The Categorization Based On the Professions – The Hindu Caste System

Discussion in 'Hindu' started by Hindu Girl, Feb 20, 2015.

  1. Hindu Girl

    Hindu Girl New Member

    The caste system in the Hindu society is basically a system of social stratification, which is believed to have been divided based on the occupations of the people. There were four major castes in which this system was divided in namely The Brahmin, The Kshatriya, The Vaisya and The Shudra.

    Here is the description of the working system on which this Hindu Caste System was based:

    Brahmins – They were the priestly class, whose main work was to study and preach about the religion, they use to perform various religious and spiritual rituals.

    Kshatriyas – They were the warrior class, whose main duty was to protect the others from the invaders. They were basically the soldiers who worked in the armies.

    Vaisya – These were the next in the list and they did the rest of the jobs, like farming, trading and also the artisans were but they were a class above the Shudra.

    Shudra – The last in the class, these were the group of tenant farmers and servants, who use to work for the rest of the classes.

    Apart from the four main classes as mentioned above, was one more classes that Hindu Cast System consisted and it was the Shudra Class, they were the ones who were born outside the classes that are specified above and were considered as the untouchables and in many of the Hindu literature have been referred to as the Dalits.

    The basic theology of the Hindu Caste System was based on the concept of reincarnation which was one of the bases of Hinduism as a religion. As per the belief if a person performed all his karmas that is his duties in the current birth he or she if born in a class lower than the other would be blessed and can take a birth in an upper class in their next birth. But if a person is born in a lower class in this birth, then that was deemed as their destiny, and they were expected to perform all their tasks religiously whatever was expected of them by the society, and depended on which part of the class they belonged to, like if born in a Shudra caste the person was expected to serve others and also pay regular rents to the landlords. Only if the person was able to meet all his duties and shown his or her gratification towards the society would they attain salvation and the same stood true for all the rest of the castes as well.

    The areas where this Hindu Caste System had the major relevance were on the marriages, the meals that they had and their religious worships. There was no concept of inter-caste marriage and was one of the forbidden terms in the Indian society, hence people had to look for alliances in their own castes. Also during the times of meals, it was believed to be fortunate to have been provided food by the hands of the Brahmin, but the same was not true the other way, as it was believed that the Brahmin would be polluted if he or she accepted to have certain food from anyone who belonged to the lower castes. When it came to the religious duties, while the Brahmins were the ones who performed the rituals and did all the religious services, the Kshatriya and the Vaisya castes could attend these rituals, and there were no restrictions on them, but a few restrictions were imposed on the Shudra class who could not offer any kind of sacrifices to the deities, but it was only applicable for the servant class. But it was the untouchables who were not allowed to attend any kind of religious ceremonies.
     
  2. Hindu

    Hindu Member Staff Member

  3. Hindu Girl

    Hindu Girl New Member

  4. Hindu

    Hindu Member Staff Member

    Here is something more for you
    The Caste System or varna-ashrama has been one of the most misrepresented, misinformed, misunderstood, misused and the most maligned aspects of Hinduism. If one wants to understand the truth, the original purpose behind the caste system, one must go to antiquity to study the evolution of the caste system. Caste System, which is said to be the mainstay of the Hindu social order, has no sanction in the Vedas. The ancient culture of India was based upon a system of social diversification according to SPIRITUAL development, not by birth,but by his karma. This system became hereditary and over the course of many centuries degenerated asa result of exploitation by some priests, and other socio-economic elements of society.

    The greatest poets and the most venerated saints such as Sura Dasa, Kabir, Tukaram, Thiruvalluvar and Ram Dasa; came from the humblest class ofsociety." In the words of Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, " In spiteof the divisions, there is an inner cohesion among the Hindu society from theHimalayas to the Cape Comorin."

    The caste system was never a tenet of the Hindu faith.

    • The caste system wasnever 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:
    In The Bhagawad Gita, sloka 20, Chapter 10, Lord Krishna says,

    "I am the Self seated in the heartof all creatures. I am the beginning, the middle and the very end of all beings". All beings have, therefore to be treated alike. "
    Again in the Bhagawad Gita, sloka 29, Chapter 9, Lord Krishna says,
    • “I look upon all creatures equally; none are less dearto me and none more dear. But those who worship me with love live in me, and Icome to life in them.”
    Lord Krishna as saying, in response to the question— "How is Varna (social order) determined?"



    • "Birth is not the cause, my friend; it is virtues which are the cause of auspiciousness. Even a chandala (lower caste) observing the vow is considered a Brahman by the gods."
    “The four fold division of castes’ “was created by me according to the apportionment of qualities and duties.” “Notbirth, not sacrament, not learning, make one dvija (twice-born), but righteous conduct alone causes it.” “Be he a Sudra or a member of any other class, saysthe Lord in the same epic, “he that serves as a raft on a raftless current , orhelps to ford the unfordable, deserves respect in every way.”
    • "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 areThat.”
    • "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.
     
  5. Ignorant

    Ignorant New Member

    The factual truth on the caste system by Mataji devi
    During recent discussions on the previous Notes on this subject, I have noticed some misconceptions that seem to be rather popular. As the matter is complex and can be confusing, I believe it is time to summarize the various factors in a schematic form, as clear and concise as possible, but also complete enough to give a general picture that can be easily understood.
    The most important perspective to analyze the problem is the time sequence.
    Therefore we will examine the Distant past, the Recent Past, the Present and the Future.

    1. DISTANT PAST
    The datation of the classic period of Vedic India is controversial, because the traditional western academia (plagued by a colonialist and eurocentric bias) has assigned arbitrarily recent dates to ancient civilizations to demonstrate that the cultural progress of mankind has been relatively homogeneous at global level. Without entering into the matter of the controversy and without trying to establish precise dates, we will call "vedic age" that period before the military campaign of Alexander the Great to India - considered by western academia the first historically documented event.

    In this "remote past" of vedic civilization, to which the scriptures belong, mankind (manusya jati) was distinguished in two broad categories: aryas and anaryas, or respectively those who followed the vedic rules of civilized life and those who did not follow them. Both definitions are applicable at the individual and at the collective level.

    Such rules refer to hygienic, ethical, social and cultural principles. The most important example is cleanliness/purity: an arya must bathe every day, one to three times a day. One must purify himself in running water and wear fresh clothes after evacuating, but also in case of other "physiological leaks" such as vomit, sexual fluids, mucus, blood, and so on. The general rule becomes very rigid in case the individual is engaged in activities that require a greater guarantee of hygiene, such as the preparation of foods, the management of water (especially drinking water), and all those religious activities where the faithful are distributed something sanctified such as prasadam foods, water, flowers, leaves and other substances offered to the Deity, that are generally eaten or drunk with devotion. The need for cleanliness/purity is also applied to diet through vegetarianism as abstention from substances that are intrinsically impure such as the dead bodies of animals, and even the abstention from substances that can pollute the mind, such as alcoholic beverages or some plants that contain active principles with undesirable effects.

    The second principle of vedic civilization is the individual's progress through study and self-discipline (in the stage of brahmacharya where one cultivates the knowledge of dharma), the participation to social prosperity though a particular occupation and the care for the family (in the grihastha stage where one pays ones debts towards ancestors, society, devas etc by performing yajnas or sacred actions), the gradual detachment from temporary identifications and attachments (in the vanaprastha stage where one leaves one's grown-up children to go an live in the forest - vana - or travel to pilgrimage places) and the liberation from ties in preparation for death (in the stage of sannyasa, where one does not have a fixed residence, personal possessions, or social position).

    The vedic society of aryas is composed by four varnas: 1) brahmanas or intellectuals/teachers, 2) kshatriyas or warriors/ social administrators, 3) vaisyas or entrepreneurs, 4) sudras or manual laborers.

    Such categories are natural divisions of all human societies because they constitute spontaneous tendencies and talents that can be found everywhere; the difference in respect to other society is that the varna system is scientific and regulated by the precise description of qualities, activities, duties and rights of each professional or social occupation.

    Membership in one of such categories does not depend simply on birth, but is based on the decree of the Guru who watches over each child individually in the gurukula, trains all of them and grants initiation to the three higher varnas. Before the initiation (diksha), all human beings are considered sudras, even if they were born in a perfectly qualified family engaged in the highest varna.

    Such membership can be modified also by decree of the king, who organizes society according to the specific needs, and by the decree of the assembly of the brahmanas, who have the task of expelling an unworthy individual from the varna he has disgraced, as well as to elevating a worthy individual to a varna he can effectively serve. For the specific teachings from the scriptures and the most famous historical examples of the application of such principles, please refer to the other Notes on the subject.

    The sudras or generic manual laborers are, within the varna system, those ordinary individuals who do not have particular tendencies or talents, and therefore constantly need to be directed and organized.

    It is important to understand that the sudras are not "paria". They are not "untouchables", they are not "oppressed" (dalit) or "outcaste". The life conditions of a sudra solely depend on his relationship with the employer and have nothing to do with social convention or prejudice. They are considered part of the family of the employer, and for this reason the academics of the colonial period superimposed the concept of "slave" to their condition.

    There is a big difference between dasa (servant) and dasyu (criminal), although sometimes sudras could fall outside the varna system, if they chose to reject the social and ethical principles of vedic civilization. For example by stealing (that is, secretly removing valuable objects to sell them and keep the money) or by refusing to observe the basic cleanliness rules (maybe not taking bath before entering the kitchen to help prepare the meals, or after handling dirt during the normal daily house cleaning etc), something that jeopardized the health of the family.

    In that case they were sacked (i.e. kicked out) and expelled from vedic social life and from the residential area - becoming anaryas. They were free to go and live with other similar people in small communities at the margins of the residential areas, or even in forests. Some made a livelihood offering a service of public garbage removal (for example taking away the dead bodies of animals or human beings) or becoming hunters and fishermen (and occasionally going to town to sell valuable objects such as pearls, conchshells, ivory, peacock feathers etc).

    The anaryas are recognized primarily by the fact that they do not bathe regularly, they do not observe ritual purity, they eat and drink anything without discrimination,. they have non-regulated sexual relationships, they are not interested in cultivating knowledge or personal progress, and they do not observe the prescribed ritual rules.

    The Puranas list various peoples classified in that category: pulinda (Greeks), khasa (Chinese, Mongolians), huna (Huns or Celts), yavana (Arabs and other middle eastern people considered as descendents of Maharaja Yayati), abhira (Iranians), kirata (tribes in the north-east of present India), andhra (tribes in the center of the Indian subcontinent), sabara (tribes from the eastern cost of India, presently Orissa), or even mleccha and chandala (formerly members of the aryan society, who made the choice of not following the rules of civilized life any more).

    2. RECENT PAST

    Because of the cultural, political and social influence of the invasion and domination of the Muslims and the Christians, the varna system was codified in the present degraded system of castes based on birth. For further information and elaboration, please refer to the other Notes.

    3. PRESENT

    The general idea among the mass of the people is that the caste system is based on birth. There is a lot of confusion, ignorance and misinformation, both among Indians and among non-Indians. For further information and elaboration, we can create other Notes.

    4. FUTURE

    The only solution to the problem is to return to the original varna system explained above.

    The brahmanas must perform their duties honestly by becoming qualified according to guna and karma (qualities and activities), studying and teaching what is factually prescribed in the scriptures, and celebrating the purification and initiation rituals for all the members of society, including those who want to enter vedic society.

    Practical and realistic solutions to the caste problem


    Further elaborations on Present and Future...

    As we have already mentioned in the previous Note, to solve the problem the only solution is to faithfully return to the original varna system accurately described in the universally accredited texts.

    One of the most important steps is that the Indian government should withdraw from actively supporting birth discrimination based on castes. According to the Indian constitution (that claims to be "secular") and the principles of international jurisprudence, the State should be impartial and carefully avoid to take positions on religious issues.
    contd..
     
  6. Ignorant

    Ignorant New Member

    1. The first step is therefore the modification of the present legislation called "reservation bills", those government laws that favor the categories defined as "scheduled castes" i.e. dalits and outcaste, "other backward castes" i.e. those complicated ethnic and social ramifications that have nothing to do with the original varna system, "scheduled tribes" or so called "primitive" tribes (also called vanavasi or adivasi), and religious minorities i.e. christianity and islam.

    It is neither possible not desirable to "eliminate" such divisions or outlaw them at present, because this would create further social and political tensions in a scenario that is already precarious.

    However, it is possible to CONDITION such benefits to a VERIFICATION of the factual financial and social position of the beneficiaries, and to the merits of the candidates.

    Gradually these considerations can become more important - and the birth considerations will become obsolete, especially if other extremely important actions will be effected at the social and political levels, such as:

    2. factual secularization of the Indian government, with the immediate withdrawal of the government officers/representatives from the financial and organizational control (and financial exploitation) of the Hindu temples. Such control should be left in the hands of local voluntary associations, constituted exclusively by people who believe in Hinduism and practice it.

    This also includes the need for the government to withdraw from all aspects of religion and social/cultural life, presently obsessed by "certification", "approbation", and dependence on government and politics.

    However, the most important action, the absolute priority that must be faced immediately, even before addressing the government, consists in forming a genuine group of Hindu religious leaders - ie. qualified brahmanas - that will actively engage to correct the wrong impressions and conceptions in the mass of people and put remedy the mistakes of the past through the application of the specific prescriptions for such situations.



    3. The initiative must start from the grassroot level. Indian Hindus must become responsible of the genuine presentation and practice of Dharma, both at individual and collective level.

    They must graciously accept all those who want to become qualified - celebrating the purification rituals for chandalas and mlecchas from all ethnic backgrounds, celebrating the traditional rituals called samskaras for all the social classes, and grant initiation to meritorious candidates according to the varna that better suits their guna and karma.

    This is already happening in some measure, but we need to speed up the process with awareness campaigns conducted and supported by credible persons.

    Hindus must get out from the hallucination that everything should be blamed on "foreigners" simply because they are "foreigners". The British have left over 70 years ago, yet the bad government continues and the ideological deviations - such as the disastrous Aryan Invasion Theory - remain the official version in school books.

    The influence of the few foreigners who live in India - including the missionaries - is negligible, because there is a huge number of Indian natives that are more than ready to act as namesakes, order carriers, assistants or spokespersons for foreign or hostile interests - attracted by money, revenge, belief, or any other type of benefit.

    4. Everyone can and should help.

    Non-Hindus and non-Indians can do their part by consolidating an ideological and cultural alliance between the non-abrahamic movements, with an active cooperation at the level of public image and opinion, with the popularization of correct information and with all other possible support.

    Anyone who wishes to commit more deeply should step forward to undergo the proper rituals for the purification and the induction in aryan society: at least to give encouragement and good example to Indians.

    In this regard, please remember that our Jagannatha Vallabha Center is actively working in this direction and will continue to do so in all possible ways.
     
  7. garry420

    garry420 Well-Known Member

    Clarifying misconceptions: Caste system is the spiritual class system
    When people hear about 'doing spiritual practice as per the Bramhin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, or Shudra spiritual classes,' they often misunderstand and think that one is advocating the caste system as practiced in India a few decades ago. However, the context in which these words are used in spirituality is very different. Spiritual classes are a partof the system of spiritual practice. The spiritual class of an individual is based on his spiritual constitution or potential (gunas, i.e. sattva, raja, tama) and actions (karma, i.e. what the individual offers to God).

    Unlike the caste system, the spiritual class system is independent of the individual’s birth, religion or social status. As the seeker progresses spiritually, he moves to the next higher spiritual class or method of spiritual practice. Caste is in reference to the social system; it is decided at birth and remains the same throughout one's life.

    Essentially, a spiritual class is the method of spiritual practice for an individual, depending on his spiritual qualities, capabilities and needs. The four spiritual classes (varna) depict the four different methods of spiritual practice or the actions an individual is supposed to commit for spiritual growth
     

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