By OP Sudrania
Caste or Class Systems versus India in Global Perspective – CHAPTER SIX
(CHAKRA) All the Vedic literature is studded with references on the divisions of various classes according to the merit and aptitude of the individual concerned. From time to time, various scholars and elites in Hindu society has attempted to enlighten on this point.
J G Arora again in his article, “Hinduism does not permit caste system”, asserts candidly concerning the Manu Smrti, “Hinduism is all-embracing, and gives the same respect to all humans, and anything to the contrary in Manu Smriti or anywhere else is not sanctioned by the Vedas. Being divine revelation, Shrutis (Vedas) are the ultimate authority for Dharma, and represent its eternal principles whereas being human recapitulations, Smritis (Recollections) can play only a subordinate role. As per Shloka number (6) of chapter 2 of Manu Smriti, “Vedo akhilo dharma mulam” (Veda is the foundation of entire Dharma) whereas Shloka number 2(13) of Manu Smriti specifies that whenever Shruti (Vedas) and Smritis differ, stipulation of Vedas will prevail over Smriti stipulation. In view of this position, anything discriminatory in Manu Smriti or anywhere else is anti-Veda, and therefore, is not sanctioned by Hinduism, and has been subsequently inserted by unholy intentions, and deserves to be weeded out.”
It must be appreciated that the Smrtis are a reflection of the voice that was directly heard from the Almighty God, e.g. Vedas; while the Srutis are the voices passed down by the Seers from generation to generation. Hence the latter represents a human version where there could be chances of multitudes of distortions. Manu Smrti is one such document where it might incorporate some human distortions that could be attributed to Manu himself for reasons difficult to account for. However Dr. S. Radhakrishnan has tried to link Manu’s ideas to the Buddhist religion which may be another fact to be researched. But Manu himself clearly expounds that anything beyond Vedas is untenable. Thus primarily, the Vedas must be accepted as the truth and anything deviating from them cannot be accepted as authoritarian and binding.
Finally in his winding remarks, Arora further grieves, “With the fond hope that everyone will do the utmost in this regard, I conclude this write-up with the last Mantra of Rig Veda emphasizing the unity and harmony of entire humanity, “Samani vha aakutihi, samana hrudyani vha, samanam astu vo mano, yatha vha su saha asti.” (“Let your aims be one, let your hearts be one, let your minds be one, and let your unity go from strength to strength”).” More here.
Rig Veda is said to be the first testament revealed by the Seers through Smrtis. All other scriptures took roots subsequently over the era. Hence the wisdom contained inside the Rig Veda is the most veracious and genuine.
Thus Geeta further extol the need for the four Varnas in this verse 4:13 as follows:
catur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasah
tasya kartaram api mam viddhy akartaram avyayam
catuh-varnyam–the four divisions of human society; maya–by Me; srstam–created; guna–quality; karma–work; vibhagasah–in terms of division; tasya–of that; kartaram–the creator or doer; api–although; mam–Me; viddhi–you may know; akartaram–as the non-doer; avyayam–being unchangeable.
According to the work ascribed to them, the four divisions of human society were created by Me. Although I am the creator of this system, you should know that I am yet the non-doer, being unchangeable. 4:13
“In Bhagwad Geeta (BG) chapter two, Arjuna accepts the position as a disciple of Lord Krishna and requests the Lord to instruct him in how to dispel his confusion and grief. This chapter is often deemed as a summary to the entire BG. Here many subjects are explained such as: Karma yoga, Jnana yoga, Sankhya yoga, Buddhi Yoga and the Atma which is the Soul. Predominance has been given to the immortal nature of the Soul existing within all living entities and it has been described in great detail. Thus this chapter is entitled: “The Eternal Reality of the Souls’ Immortality.”
In Chapter 2:16-17, 20-25, the definition and eternal immortal character of the soul is clearly defined and described. Soul is Truth and vice versa which is unchangeable and constant. Neither it is born nor does it have a death. It has been discovered by the seekers and preceptors of this eternal truth who have declared it by their profound study, penance and forecast as the déjà vu. In verses 2:23-24 it explains, “The soul can never be cut into pieces by any weapon, nor can he be burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind. This individual soul is unbreakable and insoluble, and can be neither burned nor dried. He is everlasting, all-pervading, unchangeable, immovable and eternally the same.”
It has clearly propounded in the earlier verse 2:22, “As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, similarly, the soul accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones”. Thus it pays no significance to the physical bodies as such, as also to the caste based divisions between them by priori.
In the end, Lord Krishna exhorts Arjun – 18:66, while revealing the “Ultimate Truth” – Sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja,
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami ma sucah.
(Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear. Here the word religion has been used for every kind of knowledge including the Vedic Sanatana Dharma e.g. knowledge of the Supreme Brahman, knowledge of the Supersoul, knowledge of the different types of orders and statuses of social life, knowledge of the renounced order of life, knowledge of nonattachment, sense and mind control, meditation, etc.)
Some Sanskrit word translations into English are appended hereunder:
“sarva-dharman–all varieties of religion; parityajya–abandoning; mam–unto Me; ekam–only; saranam–surrender; vraja–go; aham–I; tvam–you; sarva–all; papebhyah–from sinful reactions; moksayisyami–deliver; ma–not; sucah–worry.”
These unsullied profound descriptions in the most sacred Hindu scripture leave nothing to speculation as to how much importance is subscribed to the physical body? Very little! Hence the allegations of various discriminatory social caste divisions do not appear genuine and tenable in the first place. Physically all are equal. HAF defines it further, “ Illustrates, with passages from Hindu sacred texts, the fact that caste-based discrimination represents the neglect of Hinduism’s central teaching of the inherent divinity of all beings, and that caste-based discrimination is not an intrinsic feature of Hinduism: ‘See the World Conference on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in 2001 in Durban, South Africa’ http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.un.org%2FWCAR%2F&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNFuBYNeF4Z29_a_SunVuH-nWq9GOQ