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Do Sruti texts mention birth-based or guna-based varna?[1].

To elaborate (further), are there any instances in Śruti scriptures which explicitly support either or both of birth-based varna and guna-based varna?

Note: I understand that there is already a question regarding Birth-based alone since its OP was only interested in that aspect but this question is asking a more holistic question and hence not duplicate. Thanks.

[1]: Shout out to user ram for the inspiration.

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Do Sruti texts mention either or both of birth-based varna and guna-based varna?

There are several Sruti texts that state Varna is based on birth. I've listed a few below:

Chhandogya Upanishad 5.10.7 - Those whose conduct has been good here will shortly get birth such as a Brahmana (brahmana yonim), a kshatriya, or a vaishya. But those whose conduct has been evil will be born in evil births shortly such as the birth of a dog (shva yonim), or as a pig, or a chandala.

The word used is"yonim", and it means birth, and is used to refer to birth as a dog (shva), and pig, and since it's also used along with the names of castes, it must be taken to mean that one is born into those castes just like animals, so it doesn't mean being born in a family of people who identify as Brahmanas or anything like that.

Maitrayani Samhita 1.4.1 - We know not if we are brahmins or non-Brahmins. ...Therefore, when recounting our gotra-pravaras, say that the devas are our fathers.

This verse from the Maitrayani shakha of the Krishna Yajur Veda is referred to in Jaimini's Mimamsa Sutras, and commented on by Shabara swami. The sutra reads:

On account of the failings of women, (there can be no certainty regarding one's caste); specially as the son belongs to the progenitor.

The vedic verse that the sutra is based on is given above. Shabara says:

The meaning of the eulogistic passage is that even a non-Brahmana would become a Brahmana by the recounting of his pravaras [meaning a non-Brahmana can claim he is a Brahmana by recounting Brahmanical gotra pravaras, and hence it is necessary for the Brahmana to also recount his pravaras, as one can never be sure of one's Brahmanahood]. It is difficult to know if one is really a Brahmana; - and this is what is figuratively spoken of as 'we do not know'; and the difficulty in knowing it for certain is due to the 'failings of women'.

This vedic verse shows that caste is determined by gotra pravaras (ancestral lineages), and hence caste is inherited and based on birth.

If caste was determined by guna or self-identification/self-claiming, like the followers of Vivekananda and reformist Vedantins believe, then this verse would not mention gotra pravaras at all since it wouldn't be relevant.

And another verse is from the Ashwamedha section of the Taittiriya Brahmana, which reads:

‘When a Sudra woman is the mistress of an Arya, she does not seek wealth for prosperity’. Therefore they (the priests) do not bestow royal consecration on the son of a Vaishya woman."

This shows that only kshatriyas by birth are allowed to be consecrated as kings, and no other caste.

The pre-Ramanuja Sri Vaishnava scholar Yamunacharya has stated:

Every man has some Vedic rites for which he is not qualified: the Brahmin is not qualified for the royal consecration, the Kshatriya for the ritual drinking of soma.

So it is proven that the Vedas talk about a birth-based caste system.

  • Please clarify what do you mean when you say caste? I have explicitly asked regarding varna i.e., classification into Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra, etc,. – DirghaChintayanti 16 hours ago
  • @DirghaChintayanti By caste I mean varna; Brahmana, kshatriya, vaishya, shudra, etc. – Ikshvaku 11 hours ago

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