Friday, 1 May 2009

The caste system

We are Brahmin not on account of birth or the performance of rites, not by study or family, but on account of our behavior. (na yonir napisamskaro nasrutam na ca santatih karanani dvijatvasya vrttam eva tu karanam.) ( sarvoyam brahmano loke vrttenaca vidhiyate vrttisthitasu sudropi brahmanatva, mouaccjato – Anusasanaparva.

Even if we are born Sudras. By good conduct we can raise ourselves to the highest status. (sudrayonau hi jatasya sadgunan upastisthatah vaisyatvam labhate brahmam ksatriyattvam tathaiva ca arjave vartamanasya brahmanyam abhijayate – Aranyaparva. )

Patanjali refers to Brahmin kings, and Manu to Sudra rulers. There were Brahmin soldiers in the time of Alexander, as there are today. Shankara held the view that members of all castes can read the sastras. Hindu acaryas denounced the spirit of caste separatism. Vajrasucikopanisad holds that many who were born of non-brahmin women had risen to the rank of Brahmin saints.

Author Beatrice Pitney Lamb has pointed out:

"Clearly the Indian way of assimilating foreigners - by allowing them to pursue their own customs within some niche of the caste system - has led to greater variety and tolerance within the country than exists in the United States, where immigrants have been assimilated through a school program emphasizing 100 per cent Americanization - and hence, implicitly, the rejection of inherited cultural roots."

Writing of this varna-ashrama-dharma, Auguste Comte (1798-1857) the great French sociologist, wrote in his book Système de philosophie positive or Positive Society:

“No institution has ever shown itself more adopted to honor, ability to various kinds than this polytheistic organization…In a social view, the virtues of the system are not less conspicuous. Politically, its chief attribute was stability…As to the influence on mortals, this system was favorable to personal morality, and yet more to domestic, for the spirit of caste was a mere extension of the family spirit….As to social morals, the system was evidently favorable to respect for age and homage to ancestors.” greatest poets and the most venerated saints such as Sura Dasa, Kabir, Tukaram, Thiruvalluvar and Ram Dasa; came from the humblest class of society." Caste system has been exploited against the Hindus, for the last two centuries by the British, Christian Missionaries, Secular historians, Communists, Muslims, Pre and Post-Independence Indian politicians and Journalists for their own endshe caste system was never a tenet of the Hindu faith.
"The universe is the outpouring of the majesty of God, the auspicious one, radiant love. Every face you see belongs to Him. He is present in everyone without exception." - says the Yajur Veda.

"The Lord (The Divine) is enshrined in the hearts of all." - says the Isha Upanishad 1 -1.

The Upanishads which are a pure, lofty, heady distillation of spiritual wisdom which come to us from the very dawn of time tell us:

"Reality (God) is our real Self, so that each of us is one with the power that created and sustains the universe."

In Sanskrit, Tat tvam asi, “You are That.”

"In the depths of meditation, sages (rishis)
Saw within themselves the Lord of Love,
Who dwells in the heart of every creature." says the Shvetashvatara Upanishad. 1 - 3.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Share Your Views on this..