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There was no caste system in Hinduism

There was no caste system in Hinduism



There is a popular word – “Islamic terrorism”. Does it mean terrorism is an exclusive business of Islam? No. There are terrorists among Muslims. That doesn’t make all Islamic followers terrorists. Similar misconception can be seen in Hinduism when it comes to caste system.

In Christianity, there are approximately 38,000 denominations (Like for example, Catholics, Eastern, Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Church of the East, Protestant, Anglican, Evangelical, Pentecostal, Methodist, Baptist, Assyrian et el). In Kerala, Syrians will not even marry Latins.

Take any religion, any community or any political party – there are people who are “more equal”. There are “big brothers” in every community. It is there for appeasing, nepotism, exploitation and corruption. It was there since human beings (Homo sapiens) started living in a society.

The principle of caste system is not confined to any one country. It applies to all human beings of all races, in all countries. Caste was there in one form or another. Take for example feudal system in Europe.

Similarly, there are misconceptions regarding birth-based caste system and discrimination of people born in certain castes in the society. That doesn’t mean Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma originally had a caste system.

There is absolutely no element of discrimination in Vedas regarding any person’s caste. Just like in Astrology, the concept of caste is relatively new. Vedas contain no word that can be considered a synonym for ‘caste’. There two words commonly pointed out to mean ‘caste’ is Jaati and Varna. These words have completely different meaning.

According to Vedic period literature, Jaati means a classification. Nyaya Sutra states “Samaanaprasavaatmika Jaatih” or those having similar birth source form a Jaati.

Jaati is is creation of God, says Sastras.

All beings in the earth have classifieds into four:

  1. Udbhija = sprouted from ground (earth) like plants, grass, vegetables etc.
  2. Andaja = born out of eggs fish, birds, reptiles etc
  3. Jarayuja or Pindaja = mammals or animals, human beings etc. born out of physical bodies
  4. Ushmaj or Swedaja = reproducing due to temperature and ambient conditions like flies, virus, bacteria etc.

And there is the word Varna. ‘Varna’ means one that is adopted by choice. While Jaati is provided by God, ‘Varna’ is our own choice. There are four major Varnas: Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra.

During Vedic period, everyone is considered to be born as Shudra. Then based on his or her education, one becomes a Brahmin, Kshatriya or Vaishya. This completion of education is considered to be a second birth. Hence these three Varnas are called “Dwija” or twice-born.

However, those who remain uneducated for whatever reasons continue as Shudra and perform support-activities for the society and they were not outcaste.

– Remember that vedas have said ‘Vasudaiva Kutumbakam’ which means ‘whole earth is a family’ and ‘Sarve jana sukhino bhavantu’ which means ‘May all humans live happily’.

In the Mahabharata (12. 188), it is said that all creation is God’s creation, and that no one is high or low by birth. It is only by samskara (purification, training) that one becomes a Brahmin:

“janmana jayate sudrah, samskarad bhaved dvijah veda-pathad bhaved vipro, brahma janatiti brahmanah”

“By birth one is a sudra (lowest caste), by the purificatory process one becomes a dvija (higher caste), by study of the Vedas one becomes a vipra, and one who knows Brahman is a brahmana.”

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 4, Shloka 13 says:

“Chaturvarnam maya shristim gunakarma vibhagashah Tasya kartarmapi mam viddya akartaram avayayam”

– The four-fold order was created by Me according to the divisions of quality and work. Though I am its creator, know Me to be incapable of action or change.

The emphasis is on guna (aptitude) and karma (function) and not on jaati (birth). The varna or the order to which we belong is independent of sex, birth or breeding. A varna is determined by temperament and vocation – not by birth or heredity.

– In the Bhagavad Gita, Chapter18, verse 40 again emphasis this point:

“There is no being on earth, or again in heaven among the gods, that is liberated from the three qualities born of Nature.”

And the next verse (Gita Chapter18, verse 41): “Of Brahmanas, Kshtriyas and Vaishyas, as also the Sudras, O Arjuna, the duties are distributed according to the qualities born of their own nature.”

These four divisions of men exist in every society. A class of thinkers and philosophers, a group of men who are martially spirited and who are very anxious to engage in politics and fighting, a class of men who like to engage in agricultural cultivation and selling the produce or in business activities, and a class of men who do physical jobs.

According to the Mahabharata, the whole world was originally of one class but later it became divided into four divisions on account of the specific duties. In the famous dialogue between Yudhishthira and the Yaksha:




 – “A man does not become a Brahman by the mere fact of his birth, not even by the acquisition of Vedic scholarship; it is good character alone that can make one a Brahman. He will be worse than a Shudra if his conduct is not in conformity with the rules of good behavior.”

Bhagavata clearly says in 7.11.35 that “Just because one is born to a Brahmin doesn’t automatically make him a Brahmin. But he has more chances of becoming a Brahmin (since his parents can transfer the knowledge and duties to him). But he MUST get all those qualifications of Brahmin to become a Brahmin.

On the other hand if a person born to a nonBrahmin possesses all the qualities of a Brahmin, he/she should be immediately accepted as a Brahmin.”

– Manusmriti says: “The Brahman acquires his status by his knowledge, the Kshatriya by his martial vigor; the Vaishya by wealth; and the Shudra by birth alone.”

A most popular sloka in Yajurved (Purush Sukta is in 31st Chapter of Yajurved) which was misinterpreted as “Brahmins were created by God’s mouth, Kshtriyas by Chest, Vaishyas by thigh, and Shudras by legs” which is how Vedas divide people into caste.

To see what it actually means, let us look at the previous shloka 31.10.

It asks a question – Who is mouth? Who is hand? Who is thigh and who is leg?

The next sloka gives the answer – Brahmin is mouth. Kshatriya is hand. Vaishya is thigh and Shudra becomes the legs. Please note that the sloka does not say that Brahmin “takes birth” from mouth…It says Brahmin “is” mouth.

In Vedas, Shudra means a hard-working person. (Tapase Shudram – Yajurved 30.5). And that is why Purush Sukta calls them as foundation (leg) of entire human society. Nowhere has it been used in a derogatory manner. Nowhere has it mentioned that Shudras are untouchable, birth-based, disallowed from study of Vedas, lesser in status than other Varnas, disallowed in Yajnas.

– There are hundreds of mentioning in Hindu scriptures that caste is based on the Karma he/she does.

The Chandogya Upanishad says Satyakaam Jaabaal was son of a prostitute but became a Brahmin. As per Bhagvat, Agniveshya became Brahmin though born to a king.

Aitareya Rishi was son of a Daasa (Shudra) and criminal but became a Brahmin of highest order and wrote Aitareya Brahman and Aitareyopanishad.

Raavan was born from Pulatsya Rishi (Brahmin) but became a Rakshas. Vidur was son of a servant but became a Brahmin and minister of Hastinapur Empire.

Veda Vyasa was son of a fisher-woman, not a Brahmin.

Is there anybody in Greece who believes in ancient Greek religion today? Do Romans believe in ancient religious scriptures?

Similarly, Hindus lost their belief in Vedas and Upanishads. And they live a superficial life. Added to that the misleading theories of communists, British and non-Hindu – biased Indologists have caused a great damage to our society and have sown seeds of differences.

They created the word Dalits to exploit them. If you go to North Indian villages, there are Brahmins who live in hell-like conditions. The vote-bank, caste-politics add fuel to Indian caste system.

Caste system is created in Medieval India by external invaders. That’s another theory, but no proof. But we can safely say that caste system is created by people who want to live on caste. Just a a film star pushing his son or daughter or a politician wants his son/daughter to become politician, a caste-believer enforce his/her kids to be in the same caste.

I recall an incident. Once I was travelling from Cochin to Bangalore in a train. My fellow traveler was from Kottayam. He is retired professor from Mysore, born in a Christian family. He looked very sad. He said he was an atheist and never went to Church. Now that his youngest daughter has to marry to a Christian boy, he was asked to take permission from the Church where his family was originally hailing from. He has to provide this document to the Bridegroom’s Church – failing which marriage won’t happen. The bridegroom and his parents want to marry their son in religious way only.

Since he never went to Church, he had a very tough time. He had to pay a huge amount – some penalties or kick-back may be. I don’t know. I cannot cross-check the story.

Muslims will have similar stories to tell. Various castes in Hinduism will also have similar (in different ways) to tell. But the moral is that, Religion and Caste have become like a Mafia gang and they can pressurize any government. The castes in India is getting organized and becoming more and more influential. It is becoming deep-rooted.

Government is not for the individual, it is with vote bank groups. So people are scared to come out of caste or religion, fearing that they will be alienated.

And the caste spirit is increasing day-by-day. You have seen it during Mandal commission implementation. The government and political parties promote caste system in India.

In today’s world, you can change your religion. But can you change your caste? NO WAY.

Very funny!

~ Udaylal Pai, Freelance Journalist, Writer and Researcher

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24 Responses to "There was no caste system in Hinduism"

  1. gs  February 13, 2015 at 9:47 am

    Please slightly modify the purushasukta verse. It says brahmins came from mouth of purusa ksatriya from arms, vaisyas from thighs and sudras from legs. This is incorrectly interpreted as foundation of society etc. By the definition given in the article Indra and Agni shud also be brahmanas as given in 14th verse of purusha shukta. The purushas body is divine and the feet of divine are also divine. All the verse says that the purusha according to His will created the four varnas from 4 differnt parts of His body

    Reply
  2. shekharslastpoint  February 13, 2015 at 10:39 am

    the duties assigned to the diff castes ..created the caste system ..but today this no longer holds good ..a st sc boy or girl learns the comp , works in a b p o ,.earns in thousands …no longer doing menial labour like their forefathers ../// now everything is service oriented ..

    Reply
  3. sagar  March 12, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    Your claim of everybody were born Shudra during Ancient India but by Samskara or Purification becomes Brahamin gives a proof to the Varnashrama Dharama that only Brahamins were poor . You also quoted from Mahabharta that only the Brahamins were of Good Character and Shudras of Worse Character shows the prejudices towards Shudras . There are few examples of Shudra becoming Brahamin but few examples cannot be used to Justify that All were equal or born equal during Ancient India . There are many Historical Evidences in which Shudras were being Killed by the Protectors of Varnashrama Dharma . The Kshatriya God King Rama killed Shambuka the Shudra only because He had started the Dharma of Brahamin .
    Though many Brahamins like Ved Vyasa we consider them as Shudra were actually not the Shudra but there were made Shudra as there were Born out of Illegitimate extra marital Affairs of Higher Varna male with lower Varna Female or Shudra woman or Native Indian woman .
    It was true that there was no caste system in India before coming of Aryans and it was proved by many Historians that the Start of caste system was the invasion of Aryans over Native Indians . Aryans conquered over Native Indians and called these defeated people Dassa or Slave and child born out of sexual intercourse between Aryan and Native Indians were made Shudra . You can call it the world’s 1st Imperialism . They started Varnashrama Dharma . Varna means colour . As quoted by Tarktirth Laxan Shastri Joshi these Native Indians were of Races like Dravidian , Mangoloid , Nigrotite , Nag etc . These Aryans were light in Colour and had built like many Europeans today have made Native defeated people Shudra/Dassa/Slave under Varna System as these Native people had different Varna or coulour than Aryans.
    It is also true that the Caste system is not only the Privilege of Hinduism but also of other Religions . It is true that u will find the society Divided between working Classes in each and every civilized society . But this division of Labour in Hindu society is kind of division u will find nowhere else in the world . Our Hindu society were divided into four water tight compartments . It means people from lower floor of Apartment cannot get to know the who is living above his floor . In labor Division of other societies Labor had freedom to move from one to another but Hindu society was rigid . Every civilized society had Division of Labors but we had Division of Laborers
    Whatever Verses you are quoting from Gita is a futile attempt to prove that Caste system was not present at that time as Gita is nothing but Bible of Hinduism . Gita tried to Defend Varnashrama Dharma using Guna system but Gunas were three and Varnas were four and there were also sub Classes of Shudra Varna too.. It was written to defend VedicDharma , Varnashrama Dharma and to counter the Revolution started by Buddha . Buddha had given big blow to this VedicDharam , Varnashrama Dharma or Sanatani Dharma . So it was totally wrong to say that Muslims or British created caste system . It was already present in India One can Understand this from Revolution of Buddha .
    Thank You

    Reply
    • vin  October 8, 2015 at 7:20 am

      It is called Aryan Migration Theory not invasion. Caste system has to do with civilization rather religion. It existed in all civilizations. Chinese even depict them on national flag.

      In all civilization, caste system was by birth except in India. Vijaynagar Empire and Maratha are biggest example. Only Dalits were never able to move up ever.

      Gita is not bible of Hinduism, manusmriti is. Historician says that it was Muslims and British who created caste system in India.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caste_system_in_India

      No where it is mentioned that Rama killed Shambuka because he has started the Dharma of Brahmin. He was accused of having bad intention but strangely end up in Moksha. Some believes the story if of later origins.

      Reply
    • suraj  February 9, 2016 at 1:59 pm

      you have believed and read only british written history. there is many proof and already accepted that there is no aryan invasion, even the vedas are written long ago then harapan civilisation. the aryan invasion theory was created to divide and rule india and which was later used by politician and i see still even educated persons hatred is at the most. religion, places etc are secondry most important is what kind and virtue do u have. and r u thinking that is enough to be a human.

      Reply
  4. Thiruthiya Saivan  March 12, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    The bloddy aryans who were BLODDY BRAHMINS introduced caste system in order to destroy Tamil kingdom and Tamil Language, then reclaim their own kind as higher caste. Pure shit plan. History tells that Hindu name came from Indus Valley where civilization of Harrapa and Mohenjo-daro cities were found. What’s interesting that the owners of these cities were the one and only TAMILIANS. Tamil Vedas such as THIRUKKURAL, PANNIRU THIRUMURAI, KAPPIYANGAL, PURANAANURU, AGANAANURU, PATHUPATTU, KALITHOGAI and so on will show you the evidence that were created during sangam period.
    So, old Tamil Saivism is later on lost its identity until it claimed to be call it Hinduism.

    Reply
    • Sanskriti  March 13, 2015 at 5:50 am

      please take some time to educate yourself about the Aryan Invasion theory that has been proven false, you can find some articles on the website. This theory was introduced to create White Supremacy over others. DNA proves there is no difference in the people of India and even ancient texts speak of the land as a whole!

      Reply
  5. ABHISHEKGOSWAMI  April 8, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    Some people like sagar and thrithuiya can never take out the shit from their head, they are still hating other ( own brothers/sisters, fellow countrymen) because of the myth created by demonic western historians to device us and rule us.
    They are still slave ( mentally) of Anglican European invaders and continuing hate towards us based on lies acting as a puppet of British thieves. Aryan were evolved here in vaidik Bharat only , even they spread up to middle Europe after saraswati river dried of geological reasons, that’s why indo Aryan language have commons in Europe to our vaidik bharat.

    Reply
  6. Chaitra  May 27, 2015 at 9:43 am

    Beautiful article. Very well written and yes our scriptures have been misinterpreted sometimes deliberately and sometimes unintentionally. Its ironical that we don’t speak Sanskrit now and rely upon its translations. Not many know that a word in sanskrit has many meanings and quoting out of context can give completely different meaning to the same. For example: Anupama = Anu + upama- meaning one who doesn’t have a comparison, but Anuttama = Anu + Uttama- Doesn’t mean one who isn’t good, instead it means one who doesn’t have a better counterpart, that is best. Simple words like these can be misinterpreted. And all of our gyan on Hinduism is from the translations from westerners or communists, who have this tendency of suitably altering the meanings to please their theories and ideologies. Those of you who are blasting this author or caste system in reality know nothing about your own Dharma. Spend some time in learning Hindu Dharma from a proper Guru and then come back and comment.

    Reply
  7. Badri  May 27, 2015 at 10:29 am

    Good articles are posted in this link. We all are happy about it

    Reply
  8. Sourav  June 15, 2015 at 3:20 am

    What are qualities of Bramhin by obtaining which one becomes brahmin?

    Reply
  9. Moha the furious  June 15, 2015 at 3:21 am

    Badri u asshole.. U find this post in the list of happy ones? I read each n every post on this site not every post is happy.. Its educating.. N plzzzz don’t gimme that mahabharata shit.. Terror has no religion n you say about mahabharata. In gita a msg is given that “he who does not resist evil is also an evil himself”.. Kill every muslim responsible for those rapes tie them up, rape their mothers, wives and girls infront of them then kill their family and then cut their penises and slit their throats open and set an example that if you can kill 1 we can rape and kill 20.. This is the only language they understand.. Note this clearly to all rapists WE WON’T HOLD BACK AND WE’RE NOT AFRAID TO CHOP U LIKE A CHICKEN..

    Reply
  10. Deepak  June 15, 2015 at 9:56 am

    Brahmins are great story tells are masters of fiction. They can defend any nonsense of theirs by building a story around it and convincing people. They are master interpreters. That is why Periyar said when you see a Brahmin and a snake together, you spare the snake.

    Reply
  11. Nilesh  June 15, 2015 at 10:27 am

    Manu has to be blamed for dividing our great religion in caste, and making women weaker sex. The downfall of India started once our society was divided into caste and women were downtrodden. His Manusmriti is the cause of decline of our country.

    Reply
    • vin  October 8, 2015 at 7:22 am

      You have not read manusmriti. Manusmriti was implemented by Britishers not completely though. Kashmiri Hindus never practised caste system but still had 7 downfalls.

      Reply
  12. Om Prakash Sharma  June 15, 2015 at 10:43 am

    Whatever the history. Our brothers who had been discriminated on the caste lines will always feel bitter. I too feel bitter when they abuse me just because they can not distinguish me from my ancestors. They abuse me and not my ancestors. How it can be justified I do not know. My son is married to a Kayastha girl and my daughter is married to a Punjabi Khatri. This rigidity of casteism can only be broken down by intercaste marriage. I have seen such an obstinate obstruction in inter caste marriage in castes other than Brahmin. No scheduled caste girls like to marry a Brahmin because the Brahmins don’t get reservations in government jobs. This caste scrourge is killing the Hindu society. We should get rid of this as early as possible. Politicians will take no initiative in this direction..

    Reply
  13. Bala  June 15, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    Since this subject is very important and controversial especially in Tamil Nadu please make this printable version in PDF format including the readers’ comment as they are vital to understanding this complex,misunderstanding,subject. HAF also released 200 pages discussion on this subject with input from various religious leaders.
    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Chandran Sukumaran  February 2, 2016 at 9:32 am

      Stop displaying caste name to udentify oneself.

      Reply
  14. Balasubramanian  June 15, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Caste came from Portugese word casto introduced by the visitor priest to differentiate Indian people. We held that word strongly afterwards.
    The learned Chandrasekara Saraswathi swamigal in his discourse compiled into 8 volumes called Deivathin kural clearly state that caste differentiation came only about 500 years ago.

    Reply
  15. Balasubramanian  June 15, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    “Bagavat Gita clearly state in 7.11.35″……..which chapter, and which sloka?

    Reply
  16. s.radhakrishnamoorthy  February 5, 2016 at 9:22 am

    who is afraid of caste? people are blocking roads and burning trains for perpetuating castes who is afraid of castes and subcsates! who wants caste system to go? gita and manu are convenient scapegoats.people enjoy divisions and discrimination. ‘im loving it! ‘
    the evil is not in the mahabharata.it is in the ever shrinking little minds that populate ‘mahan bharat.’ the evil is not to be dug out of the dead past. it is here and now. what is immportant now is not to exhaust our cussed vocabulary against the dead,but to drive away all divisive tendencies in our minds,not just caste divisions,but a hudred other.the remedy is to be found in the present,not in the dead past.if you really and seriously want to change the sysyem,the dead past cant obstruct. it is only the lazy who find cursing a good substitute for remedial action. one curse breeds a hundred.one remedial act brings a thousand applauses.

    Reply
  17. Rajesh  July 15, 2016 at 4:10 am

    Well-written article. Looking at the comments, we will know how ignorant Hindus are. They still believe in Aryan Invasion theory invented by British. Their Slave mentality in believing Nazist Periyar and utterly trashing the truth is very evident here.

    If one believes it or not truth is truth. Only ask yourself questions when Scriptures mentioned 4 Varnas why so many castes ? Why did Lord Risley mentioned in his comments, he needed to educate Indians what their caste was ? Why will Shabari, Kanappa revered ? Why is Valmiki revered ? Who is Aitreya Rushi, Why Brahmins chant Sage Vishwamitra’s Gayatri mantra.

    Understand one thing without a slave mentality :
    1) Varna is not same as Caste 2) Jaati is not same as Caste

    Read scriptures come back with references to counter this great article.

    Reply
  18. Manfred  September 20, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    Please read Agni Puran Chapters 151-167 written by Vyaas Maharaj, and tell me how come it is mentioned that Cast is by birth.
    Also tell me why Bhishma Pitama sais it in Mahabharat Anushasan Parwa 47/28. And can you tell me why you don’t mention Svabav? from the verse from the Gita? Guna, Karma and Svabav are mentioned. What is Svabav? How would they judge it. What does Brahmans get their names from their birth, and chatries etc?
    Why did Parshuram knew that Karna was a Kshatriya? (Mabey because Karna was stung by a scorpio? and Parshuram knew that a Brahmin couldn’t endure such a pain?)
    Why did Ashwathama got punished as a Brahmin? He didnt live his life like one?
    Why was Rawan (who was the great grandson of Rishi Pulastya and son of Vishrawah) seen as a Brahmin by Ram? While Rawan lived as a Kshyatria (kingdom, wealth and war) and Ram had to do penance to kill a Brahmin? Please be so kind to explain all those things?

    Reply

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