The caste system, as existing in modern India, is a degraded form of varnasrama. The Wikipedia article is full of western speculation, but the proper definition is given in Bhagavad-gita:
Four [profesional] colorings were created by me, differentiated by qualities and activities. ...
The qualities (guna) mentioned in this verse are not just ...
This is one of the most misinterpreted verses of Ramcharitmanas. Tulsidas had no intention of showing women low by citing this verse.
We have to see the context of the verse:
This verse isn't told by Ram or Tulsidas himself. This was told by "sea god" in fearful state begging his life. He can tell anything in life saving condition. Furthermore ...
Yes, it is possible through the power of Panchakshari Mantra. As already discussed in question Mantras can have wonderful powers. Similarly through the power of Panchakshara Mantra even a Shudra can become a Brahmana in this very birth.
Panchakshara Mantra is "Namaha Shivaya" or "Om Namaha Shivaya" or "Shivaya Namaha."
In the ...
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (Bhāgavata Purāṇa) 7.11:
यस्य यल्लक्षणं प्रोक्तं पुंसो वर्णाभिव्यञ्जकम्।
यदन्यत्रापि दृश्येत तत्तेनैव विनिर्दिशेत् ॥३५॥
If one shows the symptoms of being a brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya or śūdra, as described above, even if he has appeared [born] in a different class, he should be accepted according to those symptoms of ...
Your confusion arises because you think that Hindu scripture supports the Hindu caste system as seen today. That is not the case. The term Brahmana in Hindu scripture has a different connotation from the Brahmana of Hindu caste system. Hindu scripture is talking of Varna which is dependent on conduct.
Bhrigu said, 'He is called a Brahmana in whom are ...
In 7.11 The Perfect Society: Four Social Classes) of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (Bhāgavata Purāṇa), Nārada Muni says
यस्य यल्लक्षणं प्रोक्तं पुंसो वर्णाभिव्यञ्जकम्।
यदन्यत्रापि दृश्येत तत्तेनैव विनिर्दिशेत् ॥३५॥
If one shows the symptoms of being a brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya or śūdra, as described above, even if he has appeared [born] in a different ...
In brief, the situation is:
A rationalist has analyzed a text written in C++ into English because both look similar. He has critisized C++ for "bad grammar". Certain extremists are behind his life just because they think C++ grammar is cool!
what Bhagavan criticized in detail
what his arguments are
K. S. Bhagawan is an Indian rationalist, Kannada ...
Caste is an inappropriate translation of the Varna system.
The word 'caste' was an English adaptation from the Portuguese term
'casta, which was first used by the Portuguese' in describing what
they perceived to be India's social structure. There is no term
'caste' in Sanskrit or any Indian language. The only reference to such
social structure in ...
I am supplementing the answer given by defining the term Sudra.
These teachings are not to be imparted to persons who are wicked,
haughty, barbarous, foul in conduct, hypocritical, given to sensuous
indulgences, interested exclusively in their worldly concerns, who are
without devotion to Me or who persecute My devotees.
Srimad Bhagavata Purnana ...
gAyatri mantra HAS TO BE recited by non brahmins also, Kshatriyas and vysyas too have right for vedic initiation/upanayana.
Secondly women too have right to study and chant vedas and conduct vedic rites. So it is good that non brahmins too are taking interest in this else the divine knowledge of vedas would keep on reducing among the masses.
No, it is not an interpolation. The Taittiriya Samhita of the Krishna Yajur Veda says the same exact thing as the Rig Veda Purusha Sukta hymn about the origin of the castes and the Devas from the body of the Purusha, or in the Yajur Veda's case, Prajapati.
Here is what it says in 7.1.1:
Prajapati [or Purusha] desired, 'May I have offspring.' He meted out ...
Based on the nature a person has acquired from material modes; he can be classified to be belonging to one of the varnas.
There are 4 varnas Viz. Brahmin,Kshatriya,Vaishya and Shudra.
The predominating modes that drive these four classes are:
Brahmin-Mode of Goodness
Kshatriya-Mode of passion
Vaishya -mix of passion and Ignorance
Shudra-mode of Ignorance
Are sudras allowed to read scriptures other than Vedas ?
Yes they are allowed to read and hear some Scriptures like the Puranas,Itihasas etc.
From Devi Bhagavatam:
18-24. At every Manvantara, in each Dvâpara Yuga, Veda Vyâsa expounds
the Purânas duly to preserve the religion. Veda Vyâsa is no other
person than Visnu Himself; He, in the form of Veda ...
The Brahmins can indeed raise war in times of emergencies or when their life is endangered or when the situation demands so.
The Shastras clearly allow it.
Manu Smriti ,Chapter 8,Sloka 348,says:
8.348. Twice-born men may take up arms when (they are) hindered (in the fulfilment of their duties, when destruction (threatens) the
twice-born castes (varna) ...
For your question 'So why they used to do that?' :
Quoting from Dr.Koenraad Elst's 1994 Essay "Caste: The view from Belgium":
Untouchability originates in the belief that evil spirits surround
dead and dying substances. People who work with corpses, body
excretions or animal skins had an aura of danger and impurity, so they
were kept away from ...
By Deeksha also (Guru Deeksha i mean) a Sudra can get rid of his Sudratva.
Gatam Sudrasya sudratvam ViprashyApi cha VipratA||
DeekshasamskAraSampanne JAtibhedo Na Vidyate ||
After Deeksha Samskara a Sudra does not remain a Sudra,neither a Vipra
remains a Vipra.There remains no differences of caste after Deeksha.
KulArnava Tantram,Chapter 14,...
Better we talk about Sukshma Sharir in prior. It is made up of Manas, Buddhi & Ahamkar + 5 tanmatras. A soul (Jeevatma) leaves the body in this form after death. This is a bag whose content decides the next birth of the soul after death.
This is explained by Swami Vivekananda (The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 2/Jnana-Yoga/The Cosmos: The ...
There is one reference in Mahabharata that clearly states that Varna is independent of birth and specifies conduct to be the only ground.
Maheshwara said, ‘..Neither birth, nor the purificatory rites, nor
learning, nor offspring, can be regarded as grounds for conferring
upon one the regenerate status.Verily, the conduct is the only
ground. All ...
No. He will be considered degraded then. He will be a Brahmin just for the namesake.
From Manu Smriti:
2.103. But he who does not (worship) standing in the morning, nor sitting in the evening, shall be excluded, just like a Sudra, from all
the duties and rights of an Aryan.
From VYasa Smriti , chapter 4:
A Brahmana, who has not studied the Vedas, ...
The answer depends on what you think is meant by caste. The answer is no if you think of caste as jati or community. The answer is yes if you think of caste as varna which should depend on conduct.
I am posting the relevant Gita verses on varna:
O great hero! The duties of Brahmanas, Ksatriyas, Vaisyas and also
Sudras have been divided according to ...
This question has more to do with human nature than Hinduism. When people were divided into castes based upon their work, some castes declared themselves superior and called others inferior. Worshiping Gods was considered superior and noble work, so that caste became superior. Cleaning, washing etc. were considered inferior work, so that caste became ...
Yes Varna migration is possible.
Change of Varna
Narada said, 'If in members born in a certain Varna the qualities
pertaining to another Varna are seen, they (the former) are to be
classified as belonging to the latter Varna.'
Srimad Bhagavata Purana VII.11.35
Sage Pulastya's views on how to become a Brahmana
Sage Pulastya said,"..by vows, by ...
Manusmriti 4.176 says
Let him avoid (the acquisition of) wealth and (the gratification of his) desires, if they are opposed to the sacred law, and even
lawful acts which may cause pain in the future or are offensive to
Hence, even any lawful act which may cause pain in the future and are offensive to men , like casteism/varna ...
I will post some references where Lord Shiva spoke about Varnasrama Dharma.
In SECTION CXLIII, Anushasana Parva of Mahabharata, Maheshwara says to Goddess Uma that varna comes by birth is just for sake of classification and later conduct alone decides Varna and Varna can be changed.
Neither birth, nor the purificatory rites, nor learning, nor
The wearing of the sacred thread is part of the Dharma (duty) of the first three castes because as the Manu Smriti describes, they are the ones who can read the Vedas:
87) But in order to protect this universe He, the most resplendent one, assigned separate (duties and) occupations to those who sprang from his mouth, arms, thighs, and feet.
88) To ...
There has already been a lot of discussion on converting to Hinduism and about caste system here on this site. The OP's question is slightly redundant. But I will answer the last part which hasn't been talked about here.
And, what practices for worship do the converts follow? If they follow
a certain sect's way, do they automatically get considered one of ...
The duties of Kshatriyas are mentioned in many scriptures. Let us take an example from the Kurma Purana:
The kshatriyas constitute the second of the four classes. They were created from Brahma’s arms. The duties of kshatriyas include dana (donation of alms), adhyayana (studying) and performing yajnas (sacrifices). But their primary duties are to take up ...
These "colors" are to be understood metaphorically or allegorically as Gunas (qualities). As mentioned in this answer, white represents Satva, Red represents Rajas and Black represents Tamas.
Furthermore, Bibek Debroy who translated the BORI critical edition of Mahabharata says the same in his translation.
ब्राह्मणानां सितो वर्णः क्षत्रियाणां तु लोहितः | ...
The verse quoted by Vedanta Desika in the Rahasyatrayasara is Garuda Purana 1.227.9
भक्तिरष्टविधा ह्येषा यस्मिन् म्लेच्छो ऽपि वर्तते
स विप्रेन्द्रो मुनिः श्रीमान् स याति परमां गतिम्
bhaktiraṣṭavidhā hyeṣā yasmin mleccho 'pi vartate
sa viprendro muniḥ śrīmān sa yāti paramāṃ gatim
I checked out the Rahasyatrayasara and it doesn't quote ...