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Monday, August 16, 2010

Ambedkar's conclusions on Shudras - are they valid?

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar was a scholar. He studied scriptures and came out with the following 10 conclusions about various aspects of Varnashrma and status of Shudras. Are they valid conclusions? Here is a debate.


What is the position of Shudra in the social order?
BRA summarises that the Shudra was to take the last place in the social order.

Is Shudra impure?
BRA summarises that Shudra was impure and therefore no sacred act should be done within his sight and within his hearing.

Should Shudra be not shown respect?
BRA summarises that the Shudra is not to be respected in the same way as the other classes.


Is life of a Shudra less valuable compared to others?
BRA summarises that the life of a Shudra is of no value and anybody may kill him without having to pay compensation and if at all of small value as compared with that of the Brahmana, Kshatriya and Vaishya.


Should Shudras be denied of Education?
BRA summarises that the Shudra must not acquire knowledge and it is a sin and a crime to give him education.


Should Shudras not be allowed to acquire property?
BRA summarises that a Shudra must not acquire property. A Brahmin can take his property at his pleasure.


Should Shudras be denied of holding public office?
BRA summarises that a Shudra cannot hold office under the State.


Should Shudra serve higher classess as a means of attaining salvation?
BRA summarises that the duty and salvation of the Shudra lies in his serving the higher classes.


Could other varnas keep a Shudra woman as a concubine?
BRA summarises that the higher Classes must not inter-marry with the Shudra. They can however keep a Shudra woman as a concubine But if the Shudra touches a woman of the higher classes he will be liable to dire punishment.


Should Shudra be kept in servility forever?
BRA summarises that the Shudra is born in servility and must be kept in servility for ever.


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137 comments:

  1. Interesting ! ..

    However, The questions and answers are about how a SHUDRA should be. But, what is the definition of a SHUDRA according to BRA?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Please note that the outcome of the discussion will be used to update this blog to complete the article at a later stage.

    B.R. Ambedkar being one of the matured scholar of our times, the discussion will have bearing on various issues of current affairs.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Abhinava samalochakaAugust 16, 2010 at 10:01 PM

    Shudra is one of the varnas - others being Brahmana, Kshatriya and Vysya. Shudras are those who belong to Shudra varna.

    ReplyDelete
  4. @media.syndicate
    Please define Shudra

    @Abhinava Samalochaka
    What are varnas? Is it caste? Who made them?

    ReplyDelete
  5. CB must be an alien. Pretending to be unaware of Varna and jaati.

    ReplyDelete
  6. yeah I am, I am not aware of this varna and jaati. Is there anyone who can explain me that?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hello, was waiting for something of this sort.

    I do not know how Ambedkar derived such conclusions (because the sources from vedas are not mentioned in the article). I am not disregarding Ambedkar's conclusions because he was a scholar and might have done some serious study. But before analyzing the source(vedic texts) we cannot comment on the conclusions

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The questions and answers are about Manusmriti, not at all about Vedas. You are irrelevantly harping upon Vedic texts. There is no mention of Varnas in Vedic texts, but they endlessly pray to Agni, Yama, Varuna, and so on and not anywhere to the Absolute. When the white hordes arrived in India, they had not even an inkling of the idea of the Supreme Being.

      Delete
  8. Aliens must not ask too many questions! Instead they should start reading basic material about Hinduism various online/offline sources.

    However, let me answer this time.
    Varna is a tag given by the God so that individuals could move towards the realization at the fastest possible pace.

    Offspring of couples belonging to the different Varnas creates various Jaatis.

    ReplyDelete
  9. if whatever BRA told is true, then what he did was against dharma, because he himself was a shudra. And how can one believe in the conclusions about Dharma, drawn from a person who is violating Dharma?b

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sridra, we are ashamed to read that you call Dharma what any right-minded person should call Adharma!

      Delete
  10. Hello BC,
    Thanks for guiding the alien.

    I came to know from Abhinava samalochaka that there are 4 varnas. You said it is a tag given by god so that individuals could move towards faster realization.

    I also looked into what is realization. Got a fair idea. Now since the whole idea is to give an opportunity for faster realization for any individual i don't understand why GOD created these different tags? Is it because there is difference in speeds across varnas? Why is that necessary? After all of us are human beings.

    Sorry to ask questions again. I am not finding answers for these questions on the net. If BC is angry if aliens asks questions then these questions are for other people who like aliens.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Abhinava samalochakaAugust 17, 2010 at 10:39 PM

    Implications of conclusions of BRA
    If summary of BRA about scriptures is valid, then we could conclude that Hinduism is junk and decide to convert to Buddhism or to something else. Or we could start changing Hinduism in accordance with our taste.

    If BRA is wrong, then we should explain where/how/when BRA was wrong.

    @SRIDRA: Your argument is a fallacy -
    if whatever BRA told is true, then what he did was against dharma, because he himself was a shudra. And how can one believe in the conclusions about Dharma, drawn from a person who is violating Dharma?b

    Telling truth is not against Dharma. Should Shudra not reveal the truth? Even if some one acts against Dharma, why should his/her conclusions be wrong?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Here is the reference and work of B.R. Ambedkar.

    http://www.ambedkar.org/ambcd/38A.%20Who%20were%20the%20Shudras%20Preface.htm

    ReplyDelete
  13. @ Abhinava Samalochaka.

    You dint understand what I meant. Actually When he says Shudra should not possess a higher office(which BRA did hold). BRA did acquire properties which also according to him(BRA) is wrong in scriptures. So, it means that he has violated. And, none of you here have proved here that what BRA told was truth. So, I am questioning the very validity of a statements made

    ReplyDelete
  14. @SRIDRA:
    BRA understood scriptures as saying that a Shudra should not occupy a higher office. He disagreed. So he conciously (decided) violated and occupied higher offices. BRA did in accordance with his conviction. He is appreciable. Has any one proved that what BRA told was not a truth?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Mr Holati and others,

    No where in our scriptures its mentioned like that. BRA has probably mis-understood the scriptures. If you feel I am wrong, then let me know where it say that way

    ReplyDelete
  16. Is it not true that Shudra was to take the last place in the social order? If you say it is not true, what is the true thing?
    - Ms. Holati

    ReplyDelete
  17. BRA's analyses of the scriptures seems to more aligned towards explaining the life of shudras in today's world and he has wrongly assumed that scriptures are to be blamed for that.

    It looks like BRA is not comfortable with only some phrases in scriptures which dictate varnashrama but is ok with the rest of the material as they are in no way affecting it.

    If at all scriptures are to be accepted as our guide, then we cannot be selective in what should be taken from scriptures and what not.

    I am not saying the plight of all shudras in today's world is very good. All i am saying is the problem should not be attributed to scriptures as scriptures have never preached what BRA has assumed.

    I think BRA has not done a sincere and open analyses of the scriptures.

    ReplyDelete
  18. @CB
    Yes, BRA analysed the causes for his personal experiences and the life of Shudras in todays world. He concluded that scriptures are responsible from the scriptural statements. If phrases of scriptures are dictating Varnashrama, why should they be accepted along with other portions? If BRA has assumed something which is not preached by scriptures, what is it that he assumed? Where is insincerety and closed mindedness is seen in his analysis? in his conclusions?

    ReplyDelete
  19. @Holati:
    Is it correct that based on my personal experiences i write commentary on the scriptures. If that is the case then everyone will have different experiences and there will different interpretations. I feel the interpretation should be impersonal

    If phrases of scriptures are dictating Varnashrama, why should they be accepted along with other portions?
    For e.g cold water is very much prescribed for a thirsty person. Does it mean that it is prescribed for a person who is sick? Infact it makes him more sick.. So if you are accepting one truth in scripture you cannot overthrow another when it is said at the same breath

    The scriptures should not be analyzed on what the situation is at present. It should be analyzed irrespective of the situation and try to correct the situation. But it looks like BRA is changing the scriptures to change the situation which should not be the case.

    ReplyDelete
  20. An objective person should not be swayed by his/her personal experiences.If some one says BRA is not objective, he/she should also explain with specifics. Experience of BRA is being accepted by many - among all sections of the people.

    Are you saying that Shudras are 'sick' and therefore 'cold water' can not be given to them even when they are 'thirsty'?

    If some one says that scripture is a package - parts of it can not be rejected, can it be rejected completely? If everyone accepts that some parts of the scripture is not correct, what is the problem in attempting to change it?

    ReplyDelete
  21. BRA strictly points to purusha sukta in his book and says

    But there is no doubt that according to tradition this is how the verses are constructed,.... They contain a divine injunction prescribing a particular form of the constitution of society.

    He is deriving the conclusion that looking at the tradition now, the verses were constructed like this. He also has said more importance should be given to history and not myth but he says divine injunction.

    He selects only couple of verses and ignores rest of the purusha sukta for his topic because that is of interest to present society. How can such judicious selection be done for a serious analysis. Without a complete and thorough study no one can make such half baked analysis about scriptures.

    Again i am reiterating that, i am not denying the fact that the condition of ALL shudras is good, but it may be because of the wrong propagation of knowledge from scriptures across centuries. For that, changing the scriptures which have always guided us in the proper direction is not justified.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Well by the analogy, what i meant is
    cold water is prescribed to a thirsty person.But when person is sick and he is thirsty he will be given warm or hot water. So prescriptions change based on the condition.

    I am not saying Shudras are sick, even other varnas can be sick. It was just an analogy. If it implied some bias, please forgive me. After all personally i am a shudra

    ReplyDelete
  23. @BC: August 17, 2010 10:02 PM
    Definiti of for Varna
    A fraud in the name of God to exploit majority of the people by the elite minority

    ReplyDelete
  24. @AD
    How did you get that definition?

    ReplyDelete
  25. From the discussions and opinions of people. Source of definition of BC was never asked in this forum. @CB, do you have any other definition?

    ReplyDelete
  26. Position of Shudra in social order is not last - as stated by BRA. Infact, deciding social order based on Varna is a ridiculous exercise.

    This is more evident when one notices that even spiritually, the position of Shudra (or any other varna) can not be placed below or above any other varna as a rule.

    ReplyDelete
  27. @AD
    Discussions and opinions of people do change with time so a definition based on that is not consistent.

    Sorry if I did not ask BC the source. I would like ask now how did BC got his definition.

    @All
    I do not have a definition at this point of time. But after reading Ambedkar's interpretation of purusha sukta in relation to varnaashrama i would like to give my point of view on the most important and debated hymn

    brāhmaṇo'sya mukhamāsīd bāhū rājanyaḥ kṛtaḥ,
    ūrū tadasya yad vaiśyaḥ padbhyāgï śūdro ajāyata.
    candramā manaso jātaḥcakśoḥ sūryo ajāyata,
    mukhādindraścāgniśca prāṇādvāyurajāyata.

    literal meaning is:

    The Brahmana was His mouth; the Kshatriya His arms became. His thighs were the Vaisya; of His feet the Sudra was born. The Moon was born from His mind; the Sun was born from His eyes. Indra and Agni came from His mouth; from His vital energy air was born.

    1) since the verse is a hymn in purusha sukta, "his" here refers to purusha.

    2) since purusha sukta talks about the creation of universe, purusha refers to the origin(creator) of the universe(let us not debate whether it is true or not because that is a different discussion altogether)

    3) Since human beings are also part of the creation, they are referred to as created from the purusha

    4) If we check the verse previous to this

    tasmādaśvā ajāyanta ye ke cobhayādataḥ,
    gāvo ha jajñire tasmāt tasmād jātā ajāvayaḥ.
    yatpuruṣaṁ vyadhadhuḥ katidhā vyakalpayan,
    mukhaṁ kimasya kau bāhū kā vūrū pādā vucyete.

    literal meaning:

    From Him were born horses and whatever animals have two rows of teeth. Verily, cows were born of Him; from Him were born goats and sheep. And when they contemplated the Purusha, into how many parts did they divide Him What was His mouth called, what were His arms, what were His thighs, what were His feet called?

    The intention is to tell the output of the contemplation

    5) So the next verse speaks about the origins of the different creations.

    One thing we can deduce with assurance is brahmana(not defined), kshatriya(not defined), vyasya(not defined), shudra(not defined) were part of a single purusha. Just because the order in which they are mentioned, we should not deduce shudras are ignored class.

    There is also no mention of the societal status of the four creations (varnas). So as far as purusha sukta is concerned we cannot make unnecessary conclusions as Ambedkar has done. please comment your view on the hymn.

    ReplyDelete
  28. References to Shudras in Sruthis, Smruthis, Puranas when taken together + attitude of people today towards Shudras confirms the last position of social status given to Shudras.

    References of Purusha Sukta is isolation can not be judged alone. In a good conspiracy, parts are not as dangerous as the combination.

    ReplyDelete
  29. @AD
    References to Shudras in Sruthis, Smruthis, Puranas when taken together + attitude of people today towards Shudras confirms the last position of social status given to Shudras.

    The attitude of people towards shudras is enough to confirm the current status of shudras.

    If people followed the scriptures in all their attitudes then scriptures can be blamed. Do you think all our attitudes in today's world are prescribed in scriptures. How did you deduce that only social status of shudras is followed without fail from scriptures

    Please provide your joint analysis of the scriptures so that we can understand how dangerous they are

    ReplyDelete
  30. @AD
    FYI Ambedkar ji himself has prefered parts which are less dangerous stressing that the combination is of no use!

    he says
    "Verses other than 11 and 12 [which i have discussed above] may be regarded as of academic interest. Nobody relies upon them. No Hindu even remembers them. But it is quite different with regard to verses 11 and 12....."

    ReplyDelete
  31. First of all, the Shudras are being identified only by Varnashrama. Without Scriptural basis, there is no other basis for the identification of Shudras.

    In the scriptures (sruti- smrithi- puranas),

    Shudras are ordained with the duty of service to other three varnas. Therefore, other three varnas treat Shudras as servants.

    Shudras are prohibited from Veda study, so others consider them as impure and deny them Vedas.

    Dr. BRAji's analysis about specific scriptural texts are sufficient to validate the conclusions.

    The attitude of people towards Shudras did not start from thin air - it came from scriptural basis.

    There are arguments saying that - scriptures are meant for developing this kind of attitude towards the Shudras and nothing else.

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  32. @CB,
    You agree that attitude of people towards Shudras is responsible for their position today.
    But, you dont agree that scriptures have contributed towards this.

    What do you think, the reason behind the attitude of people towards Shudras?

    ReplyDelete
  33. @aLL
    It is a nice and open minded discussion.
    I also would like to be a part of this:
    As per my view:
    Varna System
    "To make a living by choosing a profession as per one's desires and aptitudes is a required aspect in any civilized society. It is the duty of the society to provide suitable opportunities for its members to pursue their goals that agree with their nature." This is the concept behind Varna system. But later I suppose it is being misunderstood and misused.
    Even Purusha Sukta only identifies existence of one such society. It did not create it.

    ReplyDelete
  34. @AD
    In the scriptures (sruti- smrithi- puranas),

    Shudras are ordained with the duty of service to other three varnas

    Shudras are prohibited from Veda study, so others consider them as impure and deny them Vedas.

    please quote where it is said

    The attitude of people towards Shudras did not start from thin air - it came from scriptural basis.

    I hope we all agree that scriptures were there for atleast since no less than 1000 years. When do you think the exploitation of shudras started? Is it from day 1? Why was it done?

    Is it because suddenly one guy decided that I am brahmin and my father wrote scripture and rest are shudras?

    Please explain me how did the varnashrama classification happened.

    ReplyDelete
  35. @Holati
    There can be following cases:
    1) It is because of wrong perception of knowledge we have acquired from scriptures. Over the years clarity on the subject has diluted and we do not know what the scriptures are saying and we are making unnecessary assumptions

    2) The system existed in harmony because all people were happy what they were doing.

    3) The system was forcing most of people in the shudra community to face the atrocities across 1000s of years and suddenly Ambedkar came with his analysis to show that they were actually exploited

    Case 1 & 2 make sense

    Case 3 has a problem: Were shudras dumb for 1000s of years and did it take 1000s of years for a single person like Ambedkar to let them know they were exploited? If we accept the fact that shudras did not have access to scriptures how did Ambedkar get it? Was there no chance for anyone(shudra) before Ambedkar to analyze scriptures

    ReplyDelete
  36. @Student
    Hello and welcome to the discussion (on behalf of the participants here)

    You mean to say the basis for varnashrama is profession and nothing else!

    So today we are engineers, doctors, lawyers, politicians, scientists, scholars, teachers so on.. how do you attribute so many professions to 4 varnaashramas.

    Are you implying that varnaashrama is not relevant to the modern society or is it dead altogether?

    ReplyDelete
  37. @CB, August 22, 2010 10:15AM

    Case 3 is also making sense to me.

    When there are no alternative, people suffer in silence. It is possible that Shudras could have suffered for 1000 years. It is not true that BRA is the first person to articulate this. Vachanakaras, several hundred years ago, have ridiculed the ritualistic Brahmins.

    Shudras were not dumb. Not that they did not understand. They could not do anything. With the British arrival, new possibilities were open to Shudras. So, they immediately took those opportunities.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Abhinava samalochakaAugust 22, 2010 at 10:24 PM

    What happens if desire is not matched with apptitude? Who will identify / certify the apptitude of an individual. The person himself/ herself may not know (be able to identify) his/her aptitude. People around him/her may not be able to do it. What should a government do in this respect? Leaving it to the desire of a person seems to be the best that is proposed by today's experts.

    If the goals of an individual is not in agreement with his/her nature, what a society should do? Support his/her goal? or advice him/her to revise goals in accordance with his/her nature. Again, how a society should determine the nature of a person?

    @Student, please clarify on these things.

    What happens, if the society blindly assigns professions to the people? Do you think development stops? Economy does not grow? People will be dissatisfied? Will they loose enthusiasm?

    ReplyDelete
  39. ok for time being let me accept that they could not do anything except till British arrived. How did British help the shudras to choose new possibilities? What benefit did they have in offering the opportunities?

    and AD, please talk about scriptures which you were saying

    In the scriptures (sruti- smrithi- puranas),

    Shudras are ordained with the duty of service to other three varnas

    Shudras are prohibited from Veda study, so others consider them as impure and deny them Vedas.

    Let us come to vachanakaras next.

    ReplyDelete
  40. @CB,

    Do you doubt the scriptural references to the prohibition of Shudras from Vedas or assigning the duty to service to Shudras.

    Here it is:
    Manusmrithi - Chapter IV - See stanzas 80-81,99, 108.

    80. Let him not give to a Sudra advice, nor the remnants (of his meal), nor food offered to the gods; nor let him explain the sacred law (to such a man), nor impose (upon him) a penance.

    81. For he who explains the sacred law (to a Sudra) or dictates to him a penance, will sink together with that (man) into the hell (called) Asamvrita.

    99. Let him not recite (the texts) indistinctly, nor in the presence of Sudras; nor let him, if in the latter part of the night he is tired with reciting the Veda, go again to sleep.

    108. In a village where a corpse lies, in the presence of a (man who lives as unrighteously as a) Sudra, while (the sound of) weeping (is heard), and in a crowd of men the (recitation of the Veda must be) stopped.

    The assignment of Service to shudras can be seen somewhere in Geetha.

    ReplyDelete
  41. @AD,

    Thank you for the references.

    Now the references don't point to who his "him"(mostly brahmin or rest of the three varna ashramas) and they also won't define who are shudras?

    So we should find definition as to who was a shudras (It is was and not is). All the participants please give your view

    ReplyDelete
  42. @CB:
    Any civilization to co-exist has to have a division of labour.
    For Ex: A person who knows grazing, farming has to become a farmer. This he might have learnt from his elders in family or out of
    aptitude. If he becomes Professor out of desire and not out of his aptitude, definitely it is a burden to society. Because, he cant teach!
    So, it was out of an individuals' aptitude and vocation chosen as per aptitude, that would decide his/her Varna.

    "Varna is a merit based system, not birth based system."

    @Abhinava samalochaka said...
    Now, how the government/administration during those days did it is another topic.

    Your Question:
    If the goals of an individual is not in agreement with his/her nature, what a society should do? Support his/her goal?
    As per the Varna System, he/society should change his Vocation as per his aptitude.
    If he has no aptitude to perform any of:
    1. Teaching, acquiring knowledge, Vedas...
    2. Defence, Art of fighting
    2. Agriculture, trade commerce

    Then he is bound to become shudra and serve the above three.

    ReplyDelete
  43. @CB,
    Please give your definitions before asking others.
    "Him" is Brahmana - Why dont we read the sources even after the references are given?

    @student,
    Is it your wish (or dream) that Varna is merit based and not birth based?

    Who will decide the varna of a child? at what age? How it will be decided?

    ReplyDelete
  44. Varna is decided by God at the time of birth. In other words, God decides the parents of a child. If Varna decides vocation, and if vocation has to be decided on the merit (or aptitude), Varna is based on merit (aptitude). Birth is not accident - it is by design. In summary, birth is by merit!

    ReplyDelete
  45. @Student
    If Varna is a merit based system then who will decide the merit and hence the varna of the individual? As Mr BFTBlue has asked when will that be decided? Do you agree with Sampradayavida or you have a different thought?

    @Sampradayavida
    You say Varna and Birth are both merit based. I agree to that as it is logical. But how did you conclude Varna is decided by God at the time of birth? Please give ur analysis

    ReplyDelete
  46. @Sampradayavida
    Another question to you is,

    what if after birth the individual loses/gains merit for some unknown reason, still does he fall under the same varna? or he must be demoted/promoted to a different varna

    @Student
    Do you also mean to say that Shudra is a person who is incapable of doing any of the work except serve the other varnas. If in that case what if he learns through his life and becomes capable of performing the work! Should the varna change happen? Who will decide that?

    ReplyDelete
  47. Varna is decided at birth. It will not change till the death. There is absolutely no need for it.

    ReplyDelete
  48. For Conclusion No 2,
    @TKLG - August 19, 2010 5:12 AM

    I agree with BRA that "Shudra was impure and therefore no sacred act should be done within his sight and within his hearing"

    Shudra need not be more pure than a Brahmana. Brahamas should maintain highest purity levels. In otherwords, a Shudra can not be more pure than a Brahmana. (however, a brahmana can be more impure than a Shudra!). It does not mean that a Shudra need to maintain a low level of purity compared to Brahmana. It is his/her choice. In this way, it can be told that Shudra is impure!

    Dwijas are assigned the task of preserving the Vedas. Brahmanas are assigned the task of teaching the Vedas to Dwijas. Shudras are not assigned the task of preservation of Vedas - So they dont need to hear / recite Vedas. In otherwords, Shudras dont hear Vedas - Brhamanas dont recite in their presence.

    ReplyDelete
  49. @Sampradayavida
    Is it your opinion?

    @TKLG
    You mean to say Shudras are those who are impure [we have still not defined what impurity is]. So my question is if shudra becomes pure[highest level of purity prescribed for a brahmana] by his choice does he become brahmana?

    If "yes" does it follow that they can be assigned the task of preserving vedas?

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  50. By following very strict cleanliness regime, a Shudra can not become a Brahmana. Brahmana leads the life of a Brahmana because he has been assigned the task of preserving the Vedas.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Saying that Shudra is impure - is simplistic way of articulating the scriptural statement. Such simplistic paraphrasing is not correct. In this particular context, Shudra is not the target audience - the recipient is a Brahama (or a Dwija). It is not a restriction of a Shudra to maintain low level of purity compared to Brahmana. It is an instruction to a Brahmana to maintain higher level of purity compared to a Shudra.

    ReplyDelete
  52. For Conclusion No 3,
    @TKLG - August 23, 2010 11:27 PM
    - August 19, 2010 5:12 AM

    Respect does not depend on Varna alone. But it is possible that respect depends on Varna. A Brahmana, who is well versed in Vedas is definitely more respected. A virtuous Shudra woman should get higher recognition compared to a fallen Brahmana. In the spiritual domain too, a Shudra woman may be nearer to realization compared to a Brhamana male.

    BRA is wrong in his third conclusion.

    ReplyDelete
  53. @TKLG
    Why is it a necessary condition that Brahmana should maintain a higher level of purity compared to shudra?

    What if he fails to do so? Does he loose his merit and take birth as a shudra?

    ReplyDelete
  54. @CB,

    Do you think that Brahmana - Merit = Shudra?

    If that is so, then you subscribe to the argument that Brahmana is superior to a Shudra. That is exactly what is scriptures are preaching and its followers are believing.

    ReplyDelete
  55. @Holati
    I am not thinking. I am asking if that is the case!

    I was analyzing TKLGs comment. He says Brahmana must maintain a high level of purity. Now what if he does not maintain. Will he remain a brahmana or not?

    on the other hand shudra has no restriction, he can become as pure as possible. But if he is as pure as brahmana is he brahmana or still a shudra with highest purity

    ReplyDelete
  56. A Brahmana who does not maintain standards falls - he is a fallen Brahmana.

    A Shudra who is at the maximum purity level is an elevated Shudra.

    What is the Problem?

    ReplyDelete
  57. there is no problem. But the most important concern is

    1) even though brahmana who does not maintain standard becomes a fallen brahmana. Is he still allowed to learn vedas and other scriptures, recite them

    2) even though a shudra because of max purity level becomes a elevated shudra. Is he still not allowed to learn vedas and other scriptures, recite them

    ReplyDelete
  58. Preservation of Vedas is possible when two conditions are met

    1. The person who takes up Veda preservation must maintain strict discipline in his daily life.

    2. The family (the environment) of the person who takes up Veda preservation must support the strict discipline required to preserve the Veda study.

    A fallen Brahmana can not preserve the Vedas as he does not satisfy the first condition. Even an elevated Shudra can not preserve Vedas because the second condition is not satisfied.

    A fallen Brahmana can not complain. An elevated Shudra will not complain!

    Can an elevated Shudra in an elevated environment take up Veda recitation? the argument could be extended.

    Please note that a small percentage of people are sufficient to preserve the Vedas in the framework of Varnashrama. That small percentage is Brahmanas supported by other Dwijas supported by majority Shudras. Those who continue the argument base their arguments on some wrong notions about Veda recitation and its benefits.

    ReplyDelete
  59. @TKLG
    nicely put. I was in fact concerned about this

    Can an elevated Shudra in an elevated environment take up Veda recitation? the argument could be extended.

    Do we have any source from scriptures which talk about it?

    And i am confused who is minority Brahmins/Shudras in today's world!

    ReplyDelete
  60. For Conclusion No 4,
    @TKLG - August 23, 2010 11:27 PM
    - August 19, 2010 5:12 AM
    - August 24, 2010 4:35 AM


    Brahmana is respected for his contribution towards preservation of Vedas - If he is contributing towards this noble cause. Does it mean that a Shudra is disrespected? No rationally thinking person could come to such a conclusion. Killing a Brahmana is considered as a big sin. But does it mean that killing a Shudra is allowed. I dont think so.

    ReplyDelete
  61. About Summary no 5
    Should Shudras be denied of Education?
    BRA summarises that the Shudra must not acquire knowledge and it is a sin and a crime to give him education.
    @TKLG - August 23, 2010 11:27 PM
    - August 19, 2010 5:12 AM
    - August 24, 2010 4:35 AM
    - August 25, 2010 4:28 AM

    There are several misconceptions in the summary/ question. First of all - about the definition of Education.
    If Education is 'English education' as we see today, there is no restriction. So, a Shudra is as free as a Brahmana to join school, study newtonian Physics,tropical astronomy, English or Social sciences and take up any profession exactly like a Brahmana.
    If Education is 'Vedic knowledge', essential to achieve the highest good 'here' (in this world) and 'hereafter'(in the next worlds), it is available to a Shudra exactly similar to any one in other Varnas.
    If Education is learning 'Vedic recitation with exact intonation' for the purpose of preserving the Vedas, it is not available for a Shudra.

    But we clearly see how the scope of the Education become narrow as we talk about intonation knowledge of Vedas. If some one argues that intonation knowledge helps in acquiring Vedic knowledge or Science or English, it is laughable.

    ReplyDelete
  62. About Summary no 6
    Should Shudras not be allowed to acquire property?
    BRA summarises that a Shudra must not acquire property. A Brahmin can take his property at his pleasure.
    @TKLG - August 23, 2010 11:27 PM
    - August 19, 2010 5:12 AM
    - August 24, 2010 4:35 AM
    - August 25, 2010 4:28 AM
    - August 25, 2010 9:58 PM
    BRA himself quotes Maitrayani and Kathaka Samhitas speaking of the Shudras being rich and wealthy. Shudras were adviced not to acquire wealth, because wealth is always leads to problems. That is the understanding (jnsight) of Hindus. Not just Shudra, any one who is capable of acquiring wealth is cautioned against accumulation of wealth. The Shudras are also cautioned because of the possibility of their wealth being utilised to trouble poor Brahmins.

    Shudras were inherently capable of generating wealth and it was natural for them to become rich. In the exceptional problematic cases, the king was adviced to seize the wealth of the Shudra. That is quite understandable. Finally, rich and the wealthy are to be under the control of the state to maintain the social semblance.

    ReplyDelete
  63. About Summary no 7
    Should Shudras be denied of holding public office?
    BRA summarises that a Shudra cannot hold office under the State.
    @TKLG - August 23, 2010 11:27 PM; August 19, 2010 5:12 AM; August 24, 2010 4:35 AM; August 25, 2010 4:28 AM; August 25, 2010 9:58 PM ; August 26, 2010 10:47 PM;

    Section V of SHUDRAS VERSUS ARYANS by Ambedkar provides ample evidences to show that Shudras were holding high offices
    http://www.ambedkar.org/ambcd/38B2.%20Who%20were%20the%20Shudras%20PART%20I.htm

    Are we distorting Dr. Ambedkar?

    Shudras participated in the coronation of kings. The coronation of a king was in reality an offer of sovereignty by the people to the king. This was done by the representatives of the people called Ratnis . The king received his sovereignty only when the Ratnis handed over to him the jewel of sovereignty, and on receiving his sovereignty the king went to the house of each of the Ratnis and made an offering to him. The Ratnis were so-called because they held the Ratna (jewel), which was a symbol of sovereignty. It is a significant fact that one of the Ratnis was always a Shudra.

    Nilakantha, the author of Nitimayukha, describes the coronation ceremony in which the four chief ministers, Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra, consecrated the new king. Then the leaders of each Varna and of the castes lower still, consecrated him with holy water. Then followed acclamation by the twice-born.

    That the Shudras were invited to be present at the coronation of the king along with Brahmins is evidenced by the description of the coronation of Yudhishthira, the eldest brother of the Pandavas, which is given in the Mahabharata.

    Shudras were members of the two political assemblies of ancient times, namely, the Janapada and Paura and as a member of these the Shudra was entitled to special respect even from a Brahmin.

    This was so even according to the Manusmriti (vi.61) as well as to the Vishnu Smriti (xxi.64). Otherwise there is no meaning in Manu saying that a Brahmin should not live in a country where the king is a Shudra. That means Shudras were kings.

    In the Shanti Parvan of the Mahabharata, Bhishma in his lessons on Politics to Yudhishthira says :
    "I shall, however, tell thee what kinds of ministers should be appointed by thee. Four Brahmins learned in the Vedas, possessed of a sense of dignity, belonging to the Snataka order, and of pure behaviour, and eight Kshatriyas, all of whom should be possessed of physical strength and capable of weilding weapons, and one and twenty Vaishyas, all of whom should be possessed of wealth, and three Shudras, everyone of whom should be humble and of pure conduct and devoted to his daily duties, and one man of the Suta caste, possessed of a knowledge of the Puranas and the eight cardinal virtues should be thy ministers."

    This proves that the Shudras were ministers and that they were almost equal to the Brahmins in number.

    The Shudras were not poor and lowly. They were rich. This fact is testified by the Maitrayani Samhita (iv.2.7.10) and the Panchavirnsa Brahmana (vi.l.ll). [f63]

    ReplyDelete
  64. About Summary no 8
    Should Shudra serve higher classess as a means of attaining salvation?
    BRA summarises that the duty and salvation of the Shudra lies in his serving the higher classes
    @TKLG - August 23, 2010 11:27 PM; August 19, 2010 5:12 AM; August 24, 2010 4:35 AM; August 25, 2010 4:28 AM; August 25, 2010 9:58 PM ; August 26, 2010 10:47 PM; August 26, 2010 11:05 PM
    Here Serving is not meant "be a servant of" or " work for" or "spending time in jail". The meanings to be considered are "promote" or "contribute" or "conduce to".

    A Shudra contributes - with other three Varnas - towards sustaining the Varnashrama - for attaining salvation. This is the shortest possible route for a Shudra. It does not mean that a Shudra is physically prevented from taking other longer routes. That is the choice of free will to be exercised by a Shudra.

    ReplyDelete
  65. About Summary no 9
    Could other varnas keep a Shudra woman as a concubine?
    BRA summarises that the higher Classes must not inter-marry with the Shudra. They can however keep a Shudra woman as a concubine But if the Shudra touches a woman of the higher classes he will be liable to dire punishment.
    @TKLG - August 23, 2010 11:27 PM; August 19, 2010 5:12 AM; August 24, 2010 4:35 AM; August 25, 2010 4:28 AM; August 25, 2010 9:58 PM ; August 26, 2010 10:47 PM; August 26, 2010 11:05 PM;August 29, 2010 10:31 PM

    It is declared that a Sudra woman alone (can be) the wife of a Sudra, she and one of his own caste (the wives) of a Vaisya, those two and one of his own caste (the wives) of a Kshatriya, those three and one of his own caste (the wives) of a Brahmana. [Manusmrithi, Ch III, Stanza 13]

    Summary by BRA is distorted. The manusmrithi translation says man from any Varna can marry a Shudra woman. Pl. note the woman will be a wife and not concubine.

    This argument is logical.

    But such logical explanations approve the restrictins that a Shudra can not marry a Brahmana woman.

    It is considered as outrageous!!!

    ReplyDelete
  66. Corrections: There are several typos and mistakes in my text, please spellcheck and auto-correct them :) But there is one thing I need to clarify here with point #3 above:

    3) Shudra, by his GUNA and WORK is generally not respected in the same way as the other classes. So it is NOT "not to be respected" but rather "is not respeceted". For example, a Professor is more respected than a Coolie; again, even if the coolie is a born brahmana he is a shudra by guna-karma, and a professor born as a SC/ST will be a brahmana by guna-karma and is thus respected.

    I also realize that Student has brought up this point at some stage in the discussion, about the true meaning of VarNa system. But since the discussion has gone quite long I have not been able to read all.

    ReplyDelete
  67. My previous comments seem to have gone missing. I had seen it posted just a few minutes back, in fact I copy pasted the point 3 from my post only. Anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  68. I am trying to recreate what I had written some time back in a LONG POST :D ;) In essence I had said that the VarNa system is NOT a FIXATED social order but an automatically ordered social system based on GUNA (attitude, nature, inclination etc) and KARMA (profession, work etc). The varnashrama system is descriptive and not prescriptive; it is not classified by birth but rather one's attitude and inclination. In Bhagawad Geetha, Krishna says: chaaturvarNyam maya srishtam GUNA-KARMA vibhagashah.

    Shastras proclaim that everyone is BORN a Shudra and can attain any social order based on one's attitude and choice of work. So:

    1) It is not that "Shudra was to take the last place in the social order", but rather "Shudra takes the last place in social order". For example, when a person born in a "Brahmana" family works as a Peon or in service role in an organization, he becomes a shudra and occupies a lower order; while a person Born as a Shudra works as a professor he becomes a Brahmana and occupies a higher order.

    2) It is not that a "Shudra was impure", but rather "One who is IMPURE becomes a Shudra", and therefore no sacred act should be done within his sight and within his hearing. There are several definitions of one being impure, so one needs to be careful here.

    3) It is not that a "Shudra is not to be respected", but rather a "Shudra is generally not respected as much as other classed". Example, a Professor (now a BrahmaNa) or an Army General (a Kshatriya) who are born in Shudra families are generally more respected than a Coolie (now a Shudra) who is born in a Brahmana family.

    4) It is not that the life of a Shudra is "of no value" but rather it is deemed as "less value", economic and social value. Even though it cannot be applied to decide who is to be killed and not, it still has some meaning, for example, there is a difference between when a peon is lost and when the CEO is lost.

    5) It is not that the Shudra "must not acquire knowledge", it is rather, a Shudra (by nature and profession) is less inclined to aquire ADVANCED knowledge (and some of you have already discussed a little about education and its kinds).

    6) Discussion whether a Shudra "must not acquire property" or not is a illogical and irrelavent in the true varnashrama system.

    7) It is not that a Shudra "cannot hold office under the State", but rather when some one holds an office logically HE CANNOT BE A SHUDRA AT ALL, because he is no more in servitude, neither in GUNA nor KARMA.

    8) Geetha clearly says that being a Shudra has got nothing to do with Salvation: striyo vaisyo tatha sudraah tepi yaanti paraam gatim. How they achieve is subjective and a complex topic in itself. If so then we would not have had such greats as Valmiki, Vidura and so on, in one sense even Vyaasa was a Shudra from what I know. I could be wrong, but there are ample examples that dismiss this claim.

    9) Again, it is not true that the Shudra "must be kept in servility", they are by nature that way.

    So, in true sense varnashrama system is entirely different from what it has now evolved into.

    ReplyDelete
  69. I am trying to recreate what I had written some time back in a LONG POST :D ;) In essence I had said that the VarNa system is NOT a FIXATED social order but an automatically ordered social system based on GUNA (attitude, nature, inclination etc) and KARMA (profession, work etc). The varnashrama system is descriptive and not prescriptive; it is not classified by birth but rather one's attitude and inclination. In Bhagawad Geetha, Krishna says: chaaturvarNyam maya srishtam GUNA-KARMA vibhagashah.

    Shastras proclaim that everyone is BORN a Shudra and can attain any social order based on one's attitude and choice of work. So:

    1) It is not that "Shudra was to take the last place in the social order", but rather "Shudra takes the last place in social order". For example, when a person born in a "Brahmana" family works as a Peon or in service role in an organization, he becomes a shudra and occupies a lower order; while a person Born as a Shudra works as a professor he becomes a Brahmana and occupies a higher order.

    2) It is not that a "Shudra was impure", but rather "One who is IMPURE becomes a Shudra", and therefore no sacred act should be done within his sight and within his hearing. There are several definitions of one being impure, so one needs to be careful here.

    3) It is not that a "Shudra is not to be respected", but rather a "Shudra is generally not respected as much as other classed". Example, a Professor (now a BrahmaNa) or an Army General (a Kshatriya) who are born in Shudra families are generally more respected than a Coolie (now a Shudra) who is born in a Brahmana family.

    4) It is not that the life of a Shudra is "of no value" but rather it is deemed as "less value", economic and social value. Even though it cannot be applied to decide who is to be killed and not, it still has some meaning, for example, there is a difference between when a peon is lost and when the CEO is lost.

    5) It is not that the Shudra "must not acquire knowledge", it is rather, a Shudra (by nature and profession) is less inclined to aquire ADVANCED knowledge (and some of you have already discussed a little about education and its kinds).

    6) Discussion whether a Shudra "must not acquire property" or not is a illogical and irrelavent in the true varnashrama system.

    7) It is not that a Shudra "cannot hold office under the State", but rather when some one holds an office logically HE CANNOT BE A SHUDRA AT ALL, because he is no more in servitude, neither in GUNA nor KARMA.

    8) Geetha clearly says that being a Shudra has got nothing to do with Salvation: striyo vaisyo tatha sudraah tepi yaanti paraam gatim. How they achieve is subjective and a complex topic in itself. If so then we would not have had such greats as Valmiki, Vidura and so on, in one sense even Vyaasa was a Shudra from what I know. I could be wrong, but there are ample examples that dismiss this claim.

    9) Again, it is not true that the Shudra "must be kept in servility", they are by nature that way.

    So, in true sense varnashrama system is entirely different from what it has now evolved into.

    ReplyDelete
  70. I am trying to recreate what I had written some time back in a LONG POST :D ;) In essence I had said that the VarNa system is NOT a FIXATED social order but an automatically ordered social system based on GUNA (attitude, nature, inclination etc) and KARMA (profession, work etc). The varnashrama system is descriptive and not prescriptive; it is not classified by birth but rather one's attitude and inclination. In Bhagawad Geetha, Krishna says: chaaturvarNyam maya srishtam GUNA-KARMA vibhagashah.

    Shastras proclaim that everyone is BORN a Shudra and can attain any social order based on one's attitude and choice of work. So:

    1) It is not that "Shudra was to take the last place in the social order", but rather "Shudra takes the last place in social order". For example, when a person born in a "Brahmana" family works as a Peon or in service role in an organization, he becomes a shudra and occupies a lower order; while a person Born as a Shudra works as a professor he becomes a Brahmana and occupies a higher order.

    2) It is not that a "Shudra was impure", but rather "One who is IMPURE becomes a Shudra", and therefore no sacred act should be done within his sight and within his hearing. There are several definitions of one being impure, so one needs to be careful here.

    3) It is not that a "Shudra is not to be respected", but rather a "Shudra is generally not respected as much as other classed". Example, a Professor (now a BrahmaNa) or an Army General (a Kshatriya) who are born in Shudra families are generally more respected than a Coolie (now a Shudra) who is born in a Brahmana family.

    4) It is not that the life of a Shudra is "of no value" but rather it is deemed as "less value", economic and social value. Even though it cannot be applied to decide who is to be killed and not, it still has some meaning, for example, there is a difference between when a peon is lost and when the CEO is lost.

    5) It is not that the Shudra "must not acquire knowledge", it is rather, a Shudra (by nature and profession) is less inclined to aquire ADVANCED knowledge (and some of you have already discussed a little about education and its kinds).

    6) Discussion whether a Shudra "must not acquire property" or not is a illogical and irrelavent in the true varnashrama system.

    7) It is not that a Shudra "cannot hold office under the State", but rather when some one holds an office logically HE CANNOT BE A SHUDRA AT ALL, because he is no more in servitude, neither in GUNA nor KARMA.

    8) Geetha clearly says that being a Shudra has got nothing to do with Salvation: striyo vaisyo tatha sudraah tepi yaanti paraam gatim. How they achieve is subjective and a complex topic in itself. If so then we would not have had such greats as Valmiki, Vidura and so on, in one sense even Vyaasa was a Shudra from what I know. I could be wrong, but there are ample examples that dismiss this claim.

    9) Again, it is not true that the Shudra "must be kept in servility", they are by nature that way.

    So, in true sense varnashrama system is entirely different from what it has now evolved into.

    ReplyDelete
  71. I am trying to recreate what I had written some time back in a LONG POST :D ;) In essence I had said that the VarNa system is NOT a FIXATED social order but an automatically ordered social system based on GUNA (attitude, nature, inclination etc) and KARMA (profession, work etc). The varnashrama system is descriptive and not prescriptive; it is not classified by birth but rather one's attitude and inclination. In Bhagawad Geetha, Krishna says: chaaturvarNyam maya srishtam GUNA-KARMA vibhagashah.

    Shastras proclaim that everyone is BORN a Shudra and can attain any social order based on one's attitude and choice of work. So:

    1) It is not that "Shudra was to take the last place in the social order", but rather "Shudra takes the last place in social order". For example, when a person born in a "Brahmana" family works as a Peon or in service role in an organization, he becomes a shudra and occupies a lower order; while a person Born as a Shudra works as a professor he becomes a Brahmana and occupies a higher order.

    2) It is not that a "Shudra was impure", but rather "One who is IMPURE becomes a Shudra", and therefore no sacred act should be done within his sight and within his hearing. There are several definitions of one being impure, so one needs to be careful here.

    3) It is not that a "Shudra is not to be respected", but rather a "Shudra is generally not respected as much as other classed". Example, a Professor (now a BrahmaNa) or an Army General (a Kshatriya) who are born in Shudra families are generally more respected than a Coolie (now a Shudra) who is born in a Brahmana family.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Sorry for the repeated posts, it kept giving me error that the post was not successful, so I submitted it multiple times. Kindly delete the redundant entries. I apologize.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Considering a society in which the family is led by men, if woman are considered as wealth, then Brahmin male has an advantage - wealth of Brahmana Varna (read Brahmana women) is preserved from other Varnas whereas the wealth of other Varnas is accessible to Brahmana Varna. In this way, the hierarchy of Varna can be established as Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra (from ascending to descending).

    ReplyDelete
  74. Abhinava samalochakaAugust 30, 2010 at 9:56 PM

    Yes there are restrictions in marriage.Brahmana male has maximum choice in choosing his wife, Brahmana woman has no choice. She can not marry a man from any other Varna. Similarly, a Shudra man has no choice whereas a Shudra woman has maximum possibilities open before her.

    So it is clear that there are variations in the choices, it is not easy to say which Varna is discriminated against. There is a gender angle too. Is a women more restricted compared to men?

    ReplyDelete
  75. The posts by TKLG starts with the premise that Varna is based on Birth. But, the posts by GodCon are based on the argument that Varna is by Guna and Karma.

    So, there are two streams of arguments.

    ReplyDelete
  76. If a woman adapts to the family of her husband after the marriage, a Brahmana woman will adapt to a Shudra family and a Shudra woman should be able to adapt to a Brahman family. Then why this restriction?

    ReplyDelete
  77. Commitment to a single wife throughout the life is considered ideal for all men of this world. So, only men of inferior caliber will take a second wife. Similarly, it is adviced that men should take wife from their own Varna. Taking a wife from any other Varna is inferior. Then how do we interpret the the above quoted stanza from Manusmrithi?

    ReplyDelete
  78. Prescription of a practice implies curtailing the freedom. More strict the prescribed practices are, higher the curtailment of the individual freedom.

    There are two world views.

    1. Prescribe same practice to all - expect the same ability to adhere to the guidelines.
    In this scenario, individual freedom is suppressed to everyone to the same extent irrespective of the fact that such a suppression is required/essential or not.
    2. Give freedom to people to maximum extent in terms of prescribed practices - Expect proportionally the ability to adhere to the guidelines.
    In this case, different people are prescribed different practices.

    In both cases, the prescription may not lead to the expectations. In the first case, every one may not be equally able although they are prescribed with the same practice. Everyone is required to loose their freedom to equal extent even if it is not required to loose their freedom. In the second case, the abilities may be same. The ability may not be proportional. In the second case, the freedom to everyone must be proportional to the expected ability. The prescribed practices are tailored to individual requirements to the extent that is absolutely necessary. In both cases, there is a possibility of exploiting the freedom by those who are not able.

    Which worldview creates a fairer system? Not easy to conclude!!!

    ReplyDelete
  79. Are we looking at the system from a contemporary perspective or as to how it could have been then?

    From what I understand, Manusmriti pertains to samanya samaja dharma and can thus be subject to change depending on changes in the society with time (it is not "Sanatana Dharma", that which does not change with time - example that which is in Bhagawad Gita). And, the society has changed significantly over the past few centuries more than ever before, so not much that applied to the society even 500 or 1000 years back can be applied now. So, am not sure in what context we are discussing these aspects.

    Personally, I felt that Ambedkar's conclusions are absurd; as absurd as the current representation of the "varna" system. The current caste system is a mere misrepresentation, a nonsensical hodgepodge.

    So, what are we actually trying to discuss and understand? Could someone please clarify? I have entered the discussion quite late I suppose :)

    ReplyDelete
  80. When some one blames Hinduism, typically one of the following is the context

    1. Untouchability - its practice and effects:
    Untouchability interpreted as part of Hinduism.

    2. Sati / Widows
    Plight of women Hinduism ascribed to Hinduism

    3. Social inequalities - lack of progress in science and technology, economy
    Attributed to Varnashrama, realization as final goal set by Hinduism

    4. Some other reason
    To be listed under this category

    In all the cases, defendants of Hinduism would take typically one of the following routes

    1. Defend Varnashrama - but disown caste
    2. Distinguish Varnashrama of past and present
    3. Define Varnashrama on Guna and Karma
    4. Disown the birth based Varna
    5. Attempt to redefine the Varna vyavastha acceptable to all people of present day
    6. Suggest modifications to the various aspects of Hinduism to ward of criticisms
    7. Define Varna based on birth and try to explain the criticisms.
    8. Accept the attributed features of the Hinduism and try to offer explanations


    This discussion is open to all the approaches. The posts of the TKLG fall under 7 & 8. GodCon contributions are falling under categories 1 - 6.

    TKLG and GodCon - please go ahead with your approach.

    ReplyDelete
  81. Dear KMS, Thanks for the wrapper :)

    The caste system exists but it has got nothing to do with the actual "Varna System" was what I wanted to say, thats it. Varshashrama Systsem is a beautiful system, but the caste system is a muddled image of the same, was what I wanted to highlight. So, the religion by itself is not to blamed.

    All the issues are infact national culture issues that are impacted by a rigid caste system, that has got nothing to do with what the religion says. Apartheid policy is probably a non-religious example of general intollerance towards others, castes or races whatever you tag them. English people would not marry French.

    Whether a BrahmaNa should marry a Shudra or not, how many should he marry etc are all subject to such issues of some sort of racist feeling: black Vs white, english Vs french, tamilian Vs kannadiga, rich Vs poor, brahmana Vs shudra etc etc. the layers and levels differ. Over a period of time the layers increase and get toughened, which is what has happened in India with a history of over 10,000s of years.

    "Hinduism" is both a culture and a religion, the former is murkier, the latter is beautiful.

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  82. Practice (and thus training) helps in maintaining discipline and self control. It is those who are more trained (because of the practice) who would adhere to a given set of guidelines on their own more effectively than those who are not practicing and less trained. If discretionary freedom(power) is to be given to some one, it should be given to those who have adopted strict lifestyle. If you give same freedom irrespective of the expected ability to adhere to the guidelines, it is not fair.

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  83. Whether we start with "Varna by birth" or "Varna not by birth", we need to answer the following questions

    1. How do we explain all other aspects of Hinduism?
    2. How we ensure equality and fairness among different Varnas / Jaatis
    3. How do we ensure equality and fairness between genders?
    4. How do we explain the meta physical questions? - issues related to "after death" and "before birth"
    5. How do we explian that Hinduism is progressive, technology savvy, enviromental friendly etc with whatever frame work we come out with.

    Varna by birth / not by birth is just the starting point.

    ReplyDelete
  84. The golden rules of "single wife" and "wife of the same Varna" are to be followed by all. Brahmanas follow very strict regime of daily rituals. They are expected to use the discretionary freedom of marrying from any of four Varnas in the right manner. Shudras, who are free of rituals in daily life, are not burdened with the task of of such a decision making. They are restricted to marry only within in their Varna.

    If Brahamanas fail to apply their discretion in the right manner, expectations go awry. Still, it happens in a small percentage of people. Although it is possible that many in the majority of Shudras may be thinking that they are deprived of some privilege, what they are deprived of is the opportunity of exploiting the freedom in a wrong way.

    This is better than restricting the freedom of all members in the society in the same way; burdening majority of the people with complicated decision making; thereby forcing them to commit mistakes and allowing large number of deviations from stated guidelines.

    Varna Vyavastha is inherently superior to the systems that we are familiar with today!!!

    ReplyDelete
  85. Dear KMS,

    The questions may also have to be asked from a few other perspectives:

    For example, KMS Questions: "How we ensure equality and fairness among different Varnas / Jaatis" or "How do we ensure equality and fairness between genders?"

    -- We may need to first check if such questions pertain specifically to "varna system" / Hinduism or beyond. For example, is Equality possible? fairness can be attempted towards but is it practical? Is not inequality inherent to Human existence? Example, can we ensure equality between Whites and Blacks? Between Tamilians and Kannadigas? Between Rich and Poor? Between Nations? Yes, they can be achieved theoretically but practically a far reach. So the questions of equality and fairness are beyond the scope of varnas, jatis, Hinduism.

    KMS Questions: "How do we explain the meta physical questions? - issues related to "after death" and "before birth"

    -- how is Varna system connected to these questions, because Varna system is related to the society and these metaphysical questions pertain to individuals. Are we interested n answering as to why a Shudra is born a Shudra, a BrahmaNa a BrahmaNa and so on? We can certainly try to find answers from the religious scriptures, but how will it help address the topic under discussion - conclusions of BRA.

    "Hinduism" in its current state is probably similar to "Indian Democracy" in the current state: corrupted, deviated, exploited, misrepresented, abused, rotten, adultrated, debased, degraded, and very different from its probable intended state. If our democracy has reached this state in 50 years imagine a religion subject to things that probably no other religion has been. So, the answer as to why Hinduism is in its current state cannot just be found in the Varna System or the Religion itself. Multiple other factors need to be analyzed and employed.

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  86. About Summary no 10
    Should Shudra be kept in servility forever?
    BRA summarises that the Shudra is born in servility and must be kept in servility for ever.
    @TKLG - August 23, 2010 11:27 PM; August 19, 2010 5:12 AM; August 24, 2010 4:35 AM; August 25, 2010 4:28 AM; August 25, 2010 9:58 PM ; August 26, 2010 10:47 PM; August 26, 2010 11:05 PM;August 29, 2010 10:31 PM; August 31, 2010 10:57 PM

    Servility: Abject or Cringing submissiveness
    Abject:Of the most contemptible kind
    Cringing: Shrinking or flinching in fear

    Summary 10 restated becomes: Shudra is born and retained as a rule in a state of submissiveness which is most contemptible kind. A Submissive Shudra will be shrinking or flinching(recoiling) in fear.

    These descriptions are coming from those who are looking the Varna Vyavastha from a lens of an orthogonal world view. Politeness towards Dwijas is interpreted as submissiveness. Respect and precautions taken by Shudras is interpreted as fear. Acceptance of respect by Dwijas is interpreted as contempt.

    The misunderstanding created by the orthogoanl world view is magnified by vested interests driven by fear, greed and jealousy.

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  87. We all must follow the principles of Sushma Swaraj! :)

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  88. Hello GodCon! Nice to see you here

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  89. Sorry was away from the blog for a long time. Since lot of discussion is happened on the blog I am not able to get the conclusions drawn till now.

    Looking at the last few comments, it looks like varna vyavasta as understood by Ambedkar is wrong. Please correct me if i am wrong.

    And Mr Saffron Terrorism what is Sushma Swaraj saying? What are her principles?

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  90. @GodCon,
    Time has changed - 500 or 1000 or 10000 years. What was applicable to the society in the past is not applicable today.
    August 31, 2010 3:34 AM;

    Smrithi is the second authoritative source in Sanatana Dharma. The first being Shruthi. Interpreting that Smrithi as not part of sanatana dharma is not correct. Yes, Manusmrithi states samanya dharma - but samanya dharma does not change with time!

    If some universal truth is there in Hinduism, it may not change (even in 10000years). Why are we overlooking this possibility?

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  91. @GodCon,
    Jaati is not related to Varna
    August 31, 2010 10:25 AM

    It is not correct to say that Jaati is not related to Varna. A jaati is created when parents belong to two different jaatis. The first four jaatis are nothing but four Varnas!

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  92. @GodCon,
    Equality is possible theoretically but practically a far reach; September 1, 2010 8:03 AM
    Fairness is beyond the scope of Varnas/jaatis; September 1, 2010 8:03 AM
    Metaphysical questions are not related to Varna/jaati;September 1, 2010 8:03 AM

    It is not correct to say that there is no justice (equality and fairness) in this world. When we wrongly assume this, we end up in all other problems. Today, the main accusation against Jaati and Varna is that it is birth based and that anything birth based can not be fair. So, the discussion of fairness and Varnas/jaati is very much linked.
    Definition of Varna is closely linked to birth/death and rebirth. So, we can not avoid metaphysical questions of "after death" and "before birth" while dealing with Varnas.

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  93. @GodCon,
    Caste system is some sort of apartheid / racism: August 31, 2010 10:25 AM

    When we dont see relationship between Varnas and (fairness, metaphysics) then we inevitably end up in concluding that jaatis is some sort of apartheid/racism.
    Usually materialists - Christian evangelists, communists, Westerners and Secularists - are in this category.

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  94. @Sampradayavida,

    Why must you look @ the Varnas while comparing their jatis?
    You can't always expect very similar colours while comparing two ppl of the same family or whatever...
    @ CB,
    Sushma feels that saffron terrorism = white + green terrorism which thrives over SHUDRAS

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  95. @Sampradayavidya:
    How do you say that Samanya Dharma doesnot change with time?
    I am just a novice in these apsects...
    But, Smritis do change right?
    And Manu Smriti was written in Satya Yuga...
    Please clarify...

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  96. @Saffron terrorism:
    Please clarify about your views on Saffron terrorism over Shudras...
    Still your explaination is not clear.

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  97. @Student,
    Manu X-63 “Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (not acquiring illegitimate wealth), Shoucham (purity), and Indriyanigraha (control of senses) are, in brief, the common Dharma for all the varnas”.

    If samanya dharma changes and if it is not sanatana dharma, atleast one of the above items must change over time. Which one shall we change? and still be in the path of Dharma?

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  98. @student
    Saffron terrorism does not exist by itself. It is a reaction to the white terrorism(christian missionaries conversions+Political pseudo secularism) and green terrorism(terrorism by muslims as everyone knows it !). And the target for white terrorism are exploited shudras.

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  99. Dear Sampradayavida,

    1) Manu-Smithi, Samanya Dharma, and Change:
    - Manu-Smrithi is not part of prastana-traya. It is an important scripture but is something that is not eternally applicable. Sahaja damanya dharma changes with time, for example the rules for marriage, the modes of marriage; in the current state, you cannot marry at the age of 7-8 now. Education changes, you dont go to gurukulas anymore. Which side of the road do you drive is a samanya dharma. What kind of clothes you wear also is. These change and these changes are allowed in a society as new sahaja dharmas evolve.

    There are many etenrally applicable Universal Truths declared in "Hinduism", and each is a masterpiece; for example that which is in Bhagawad Gita or the Upanishads, they will never change, they can never change, hence are called sanatana or eternal Shastras.

    2) "A jaati is created when parents belong to two different jaatis. The first four jaatis are nothing but four Varnas!"
    -- Absolutely. Lets look at this a bit "scientifically" or "analytically". When we are born, we inherit the genes (psychological, physiological) and thus have similar attributes as that of the parents (attributes and attitudes form the VARNA). So, if the parents are SATVIKAS children have the tendency of being SATVIKAS. So, people with Brahmanical attitudes (natures) then chances are that children will also be born that way. But, this is not always true, because as children grow they evolve into different beings - for example, I being born to Brahmana parents am a software engineer serving someone and am hence a Shudra by varna but brahmana by jati. Varna is a beautifully set system that is dynamic, the jati system is a static one. So they are different when we understand them.

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  100. Sampradayavida,

    "It is not correct to say that there is no justice (equality and fairness) in this world"

    I meant it into absolute terms. There is justice but in a relative sense, which is why asked if you can extend equality and fairness between rich and poor? between blacks and whites? between men and women? I have said that we can attempt towards that, but practically it is a far reach (does not mean it is impossible).

    "Today, the main accusation against Jaati and Varna is that it is birth based and that anything birth based can not be fair. So, the discussion of fairness and Varnas/jaati is very much linked.

    Hmmm I am not denying that fairness is linked to varnas/jatis. But I was calling us to question a little and see if they are related to jati/varna and more than that. For example, rich and poor, white and black, men and women, yound and old etc etc are not jatis or varnas, but the issues of fairness and equality exist there. So, the issue is much higher than at the jati level. We need to take a look at the issue from beyond the level of jati and varna, was what I wanted to emphasize.

    Definition of Varna is closely linked to birth/death and rebirth

    In the jati system, yes. But in the varna system, since it is to do with one's attitude and nature it can evolve and continously change. Yes, Karma definitely plays a role, which is the explanation for evolutionary development, but we cannot go beyond that with these systems was what I wanted to say.

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  101. When we dont see relationship between Varnas and (fairness, metaphysics) then we inevitably end up in concluding that jaatis is some sort of apartheid/racism

    Both of us see the relationship but from different angles :) I have given different examples to say why I say that. I am sorry if I have not been clear.

    The current Jati system exists, it has existed in varying flavors in the past. Irrespective of what I do, I am a BrahmaNa. For example, I have a friend who is a "BrahmaNa" but works as sewage janitor (jaadmaali in Kannada, one who takes corporate contracts to clean toilets). I have a more "brahmaNa" relative who works as a peon and has no scent of vedas or sanskrit or brahma jnana. I have a "Christian" friend who is studying Vedas and practices Astrology, what or who is he??? I have a "Shetty" friend (vaishya) who works in the armed forces!!! These are real examples, I am not just making them up, am sure you have such examples too. My sanskrit teacher (at Samskrita Bharati) is a "Shudra" and she ahs dedicated her life for sanskrit and studying shastras!!!

    So, the big question is: what do you mean by a brahmana, what is the meaning of a brahmaNa????? cleaning some toilet? (sorry, I do not mean to be harsh, I am trying to emphasize with some strong example, thats it) . We need to look at the true meanings of the words and see how they have transformed and try to derive sense, not just work with corrupted terminologies as if we are helpless.

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  102. @Sampradayavidya:
    Does Manu Smriti gives law, codes, guidelines by which one can adhere to Samanya Dharma?
    If Smritis are suppose to change, then why can't we take current trends/practices as Smritis?
    @GodCon:
    What is difference between Sahaja samanya dharma and samanya dharma?
    Were smritis like Manu, Parasara, Yajnavalka in ancient times some sort of Guidelines which helped an individual/society to adhere to Dharma?
    Since it is accepted that Smritis do change, then why to rely on Manu Smriti which was written for a different timeline?

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  103. Student,

    I tend to use Samanya and Sahaja Samanya interchangably, sorry for the confusion, both pertain to Samaja Dharma or Social Dharma, that a particular society follows; a Dharmashastra in general.

    I am not sure if we can say that Smritis change, they do not according to me, but some of the tenets of samajika dharma change with time, i.e. application of certain aspects change, as dharmic era evolves. We cannot discard Manu Smriti because, first it can be used as a historical document, second as a basic guideline, and then there are aspects in it that can applied contemporarily too. Basically it is a set of guidelines without much reasoning, just like the Quran, and hence does not apply to many intellectuals who seek philosophical discussion. Most of the practices have either gone into it via practise or have been adopted from it into practise. People continue to take bits and pieces of it. Some suspect its authority, some doubt its authenticity, and some believe that they have deliberately tweeked or interpolated by certain classes of men at certain times. But there are good things in it we can take. Neither can we outrightly reject it nor can be completely accept it. I dont know if anyone relies on it, I am not sure if anyone uses it "as is", I have not seen anyone vouch by it other than people who are severe critics of the dharma such as BRA :) Those who know, know. This is what I have understood after reading it superficially and hearing from scholars.

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  104. If Smritis do not change, then why were there Smriti's for each Yuga written?

    Satya: Manu
    Treta: Yajnavalka
    Dwapara: Shank and Likhita
    Kali: Parasara

    What my current understanding is that based on socio political situation at a time there was a Smriti written providing the Laws, Codes ethics etc...
    Then Smritis are bound to change.

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  105. Student,
    We need to be careful when we say Smritis are bound to change, yes they are as I have acknowledged but still one may have to define as to what one means by "change" - does the texts in the scriptures change or the scriptures themsleves change? Because, scriptures such as Mahabharata, Ramayana, PuraNas also come under the category of Smritis. I have acknowledged in my post that Samajika Dharma Shastras such as Manusamhita evolve over time, which implies that they are bound to change. But that cannot be generalized to all Smrithis is what I understand.

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  106. Ok...
    I am
    So, can we say that Manu smriti was evolved over time from Yuga to Yuga...?

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  107. Hmmm I am not very sure if I am qualified to say that, but from my understanding Manusmrithi itself has not evolved but new manual-smrithis [;-)] have have replaced Manusmrithi. So, instead of Manusmrithi we have Many-Smrithis :)

    Here is my take. Manusmriti was for the whole World, for the entire mankind, when the world was one; i.e. when the world was integrated, there was only one set of tenets and only one Dharmashastra. But as the world has evolved, disintegrated and separated, significance of one dharmashastra (manusmirthi) was gradually lost while geo-centric, ethno-centric, community specific smritis evolved. Now, the world has expanded and numerous Dharmas and thus numerous Dharmashastras have evolved. For example: Quran is a Dharmashastra for Muslims, Bible for Christians, Gurugranthsahib for Sikhs, Thorah for Jews and so on. Beyond those, each country may have its own Dharmashastra as they do not want to base themselves on religiously connected dharmashastras; for example, Constitution of India is the current Samajika Shastra for Indians, and then each school of thought that one prescribes a certain version of its Dharmashastra. But, if we view manusmriti scientifically then it may be seen to encapsulate all the other dharmashastras :) But when we confuse a simple aspect such as varna with jati then this cannot happen, i.e. manusmriti will be misrepresented and misinterpreted. Thats exactly what has happened. I believe that this distortion is supposed happen as the new age evolves :)

    Sorry for the long post and possible confusion in following the text :)

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  108. @GodCon,
    #Manusmriti was for the whole World, for the entire mankind,

    I agree with this statement.

    #when the world was one; i.e. when the world was integrated, there was only one set of tenets and only one Dharmashastra.

    the perception that world is not one, is not integrated now, there are many tenets and there is a need for more than one Dharma shastra is to be justified. Not just stated.


    #But as the world has evolved, disintegrated and separated, significance of one dharmashastra (manusmirthi) was gradually lost while geo-centric, ethno-centric, community specific smritis evolved.

    It is possible that world might have gradually deviated from the Dharmashastra. But to describe that the deviation as evolution may not be correct. If Dharma is one, what is the need for specific smrithis conditioned on geography, ethnicity and community?
    If Dharma is to be interpreted, it has to be interpreted even in the case of many smrithis.


    #Now, the world has expanded and numerous Dharmas and thus numerous Dharmashastras have evolved. For example: Quran is a Dharmashastra for Muslims, Bible for Christians, Gurugranthsahib for Sikhs, Thorah for Jews and so on.

    Saying that Quaran and Bible as Dharmashastras is an exercise to simplify issues to a ridiculous level.

    #Beyond those, each country may have its own Dharmashastra as they do not want to base themselves on religiously connected dharmashastras; for example, Constitution of India is the current Samajika Shastra for Indians, and then each school of thought that one prescribes a certain version of its Dharmashastra. But, if we view manusmriti scientifically then it may be seen to encapsulate all the other dharmashastras :)

    If Manusmrithi encapsulates other Dharmashastras, it means that it has not changed!

    #But when we confuse a simple aspect such as varna with jati then this cannot happen, i.e. manusmriti will be misrepresented and misinterpreted. Thats exactly what has happened. I believe that this distortion is supposed happen as the new age evolves :)

    when Krishna talks of Varna sankara, it is mixing of the Varnas - meaning, marriage between people of different Varnas and their progeny. How do you retain kuladharma which was given so much of importance by Krishna in Geetha, if people from different family types marry and set up families?

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  109. Dear Sampradayavida,

    I was expecting some rebuttals, but was surprised to see none :) Thanks for the comments :)

    the perception that world is not one, is not integrated now, there are many tenets and there is a need for more than one Dharma shastra is to be justified. Not just stated.

    You have used the right word, "perception" :). When I said that the world was one and integrated, i meant it from physical, religious, political etc perspectives. To perceive it in an integrated manner in these terms, in the current context, though an ideal state, is only theoretically possible, its pragmatism is questioned. I and you may see it as one but .....

    It is possible that world might have gradually deviated from the Dharmashastra. But to describe that the deviation as evolution may not be correct.

    Deviation is part of evolution, due to conscious and unconcious decisions of a society :) Whether it is in the right direction or not is a subjective debate. It is just a choice of words in this case. I will try to explain myself in the texts below.

    If Dharma is one, what is the need for specific smrithis conditioned on geography, ethnicity and community?

    First of all, is Dharma one? When I said "one dharma" it was in the context of my writing, in an integrated, undifferentiated world view. But, when that world view itself has changed then its application also changes in context, is my take.

    I believe that Dharma is probably one of the hardest words to translate. So, it has to be understood in context. We also know that Dharma is layered; viewed in terms of Swa Dharma, Jati Dharma, Kula Dharma, Samajika Dharma, Yuga Dharma, Sanatana Dharma etc. The perspective evolves from internal to external perspectives. Each has its own dimensions of time and space.


    If Dharma is to be interpreted, it has to be interpreted even in the case of many smrithis.

    Yes.

    Contd.....

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  110. Contd....

    Saying that Quaran and Bible as Dharmashastras is an exercise to simplify issues to a ridiculous level.

    Honestly, I expected this response from someone :)

    The only reason I took these extreme examples was to emphasize my point. Thats all. Anyway.

    It depends on what one understands by the terms a) "Dharma" (a complex concept which is hard to translate; anyway, in a gist, it is moral virtues; law and practise; duty; essential quality of an entity; social mannerism or mode; one that upholds an individual and a society etc), b) "Shastra" (a [divine] scriptural injunction; any department of knowledge; a treatise; a sacred percept; a theory etc), and c) "Dharmashastra" (a complex word from the above two terms). From this perspective if we see then we may be able to appreciate the context in which I have written.

    Sorry if it sounds ridiculous, but I see parallels after having read (superficially though) both Quran and Manusmriti. I can give many examples from both the scriptures (shastras) to emphasize my point. Both have a laundary list of "do's and dont's", in addition to other details, to guide behaviors of an individual and a society. ***** But, that does not mean that I am equalizing them, putting them in parity (this is a separate topic in itself if we want to discuss) ****** I am taking them just an examples. We cannot help but see parallels that we can appreciate upon reading both the "scriptures"; both intended for different contexts though.



    If Manusmrithi encapsulates other Dharmashastras, it means that it has not changed!

    I knew this response would come, which is why i said "it ***may*** be seen to encapsulate all the other dharmashastras" :) I would have liked to emphasize "may". But to put it in perspective, a muslim may view Quran to encapsulate all other Dharmashastras (I am again taking an extreme example only for emphasizing).

    when Krishna talks of Varna sankara, it is mixing of the Varnas - meaning, marriage between people of different Varnas and their progeny. How do you retain kuladharma which was given so much of importance by Krishna in Geetha, if people from different family types marry and set up families?

    I am sorry, but according to my knowledge, it is Arjuna and not Sri Krishna who is concerned about such things [Chap. 1, verses 39-43]. On the contrary, Sri Krishna talks about Varna not in terms of janana/jati but in terms of guna-karma as we have discussed earlier; He asks one to follow the varna system from this sense. Infact, Sri Krishna goes beyond to say "sarva dharman parityajya maam ekam sharanam vraja".

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  111. Contd....

    Saying that Quaran and Bible as Dharmashastras is an exercise to simplify issues to a ridiculous level.

    Honestly, I expected this response from someone :)

    The only reason I took these extreme examples was to emphasize my point. Thats all. Anyway.

    It depends on what one understands by the terms a) "Dharma" (a complex concept which is hard to translate; anyway, in a gist, it is moral virtues; law and practise; duty; essential quality of an entity; social mannerism or mode; one that upholds an individual and a society etc), b) "Shastra" (a [divine] scriptural injunction; any department of knowledge; a treatise; a sacred percept; a theory etc), and c) "Dharmashastra" (a complex word from the above two terms). From this perspective if we see then we may be able to appreciate the context in which I have written.

    Sorry if it sounds ridiculous, but I see parallels after having read (superficially though) both Quran and Manusmriti. I can give many examples from both the scriptures (shastras) to emphasize my point. Both have a laundary list of "do's and dont's", in addition to other details, to guide behaviors of an individual and a society. ***But, that does not mean that I am equalizing them, putting them in parity (this is a separate topic in itself if we want to discuss)***. I am taking them just an examples. We cannot help but see parallels that we can appreciate upon reading both the "scriptures"; both intended for different contexts though.



    If Manusmrithi encapsulates other Dharmashastras, it means that it has not changed!

    I knew this response would come, which is why i said "it ***may*** be seen to encapsulate all the other dharmashastras" :) I would have liked to emphasize "may". But to put it in perspective, a muslim may view Quran to encapsulate all other Dharmashastras (I am again taking an extreme example only for emphasizing).

    when Krishna talks of Varna sankara, it is mixing of the Varnas - meaning, marriage between people of different Varnas and their progeny. How do you retain kuladharma which was given so much of importance by Krishna in Geetha, if people from different family types marry and set up families?

    I am sorry, but according to my knowledge, it is Arjuna and not Sri Krishna who is concerned about such things [Chap. 1, verses 39-43]. On the contrary, Sri Krishna talks about Varna not in terms of janana/jati but in terms of guna-karma as we have discussed earlier; He asks one to follow the varna system from this sense. Infact, Sri Krishna goes beyond to say "sarva dharman parityajya maam ekam sharanam vraja".

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  112. @GodCon

    #About one world...
    The world may appear to be divided - in terms of values and rituals. In case of conflict when those parts when come face to face, one of them (or both) must be wrong. It is better for that part of the world which has adopted wrong principles to change its values.
    In this sense, the world is one although it appears to be divided.


    #Is Dharma one?
    Dharma beind defined as "that which sustains" must be one. Because, two conflicting principles can not sustain and that which sustain will not create conflicts. The definition is given by the Shruthi/Smrithis and NOT by Quaran or Bible.

    Those sustaining principles that may be found in Quran or Bible is part of Dharma. Hindu scriptures provide training/guidelines to identify Dharma in a given context. Of course they explicitly state some cornerstones of Dharma but otherwise dont make an attempt to explictly state all aspects of the Dharma.

    It guides people to correctly identify Dharma in each and every situation. And this method is quite effective.

    Dharma is not dependent on the people who follow it. It binds people to follow it! But it is not exhaustively stated in an explicit manner.

    Similarities in expressions between Quaran/Bible and Shruthi/smrithi does not make Quran and Bible to considered as candidates for Dharmashastras.

    #Quran encapsulating all Dharmashastras...
    Any rationall thinking person, when ignorant of Shruthi/Smrithi could consider Quran/Bible as Dharmashastra. But, a rational person who is aware of the presence and contents of Hindu scriptures can not continue to hold the same stance!

    #About Varnasankara...
    Yes it is Aruja not Krishna. But, Arjuna's analysis is not disapproved by Krishna. In fact Arjuna is quite knowledgeable. Krishna's responses are to be considered based on Arjunas observations in his questions. They can not be disregarded silently.

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  113. Dear Sampradayavida,

    #About one world...
    The world may appear to be divided - in terms of values and rituals. In case of conflict when those parts when come face to face, one of them (or both) must be wrong. It is better for that part of the world which has adopted wrong principles to change its values.


    Right and Wrong. Hmm. Who decides? What is the criteria? Can't there be multiple truths; relative truths? When conflicts happen, it is due to differences in opinions about one truth, which can all be right relatively but may "appear" to be wrong to the other depending on one's exposure to things. How can we ensure that the "wrong side adopts the right one"? Is it feasible/practical? Again, which is the right one? How do we know?

    In this sense, the world is one although it appears to be divided

    I have written earlier that I and you may agree/accept, but how sure are we that we are right and others are wrong (even though I know I am right, others may perceive me wrong)?

    Dharma beind defined as "that which sustains" must be one. Because, two conflicting principles can not sustain and that which sustain will not create conflicts. The definition is given by the Shruthi/Smrithis and NOT by Quaran or Bible.

    I hope we all acknowledge that we are not talking about Shruthis at all here, neither are we talking about other Smrithis. I hope we are clear about that too.

    It does not matter who gives the definitions :) I have written about the importance of one Dharma (one set of laws, ways of life, mode of sustenance, guidelines) when nothing else existed only one Dharma existed. But, as world has evolved (it has evolved, and may also have deviated as you may want to call it) other Dharmas (ways/laws of life, and as you acknowledge those that sustain them appropriately/respectively) have evolved. Whether they were branch outs or copied from manusmirthi, or whether they are insignificant compared to our dharmashastras, or whether they have evolved on their own etc does not matter, because they are ways of life too independent of us. This is a different subject matter and a topic by itself as I have said before.

    Here, I am not claiming to be right and you to be wrong because this is truth too and what you claim is true too in our relative platforms. Partial truths. There is only one truth but many manifestations of the same on a relative platform.


    Similarities in expressions between Quaran/Bible and Shruthi/smrithi does not make Quran and Bible to considered as candidates for Dharmashastras

    :) What is a "Dharmashastra"? Is it something that has to be in Sanskrit and be of "Indian" origin? Quran and Bible are not Dharmashastras for me, but for them they are the "Way of Life". If this is not a Dharmashastra then what else is?

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  114. Contd....

    #Quran encapsulating all Dharmashastras...
    Any rationall thinking person, when ignorant of Shruthi/Smrithi could consider Quran/Bible as Dharmashastra. But, a rational person who is aware of the presence and contents of Hindu scriptures can not continue to hold the same stance!


    First things first. I have not termed Quran as an encapsulating Dharma, I just wrote about that as an alternative perspective.

    On the other hand, a Muslim may claim that one who is aware of the presence and contents of Quran, all the authentic Hadiths, and other authorized Islamic text cannot continue to hold this stance.

    I am not sure if I am an Irrationally thinking person, may be I am, but I have my understanding of what a "Dharmashastra" is and I have written about it :) If you think I am wrong, then I am wrong for you; but I think I am right, so I am right for me; but at the same time I don't see you as wrong, according to me you are right too, so am I :)


    #About Varnasankara...
    Yes it is Aruja not Krishna. But, Arjuna's analysis is not disapproved by Krishna. In fact Arjuna is quite knowledgeable. Krishna's responses are to be considered based on Arjunas observations in his questions. They can not be disregarded silently


    Krishna simply disregards these sentiments of Arjuna by terming his state using multiple negatives: "kashmalam", "anaryajushtam", "aswargyam", "akirthikaram", "hridaya daurbalyam" (Chapter 2, Verses 2 and 3). Sri Krishna smiles at Arjuna's ignorance and ridicules him by calling his speech foolish ("prajnavaadams cha bhashate"). Infact Sri Krishna corrects and thus disapproves Arjuna's stand throughout the Geetha, so we need to take Geetha in entirety to understand the Lord's response.

    Sarvam Sri KrishNarpaNam.

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  115. #How do we know Right and Wrong Who decides?
    Good question. The definition of 'Right' or 'wrong' is linked with Sustainability and hence Dharma. When conflict happen
    1. Either both of them are wrong
    2. One of them are wrong
    3. It is not possible that both of them are right and still the difference crops up!

    It is possible that each of them are partially right. What it means is that there are several points and in each point 1-3 is applicable.

    So, each participant could align to right thing on each of those points.

    # does it matter who gives the definition?
    I dont agree this. It matters who gives the definition/concepts. Because those who give good definitions have a chance to build right things on them. Those who are not even capable of formulating good definitions are not worth to be considered for guidance.

    #How sure are that we are right and others are wrong...
    The nature of the Dharma is that - it is subtle and specific to an issue. No one could say with 100% confidence that what he/she is right and not wrong. But, still, this understanding itself is an important component of the righteousness. A honest person equipped with competent guidance will not worry even if others perceive him/her as wrong. But, before that he/she ensures that
    1. He / she has put sufficient effort to understand/follow the right
    2. consulted people who are competent of guidance
    3. Not swayed by emotions, desire and greed etc

    #Muslims consider Quran as Dharmashastra and Hindus Vedas/Smrithis/Puranas
    The diference is the reasonability. Insisting of study Vedas in its entirety is as unreasonable as the inisting of study of all Hadiths.
    But, providing guidelines, guidance and creating framework to operate is more reasonable. Internal consistency and consistency with the external world is an important feature that distinguishes Vedic scriptures from others.

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  116. I dont know why but my posts seem missing twice after posting them :) I found them published but see them missing yet again :)

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  117. This is a repost of my previous response that somehow seems to have gone missing. Apologies in case this happens to be a redundant post.

    Part 1:
    It is not possible that both of them are right and still the difference crops up

    Yes, it is certainly possible that even when both parties are right differences persist. They could both be right from their perspectives. If there was an absolute platform that one could judge from then it was different, but we are all sitting on relative platforms.

    Yes, in many cases one is right and the other is wrong, these are black-white/clear situations. But not all situations will be like this. You may know this example of a picture from Psychology, an old woman and a young lady, and the question is "which one do you see". Those who see the old woman fail to see the young lady and vice-versa. Similarly, in many situations viewpoints differ on a common truth, where both parties are true but fail to see from the perspective of the opponent.

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  118. Part 2:

    About participants aligning to right thing

    I wish life was that simple! :)

    About who gives the definition, whether it matters
    First of all, my statement was taken slightly out of context, but I realize that there could have been some abiguity in the way I wrote. So I apologize for the confusion :)

    Let me take a crude example to illustrate my point. Newton gave definitions for a lot of things. Einstein defined a lot of things. They were greats and are still regarded so. But that does not mean that later works or theories or changes are not valid. They are probably as important as Newtorn's and Einstein's definitions or theories. Giving them due credits and respects does not mean that one should not recognize future developments, that other theories are also equally credible. New concepts evolve, new systems evolve, new theories evolve, and we move in new directions. As the world has moved on, so has Science.

    Similarly, even though Vedic Scriptures provide excellent perspectives, probably the first and the greatest. They have given meanings to a lot of things but that does not discount the presence, developments, contributions, significances, and the role of the other Dharmas. The debate as to which of these Dharmas is greater is a subjective topic of discussion.

    So, even though it matters as to who defines things, it does not discount the later facts or events that are to follow.

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  119. Upph...
    The conversation has moved so much in 7 days! I was a bit out of discussion for my Office Karma because of my Guna. ;)

    First of all:
    @Sampradaya Vidya on September 9, 2010 4:07 AM :
    The nature of the Dharma is that - it is subtle and specific to an issue.

    Ans:
    1. What do you mean by a specific issue here?

    2. Do you mean to say to address all these specific issues, Manu Smriti was formed which will guide an individual/society towards Dharma?


    We have already decided that Manu smriti was one of the authentic smriti which provided guidelines for ONE(indivdual/society) to adhere to Basic moral values - Dharma.

    Now coming to Manu Smriti, Does it state that Varna is by birth? or does any other scripture say so?
    Because Bhagavad Gita says that - Varna is by Guna and Karma.

    So, are there any arguments against Varna by Guna and Karma?

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  120. I have posted Part 3 three times now. I have seen it published succcessfully three times. But now I see it missing again :) Not sure if it is being deleted or is there some other reason. If it is being deleted I would like to know the reason, if not what could be a probable reason why some posts may have gone missing after being published.

    Anyway.

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  121. Consider the statements 1 and 2
    1. A is true
    2. A is not true

    1 and 2 are conflicting. Both can not be true. I dont understand how both of the contradicting statements could be true in two different perspectives!!!

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  122. Abhinava samalochakaSeptember 11, 2010 at 11:12 PM

    In science, no one accepts that
    "it is possible that even when both parties are right differences persist. They could both be right from their perspective"

    some one may try to argue from newtonian and quantum mechanics perspective. But all of us know that problems are dealt in a systematic way. No thread of argument will be left hanging.

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  123. Consider the following stances that we see typically in the discussion.

    1. Quran is good. Bible is good. Vedas are good. smrithis are good. Puranas are good. Gita is good.
    2. All scriptures, religions preaches the same - peace. Guides man towards God.
    3. People might fight - but all of them are right in their perspective.

    Why such statements are made?

    1. To be seen as good
    2. To avoid controversies
    3. Hoping to overcome the intolerance of the other person - trying to accomodate the intolerant
    4. Being politically correct

    @GodCon,
    What are your reasons?

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  124. Part 1: General Comment (I am traveling a bit so I will address Sampradayavida, SS, and Abhinava Samalochana individually when I come back to my desktop slithgly later)

    About varied perceptions: You may know the popular phrase "ekam sat viprah bahudah vadanti"; that there is only one truth but numerous perspectives of the same. The level of understanding depends on one's level of consciousness.

    A standard analogy given for this from our ancient traditions is that of the the blind people and an elephant, how the blinds (or in general people with different visions). This example is given in management schools, psychology courses and so on. (you may check the net or wiki if you did not already know: Eg. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_men_and_an_elephant.

    The observations made and thus the perceptions and conclusions developed depend on one's experience with and exposure to the object.

    I hope this clarifies, but still I will elaborate on these points later when I am back addressing posts by Sampradayavida, SS, and Abhinava Samalochana.

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  125. Quran: It was a way of living shown by Muhammad to people living in the Arabic countries, to bring them under the path of righteousness. The guidelines provided in that are totally influenced by the geo-political that prevailed there.
    So, they habe their own way of appraching towards Dharma.

    Bible: Same case, but instead of Muhammad, it was Jesus. Later on St. Peter etc...
    They have their own preaching.

    Vedas: Though not written by one, is written and compiled by many, but finally all adhere to Dharma.

    All of them preach Dharma.
    If all preach Dharma based on certain viewpoints then why argue over which is good/bad?



    Can somebody please clarify, why this argument over Quran, Bible etc...

    How is it linked to
    1. Current discussion on Varna, Jaati, Ashrama?
    2. Ambedkar's conclusions on Shudras?

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  126. Even though Manusmriti was for the whole World. Many did not follow it later. Only it was India which followed it until recently. Entire Varna system and its reference is provided in Vedic scriptures only.
    If Dr. B R Ambedkars conclusions are based on Vedic Scriptures on Shudras.

    But we conclude that Vedic scriptures preach Dharma.

    Then we need to prove through the same Vedic scriptures, the position of Varna system, Jaati system, its possible evolution over time in India.

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  127. I think that the main discussion has reached a stage if not concluded. As noted by student, recent posts are dealing with important topics but somewhat remotely connected with the theme of the blog. I had promised to summarise the discussion and it will be done shortly.

    The discussion between GodCon, Sampradayavida, SS, Student should continue and for this purpose, I initiate another blog post. Since the discussion is related to some of the fundamental concepts related to relative truth, justice, truth, right & wrong, i propose to give a suitable heading - Discussion on Fundamental concepts.

    I request all of you to continue the discussion in the new blog post
    http://medsyn.blogspot.com/2010/09/discussion-on-fundamental-concepts.html

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  128. @Sampradayavida (September 11, 2010 10:23 PM)

    Please refer to what I have said (September 9, 2010 11:35 PM): "Yes, in many cases one is right and the other is wrong. These are black-white/clear situations. But not all situations will be like this".

    Your example "Statements" fall under the former category where there are contrasting situations.

    Psychology uses the terms "subjects" and "objects" from which subjectivity and objectivity come. There are instances that do not have objective responses but subjective experiences. Example: My mother is the best mother! India is the greatest country on earth! My wife is the best! Mango is the best fruit! There is no better food than anna-saaru (Rasam-Rice). One may argue that one can "prove" truth and falsity, even if attempted that cannot outrule the subjective opinions, inferences, and conclusions. And the topic we are discussing are of this nature, where there are no experiments or emperical data but subjective thoughts, opinions, inferences, and perspectives.

    Moreover, as I have mentioned before, varying perspectives may araise depending on degree of consciousness. For example, as Sampradayavida wrote, in Geetha Arjuna's views the "state of the situation" as "vishaadaniya" but Krishna just thrashes his analysis as absurd and weak hearted.

    Further, in the discussion that led to this was my reference to "Dharma", "Shastra" and "Dhramashastra". Sampradayavida, kindly reflect your thoughts on the following ( (please provide references):
    - What is Dharma?
    - What is a Shastra?
    - What is Dharmashastra?
    - What are some examples of Dharmashastra?
    - Why others, for example Quran and Bible, are not "Dharmashastras"?
    - What Dharmashastra are we (you, I and others) following?

    Thanks.

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  129. @Student,

    It is natural for any discussions/debate to take minor/major deviations during its course, but they converge again given some moderation.

    The discussions around Quran / Bible or other "Dharmashastras" were to understand the idea of a "Dharmashastra" in general. This, i.e. going back to its roots, is an important when we scrutinize any aspect. If we do not base our discussions on the true spirit of anything then we risk discussing merely on its deviations. Yes, it is important to understand the course of changes that a system may have gone through, but getting to its roots provides a greater idea of its existence; because roots sometimes say a lot more than the branches. And this exercise is an attempt in that direction.

    Anyway.

    Moderation is always important aspect of any debate, thanks for taking that step. Please redirect the discussion as you deem right.

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  130. Discussions redirected to

    http://medsyn.blogspot.com/2010/09/discussion-on-fundamental-concepts.html

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  131. @GodCon:
    Thanks for your suggestions. Will take into account.
    I am in total agreement that any matter/issue to be concluded has to be pierced to its root level resolve it and then discuss the main topic.
    Issue resolution is like a recursive call to a function call ;)
    The discussion that was initiated on Dharmashastras has to continue. As KMS has initiated a separate blog entry for the same, we all shall discuss the same there. But, we shall also keep in view the current discussion Varna - ashrama, Jaati paddhati. Hope we can take the fruitful results of discussions on Dharma shaastras and apply them here to bring about some conclusions on Varna system.

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  132. On Varna paddhati:
    This is what I reiterate once again:

    Defn of Terms from Scriptures:

    Gunas:

    Sattvika: The intellect which knows the paths of work and renunciation, right and wrong action, fear and fearlessness, bondage and liberation.

    Rajasika: The intellect which is capable of turning out enormous work. But with a confused/distorted judgement of right and wrong.

    Tamasika: Incapable of carrying out any work unless directed. Which regards good as bad and bad as good.

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  133. Any individual does have these three Gunas.

    Variation of these three Gunas gives rise to 4 Varnas born of nature.

    Brahmana: has more of Satva, less of rajasika and almost nill tamasa guna

    Kshatriya: has an almost equal proportion of Satva and Rajasika

    Vaishya: has less of Satva, more of Rajasika and Tamas.

    Shudra:
    has less of all the Satva, Rajasika. But more of Tamas.

    "Further Bhagavad Gita says, Devoted each to his own duty, man attains the highest perfection. "

    The highest perfection for an individual is to become Brahmana.
    Hence, it is possible for a person to be born in Shudra family to become a Brahman. and vice versa.

    The above are Bhagavad Gita slokas from: Chap 18, verse 41-48

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  134. The questions and answer as above are prepared by syndicate media in name of BRA. Syndicate shall put the varbetim summary/answer under reference from BRA texts. If goining by BRA book "WHO WERE SHUDRA", the interpretation by syndicate is not of that. Who ever interested, shall read this book to awaken him?????

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