An answer to what are the duties of children born from an intermixing of castes?, beautifully describes that a chandala is one born of the pratiloma union of a Sudra man and a Brahmin woman and their traditional duties are mainly related to death.

In a documentary about Varanasi’s Dom Raja, the Untouchable Gatekeepers of Heaven, the main person of the documentary states that that by caste the chandalas were Brahmins but due to a curse by Lord Shiva (at 1:18), they became chandala and started tending to dead bodies.

Based (or not) on the above two, I would like to have an in-depth insight about the origin of Chandalas:-

  1. Does it mean that any offspring of any union ever, of a Brahmin woman and Sudra man is a chandala and must take on such duties OR was the case such that some time in yore, such a union produced the entire chandala caste (As per the documentary it seems like a hereditary profession) OR it was hereditary and in future any such offspring would join the hereditary lot as well?
  2. What is the curse by Lord Shiva, being referred to, due to which Chandalas became so?
    (This point is related to the first point - is it that Shiva cursed any child born of such a pratiloma marriage to be a chandala or in the days of yore, when such an offspring was produced, all his descendants were cursed to become chandalas)
  • It makes sense for the profession to be hereditary, because the combination of parents is not something that would have been common in those days, and even if it was, it doesn't seem logical to beget children from such a union if they were destined to be the funeral people.
    – Surya
    Jan 7, 2021 at 16:34
  • 1
    Maybe it is something like the Suta profession; the first generation was from a Brahmani and a Kshatriya, and subsequent generations were hereditary.
    – Surya
    Jan 7, 2021 at 16:36


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