- Oct 6, 2019
- Reaction score
A CRITICAL REVIEW OF CASTE SYSTEM IN INDIA
The concept of caste system should be understood with cool and balanced mind without emotions. Krishna talked about caste system in Gita stating that the caste is based on qualities and actions (Gunakarma vibhagashah). More than 100 elements are discovered in science and these elements were classified in periods and groups in the periodic table. There is nothing like higher or lower group in this classification. Based on the properties, the elements are classified. Similarly, people preaching spiritual knowledge were called Brahmins, people having courage and physical strength for protection and administration were called Kshatriyas, people responsible for the business etc were called Vaishyas and people occupying the positions of public service were called Shudras. There is no higher and lower levels based on the birth. Ravana was a Brahmin but was condemned as demon because of his sinful actions. Rama was Kshatriya but was worshiped by Brahmins also for His good actions.
Vidura was shudra but was respected for his knowledge. Bhurishravah belonged to the backward caste of pot makers, but was given the chair of president-ship in a sacrifice by the Brahmin priests (Refer Bhagavatam). Did these examples show lower and higher castes by birth? There was never the concept of lower and higher levels in the caste system. The lower and higher concept existed only by bad and good. Bad is the lower level and good is the higher level. A bad person is always condemned irrespective of his caste. If a shudra is bad and is condemned, you are immediately twisting the point by saying that shudra was condemned for his birth in the lower caste and you are hiding the bad nature possessed by him. This is side-tracking of the issue. In such case, why Ravana, being a Brahmin, was also condemned as demon?
You will twist this also by saying that Ravana belongs to the dynasty of Southern Dravida and Rama belongs to the dynasty of Northern Arya. You try to bring the regional differences between south and north. In such case, why Duryodhana, born in north, belonging to the same Arya dynasty was also condemned as demon? The good and bad alone remained as low level and high level respectively. All other factors are always ignored. Nobody keeps the photo of Ravana in his worship room even though Ravana is a brahmin. Everybody keeps the photo of Rama and Krishna as Gods even though they are non-brahmins. The photo of Shabari and Kannappa are in the worship rooms. Shabari and Kannappa belong to schedule caste. You are not seeing the facts since you are biased with emotions having grudge against the caste of brahmins.
A tiger is drinking water from a water-fall on the higher level. A goat is drinking water in the lower level. The tiger wants to kill the goat and blamed the goat for polluting the water. The goat replied that it drinks the water polluted by tiger only because of the levels. Then, the tiger replied that the grandfather of the goat polluted the water and hence the goat should be killed. You are angry towards the caste of Brahmins and this alone is the reason for your emotion due to which you are not observing the facts present in the scriptures. You are praising Duryodhana for encouraging Karna and Ekalavya.
Duryodhana encouraged them for his selfishness expecting their help in the final war and not for the sympathy on the other caste. Karna and Ekalavya were considered to be low since they supported the unjust Duryodhana in the final war. Rama gave salvation to Shabari with body to go to the upper world. Such salvation was not given to any Brahmin sage in the forest. Rama ate the fruits tasted by Shabari. Shankara fell on the feet of the untouchable accepting him as His divine preacher. Therefore, you are advised to cool down first and observe the facts of the scriptures with impartial mind.
If you analyse the concept of untouchability, you will find the fact. The untouchables were the bad people belonging to all the castes, who were thrown out from the village and this is punishment for transformation and not for revenge. There were only four castes mentioned in Veda. The fifth caste of untouchables comes from all the four castes. Their sinful activities were responsible for this punishment. Remember always that the punishment is for transformation only and not for revenge and insult. These people were killing the old buffalos and cows after drinking the milk. They were killing the old bulls after using them in cultivation. A retired person should be given pension and not to be killed.
Condemning this sin of ungratefulness, they were boycotted from the society. A bad student is boycotted from the class and this punishment is to transform him and not to insult him. The same untouchable preached spiritual knowledge and Shankara fell on his feet. The photos of same untouchable Shabari and Kannappa are worshiped in the worship rooms by everybody. Condemning bad is misinterpreted by you as sinful action based on partiality of the caste by birth. The gene theory of science may say that a sinner is born to another sinner. But, whenever there is exceptional case, it is highly respected neglecting the gene theory. Prahlada is born in the dynasty of demons. Believing blindly the gene theory, we are not treating Prahlada as demon. Respecting good and condemning bad is everywhere in any scripture of any religion. Good is never condemned based on the caste system and bad is never respected for the same reason.
- By Shri Datta Swami
Universal Spirituality for World Peace