to this day daily chanted in Vishnu temples in the South.
Kamban was one of the greatest of Tamil poets who composed a version of the Ramayana in Tamil, he was the son of a wealthy farmer.
Among the other composers of Tamil literature there are many non-Brahmins.
Why did Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Tore Manusmriti?
While Ambedkar was a very learned and erudite person, he was not a Sanskrit scholar. I doubt he even knew one word of Sanskrit. I was just reading his book titled “Who were the Shudras?” published in 1946, a year before colonial rule ended and you can immediately see how flawed his views were on Manusmriti or for that matter, the shruti or itihasa texts.
His views on the Manusmriti appears influenced entirely by colonial English translations by the likes of Max Mueller, whose job it was to misrepresent ancient texts so as to divide and enable perpetuation of colonial rule. Let me quote a few paragraphs from the preface of his book to demonstrate how little he knew the spiritual traditions of India.
…the general proposition that the social organization of the Indo-Aryans was based on the theory of Chaturvarnya and that Chaturvarnya means division of society into four classes - Brahmins (priests), Kshatriyas (soldiers), Vaishyas (traders), and Shudras (menials) does not convey any idea of the real nature of the problem of the Shudras nor of its magnitude...principle of graded inequality...subjected to innumerable ignominies and disabilities so as to prevent him from rising above the condition fixed for him by law...Fifth varna of the Untouchables...
Since when did chaturvarnya become division of society into four classes? The Verse 12 of the Purusha Sukta of the Rg Veda. which is the basis used by colonials to suggest this “class division” asserts:
From this divine “cosmic intelligence”, we get our most desirable qualities, namely wisdom, nobility, industry and talent. ||RV 10.90.12||
Where is “class” or “caste” in this? The verse clearly refers to our “spiritual orientation”, our inner compass, one that manifests as these higher human qualities and finds expression as our attitude, beliefs and values, which in turn manifests as character, which become our personality, which in turn finds expression in our thoughts, speech and action or behaviour!
And there’s more.
…the present day Shudras are a collection of castes drawn from heterogenous stocks and are racially different from the original Shudras of the Indo-Aryan society…..in the case of Shudras the centre of interest is not the Shudras as a people but the legal system of pains and penalties was no doubt originally devised by the Brahmins to deal with the Shudras of the Indo-Aryan society, who have ceased to exist as a distinct, separate, identifiable community. But strange as it may seem the Code intended to deal with them has remained in operation and is now applied to all low-class Hindus, who have no lock, stock, with the original Shudras…
These are all phrases straight from the playbook of the British colonials and the “constructed basis” for their “divide and rule” policies. Unlike the Shruti, the Smriti are narratives or opinions on the Veda in the specific period in which they were written. To quote another Western author [Olivelle, Davis, OUP 2018] who researched these texts:
Dharmasastra represents an expert tradition, therefore presents not a record of custom, but a jurisprudential reflection on custom. Custom is taken here to a second order of discourse. All shastras represent a meta-discourse; they deal with reality but always once removed [Olivelle 2005a: 62,64]
Ambedkar has therefore done a great disservice to this nation, not only by pandering to these colonial misrepresentations, but for also being naïve enough to be lead by the nose by those whose only interest lay in dividing Indian society.
The Manusmriti itself is an obscure text, discovered and given prominence by a William Jones, a judge of the colonial high court in Bengal in 1794, who was tasked with the problem of defining “Hindu Common Law” based on the ancient texts. There is little doubt that it is a brilliant text for researchers who want to study the intellectual traditions of India of a period. But that’s it.
Which Indian who is familiar with our tradition doesn’t know this?
Why is only the Hindu religion afraid of conversion to other religions? Other religions aren’t afraid.
The problem is not conversion per se but that which is expressed in the words of Vivekananda:-
“Every Hindu converted is not only one Hindu less but one ENEMY more.”
Hindus who convert to either Christianity or Islam become implacably hostile to Hinduism for some reason. all the most rabid evangelists who spew hate-speech against Hindus and many would-be jihādis are all converts.
I know of many people who have converted to Buddhism or Hinduism who still maintain a respect and regard for their previous religion, family and culture - never have I encountered a converted Buddhist or Hindu who harbours resentment, and hostility and is fired up with a sense of superiority, triumphalism and entitlement like converts to the monotheistic faiths.
Converts to Buddhism or Hinduism still visit their parents and families, eat with them share festivals with them and respect their families customs and traditions.
Is there any marriage successful within the same gotra? What is the remedy for it?
The Vedic Gotra differentiation is only applicable to Traivarnikas and was used 5000 years ago to indicate a clan with common ancestors (consanguinity) and so the prohibition was intended to avoid genetic problems.
But women change their Gotras and adopt the Gotra of their husbands and students and adopted children take the Gotras of their gurus - so over 5000 years how closely related are folks do you think, who claim the same Gotra? The degree of any kinship would be homeopathic if not non-existent. Apart from the fact that the majority of non-Brahmins have all forgotten their Gotras - just ask your friends.
Different ethnic and linguistic groups in India have the same Gotras yet they are different as chalk and cheese.
Sudras developed their own Gotras based on local kinship but are only applicable in specific geographical areas in India - and even then, the dilution would render genetic kinship undetectable. For all ritual purposes non-Brahmins are given KASHYAPA Gotra – which is also a Brahmin Gotra :-)
So Gotra in marriage today has a purely symbolic usage and is mentioned only as a formality - it has no significance or value whatsoever.
Should Hindus become more fundamental and extreme like Muslims to protect their religion against rising Hinduphobia in India?
The ultimate extreme in Hinduism is to abandon your family, your friends, your job, your home and to retire to the forest, to build a hut out of grass and twigs and to spend the rest of your life in meditation and austerities, living on whatever roots and fruits you can glean from the forest, and wearing the bark of trees and eschewing all human company.
Another less arduous extreme is to renounce family, job, home etc. and retire to an Ashram to spend the rest of your life practicing celibacy, living on alms studying and meditating. A bit of luxury is retained - clothing, food and a sheltered place to sleep.
The second option places responsibility of your upkeep on the householders who are not fundamentalist and extreme.
So should Hindus in general become fundamentalists and extreme? I’m not sure it is a good option for society and it will have no impact on “Hinduphobia” whatsoever. Just cause a lot of marital disharmony.
Do you think that Hinduism should become an organized religion like other abrahamic faiths? Why? If yes, how can we do so? What will be it's outcomes according to you?
The problem with all religious organisations is their inevitable slide into Spiritual Materialism and tyranny of the cult. History provides us with ample evidence of the corruption and exploitation of religious power.
Any centralised religion loses the “message” and becomes a self-focussed echo-chamber with all the characteristics of any other business organisation - from management structure to self-promotion, marketing of merchandise, membership, conflicts of interest, coercion etc.
Hinduism is fine as it is, there are already hundreds of different Sampradāyas (lineages) which are organised more or less like the Abrahamic mobs, ranging from a rigid and formal structure like the BAPS to loose and informal ones like various Bhajan societies. The good thing about Hindu sampradāyas is the inbuilt checks and balances - which any prospective members should learn about. Membership is also voluntary and as long as “cults” are avoided one can leave at any time and go about “sampradāya shopping”.
What is most needed is for every free-wheeling and concerned Hindu to join a proper recognised sampradāya and start to receive formal and structured learning and begin a systematic practice (sādhana) program.
Why are there so many posts from India about parents interfering or wanting to interfere in their kids’ marriages?
This is a most vexatious problem which I deal with on an almost weekly basis.
I tend to be very unsympathetic to micro-managing dominating parents.
The micro-managing and interfering is not about their concern for their adult children’s welfare but rather for their own egoistical concern for themselves and their self-interested expectations and social-imperatives - “what will the neighbours say?”
Parents tend to project themselves and their unfulfilled desires onto their children - so they live vicariously through their children wanting for their children the things they themselves couldn’t achieve.
This is very anti-Hindu from a number of scriptural directives.
So most of the control and micro-management regarding weddings is against the Shastra and only serves to foster domestic conflict, distrust, alienation and heartache.
Why did God create/allow different religions that has led to untold strife on this planet?
What evidence do you have to assume that a “God” created any religion?
ALL religions are humankind’s attempt to understand and explain the natural world and to give meaning to life and hope for the afterlife.
Then the monotheistic religions made extraordinary and impudent claims that they have the monopoly on truth and salvation and that their mythology is “history” and that all non-subscriber to their tribal ideologies are going to be roasted forever while subscribers will be gamers in an eternal paradise.
Such outrageous claims will naturally cause conflict.
Why don't Dalits consider themselves as Hindus?
There is really no such thing as Dalits. But the classification came about after the 6th colonial census enumeration on the recommendation of Christian missionaries operating in India and were initially classified as Scheduled Castes and Tribes. There were some 1108 tribal communities listed as Scheduled Castes, and some 744 nomadic tribes listed as Scheduled Tribes, with no explanation as to why these were listed. A study of ancient British records reveals that this was based on the prevailing narrative of “Aryan invasions” subsuming “Dravidian aboriginals”, and since these SC/STs showed traditions of greater antiquity than in the towns as cities (British missionaries classified these as people of “animistic faiths”), they needed special protection so that they can be converted to Christianity, instead of being subsumed into the faith of Invaders.
Total bullshit, of course! But it played well to the British plans in India.
After independence, these groups just became politically expedient. While Gandhi used the term “Harijans”, it was probably Ambedkar who coined the term “Dalit”, which really is a term used in the threshing of paddy, for the grains of rice that are broken or lost in the process! The missionaries added to this mystique by bringing in the misrepresentations of the Manusmriti to catalyze and complete the schism in Indian society.
In reality, anyone who is an Indian is a Hindu. The two terms are interchangeable. And varna, is just our “spiritual orientation”, our inner compass, one that gives us direction in life, and manifests as our attitude, beliefs and values, which shapes our character, which becomes our personality and then finds expression as thought, speech and behaviour.
There are some half truths in the narratives though, one that came up during the years of brutal Islamic, Mughal and the colonial rule, especially the patterns of land ownership, tribal rights, and the revenue collection rules and systems under foreign rule.
Why do Indian religions support the caste system?
Originally Answered: What religions in India support the caste system?
Thought the colonial “caste system” (essentially a “class system”) is just 148 years old (it was introduced and made mandatory starting with the first colonial census of 1871), it is embedded in the social structure of the country only because it was retained and encouraged and made into a politically expedient tool to carve out constituencies. Every religion in vogue in India as well as the spiritual traditions have adopted this disgraceful practice - whether Christian, Muslim or Hindu.
What is the caste associated with the priest profession in India?
“Caste” is not a term associated with any Indian tradition. You may have to ask the Portuguese to define the term, and then the British to understand how they used the concept to “divide and rule”!
Many in India think of “caste” as being the same as “community”. And there is no “community” of priests. Priests are there in every Indian community.
If Hinduism is a great religion, then why does it differentiate people on the basis of caste?
Who said “caste” has anything to do with Hindu spiritual traditions (Hinduism)? Try and figure it out for yourself, if you are really seeking the truth. Otherwise, there are plenty of narrative peddlers seeking to put down the civilization of a billion people for their narrow interests. Your choice!
Which Veda defines the duties of four varnas?
Before you seek answers to that, you need to understand the true meaning of varna, not the colonial/marxist narrative of Aryan invaders and their “caste system”.
Varna means “spiritual orientation”, one that the Veda asserts as follows:
From this divine “cosmic intelligence” we get our most desirable qualities namely wisdom, nobility, industry and talent. || RV 10.90.12 ||
Note that purusha has been translated here as “cosmic intelligence” as purusha and prakriti together represents the duality of the universe, of energy and matter. Some know this as a “universal consciousness”, even though it transcends perception.
In modern fields of research, varna would be a concept in a multidisciplinary field such as cognitive and behavioral sciences. From the philosophical perspective, it is really a “higher human quality” or “spiritual quality”, one that “orients” our perceptions, gives us “direction” in life.
So your question really translates to:
Given my aptitude, interests and personality, which field of work would you recommend?
Another thing to remember when you think of any concept in Hindu philosophy, is that these have meaning at multiple levels in a “cause-effect cascade” of human attributes. As shown in the diagram below, we have the “source of all creation”, and we have a “quality” that we can assert is “inspirational” to which all humans can “aspire”. And we do this because the “source of creation” is an “unknowable”. Note that all human qualities merely represent a “potential”. It cannot manifest as values, beliefs, thoughts, speech and action by itself. That requires a causative factor which we describe as “shakti”.
So varna manifests as attitude, belief, values, which finds expression in character, which in turn becomes personality, which then finds expression in our thoughts, speech and behaviour. This is what is referred to earlier as the “cause-effect cascade”. Here’s another more complex representation using the “seven planes of existence”:
The yellow circle represents the source of creation, the orange quad a “quality”.
The multi-level meaning comes from the fact that the term varna is used both for (a) “spiritual orientation” which is the defining potential of “attitude, interests and aptitude”, or “behavioural traits”, since behaviour is how “atitude and interests” are determined in practice, and to (b) job-specific attributes of “behavioural orientation”, or the “behavioural or attitudinal aspect” of the “job requirement”.
“Behaviour oriented interview techniques” is a new and increasingly critical factor even in the modern field of HR, specifically in the function of “talent acquisition”. Sometimes the “varna” of the job is defined as “color of job”, which is cool, but can be misleading.
Without a clear understanding of the concept of varna, your question would lead only to the prevailing colonial narratives. Three other related concepts are dharma, karma and the triguna dynamic, which we will not discuss here as it will become too involved and lengthy.
So is there any “prescribed duties” for the four varna?
Yes and no.
No, because the job description has nothing really to do with your spiritual orientation.
Yes because “fitment” or the matching of “attitude and interests”, as well as “aptitude” to the non-tangible job requirements is an important facet of all modern HR practices, what to speak of ancient practices.
How many people like inter-caste marriages?
Most Indians unknowingly use the term “caste” for “community”. It is better to use community when you mean Jati, as Jati is really people of our region who share our language/dialect, culture, customs, traditions, deities, festivals, food and so on. In inter-community marriages, this is definitely a challenge unless you are a second or third generation urban citizen.
Key point - What are JAATIS
The real problem was lack of dignity of some occupations due to notions of purity, and excess prestige of others, and this became rigid into a belief that abilities were hereditary during Mughal and British Times. Breaking these misconceptions, and providing equal dignity, is they key to dismantling discrimination based on caste. In today's world, the desire to make India progress has definitely made many to practice equality, and this will remain the motivator, and much needs to be done.
Where in India can I be dominated by brahmin patriarchs?
You can only be dominated by Brahmin patriarchs if you yourself are a Brahmin otherwise they won’t pay you any attention whatsoever.
Brahmin patriarchs are far too busy doing their daily rituals and studying and teaching Vedas to have time to bother with you.
"Reservation should be replaced as it is not a proper way to help the needy". Why not completely remove the concept of caste?
It can be easily eradicated, once people are educated about how it was constructed by the British colonials, and introduced along with the first census enumeration of 1871–72. The British records, mainly the record of the Chief Census Administrator HH Risley, takes great pains to show how difficult the exercise was, of creating the “caste system” [Risley 1891]. And they were clever people, using not only our concept of “communities” (Jati) but also linking it to the spiritual concept of Varna, our “spiritual orientation” or “inner compass”, by misrepresenting Varna as the “four original races” of the “Aryan invaders”.
This kind of misrepresentations can only be eradicated through education, and by teaching the texts like the Veda, which the colonial scholars (Christian missionaries) asserted, were the authority for the “caste system”. Take a look at one such example from the Purusha Sukta of the Rg Veda:
From this cosmic intelligence, we get the most desirable of human qualities, namely wisdom, nobility, industry and facility. || RV 10.90.12 ||
See how the British translated this same verse:
At the top of the hierarchy were the Brahmins who were mainly teachers and intellectuals and are believed to have come from Brahma's head. Then came the Kshatriyas, or the warriors and rulers, supposedly from his arms. The third slot went to the Vaishyas, or the traders, who were created from his thighs. At the bottom of the heap were the Shudras, who came from Brahma's feet and did all the menial jobs.
What's your opinion about Hinduism? Is it a philosophy or a religion? (I don't mean to hurt anyone or anything bad, I'm sorry if I did, I just want to gather opinions for my essay).
“Hindu” is a geographic term covering all the different religions, variant religions, philosophies, customs, traditions, usages and ceremonies of diverse and variant linguistics groups who have as much in common as the Spaniards do with the Ukrainians.
So “Hinduism” is not ONE thing - it’s like the term “European”.
The core of what is academically and sociologically called “Hinduism” is the Veda and the philosophy of the Veda is called Vedānta. So the core of modern “Hinduism” is the philosophy encapsulated in the Vedānta.
A Muslim friend told me Hindu gods don't make any sense as they fight with each other all the time, and that there can only be one God. What should be my reply?
There are 2 question in one.
(1) cosmic battle and (2) mathematics of God.
In Hindu mythology the gods and anti gods all fight among themselves - correct. This represents the constant turmoil of nature. But they never command their devotees to kill unbelievers.
In Islam God is alone so he has no one to fight with - except the big battle at the end of times with the Dijjāl. But in the meantime he gets himself involved in earthly wars which are fought in his name and for entrance into paradise.
Which is better and makes more sense?
Why must there be only ONE God? (I notice you are a mathematician) Why does a God necessarily have to be associated with a particular digit?
Before doing the math on God, we first have to establish the existence of such a sky-guy. Once incontrovertible evidence of such a being has been provided we can then argue if IT is male or female or trans or cis-gender, black, white or brown, or one or 3 or 33 or many etc. After the proof of existence, come the details and qualities.
There are some classical arguments for the existence of a first cause - like Aristotle’s Prime Mover or the Kalam Cosmological argument - but all they can rationally prove is that there is an abstract Prime Cause but cannot prove anything ABOUT that Prime Cause.
Everything that every religion says about the Prime Cause is culturally constructed speculation, projection and wishful thinking - mediated by limitations of conceptualisation and expression.
According to Hinduism all speculative math on God must begin, not with ONE but with ZERO (śūnya) - which we gave to the world by the way :-)
The mathematics of the Universe emerge from ZERO and return to ZERO so the source is not ONE.
Truth in Vedānta is defined as (1) correspondence with reality and (2) has practical utility - so we ask - why is ONE more practically useful than MULTIPLICITY? Could you do any sort of math with one digit?
What has the Islamic doctrine of Oneness of God (tawḥīd) contributed to human flourishing, diversity, inclusivity and world peace? This is what you should ask the one who is giving you da’wah.
If talking about what is sensible and reasonable - is it reasonable to give God a masculine pronoun? If Mary and Joe have a baby - Josh. Who is more involved in the birth of Josh? Mary or Joe? Joe’s contribution to the project is merely 2ml of sticky fluid. Mary gestates baby Josh in her uterus for 9 months and then gives birth with extreme effort and pain. She also has the unique ability to feed baby Josh from her own body. So why is Joe important? The 2 mls can begotten from any random male. Yet the “paternity” of Josh is considered to be greater than the “maternity” of Mary. Why?
So it makes more sense to speak of GODDESS rather than god.
Is Hinduism a religion focused on the afterlife to the detriment of this life?
On the contrary the prime focus of Hinduism is on THIS life.
Maharishi Kaṇāda in his Vaisheshika Sūtras defines Dharma as:–
yatobhyudaya-niḥśreyasa-siddhiḥ sa dharmaḥDharma is that strategy by which the material flourishing (abhyudaya) and the Supreme Good (niḥśreyasa) is achieved.
yatobhyudaya-niḥśreyasa-siddhiḥ sa dharmaḥ
Dharma is that strategy by which the material flourishing (abhyudaya) and the Supreme Good (niḥśreyasa) is achieved.
In the Vedic sūktas there is very little said about the afterlife and almost the entire focus of Vedic religion is about happiness, wellbeing, prosperity and pleasure here and now!
The Shad-darshanas (the six classical schools of Hindu philosophy) addressed themselves to the universal problem of unhappiness and discontent (duḥkha) and identified 3 core sources of suffering:–
The Ultimate Emancipation from conditioned existence known as “mokṣa” is a distant goal which we all ultimately reach anyway, but for now, the focus of Dharma is achieving the greatest common good here on planet earth.
This is a typical Vedic blessing which is often pronounced by the priests:–
śrī varca̍syam āyu̍ṣya̱m āro̎gyam avi̍dhā̱t chobha̍mānam mahī̱yate̎ | dhā̱nyam dha̱nam pa̱śum ba̱hu putra-lā̱bham śa̱ta saṃva̍tsaraṃ dī̱rgham āyu̍ḥ ||May you both blest with prosperity, vigor, longevity, health, wealth, and domestic animals. May you have many children and may you live for a hundred autumns.oṃ bhūr-bhuva̱s-suva̍ḥ | ojo̱ balam̎ | brahma̍-kṣa̱tram | yaśo̍ ma̱hat | sa̱tyaṃ tapo̱ nāma̍ | rū̱pam a̱mṛtam̎ | cakṣuḥ śrotram̎ | mana̱ āyu̍ḥ | viśva̱ṃ yaśo̍ ma̱haḥ | sa̱mantapo̱ haro̱ bhāḥ | jā̱tave̍dā yadi̍ vā pāva̱ko'si̍ | vai̱śvāna̱ro yadi̍ vā vaidyu̱to'si | śaṃ pra̱jābhyo̱ yaja̍mānāya lo̱kam | ūrja̱ṃ puṣṭi̱ṃ da̍dabhyā vṛ̍tsva ||Power and potency, the might of reagent and priest, glory and intelligence, Truth and austerity name and comely form, immortality. Good sight and hearing, mind and longevity, worldly fame , equal vision, virtue, and radiance may we obtain of you. O Knower-of-all-beings if you are indeed the Purifier, O Fire-of-universal-destruction if you are indeed the Light of the Intermediate regions Grant peace to this patron of the sacrifice and to his offspring. Grant them strength and health. (TB.3.10.5)
śrī varca̍syam āyu̍ṣya̱m āro̎gyam avi̍dhā̱t chobha̍mānam mahī̱yate̎ | dhā̱nyam dha̱nam pa̱śum ba̱hu putra-lā̱bham śa̱ta saṃva̍tsaraṃ dī̱rgham āyu̍ḥ ||
May you both blest with prosperity, vigor, longevity, health, wealth, and domestic animals. May you have many children and may you live for a hundred autumns.
oṃ bhūr-bhuva̱s-suva̍ḥ | ojo̱ balam̎ | brahma̍-kṣa̱tram | yaśo̍ ma̱hat | sa̱tyaṃ tapo̱ nāma̍ | rū̱pam a̱mṛtam̎ | cakṣuḥ śrotram̎ | mana̱ āyu̍ḥ | viśva̱ṃ yaśo̍ ma̱haḥ | sa̱mantapo̱ haro̱ bhāḥ | jā̱tave̍dā yadi̍ vā pāva̱ko'si̍ | vai̱śvāna̱ro yadi̍ vā vaidyu̱to'si | śaṃ pra̱jābhyo̱ yaja̍mānāya lo̱kam | ūrja̱ṃ puṣṭi̱ṃ da̍dabhyā vṛ̍tsva ||
Power and potency, the might of reagent and priest, glory and intelligence, Truth and austerity name and comely form, immortality. Good sight and hearing, mind and longevity, worldly fame , equal vision, virtue, and radiance may we obtain of you. O Knower-of-all-beings if you are indeed the Purifier, O Fire-of-universal-destruction if you are indeed the Light of the Intermediate regions Grant peace to this patron of the sacrifice and to his offspring. Grant them strength and health. (TB.3.10.5)
What is the relevance of the four stages of life in Hinduism in the modern age?
In the most ancient texts the four ashramas (estates) are proposed as three different vocations which one (males only - patriarchy) could choose, based upon education (brahmacārya).
After graduating one could choose to enter the householder estate, or go to the forest to build a hut and dwell off-grid in nature and pursue meditation and spiritual practice or one could choose to become a “wanderer” - go walk-about, see the world and visit places while at the same time doing spiritual practice.
In the later Dharma Shastras the authors become increasingly focussed on the householder and so made that the obligatory estate with the latter two sequential optional stages after reproducing.
For the past more than 1000 years marriage has become the central estate.
In the Vedic times women also had access to all four stages and we find mention in the Epics and Puranas of women sages living in the forest and also wanderers.
Is it possible for a non-Hindu who rejects the teaching of Vedas and Gita attain moksha (Vedas, philosophy, mokshas, other religions, Hinduism)?
There are no Hindus and non-Hindus. “Hindu” is a geographical term denoting the people of India. The Vedic teachings are Universal and not geographical.
There are three aspects to the Vedic teachings.
All the teachings are based on logic and sound reasoning and argument - so what will you reject? Before rejecting you have to study what it is. You cannot reject what you don’t know or don’t have.
Will those who don’t subscribe to the Views, Paths and Goal of the Vedas achieve Mokṣa?
Why not? The spiritual truths are Universal, and are dormant in the collective unconscious of humanity. Like magma under the earth’s crust which bursts forth in volcanic eruptions, enlightenment manifests everywhere in every culture and among all human beings.
The ātman is one, our delusions are multifarious - eventually at some stage in the evolution of consciousness, we all come to the same conclusion regarding the Self and the Absolute.
Are there any rules for teachers of the Vedas or Vedic priests accepting gifts of money or votive items?
Giving Dakshina to the priests or teachers is an act of generosity (dāna) which is integral to all religious ceremonies. Through giving dakṣina one is supporting the priests who in turn are the upholders and the teachers of the Dharma. It is upon the householders that the priests and the monks depend for their livelihood and ability to continue their work of teaching and promoting the values of Sanātana Dharma. Householders should express their heartfelt love of the Dharma and appreciation of the work of the priests and gurus through giving generously according to their financial means.
The Śāstra recommends a sliding scale of Dakṣina as a guideline, based upon the price of a cow.
If the average price of a cow is $500. Therefore a poor person should offer only 1/5 of the price of a cow, a person of middle income should offer 3/5 and the higher income should offer the entire price of the cow.
Based upon the combined income of the husband and wife the following is the baseline:—
Low income household $00.00 — $40,000 = $100 recommended minimum dakshina per function.
Middle income household $40,000 — $80,000 = $300 dakshina
High income household $80,000 + = $500 dakshina
Dakṣiṇa however little it may be should always be given to the priests and the devotees during the performance of yajñas, because any religious activity that is performed without sacrificial fees becomes fruitless and vain. Therefore a yajamāna should give according to his means with faith and devotion because dakṣina is a segment of the yajña. (Pancarātra - Pādma Samhita 11;267 - 269.)Let there be no haggling for the sacrificial fee, for by haggling the priests are deprived of their place in heaven. ( Satapatha.Brahmana. ix 5;2;16.)The yajamāna should not choose a priest who is unlearned in the Veda nor one who haggles about his fee. (āpastambha Smṛti ii;5;10;8)
Dakṣiṇa however little it may be should always be given to the priests and the devotees during the performance of yajñas, because any religious activity that is performed without sacrificial fees becomes fruitless and vain. Therefore a yajamāna should give according to his means with faith and devotion because dakṣina is a segment of the yajña. (Pancarātra - Pādma Samhita 11;267 - 269.)
Let there be no haggling for the sacrificial fee, for by haggling the priests are deprived of their place in heaven. ( Satapatha.Brahmana. ix 5;2;16.)
The yajamāna should not choose a priest who is unlearned in the Veda nor one who haggles about his fee. (āpastambha Smṛti ii;5;10;8)
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