Aryan and Non-Aryan
abbas at IOPB.RES.IN
Sat Dec 5 18:56:23 UTC 1998
On Fri, 4 Dec 1998, Chris Beetle wrote:
Thanks for the references, Chris. Krishna created the 4 castes would only
imply that these were all human. Your references were good, but did not
explicitly state that caste conversion was allowed (although they may be
interpreted as implying a more equal relationship). So Bhishma explains,
" The state of Brahmanhood is hard to be acquired by men of the other 3
classes, the Kshatriyas etc., for this Brahmanhood is the highest rank of
all living creatures. It is only after passing through nemerous wombs,
and being born again and again, that such a man, in some revolution of
being, becomes a Brahman."
-- [ Mahabharata Anushashana Parvan 1869-70 in Muir `Original Sanskrit
Texts on the Origin of the People of India' I p.441 ]
Indra explains to Matanga, who was of Mulatto race (mixed
Brahman-Chandalla) and desired Brahman status:
"He asks for Brahmanhood, but Indra tells him he must perish if he
continues to make that request." [ Muir I.441 ]
So when some liberals speak about `rise in caste' being allowed in
scriptures, they should also add that it is only possible after several
rebirths. There are liberal verses as you have quoted giving a more equal
relation to the castes, allowing salvation to the outcaste races etc., but
nowhere is it stated how a Chandella can become a Brahman (and if at all,
these are only in texts that are followed by the minority heterodox sects;
the Aryan Vaishnavite Orthodoxy does not approve of this). So you may find
quotes in the Dravidian Shaivite texts, or in Bengal Shaktist texts to
this regard, but not in Aryan Vaishnava ones (except the a few
heterodoxies here too).
I am not saying anything in favour or against the caste system; I am just
saying that it is an integral feature of Indo-Aryan life, and finds
abundant scriptural sanction. Whether it is `good or bad' is up to the
sociologists. The much-denigrated caste system has some merits in the eyes
of many persons. In fact, attacks on the caste system are speaking against
a fundamental Aryan Vaishnavite institution.
> According to KRSNa in Bhagavad-gItA 4.13:
> cAtur-varNyaM mayA sRSTaM
> The four castes (cAtur-varNyaM) were created by Me, according to
> quality (guNa) and activity (karma).
> Race and birth are not mentioned.
> Furthermore, the sage, NArada, states in the BhAgavata PurANa 7.11.35:
> yasya yal lakSaNaM proktaM
> puMso varNAbhivyanjakam
> yad anyatrApi dRSyeta
> tat tenaiva vinirdiZet
> "If one shows the symptoms of being a brAhmaNa, kSatriya, vaiZya or
> ZUdra [varNa]. . . even if he has appeared in a different class [anyatra],
> he should be accepted according to those symptoms of classification."
> I hope these references shed some light on the discussion.
> Chris Beetle
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