There are quotations to the effect that one's caste is not by birth - I don't mean that. Some sects may say all members of the sect are equal and I don't mean that either. Does it say anywhere in Hindu scripture something like

"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."

from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

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    Hinduism is not in need of reform vis-a-vis the modern liberal ideology. If the tenets of Hinduism do not appeal to the individual, they are free to leave the fold of Hinduism and follow an alternative religion or non-religion that suits their temperament.
    – user1195
    Apr 2, 2018 at 15:39
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    This is not closable most definitely.. @SK
    – Rickross
    Apr 3, 2018 at 5:43
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    equal before the law - equal opportunities to pursue life liberty and happiness @rickross
    – S K
    Apr 8, 2018 at 12:59
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    If just a declaration that "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood." is sufficient for equality, then there should be no problems in the USA since their founding fathers declared "That all MEN are born equal.....", but the US has problems of racism, religious bigotry, hate, etc. are most prevalent. Sanatana Dharma states that the status a person is born to is a result of his karmas in the previous births and hence it is unlikely that all are born equal, but can Apr 12, 2018 at 6:02
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    Continued : in this life perform better Karmas and improve their lot in the next birth. If the philosophy of Sanatana Dharma is not pleasing to you, you can follow other faiths. With our Anglicised knowledge and thinking, we think the white men know everything and no it better, but an unbiased study oh history will reveal that probably they were the barbarians and savages and not the Huns, Bushmen, Incas, Mayas, etc whom they violently and ruthlessly exterminated. So much for your declaration of Human Rights - and let us not forget Nagasaki, Hiroshima, naplam in Vietnam and Gautnamo Bay. Apr 12, 2018 at 6:15

3 Answers 3


There is a discussion on this issue in Mahabharata. Of course Hinduism can not say that all men and women are created equal because Jivas are not created.

Bhishma said, "Verily Righteousness is fraught with victory. Its effulgence is so great that it illumines the three worlds. A man of wisdom cannot catch hold of a sinful person and forcibly cause him to become righteous. When seriously urged to act righteously, the sinful only act with hypocrisy, impelled by fear. They that are righteous among the Sudras never betake themselves to such hypocrisy under the plea that persons of Sudra order are not permitted to live according to any of the four prescribed modes. I shall tell thee particularly what the duties truly are of the four orders. So far as their bodies are concerned, the individuals belonging to all the four orders have the five primal elements for the constituent ingredients. Indeed, in this respect, they are all of the same substance. For all that, distinctions exist between them in respect of both practices relating to life or the world and the duties of righteousness. Notwithstanding these distinctions, sufficient liberty of action is left to them in consequence of which all individuals may attain to an equality of condition. .........All men are equal in respect of their physical organism. All of them, again, are possessed of souls that are equal in respect of their nature. When dissolution comes, all else dissolve away. What remains is the inceptive will to achieve Righteousness. That, indeed, reappears (in next life) of itself. When such is the result (that is, when the enjoyments and endurance of this life are due to acts of a past life), the inequality of a lot discernible among human beings can not be regarded in any way anomalous. "

Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva, Section CLXIV

The Universal Human rights declaration, 'All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.' is carefully drafted and makes sense. What it is saying is that all human beings should be treated equally. It is not saying that all humans beings are equal in everything. If all humans are equal in everything then there would be no need for exams, no need for Olympics, no need for giving Nobel prize to exceptionally gifted men.

Gita has several verses on the wise man treating all with equality. Here is one example:

Even here in this embodied state, the cycle of births and deaths has been overcome by those who have this vision of sameness in all. Verily, Brahman is the unsullied and the Pure. Therefore are those seers of sameness said to be established in Brahman.

Gita 5.19

Gita said 2000 years before the Universal Human Rights declaration that all should be treated equally because of the same Atman in all.

I would like to point out one more thing about the universal human rights declaration. It says 'All human beings are born free' and not 'All human beings are born equal' which would of course not be correct. The declaration has to add the idea that all beings are equal in dignity and rights because all beings are born free and not born equal.

  • I stopped reading after I saw the word "Sudra".
    – S K
    Apr 3, 2018 at 13:28
  • That was a mistake. Read the entire thing to understand what he is saying. The implication is that differences one sees is due to one's action and not because of last name. Apr 3, 2018 at 13:31
  • We are only looking at what Bhishma said and are not discussing what he may have done.Well You want to say that all humans are equal. It is manifestly clear that there is a a great deal of inequality among humans. Is everyone Einstein? So the thesis of equality of all humans is utterly false. The real question is that how do you run your society when there is no equality among members of society. Gita's teaching that there is inequality among men but all should be treated equally seems to be the right way. Apr 3, 2018 at 13:41
  • Everyone should be treated equally is what I said. What is so frightening about that? Apr 3, 2018 at 14:26
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    @SK, "I stopped reading.." - you should continue to do that.
    – ram
    Apr 4, 2018 at 21:38


सहृदयं सांमनस्यमविद्वेषं कृणोमि व: । अन्यो: अन्यमसि हर्यत वत्सं जातमिवाघ्न्या॥ अ‍थर्व 3.30.1

तुम्हारे हृदय में सामनस्व हो, मन द्वेष रहित हो, एकीभाव हो. परस्पर स्नेह करो जैसे गौ अपने नवजात बछड़े से करती है.

  1. अनुव्रत: पितु: मात्रा भवतु संमना । जाया पत्ये मधुमती वाचं वदतु शन्तिवाम्‌ ॥ अथर्व3.30.2

पुत्र पिता की आज्ञा पालन करने वाला हो. माता के साथ समान मन वाला हो. स्त्री पति के लिए मधुर और शान्ति दायिनी वाणी बोले.

  1. मा भ्राताभ्रातरं द्विक्षन्मा स्वसारमुत स्वसा । सम्यञ्च: सव्रताभूत्वा वाचं वदत भद्रया ॥ अथर्व 3.30.3

    भाई भाई से द्वेष न करे, बहिन बहिन से द्वेष न करे.सब उचित आचार विचार वाले और समान व्रतानुष्ठायी बन कर आपस मे मृदु कल्याणकारी वाणी बोलें .


येन देवा न वियन्ति ना च विद्विषते मिथ: । तत्‌ कृन्मो ब्रह्म वो गृहे संज्ञान पुरुषेभ्य: ॥ अथर्व 3.30.4

जिस कर्म के अनुष्ठान से मनुष्य देवत्व बुद्धि सम्पन्न हो कर एक दूसरे से परस्पर मिलजुल कर रहते हैं, आपस में द्वेष नहीं करते , उन के इस कर्म से ज्ञान प्राप्त कर के एक्यमत उत्पन्न होता है.


ज्यायस्वन्तश्चित्तिनो मावि यौष्ट संराधयन्त: सधुराश्चरन्त: ॥ अन्यो अन्यस्मै वल्गु वदन्त एत सध्रीचीनान्व: संमनस्कृणोमि ॥ अथर्व 3.30.5

निज निज कर्मों के प्रति सचेत बड़ों के आदर्शों से प्रेरित अपनाअपना उत्तरदायित्व समान रूप से वहन करते हुए साथ साथ चल कर, प्रत्येक के लिए प्रिय वचन बोलते हुए एक मन से साथ साथ चलने वाले बनो.


समानी प्रपा सह वोsन्नभागा समाने योक्त्रेसह वो युनज्मि । सम्यञ्चो sग्निं सपर्तारा नाभिमिवाभित: ॥ अथर्व 3.30.6

तुम्हारे जलपानके स्थान एक ही हों, तुमारा अन्न सेवन का स्थान एक हो,(No untouchables , No five star culture ). इस संसार में समान उत्तरदायित्व के वहन में तुम्हें एक जुए में जोड़ता हूं. जिस के पहियों के नाभि चक्र के अरों – लट्ठों की तरह एक जुट हो कर अग्नि से यज्ञादि शुभ कर्म करो.


सध्रीचीनान्व संमनस्यकृणोम्येकश्नुष्ठीन्त्संवननेन सर्वान्‌ । देवाइवामृतं रक्षमाणा: सायंप्रात: सौमनसौ वो अस्तु ॥ अथर्व 3.30.7

इस उपदेश को ग्रहण कर के तुम सब प्रतिदिन सायं प्रात: की तरह सदैव एक दूसरे के सहयोगी बन कर,समान मन वाले हो कर समान भोग करने हो कर मातृदेवों पितृदेवों की तरह सौमनस्य से संसार की अमरता की रक्षा करो.

ref: http://web.archive.org/web/20170729041029/http://aryamantavya.in/vaidik-samajhwad/

यस्तु सर्वानि भूतान्यात्मन्येवानुपश्यति । सर्वभूतेषु चात्मान ततो न विजुगुप्सते ॥

yastu sarvāni bhūtānyātmanyevānupaśyati | sarvabhūteṣu cātmāna tato na vijugupsate ||

(6th Mantra, Isha Upanishad)

‘The Wise man, who realizes all beings as not distinct from his own Self, and his own Self as the Self of all beings, does not, by virtue of that perception, hate anyone.’

ref: https://www.wisdomlib.org/hinduism/book/isha-upanishad/d/doc122464.html

यस्मिन्सर्वानि भूतानन्यात्मैवभुद्विजानतः । तत्र को मोहः कः शोक एकत्वमनुपश्यतः ॥

yasminsarvāni bhūtānanyātmaivabhudvijānataḥ | tatra ko mohaḥ kaḥ śoka ekatvamanupaśyataḥ ||

(7th Mantra, Isha Upanishad)

‘What delusion, what sorrow can there be for that wise man who realizes the unity of all existence by perceiving all beings as his own Self?’

ref: https://www.wisdomlib.org/hinduism/book/isha-upanishad/d/doc122464.html


adrohaḥ sarvabhūteṣu karmaṇā manasā girā | anugrahaśca dānaṃ ca stāṃ dharma sanātanaḥ ||

The Eternal Duty (Sanātana Dharma) towards all creatures is the absence of malevolence towards them in thought, deed or word, and to practice compassion and generosity towards them. (Mahabharat Vana Parva 297,35)


satyam damas tapaḥ śaucaṁ santoṣaśca kṣamārjavam | jñānaṁ śamo dayā dānaṁ eṣā dharmaḥ sanātana ||

Sanātana Dharma consists of truth, discipline, austerity, purity, contentment, forgiveness and honesty, knowledge, peacefulness, compassion and generosity. (Garuda Purana 1:213:24)

also refer these 'related' answers for 'wholesome' overview:


Basava seems to have spoken against inequality:


"India has a long tradition of bright minds poking holes in some distinctly un-bright ideas. And one such mind lived over eight centuries ago in the south, blowing a hole so large through that disastrous institution called caste that a flood of people—about 6.5 million today—escaped the old order, arriving at an identity of their own. Of course, this identity, when formalized, invited its own peculiarities and contradictions, but now, as a section of the Lingayat community seeks legal recognition as a faith outside all-subsuming Hinduism, custodians of the majoritarian cause are gripped by understandable anxiety. And this despite the feelings that Basava, the 12th century intellectual preceptor of the Lingayats, expressed about such self-appointed custodians in his own day. “Loaded with the burden of the Vedas,” he pithily remarked, “the Brahmin is a veritable donkey.”

Basava could get away with saying outrageous things because he himself was a Brahmin. But he was a Brahmin repulsed by Brahminism, and the intellectual and material debilitations wreaked on society by caste. “False, utterly false,” he declared, “are the stories of divine birth. The higher type of man is the man who knows himself.” His was a kind of humanism that rejected man-made inequalities justified in the name of the divine, wedded though it was to the worship of Shiva. “On the same earth stands,” one of his vachanas goes, “the outcaste’s hovel, and the deity’s temple. Whether for ritual or rinsing, is not the water same?” So too, just like the outcaste Chandala, the Brahmin too was born from a human womb. Or “is there anybody in the world,” asked Basava, “delivered through the ear?” Those who were meant to supply the answer stewed instead in anger."

  • I thought you were looking for statements from 'Hindu scripture'... Apr 2, 2018 at 21:53
  • Are you saying Lingayats are not Hindu? They were, at the time of Basava. If you can find something else, more than welcome. The usual suspects are trying to close the question.
    – S K
    Apr 2, 2018 at 21:55
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    I'm just saying Hindu gurus' / acharyas' words are not same as 'scripture'. You should edit your question to allow for answers quoting famous people. Yes, noticed the close votes. Can't do much, just wait for it to be closed then vote to reopen. Apr 2, 2018 at 22:04
  • feel free to edit the q @sv.
    – S K
    Apr 3, 2018 at 0:17

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