5

The critics of the birth-based caste system and those who support the behavior-based caste system, cite these verses from the Bhagavad Gita in support of their theory:

Bg 18.41 — Brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas, vaiśyas and śūdras are distinguished by the qualities born of their own natures in accordance with the material modes, O chastiser of the enemy.

Bg 18.42 — Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, knowledge, wisdom and religiousness – these are the natural qualities by which the brāhmaṇas work.

Bg 18.43 — Heroism, power, determination, resourcefulness, courage in battle, generosity and leadership are the natural qualities of work for the kṣatriyas.

Bg 18.44 — Farming, cow protection and business are the natural work for the vaiśyas, and for the śūdras there are labor and service to others.

Now at first glance, one might think that someone's outward behavior as listed above determines their predominant guna.

But the problem with this theory is that people's gunas and behaviors constantly change, people can make their behavior change through practice, and people have a mish-mash of the qualities listed above that aren't cleanly divided along those lines.

So, one must resort to determining the person's actual guna composition through some other means.

How do the supporters of behavior-based caste theory go about determing someone's guna composition? Through siddhis?

  • 4
    In modern times, varna has become irrelevant. So what would anybody achieve by trying to determine somebody's guna or varna? – Lazy Lubber Feb 2 at 19:58
  • 2
    Shudras are the worst affected by the birth-based caste system because they can't attain Jnana even if they are leading a righteous life. As the manusmriti itself says in verse 9.335, if a shudra is possesing all those qualities, they should at least be promoted to a vaishya status to attain Jnana in this life. – Ajay Varma Feb 2 at 21:01
  • 1
    @AjayVarma It's not talking about this life, it's talking about a Shudra's next life. Being born is a Shudra is due to committing lots of sins in previous lives. – Ikshvaku Feb 2 at 21:44
  • 2
    @LazyLubber, "In modern times, varna has become irrelevant" - citation required. – ram Feb 2 at 23:42
  • @LazyLubber "In modern times, varna has become irrelevant. " - Such is the fate of Kali Yuga. – Ikshvaku Feb 3 at 0:26

You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .