21 votes

What is the purpose of the caste system? How has it changed?

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: (God says) ...
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21 votes
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Can a Sudra become a Brahmin in 'this' birth?

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 ...
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18 votes
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Relevance of "Dhol Ganwar Shudra Pashu Nari, Sakal Taadana Ke Adhikari"

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 ...
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17 votes
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Can a Brahmana raise a war or kill someone?

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: ...
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17 votes
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Why is killing a brahmin considered sin while killing other caste people is not?

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 ...
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17 votes

What are the counter-arguments within Hinduism(scriptures) against the Birth based Varna and Caste system?

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (Bhāgavata Purāṇa) 7.11: यस्य यल्लक्षणं प्रोक्तं पुंसो वर्णाभिव्यञ्जकम्। यदन्यत्रापि दृश्येत तत्तेनैव विनिर्दिशेत् ॥३५॥ [Nārada Muni:] If one shows the symptoms of being a brāhmaṇa, ...
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16 votes

Any references where varna/caste is determined independent of birth/parentage?

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 विनिर्दि...
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15 votes
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Are Sudras not allowed to study any scriptures of Hindusim?

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 ...
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15 votes
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Why Gayatri mantra is widely recited by non-bramhins nowadays which was once the stronghold of only the brahmins?

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 ...
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Is the Rig Veda Purusha Suktam hymn an interpolation?

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 ...
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14 votes

What is the purpose of the caste system? How has it changed?

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 ...
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14 votes

K.S. Bhagavan's critique of Adi Shankara

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 ...
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14 votes

Are Sudras not allowed to study any scriptures of Hindusim?

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 ...
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14 votes
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If a Brahmin doesn't perform duties as per his varna, is he still called as brahmin?

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, ...
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13 votes
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Are we encouraged to become a brahmin?

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 ...
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13 votes

Any references where varna/caste is determined independent of birth/parentage?

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 ...
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Is Janeva (Yajñopavītam or sacred thread) limited to Brahmins only?

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 ...
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12 votes

Why did Hindus practice untouchability?

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 ...
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12 votes

Can a Sudra become a Brahmin in 'this' birth?

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 ...
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12 votes

Colors of different varṇas: Is it their physical complexion or their qualities?

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. ...
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12 votes
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Why casteism (varṇa system) is based on birth instead of present guṇa-s & karma-s?

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 ...
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12 votes

Examples of Varna migration in Hindu mythology?

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 ...
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Is the Manusmriti written to favor a particular Varṇa?

NOTE: Manusmriti critics have cherry-picked certain verses from the Manusmriti to show that Manu was unfair towards Shudras and partial towards Brahmins. The purpose of this answer is to provide the ...
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11 votes

Why did Hindus practice untouchability?

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. ...
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11 votes

Why casteism (varṇa system) is based on birth instead of present guṇa-s & karma-s?

The four castes are mentioned in Vedas itself. ब्राह्मणोऽस्य मुखमासीद् बाहू राजन्यः कृतः । ऊरू तदस्य यद्वैश्यः पद्भ्यां शूद्रो अजायत ॥१२॥ Braahmanno-Asya Mukham-Aasiid Baahuu Raajanyah Krtah ...
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11 votes
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Kshatriyas and alcohol consumption

Kshatriyas and Vaishyas are allowed to drink certain forms of alcohol. Kumarila Bhatta discusses this in this excerpt from his Tantra Vartika, one of his commentaries on Jaimini's Purva Mimamsa ...
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11 votes
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Is it permissible to deny the authority of Manusmriti?

Argument 1a) 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 ...
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11 votes

Can't Shudras read the Bhagavad Gita?

There are no specific restrictions for reading and understanding Bhagavad Gita based on castes, differentiation apart from two cases, where Krishna himself emphasizes on to whom this Gita knowledge ...
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11 votes

Shudras and learning Sanskrit

Various Śūdra and Dalit people have made contributions to Sanskrit literature, so they must have been able to learn Sanskrit to begin with, including the following - King Śūdraka (apparently Śūdra ...
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