Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 11 Apr 2024


How to Answer the Allegations About the Ancient Indian Caste System?

[Prof. JSR Prasad asked:- Sāṣṭāṅga namaskāram Swami. In YouTube, I have seen some videos presented by ‘Satyaanveshi’. In these, he criticized bitterly Brahmanas for their supreme position and public respect. How to answer his allegations about the ancient Indian caste system? -at Your holy lotus feet]

Swami Replied:- Every human being is a mixture of merits and sins and is presented as mixture in the Gita (Aniṣṭamiṣṭaṃ miśraṃ ca). The above question has partly merits and partly defects. The merits are that the criticism on Brahmanas by Satyaanveshi is correct since the modern Brahmanas in the beginning of Kaliyuga (about 5000 years back) inserted a foolish concept in the caste system, which is that a Brahmana is the person born to Brahmana parents. Since a Brahmana boy is grown up in the atmosphere of Brahmanas, he will pick up the culture of Brahmanas very quickly. This was misunderstood by the public that the qualities of a Brahmana are transformed through blood (genes). This is a wrong scientific conclusion because genes can transform only certain specific manners and not qualities. Scholars say that a sinner will be born in the family of sinners only (Kapūyacaraṇāḥ kapūyayonim...- Veda). If that is so, how is a sinner born in high caste like Brahmanas as in the case of Ravana? How is a good soul born in the family of sinners as in the case of Prahlada?

The most powerful logic here is to accept the caste by the possessed qualities corresponding to a specific caste. This conclusion cannot be shaken by any argument. This means that caste is decided by the qualities and corresponding deeds of the human being and not based on birth. As per God Krishna in the Gita, the caste system is established by Him based on qualities and corresponding deeds of souls (Guṇa karma vibhāgaśaḥ). Both these concepts (caste based on birth and caste based on qualities) contradict each other. Krishna is the ultimate God (Kṛṣṇastu Bhagavān svayam) and the Gita told by Him is the Veda. Hence, the son of a Brahmana need not be necessarily a Brahmana. He may be a Brahmana by birth called as relation of Brahmanas (Brahma bandhu) but not actually the Brahmana. Any person can belong to any caste based on certain specified qualities and the related professional activities. Everybody can become a Brahmana because it is said that everybody is a Shuudra (ignorant by birth) and everybody can become Brahmana by the practical knowledge (Janmanā jāyate śūdraḥ, karmaṇā jāyate dvijaḥ). In this verse, the word “everybody” (sarvaḥ) shall be brought in the first line as well as in the second line of the verse. The result is that everybody by birth is Shuudra (ignorant) and everybody by practical knowledge becomes Brahmana. This concept was valid up to the Dvapara age and as soon as the Kali age started, the concept is twisted and misused by some ignorant and egoistic Brahmanas due to which the present criticism of Satyaanveshi is valid.

But, Satyaanveshi is forgetting that this concept was not in ancient India and the right concept of God Krishna only existed. The clear proof for this is that a pot maker by name Romaharshana was made as the president (Brahmaa) of the great sacrifice performed by several sages like Shaunaka etc. When Balarama opposed this, all sages scolded him for his ignorance. In the Veda, you can find that the castes of Satyakama Jabala and Janashruti were decided based on their qualities and not based on their birth. Hence, the criticism of Satyaanveshi is correct to the context of the present twisted state. Such twisted concept was inserted in scriptures by some ignorant and egoistic Brahmanas. Hence, Satyaanveshi is not correct in criticizing the ancient Brahmanas. Satyaanveshi criticized the supremacy of the Brahmana, which is also not correct. A Brahmana is like a judge of the court giving justified judgments in all issues. A judge is very much honored and is considered to be the supreme authority placed even above the topmost administrators like Kings. The supremacy of the judge shall not be criticized due to the wrong ego-based jealousy on the caste system. The Brahmana is the supreme most authority and at the same time, anybody who is very much learned in the scriptures (Smritis and Puranas) can become a Brahmana. A Brahmana is supposed to lead the society towards God and thus, protect the society by leading it in the correct spiritual path (Sarvān Brahma nayati iti Brāhmaṇaḥ).

The untouchable caste does not exist in the Veda as the fifth caste. In ancient days, the sinner of any caste was boycotted from the village as untouchable. It was done only for reformation of the soul just like debarring an indisciplined student from school. This punishment was not for revenge but only for reformation. Hence, the son of an untouchable was not treated as untouchable in ancient India. Shabari and Kannappa (hunter) were born in untouchable families, but, their photos are worshipped in the prayer rooms of Brahmanas even today. Rama and Krishna were not Brahmanas, but, the washings of the feet of their statues are taken as holy water by Brahmanas even today. Ravana was a Brahmana, but, was condemned as a demon, whereas, Rama, a non-Brahmana is worshipped as God. The ancient concepts were twisted, misunderstood and misinterpreted so that our ancient religion and culture are tarnished resulting in splits in Hindus so that foreigners always invaded the non-united Hindus for a long time.

In this answer, we accept our faults frankly and also show your faults with the same frankness. I am criticizing the faults on both sides and appreciating the merits present on both sides. If you deal these topics with ego-based jealousy, a black spectacle will cover your eyes so that you will see the whole world as black. If you study the scripture with the aim of uniting the Hindus, you will get a spectacle with clear lenses so that you will see white as white and black as black. I am for the union of not only Hindus, but, also for the union of all world religions so that the world shall live like one family (Vasudhaika kuṭumbakam).