Reality of the Hindu Caste System - I
Nowadays many scholars try to advocate the caste issues like Damai-Kami issue, which is really appreciable but trying to defend from where it was spoiled is making things more worst & humiliating. Therefore, I have come up with an article which gives a clear picture of caste system from the foundation itself, which I am sure will boost the confidence of not only Damai-Kami’s but also those who come under Shudra Jati according to “Mulukey Ain” book which has segregated the Jati system. Now the time has come to open the eyes & face the reality.
You must be well aware that caste is divided into 4 categories Brahmin, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas & Shudras, but when translated Caste actually means ‘Jati’, which according to Scriptures indicates one person’s Community or Group. However, the four castes which we are discussing is called “Varna”, which is defined by one person’s karma, work or activities. It is sad that today in society these categories are misused & discrimination prevails and inequality is growing in our society. Do you know why it is happening? It is because we are tagging people with Varna by birth.
A Varna cannot be decided by birth. I am not saying this but most of our Scriptures do say. Just like it is clearly mentioned in the 18th Chapter of Bhagavad Gita and you may read, “O Arjuna, all the different qualities of work of the various castes in society namely the Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas & Shudras are determined by the innate mode of their Nature(Gunas)” – Bhagavad Gita 18-4
In Mahabharata’s “ Shanti Parva” also it is mentioned & you may read: “ There is no superior Caste. The beings created by him were only divided into castes according to their Attributes (Gunas)”
Let us understand what they actually mean by the term ‘GUNAS’. Guna means Nature/Attributes, on the basis of which in olden times people were offered Jobs and also social status was set up. Similar to Human Resource Management in Corporates. Whoever comes for the Job the “HRM” team tests their skills, they check their knowledge & personality & then as per one’s credibility one is offered a Job.
As per Bhagavad Gita, there are three Gunas in every person. Let us take an example of a Party Scene. A boy enters and immediately he mixes up with people & gets very excited. In excitement, he starts to drink and goes on the dance floor with full energy. Such characteristics may be termed as “Rajas Guna” whose qualities are passionate, always active, excited, emotional, anger, extreme in everything & don’t stay calm. Now enters a Girl, who is very non-interactive and sets her away from all. She is not interested to involve herself much into the party. Similar characteristics can be termed as “Tamas Guna”. The characteristics of “Tamas Guna” are as follows lazy, inactive, non-interactive, dullness, promotes sleep and non-awareness. Now a person enters and as soon as he enters he interacts with everyone. He is composed and aware of drinking responsibly and is involved in the party very joyfully and has a poise. Such characteristics are intelligent, balanced, active, smart, composed, interactive, decisive, stable & alert.
Every person on this planet is a mixture of all of these three Gunas. Satva, Rajas & Tamas in some certain percentage lies in every one of us but this percentage varies. Most often out of all three gunas one guna always remains dominant on us. Let’s take an example: Assume a husband-wife is fighting in a neighbourhood and in some time the husband starts physically abusing the wife starts hitting her. A “Tamas” dominant person will ignore their fight & remains quite. A “Rajas” dominant person will get up in anger and will get involved in the fight directly. But maybe the “Satva” dominant person will think of calling the Police as a smarter option & try to settle things before the situation gets worst.
So, now that you have understood all three Gunas better, let us also understand how Varna division was formed as per one’s Gunas. Imagine one person has 70% Tamas Guna, 20% Rajas and 10% Satva. So, such combination person carries a Varna called “Shudra”. This is because Tamas dominating one’s nature, such person’s like pleasure & materialistic things more. Being “Satva” Guna less they will have less intelligence, so, every work has to be directed to them properly. So, people with such qualities in olden times may have been allotted work as per their capabilities for e.g Service provider, workers, helpers etc. In today’s corporate world we follow the same for e.g Executives, Labourers, Workers, Daily Wagers etc.
Now assume one person is having 25% Tamas Gun, 40% Rajas Gun & 35% Satvik Gun. We can say such person carries “ Vaishya Varna” who are an almost equal combination of all Gunas. They can be considered as all-rounders. In olden times they were given responsibilities accordingly for e.g Merchant, Traders, Farmers, Money Lenders etc. We can see the same in Corporates today as Sr. Executives, Mid-Level manager etc.
Now assume the one with 10% Tamas Guna, 20% Satva Guna & 70% Rajas Guna. We can say such person carries Kshatriya Varna. These Varnas are very Passionate, Aggressive, fast & Furious, Excited & Risk taker. In olden days a person with such Gunas was in Armies, Soldiers, Rank Holders & Fighters. In today’s Corporate World we can see such person as Sr. Managers, Vice President, who takes the risk & executes the work.
Now imagine a person with 10% Tamas, 20% Rajas Guna & 70% Satva Gunas. We can say a person carries a Varna Brahmin and Brahmin also means that one should know all Vedic Knowledge. Such people mostly have higher Intelligence & are good decision-maker, Educator & Leader. In olden times they were given responsibilities like Decision Makers or Mentors. In the temple they were Teachers. They also worked as counsellors. In corporate today the role of Brahmins is played by top management like Managing Directors, CEOs, President etc.
Now in case, a Brahmin Varna carrier loses his Satva Guna automatically his Varna should change to another. Even if a carrier of Shudra Varna increases his Satva Guna his Varna also changes automatically and he/she will become a Brahmin similar to how promotion happens incorporates.
We should not Tag each person with a Varna by birth, it is because any person once born is by default a carrier of Shudra Varna, Why? It is because a new born’s Guna is not developed. He/She is unaware of things & needs to be taught everything. These characteristics are of Shudra Varna that is why by default a child is of Shudra Varna. One’s Guna is developed slowly as a child grows, takes education, knowledge and develops different skills. That is why in the Vedas Shudra Varna is said to be the foundation of each person & other Varnas are termed as ‘Dwija’ means ‘Twice Born’.
So, we can conclude that Varna automatically changes as soon as one’s Gunas proportion changes. Most of us must have heard of “Rishi Vyas” who wrote the Epic “Mahabharata”, but very few people know as per old Scriptures he was born to a Shudra Caste fisherwomen named “Satyavati”. Despite being a son of a Shudra mother he became a Brahmin by his work and wrote such a great epic.
The next big name is of “Rishi Valmiki” writer of great epic “Ramayana” who had a vast knowledge of all Vedas. He was also bought up in a Shudra Caste hunter family. It is also rumoured that he was a goon once in his lifetimes. But by his intelligence and hard work and virtue, he achieved a status of Brahmin.
Varna system got abused by some corrupt people through time and people were tagged with Surnames & Varna became Permanent Lineages. Today’s modern society has mixed up Varna caste concept (Deeds Guna based distinction) with Jati Concept (Type of Tribe/Community).
Even in Bhagavad Gita, it is written that “Birth is not the cause, my friend, it is a virtue (Gunas) which are the cause of auspiciousness”. We can surely say by these verses in “Gita” that Varna is to be determined from “Karma” & the three Gunas which cannot be determined by looking at the “LAST NAME”. There is another thing in India many people misinterpret, you must have heard earlier as well that Brahmin caste has come out of Lord Vishnu’s Head, Kshatriyas from his “Hands”, Vaishyas from his “Stomach” and Shudras from his “legs”.
First of all, let me clarify that it is nowhere mentioned in the Vedas that anyone came from any body part of Vishnu, rather it is mentioned that Lord Vishnu’s Head is Brahmin, Vishnu’s hands are Kshatriyas. Just think if one is born out of anyone’s stomach we won’t say that that person is someone’s stomach. So then why in scriptures it is mentioned that Vishnu’s Head is Brahmin. It is purposely written in our Vedas because Vishnu is a Metaphor here which represents any ‘Group of People’. For e.g, if Vishnu represents a Society, the Society’s Decision Makers become Brahmins, like today a country’s head is Government and hands were Kshatriyas, same like for a country Army is there. Likewise, for a Society Stomach is Vaishyas like Businesses & Corporates who are engaged in running the economy of the country & Shudras are the foundation or legs of a Society who are Service providers. If we compare in today’s society people who are Employees and provide their services to Govt. & Businesses.
This concept is Universally Applicable, here you can replace Vishnu with any group of people, army, community or any group as an example, the all four Varnas can be easily seen. The Brahmins are decision-makers doesn't mean they are superior & Shudras are service provider doesn’t mean they are inferior. As the head is important for body part similarly leg is also equally important. That is the reason why Lord Vishnu is taken as a Metaphor where all the Varnas are equally important.
So, in reality, the Varna system can be used as a Universally Applicable Human Resource Management system, whereas per the capability (GUNA) one can be evaluated and given work. One can also use the Varna system for self-development tool where one can self-evaluate the proportion of (Guna) and on that basis decide to opt for the occupation so that one can get maximum output. One should also keep in mind to develop and increase “Satvik” Guna ( Intelligence/Creativity) & try to minimize Tamas Guna (Laziness/Ignorance) & Rajas Guna (Anxiety/Anger), so that one can keep on growing in society or life.
By Diwas Hingmang