Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 09 Feb 2005


What do You say about inter-caste marriages?

The caste system is based on qualities and profession. The Gita says that it is not based on birth (Chaatur Varnyam Maya Sristam). The Dharma Shastra says that the girl should love a boy, who is a deserving fellow. If the deserving fellow is not available in her caste, she can marry a deserving fellow of another caste but not an undeserving fellow of her own caste. But when two deserving fellows are available, she should prefer the deserving fellow of her own caste. The reason is that each caste has its own characteristics of type of language, food habits etc. [Suppose a girl is a Brahmin and therefore is vegetarian as per tradition. But she marries a boy who is a Kshatriya. Kshatriyas are normally not vegetarians]. This particular boy may be a vegetarian. But when his relatives come to visit the couple, the boy may force his wife to prepare non-vegetarian food for the relatives. Then the girl will then face problems. Such problems will lead to misunderstandings and even separation. But these differences are not very important when the question of qualities and devotion comes. If an excellent boy with the best qualities and highest devotion is available and if such a boy is not available in her own caste, even after a thorough search, the girl should prefer only the deserving boy even if he belongs to another caste. But she should also be aware of the future problems before taking the decision. If such problems are not present, the caste system by birth has no meaning at all.

Any human being who knows the true meaning of the Veda is a Brahmana. Any human being who protects the innocent is a Kshatriya. Any human being who donates money for the sake of the work of the Lord is a Vaishya. Any human being who does service of the Lord without aspiring for anything in return is a Shudra. Shudra means the person who suffers (Shochati Iti Shudrah). The person who does service without aspiring for any fruit in return, really suffers and therefore is called as a Shudra. Brahmana means the person who knows the true meaning of the Vedas. Shudra means a person who practices the true meaning of the Vedas and undergoes suffering during sacrifice. Therefore a Shudra is higher than a Brahmana. Every servant of the Lord is a Shudra who practices the spiritual knowledge. Brahmana only means a scholar of spiritual knowledge without practice. Manu Dharma Shastra says that the Brahmana knows the knowledge of the Veda and the Shudra does service with self-suffering. Unless knowledge is converted into practice, one cannot get salvation. This is the reason for the sages who were Brahmanas to take the birth as Gopikas (Shudras) to get the salvation. The sages discussed the Vedas but the Gopikas practically sacrificed the fruit of their hard work (butter) to the Lord and served the Lord. They did not give the butter even to their own children and such sacrifice really gave them suffering in the heart. Therefore a Shudra should not be treated as a lower level person.

Similarly the women should not be treated as lower than the men. A male Brahmana denied Gayatri to women and Shudras. But actually Gayatri remains only with them. Gayatri means the song on the Lord. Women and Shudras worship the Lord through devotional songs. Please don’t forget that I am a male and a Brahmana. Only the blind egoism of certain rigid male Brahmins is being criticized by Me and this criticism is not at all meant for all the good male Brahmins who have acquired perfect obedience (Vinaya) through their Brahma Jnana and who are like Rishis [sages]. Sages like Kashyapa, Atri, Bharadwaja were also Brahmins and demons like Ravana, Hiranyakashipu were also Brahmins! The inequality should only be based on the merits and demerits [qualitites] of the persons and not on birth, sex, age, nationality or religion. The distinction should be done only on the qualities. Sūta, a low-caster person was made as the chief priest in a sacrifice by the sages (refer Bhagavatam). Rama and Krishna were non-Brahmins. But Brahmins wash their feet and the washings are taken as the sacred Tirthams. Ravana was a Brahmin but not respected by Brahmins. Shabari and Kannappa were untouchables and yet their pictures are kept in the prayer rooms by Brahmins. Untouchibility is not by birth but by qualities. All the bad people in all the castes were expelled from the village as untouchables, just like the worst students are expelled from the school or college. It is only to change their minds. Thus in the view of Lord Datta, the caste system is based only on qualities and the deeds of human beings and is not based on birth at all.