The Caste System is not equivalent to Varna or Jati

Discussion in 'Myths and Misconceptions' started by garry420, Sep 21, 2015.

  1. garry420

    garry420 Well-Known Member

    The caste system is not equivalent to varna or jati. Caste is a made up concept, not mentioned in any scriptures whatsoever. Many people confuse Lord Krishna's words in the Bhagavad Gita regarding varna and jati to be caste. This is not true. Please read below what varna is, and what jati is.

    Bhagavad Gita 4.13 says,
    'chaturvaranyam maya sristam,
    guna karma vibhagashaha
    tasya kartaramapi mam,
    vidya kartaram vyayam'

    "Sri Krishna says: The four varnas were established by me according to the principles of Guna (qualities, attitudes), and Karma (action)."

    Varna is NOT equivalent to caste, nor is jati. Varna, in fact, does not have anything to do with birth. It is determined by your actions and the guna you choose to live in. A Brahmin is not a Brahmin because his father was. He must be Brahmin by his own Karma as well.

    There are three modes of material nature.

    1) Satva-guna, the mode of goodness. Pure, selfless Karma, no desire for the fruits of the actions. A Brahmin must be Satvik, in this guna. In order to be in this guna, one must also be a pure vegetarian, and not consume meat products, fish or eggs.

    2) Rajo-guna, the mode of passion. Mostly auspicious Karma, but still holds desire for the fruits of their actions. Kshatriyas are Rajsik, along with some Vaishyas as well. Rajsik people are permitted to eat meat, but the flesh of a cow, horse or human are strictly forbidden for them.

    3) Tamo-guna, the mode of ignorance. Bad Karma, deceives people, lazy, does not work, sleeps on average more than 10 hours a day, eats the most foul foods ever, and will eat anything, cow meat, and even human flesh.

    These gunas are clearly mentioned by Lord Krishna later on in Gita. However, the definitions are more precisely given in the Rig-veda.

    That is Varna, based on actions. Then what is Jati?

    Jati also has nothing to do with caste, or even varna for that matter. It is determined through the family clan you were born into, otherwise known as gotra. It is your kula, the unique Dharma of your ancestors which you must obey. It is not intended to be a segregation system as many Indians blindly believe.

    Where did caste come from? That, I cannot tell you, as I do not know myself. However, there is no mention of it in any scriptures, look at the Vedas, Puranas, Mahabharata, Ramayana, Upanishads, Manu Smriti etc, it is not there. However, by confusing caste with varna and jati, one is corrupting the true Vedic essence of this term.

    Lord Krishna goes on to say in the Bhagavad Gita, chapter 4, verse 35:

    'yaj gyatva na punar moham
    evam yasyasi pandava
    yena bhutany asesani
    draksyasy atmany atho mayi'

    "And when you have learned the ultimate truth, you will know that all living entities are My extension, they are within Me, and they are Mine."

    So who are we to discriminate against any living being if Krishna himself and said last living entities belong to him?
  2. Punit Garg

    Punit Garg New Member

    I often hear people criticizing/misunderstanding caste system. It seems that many people still don’t understand how the varna system was meant to be implemented, as can be seen in the modern form of the caste system of today. The problem is not because of Varnashrama, but because of this misunderstanding of what it really is that has caused so many of India’s social problems. So, here is something that everyone must know: The modern caste system is seen to usually dictate one’s varna or caste merely by one’s birth family, as if one automatically inherits the caste of one’s father, which is why there is a growing dislike for it. This is not the traditional Vedic system of Varnashrama. This is the difference and the problem. The traditional Vedic system calculated one’s occupational class by recognizing one’s natural talents, interests, tendencies, and abilities. It was similar to the modern system of having high school counselors adjust a student’s academic courses by discussing with the students their interests in conjunction with the results of their IQ tests. Thus, such counselors see what occupational direction is best suited for the students so they can achieve a fitting career that is of interest to them and helps them be a contributor to society at the same time. And the four basic divisions of society, as outlined in the Vedic system, are natural classifications and found everywhere, in every society, call it what you want. The original Vedic system called varnashrama was legitimate and virtuous. It was meant for the progressive organization of society. Varnashrama is the Vedic system that divides society into four natural groups depending on individual characteristics and dispositions. Everyone has certain tendencies by their own natural inclinations and choice. These inclinations are also seen in one’s occupational preferences. There is a natural system of social organization which can bring about a peaceful society where everyone is happy. This system is described in the timeless Vedic literature of India and it is called Varnasrama dharma. Bhagavad Gita states "Brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras are distinguished by the qualities born of their own natures in accordance with the material modes, O chastiser of the enemy." So the Vedas recognize different people have different skills and qualifications, but it is no by birth, it is by guna [qualification] and karma [work]. So if someone born of a sudra [worker] father becomes qualified [guna] and works as [karma] a brahmana he should be accepted as a brahmana… In the same way if the son of a brahmana doesn’t have the qualifications of a brahmana or work as a brahmana then he is not a brahmana. 4 Varnas and their symptoms and qualifications as per timeless vedic scriptures: 1. Brahmana (those who are priests, or interested in the study, teaching and practice of spiritual knowledge and intellectual pursuits) “Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, knowledge, wisdom and religiousness–these are the natural qualities by which the brahmanas work." Bhagavad Gita 2. Kshatriya (those who are soldiers, in the military, or police, politicians, managers, etc.) “Heroism, power, determination, resourcefulness, courage in battle, generosity and leadership are the natural qualities of work for the ksatriyas." Bhagavad Gita 3. Vaishya(merchants, businessmen, bankers, farmers, tradesmen, etc.) “Farming, cow protection and business are the natural work for the vaisyas" Bhagavad Gita 4. Shudras Shudras (those who have little interest in the study of the Vedic literature or spiritual pursuits, and would rather engage in simple labor or employment, or technicians and other craftsmen in the service of others, etc.) "And for the sudras there is labor and service to others." Bhagavad Gita Its real purpose was that the system of varnashrama was not to label or restrict someone. It was actually part of the means for self-discovery and development. It was to assist a person to find their place in life where he or she would be most comfortable in terms of functionality and occupation. It was to allow the means for everyone to work according to their own nature, which helps bring happiness to the individual and society. Thus, a person could study what was most suited for him or her rather than pursue a type of work that was not really in line with that person’s character, and in which he would soon be dissatisfied. So, it would help guide one to more efficiently complete one’s life and reach fulfillment. In this way, the varnashrama system is based on the natural divisions within society and is not meant to establish forced distinctions or restrictions. However, beyond this it was meant to help raise the consciousness of humanity from materialism to a higher state of devotional regard for God in spiritual life. It would help one in managing the physical, mental, intellectual, and spiritual energy for improving one’s health, mental and physical development, and productivity, along with spiritual awareness. Thus, it was meant for helping society to become spiritually harmonized and make the everyday tasks into a means of spiritual progress and growth. To explain further, in Bhagavad-gita (4.13) Lord Krishna says, “According to the three modes of material nature and the work ascribed to them, the four divisions of human society were created by Me.” Then He continues, “Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras are distinguished by their qualities of work in accordance with the modes of nature.” (Bg.18.41) Herein we can see that there is no mention of birth as a determining factor for one’s varna or classification. They are ascertained by their qualities of work. Furthermore, “By following his qualities of work, every man can become perfect. . . By worship of the Lord, who is the source of all beings and who is all-pervading, man can, in the performance of his own duty [or occupation], attain perfection.” (Bg.18.45-6)
  3. Rudra Tartare

    Rudra Tartare New Member

    Most of the atheist argue about the caste system to thrust that Hinduism is a religion that discriminates.
    The facts you provided will surely prove them wrong.

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