Caste System: Does Vedic scriptures really says about Birth based caste system?
We have seen many anti Hindu Scholors bashing Hinduism by saying that Vedic scriptures teaches discrimnation based on birth.
You will often find those psudo scholors giving references from bonafide Vedic Scriptures and with their half puffed knowledge they anyhow want to defame Sanatana Dharma (Known as Hinduism in general).
First, most Misunderstood verse is from Purusha Sukta of Rig Veda:
Brahmanoasya mukhamasida bahu rajanyakriah
Uru tadasya yadvaishya padabhyam shudro ajayat.
(Rigveda 10.90.12, Yajurveda.31.11).
It says, Brahmin originated from the mouth of the Purusha(The Supreme Personality of Godhead), the Kshatriyas from the arms, the Vaishyas from the abdomen and the Shudras from the feet.
First, we need to understand that this verse is quite metaphorical depecting the role of Varnas in Society.
Many people criticize this about the discrimination but they dont know the Hidden secret.
Let’s analyze two symbolic secrets:
- पद्भ्यां भूमिः from feet came EARTH .
Hence, the Sudra and mother Earth both were created from feet of the Supreme being.
अदिति (vedic Goddess also called as देवमाता ie mother of Demigods) अदिति is also called भूमिः ie earth ie अखण्डभूमिः . (For the definition of aditi is
अदितिः, स्त्री, (दितिभिन्ना अदितिः । नञो दाञो डितिरिति शाकटायनोक्तेर्डितिप्रत्ययान्तो वा । अदनाददितिः वा ।) दक्षप्रजापतिकन्या । सा कश्यपपत्नी । देवमाता च । इति त्रिकाण्डशेषः ॥ भूमिः । अखण्डः । इति शब्दरत्नावली ॥ (शब्दकल्पद्रुम))
When we analyse this symbolism together we can assume that the caste of aditi is sudra and if Varnasarma is birth based all Demigods like indra varuna agni soma etc are all sudras by birth.
For better Understanding about the Varnasarma system we will refer Sama Veda.
It clearly shows light on a topic: who are Bramhanas?
(of the Sāma Veda)
The Doctrine of the Diamond Needle
vajra-sūcika pravakṣyāmi jñānam ajñāna-bhedanam |
dūṣaṇā jñāna-hīnā bhūṣaṇā jñāna-cakṣuṣām || 1 ||
- I shall teach the Vajra-suchi — the ‘diamond needle’ doctrine which destroys ignorance,
condemns those who are devoid of the knowledge (of Brahman) and exalts those endowed with
brāhmaṇa-kṣatriya-vaiśya-śūdrā iti catvāro varṇaḥ | teṣām varṇānām brahmaṇa eva
pradhāna iti veda-vacanānurūpam smṛtibhir-apy-uktam | || 2 ||
2. Brahmin Kshatriya, Vaishya and Sudra are the four classes (castes). That the Brahmin is the
chief among these classes is in accord with the Vedic texts and is affirmed by the Smrtis.
tatra codyam asti | ko vā brāhmaṇo nāma? | kim jīvaḥ | kī deha | kī jātiḥ | kī jñānam |
kī karma | kī dharmika iti || 3 ||
In this connection there is a point worthy of investigation. Who is, verily, a Brahmin? Is he the
individual self? Is he the body? Is he of the class based on birth? Is he the [possessor of]
knowledge? Is he the [performer of] deeds (previous, present or prospective)? Is he the performer of
tatra prathamo jīvo brāhmaṇa iti cet tan na | atītānāgatāneka-dehānām jīvasyaika
rūpatvāt | akasyāpi karma vaśād aneka-deha-sambhavāt | sarva-śarīrāṇāṃ jīvasyaika
rūpatvāc ca | tasmānna jīvo brāhmaṇa iti || 4 ||
Of these, is the Jiva or the individual self the Brahmin? No, it is not so; for the Jiva is one and the
same in the innumerable previous and future bodies. Since the Jiva is the same in all the various
bodies obtained through (past) karma, and in all these bodies the form of the Jiva is one and the
same. Therefore the Jiva is not the Brahmin.
tarhi deho brāhmaṇa iti cet tan na | ācaṇḍālādi padantānām manuṣyāṇām pañcabhautikatvena dehasaikarūpatvāt | jarā-maraṇa-dharmādharmādi-samya darśanāt |
brāhmaṇas śveta-varṇaḥ | kṣatriyo rakta-varṇaḥ | vaiśya pīta-varṇaḥ | śūdraḥ kṛṣṇa
varṇa iti niyamābhāvāt | pitrādi dahane putrādīnām brahma hatyādi doṣasambhavācca | tasmān na deho brāhmaṇa iti || 5 ||
Then is the body the Brahmin? No, it is not so, because the body which is composed of the five
elements, is the same in all classes of human beings down to the chandalas (outcastes), etc. And it
is also observed that old age and death, virtue [dharma] and vice [adharma] are found to be
common to all human beings. There is also no absolute distinction (in the complexion of the four
classes) that the Brahmin is of the white complexion, that the Kshatriya is of the red complexion,
that the Vaishya is of the tawny complexion, that the Sudra is of the dark complexion. [If the body
is the brahmin] the sons and other kinsmen would becoming guilty of the murder of a Brahmin and
other (sins) on cremating the bodies of their fathers and other kinsmen. Therefore the body is not
tarhi jāti brāhmaṇa iti cet tan na | tatra jātyantara jantuṣvaneka jāti sambhavā
maharṣayo bahavas santi | ṛṣyaśṛṅgo mṛgayāh | kauśika kuśāt | jāmbuko jambukāt |
vālmīko vālmikāt | vyāsaḥ kaivarta-kanyāyām | śaśapṛṣṭhāt gautamaḥ | vasiṣṭha
ūrvaśyām | agastya kalaśe jāta iti śātatvāt | eteṣāṃ jātyā vināpya agre jñāna
pratipāditā ṛṣayo bahavas santi | tasmān na jātir brāhmaṇa iti || 6 ||
Then is it birth that makes a Brahmin? No, it is not so, for many great rishis have sprung from other
castes and orders of creation. We have heard that Rishyasrnga was born of a deer, Kaushika of
Kusha grass, Jambuka from a jackal, Valmiki from an ant-hill, Vyasa from a fisher girl, Gautama
from the back of a hare, Vasistha from Urvashi (the celestial nymph), Agastya from an earthen jar.
Among these, many rishis outside of the caste-system have been accounted as the foremost among
the teachers of the Divine Wisdom. Therefore birth does not (make) a Brahmin.
tarhi jñānam brāhmaṇa iti cet tan na | kṣatriyādayo’hi paramārtha darśano’bhijñā
bahavas santi | tasmān na jñānam brāhmaṇa iti || 7 ||
Then is it knowledge that makes a Brahmin? No, it is not so, because among Kshatriyas and others
there are many who have attained cognition of divine truth. Therefore knowledge does not make a
tarhi karma brāhmaṇa iti cet tan na | sarveśām prāṇinām prārabdha-sañcitāgāmikarma-sadharmya-darśanāt | karmābhi-preritāḥ santo janāḥ kriyāḥ kurvantīti |
tasmān na karma brāhmaṇa iti || 8 ||
Then do actions (karma) make a Brahmin? No, it is not so, since the prārabdha karma which gives
rise to the present birth, sañchita (accrued) karma, and āgāmi karma — commenced in the present
lifetime which will fructify in a future embodiment is common to all humankind; and that people
perform works impelled by their past karma. Therefore actions do not make a Brahmin.
tarhi dharmiko brāhmaṇa iti cet tan na | kṣatriyādayo hiraṇya-dātāro bahavas santi |
tasmān na dhārmiko brāhmaṇa iti || 9 ||
Then does the performance of religious duties (dharma) make a Brahmin? No, it is not so; for there
have been many Kshatriyas and others who have given away gold [in charity]. Therefore the
performer of religious duties is not the Brahmin.
tarhi ko vā brāhmaṇo nāma? yaḥ kaścid ātmānam advitīyam jāti-guṇa-kriyā-hīnam
ṣaḍūrmi -ṣaḍbhavetyādi-sarva-doṣa-rahitam | satya-jñānānandānanta svarūpam
svayam nirvikalpam aśeṣa kalpādhāram aśeṣa bhūty-āntaryāmitvena vartamānam
antar bahiścākāśavad anusyūtam akhaṇḍ-ānanda svabhāvam aprameyam
anubhavaika vedyam aparokṣa-tayābhāsamānam karatalāmala kavat sāṣāt
aparokṣīkṛtya kṛtārthatayā kāma rāgādi doṣa rahitaḥ śamādi-guṇa sampanno bhāvamātsarya-tṛṣṇāśā-mohādi rahitaḥ dambh-āhākārādibhir asāpṛṣṭacetā vartate | evam
ukta lakṣaṇo yaḥ sa eva brāhmaṇa iti śāti smṛti purāṇetihāsānām abhiprāyaḥ |
anyathā brāhmaṇatva sidhir nāstyeva | saccidānandātmānam | advitīyam brahma
bhāvayet | ātmānam advitiyam brahma bhāvayed ity upaniṣad || 11 ||
Then, who, verily is called a Brahmin? Whoever he may be — he who, has attained selfrealization, and directly perceives the ātman like a myrobalan fruit in the palm of one’s hand.
[Realising that the ātman is] of the nature of Truth, Consciousness, Bliss and Eternity, without a
second, devoid of distinctions of birth, attributes and action, devoid of all faults such as the six
and the six states2
and devoid of all changes. [The ātman] is the basis of endless
determinations. [The ātman] is the indwelling spirit of all beings. [The ātman] pervades
everything within and without like space. [The ātman] is of the nature of unlimited joy, indivisible,
immeasurable, and is known only by direct cognition.
He who having attained self-realisation becomes rid of the faults of desire, attachment, etc., and is
endowed with the six virtues.
He who having overcome emotion, spite, greed, expectation, desire,
delusion, etc., with the mind unaffected by pride, egoism and the like; he alone, who is possessed of
these qualities is called a Brahmin. This is the view of the Vedic texts and tradition, ancient lore and
history. The attainment of the status of a Brahmin is otherwise impossible. Meditate on the Self as
Brahman who is Being, Consciousness and Bliss, without a second; meditate on the Self as
Brahman who is Being, Consciousness and Bliss without a second. This is the Upanishad.
It is valuable to be mindful of the teaching of this Upanishad which repudiates the system that
consecrates social inequalities and makes contingent differences into inviolable divisions.
Hence, we understood one who is aspiring for the process of self realization is actually a Bramhana and one become Bramhana based on qualities.
Therefore, the Mahabharata also states:
na yonir napi samskaro na srutam na ca santatih
karanani dvijatvasya vrttam eva tu karanam
“Neither birth, nor samskaras, nor learning, nor progeny are the qualifications to be a brahmana. Only brahminical conduct is the basis for brahminical status.” (Anusasana-parva 143.50)