VARNA VYAVASTHA (CASTE SYSTEM)

WRITER : DR. BALVIR ACHARYA || TRANSLATOR : DR. RAMESH GUPTA 2016-05-03


Vedas, the original scriptures of humanity, have spelled out clearly, that the society can be divided in 4 types of people. These are: those who educate and guide others(Brahmins), those who protect(Kshatriys), those who do business(Vaishyas) and finally those who cannot do any of the above trades(Shudras), provide service to the above 3 segments of society. This was called the Varna Vyavastha. Manu Smriti, written by Sage Manu, thousands of yrs. ago, which can be called the first book of Law on earth, has explained the Varna Vyavastha in great detail. Manu ji says that everyone is born at the lowest level and only by their actions and deeds people can elevate themselves to any higher level. Manu ji also says that all segments of the society have the responsibility to take care of each other and that all are equal in society irrespective of which varna they belong to and there is no place for any discrimination. The mantra in Rg veda 10.90.12 compares different parts of our body to these Varnas. Mouth has been compared to Brahmins, the arms to Kshatriyas, the thighs to Vaishya and finally the legs to the Shudras. These Varnas were based on the capabilities and interest of the individual rather than by birth. In the same family one sibling could be of one Varna and the other of a different Varna. There are many examples in history where people have freely changed their Varna. In the course of time, when this system fell into selfish hands, the system became by birth rather than based on the vocation. The “so-called” higher strata of the society who had the control in form of power and money began to misuse and torment the less privileged ones. In the last century or two, some great reformers were born in India who worked tirelessly to bring back the original Vedic system. In the present constitution of India there is a strict ban on any form of discrimination. As a matter of fact, the writer of the Indian constitution was “untouchable”, and we have had a president of India who was an “untouchable” as well. The caste system, the way it is in practice today, is by birth and therefore full of flaws. This is one of the ploys used by converters to lure people in to other faiths sighting this as a defect in Hinduism. Going back to Vedic teachings can serve to help remove this flaw in our social structure. Manu Smriti, written by Sage Manu, thousands of yrs. ago, which can be called the first book of Law on earth, has explained the Varna Vyavastha in great detail.