Varna and Caste: An Analysis-I

Varna basically means inherent nature or Svabhava.

Varna and Caste are controversial issues today. But, this controversy is not so much because of the intrinsic concept, but instead because of what it has grown to become and how it is perceived today by many people.

While treating Hinduism, many people- both practicing Hindus and outsiders- forget of a basic distinction between social practice and religious philosophy and tend to reduce Hinduism into a mere social practice.

Hindu philosophy and worldview is thus ignored and Hinduism is reduced into a religion of superstitions and class hierarchy with Brahmins always suppressing the lower caste Shudras.

This notion is not only prevalent in India, but is also widespread across the world. Many US primary schools, for example, teach Hindu philosophy only in terms of caste. The concept of Karma and Dharma is translated as ‘caste duties’ and the few pages that they devote to Hinduism are filled with half-baked, misinformed, and biased narrative about Hinduism.

CaricatureThough these kinds of misinterpretation of Hinduism are not new, much has not been done to counter these. Take the issue of caste, for example. How much of the notions of caste and hierarchy prevalent today does actually have a religious basis? Does Varna, which Hindu ancestors envisaged, same as today’s caste-system? It is undeniable that there have been incidents of discrimination in the past and it continues to affect the society in the present. But, how many of these incidents are really derived from religious principles and not merely a social phenomenon? To unravel the complex issue of caste, it is important to differentiate between the caste system as practiced on the ground today and the religious system of Varna as envisaged by the Hindu ancestors.

What is Varna after all?

Varna basically means inherent nature or स्वभाव. It is the division and specialization of labour available in the society. Unlike caste, it is not physical stratification, but is a mental differentiation. It is related not to physical attributes like race, colour, economy etc., but to the mental attributes of each individual. Thus, it is not related to birth but to each individual’s talent and actions. It does not support the principle that a doctor’s son/daughter is a doctor, but gives importance to the individuality of each and every person’s own interests and skills. Hence, Madhvacharya in his Gita Bhashya (for 18th chapter) states:

ततः ऊनम् शमाद्ययिः यः शुश्रूषुः शूद्र उच्यते I

अधिकाष्चेद गुणाः शूद्रे ब्राह्मणादि: स उच्यते II

Which means that if a Brahmana lacks qualities like shama (i.e. Sense Control) etc., consider him to be a Shudra and vice versa. Thus, it is clear that Varna is based on qualities and not one’s family. It can also be noted that in Amara Kosha, which gives synonyms of each word, वर्ण (Varna) is not synonymous with जनन (birth), वंश/कुल/गोत्र (lineage, household or hereditary). [See Verse 709 (Verse 1 under Brahma Varga), Amara Kosha, Suvidya Prakashana, Bangalore]

This becomes much clearer, when we further understand what each Varna stands for:

  1. Brahmanas: They are those, who seek knowledge for its own sake, be it the knowledge of God or the knowledge of the mundane. They are philosophers, academicians, teachers, authors, thinkers and also priests. They can be compared to the modern day education sector.
  2. Kshatriya: They are those, who are interested in politics, administration, and warfare. They include kings, politicians, warriors, soldiers, police, etc. They can be compared to modern day government and defence.
  3. Vaishyas: They are those, who are interested in commerce, businessmen, traders, profit seeker, producers, and suppliers. Modern day industrial and commerce sector.
  4. Shudras: Shudra etymologically means, one whose heart melts to the sorrow and pain of others. These are people who provide service- workers in factories, farmers, workers in BPO, medical, and other services, and even soldiers in the military.

This division of Varna caters to individual inclinations and temperaments. Just contrast this with the modern day idea of what a man should achieve and what is to be considered as his success. In today’s society, the definition of success is decided and imposed by the society we live in and every individual, regardless of his own talents and inclinations is expected to live up to this benchmark. As a result, we can see many cases of dissatisfaction among people about their lives because of the pressures and expectations of their families/societies, which burden them to walk away from their intrinsic nature, which further leads to an unhappy life.

On the other hand, in the Varna system, success is determined by whether an individual has become what he/she intrinsically is and whether his own potential has become fully manifested in his being and actions and not whether one has lived up to the standards set by someone else. The fact that the concept of Varna is intimately connected to the intrinsic nature and the actions that arise from it, is attested by no less than Bhagavan Krishna in Gita, when he says:

चातुर्वर्ण्यां मया सृष्टुं I

गुण कर्म विभागशः II

Please note the second line which says गुण, which means character/nature and कर्म, which means action/deeds.

Plato’s ideal society

Concepts similar to Varna can be found across the world. One such example is Plato, who describes his ideal society in his celebrated work The Republic. He bases his ideal society on a concept called as PS: Principle of Specialization. Plato argues that each person has a single talent/interest, which becomes his unique way of contributing to the society, and hence, one should perform that particular function in the society. In other words, one should pursue his/her talents and interests and should not venture out of it.

PlatoPlato argues that suppressing one’s own talents leads to an uncooperative society (because each person suppresses his talents and venture into other fields which is of no actual interest to him/her). Further, if a person does not co-operate with others in the society, he needs to do more than one function to fulfil his desires, and thus becomes a divided person; a divided person is always an unhappy person, argues Plato.

Plato recognises three classes:

  1. “Philosopher Kings” (as head of the community): Plato seems to have merged Brahmanas and Kshatriyas and have made them as philosopher kings. (In Indian practice, a King always had councillors who were philosophers).
  2. “Auxiliaries” as the heart.
  3. “Workers” as the body and limbs.

This should remind one of the Purusha Sukta, which describes the birth of various Varnas from various parts of the Lord. This is not to suggest that Plato’s system and Varna system are identical or that the Plato was inspired by Varna system. There are definitely some differences in both the systems. But, the gist is, we can recognise an underlying basis, which is common to both systems.

This common underlying basis, gives certain similar elements in both the systems. For example, Plato’s instructions regarding the conduct of Philosopher Kings and Auxiliaries, prevent them from having possessions. This rule is similar to the prohibitions against holding wealth placed on Brahmanas under Varna system. Plato recognises that the class that a child belongs to need not be same as its parents, and hence should be determined by his/her talents/interests. This again is similar to determination of Varna by Svabhava. Further, in the Plato’s ideal society, once the class of a person was determined, there would be very little movement between the classes. This again matches well with the Varna system envisaged by Hindu ancestors.

A point to be noted here is that no individual will ever have all the qualities belonging to only a particular Varna. Instead, each individual will have a mixture of qualities and Varna is determined on the basis of the predominance of certain qualities and temperaments over temperaments. It is said that two Rishis- Bharadwaja and Bhrigu implemented this system so that the four Varnas function like four wheels of the chariot to make a society prosperous and happy.  If properly implemented each Varna is dependent on the other three Varnas for one or the other necessities of life and thus the whole society is linked and dependent.

Each Varna has been subjected to certain duties and prohibitions by the ancient Hindu texts. Though, these rules and regulations create some outwardly disadvantage and discrimination, this happens in the case of all the four Varnas. For instance, Brahmanas, who are often considered as privileged class, have been forbidden to hold excessive wealth and property.

Among Brahmanas, Manu says he who lives on the vow of शीलोन्च्छ वृत्ति (Sheeloncha Vruthi) is the most perfect and purest. According this vow, a Brahmana should collect grains, which are enough for that particular day only. He cannot buy or beg for those grains but should collect them from grains, which are leftovers and have fallen on the ground due to various processes of farming.

The next levels of Brahmanas are of those, who live on unexpected donations, those who beg for their sustenance and those who farm for self-sustenance. The poorer the Brahmin, the more respect he gets.  [Manu Smriti, Chapter 4, 4-8]. Thus, every Varna was disadvantaged in some or the other way and these disadvantages balanced out each other and thus establishing harmony in the society. Further, these disadvantages were envisaged to prevent any single group from establishing hegemony over the others.

At this point it will be proper to briefly look into the concept of जाति, which has been translated as caste in English for centuries now. But, are they really same? It is common sense that to translate a word from one language to another, the meanings of those words should match as closely as possible. The meaning of caste according to the Oxford English Dictionary is “Each of the classes of Hindu society”.

Now, if जाति (Jati) has been invariably translated as caste, it is reasonable to assume that Jati itself means some type of a classification of the Hindu society. But, Jati does not exclusively mean classifications in the society. It is a much broader term. To cite Amara Kosha again, the term Jati as well as its various synonyms simply mean “Kind/Type”. For example, in Sanskrit or in my mother tongue Kannada I can easily use a phrase such as the following: मानव जाति, पुरुष जाति or रूपत्व जाति, which translated into English, means Human Caste, Man Caste and Colour-ness caste, which makes absolutely no sense.

Jati has come to be used as indicating occupations in the same spirit that each occupation is a kind/type. Practically, in its traditional sense, anything under the sun can be put under a Jati; every object having tree-ness comes under the jati of trees, any object having sweetness comes under the jati of sweets and so on.  So, it is important to note that Jati is a broader term and does not indicate caste like it is used in English dictionaries.

How the Varna system actually became today’s caste system, with 100s of castes and sub-castes, is a matter of history. But, what is clear is the fact that there are stark differences between the ancient Varna system and the modern caste system.

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. IndiaFacts does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.

Philosopher and Economist, writing on Philosophy, History and current affairs.
  • Mathematical Economics has developed a lot, in tandem with Evolutionary Game Theory, in the last 40 years. Thus this type of analysis is outdated.
    Varna is a ‘costly signal’ and gives rise to a ‘separating equilibrium’. Such signals, in Brahmanic Hinduism, are available to all. Anyone with enough wealth can perform enough Shrauta ceremonies to gain any given hereditary ‘Varna’. However, those without wealth but giving evidence of great talent or self-sacrificing eusoical benefaction are also raised in the same way.
    No doubt, some fictitious genealogy may be ascribed at a later time, however this happened and is happening all the time.

    The problem in India was that, due to arranged ‘child-marriage’, endogamous ‘jati’ gained salience. There was no point rising to a different Varna if your descendants had a narrowed choice of marriage partners. In a way, this had to do with a sort of ‘Trade Unionism’ which in the short run granted ‘countervailing power’ but long run was stupid simply.
    Tagore knew this very well. He was a ‘Pir Ali’ Brahmin condemned to marrying into poor client families. This caused psychic damage and was not in keeping with Religion. Boy may be more educated or his family more affluent, but bride of eldest son is the one who holds the higher place regarding ‘Samskar’. If Indira Gandhi accomplished great things, it was because Motilal Nehru chose according to proper criteria. Suppose Jawaharlal had married a chattering nitwit. The daughter would have been worthless or mental patient.

    Foundation of Brahmo Samaj- even when the stipulation was considered that its ‘Adi’ version be Brahmin only- failed to address this problem. He himself, despite his great qualities, was unable to secure the happiness of his daughters. He is a Christ-like figure because this business of getting good grooms was his Calvary.
    Now that ‘poor’ Hindus of all castes have asserted themselves against the ‘zamindars’- though not yet the ‘netas’!- our fathers of daughters have a much better horizon. Educated Girl should marry as her heart dictates. This leads to happiness.
    Father can contemplate ‘vanaprastham’, not dying in harness to satisfy greed of ‘sambandhis’.

    I see brothers of ‘girl child’ working as rickshaw wallah or whatever and sending money for the education of their sister. It breaks my heart that they should also have to put dowry! Such a thing is completely against Smriti and Shruti. Furthermore it is an insult to our own mothers.

  • senthil

    I expected some new insights in this article. But it followed the same usual stereotypes of varna and caste. and more over, why should we drag plato (western icons) to describe our own social setup?

    Please read the below article on the concept of varna and jathi..

    • Shrinidhi Rao

      You may have noticed that this is just Part 1 of the article. Please wait for the second part to be published. You may appreciate it then. Further, it is not dragging in Plato to describe our social setup. It is just to recognize how our ancients thought, similarities in their thoughts, etc. It shows that classification based on talents and nature is not unique to India but has prevailed in other thinkers also.

      • senthil

        Thanks for your reply. Please read the blog post i have given..

        Varna is NOT a corporate system where people move on other skill departments by upgrading their skills. Brahmana is NOT a corporate job.. it is a life long commitment.. a set of strict code that they have to follow in their life time. Violating which they fall to shudra.

        In varna setup, there is only one way. ie, higher caste fall to lower level and NOT viceversa. a shudra cannot elevate to brahmana, because it is practically not possible in varna setup. The training for adherance to a particular varna is imbibed ONLY in childhood, and cannot be imbibed at later stage. That’s why upanayana is done at the age of 7 to 11 and NOT allowed in adulthood. Doing it will only bring bad omens and negative effects.

        One good example i can give is that of Shivaji.. in his desire to be coronated as kshatriya, he performed upanayana in his adulthood. and within few years his mother died. and a bengali tantri again did the ceremonies to nullify these bad effects.

        There has been continuous propoganda and dis-information campaing for past 100 years against the varnashrama and urban intellectuals had been programmed to think on these lines. We need break this intellectual chakravyuha, and have to find out a way to come out of it.

        I call upon free thinking individuals to break free from these stereotypes and understand our social setup as it is and NOT through any colonial ideological lenses ..

        • prashants5 .

          I have to agree with Sh. Senthil, after going through his blogs and studied in detail of his work. The best of his blog I like about is, he has engaged himself in the battle of Kurukshetra with the Macaulay’s educated anti-Indian and Anti-dharma brigade.

          • senthil

            Thanks prashant.. i have utterly failed in making people realise that birth based does not mean discrimination.. our core of dharma is based on birth based.. ie, kula dharma..

          • prashants5 .

            You haven’t failed. I am very happy to see your tireless efforts putting your thoughts on your blog out of your own personal findings and interacting with people. The best part ( which I like the most), the way you have engaged yourself with the opponents. Thats the battle we have to fight in Kurukshetra. And those who failed to understand your view point it is because of the followings

            1. Their mind is conditioned to be colonized from the day one they went to Macaulay Based Education System. This education system and trap must be broken if Indians need to be de-colonized.

            2. They don’t understand and even don’t know, the “Caste” Model/Framework that was imposed on Indians in 1860 Cencus by British. “Caste” is an Vertical Hierarchical Model with too much rigidity with strong discrimination and caste criminiality associated with it. This “Caste” model was practiced until 19th Centry in Europe. It is somewhat like a corporate model.

            Where as “Jaati” is Linear Horizontal Social Model/Framework, has its own limited flexibility that depends on Sthana, Kaal and Patra ( Plance, Time and Circumstances.). Once you know the clear differences between Caste and Jaati, you will be able to break the Myths of Crores of Indians. As you said, it is based on specific social code and conduct, and mutual respect for other Jaatis. There was not many instances of conflicts between Jaatis because it was very harmonious.

            In fact the JAATI concept has been polluted and degraded in last 200 years though some have maintained it as it is.

            3. They don’t know what is Varna and why Varnashrama is required. Because our dhArmik Tradition goal is attain dharma and less and less material pleasure. Our dhArmik Tradition is very tightly integrated with Nature. Where as Non-dhArmik tradition is Synthetic and remain away from the nature.

            I would write more on your blog. Here is my suggestions:

            a. You are in the right direction but you have to attain a scholarly level expertise on the subject which you are not far from. Because you have acquired a ground level experience contrast to many Bookish Level Mouse-Click activists.

            b. You have to understand 100% with example, first “Caste” model. Because Indian Society was never based on “Caste” framework. We must study the opponents very well. That’s called “Purva Paksha” in our traditional debates. We have to write blogs on European Model of “Caste” and also the “Class”.

            c. You are very good in JAATI concept. In fact I found you the best when it comes to “JAATI” much better than many Blog writer or writer here. Your fundamental is very clear on this. But since, Varna is more a spiritiual term ( as it applies to All Humans because they got senses and intelligence), I did see some minor deflection in that part. So I would like you to strengthen on that part.

            So in nutshell, the Jaati concept and Practice has virtually been abolished by the British and replaced it with “Caste”. They both are completely different.

            Are you part of Rajiv Malhotra’s group? If not then you should be part of the this group, who is bringing a revolution by systematically breaking the strong hold of “Indian Sepoys” and their western masters who have been carrying out a coup to break India and it’s stronghold society.

            Btw, how can I be in touch with you? Your blog doesn’t have any contact information.

          • senthil

            /** But since, Varna is more a spiritiual term ( as it applies to All Humans
            because they got senses and intelligences), I did see some minor
            deflection in that part. So I would like you to strengthen on that part.

            1. I do not agree. infact i am very much against spiritualising varnashrama.. varna is a social classification.. full stop.. its more about acharams, than spirituality.. this english term has an entirely different meaning based on christianity’s concept of spirit, and has no corresponding indic words.. ie, no sanskrit equivalent. ( took this view based on Rajiv malhotra’s sanskrit non-translatables)

            2. Varna classification is NOT universal. ie, it does not apply to all humans. there are clear separation of varna society, with other forms of society or people group (called avarnas.. ie those who do not fit in to varna). eg: forest dwellers, tribals, fisherman, nomadic people etc do not come under varna classification.. but colonial britishers made varna as totalatarian rigid setup..

          • prashants5 .

            But Acharam is linked to our dhArmik Traditon. Without Acharam you can’t attain dharma. I know spirituality is an English Term in fact it creates the separation between Religion, Faith and Inner Science. Where as we have everything integrated with each other at different layers.
            I missed the part of Tribals who don’t follow Varnashrama. So you are right. And that’s why the current system categorized all of them in to ST and not SC, that itself is another ploy.

            Caste was mapped from Varnashram not Jaati in order to centralize and destroy the Jaati system.

          • senthil

            Jathi simply means category.. this category can be of any type.. either varna, or region or occupation.. so a tribal ethnic people group is also a jathi.. (eg: gonds, chenchus etc)..

            jathi applies even to cows and other animals.. jaathi dog, jaathi cow etc denote pure breeds of that particular variety.. in tamil there are many colloquial terms denoting jathi..

          • prashants5 .

            I know what is Jaati. Jaati is also applicable to Flowers, Trees, Animal etc. That’s why Jaati is not Caste. We often use the word Jaati to describe the type of Flowers, Animal, Trees etc.

          • senthil

            /** But Acharam is linked to our dhArmik Traditon. Without Acharam you can’t attain dharma. **/

            Exactly.. without acharam, there is no dharma possible.. but how many in the current metro – urban society follows the acharam.. ironically it is they who blabber about hinduism as sanathana dharma, when the indian exploitative systems are neither sanathana nor dharmic..

            India is NOT bharath.. india is exploiting and destroying bharath and its traditional institutions.. people never realise it..

          • prashants5 .

            >> varna is a social classification.. full stop

            Can you elaborate more on this? How it becomes social classification with examples. Varna is decided based on Triguna ( Satwa, Raja and Tama).

          • senthil

            varnashram assigns role to each varna and the gunas needed to perform that role.. and it has made these roles complementary.. manusmriti which is the main book for varnashrama, do not speak about philosophies or spiritualism.. it just speaks about societal regulations..

            So varnashrama is a social guide book.. It was converted in to a religion (called hinduism) by converting varna in to religious law… who did it? the later day maratha peshwas (chitpavan crypto brahmins) who colluded with britishers..

            /** Varna is decided based on Triguna ( Satwa, Raja and Tama). **/

            Yes.. but how guna is acquired? it is always by birth, and sustains by birth.. people confuse behaviour with guna.. behaviour can be changed through training, restrictions, laws etc.. but guna is something that occurs naturally out of birth..

            varna jathi setup is a means by which our rishis had evolved a advanced human breeding system..

          • prashants5 .

            Varna that is based on Triguna is always birth based that one carries as inherent nature at the time of birth . And it can’t be changed in the life time. But I think I failed to understand how Varnashrama is a social classification.

            >> varnashram assigns role to each varna and the gunas needed to perform that role..

            Give me some example to understand it better.

          • senthil

            In varnashrama, brahmins alloted certain rules and regulations.. the roles of kshatriya, vyshya and shudra were also defined.. the punishments were also defined..

            and even avarnas were also defined.. manusmriti says that if there is a border dispute, the king has to seek the advice of the forest dweller..

          • prashants5 .

            But in Varnashrama, how do you determine a person’s Varna ( ie, Brahman, Kshatriya, Vyashya or Shudra)? Does it inherit from the parents/kula etc?

          • senthil

            Yes.. everything in varna is birth based and inherited.. It can be ONLY birth based, because varna is NOT a corporatised atomised job.. here people are NOT just individuals, but part of the commune eco system.. a brahmana is tied to his family, his gothra, his kulam etc.. same way for the vyshya, kshatriya and shudra.. so varna can ONLY be birth based.. one has to be born in that varna to become that varna..

            this truth is continuously denied by the hindu intellectuals.. and they simply parrot the colonial & communist propoganda..

            i am asking a simple question.. What is wrong with varna being birth based?

          • prashants5 .

            The issue is here. People think if they are born into Shudra Varna, they are looked socially low. And they can’t take profession what a Brahman or Kshatriya is doing. I mean changing the profession. They think Varna is a top-down hierarchical model. There is a superiority and inferiority layers.

            This is what established in colonial period. The “Caste” term was imposed based on Racial Theory ( with Racial criminality based on someone’s genetic and color).

          • senthil

            /** People think if they are born into Shudra Varna, they are looked socially low **/

            Which people??

            what you is the perspective of anglicised urban elite class, who happened to be the brahmins who joined the mlecha british beurocracy and become newly formed dhesi elite groups.. Should we accept the views of these micro minority elites, as universal? ultimately these disgraced brahmins took everything for granted and treated our innocent powerless, enslaved traditional society as savages.

            In our original varna setup, we saw people as socially high, rather than socially low.. The brahmins are required to follow the most strictest code of life (we call it as acharam), and they are seen as upper caste, because of their high conduct.. NOT because of power or wealth.. the shudras are NOT required to follow such strict code of life, and they had the freedom for liberty like meat eating, liquor etc, which is the normal human tendency across the world..

            The vaideeha brahmins felt superior because they followed the acharams as per shastras.. There is no problem with it, because they deserved it.. and it is the reward for them for sacrificing all worldly pleasures, as a community for generations..

            The problem started, when these anglicised brahmins after joining british colonial beurocracy, transformed in to upper CLASS from Upper CASTE, and retained the same superiority attitude. Now the superiority is derived out of power and authority and NOT by brahminical code of conduct.

            So where is the problem? is it with the varna or with the people who interpreted it?

            To drive my point, just go to a temple, interact with the temple archaka, and understand their attitude. and compare that with that of those brahmins who joined the british beurocracy or those who threw away their acharams and settled in urban centers.. that will give you the clarity..

            Varna has to be interpreted only based on the traditional administrative and social setup.. NOT with the current CLASS based metro corporatised life style.

          • prashants5 .

            I agree. The present class based society is also divided, there is social gap and worst form of discrimination and exploitation based on Money Power. That’s bases on wealth and political power.

            The person with money power is above law!

            People have been brainwashed about this Jaati and Varna and kept blinded over the Western Class based discrimination. So it is a clash between two different social frameworks. One is driven through moral conduct and dharma and another is money power.

            The propaganda and the Govts failure in protecting the traditional system is what needs to be countered back. We have to modernize our traditional system without loosing the root and core values. That’s the need of the time.

            The first step is to free all the temples from the Govt clutches. Once it is done Temple can continue as an Institution for Learning like in the past. There many other ideas how the villages can be protected and modernized and yet not uprooted.

          • senthil

            If jathi breaks down, it will lead to the CLASS based society which is the real evil..

            /** We have to modernize our traditional system without loosing the root and core values. That’s the need of the time.

            Our traditional system is NOT centralised.. so we dont have any authority to dictate to it.. let the people of each traditional setup decide it.. If some people wanted to live a simple nature oriented life without the modern technology, should they NOT have the freedom to do that?

            Secondly, the vaideeha brahmana should have a proper eco system (in the form of agraharam ) to live their brahmincal life.. and they are expected to live simplistic life, which they should have the freedom to collectively decide.. ie, if they do not want television cable tv in their area, they should have the freedom to ban it.. is that allowed?

            What bloody freedom are we talking about? the freedom to go astray, which the communist barbarians project it as utopian. the freedom to become whore, the freedom to become a loafer, the freedom to loot, the freedom to create chaos.. this is what is being done today in the name of freedom..

          • prashants5 .

            Modernized doesn’t mean Centralized. It still can be decentralized for those who want that way. There should be equal opportunities created by Govt for the people, who wants to carry Tradditional System and/or Professions.

            That’s why I suggested, de-coupling the Temples ( and the ecosystem ) from the Govt as an example. Our temple should bring back it’s traditional glories as a center of learning. That should be the first step. If this is done successfully, rest will follow on its own.

          • senthil

            Modernisation is always associated with centralisation. Please look at what is happening around in the name of modernisation..

            Secondly, modernisation is about luxury and comfort, whereas traditional setup is about acharam, cleanliness, wellbeing (internal & external) etc.

            For eg, the present indian govt is doing heavy propoganda to build toilets as symbol of modernity and hygiene.. whereas our traditional setup is dead against toilets and that too inside home .. for brahminical code of life, the shastras indicate that one should defecate far away from home..

            Traditional is about natural harmony whereas modernity is about exploitation for human luxury and comfort..

          • prashants5 .

            Modernization has nothing to do with Centralized or De-Centralized. Also, you are confused between Modernization and Westernization. What the examples you have given above is Westernization. Both are different. Modernization has to happen in Indic way.

            Our traditions have been evolved over time keeping the “dharma” as foundation. In the similar way, we have to modernize our Tradition in our own favor. Change is inevitable and we have to change, in our favor not in the favor of outsiders.

            Lets take this discussion to your blog with a different subject.

          • senthil

            Can you pls elaborate on what you mean by modernisation?

          • prashants5 .

            I will give a small example. The Constitution of India is mostly based on westernized society and system. It still carry the colonial concepts in it including Judiciary, Social Justice or just anything.

            Similarly with advent of technology, we have to use the technology wherever needed ( than using it everywhere) with moderation to keep our dharma intact. To keep the social ecosystem more hamonious. Today it is chaotic. I can give lots of examples and and ideas on this. But later.

          • senthil

            /** Similarly with advent of technology, we have to use the technology wherever needed **/

            Can you give specific examples..

          • prashants5 .

            One example is, usage of Tractor regularly on the same field, destroy the quality of Soil. Same is the Chemical based Pesticides. We have to bring back our Swadeshi based Agriculture. Also the GMO seeds propaganda to uproot the Farming community.

            On the other hand, tools and technology can be used to spread our dhArmik Education. People can be better informed.

          • senthil

            this is what i am too saying.. modernity is about centralisation, control, exploitation etc..

            Tractor has NOT just destroyed soil, but it destroyed the role of bulls..

            that’s why i am saying that we have to first live the traditional life, before suggesting about modernity..

          • prashants5 .

            That will only happen when Govt. provides support or people demands their tradition as their rights. We need leaders! We need constitutional amendments or special laws to protect our villages ( as I don’t have much hope from the Urbanites) and their traditions.

            The issue is very complex here.

          • senthil

            the constitution is alien.. written by stooges handpicked by colonial forces.. will the government of that colonial system allow this or support this?

            First of all, i am asking “why do you feel, this govt (or this system) is your government or OUR government” ?

          • prashants5 .

            Your questions and replies reminds me about Rajiv Dixit who died in 2010 at very early age, and who also was a great student of Dharampal the writer of Beautiful Trees. Rajiv Dixit’s videos/mp3 are very popular. One of his video talks about how the constitution was a disaster for India.

          • senthil

            Rajiv Dixit did not die.. he was killed for speaking out the truth.. if possible visit for exposing truths.

          • prashants5 .

            Yes there were controversies around his death. Some says he was poisoned by some Multinational agent.

          • Romi

            well said, well said. Prahsant Bhai, he has a very valid point.

          • senthil

            The problem here is most of the people think that the current administrative system is ours whereas it is purely colonial.. they forgot that there was a traditional administrative system before colonisers came. this is the worst kind of slavery.. the mental slavery..

          • prashants5 .

            In my opinion, Jaati/Varna or Castes, should not be a construct of governance or politics. At-most it should be a social construct. Plain and simple.

          • Romi

            you are so right Senthil bhai. i am so pleased to read your clarity of thought. never find knowledgeable people so easily… the propaganda that this system is somehow a natural ‘standard’ is so intense, it has seeped into 98% of the Indian people.

          • senthil

            Thanks romi abhimanyu.. there are awareness happening now, among the ruling communities of bharat.. the main desh dhrohis are the hindu organisations, who suppress these native history silently.. had we seen any hindu organisation recognising the role of rajputs or the nayaks of vijayanagara, for fighting against islamic invasion ? the rajputs checkmated islamic invasion for over 300 years before losing.. the descendants of those rulers are still living.. what recognition are they getting today..

            the enemy outside is clearly visible.. but not the enemy from within ourselves..

            The RSS instantly plunges in to action during earth quakes or floods.. but they never care about collapsing of our traditional institutions, NOR the looting of our temples nor the economic collapse of the native communities..

          • senthil

            To contact me, please comment in my blog with your email


      • senthil

        I would also like to share another article, which explains the relation b/w varna and jathi.. i wish you to read this also..

        varna is a concept and jathi is actual implementation. Brahmana is a varna, whereas saraswat brahmin is a jathi. Jathi is based on ethnicity and dhesam (region). Within Brahmana varna there are so many ethnicities each being separate jathi with NO matrimonial relation. For eg, andhra brahmins dont hv any matrimonial relation with tamil brahmins..

        It is this privacy / independantness of jathi, that is hall mark of our diversity. OUr dharma insists and ensures that each jathi has the freedom to protect its ethnicity and culture, and hence do not mix with other jathis. It is the tribalism which abducts or takes women from other tribes and assimilate in itself.

        European history is based on tribalism which does not suit our varna-jathi based society. However, our intellectuals are forced to think based on european social prism.

        One good example of how even kshatriya jathis did not inter-mingle is the vijayanagara kingdom. When vijayanagara kings invaded madurai, they did not marry with pandya rulers. Even today, the rajus and naidus of tamilnadu dont marry with other tamil jathis. The kamma naidus dont marry with thottiya nayakkars eventhough both speak telugu.

        Jathi is based on ethnicity, and varna is based on life code. Every ethnic group had all four varnas.

        • Shrinidhi Rao

          I agree. But, what i have tried to argue in my piece is more fundamental. Jathi is just a social construct and has no religious authority. Jathi as i hav said just mean kind/type. In Tarka Sastra ie Indian logic every type is refered to as a jathi. Gotva Jati means cowness, ghatatva jati means pot-ness, rasatva jati means taste-ness, purushatva jati means man-ness and so on. You can have numerous jathis of every things literally. It is when jathis take prominence that we start dis-integrating as a society. None of our ancient texts has laid rules based on the concept of Jathi, they talk only of varna. Further, Brahmins not marrying Brahmins or Kshatriyas not mixing with Kshatriyas are more due to differences in “sampradayas” and not for any sort of religious sanctions i believe. Because we have so much diversity in every region it is obvious that people tend to mingle with those who are similar to them. Thats just basic human tendency.

          • senthil

            Are you saying, Varna too have any religious authority? should we interpret our Smritis (manu smriti etc) as religious text or dharmic text.

            I agree with your point that there are multiple meanings for the word Jathi. Jathi means a category or division. It applies to human, animals, plants and even in-animate things. For eg, in tamil there is a term called “Jathi Kuthirai” (Jathi horse), “Jaathi Maadu” (Jathi cattle) etc. These division are based on the characteristics and biological traits of each animal group. It applies to humans too. Ethnicity is based on these traits. The maratha brahmins are ethnically different from kannada brahmins which is determined based on the region (geography). Like how Gir Cows are different from sahiwal or ongole.

            While we have no hesitation in accepting the differences and uniqueness of animal jathis (like gir, sindhi, ongole, vechur, kangeyam cows ) we find it difficult to accept that humans also have these unique traits and differences b/w people groups. That is the core problem of our Hindutva intellectuals.

            Our ancient texts reflect these ground realities, and is nature based. They are NOT religious authority. Treating those as religious authority alters the very perception of our history and culture.

          • Shrinidhi Rao

            Of course it does. Manu smriti is just a law book which can be changed and amended but no less than lord Krishna says that he is the originator of the Varna system. Further he describes the nature of each Varna in chap 18 of Gita. Gita cannot be amended you know. I am not saying that there are no differences among groups. But that differences should not be detrimental to the society like one brahmin community mistreating another brahmin community just because they are different. I am a student of Dvaita vedanta whose motto is differences are real and eternal.

          • senthil

            This quote on varna by krishna is another manipulation.

            Krishna says that he created the Gunas of the four varnas.. NOT the varna system..

            chAturvarnyam mayA srushtam guna karma vibhAgasha: |

            The four characteristics which classify people based on character (attitude) and Action are created by me.

            This is the correct meaning. Krishna says here ‘varnyam’ (characteristics) and not ‘varnam’ (classification). Look at the missing ‘y’

            More over, Krishna never says about birth based aspect of varna or jathi.. these are dealt by smritis, all of which categorically say that varna is always by birth..

            Guna is always acquired by birth and transferred through birth.. and guna is maintained by commune setup and NOT by atomised individual.. thats why we had Kula-Acharam , the commune code of living.. brahmins have their own kula-acharam, kshatriyas have their own.. so on..

          • Shrinidhi Rao

            Now this is going no where. Are you telling me that all the acharyas who have commented on gita and on this particular verse are fools. ? Where does Krishna say he created the gunas.? Do not mis interpret to suit your needs. ‘Chaturvarnya’ is one word, it is in neuter gender. It only means group of four varnas and nothing else. second mood and singular of that word in neuter gender would become ‘chaturvarnyam’ . As krishna is referring to that group as one entity, singular is used . The verse only means that the group of four varnas is created by me, classified on the basis of Guna and Karma. This is how every reliable acharya has translated it.

            As to your Guna transfer only by birth argument is concerned, if so, how didn’t prahlad acquire his fathers characters? how come Bali changed his acquired gunas mid way in his life? why didn’t parashuram acquire characteristics of a Brahmin for his parents were ideal Brahmins? Why did Vidura who was a slave son appreciated by all as a great philosopher? Why didn’t Buddha not acquire the characteristics of a Kshatriya by his father? How did the character of Vishwamitra change mid way in his life from Kshatriya to a Brahmana.? Why did the character of Ajamila (whose father was a great sage) change from a Brahmana to a shudra in the middle of his life? If Gunas are acquired by birth i.e. by parents, then it shld have been that pious parents would always have pious children and not rascals.

          • senthil

            accepting ur point on varnyam. however, krishna speaks about four categories, the gunas, and

            karmas for each varna.. That’s it.. he never speaks about how people are assigned in to each varna. That is my core point. that part is covered by smritis.. NOT vedas.. NOT gita..

            Most translations are made as like “People are classified” which is not true. Krishna speaks about creation of categories / divisions and the guna, and NOT classification of people.

            Regarding Transfer of Guna by birth, you are relying on exceptions.

            If varna is NOT by birth, then how come Sri rama is made as king .. do we find rama undergoind any PERFORMANCE TEST (as we see in corporate system) to compete for the TOP POST???? he was made king simply because he is the first Legitimate son of King Dasaratha..

            In Mahabaratha, why should pandu strive for Niyogi method to produce legal heir for his kingdom? WHY NOT open his king’s post to public to choose the best quality person?

            krishna himself became king because of his birth as kshatriya in chandravanshi kulam.. and krishna did not marry radha, because radha belongs to ahirs (cow herd) and NOT kshatriya kulam.

            Now coming to your own examples:


            1. Prahlada may be virtuous. But does this virtue pass on to his generations? The asuric guna returned in the 3rd generation after prahlada.. Exceptional gunas may occur in people groups different from mainstream. But that cannot be construed as example. There are children born with asuric characters in brahmana too.. they are just exceptions.. (like ajamila)

            2. Parasuram’s grandmother is a kshatriya. Which has manisfested in him. That is why, manu smriti says both father and mother has to be from same varna to beget a pure offspring with the same guna of that varna. Ravana is another example and he retained the rakshasha guna of his mother.

            3. Vidura acquired his virtue/guna by his Niyogi father parasara. Why hasnot other servant maids produced such virtuous sons?

            4. Viswamatra became a rishi and NOT a brahmana varna. When some one becomes rishi, he gives off all his societal identities. Even in this case, he could not discard the qualities of his kshatriya (anger etc)

          • senthil

            /** If Gunas are acquired by birth i.e. by parents, then it shld have been
            that pious parents would always have pious children and not rascals.

            We cannot polarise gunas to just two opposite extremes. All the four varnas were pious, good mannered, dharmic. Only thing is that their nature varies based on the combination of triguna. Brahmana varna maintains the SathVA guna predominantly, and they are most non-violent, submissive, peaceful . Kshatriya varna should maintain rajas and sathva guna. So on..

            These guna combinations are transfered by birth, and maintained through life code (Kula Acharam). We have seen thousands of years of brahmana jathis maintaining sathyva guna consistently, except for few rare cases..

            Behaviour is NOT guna:

            The opponents of birth based jathi / varna says that one’s guna is acquired by his behaviour. This is NOT true. Behavious do not reflect the guna, for a criminal can behave like a noble. It is the intention / inner quality that reflects the guna.

            Our rishis had realised this and created four different varnas with complementary gunas. and through birth based arrangements, they ensured that offsprings are born with the same gunas in each varna. This is very practical and sensible social setup (NOT system).

          • senthil

            /** Further, Brahmins not marrying Brahmins or Kshatriyas not mixing with
            Kshatriyas are more due to differences in “sampradayas” and not for any
            sort of religious sanctions i believe

            Sampradaya alone is NOT a factor here. Ethnicity is the major factor. For eg, in my region, we share the same sampradayas with many other jathis of our region, but we dont intermarry. Sampradaya is multi-dimensional. Kula sampradaya, kudumba sampradaya, grama sampradaya, dhesa sampradaya..

            Again to give an example, both kamma naidus and thottiya nayakkars in tamilnadu are staunch vaishnavites and belong to the great vijayanagara empire. They share many sampradayas, but dont intermarry.

            We need to understand our society and history based on present social realities and NOT on imagined utopian past society. The Hindutva activists consider our present society with contempt and disdain and as a result of degradation. This is a carefully constructed colonial stereotype which they had imbibed. Hindutva intellectuals do not accept the fact that our kshatriya communities are still living, and our history survives through them. They glorify Chatrapathi Shivaji but never recognise the maratha clans. They glorify rana pratap, but never recognise the rajputs. They glorify vijayanagara but never recognise the rajus, the rulers of the empire.


          • senthil

            There is another dimension to this jathi varna angle. The Kula – gothra system. Gothra is the descendants of common father, kulam has multiple meanings.

            1. Set of intermarrying gothras constitute the Kulam. They marry ONLY within the Kulam and NOT outside. For eg, iyengars and iyers both have same gothras, but marriage is ONLY confined within their Kulam. Here Kulam takes the meaning “Complete”. ie, people do not have any matrimonial connection with people outside their kulam. This is what is being referred to as Jathi.

            2. Kulam also have the meaning of Self-Sustained Grama, where it constitutes multiple jathis. A grama consists of Brahmana, kshatriya, vyshya, and shudra, all of which constitutes a complete society. Here Kulam refers to the society, based on functional interdependance and collective independance. ie, a grama is complete in itself without dependance on outside.

            Note: I am using the term Kulam as we use in tamil. I believe In hindi, this word is referred as “KUL”

  • SuchindranathAiyer

    Gothra: For Brahmins by religion (irrespectuve of Varna) it is the patrilineal ancestry. For all others (Brahmins to Shudras by “caste” etc,) it is disciplary i.e. it comes from the Guru Kula or the Pathashala and the Gothra of the presiding Acharya or Adhyapaka) Jaathi comes from the same root as Gyan (knowledge). Gyathi refers to the professional skills or the trade craft.

    Varna system:

    In the Rik Vedic (Evolution of fire technology and metal working) Period following Brahma giving the Prathamo Upanishad to the Saptha Rishis (from which the notions of Karma and Dharma were born) and the formulation of the Aryan Constitution represented by the Swastika, when the pastoral, Brahmin, multi racial Aryas roamed the grass lands from East Europe to Mongolia, there was no Varna. During the Shukla Yajur Veda (Archery, chariot war fare and the harrying of the Druid Civilizations of Mesopotamia and Persia) Period there were two Varnas. Arya and Dasyu (Serf or Slave). The tall, fair, semitic, encycephalic, idolatrous, agricultural and archtiectural Shiva, Vishnu and Lalitha worshiping Druhyus (Druids) scattered from the Ur civilization to escape the constant harrying by the Aryas as well as their own apostates who had embraced Yahweh who said unto Abraham, “Put no other Gods before me for I am a jealous God”. Some of them headed East and formed the Indus Valley civilization displacing the indigenous tribals. Some Aryas followed and settled in the Indo-Gangetic Plain and were bound by the treaty of Bharatha (a codicil to the main Constitution of Arya Varsha). They over laid the Druhyus and exacted tribute in the form of agricultural, architectural and other produce and services from the Dasyus. Here was born the joyous tones of the Krishna Yajur Veda from plenty and luxury. Here too were born the Varnas. The Brahmana, the Kshatriya and the Vaishya. The Varnas were decided by the Brihaspathi in the Pathashala. Then came the decadence of the Sama Veda. The Great Civil War (referred to in the masterly literary work “Mahabharatha” by Vyasa) decimated the Aryas and broke their hegemony. This began the Atharva Veda Period. Thereafter the Dravids and the Aryas began to inter marry. The Druid dieites were Sanskritized and the compendium of the Thaithreya Upanishad was created including the Druid deities for the use of all previous Vedas. The temple worship, architectural and agricultural technologies entered the Atharva Veda through the Aagama (that which came from outside) Shastras. The Dasyus entered the Guru Kula system as Shudras with full Varna mobility thereafter. The Druhyus already had a complex system of professional specializations as behooves an advanced civilization and this was verniered and integrated into the Varna system. The Vedic Period was brought to an end by Ashoka who destroyed the temples, dismantled the Guru Kulas and drove Brahmanism and Sanskrit under ground. He replaced the Swastika of Arya Varsha with his Chakra. With this, the Varna system ossified and education passed from father to son as Varna mobility was not possible without Guru Kulas. Many of the indigenous people as also the Dasyus never accepted Aryan Law and remained out side the Varna system. Many others who had been put into “Bahishkara” (open prison or exile) could not be reintegrated as the Ashwamedha Yajna when the laws were recodified and this took place were no longer conducted as Ashoka had ended Bharatha Varsha when he performed the Raja Suya Yajna (sacrificing the heads of the defeated Kings of the Sukla Yajur Veda period) instead of the Ashwamedha Yajna (consensus under Bharatha Varsha Krishna Yajur Veda). These were called Dalits by the British in 1921. The British wrongly gave the term “Dravid” to the indigenous people of India rather than the semitic Druhyus from the place of the three rivers (now known as the Euphrates, Tigris and Jordan) who brought agriculture and temple building to India.

    The British did “Divide to Rule”. They turned against the Brahmins after the Sepoy Muitny in 1857. Every Brahmin man, woman and child that they could lay hands on in the Bengal Presidency was massacred out of hand. In 1921 their “Dravid” stooges of the “Justice” Party were set against the Brahmins. False canards were spread against the Brahmins who had formed the impoverished (by culture and way of life dedicated to learning and trusteeship) hereditary priesthood, judiciary, and trustees of the “Hindu” commonwealth) to destroy the soul of Hinduism. The British coined the word “Dalit” for Non Hindus and made them “Hindus” in law to swamp the congregational temple welfare system. In the Madras Presidency, the British stooge Patro promulgated the Communal Gazetted Order 613 of 1923 to discriminate against Brahmins in all walks of life including education, employment, land ownership and court cases. The British then confiscated all the Heritage Temples and Religious endowments including the Veda Pathashalas. This policy has been followed ever since by the heirs and successors to the British and their “Dravid-Dalit” stooges. The Cambridge, Columbia, Oxford, Elphinstone, Presdiency, St Stephen’s and Madras Christian educated British stooges who usurped the rulership of India from the people in 1947 had no notion, whatsoever, of Indian tradition, History or Culture. In 1949, the Indian Republic, constitutionally turned Hindus into Third Class citizens and in 1959 confiscated all their temples, religious endowments and common wealth. The Indian Constitution was largely plagiarized from the British Government of India Act (1935) and included inequality under law, exceptions to the rule of law and the “Many Nations” Theory that rascals like Nehru, Ambedkar and their successors have expanded and strengthened leaving India a weakened nation, struggling below its potential, in a perpetual state of Civil War. India is 135 out of 172 nations (below Sub Saharan Africa) in Human and Social Development and 143 out of 172 nations in internal peace and stability. It is also the largest exporter of skilled Brain Ware that builds the might of the US and other “Western” Powers.


    Until 1921, only those who adhered to Brahmanical Aryan Law were considered “Hindus”. Hindu is a defunct nationality of religions adhering to common Aryan law though the name was coined by the Persians to refer to those who lived in the Indus Valley (present day Pakistan) at a time when both Persians and “Hindus” worshiped many common Gods and Goddesses. (The Vedai period that preceded the Avesthan period in Zoroastrian History). To break the back of Hinduism the British started many activities. In the Madras Presidency they coined the word “Dalit” and made them “Hindus in Law”. Recognizing Brahmanism as the soul of Hinduism (until 1921, a Pandit used to be consulted by the Judiciary on Hindu Law) they abolished Hindu Personal Law, In 1923, their stooge the :Justice Party of Patro and Periyar promulgated the Communal Gazetted Order 613 to discriminate against Brahmins in all walks of life and took over the Temples, subverting the congregational temple welfare system. The Indian Political Service even infiltrated Sikhism at Sialkot and influenced Kartar Singh and Karag Singh to create the Akali movement and turn Sikhism away from the Hindus and against Hindus an adopt many Islamic beliefs and practices.

    Shudras (the tall, fair, semitic, agricultural, temple worshipping and architectural Druids who brought civilization from Mesopotamia) were integrated into the Guru Kula system that decided the Varna on the basis of aptitude and skills in the Atharva Veda period after the Mahabharatha War destroyed Aryan hegemony and temple worship, architecture, agriculture etc entered the Vedas through the Aagama (that which came from outside) Shastras. Dalits were always outside the Varna system or are descendants of those who were made out castes for heinous crimes like Ashoka was for fratricide and could not be reintegrated (which happened during every Ashwamedha Yajna when the laws were re codified) after Ashoka dismantled the Temples and Gurukulas and brought the Brahmanical Shastras and Caste Mobility to an end together with the Vedic period. Thereafter, skills and knowledge passed from father to son. But Dalits were never Shudras who were caste Hindus. (Shudras were Dasyus during the Krishna Yajur Veda and Sama Veda periods when the Indo-Aryan extracted tribute from them in the form of agricultural and architectural produce before the Mahabharatha War. The Brahma worshiping Aryans, a motley set of nomadic, pastoral, war like races and tribes from Prussia to Mongolia were Rig Vedic and united under a common constitution and laws. They came to India in the transition from the Shukla Yajur to the Krishna Yajur Vedic periods and overlaid the Shiva, Vishnu and Lalitha worshipping Druhyus from the land of the three rivers (present day Tigris, Euphrates and Jordan)

    • Sumathi Megavarnam

      The Aryan dravidian farce story never ceases , time & again it is being resurrected with a renowned vigour…..

      • SuchindranathAiyer

        What you have just stated is a popular, politically convenient myth. Those who have not had a classical Sanskrit education in the Vedas and Ithihasa should not comment about Aryas.

        In India “History” written by the West and re written by the PANGOLIN*s has a way of getting Ithihasa wrong. If you want real History, go and consult a properly trained Shroutha (Heard) Smartha (Remembered) Brahmin.

        The main thing to guard against is the temptation, visible in abundant measure, to re write History to an alternate set of political conveniences: Witness how “Vedic” is used instead of “Brahmin” and “Hindu” instead of “Arya” for example, in both the Anglo-PANGOLIN* version and the new emergent version. India’s Parliament stood up unanimously, in 2013 to expurgate the truth from Govt approved NCAERT School History Text Books. I shall continue to rely on my Shroutha Smartha Ithihasa and my personal experience rather than Government approved History Text Books or edicts that were used by Fratricidal Tyrants to proclaim their greatness.

        Is there a political reason for suppressing such ancient truth? Yes. For one, it challenges unstated assumptions of racial and national superiority around which much of politics revolves. Anti-Science. For another, Just as in the case of Science, generations of historians and academicians have invested their lives in constructing elaborate politically correct myths to substitute History. They fight having to cast their edifice into the void to start again. All those who have grown up on these postulates fight as well

        *Note: PANGOLIN: An enemy of India who believes in inequality under law, exceptions to the rule of law and persecution of some for the benefit of others. At present, the sole purpose of the Indian Republic, Constitutional or otherwise, is to pamper and provide for certain constitutionally preferred sections of society who the British found useful to hold and exploit India at the cost of those who the British hated and persecuted. The Pangolin is a creature that is unique to India and feeds on ants that are known in nature to be industrious and hard working if not quite as fruitful as bees who flee to better climes. (PANGOLIN is an acronym for the Periyar-Ambedkar-Nehru-Gandhi-Other (alien) Religions-Communist Consensus that usurped the British Mantle and has worn it with elan to loot, plunder, and rape India since 1921 and re write History and laws to their exclusive benefit since 1947)

        • Sumathi Megavarnam

          May be you got me wrong , History has been rewritten to suit vested interests & belittle people , i would agree to all your points except for the Aryan theory , which is a fundamental creation & root cause for all evils …

          • SuchindranathAiyer

            I do not subscribe to any “theory” myself. Having been classically educated in Sanskrit, I am an exponent of Shroutha (Heard) Smartha (remembered) Brahmin Ithihasa (History)

  • P. B. Josh

    It is incomplete to discuss “Varna” and “Caste” without discussing and taking into consideration of “Karma Ka Siddhant”. Whichever Varna or caste you belong to in this life will change in the next lives as per your Karma. So today’s Brahmin could have been a Dalit in previous birth and vice versa.

    • Salil Misra

      It is incremental no doubt but the transition can be in this life not necessarily on a new birth.

      • prashants5 .

        Both are true. The transition can be happened this life or next life ( if at all that Atman indivializes to a Human Body).

  • Rama

    Good aricle. Small whinge “”Which means that if a Brahmana lacks qualities like shama (i.e. Sense Control) etc., consider him to be a Shudra and vice versa.” . Basically what this means is that Shudras have no sense control. I feel it is plainly wrong.

    • Ravi Teja

      I think it is not to be understood that way. “shama” means “having no (physical) desires and no anger”. A shudra, as defined in the article, can have desires and anger – the basic human emotions, not animal instincts. But a brahman has to overcome them.

      • Rama

        Just clarifying here. Shama meaning no desire is different from NO CONTROL of desires. Desires exist in one and not in another. So, Brahamna has 1) no desire or 2) has only control of desire? I understand the concept of Varnas that are based ONLY on Gunas. But making a blanket statement like Shri Madhvachariyar gives fodder to the proselytizing mob. I can see the propaganda. “”The evil Brhamanas declare that Shudras have no control over their senses and are prone to rape, loot and murder!”” Nit picking?? Do not ever underestimate the conversion mob.

        • Ravi Teja


    • ccc

      If these are states of a human being, both shudra and brahman, then one rises from shudratva to brahmanatva and falls from the latter to the former based on his Aacharan (conduct), don’t think its “plain wrong”. But what if vested interests keep calling themselves brahmans even after abandoning the Aacharan, then Bheda Buddhi prevails and Adharma rises and society deteriorates. Now you are sitting duck because there is no unity among yourselves on account of so much animosity due to discriminatory practices by the intellectual class i.e. Brahmans of the day, this forces the an-adhikari brahmans to amend shastras to cement their position vis-a-vis the a-shudras and this legitimizes discrimination and curtails liberty, lets loose the domineering nature of the people in power and sets in such a decay in the polity & society that society becomes a still river.

      A few bad apples spoils the entire lot.

    • guest

      look you are thinking of this as….shudra in one body….., shudra is a state of mind, and state of being. and not all states of being are equal.

    • Shrinidhi Rao

      I understand your point. Shama (sense-control is the closest i found in English) has more of a spiritual connotation. When we talk of sense-control, it includes both material sense control and spiritual sense control. Shama is reflecting the latter and is closely connected with another concept of Vyragya/virakti. Material sense control refers to control of one’s senses from moving towards unlawful acts like stealing, excessive anger leading to unnecessary violence etc. But, spiritual sense-control goes a step further and is referring more towards controlling one’s senses from moving towards materialism itself. Madhvacharya (or any other Indian philosopher or spiritualist for that matter) when using the word Shama means to indicate only spiritual sense control and not material sense control. Because material sense control is universal, it is samajika dharma to be upheld by every individual of the society for the sake of law and order. Its not exclusive to any group. While earning more and more money in a rightful/lawful way, saving it for future, enjoying art, music, drama and leading a comfortable life is not breaching materialistic sense control but is very much deemed to be excessive materialistic engagement spiritually. That is why Brahmanas are forbidden from enjoying art in any form, as the example i have given in the article, they are forbidden from having more and more property or hoarding of food grains, some even opine that a brahmin should not stay in a city for more than 15 days for the allurements towards comfort is greater in cities than on calm riverbanks or forests. So, spiritual sense control is to be present in a brahmana as a necessary condition but need not be that prominent in other varnas (other varnas may have spiritual sense control but it will not be their way of life itself). It is to be understood only in this way and nothing more.