Hinduism Making Sense of the Caste System

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by Astroboy, Jul 25, 2009.


  1. Astroboy

    Astroboy ਨਾਮ ਤੇਰੇ ਕੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਲਗਾਈ (Previously namjap)
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    The recent disturbing news about the widening rift between the Sikhs and the Ravidassia sect has made me ponder for days how to bring the understanding that we are fallen victims of the Vedas teachings.

    I welcome views on this matter which should be for the sole purpose of narrowing our differences. Any hate messages will be deleted.

    To start the conversation, here's a video clip that gives a concise background on how Indians have been brain-washed from childhood about the limitations they have to adhere to.

    YouTube - India Untouched - The Movie - Part 1
     
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  2. vsgrewal48895

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    CASTE/ ਜਾਤਿ

    ABSTRACT

    Caste system is against the tenets of Sikh Faith but unfortunately the practice of any faith is different from what is written in their respective scriptures. Individuals belonging to a higher caste egotistically consider themselves superior to others. Guru Nanak says that a person who considers every one equal is religious and Guru willed. On the other hand considering oneself superior to the others makes the individual narcissistic and irreligious. God does not have a caste says Guru Nanak in Raag Sorath and Guru Gobind Singh in his Jaap;

    ਜਾਤਿ ਅਜਾਤਿ ਅਜੋਨੀ ਸੰਭਉ ਨਾ ਤਿਸੁ ਭਾਉ ਨ ਭਰਮਾ ॥

    Jāṯ ajāṯ ajonī sambẖa¬o nā ṯis bẖā¬o na bẖarmā.

    Akal Purkh is casteless, unborn, self-illumined, and free of doubt and desire.-----Guru Nanak, Raag Sorath, AGGS, Page, 597-5

    ਚੱਕ੍ਰ ਚਿਹਨ ਅਰੁ ਬਰਨ ਜਾਤਿ ਅਰੁ ਪਾਤਿ ਨਹਿਨ ਜਿਹ ॥

    Chaqar Chihan Ur Baran Jaat Ur Paat Nehan Jeh

    God is without mark or sign, and is without caste or line. -----Jaap, DG, Page 1-9

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    Guru Nanak equates the presence of Akal Purkh’s light equally and impartially in all and similarly the Sabd is equal to Khatris and Soodras in Slokes Sahskriti;

    ਖ੍ਯ੍ਯਤ੍ਰੀ ਸਬਦੰ ਸੂਰ ਸਬਦੰ ਸੂਦ੍ਰ ਸਬਦੰ ਪਰਾ ਕ੍ਰਿਤਹ ॥ ਸਰਬ ਸਬਦੰ ਤ ਏਕ ਸਬਦੰ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਜਾਨਸਿ ਭੇਉ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਤਾ ਕੋ ਦਾਸੁ ਹੈ ਸੋਈ ਨਿਰੰਜਨ ਦੇਉ ॥ ਏਕ ਕ੍ਰਿਸ੍ਨੰ ਤ ਸਰਬ ਦੇਵਾ ਦੇਵ ਦੇਵਾ ਤ ਆਤਮਹ ॥ ਆਤਮੰ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਬਾਸ੍ਵਦੇਵਸ੍ਯ੍ਯ ਜੇ ਕੋਈ ਜਾਨਸਿ ਭੇਵ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਤਾ ਕੋ ਦਾਸੁ ਹੈ ਸੋਈ ਨਿਰੰਜਨ ਦੇਵ ॥

    Kẖa¬yṯarī sabḏaʼn sūr sabḏaʼn sūḏar sabḏaʼn parā kirṯeh. Sarab sabḏaʼn ṯa ėk sabḏaʼn jė ko jānas bẖė¬o. Nānak ṯā ko ḏās hai so▫ī niranjan ḏe▫o. Ėk krisanʼn ṯa sarab ḏevā ḏev ḏevā ṯa āṯmah. Āṯmaʼn sarī bāsavḏaivas▫y je ko▫ī jānas bẖev. Nānak ṯā ko ḏās hai so▫ī niranjan ḏev.

    For the Khatris, the Sabd is heroic bravery; for the Soodras, the Sabd is service to others. But for one who realizes the Divine mystery, one Sole path is for all. Says Nanak, to him I am a servant, who is the Divine Akal Purkh Himself. One Akal Purkh is supreme over all dietes as also the universal Self. The Self is the image of the pervasive God, should one this mystery realize, Nanak is a servant to Him, who is the Divine Akal Purkh Himself. -----Guru Nanak, Sahskriti Slokes, AGGS, Page, 1353-12 & 13

    Sabd Guru advises about virtues of spiritual wisdom, devotional worship, and the righteous path of compassion, contentment, truth, Divine existence, equality, and courage. Sabd of the Guru leads all to the realization of Universal Self in the individual self. The end result is the eradication of ego (ਹਉਮੈ) veiling the Higher Self, to be replaced by humility by bathing in the pool of Truth as Guru willed says Guru Amardas, in Raag Suhi;

    ਸਚਾ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਜਿਤੁ ਸਤ ਸਰਿ ਨਾਵਣੁ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਆਪਿ ਬੁਝਾਏ ॥ ਅਠਸਠਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦਿ ਦਿਖਾਏ ਤਿਤੁ ਨਾਤੈ ਮਲੁ ਜਾਏ ॥

    Sacẖā ṯirath jiṯ saṯ sar nāvaṇ gurmukẖ āp bujẖā¬ė. Aṯẖsaṯẖ ṯirath gur sabaḏ ḏikẖā▫e ṯiṯ nāṯai mal jā▫e.

    True is that place of pilgrimage, where one bathes in the pool of Truth, and achieves self-realization as Guru willed, who understands his own self. The Akal Purkh has shown that the Word of the Guru's Sabad is the sixty-eight sacred shrines of pilgrimage; bathing in it, filth is washed away. -----Guru Amardas, Raag Suhi, AGGS, Page, 753-15

    Caste puffs up the individual’s ego. If one belongs to a higher social class (caste), he regards himself as being better than others. Guru Nanak and other Gurus admonish us against this view, in the following hymns:

    ਜੋ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਸੋ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਦੇਖਹੁ ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਦੂਜਾ ਕੋਈ ਜੀਉ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਏਕ ਦ੍ਰਿਸਟਿ ਕਰਿ ਦੇਖਹੁ ਘਟਿ ਘਟਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਮੋਈ ਜੀਉ ॥

    Jo anṯar so bāhar ḏėkẖhu avar na ḏūjā ko¬ī jī¬o. Gurmukẖ ėk ḏarisat kar ḏėkẖhu gẖat gẖat joṯ samo¬ī jī¬o.

    Akal Purkh is within and seen outside as well. There is no one, other than It. As Guru willed, look upon all with the same eye of equality because in each and every heart, the same Divine Light is contained. -----Guru Nanak, Raag Sorath, AGGS, Page, 599-2

    ਸਭ ਏਕ ਦ੍ਰਿਸਟਿ ਸਮਤੁ ਕਰਿ ਦੇਖੈ ਸਭੁ ਆਤਮ ਰਾਮੁ ਪਛਾਨ ਜੀਉ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਜਸੁ ਗਾਇਆ ਪਰਮ ਪਦੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਤੇ ਊਤਮ ਜਨ ਪਰਧਾਨ ਜੀਉ ॥

    Sabẖ ėk ḏarisat samaṯ kar ḏėkẖai sabẖ āṯam rām pacẖẖān jī¬o. Har har jas gā¬i¬ā param paḏ pā¬i¬ā ṯė ūṯam jan parḏẖān jī¬o.

    Look upon all with equality, and recognize that the One Supreme Akal Purkh is pervading among all. Those who sing the Praises of the Eternal Akal Purkh are acclaimed among the people. They obtain the supreme status and are most exalted. -----Guru Ramdas, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 446-12

    Bhagat Kabir in Raag Gauri AGGS, Page 324 rather satirically and sarcastically states that all of us have been created by the same seed of Universal Brahman:

    ਗਰਭ ਵਾਸ ਮਹਿ ਕੁਲੁ ਨਹੀ ਜਾਤੀ ॥ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਬਿੰਦੁ ਤੇ ਸਭ ਉਤਪਾਤੀ ॥ਕਹੁ ਰੇ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਬਾਮਨ ਕਬ ਕੇ ਹੋਏ ॥ਬਾਮਨ ਕਹਿ ਕਹਿ ਜਨਮੁ ਮਤ ਖੋਏ ॥ਜੌ ਤੂੰ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਬ੍ਰਹਮਣੀ ਜਾਇਆ ॥ਤਉ ਆਨ ਬਾਟ ਕਾਹੇ ਨਹੀ ਆਇਆ ॥ਤੁਮ ਕਤ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣ ਹਮ ਕਤ ਸੂਦ ॥ਹਮ ਕਤ ਲੋਹੂ ਤੁਮ ਕਤ ਦੂਧ ॥ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਜੋ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੈ ॥ਸੋ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਕਹੀਅਤੁ ਹੈ ਹਮਾਰੈ ॥

    Garabẖ vās meh kul nahī jāṯī. Barahm binḏ ṯė sabẖ uṯpāṯī. Kaho rė pandiṯ bāman kab kė ho¬ė. Bāman kahi kahi janam maṯ kẖo¬ė. Jou ṯūʼn barāhmaṇ barahmaṇī jā¬i¬ā. Ŧa¬o ān bāt kāhė nahī ā¬i¬ā. Ŧum kaṯ barāhmaṇ ham kaṯ sūḏ. Ham kaṯ lohū ṯum kaṯ ḏūḏẖ. Kaho Kabīr jo barahm bīcẖārai. So barāhmaṇ kahī¬aṯ hai hamārai.

    In the dwelling of the womb, there is no ancestry or social status. All have been created from the Seed of God. O, Pundit and religious scholar, tell me since when have you been a Brahmin? Don't waste your life by continually claiming to be a Brahmin. If you are indeed a Brahmin, born of a Brahmin mother, then why didn't you come by other special way than the common way? How is it that you are a Brahmin, and I am of a low social status? Is it that I am formed of blood, and you are made of milk? Says Kabir, one who contemplates God, is said to be a Brahmin among us.

    ਜਾਤਿ ਕਾ ਗਰਬੁ ਨ ਕਰੀਅਹੁ ਕੋਈ ॥ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਬਿੰਦੇ ਸੋ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਹੋਈ ॥

    Jāṯ kā garab na karī¬ahu ko¬ī. Barahm binḏė so barāhmaṇ ho¬ī.

    No one should be proud of his social class and status. He alone is a Brahmin, who knows God.

    ਜਾਤਿ ਕਾ ਗਰਬੁ ਨ ਕਰਿ ਮੂਰਖ ਗਵਾਰਾ ॥ ਇਸੁ ਗਰਬ ਤੇ ਚਲਹਿ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਵਿਕਾਰਾ ॥

    Jāṯ kā garab na kar mūrakẖ gavārā. Is garab ṯė cẖaleh bahuṯ vikārā.

    Do not be proud of your social class and status, you ignorant fool. So much sin and corruption comes from this pride.-----Guru Amardas, Raag Bhairo, AGGS, Page, 1127 & 28

    After Death there is no caste as expressed by Guru Nanak in Raag Asa and Guru Amardas in Raag Maru;

    ਜਾਣਹੁ ਜੋਤਿ ਨ ਪੂਛਹੁ ਜਾਤੀ ਆਗੈ ਜਾਤਿ ਨ ਹੇ ॥

    Jāṇhu joṯ na pūcẖẖahu jāṯī āgai jāṯ na hė.

    Recognize the Akal Purkh's Light within all, and do not consider social class or status; there are no classes or castes in the world hereafter.-----Guru Nanak, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 349-13

    ਅਗੈ ਜਾਤਿ ਨ ਜੋਰੁ ਹੈ ਅਗੈ ਜੀਉ ਨਵੇ ॥ ਜਿਨ ਕੀ ਲੇਖੈ ਪਤਿ ਪਵੈ ਚੰਗੇ ਸੇਈ ਕੇਇ ॥

    Agai jāṯ na jor hai agai jī¬o navė. Jin kī lėkẖai paṯ pavai cẖangė sė¬ī kė¬ė.

    In the world hereafter, social status and power mean nothing; hereafter, the soul is new. Those few, whose honor is confirmed, are good.-----Guru Nanak, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 469-6

    ਅਗੈ ਜਾਤਿ ਨ ਪੁਛੀਐ ਕਰਣੀ ਸਬਦੁ ਹੈ ਸਾਰੁ ॥ ਹੋਰੁ ਕੂੜੁ ਪੜਣਾ ਕੂੜੁ ਕਮਾਵਣਾ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਨਾਲਿ ਪਿਆਰੁ ॥

    Agai jāṯ na pucẖẖī¬ai karṇī sabaḏ hai sār. Hor kūṛ paṛ¬ṇā kūṛ kamāvaṇā bikẖi¬ā nāl pi¬ār.

    Hereafter, no one is questioned about social status. Excellent and sublime is the practice of the Word of the Sabd! Any other pursuit is false. Other approaches are false. Their followers are people are in love with poison. -----Guru Amardas, Raag Maru, AGGS, Page, 1094-1&2

    It is only the individual ego that causes discrimination against others because of their caste in many faiths. In Sikh faith too, even to this day, such discrimination is prevalent despite being against its principles. Yet no attempt is being made to stop this practice. Many other traditions and rituals carried on to this date in Sikh faith are of Brahminical origin, and are forbidden in Sikhism. Ego is an inflated feeling of pride being self-consciousness of one’s own identity. It imparts a false sense of superiority above others. It is an outcome of certain mental attitudes, such as misperceptions, false memory and defensive mechanisms. Ego is neither an entity nor a process. It is only a notion of I-am-ness, which exists only in one’s mind. Having an ego does not depend on our choice. We are born with it. It is the nature of the mind to experience its individuality. All our desires, attachment, experiences in the world are due to the ego controlling our minds. In our complex psyche, Ego is at the center of our field of consciousness. It persists with a high degree of continuity in our identity.

    People may be aware of the messages in AGGS condemning discrimination based on the caste system. They may also fully understand their meaning. Yet such discrimination is still prevalent. There may be occasional discussions or debates about it. But few understand the implications and spiritual consequences of such discrimination.

    ਕਬੀਰ ਮਨੁ ਜਾਨੈ ਸਭ ਬਾਤ ਜਾਨਤ ਹੀ ਅਉਗਨੁ ਕਰੈ ॥ ਕਾਹੇ ਕੀ ਕੁਸਲਾਤ ਹਾਥਿ ਦੀਪ ਕੂਏ ਪਰੈ॥

    Kabīr man jānai sabẖ bāṯ jānaṯ hī a¬ugan karai. Kāhė kī kuslāṯ hāth ḏīp kū¬ė parai.

    Kabir, the mortal knows everything, and knowing, he still makes mistakes. What good is a lamp in one's hand, if he falls into the well? -----Sloke Kabir 216, AGGS, Page, 1376

    Messages are clear. What motivates us to ignore the tenets of our faith or act against them? Is it our belief that we would not suffer the consequences? We should seriously reconsider this position.

    ਕੀਤਾ ਆਪੋ ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਲੇਖਾ ਸੰਢੀਐ ॥ ਜਾ ਰਹਣਾ ਨਾਹੀ ਐਤੁ ਜਗਿ ਤਾ ਕਾਇਤੁ ਗਾਰਬਿ ਹੰਢੀਐ ॥

    Kīṯā āpo āpṇā āpė hī lėkẖā sandẖī¬ai. Jā rahṇā nāhī aiṯ jag ṯā kā¬iṯ gārab handẖī¬ai.

    Everyone receives the rewards of his own actions; his account is adjusted accordingly. Since one is not destined to remain in this world anyway, why should he ruin himself in pride? -----Guru Nanak, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 473-12

    Consistent application of the teachings of AGGS, and in particular the daily review, has led to significant changes in my personal life. It seems like a return toward one's original state in the eternal scheme of things. Why so few persons have ever become perfectly evolved, selfless beings? This involves a glacially slow process of unlearning and restructuring of the self. It turns out, that initially one has to simply learn to unlearn. Then the receptive process of relearning opens up. As it unfolds on its own, it seems to reconnect the person to the others in new and vital relationships. They may have always been there but were veiled by one’s ego, passions and other lower instincts. The remedy is prescribed by Guru Amardas in Raag Parbhati;

    ਇੰਦ੍ਰੀ ਪੰਚ ਪੰਚੇ ਵਸਿ ਆਣੈ ਖਿਮਾ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਪਾਵੈ ॥ ਸੋ ਧਨੁ ਧਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਜਨੁ ਵਡ ਪੂਰਾ ਜੋ ਭੈ ਬੈਰਾਗਿ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਵੈ ॥ Inḏrī pancẖ pancẖė vas āṇai kẖimā sanṯokẖ gurmaṯ pāvai. So ḏẖan ḏẖan har jan vad pūrā jo bẖai bairāg har guṇ gāvai.

    The persons, who have controlled the five senses and the five vices, have realized forgiveness, patience, and contentment through Guru’s guidance. Blessed, blessed, perfect and great is that humble servant of the Akal Purkh, who is inspired by the Fear of God and detached love, to sing Its Glorious Praises. -----Guru Amardas, Raag Parbhati, AGGS, Page, 1334-16

    By devotional love, fear of Akal Purkh, study of AGGS, and honestly following the teachings of Sabd Guru, the ego becomes subtler. The gross ego is the ego of individuality, which expresses itself in the worldly desires and attachments. Subtler ego emerges when those desires and attachment get weaker and individual self-interests start disappearing. Then the mind identifies with the subtle ego in its own pure state. Some understand and follow, but others ignore these instructions and later repent in the next word as pointed out by Sheikh Farid in his Slokes;

    ਇਕਨਾ ਨੋ ਸਭ ਸੋਝੀ ਆਈ ਇਕਿ ਫਿਰਦੇ ਵੇਪਰਵਾਹਾ॥ਅਮਲ ਜਿ ਕੀਤਿਆ ਦੁਨੀ ਵਿਚਿ ਸੇ ਦਰਗਹ ਓਗਾਹਾ॥

    Iknā no sabẖ sojẖī ā¬ī ik firḏė vėparvāhā. Amal je kīṯi¬ā ḏunī vicẖ sė ḏargeh ohāgā.

    Some understand this completely, while others wander around carelessly. Those actions, which are done in this world, shall be examined in the Court of the Akal Purkh. -----Sloke Sheikh Farid, 98, AGGS, Page, 1383

    Conclusion:

    Acceptance in Sikhism has taught us that there is a bit of good in the worst of us and a bit of bad in the best of us; that we are all the children of God, equal in every respect and we each have a right to be here. Sikh faith is a set of principles, spiritual in nature, which if practiced as a way of life, can expel the obsession of the ego. These principles enable one to become “Happy and useful Whole” if he regards all as his equals created by One Creator says Guru Gobind Singh;

    ਕੋਊ ਭਇਓ ਮੁੰਡੀਆ ਸੰਨਿਆਸੀ ਕੋਊ ਜੋਗੀ ਭਇਓ ਕੋਊ ਬ੍ਹਮਚਾਰੀ ਕੋਊ ਜਤੀ ਅਨਮਾਨਬੋ ॥
    ਹਿੰਦੂ ਤੁਰਕ ਕੋਊ ਰਾਫਜ਼ੀ ਇਮਾਮਸਾਫੀ ਮਾਨਸ ਕੀ ਜਾਤ ਸਭੈ ਏਕੈ ਪਹਿਚਾਨਬੋ ॥
    ਕਰਤਾ ਕਰੀਮ ਸੋਈ ਰਾਜ਼ਕ ਰਹੀਮ ਓਈ ਦੂਸਰੋ ਨ ਭੇਦ ਕੋਈ ਭੂਲ ਭ੍ਮ ਮਾਨਬੋ ॥
    ਏਕ ਹੀ ਕੀ ਸੇਵ ਸਭਹੀ ਕੋ ਗੁਰਦੇਵ ਏਕ ਏਕ ਹੀ ਸਰੂਪ ਸਭੈ ਏਕੈ ਜੋਤ ਜਾਨਬੋ ॥ ੧੫ ॥ ੮੫ ੫॥

    Kouo Bheio Mundia Sanyasi Kouo Jogi BhaeoKouo Brahmchari Kouo Jati Anmanbo,Hindu Turk Kouo Rafzi Imamsafi Manski Jaat Sabhai Aykai Pehchanbo.Karta Krim Soee Raazk Rahim Ouee Doosro Na Bhed Koee Bhool Bharm Manbo.Ayk He Ki Sev Sabhi Ko Gurdev Ayk Ayk He Saroop Sabhai Aykai Jot Janbo.

    Some people in the world call them selves clean shaven, some ascetics, some devotee, some celibates. Some call themselves Hindu, some Turk, some Shia others Suni Muslman. But the entire human kind/caste should be recognized one. The same One Creator (Akal Purkh) who is merciful, compassionate, generous, providing daily sustenance, and has no other peer or dualism; so we must never accept any duality. To serve the only One is our duty. Akal Purkh alone is the Guru of all. All mankind be taken as one manifestation of Its light. -----Guru Gobind Singh, Akal Ustit, DG, Page, 19

    Virinder S. Grewal
     
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  3. AusDesi

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  4. AusDesi

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    Ok here are my views.

    I like to distinguish between Varna and Jaati. Modern Caste is not what was originally intended. Varnas is a social system which divided the population in terms of their skill and not birth(jaati).

    Varnas make sense as they existed in all socities in the ancient times. e.g. Royalty, Serfs, Traders etc.

    Here is a quote from bhagvad gita:

    "The fourfold order has been created by Me according to the differentiation of Guna and Karma." Bhagvad Gita 4:13

    Guna - Skill
    Karma - Action

    So the original intention was to divide the society by skills and actions and not birth. The son of a warrior did not have to be a warrior if he was skilled in trading.

    Someone in the history of Hinduism interpreted this skill and karma to having been related to birth. That stupid since the writing skills of a scribe will not always be passed down to the son of a scribe.

    Modern Caste system is basically a way of one human to degrade another. No different to Racism by White Americans towards the Blacks.

    Here is a clip of famous story of Shankaracharya and the Chandala.
    YouTube - Adi Shankara movie clip
     
  5. spnadmin

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    Aus Desi ji

    Naturally I am monitoring this very closely. So far have viewed the first video. it seems that among the top dogs there is talk of vedas, shastras, and temples, and the belief that the inequities of caste will and should continue into the future. I doubt they are Sikhs. Also added is the observation that the Indian Constitution has gotten itself at odds with the ancient traditions of the Shastras. At the end we see Sikhs on horseback and judging from their blue kurtis and turbans, they are Nihangs -- who do not accept caste. Nihangs do travel from town to town just as we saw in the video. At the end Sikhs at the house of a martyr proclaim that no one is kept out of the shrine because of caste. So far things conform to expectations -- though remember this seems to be filmed in a very rural and poor area. So the adherents of the caste system may not represent views everywhere. And having the police on their paycheck is not unique. Therefore, it is important not to judge all Hindus based on one YouTube video. Now I wil take a look at the second video. Let's see what is going on with that.

    The second video I have seen in the past and yes it portrays contemporary Jat discrimination against lower caste Sikhs, with the acknowledgment "God made it that way."

    So now I am wondering what you point was in posting this video? Could you explain what you were aiming to demonstrate? What were your intentions?
     
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  6. spnadmin

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    Ausi Desi ji

    You will get an argument from me. The "someone" in the history of Hinduism who caused skill and karma to be related to "birth" as you put it were Aryan invaders who centuries ago were able to create a system of caste or varna. Varna was intended to maintain a strictly enforced social structure. The mythology of varna promoted the idea of the spiritual purity the upper castes; whereas in fact it was protecting their status in the social order.

    It was not as you say "skills" that determined varna. Rather birth determined varna, and according to your varna skills and trades were permitted or not. So you have it backwards completely. The point of the varna arrangement was to achieve a political and economic system that was predictable and stable. It was the Law of Manu that established that at each level of caste or varna people were working off their karma from previous lives. And they would continue be reborn to that varna for many cycles until karma was cleansed. And then one could be born again into the next varna up. And of course there are also layers within varnas making the process of purifying one's karma by coming and going a complicated and lengthy process. How many lifetimes? Finally you arrive at the top. And if you are at the top, then naturally there is a strong motive to want to believe that you are there because you deserve to be. After all did you not work off all that karma through reincarnation to get where you are? And once you reach a higher level, well, why would you want to share? Why permit too much with someone who still has a lot of karma to wash away. So in the end, the varna system was a perfect way to keep the disenfranchised on the bottom struggling like worms, and to keep the empowered in positions of power.

    Allow me to point to a specific error. In the translation "The fourfold order has been created by Me according to the differentiation of Guna and Karma." Bhagvad Gita 4:13 - Guna does not mean skill. It refers to the spiritual qualities of an individual, or lack thereof. You can see that the Gita is saying that individuals are being classified according to their karmic status and according to their Guna or quality of spirituality. The more bad karma you have, so says the Gita, the more karmic cleansing you need to do, and the more likely it is that your soul has been lingering on a lower spiritual plane, because of its coarser guna. And the more likely it is that you will be reincarnated at a level where you can work all that karma off. (Not so according to Sikhism)

    Guru Nanak clearly rejected this -- but do not blame Guru Nanak, or be scornful of me, or Sikhs at large if there are some who are unable to break out of the stranglehold of caste discrimination, oppression and violence, because they are prisoners of their cultural experiences and fearful of change. As Sikhs we continually explore this issue and decry it. Here at SPN and elsewhere. Do read the various threads at SPN where the caste system has been discussed. Please assure me that you are not on some kind of campaign here in the forum to try to weaken our confidence through attempts at embarrassment. It won't work.
     
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  7. AusDesi

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    Narayanjot Kaur ji,

    Nothing wrong if thats what you are thinking. Majority of the videos relate to Hindus with only 2 relating to sikhs. So I posted the ones I thought might relate to majority of the people here.

    The videos show castecism in every major religion in India.
     
  8. spnadmin

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    AusDesi ji

    I am clueless as to why you as an adherent of Vashnaivism would want to advise Sikhs of our contribution to continuing the caste system. As you said, the majority of the flicks were about Hindus and a few were about Sikhs. So you thought we would be interested in viewing Sikhs? That is very odd.
     
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  9. AusDesi

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    I was going to respond to statements you made prior to this. However, after seeing this part I have no intention of doing so.

    If posting a simple video means seems to you like I am on a campaign from the RSS or something then lady please be rest assured I am not. If you have talked about it previously and come to a conclusion then I don't see a point of having an input.
     
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  10. spnadmin

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    AusDesi

    Clearly -- thank you for clearing my doubts.
     
  11. AusDesi

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    Look from now on I won't be posting anything related to my religious views whatsoever. Please be assured I am not here to "advise" sikhs. I am a seeker of Knowledge. So I will quietly view posts but not post on topics where I need to talk about my religious beliefs.

    If it helps you, then please delete all my posts from this topic.
     
  12. spnadmin

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    Why do India's Dalits hate Gandhi?
    By Thomas C. Mountain
    Online Journal Contributing Writer
    Mar 17, 2006, 12:49


    In India, supposedly the world's largest democracy, the leadership of the rapidly growing Dalit movement have nothing good to say about Mohandas K. Gandhi. To be honest, Gandhi is actually one of the most hated Indian leaders in the hierarchy of those considered enemies of India's Dalits or "untouchables" by the leadership of India's Dalits.

    Many have questioned how could I dare say such a thing? In reply I urge people outside of India to try and keep in mind my role as the messenger in this matter. I am the publisher of the Ambedkar Journal, founded in 1996, which was the first publication on the Internet to address the Dalit question from the Dalits' viewpoint. My co-editor is M. Gopinath, who includes in his c.v. being managing editor of the Dalit Voice newspaper and then going on to found Times of Bahujan, national newspaper of the Bahujan Samaj Party, India's Dalit party and India's youngest and third largest national. The founding president of the Ambedkar Journal was Dr. Velu Annamalai, the first Dalit in history to achieve a Ph.d in Engineering. My work with the Dalit movement in India started in 1991 and I have been serving as one of the messengers to those outside of India from the Dalit leaders who are in the very rapid process of organizing India's Dalits into a national movement. The Dalit leadership I work with received many tens of millions of votes in the last national election in India.

    With that out of the way, lets get back to the 850 million-person question, why do Dalits hate M.K. Gandhi?

    To start, Gandhi was a so-called "high caste". High castes represent at small minority in India, some 10-15 percent of the population, yet dominate Indian society in much the same way whites ruled South Africa during the official period of Apartheid. Dalits often use the phrase Apartheid in India when speaking about their problems.

    The Indian Constitution was authored by Gandhi's main critic and political opponent, Dr. Ambedkar, for whom our journal is named and the first Dalit in history to receive an education (if you have never heard of Dr. Ambedkar I would urge you to try and keep an open mind about what I am saying for it is a bit like me talking to you about the founding of the USA when you have never heard of Thomas Jefferson).

    Most readers are familiar with Gandhi's great hunger strike against the so called Poona Pact in 1933. The matter which Gandhi was protesting, nearly unto death at that, was the inclusion in the draft Indian Constitution, proposed by the British, that reserved the right of Dalits to elect their own leaders. Dr. Ambedkar, with his degree in law from Cambridge, had been chosen by the British to write the new constitution for India. Having spent his life overcoming caste-based discrimination, Dr. Ambedkar had come to the conclusion that the only way Dalits could improve their lives is if they had the exclusive right to vote for their leaders, that a portion or reserved section of all elected positions were only for Dalits and only Dalits could vote for these reserved positions.
    Gandhi was determined to prevent this and went on hunger strike to change this article in the draft constitution. After many communal riots, where tens of thousands of Dalits were slaughtered, and with a leap in such violence predicted if Gandhi died, Dr. Ambedkar agreed, with Gandhi on his death bed, to give up the Dalits right to exclusively elect their own leaders and Gandhi ended his hunger strike.

    Later, on his own death bed, Dr. Ambedkar would say this was the biggest mistake in his life, that if he had to do it all over again, he would refuse to give up Dalit only representation, even if it meant Gandhi's death.

    As history has shown, life for the overwhelming majority of Dalits in India has changed little since the arrival of Indian independence over 50 years ago. The laws written into the Indian Constitution by Dr. Ambedkar, many patterned after the laws introduced into the former Confederate or slave states in the USA during reconstruction after the Civil War to protect the freed black Americans, have never been enforced by the high caste dominated Indian court system and legislatures. A tiny fraction of the "quotas" or reservations for Dalits in education and government jobs have been filled. Dalits are still discriminated against in all aspect of life in India's 650,000 villages, despite laws specifically outlawing such acts. Dalits are the victims of economic embargos, denial of basic human rights such as access to drinking water, use of public facilities and education and even entry to Hindu temples.

    To this day, most Indians still believe, and this includes a majority of Dalits, that Dalits are being punished by God for sins in a previous life. Under the religious codes of Hinduism, a Dalit's only hope is to be a good servant of the high castes and upon death and rebirth they will be reincarnated in a high caste. This is called varna in Sanskrit, the language of the original Aryans who imposed Hinduism on India beginning some 3,500 years ago. Interestingly, the word "varna" translates literally into the word "color" from Sanskrit.

    This is one of the golden rules of Dalit liberation, that varna means color, and that Hinduism is a form of racially based oppression and as such is the equivalent of Apartheid in India. Dalits feel that if they had the right to elect their own leaders they would have been able to start challenging the domination of the high castes in Indian society and would have begun the long walk to freedom so to speak. They blame Gandhi and his hunger strike for preventing this.

    So there it is, in as few words as possible, why in today's India the leaders of India's Dalits hate M.K. Gandhi.

    This is, of course, an oversimplification. India's social problems remain the most pressing in the world and a few paragraphs are not going to really explain matters to anyone's satisfaction. The word Dalit and the movement of a crushed and broken people, the "untouchables" of India, are just beginning to become known to most of the people concerned about human rights in the world. As Dalits organize themselves and begin to challenge caste-based rule in India, it behooves all people of good conscience to start to find out what the Dalits and their leadership are fighting for. A good place to start is with M.K. Gandhi and why he is so hated by Dalits in India.

    Thomas C. Mountain is the publisher of the Ambedkar Journal on India's Dalits, founded in 1996. His writing has been featured in Dalit publications across India, including the Dalit Voice and the Times of Bahujan as well as on the front pages of the mainstream, high caste owned, Indian press. He would recommend viewing of the film "Bandit Queen" as the best example of life for women and Dalits in India's villages, which is the story of the life of the late, brutally murdered, Phoolan Devi, of whose international defense committee Thomas C. Mountain was a founding member. He can be reached tmountain@hawaii.rr.com.

    Source http://www.onlinejournal.com/artman/publish/article_603.shtml

     
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  13. Astroboy

    Astroboy ਨਾਮ ਤੇਰੇ ਕੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਲਗਾਈ (Previously namjap)
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  14. spnadmin

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    Funny how Dalits don't in every case seem to see it that way! ::cool:2:
     
  15. spnadmin

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    200 BC - Laws of Manu


    [​IMG]
    “Manu sat reclined with his attention fixed on one object, the Supreme God when divine sages approached him and after mutual salutations in due form, delivered the following address: “deign, sovereign ruler, to apprise us of the sacred laws in their order....”​
    Thus begins §1 of Chapter 1 of the Laws of Manu, Son of Brahma.
    Also spelled “Menu” and “the Ordinances of Menu” or the Manu Code, this article uses the more common word “Manu” and the The Laws of Manu.
    This ancient Hindu law code of India, collectively called “Smirtu”, was unique in many ways but two stand out.

    • It is the best known of India, and one of the oldest written legal code in the world; and

    • It combined rules of law sprinkled between many moral rules, the latter predicated on a firm belief in reincarnation and a formal caste system.
    Experts are unable to agree as to the date that the Laws of Manu were published but 200 BC seems to be the most common date given.

    Ironically, though The Laws of Manu gives India standing as having one of the oldest written legal codes, the legal tradition it is issue from avoided written law as long as possible so as (1) to accommodate adaptability in the law and (2) to not limit the discretion to be exercised by the uppermost class, the high priests and judges of the Hindu religion, otherwise known as the Brahmins.
    [​IMG]The opening verses (there are 2,694 in total) of the Manu read like Genesis, describing how the world and man was formed. The context is of a mythical Adam-like deity called Manu who was implored by “the great seers ... to tell us truly in order the rules of all the castes” - the parable portrayed in the canvass pictured

    Manu had a divine companion animal, a bull, called Dherma, a genius of abstract justice.

    So revered was the Laws of Manu that one Hindu legal theorist (Vyasa) remarked that: “the code of Menu ... ought never to be shaken by arguments merely human.”

    First born, according to the chronology presented in Manu, was: “... Brahma, the grand parent of all the worlds” (the similarity to the Biblical Adam has always fascinated historians).

    The first Brahma, called “Vdea”, the parable goes, then went on, apparently, to create the lower castes (in order): Brahmins, Ksatriya (also Ksatra or Kashatriya, warriors and the royal family), Vaicya (or Vaishya, the farmers) and the lowest caste of all, the Cudra or Shudra.

    Intermarriage was legal - except with a Shudra.

    There was even a totally disentitled subgroup: the Dasyu, who were below the Shudra and included thieves, condemned murderers, other criminals and servants.

    An ancient Indian proverb stated that:
    “Know that the relationship between a Brahmin ten years of age and a Ksatriya (who is) a hundred years old is as that of a father to a son, but of these two, it is the Brahmin who is the father.”
    The first part of the Laws of Manu continues with detailed rules related to hygiene and the like, leading William Jones, in his 1869 book, to appropriately preface his edition with the legal proverb: “Laws are of no avail without manners.”

    This feature of the Laws of Manu caused the British Privy Council, in a 1899 case, to remark that lawyers ought to exercise: “... great caution in interpreting books of mixed religion, morality and law....”

    An extract: “Having slept and sneezed and having eaten and spit, and having told lies, ... one should rinse the mouth.”

    The Laws of Manu assured the continued existence of the inherent unfairness of the caste system and an even worse fate for women:
    “In her childhood, a girl should be under the will of her father. In her youth, of her husband. Her husband being dead, of her sons. A woman should never enjoy her own will.

    “Though of bad conduct or debauched, or even devoid of good qualities, a husband must always be worshipped like a god by a good wife.”​
    According to the Laws of Manu, there are several recognized forms of marriage:

    • The bride is given to a Brahmin to recognize the latter’s greatness;

    • The bride is abducted by a Ksatriya. Sometimes, the abduction is acted out only for the Ksatriya to prove his manhood to his peers – the bride secretly consented to it;

    • The most common form of marriage, where the bride is purchased; and

    • Those rare cases where both parties consent to a marriage.
    It is only after eliminating any “threat” from women, and favouring the higher castes, that the Laws of Manu delves into traditional law.
    Speaking eloquently of the art of trial and of evidence, the Laws add:
    “As the hunter directs his step by the blood drops of the beast, so should the king direct the course of justice by mans of inference.

    “Abiding by the rule of legal suits, let the king examine the truth, the thing himself, the witnesses, the place, the time and the form.

    "In all cases of violence, theft, illegal intercourse with women, and injury by word or by deed, one need not examine the witnesses very carefully.

    “He who does not speak when the judge says “speak”, or does not prove what he has said; he who does not know what comes first and what comes last – these all lose their law suit.”

    “Worthy persons of all castes may be made witnesses. The king must not be made to serve as witness ... nor a Brahman, nor a Dasyu, ... nor an old man, nor a child, nor one man alone, nor a man defective in the organs of sense.

    “Testimony may be given, when other witnesses are not forthcoming, even by a woman, a child, or an old man, or by a slave."​
    Penalties could be severe and a good case made for mouth wash:
    “A slanderer, a foul-smelling nose, a false informer, a foul-smelling mouth, a stealer of grain: the loss of a limb.
    “A horse thief: lameness."
    Much of the Laws of Manu speak of purging even serious crimes by some act such as murmuring a certain saying a prescribed number of times at dawn. Other penalties, which ought to attract the attention of defence counsel everywhere, are stated to be promised to the offender - not in this life but in the next!

    As William Jones wrote in 1869, the Laws of Manu:
    “... contains ... many beauties which need not be pointed out and many blemishes which cannot be justified or palliated. It is a system of despotism and priestcraft, both indeed limited by law but artfully conspiring to give mutual support.”​
    But although no longer the only Hindu law code, Manu is recognized as being paramount in the event of conflict between it and any other Smirtu.

    REFERENCES:


    • Hopkins, Edward, The Ordinances of Manu (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. Ltd., 1891).
    • Jones, William, Institutes of Hindu Law or the Ordinances of Manu, (London: Wm H. Allen & Co., 1869).
    • Kolff, Dirk, “Early Law in India” in The Law’s Beginnings (The Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2003) pages 11-22.
    • Sri Balusu Gurulingaswami v. Sri Bulusu Ramalskashmamma 26 IA (English Law Reports, Indian Appeals) 113 (1899)
    • The Laws of Manu online (as of March 16, 2008) at sacred-texts.com/hin/manu.htm
    Law Museum > 200 BC - Laws of Manu
     
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  16. spnadmin

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  17. spnadmin

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    This is a link to an interesting site that explains the concept of "twice born" in relationship to varna membership. I have extracted the section from the web page that deals specifically with the caste system only. But the rest is a good read too.

    http://www.friesian.com/caste.htm

    The twice born may account for as much as 48% of Hindus, though I have now seen the number put at more like 18% -- quite a difference but more believable. The Shudras (58% of Hindus) may represent the institutional provision that the Arya made for the people they already found in India. [​IMG]The Shudras thus remain once born, and traditionally were not allowed to learn Sanskrit or study the Vedas -- on pain of death.

    Their dharma is to work for the twice born.

    But even below the Shudras are the Untouchables (24% of Hindus), who are literally "outcastes," without a varn.a, and were regarded as "untouchable" because they are ritually polluting for caste Hindus. Some Untouchable subcastes are regarded as so polluted that members are supposed to keep out of sight and do their work at night: They are called "Unseeables."

    In India, the term "Untouchable" is now regarded as insulting or politically incorrect (like Eta in Japan for the traditional tanners and pariahs). Gandhi's Harijans ("children of God") or Dalits ("downtrodden") are prefered, though to Americans "Untouchables" would sound more like the gangster-busting federal agent Elliot Ness from the 1920's. Why there are so many Untouchables is unclear, although caste Hindus can be ejected from their jâtis and become outcastes and various tribal or formerly tribal people in India may never have been properly integrated into the social system. When Mahâtmâ Gandhi's subcaste refused him permission to go to England, as noted above, he went anyway and was ejected from the caste. After he returned, his family got him back in, but while in England he was technically an outcaste. Existing tribal people as well as Untouchables are also called the "scheduled castes," since the British drew up a "schedule" listing the castes that they regarded as backwards, underprivileged, or oppressed.

    The Untouchables, nevertheless, have their own traditional professions and their own subcastes. Those professions (unless they can be evaded in the greater social mobility of modern, urban, anonymous life) involve too much pollution to be performed by caste Hindus: (1) dealing with the bodies of dead animals (like the sacred cattle that wander Indian villages) or unclaimed dead humans, (2) tanning leather, from such dead animals, and manufacturing leather goods, and (3) cleaning up the human and animal waste for which in traditional villages there is no sewer system. Mahâtmâ Gandhi referred to the latter euphemistically as "scavenging" but saw in it the most horrible thing imposed on the Untouchables by the caste system. His requirement on his farms in South Africa that everyone share in such tasks comes up in an early scene in the movie Gandhi. Since Gandhi equated suffering with holiness, he saw the Untouchables as hallowed by their miserable treatment and so called them "Harijans" (Hari=Vis.n.u). Later Gandhi went on fasts in the hope of improving the condition of the Untouchables, or at least to avoid their being politically classified as non-Hindus.

    Today the status of the Shudras, Untouchables, and other "scheduled castes," and the preferential policies that the Indian government has designed for their advancement ever since Independence, are sources of serious conflict, including suicides, murders, and riots, in Indian society. Meanwhile, however, especially since economic liberalization began in 1991, the social mobility of a modern economy and urban life has begun to disrupt traditional professions, and oppressions, even of Untouchables. Village life and economic stasis were the greatest allies of the caste system, but both are slowly retreating before modernity in an India that finally gave up the Soviet paradigm of economic planning.
     
  18. spnadmin

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    From the same site -- I post this separately as it clarifies definitions. The earlier post identifies some of the controversies.

    The pattern of social classes in Hinduism is called the "caste system." The chart shows the major divisions and contents of the system. Basic caste is called varn.a, or "color." Subcaste, or jâti, "birth, life, rank," is a traditional subdivision of varn.a.
    [​IMG]
    The Bhagavad Gita says this about the varn.as:
    [41] The works of Brahmins, Ks.atriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras are different, in harmony with the three powers of their born nature.
    [42] The works of a Brahmin are peace; self-harmony, austerity, and purity; loving-forgiveness and righteousness; vision and wisdom and faith.
    [43] These are the works of a Ks.atriya: a heroic mind, inner fire, constancy, resourcefulness, courage in battle, generosity and noble leadership.
    [44] Trade, agriculture and the rearing of cattle is the work of a Vaishya. And the work of the Shudra is service.
    [chapter 18, Juan Mascaró translation, Penguin Books, 1962]
     
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  19. Astroboy

    Astroboy ਨਾਮ ਤੇਰੇ ਕੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਲਗਾਈ (Previously namjap)
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    Any system for that matter goes obsolete with the advancement of science and technology. For example household equipment do the washing, cooking, cleaning, etc. so how can one reject say food prepared by a Dalit who uses all these equipments ?

    Here's something to think about :-

    A group of scientists placed 5 monkeys in a cage and in the middle, a ladder with bananas on the top.

    Every time a monkey went up the ladder, the scientists soaked the rest of the monkeys with cold water.

    After a while, every time a monkey went up the ladder, the others beat up the one on the ladder.

    After some time, no monkey dare to go up the ladder regardless of the temptation.

    Scientists then decided to substitute one of the monkeys. The 1st thing this new monkey did was to go up the ladder. Immediately the other monkeys beat him up.
    After several beatings, the new member learned not to climb the ladder even though never knew why.

    A 2nd monkey was substituted and the same occurred. The 1st monkey participated on the beating for the 2nd monkey. A 3rd monkey was changed and the same was repeated (beating). The 4th was substituted and the beating was repeated and finally the 5th monkey was replaced.

    What was left was a group of 5 monkeys that even though never received a cold shower, continued to beat up any monkey who attempted to climb the ladder.
    If it was possible to ask the monkeys why they would beat up all those who attempted to go up the ladder…..

    I bet you the answer would be….

    “I don’t know – that’s how things are done around here”

    Does it sounds familiar?


    Part Two:
    Man-Made Monkey
    BBC News | SOUTH ASIA | Mysterious 'man-monkey' strikes Delhi
    Man and Monkey Detained at La Guardia - City Room - Metro - New York Times Blog
     
  20. spnadmin

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    NamJap ji

    In a weird way this story makes sense of the caste system. It is all about keeping people where they are.

    :welcome::welcome::welcome::welcome::welcome:
     
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