Thursday, April 2, 2009

Caste. What is it?

Recently during a conversation in a group I saw a remark was given refering to "CASTE" system and there were a few arguments regarding the usage of the term. I understand that these remarks were given due to lack of understanding regarding the caste system. So I am obliged to write this topic.

Caste. What is it?

It is not like what a lot of people think, caste is not made by humans. It is even written in the Vishnu Purana. But the big question is; what is it?

In Vishnu Purana, it is said that there are 4 types of Castes. Brahmin, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras. According to the Purana, caste (jathi) is not hereditary and not fixed to a person. It is the state of consiousness. It would change according to one's acts and thoughts.

What is caste (jathi)? It is refered to be the way to reach GOD. To reach Him, one should have certain qualities. Brahma in charge of creation, created humans in his own form.

Caste shows the prefered types that God will prefer.

A Brahmin will be the 1st choice of person prefered by God. A Brahmin's duty is serve Him throughout his life. Brahmin has to be sincere in his prayers and spent his time thinking of God and the good things. A Brahmin said to be placed on Brahman's forehead because it means he spent his time thinking about God throughout his life. Therefore Brahmin means A Person Devoted to Serve God.

A person who willing to sacrifice himself for the good of others is called Kshatriyas (warriors). They usually selfless. Brahma said to have placed them on His right arm to symbolise thier willingness to sacrife themselves to protect others.

Vaishyas are known as merchants. They not only do business but provide food, shelter and clothing to the poor. To symbolise their contribution to others, they are placed on Brahma's stomach.

If you have noticed, this is the ranking used to guide people on how to reach God, so how about those who can't do all this? He too can reach God by doing his service to those above to reach God. Hindus believe to serve a loyal servant of God is like serving the God Himself.

How about those who dont care about this and lead thier lives to the path of evil? It is these people who are known as the untouchables.

If you mix with evil person, you too will be influenced by thier activities, therefore don't mix with them.

But since in the olden days no proper school was built to take course on living, everyone followed thier father's footsteps doing the same things thier father did. If the father is a Brahmin the son will be too. Soon the caste system were stuck with the profession rather than the consiousness. People start to create other caste system to fill the gap among the professions. Now we have more than 100 caste rather than the original 4.

The misconceptions of the Caste system.

The caste system is not brought down from father to son but its the state of his consiousness.
A person can practice his devotion to God by thinking of Him in every actions he is undertaking to raise his level of consiousness. Remember Hinduism believes "One Should Only Perfom His Action and Leave the Results to God". It does not matter if he succeed or fail. The outcome is the desire of God. So one should not rejoice or grief over it but to give all his effort in performing his duties and leave the glory to Him. It doesn't matter what profession he is performing.

If a priest failed to focus during his prayers and think about other things, HE WILL NO LONGER BE A BRAHMIN. But if he saw a kid almost runned over by a truck and without thinking twice jumped in to save him without thinking of his own safety, he then becomes the Kshatriyas.

This is further explained in Bagawad Gita by Lord Krishna to Arjuna. So it is said that if you cannot think of Him in every thing you perform, you should be selfless and be very helpful to others without asking any reward in return. If even this you could not perform then do charity without asking for the reward from Him or to publicise yourself. If you do, your effort will not yield the reward meant for your doing.

I hope this explains the concept of Caste System to everyone. Please do not use caste system as a system to degrade another person because if you do, you yourselves will be judged as the untouchable for its the qualities of those damned by God.

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