Saturday, 26 July 2014

is the varna system based on birth ?


 Practical  steps  to  spirituality- section 6 part 96  

The  Gita  revisited  

Is  the  varna  system  based  on  birth  ?

             It  is  wrongly  believed  that  Manu  created  the  caste  system. The  Lord  says  in the  Gita  that  He  created  it  ,which  means  it  is  universal. It  only  means  that  wherever  there  are  human  beings  there will  be  these  four  types  :thinkers,  executives  , businessmen  and  labourers . We  have  seen  in the  previous  page  that  when  one's  karma  (  work  or  profession  )  matches   with  one's  gunas  , the  work  turns  out  to  be  successful and  efficient  .

             Seen  from  a  different  angle  , we  find  that  our  past  karmas  and  inclinations  decide  our  parents  and  lineage  we  are born  in. Heredity  and  upbringing  also  have  a role  to  play  in what  we  have  (  guna  )  and  what  we  do  (  karma  )  A  child  born  in a  musician's  family  is  generally  seen  to  have  a  flair  for  music  . Hence  birth  too  becomes  a  secondary  basis  for  the  varna  classification. . However  if  a  child  , even  though   born  in  a  vaishya  family , does  not  show  any  inclination  for  taking up  business  ventures  or  has  any  qualities  of a  true  vaishya  , he  cannot  be  called  a  vaishya  at  all.  It  applies  to  all  varnas also. If  a   child  born  in a  brahmin  family  does  not  exhibit  the  qualities  of a  brahmana   or  takes  to the  profession  of  a  brahmana  , then  he  cannot  be  considered  a  true  brahmana. . Only  guna  and  karma  are  the  primary  criteria  for  classifying  the  varna  system  . 

            A  misunderstanding  and  misuse  of  the  system  has  brought  about  a  lot  of  sufferings  to  all.  Centuries  back,  the  brahmanas  ,who  became  power  hungry  and  greedy  , made  birth  the  basis  of  classification   and  then  exploited   suppressed  and  humiliated  certain  varnas  by  turning them  into  untouchables  and  thus  depriving  them  totally  of  their  right  to  living  with  dignity. Only  a  proper understanding  and  right  application  of  the  system  can  correct  the  wrongs  done  to  many  in the  name  of  the  caste  system  . A  right  understanding  that  when  the  Lord  created  it  , it  was  based  only  on  gunas  and  karmas   and  not  on  birth  , that  the  misuse  of the  system  can  be  corrected  for  the  benefit  of  all  concerned. 

to  be  continued.....

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