Origins of caste system and its various forms

Discussion in 'Hinduism' started by Operacast, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. Bhaktajan II

    Bhaktajan II Hare Krishna Yogi

    Oct 14, 2009
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    Some one asked:

    Svayambhuva Manu [Manu #1* of 14]
    is the author & namesake of the book titled Manu Samhita.

    Svayambhuva Manu was born of Brahma when Brahma re-awoke ---thus initiating the at the beginning of the present Day-of-Brahma aka "Kalpa".

    Each day of Brahma (kalpa) consists of 14 Manus.

    [*We are presently living in the present 7th Manu's lifetime]

    Last verse of the Manu Samhita says [12.126]: ' . . . The teachings of Manu as proclaimed by Bhrigu' . .

    ---Bhrigu is Son of Brahma who was informed by Manu; and thus Bhrigu repeated all he heard from Manu to the Sages.

    Manu Samhita says [1.59]:

    "Manu said, Bhrigu here will let you hear this teaching . . . as he understood it all from me."

    Manu Samhita says [1.61]:
    Bhrigu said, 'Listen! There are six other Manus in the dynasty of that Manu who was Born of Brahma'; they are Svaricisa, Uttama, Tamasa, Raivata, Caksusa & finally [the present Manu #7] Vaivasvata.

    So in conclusion it must be noted that as per the data given in the Vedas entoto:

    ---We know that Svayambhuva Manu [Manu #1] was born at the start of the present kalpa

    ---that date occurred 2,160,000,000 BC [two Billion one hundred sixty millon earth years ago] [aka, 21,600 chores of earth years] as per Bhagavata-purana 8.1.4.

    That date of Brahma's re-awakening from slumber is after 4,320,000,000 [four Billion three hundred twenty millon] earth years had passed.

    See Bhagavata-purana 3.11.23 & 8.24.7 for the dates of Brahma's Sleeping start & end points.

    Manu Samhita was authored 2,160,000,000 years ago.

    not only is in way passed ancient ---it was spoken to and spoken for the leadership of ancient antiquity. It was first heard and later diseminated by the Prinicple Sages born of Brahma; ie: Marici,Atri, Vaisistha . . . etal (Manu-samhita 1.35) (Bhag-purana 3.24.15)
  2. Sam Albion

    Sam Albion akaFrancisKing:ViveLeRoi!

    Jun 17, 2010
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    IMHO, Operacast, all nations have caste systems, even if they pretend to be egalitarian.

    Yes, liberal types of people view this as fundamentally wrong. We all should be equal. But we're not. No matter how much we pretend, the rich and the clever will look down their noses at those who they perceive to be less rich or less intelligent. This is the way of the world. Without the possibility of rising through the ranks, or of being the boss of the division, the majority of aspirations human beings have would be redundant and capitalism would collapse...

    Yes, the caste system idea come from something called ... varna-ashrama-dharma. As far as I'm aware, a direct translation of this would be "type of rules for house and temple", or, more understandably, translated as "the way things are".

    Varna means... type, quality.

    There are four varnas (qualities/types) of purusa (men). Brahmanas (priests), Ksatriyas (warriors), Vaisyas (merchants), and Sudras (workers in the field, labourers). But... we also have... a fifth caste; the casteless, the untouchables; the harijan, or pancama, those who are piss poor, and those who touch, bury and arrange the dead. Included in that group should be those who deal with faeces, or any other group deemed to be "unclean", and therefore, "untouchable"; such as people with serious illnesses and disabilities...

    And yes, this seems wrong, but.... it's true that different people have diferent ethics, different lifestyles. If all people lived as brahmins, shite would pile up in the street and we'd get rats, and then bubonic plague, and everyone would die. If we all lived like sudras, and toiled the fields, we wouldn't have art, or commerce, or health-care. Brahmins need Vaisyas, too.

    Basically, to me, it says... There's different types of people in the world. Be aspirational if you like, but not at the expense of fulfilling your duties. Different types of people have different duties. The rules a brahmin lives by are different to those of the sudra. That does not mean a brahmin is superior, but means that different people live different types of lives. The brahmin must be a vegetarian and spend a lot of time reading scriptures, but if you're a sudra, then maybe you'll eat meat for it's nutritional value and instead of reading, you'll be working. You do what you have to do, and no other can truely judge you unless they too live the same life you do. If the brahmin lived like a sudra, or if the sudra lives like a brahmin, people would not complete their own duties, and other people, those who rely on the ranks to fulfil their duties, those people suffer.

    If you're a householder, then your priority is... earning money, feeding and clothing your children. If you're a warrior, your priorities will be training to fight, eating, and fighting. Don't forget what you are, whatever that is, and live right according to the cards that have been dealt to you. Accept you have responsibilities, in your position, and fulfill your duties. That is what God finds most pleasing...

    For the majority of people, they progress, as Bhaktajan suggests; they are brahmacara; students, then grhasta, householders, then they vanaprasta, retire, then they become sannayasi -- renunciants. Most people marry, and have children, and be householders. After that, they get deeper into God, and hopefully, die peaceful and happy.

    I think that this... delination of "type" is not neccesarily a bad thing. It's not a value-judegment, but just a statement. And, quite a positive one, too, really. It says... "we're all of God". We all need each other to function well. And, maybe it also says... "we need to look after all the parts".

    It is only when we attach our "egalitarian eyes" to such items do we see the possibilities for something fundamentally positive to become poisonous.

    Women can't give prasadam to Krsna when they're menstuating. (unclean). unclean folks can't participate in certain rituals.
    You can't touch people who handle corpses. they can't offer prasadam to Krsna, either.
    The ruling elite remain the elite (Vive la Roi!) .
    Those who are unfortunate in life, by either poverty, or illness, or lack of intelligence, are made that way by God, and made that way to suffer, having displeased God in their previous incarnation, so we should ignore them/let them suffer/make them suffer some more...

    Instead of providing good healthcare, or jobs, for these unfortunates, we should let them rot, as that is, ultimately, what God wants....

    But, fortunately, people are moving away from such primitive thinking. India, for example, is trying to recognise the rights of this... fifth caste, and have been seen... ghandi, and slowly, people are loosening up about the whole caste thing...

    But, realistically...

    If you have a chain of shops, and you're daughter has had a private education... you don't want her married to a man who'll make her eat dogs and live in a tin shack. Let's face facts...

    >> You asked, operacast:

    Do we know precisely when and why the caste system became hereditary?

    -- yes, around 1BCE. As indian religion became less... "pagan", and more "organized". This isn't a strictly Indian invention; globally, at that time, the romans did/were doing the same. Globally, the world was moving away from artisans and individuation and towards creating nation states. It helps to control the masses if they're all singing from the same hymn sheet...

    And since both Mahavira and Buddha were already critics of the caste system in the middle of the first millennium b.c.e., do we know why they found it flawed?

    -- yes, they found it flawed because they were intelligent men who could see the inequalities such a system naturally produces...

    In the case of Buddha, there are a few anecdotal type tales; Buddha, pre-enlightenment, half starved, leaving the forest after trying tapas... and a woman gave him milk, from her hands. He'd broken some rules he was supposed to live by, as a aranyaka (forest dweller) ..... while Buddha is in the cart, at the marketplace, when he supposedly sees the monk -- he's a posh kid, and he's seeing life in all its glory, corpses, sick people, and he doesn't understand why there's suffering... but there's no real "evidence" to support such wild assertions, so... I'll shut up.
  3. Bhaktajan II

    Bhaktajan II Hare Krishna Yogi

    Oct 14, 2009
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    The western world has the same thing in all regards . . . but a much more posh all around.

    The economic lead sensibilities make a mortisian in the west a wealthy man ---whereas in India the corpse-burner would be shaman-esque in personality

    In the West we act on such things as per economic status allows ---and the west is SILENT ABOUT IT. If you can pay the fee & background check . . . you're in!

    Or else your ship sails out of that port of social influence

    IMO: this sentiment is the 'received' sentiment that the sufferer is expected to think of themselves and their loy in life ---it would be like explaining to a disabled person those things that they will never be able to do. Similarly, the lower classes are enboldened to step above their station But only for Recognition as Human-Rights-Holders . . . after that . . . it's back to economics.

    The bulkanised regional economy has disallowed India in being a homogenous economic engine ---same faults inre Indian peasentry. It's as if the caste system's faults are the holding back of Capitalism & free-enterprise by allocating work as per a guild'd [as in Work Guild] set of rules.

    OMG. I had thought to mention Buddha's pre-enlightenment promptings as a follow-up comment ---before reading your mention of him. Now I can't recall the comment I had wanted to make.

    ...The caste system was certainly an issue when Buddha appeared. Buddha explained the unifying nature of all livining beings, thus finding a banner for the democratic & fundamental Human-right of each Individual to seek nirvana...not just the Brahman Classes

    This may be the true canundrum: It's the "Surplus" of human beings that are NOT required to push an economy's engine. It's a dark thought, esp if this had occurred earlier and was too corrected ---more spooky, it re-occurs frequently ---even more spooky, it's planned far in advanced ---even more doubly spooky, It is done by Mother Nature Herself.

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