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I want to know that in Hindu scriptures from Vedas to Puranas to Smritis to Shastras, what are the laws regarding avarna people (people outside of varna system)? I want to see some actual quotes. I saw on Wikipedia that Dalits are mostly Hindu but Dalits fight for rights like right to enter temples. But many say that avarna people cannot enter temples as per Shastras. I know the Bhagavat Gita verse where Krishna says that even if someone is from 'lower' birth, he can achieve Krishna. But apart from that, are there other scriptures which say the same? I have seen some derogatory stuff about Shudras in Puranas and Shastras like Apastambha Dharmashastra. But never seen any rulings on avarnas.

The question becomes - why do Dalits even follow Hinduism? And what are they even fighting for if Hinduism itself doesn't accept them or often do not even acknowledge their existence? Does Hinduism really have any space for these avarnas/Dalits?

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  • Idk they don't have to follow it, but at the same time if a Dalit shows good moral and religious character the laws prescribed for them are to be disregarded.
    – Haridasa
    Commented Mar 4 at 23:15

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A Chandala who possesses devotion and good moral character is to be respected and I will give a few scriptural examples;

Padma Purana Section 78-85 chapter 66: "The brāhmaṇas who have mastered the Vedas should especially have (the marks made) by fragrant sandal or gopīcandana. By having (the marks) even a cāṇḍāla would be purified. Even if a cāṇḍāla, one who would have the vertical, soft, pleasing (sectarian) mark, would be purified, and is always respected by brāhmaṇas. When, in a house of cāṇḍālas a Tulasī(-plant) is seen, the Tulasī from there should be taken with a devoted heart." source

Bhagavata Purana Section 7-8 chapter 33: "Oh how wonderful it is that even a Cāṇḍāla (the lowest-born person) becomes superior and worthy of respect simply because Your name is on the tip of his tongue. Those persons of noble behavior who take your name have (the merit of having) performed penance, sacrifices and baths in holy waters, and Vedic studies (Or: It is as a result of doing these meritorious acts in the previous life that they take your name in this birth)." source

Garuda Purana Dhanavantri Samhita CCXXXVII: "Even a single act of obeisance unto Krishna, beautifully black as a pregnant rain cloud, the immeasurable reality, the over-lord of all regions, done with true love and humility, instantaneously serves to purify even a Chandala (lit: eater of dog’s flesh). The elevated status, which a person attains by laying himself prostrate before Krishna, can not be acquired by performing even a hundred horse sacrifices." source

Regarding Traditional Justification for Untouchability, I cite Apastamba Dharmasutra with George Buhler's footnotes on Haradatta where he states; "Haradatta explains Bâhya, 'outcasts,' by 'robbers, such as Ugras and Nishâdas.' But, I think, it means simply such outcasts as live in the forest or outside the village in the Vâdî, like the Dhers, Mahârs, and Mângs of the present day. Most of these tribes, however, are or were given to thieving." source

Conclusion: A Chandala or other mixed caste with good moral character and who is religious deserves to be respected and live within society and are entitled to religious acts except for those reserved for Brahmins and other Varnas as per shastra. Certain groups in India likely lived very tribalistic or rural lives in society and when more urban and settled communities came there were some negative or perceived negative interactions leading to the outcasting of certain groups. One way I look at it is if I was trapped in the Amazon rainforest and met a tribe of people living there I wouldn't trust them due to fear of the unknown as I don't know their cultures, rituals, and rites. Also, the bad interactions may have fueled the divide. Regarding Brahmins specifically, they tended to avoid most of the common men in society as they had many rules prescribed to them and if they didn't follow them karmic and spiritual consequences would certainly be a result. Later on, it seems Chandalas were semi-integrated into society and did jobs, which nobody else wanted. Brahminas specifically weren't allowed to come into contact with them for the aforementioned rules. During the writing of Puranas historically speaking colliding with the Bhakti movement, reformation was made although many still followed the older Vedic rules (which I see no problem in) regarding Brahmins.

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