After all a so-called "low-caste" person could go somewhere else and claim to be of a "higher" caste. Do scriptures talk about such cases and how to detect them?

  • There are too many similar questions about caste – Akhil Apr 22 '18 at 4:49

Yes, here is what the Manusmriti says about how to find out the caste of someone whose parentage is unknown; meaning you want to know the caste he was born into but unable to do so because you don't know the caste of his parents, so you would then infer based on the behavior of the person.

Verses 10.57 to 10.60:

The man of impure origin, who is devoid of caste, unknown, a non-Aryan, even though having the appearance of an Aryan,—one shall discover by his acts.—(57)

Snobbishness, harshness, cruelty, and proneness to neglect duties, mark the man of impure origin in this world.—(58)

The base-born man bears the character of his father, or of his mother, or of both; he can never conceal his origin.—(59)

Even when one is born in a great family, if there be a confusion regarding his parentage, he surely imbibes the traits thereof, to a greater or lesser extent.—(60)


Viṣṇu (16.17).—‘All members of the mixed castes may be found out by their deeds, whether their descent has been kept secret or is generally known.’

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    @SethuSrivatsaKoduru Yes, if they need money then they can take up other craftsmen jobs. – Ikshvaku Jan 1 at 14:18
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    Yes, regardless of caste, all members of society and their spiritual and physical needs would be taken care of by the king and brahmanas. "Today all this is irrelevant" - well surrendering to God is most certainly relevant today, but the varnashrama dharma institution is gone today and it's mostly irrelevant at the society level. – Ikshvaku Jan 2 at 15:19
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    Gita can be read anyone, that is correct. Traditionally upanishads were never written down but chanted orally, and shudras would not learn about philosophy from upanishad verses but through lecture by brahmanas. – Ikshvaku Jan 2 at 15:21
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    @SethuSrivatsaKoduru I think there is a group of beings known as the "pitr devatas" that are "pitrs" for certain classes of beings. These pitr devas might not literally be your ancestors. And the shraddha offerings go to these pitra devatas. Shraddha is good because it saves these devatas from hell and gives them fruits. And in return they will help you in life. – Ikshvaku Jan 2 at 18:32
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    @SethuSrivatsaKoduru Temporary heaven is rewarded for punya. Temporary hell is rewarded for sins. And yes, lower castes are allowed to drink liquor, eat garlic, etc. – Ikshvaku Jan 2 at 18:35

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