Nowadays several categories of jobs are considered suitable for low-caste. These include bulk of effort-oriented tasks. However nothing could be far from Vedas. In Vedas, dignity of labor is the key underlying concept. Let us review some mantras in Vedas in this regard:
Rigveda 1.117.23: The King and minister should sow seeds and do farming from time to time to set right examples for Arya. This makes them deserving of praise.
Rigveda 8.22.6 echoes the same sentiment.
Rigveda 4.57.4 states that the king should hold the plough and start the farming during beginning of season. He should also ensure healthy cows for milk.
Accordingly, we also find in Ramayan the reference of King Janak ploughing when he found Sita (Ramayan 1.66.14)
Rigveda 10.104.4 and 10.101.3 states that scholars should plough land.
In Adiparva 3.24 there is reference of Dhaumya Rishi would sent his student Aaruni to control the water flow to farms, indicating that the Rishi used to get involved in farming activities.
The entire 4.57 Sukta of Rigveda states the glory of farming by one and all.
Tailor and Weaver:
Rigveda 10.26 states that Rishi do Yajna, are benevolent for all, experts in transportation science, rear sheep for wool, make clothes out of wool and clean the clothes.
Yajurved 19.80 again states that wise people weave various kinds of clothes.
Rigveda 10.53.6 also stresses on importance of weaving.
Rigveda 6.9.2 and 3 stress on having training centers for weaving clothes which should be learned by everyone.
Artisans and technicians:
‘Taksha’ word is used in Vedas for artisans, technicians, carpenters and related skilled labors.
Rigveda 4.36.1 stresses on glory of those who construct chariots and planes. The next mantra states that such carpenters and technicians should be invited to noble Yajna.
Further in same sukta, Mantra 6 considers Taksha worthy of eulogy and in next one, skilled labor is called as scholar, creative and patient.
Other mantras that sing glory of skilled labor are Rigveda 10.39.14, 10.53.10, 10.53.8, Atharvaved 14.1.53, Rigveda 1.20.2, Atharvaveda 14.2.22, 14.2.23, 14.2.24, 14.2.67, 15.2.65, Rigveda 2.41.5, 7.3.7, 7.15.14.
The skills mentioned include making vehicles, clothes, utensils, forts, weapons, toys, pots, wells, buildings and cities among others.
Some mantras in Rigveda like 1.116.3-5 and 7.88.3 encourage Arya to make ships and travel far away to explore the world. Those involved in constructing boats and ships are praised.
Some other mantras praising various kinds of professions include:
Commerce – Rigveda 5.45.6, 1.112.11
Boatman – Rigveda 10.53.8, Yajurved 21.3, Yajurved 21.7, Atharvaved 5.4.4, 3.6.7
Barber – Atharvaved 8.2.19
Goldsmith and Gardener – Rigveda 8.47.15
Ironsmith and Smelter – Rigveda 5.9.5
Metallurgy – Yajurved 28.13
Thus it is evident that not only Vedas contain description of various kinds of skills and technology, but also glorify the dignity of labor.
It is a baseless allegation that Vedas demean those involved in labor-oriented tasks.
On contrary, Vedas affirm highest Dignity of Labor.