Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Caste System, A cultural 'Firewall of Hinduism'

when a critic of you who would like to replace you entirely if possible starts to show concern and worries about something in you then you should think why would someone who doesnt like you and likely want to replace you will show concern and worry about something in you !.

The oldest, the last and the only ancient civilization which is still surviving and thriving is Sanathana Dharma or Hinduism. If you want to attack Christianity then all you have to do is defame the one book and Jesus and you are done. There is no Christianity without Christ or the bible. The same way there is no Islam without the prophet or the Qur'an. In fact, there will be no Abrahamic religions if you take out or nullify the prophet Abraham. Please do not confuse this article as an attack on other faiths since I am a Hindu and I can't be a Hindu If I don't believe that all ways can be true and all ways of spirituality can lead to divinity or salvation, including atheism. Yes, I do believe that a belief system based on isah or allah can be valid too, because even though there is one unseen, untouchable light, it does give different visible forms and colors when seen through a prism. The same way all these can be different forms of the same infinite divine source which what we Hindus call it as Shakti.

So unlike other belief systems to attack Hinduism you cannot have an universal approach. There isn't one book or one prophet to attack or defame. Hinduism can still validly exist without Raam, Krishtna, Bhagvadgita or Vedas, without any form of god, without any deities, temples or even a code. So if someone has to attack Hinduism stating that Raam is a bad person and he has a violent history then one can always move on to Kristhna or Ganesh or Shiva or Vishnu. They can choose to worship the form of divinity which appeals them since everyone is different from birth and by taste. Each Varnas (Brahman, Xatriya, Vaishya, Shudra) has many castes and sub-castes with their own set of belief system which sometimes if not always contradict the other belief system of other castes or sub-castes. If one were to hatch a plan or theory to defame hinduism then they have to design a different theory and system for each of the varna, caste and then sub-caste and even if the perpetrator is successful in doing so then one can always adopt the other varna, caste and sub-caste system to counter the plan and attack designed for his or her original caste or sub-caste.

Lingayaths in south India especially in Karnataka believe in a system which doesnt base its spiritual path on the lines of vedas or any other texts but it sets a new path rejecting all of these doctrines with a new system called vachana sahitya. It was founded by basavanna and there was another disciple who countered him further and his name was jedara dasimayya. As per basavanna there is no need of any temples or vedas or any books but you just have a lingam which you worship everyday and at a final stage you will have the lingam in your heart and worship. He did advice his followers to wear a lingam as a beginning but jedara dasimayya refused to do that too. He said the devotion is enough and the divinity in the heart is enough and there is not even a need of wearing a lingam or enter a prayer hall. Basavanna begged jedara dasimayya to wear a lingam and help him to initiate this movement by joining him so that he will be allowed in the prayer hall where vachana sahitya was preached and produced. Jedara dasimayya inspite of being an enlightened composer of vachanas chose to guard the footwears of the saints who were inside the prayer hall than to wear a lingam so that he will be allowed to enter the prayer hall for the same. Jedara Dasimayya thus became the hatagar community (Weaver Community) guru, since he was a weaver by occupation.

In the above example if someone were to attack vedas and all similar texts then the lingayath ideology of hinduism can act as a counter to that attack and if someone attacks that too then hatagar sect of it can act as a counter. However if we want to make it easy for the soul harvesters, missionaries , dawah agents, then we should abolish all these castes and make it 'a one belief system' so that all of them can assimilate the gullible hindus very easily. Since these assimilaters want us to do this job of making all hindus as one and let them subscribe to one ideology so that they will have one ideology to worry about which can be countered with some or the other plan after a period of time.

Discrimination was never associated with the castes but with the acts. Dasharath married kaikeyi, an iranian women and their child Bharatha (after whom our country is still known as Bharath or BharathVarsha) ruled India till his beloved brother Raam came as its rightful ruler. Many of the kings (Xatriya Varna) married off their daughters to Brahmins and vice versa. Many Shudra's have given birth to fine Brahmins. Caste system was designed to carry on the legacy, tradition and most importantly a collection of skillsets in which that caste or clan specialized in. Westerners don't want or don't believe in the system of family tradition or family skillset or family business. They want to have a choice for themselves and they want to make their own choice of what they want to be once they grow up. Most of the time this decision is based on which career or path can give them more income, fame and name. This is so with the west because they only believe in YOLO - You Only Live Once theory. There is no rebirth, reincarnation, avatar. You have only one life and reap all you can, what you can and in whichever manner you can.Where as for a hindu we have as many lives as we need and as we can, till the our atma with the collective experience of all the lives that it has lived, achieves perfection to attain moksha/moxa.

This caste system was formed so that a particular set of skillsets can be passed on and perfected many generations. Let us say vaidic caste will specialize in medicine and the father will teach his children everything about medicine right from the childhood. Here a father transfers all his knowledge of his lifetime to his children and they will grasp it before they are adults, they will improvise it, learn more based on their experiences and cycle continues from this generation to the next generation. In this way the each generation gets sharper and sharper since genes also play a very important role in the proficiency of any skill set. A warrior's offspring has better chances of becoming a warrior because of his genes and genetic memory.

A dwivedi specializes in reciting 2 vedas with every syllable spelled intact just like his ancestors, a trivedi in three vedas and a chaturvedi in all 4 vedas. This is only possible if the father passes on this knowledge to his children right from the very young age. If we were to follow the western theory of let them decide what they want to be ( in the name of freedom of choice) when they are adults. So he has to learn all the things that he may not like or want till he is 20 or 21 and then decide whether he wants to recite vedas or not. If his son decides not to recite vedas but to be an engineer since there is more money in it and he might get to see the world then his father has to go hunting for someone who is willing to learn veda recitation and he may not find one and even if he finds him who is of the age 20 or 21 then this master veda reciter has lost atleast15 years of teaching time that he could have had with this young man if he was his son.

Let us say a doctor's son wants to become an engineer when he grows up and an engineer's son wants to become a doctor when he grows up. Doctor's son goes to this engineer and this engineer's son goes to the doctor. Both of these young men who have broken their family tradition have lost atleast 15 years of training that they might have had from their childhood. The doctor or the engineer can't take the same responsibility or may not be that devoted by heart to pass on all the knowledge to someone else's son that compared to their own son. It is a natural human tendency for an average human being to have full devotion and bias towards their own. A son might get the knowledge for free from his father but someone else have to pay for it. A doctor's son has to pay the engineer and the engineer's son has to pay the doctor to get the knowledge. So now education and knowledge which was passed on free has become a commodity leading to capitalistic knowledge trade. In manusmriti too it is highly advised that one should continue in the path of the caste and family skillset, even though he has a strong urge to do something. This is not written as a rule but as an advise to keep the social structure intact and make a society prosper with specialized groups concentrating on special fields from generations. Today we have an ENT specialist, eye specialist, heart specialist, neurosurgeon, chemotherpaist etc., instead of having one doctor for every field of the medicine. This helps to take the medicine field further and farther in a positive direction. If the same ENT specialist instead of making his children study all the other unwanted and un needed things such as advanced mathematics, calculus, trigonometry till the age of 18 or 19 but teach them ENT right from their young age after some basic schooling then his children will be a better ENT specialist than what he is.

There are things which we cannot fight or finish them off. It is better sometimes to work with something than work against it. It is better to use the wind to sail a boat than to try fighting it. Caste system is a necessary evil of the hindu society and thus instead of trying to remove it completely which we have failed to do from centuries, we must try to find a way to work with it to eradicate the negative effects of it on the society. One must and will create a harmony among hindus while keeping the diverse traditions alive by encouraging and promoting matrimonial or social inter-caste relations.

In a pure hindu tradition however weaver caste (hatagar) will specialize in clothes and the same person is believed to be born as someone else with some other skillset to practice or perfect after being reborn in a different caste. The knowledge is passed on freely, efficiently and completely. Even in many castes it is a tradition that women are generally not chosen to specialize in the family skillset of the caste simply because she has to unlearn it and adopt herself to the skillset of the family that she joins after marrying someone else. Later for some reason people stopped marrying between castes and which has led to the current system of caste discrimination. If only we take one step back where women are married to the men of good nature irrespective of their caste and women has to adopt and adjust to the new lifestyle of the new family so that the caste system along with their specialization stays alive without disturbing the harmony between the castes or the sub castes.