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One particular verse of Vedas appearing in Purush Sukta is considered to be mother of birth-based casteism. This is perhaps the ONLY alleged reference to casteism in Vedas. All others allegations are too weak to be taken seriously even by detractors of Vedas. But this one, though equally flimsy, surprisingly became a super hit just like many stupid bollywood movies!

So it does merit some special attention.


About Purush Sukta

Purush Sukta is a hymn of 16 mantras from Vedas that appears in all 4 Vedas with slight variations. More PhDs have perhaps happened on Purush Sukta than on any other intellectual aspect of Vedas. The 11th mantra of the Sukta is the one that carries the blame of birth-based casteism.

To explain the mantra and conduct their PhDs, scholars have used a variety of approaches.

– Some simply translated it literally

– Some used their grammar prowess to justify casteism.

– Others (primarily those inspired by Arya Samaj) use the same prowess to reject it.

– Many other conclude that Purush Sukta is a later addition to Vedas because it is found in last Mandala of Rigveda. In fact they claim that the entire last Mandala of Rigveda is a later addition simply because they suspect so! So perhaps ghost of Shah Jahan lives in Red Fort because I suspect so!

(Its a different matter that they cannot explain why no version of Vedas without this 10th Mandala exists or how Purush Sukta is then found in other Vedas as well, not necessarily at end?)

(Sometimes we do feel that lack of scientific education has spoiled the entire world. Most people leading opinions in areas like history, literature, media etc are those who were more scared of science and mathematics than ghosts. Be it a Romila Thapar, or Wendy Doniger, or Max Muller or anyone else you may name. Thus destiny did not give them the opportunity to master scientific process of thinking and analytical faculty. Perhaps a serious study of Satyarth Prakash can help them compensate the terrible loss they have made!

We are of firm opinion that we need thoroughly scientific and analytical brains in these fields if we are to save our education system. An aptitude and reasoning test should be a MUST.)

 

About Casteism in Purush Sukta

Coming back to the Purush Sukta, there is this Mantra number 11 who is the culprit.

It literally says:

Brahmin was his mouth. Kshatriya were created from his arms. Vaishyas came from thighs and Shudras were born from his feet.

Thus Shudras are lowly people born from his feet and Brahmins are greatest ones born from his mouth. Hence the mantra is alleged to insult Shudras and glorify Brahmins. Kshatriyas and Vaishyas are somewhere between.

– As we said earlier, you can find a plethora of literature that critically analyzes this mantra and provides a wide amount of perspectives. Many explain in greater detail how this mantra led to modern day caste system through a chain of events and thought process.

– Others try to prove that the mantra itself is interpolation because no other mantra in Vedas can be used to justify caste-system. As we observed earlier, we are always too eager to drive out the mother so as not to offend any allegation-maker!

– The more sincere defenders of Vedas attempt to provide alternative meanings of the various words used in the mantra to justify why it does not talk of birth-based casteism. They showcase evidence from other literature on the alternative usages of these words and attempt to defend the allegations.

To my mind, even this is a fruitless exercise beyond a point. Because Vedas are much more to do with analysis and introspection and very less to do with grammar and etymology. After all language was derived from Vedas and not vice-versa.

(Swami Dayanand thus laid great emphasis on analytical reasoning. In his proposed educational curriculum, only first few years of educations, when intellectual faculty is limited, were dedicated to mugging up the basics. And rest of it was primarily focused upon developing the analytical and introspective faculty. Unfortunately, modern Vedic scholars spent years in only grammar and neglect science and maths completely. Thus their analytical reasoning is limited and they are unable to derive new insights and researches from Vedas. Like other Arts subject, research in these fields primarily implies inconsequential literature survey (Which may soon become obsolete due to advent of search engine technology and digitization!))

 

Analysis of the casteist mantra of Purush Sukta

Coming back to the main line of discussion, let us now analyze it deeper but a bit logically.

Let us reproduce the meaning again for readability:

Brahmin was his mouth. Kshatriya were created from his arms. Vaishyas came from thighs and Shudras were born from his feet.

1. How does the mantra imply that Brahmins are superior and Shudras are inferior? In fact if the mantra be literally true then Brahmins are the most disgusting and Shudras much purer.

Because vomit and sputum come from mouth. After perhaps urine and stool, they are the most detestable outputs of human body.

If a cherry falls on feet, you can still pick it up and eat it after washing. In fact most of the grains we eat may have touched ground or feet in some way or other. But if it gets into someone’s mouth and mixes with his saliva or sputum, you will not eat it for sure even after washing!

 

2. How can something be born from feet, thighs, mouth or arms? Even for a human being, the organs for reproduction are different. It is thus obvious that the mantra actually means something else. Foolish people take allegories literally.

By this logic, if a son is ‘Aankhon ka tara’ or Gem of the Eyes of his mother, it would imply that he resides in form of a star within an eye of his mother! Perhaps we would send to asylum those who take such similes literally.

 

3. The same modern ‘orthodox’ Hindu ideology also believes in rebirth of soul. In fact the very foundation of Vedic religion and all its offshoots is belief in rebirth of a soul that is unborn and undying. So the questions are:

How could ‘unborn’ soul be born from something? And if it is true, then rest of the Vedas and Vedic literature is false.

– What happens after we die? Now it is an established belief that one can change from Brahmin to Shudra etc in next birth depending upon Karmas or actions. In fact this is the lollypop that bigoted ‘Upper Castes’ offer to so-called Shudras – serve us for this birth and then become Brahmin in next birth.

So if migration of caste is possible in next birth, we would like to understand the mechanism. Is it that after death, soul goes back to Purusha’s feet or mouth or arm or thighs, transfer via the blood circulation system to next organ and take birth again?

– And what about animals and insects and birds? From where are they born and how do they change into Brahmin etc?

Does it not all sound stupid if literal translation were to be taken seriously?

 

4. And in any case, the Vedic Supreme Lord is always formless and omnipresent. So how can He have face, arms, legs in first place? Refer Yajurveda 40.8 which states so in unambiguous terms. 

 

5. Further even if we assume Supreme Lord to have shape and be able to reproduce from His various organs except the one that is used in humans for this purpose, how does that imply birth-based caste system? How can one conclude from this mantra that Brahmins will take birth in family of Brahmins alone and Shudras in family of Shudras? Brahmins or Shudras or whatever should take birth directly from body of Supreme. As per the literal meaning of mantra, if someone takes birth from womb of a mortal woman and NOT directly from God Himself, then he or she can be neither of the 4 Varnas. They are someone else!

 

6. What more, the mantra is in past tense. So at best one can conclude that Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras were born from various organs of a queerly formed Purusha at inception of creation. But none of them survive till today. The Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras of today are born hardly a few decades ago. But as per literal meaning of mantra, the birth has already happened. It does not say that God continues to run a factory for future production.

Further none of modern human beings actually came from anywhere except mother’s womb. So none of these modern claimants of Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra are genuine claimants. They all are fake claimants.

7. Had someone taken birth from some woman’s mouth, we could have still have pretended to act superstitious and assert that ” Since the mother is Supreme God, the newborn is a Brahmin”. But still, the condition of birth from mouth, hands, legs or thighs ALONE constitutes a valid birth to qualify to be called either of Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya or Shudra. Rest of us – normal mortals – who originate from womb of our mothers and not from hands, legs, mouth etc are perhaps aliens from outer universe controlled by some other God as per literal meaning of the verse!

8. Since all births on planet earth happen ONLY from mothers, thus if we are to exist (which we all do!) then all women who give birth should be God themselves as per the mantra. And all men should be something other than either of 4 Varnas. We have no objection to people respecting all women as God. But at the same time, all men should be anything but humans since they did not come from mouth, arms or legs of any woman.

Very clearly, the mantra makes no sense if one were to take it literally.

What is pity that such a level of nonsense held sway over us for centuries, made us harassed paupers and yet we refuse to get rid of the crap! 

Dalits of Hinduism

Author:
Series: Discover Hinduism, Book 2
Genres: Religion, Society

First ever book on the misconceptions of birth based caste system in Hinduism! This book will dispel all myths and establish the principles of social equality that form the foundations of Hinduism.

More info →

हिन्दू धर्म के दलित

हिन्दू धर्म पर जातिगत भेदभाव के आरोपों का सटीक उत्तर देती एक मात्र पुस्तक!

More info →

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Disclaimer:  We believe in "Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam" (entire humanity is my own family). "Love all, hate none" is one of our slogans. Striving for world peace is one of our objectives. For us, entire humanity is one single family without any artificial discrimination on basis of caste, gender, region and religion. By Quran and Hadiths, we do not refer to their original meanings. We only refer to interpretations made by fanatics and terrorists to justify their kill and rape. We highly respect the original Quran, Hadiths and their creators. We also respect Muslim heroes like APJ Abdul Kalam who are our role models. Our fight is against those who misinterpret them and malign Islam by associating it with terrorism. For example, Mughals, ISIS, Al Qaeda, and every other person who justifies sex-slavery, rape of daughter-in-law and other heinous acts. Please read Full Disclaimer.
  • Casteism was the main reason of downfall of India. It was the seed born by some greedy people who wanted to exploit people for their own interest and used this for their own propganda. If there would not have been casteism in India, India would have been united and no invaders would dare to attack on this country. Unfortunately, this virus is still alive in India and now politicians want to keep it alive for their own agenda.