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Since the Purusha Sukta of RigVeda is open to interpretations, I have read in certain places of various passages of YajurVeda having some passages that pertain to discrimination of some form in various rituals or otherwise, I found their claims without proof to be somewhat unsettling.

Since this community proves to be unbiased in terms of the Sanatana Dharm without getting in to politics, so I want to know if their are certain passages or not and what are those passages. If they are then what is the spiritual justification for it is written?

For example I have heard that the brahmin stops the yajna immediately if a shudra passes nearby.

  • There are hundreds of verses in Yajur Veda. Do you know where these verses are located? I could then check with my copy of the English translation of Yajur Veda. – Pradip Gangopadhyay Jul 17 at 10:33
  • No, I also by the way want to read the yajur veda, I know the best way is to learn Vedic Sanskrit and start reading, but I do not have time to do that, the other way is to read some English translation but here there is problem as many eminent people say that they have not served justice to it and also some political arguments, if there is some really authentic English source which is agreed by many experts both Indian and Western, please tell me I will definitely read it. – Aaryan BHAGAT Jul 17 at 12:29
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    @AaryanBHAGAT yamalesha.blogspot.com/2014/01/… – Rakesh Joshi Jul 17 at 15:45
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    @AaryanBHAGAT not sure who these "experts" are, but Purusha Suktam does not impose hierarchy... because the earth also originates from feet of Purusha, and earth is not inferior to anything else. Please read: goldenreed-hiranyayavetasa.blogspot.com/2020/05/… – RamAbloh Jul 17 at 18:05
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    See this answer hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/17420/18974. Acharya Sayana's commentaries would be best – Carmen sandiego Jul 18 at 2:34
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Yes, there are a few instances in both Taittirīya Saṃhitā and Brāhmaṇa (attached to Kṛṣṇa Yajurveda) and the Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa (Śukla Yajurveda) where it's said śūdras are not fit to conduct yajñas and that brāhmaṇas and kṣatriyas are superior to other varṇas (vaiśyas and śūdras).

Taittirīya Saṃhitā (Kṛṣṇa Yajurveda) on śūdras:

Prajapati desired, 'May I have offspring.' He meted out the Trivrt from his mouth. After it the god Agni was created, the Gayatri metre, the Rathantara Saman, of men the Brahman, of cattle the goat; therefore are they the chief, for they were produced from the mouth. From the breast and arms he meted out the Pañcadaśa Stoma. After it the god Indra was created, the Tristubh metre, the Brhat Saman, of men the Rajanya, of cattle the sheep. There fore they are strong, for they were created from strength. From the middle he meted out the Saptadaśa Stoma. After it the All-gods as deities were created, the Jagati metre, the Vairupa Saman, of men the Vaiśya, of cattle cows. Therefore are they to be eaten, for they were created from the receptacle of food. Therefore are they more numerous than others, for they were created after the most numerous of the gods. From his feet he meted out the Ekavinśa Stoma. After it the Anustubh metre was created, the Vairaja Saman, of men the Śūdra, of cattle the horse. Therefore the two, the horse and the Śūdra, are dependent on others. Therefore the Śūdra is not fit for the sacrifice, for he was not created after any gods. Therefore they depend on their feet, for they were created from the feet. The Trivrt is the breaths; the Pañcadaśa the half-months; the Saptadaśa Prajapati; these worlds are three; the Ekavinśa is the sun yonder. In this they rest, in this they find support. He who knows thus rests on this, finds, support in this.

Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa (Śukla Yajurveda) on śūdras and women:

31. And whilst not coming into contact with Śūdras and remains of food; for this Gharma is he that shines yonder, and he is excellence, truth, and light; but woman, the Śūdra, the dog, and the black bird (the crow), are untruth: he should not look at these, lest he should mingle excellence and sin, light and darkness, truth and untruth.

Some more pointers from Taittirīya and Śatapatha Brāhmaṇas, from A. C. Banerjea's Studies In The Brāhmaṇas:

Social Groups

As far as social groups are concerned, the situation is fairly simple, and the facts may be stated in outline. In the Śatapatha appears the off-quoted statement: 'the Varṇas are four; the Brāhmaṇa, the Rājanya, the Vaiśya and the Śūdra: (catvāro vai varṇāḥ; brāhmaṇo rājanyo vaiśyaḥ śūdro)'. It is significant that 'jāti' in the later sense of 'caste' is not known to the Brāhmaṇas, and it is difficult to decide whether 'varṇa' in these texts is better applicable to 'class' or 'caste'. We find, however, that the Ṛgvedic division of 'varṇa' into the 'ārya' and the 'dāsa' is replaced here by that of the Ārya or the Daivya and the 'asurya'. In the context of the Mahāvrata, the symbolic striving of the Ārya (or Arya) and the Śūdra on a piece of a round hide, results, according to the Tāṇḍya (V.5,14) in the victory of a member of the Arya caste (śūdrāryau carmaṇi vyāyacchete tayor āryaṃ varṇam ujjāpayanti). The Taittirīya (I.2,6.7), in the same context states that the Brahman represents the divine Varṇa, and the Śūdra that associated with the Asuras (daivyo vai varṇo brāhmaṇaḥ asuryaḥ śūdraḥ) and in the struggle the Brahman is victorious (brāhmaṇaḥ sañjayati).

Among these four varṇas, the eminence of the Brahman, and the servility of the Śūdra are fully established. The Taittirīya ('ete vai devāh pratyakṣaṃ yad brāhmaṇāḥ') refers to the Brahmans as veritable gods. The Śatapatha mentions them as 'human gods' (manuṣyadeva). The woman, Śūdra, the dog and the blackbird are, according to the latter, 'untruth', and are not to be seen (anṛtaṃ strī śūdraḥ sva kṛṣṇaḥ śakunis tāni na prekṣate). It again prescribes non-communication with a Śūdra for the consecrated, stating that, should there be occasion for him to converse with a Śūdra, let him say to one of these (the Brahman, Rājanya and Vaiśya) 'Tell this one so and so' ('yadi enaṃ śūdreṇa saṃvādo vinded eteṣam evaikam brūyād imam iti vicakṣv enam iti'; ŚB 3:1:1:10). The Aitareya lays down that the 'Brahman is higher than the kṣatriya' (bhuyān vai brāhmaṇaḥ kṣatriyād), and the Śūdra is 'the servant of another, to be removed and beaten at will' (anyasya preṣyaḥ kāmotthāpyo yathā-kāma-vadhyo).

The Rājanya and the Viś or Vaiśya are mutually interdependent. It is usually the Rājanya who subordinates the Vaiśya, as the latter is said to be subservient and not refractory to the nobility (kṣatrasyaiva tad viśam kṛtānukarāṃ anuvartamānaṃ karoti). Further, in the Aitareya, the Vaiśya-like progeny of the Kṣatriya who drinks curds, is described as 'anyasya balikṛt' (a tributary to another), 'anyasyādyaḥ' (to be lived upon by another) and 'yathākāmajeyaḥ' (to be oppressed at will). According to the Tāṇḍya, however, 'the Rājan' (king or Kṣatriya) is the child (embryo) of the Viś (people or Vaiśya), (viḍ vai saptadaśas tasyā rāja garbho), who could expel him (aparuddha-rājanya). This implies that the peasantry was sometimes more powerful than the nobility.

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  • Yajur veda samhita which was not written down does not have discriminatory verses. On the contrary YV 26.2 says God loves everyone. Discriminatory verse appear in layers other then the memorized Samhita parts suggesting the possibility of interpolation. – Pradip Gangopadhyay Jul 19 at 6:29
  • Are you saying the Brāhmaṇa part of Vedas was not memorized? How do you know this? Also what about the 'Śūdra is not fit for the sacrifice' reference from Taittirīya Saṃhitā (Kṛṣṇa Yajurveda)? It's not authentic? BTW, YV 26.2 is from Śukla Yajurveda which came later and is not present in any extant recensions of the original Kṛṣṇa Yajurveda (see this post) so one could argue 26.2 is itself a very late addition. @PradipGangopadhyay – sv. Jul 19 at 18:05
  • I have thought that only the mantra sections were memorized. Is there any authentic reference that says that the Brahman sections were also memorized? – Pradip Gangopadhyay Jul 20 at 11:19
  • If the Krsna Yajurveda came before the Sukla Yajurveda then the question is in what sense the word Sudra used, in the Varna sense or in the Jati sense? The interpretation of this kind of verse will depend on whether the caste system practiced today started after or before Krshna Yajurveda. The popular caste system is certainly not in the Vedas according to Max Mueller. – Pradip Gangopadhyay Jul 20 at 11:22
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    "The popular caste system is certainly not in the Vedas according to Max Mueller" - If by Vedas he just meant Rigveda Samhita he's probably right. But to say it didn't belong to any part of Vedas would be incorrect. Like all systems, caste system also evolved during the Vedic period which spanned a thousand years. See P V Kane's summary on evolution of caste system here. @PradipGangopadhyay – sv. Jul 21 at 17:01

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