- Vedas and Daas
- Rakshas in Vedas and Hinduism
- The reality of caste system – 1
- Vedas and Shudra
- Vedas and Dignity of Labor
- Vedas and Dasyu in Hinduism
- Is Purush Sukta of Vedas casteist?
- There is no caste-system in Vedas
- The reality of caste system – Next Move
- The reality of caste system – 2
- Brahmin, Shudra….I don’t care
Vedas are the foundation of birth-based caste discrimination. It is in Vedas – the oldest scriptures of Hindus – that the seeds of casteism were laid. And since then exploitation of certain sections of population became mainstay of Hinduism. The conditions aggravated further later, but the foundation was in Vedas – the ultimate authority for all Hindus. And because Vedas are ultimate unquestionable authority for a Hindu, there was no way for the rot of caste-system to be eliminated from the society.
The above stated belief system seems to be the predominant opinion regarding origin of caste system infecting a wide diaspora of so-called ‘intellectual’ mindsets.
Win-win for all
- Intellectuals from other religions use this as main excuse to hate Hinduism. So those involved in conversion from Hinduism and justifying the conversions done by them or their ancestors would find a convenient justification in blaming it on ‘Vedic’ birth-based caste system. Its a winning proposition for them thus.
- Casteist self-proclaimed Brahmins and so-called Upper-castes use Vedas as the tool to defend their ‘divine’ special rights regardless of their actual deeds. For them, of course, nothing could be more lucrative than an order from Vedas to continue giving an MBBS degree to all future generations of a doctor regardless of whether they actually could even spell ‘medicine’!
- Dalit leaders including Ambedkar have used this to explain discrimination in society and further their own political agenda. Who would like to destroy the entire vote-bank by destroying the very foundation of caste-system in totality? So even though Ambedkar admitted that the only means for him to interpret Vedas were works of western indologists since his own knowledge was grossly inadequate, he chose to still ridicule the Vedas even though in other areas like Aryan Invasion Theory he vehemently criticized the western view!
- Even someone like Mohandas Gandhi – on whose name the recent ‘Gandhian’ movement against corruption led by Anna Hazare made history -was bugged by this syndrome. Despite his other apparently mature views, with regards to birth-based caste-system, Mohandas Gandhi held firm belief that it was divine and essence of Hinduism. So instead to refusing to accept the very foundation of casteism, he chose to legitimize it further by giving a special name to certain people – Harijan. What could be a greater insult to them than giving them a tag in same manner as Arab looters would put chains over their slaves aka Non Arab Muslims and call them ‘Mawali’? And now they say that ‘Mawali’ actually has a noble meaning! But blood-caste theory was so deeply entrenched that calling dark people of Africa as ‘raw naked Kafirs’ or ‘chandals’ or calling for ‘purity of race’ amounted to service of humanity! (refer http://www.trinicenter.com/WorldNews/ghandi4.htm for some references)
In fact the reason why ‘Harijan’ seemed to be the right word for so-called Shudras is that as per foolish neo-Hindu castiest views, Hari Bhakti was the ONLY spiritual option for Shudras as they were disallowed access to any Vedic literature! So by calling them ‘Harijans’ one can serve votebank of bigoted ‘upper castes’, neutral intellectuals and even ‘lower-castes’. And indeed the trick worked if we were to assess the popularity of this word with a demeaning intent.
We do not deny Mohandas’ contribution to society and nation. We admire his charisma. But for sure there are thousands of more unbiased non-dogmatic minds born in this nation who have contributed as much if not more. So despite all that Mohandas Gandhi is claimed to have done for the nation, we can no way admire someone who supported apartheid – the worst of the crimes – so vocally. Our firm belief is that the over-hype and imposition of Gandhi on India at cost of utter negligence of so many other role models that this oldest civilization of world has produced is driven by reasons that are different from an unbiased analysis of personalities and their concrete contributions. We need not elaborate on views of his protege Nehru whose ‘Discovery of India’ clearly proves his intent and wisdom. But all that is not the focus of this article. The crux is that even so-called reformer politicians could not rise over the myth of Vedic caste system for various selfish and non-intellectual reasons.
(None other Swami Dayanand had the guts to proclaim in clear terms, with evidences and reason, that no one is born Brahmin. A duffer born to a so-called Brahmin is worse than a Shudra, and a scholar born in family of even a so-called Chandal is a Brahmin. So those who call certain people ‘Shudra’ on basis of birth are actually duffers and worse than Shudras themselves.)
We are fully with Annaji on the tirade against corruption but pray that he is using Gandhism as a political ploy but unequivocally rejects the casteist and racist views of Mohandas.
- Western indologists, of course, found a golden opportunity in the so-called Vedic caste-system to dissuade Hindus from their foundations. They knew that most Indian intellectuals simply parrot what their white-Aakaas (Lords) utter and that is exactly what is happening even till today. They had to do nothing great when foolish Hindus were still clinging to termite-hill of casteism as their foundation despite all the slavery and downfall it had brought to them over last thousand years and even more. All British had to do was to propagate the garbage works on Vedas by their paid indologists in lingua-franca – English – and make it the predominant view on Vedas worldwide. After all a false marketed smartly becomes a truth! Even a toilet cleaner advertised well becomes drink of success!
Thus we see that there were vested interests of all – the loser, the victor, the lawyer, the judge, the neutral observer of drama – in ensuring that caste-system and the blame of its foundation in Vedas be continued and furthered.
But Agniveer cannot tolerate it
There were from time to time voices raised against this stupid caste system. Those were the great men who did so and Agniveer hails them as role models. But even they could not go to the root and question the very foundation of this hoax – ‘that Vedas sanction birth-based caste system’. So their efforts only led to dissuasion of masses away from their own foundation – Vedas – and helped the enemy forces even more.
If someone calls your mother an indecent lady, you do not expel your mother. You instead explore the truth of the allegation, defend your mother if there is no such evidence and reject her only when there is a conclusive evidence to contrary.
But those who can reject their mother at the very first hearsay are simply acting insane. What other adjectives can be used for them is left to readers. However the crux is that Vedas are mother for entire humanity – the first source of knowledge and wisdom and direction like mother’s milk. Those who neglect the mother or abuse her without any logical basis are bound to perish!
The humanity is facing troubles today because it neglected the mother. And we, the natives of this subcontinent, suffer even more ignominy and ironies and tragedies and problems because we were closest to mother in recent history and yet chose to neglect her, or even malign her. We truly deserved greater punishments and we rightly received them!
However there are no surprises that we as foolish Hindus act so insane. After all we derive our inspiration from fake and bogus stories from dubious texts that glamorize Sita’s exile by Rama and Harishchandra selling his wife! Even God can help only those who desire to help themselves!
And that is exactly why legends like Swami Dayanand and their progeny like Agniveer stand so strongly in defense of Vedas. Even if all other children of the mother choose to harm her or neglect her out of intent or foolishness, that does not grant each of us an automatic divine approval to also neglect her and act even more foolish. The Law of Karma never spares anyone.
Note that the above is not an emotional hyperbole. Because such views if understood without depth may lead to blinded fanaticism. Someone may call Quran or Bible his mother and become defensive, other may consider Somalian piracy as its mother and become aggressive and so on. This would lead only to fanaticism.
On contrary, the above is a well-analyzed viewpoint emanating as a result of a reasoning process. And we are very clear that if Vedas indeed are source of anything illogical, we shall reject even the Vedas in same manner as one amputates his own limb if having gangrene.
The articles on the site would give you ample insights into this reasoning process. With regards to caste-system, we have already covered Vedic viewpoint in detail in several other articles. Readers are requested to specially review http://agniveer.com/888/caste-system/
However one popular issue still remains to be explained to complete the puzzle. This is with regards to one particular verse of Vedas appearing in Purush Sukta that 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!
The proper intuitive obvious meaning of the mantra
However if the mantra were to be analyzed in context of rest of the mantras and more intelligently, definitely there is a whole branch of knowledge pertaining to creation that can be researched from the Sukta.
One can review the Chapter on Creation (Srishtividyavishay) in Introduction of Vedas (Rigvedadibhashyabhumika) by Swami Dayanand for a more logical and detailed contextual analysis. You can get it from Download section of agniveer.com
However an intuitive understanding of the mantra is very simple even for a layman if we are willing to remove the glasses of prejudice and mindset. It means exactly what has been stated by all translators:
Brahmin was his mouth. Kshatriya were created from his arms. Vaishyas came from thighs and Shudras were born from his feet.
The only issue is that Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra do not refer to any souls or humans.
They refer to Varnas or properties that can be chosen.
And ‘He’ refers to not only the Supreme Lord as a whole but any self-enriching ecosystem – be it society, organization, individual or universe. After all everything is inspired by the Supreme Lord!
– So the mantra means that any ecosystem necessarily consists of 4 Varnas or properties or qualities or components – Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra. Brahmin means intellect and knowledge. Kshatriya means strength and valor. Vaishya means management, balance and stability. Shudra means rest of the qualities including ignorance.
– A smart system would utilize the 4 components in most optimized manner.
So a successful society would have intellectuals or Brahmins as head, Warriors or Kshatriyas as protecting hands, Vaishyas or business managers as stability providers or bone marrow producers (femur or thigh bone is the strongest bone of body) and rest of population would be utilized to provide support and basic infrastructure for the society.
A successful company would also organize itself accordingly.
The Supreme also creates the universe in a manner that these 4 components are balanced.
– As human beings, even we have all these 4 within us. But as they are Varnas (choice) we have option to increase or decrease their magnitude in various aspects of our lives. Note however that there is no binary choice of either having or rejecting a property. All the 4 must exist, only their proportions may vary.
– Our brain represents the Brahmin which should be nurtured to extent possible. We should have strong arms to protect ourselves. A very healthy body and good blood circulation to ensure our longevity and powerful feet to be dynamic.
– There is no human who does not have any of these components or properties within him. And there is no meaningful activity that can be performed in absence of all these 4. After all we are a complete being and not parts.
So when we are even studying Vedas – we use the Brahmin to understand the essence, Kshatriya to ensure we can study peacefully and not be disturbed by every other mosquito or nuisance, Vaishya to manage the procurement of Vedic text and lamp, and Shudra to actually sit down, switch on the lamp and perform all manual tasks necessary to successfully complete the study. If even one of the Varnas is ignored, the task may not be successfully and sustainably completed.
Buddhism focused only on Brahmin and hence perished in Afghantistan to attacks from West Asian looters. Wahabis got exclusively into warfare and made world a dangerous place. Hindus became too much of managers/ Vaishyas or Jugaadbaaz and lost their strength and dignity. Pakistan made Shudras out of its population by neglecting education and training and is nearing a failed state due to dominance of barbarians.
– In society, we, for sake of simplicity, call a person Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya or Shudra based on his predominant profession. However this is only a simplistic approximation. In reality, each of us has a Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra within us or else we would not be able to even survive for a while.
You can clearly see that with this very logical interpretation, the entire Varna system as well as the mantra becomes so comprehensible and easy to understand. Of course, with further introspection and analysis including study of language, we can derive even deeper meanings from this vastly intellectual mantra from one of the most wonderful Suktas of Vedas.
But the broad essence is very obvious and intuitive, if observed without any baggage of post-dated bias and preconceived notions.
– That the particular mantra is not to be taken literally but as an analogy.
– That Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra represent 4 properties that pervade all
– That these 4 properties are Varnas or choices. Which means that we have a choice to increase or decrease their magnitude in various aspects of our lives.
– That the 4 organs of body – head/face/mouth, arms, thighs and legs – represent the qualities of the 4 varnas. And if we consider the broader meaning of Uru used for Vaishya, it implies the entire central system – digestive system to thighs. In fact in Atharvaveda version of the mantra, the word Madhya meaning Center is used instead of Uru to clarify this better.
– Thus any ecosystem which provides appropriate roles & responsibilities to these 4 properties or people representing these properties is bound to be successful – be it an individual or society. Those who try to use feet for head or vice versa are bound to perish.
And that is exactly what happened through birth-based caste system. Even the most dumb witted were made ‘heads’ or ‘face’ of society merely because they were born in certain families that claimed to be Brahmins. The weaklings were warriors because of family tag. And the most brilliant were forced to be in servile positions simply because they were born in some other set of families. So we were destroyed!
However, we clearly see that by any stretch of sane imagination, one can no way interpret the Purush Sukta mantra to have any meaning even remotely associated with birth-based casteism. Vedas stand for complete meritocracy and equal opportunities for all human beings.
So all these PhDs trying to prove or disprove casteism in Purush Sukta mantra 11 are completely irrelevant. They only reemphasize the need for quality aptitude training and examination of those who indulge in such researches. And speak volumes about intellectual capabilities with regards to analysis and logic of those so-called scholars who conducted such researches in past.
As we have also analyzed in other parts of the article series, the whole hoax of Vedas having anything to do with racism or casteism or discrimination in the name of gender or birth is a figment of imagination of selected few. It is true that for quite a significant period in history, such perverted ideology held sway over the sub-continent causing utter loss to world and country. However events do not justify themselves merely by their happenings. Just because something stupid happened in the era of Ashoka or even Ramayan and Mahabharat does not make that justifiable.
(There is a misplaced notion that ancient India was Vedic and now we are non-Vedic. Or that western world is anti-Vedic and we are more Vedic. All these notions emanate from shallow thinking. Vedas represent the best practices manual and fundamental laws of nature and living. There was never a time when all best practices of Vedas were implemented with 100% perfection and there was never a time when a society completely rejected Vedas. All this varies from time to time in different aspects of life. We benefit when we adopt Vedic wisdom in certain aspects of our lives and face miseries when we refuse to do so in some other aspects. Thus we are far more Vedic in certain aspects compared to Ramayan and Mahabharat era. In certain aspects we lag behind. Similarly, western world is far far more Vedic in certain aspects of life like respect for all humans, while we are ahead in some other aspects like family values. This is a multivariate highly non-linear and dynamic function. But Vedas provide us way to attempt to maximize the value of the function in any given point in time.)
So citing examples from history or present era to claim something to be Vedic or anti Vedic is as foolish as rejecting Vedas. We do not reject the concept of circle in Mathematics simply because a perfect circle cannot be drawn in reality!
Thus all we need to do is to seek opportunities for improvements in true spirit of Vedas. That is what ideals are meant for.
Now this caste system has been an anti-Vedic nuisance troubling us for ages. It has been a prime cause for all other troubles we faced and continue to face for last thousands of year. However today is the most golden opportunity to destroy its very roots and become deserving of greater bliss.
The modern era social patterns make it totally outdated to classify a person simplistically into any one of the 4 Varnas. It is time we adopt a more evolved model – where each human has all the 4 Varnas whose proportion vary in different aspects of life at different times in different situations.
And the foundation as well as inspiration for it should rightly come from our roots – the Vedas themselves. Let us together destroy the myth of casteism in Vedas and take it further to destroy all traces of birth-based casteism from our society as guided by Purush Sukta.
We conclude with our interpretation of Purush Sukta mantra 11 in nation’s perspective, as elaborated above:
May only the intellectuals be allowed to become face and heads of our nation. May only the strong, powerful and possessors of noble character be the strong hands that protect and bring us glory through efforts. May the smart trained managers guide our entire processes and ensure a vibrant healthy effective control mechanism. And may we utilize the rest of us to provide foundation and service to keep the system dynamic and powerful.
May we never allow non-intellectual minds to become heads, weaklings to become hands, untrained incompetents to manage the central control system and waste talented resources in doing less productive activities. Let us never allow mismatch of talents and job role on frivolous reasons like birth, family, favoritism, corruption etc. Let no profession – material or spiritual – become fiefdoms of selected few on the basis of any artificial barrier like caste or gender. And if there be any such existing barriers, let us destroy them completely in order to embrace the Purush Sukta!
Casteism is the father of all corruption and let us work for its total annihilation, in theory and practice.
May the truth prevail!