Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 29 Jun 2021


If a person is born in a specific caste, can we call him by the name of that caste?

(A satsaṅga was done on 27-06-2021 in view of the occasion of marriage of Chi. Veena Datta and it is recorded below.)

Swāmi replied: i) If you want to specify the name of the caste in which a person is born, you can add the word ‘bandhu’ after the name of that caste or add the word ‘janma’ before the name of that caste. If a person is born in the caste of Brāhmaṇas, you can call that person as ‘Brāhmaṇa bandhu’ or ‘Brahma bandhu’ or ‘Janma Brāhmaṇa’. This means that that person is born or related to the caste of Brāhmaṇas. ii) If you want to call a person by the name of a caste because that person possesses the set of qualities possessed by that specific caste, you can call him by the name of the caste or add the word ‘karma’ before the name of that caste. If a person is preaching the society about God, such person shall be called as ‘Brāhmaṇa’ or ‘karma Brāhmaṇa’ irrespective of the caste in which that person is born. Brāhmaṇa or karma Brāhmaṇa means the person, who leads the society towards God (Brahma nayati iti Brāhmaṇaḥ).

You can use any one of the above two systems or you can use both the systems to specify the birth of the person and the action of the person simultaneously. A person, who is violent shall be called as caṇḍāla or karma caṇḍāla irrespective of the caste in which he is born. If a person is born in the caste of caṇḍālas, but, not violent by nature and action he shall be called as ‘caṇḍāla bandhu’ or janma caṇḍāla. By this, four types of caste system results:- i) Janma Brāhmaṇa and karma Brāhmaṇa, ii) Janma Brāhmaṇa and karma caṇḍāla, iii) Janma caṇḍāla and karma caṇḍāla and iv) Janma caṇḍāla and karma Brāhmaṇa.

Here, the word karma or action means the related guna or quality is simultaneously understood because without the quality the action will not result. Without the action, sometimes quality may exist. Hence, if action is mentioned simultaneous quality is inevitable. Instead of action, if you mention the quality only, the related action may not appear sometimes. The rewards like heaven and punishments like hell are given only for the expressed actions and not for the hidden qualities. If a person is having a specific quality, there is always the possibility of its expression as action. If quality is eliminated, there is never the possibility of expressed action. Quality is the cause and action is its effect. A mud pot (effect) can never appear without its cause (mud). Mud (cause) can remain without expression as its pot (effect). In order to avoid all this, God Kṛṣṇa clearly mentioned both quality (cause) and action (effect) as the basis of the caste system (Guṇa karma vibhāgaśaḥ).