Caste and Hinduism

The initiative to exorcise castes from Hindu Society has been taken by many individuals and organizations over different periods. Let us take a look at how Casteism is dealt in India, what are its reasons and why have we failed in its eradication from our society.

Castes abolished in Vedas

The prolonged controversy over the caste system and its reference in Vedas is quite unfortunate. On an interesting note, Vedas nowhere speaks about the caste system.

Manu assertively declares,

“Janmanaa jaayate shoodrah, samskaarena dwijah”-

Meaning – All human beings are Shudras (unrefined) by birth; and by samskaara (refinement), one becomes a dwijah (twice born), i.e., one amongst the Brahmanas, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas.

The classification of four Varnas is not based on the birth factor and is indeed misinterpreted by many. In Srimad Bhagavad Gita Krishna clearly specifies –

“Chaaturvarnyam mayaa srishtham, guna karma vibhaagashah”-

Meaning – I am the Creator of the four Varnas on the basis of temperament and quality.”

Great Men who earned their caste

Veda Vyasa was born to a fisherwoman, but he is regarded as the Guru of all Gurus. By virtue of his actions and spiritual inclinations he became the compiler of the Vedas.

Satyakaama Jabaali was the son of a woman who was a prostitute by profession and had served many masters. Thus, he never got to know the identity of his father. But, Satyakaama created history by becoming an Upanishadic Seer.

Narada was the son of a maid servant.

Ravana, though being a Brahmin is better known as the demon king of Lanka because of his evil deeds, one of the worst being Sita’s abduction. On the other hand, Ravana’s own brother Vibhishana is regarded as the perfect example of an Alwar saint of Vaishnava order.

Karna was known as the son of a charioteer. However, Duryodhana gave him the stature of a Kshatriya by appointing him the king of Angadesha.

Vishwamitra was originally a Rajarshi, but by virtue of Sage Vasishta, he was exalted to the position of a Brahma Rishi.

Man chooses his own caste

Men who are spiritually inclined; in whom wisdom is predominant are true representatives of Jnaanabhoomi, Karmabhoomi, and Mokshabhoomi Bharat. The Saptarshis (Seven Sages) and other rishis are known to have spiritually guided the people from every genre on this earth. Rishis of highest enlightenment, like Gautama, Viswamitra and Vasishta directed greatest emperors including Janaka and Dasaratha.

Men who are artistic, emotional and patriotic; in whom patriotism is predominant are the ones under whom the nation feels safe and secure; they are the Kshatriyas.

Men who are blessed with the virtues of running trade and business; in whom entrepreneurship is predominant, become Vaishyas or traders.

The commoner, whose inclinations are towards casual work and eking out a living are called Shudras.

Various limbs of Rashtra Purusha are mainly divided into four major Varnas. It should be kept in mind that nowhere it is said that one cannot move from one Varna to another.

Casteism – A Political Propaganda

Those who want Hindu society divided for their nefarious political purposes keep on manipulating various interpretations of Hindu scriptures, thereby maintaining that casteism is an integral part of Hinduism. In other countries where Hindus are settled in large numbers, caste distinction is almost non-existent.

Currently in India, caste system exists in major remote and illiterate areas. Its prevalence is owing to the ignorance of the local population and patronage of politicians who want to create vote banks in the name of caste.

However, it is believed that the day they will be wiped out is not very far. So, why harp upon it again and again?

Let us make positive efforts to remove this stain of Casteism that has been creeping into Hindu society as a deadly virus. The Rishis addressed the whole humanity as ‘Amritasya putraah’ and called the whole world as one family, ‘Vasudaiva kutumbhakam’. They proclaimed a ‘Maanava Dharma’ that is ‘Vishwa Dharma’ which is the ‘Sanatan Dharma’ — the Eternal Religion of Man. They have entrusted the task of spreading this man-making and universal values of life in the entire world to the children of Mother Bharat and their descendants. Let us fulfil the aspirations of our forefathers and the great seers of this Hindu land.

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