Sunday, March 7, 2010

Chapter 76- Debate on the Matter of - Caste

Siddhaiyya addressed the group of Brahmins like this, “Respected sirs! Please don’t get angry, kindly let me express my views, kindly listen to me. ब्रह्मणा क्षत्रियो वैश्यो शूद्रो चन्दलेव च | दृढभ्यासेकरो नित्यं, पुनर्जन्म न विद्यते || It means, from Brahmin to an untouchable, anyone from any caste and creed if keeps his firm faith in God and firmly devotes himself to the Lord by practicing and following the right path with dedication, they would attain liberation. To attain liberation one needs knowledge or devotion but castes and creeds do not add any qualification to that. Hence why is it incorrect if some non Brahmin recites Vedas?”

Those words of wisdom of Siddhaiyya made them angrier, and they directly went to Swami and asked him, “Hey! What’s he saying? You have to explain us one thing. “ब्राह्मणोस्य मुखमासीत” is the verse which you might also have heard. It means Brahmins have taken birth from the face of the Brahma. So it’s our right to recite Vedas and perform rituals. If you can’t explain why you think otherwise, then you and your disciples are going to face serious insults”.

Swami who was sitting silently with his eyes closed, opened his eyes slowly and calmly said, “Sirs! Requesting you all to be calm and then whatever questions you want to ask, you may ask; I’ll be glad to clarify your queries. Please calm down first”.

Swami continued, “I’ll come to the point ‘ब्राह्मणोस्य मुखमासीत’ later. First let me clarify the point which you used at Siddhaiyya. You said you belong to higher castes and Siddhaiyya belongs to lower caste and hence you developed a sense of repulsion towards him. First let me clarify this conflict and then I’ll explain you how people from any Varna (caste) can recite Vedas”.

Swami said further, “Children! There are differences in the classes of humans based on the jobs only. Only based on one’s Vrutti (job) we have divisions as castes or classes otherwise all are one. Everybody’s body is composed of ‘Prithvi Tatwam’ (earthly essence) and is obtained as a result of the anuraga (desires and attachments) between the parental couples when they unite with each other. From the combination of Sukla (male seed) and Sonita (female seed) only the body of their progeny is formed. Hence every living being belongs to the same caste of sukla and sonita. Every one of us has only one caste—the caste of being ‘Yonija’ since everyone takes birth from the mother’s womb. So, where is the difference in status among any of us? How is someone born as a higher caste and some other person born in a lower caste? Do the higher caste people get their birth through some other way on earth? Hence there is no other caste other than being a ‘Yonija’ (vagina born)”.

He continued further, “Children! Let me explain you why it’s said that ‘Brahmanas are of highest caste’. Definitely the scriptures mention the same but you should understand that ‘Wisdom is Brahmanatvam (being Brahmin)’ and ‘Ignorance is Sudratwam (being Shudra)’. Let me take this further. Tell me where is a pure lineage of Brahmin caste? If you take the example of Sage Vasishtha, he was born from the mixed race of Mitra-Varuna who were Gods and Urvasi who was a celestial dancer. Didn’t that Vasishtha become the Guru of HarishchandraSri Rama? Let us see the lineage of Vasishtha. Vasishtha’s one wife was Chandali, Chandali gave birth to Sakti, Sakti’s wife was Chapalatma, Chapalatma’s son was Parasara, Parasara united with a fisher-woman Matsyagandha and fathered Vyasa, and Vyasa’s sons were Dritarashtra, Pandu, born from queens and Vidura from a housemaid. Moreover Vyasa’s another son who was born as low caste but didn’t he gain glories by the power of SriHari’s divine Astakshari mantra? Among the aforesaid lineage didn’t the fisherwoman’s son Vyasa raise to glorious titles of being a great Brahmana? Vyasa who is considered as a great Brahmana, his children Dritarashtra and Pandu are not considerd Brahmanas, rather they are called as great Kshatriyas. Hence did you understand now that only the one who is devoted to the service of god or who is involved in spiritual practices, gets the title and eligibility of ‘Brahmana’, It’s not the birth, rather it’s the occupation which decided one’s caste”. in Krutayuga? Later in Tretayuga wasn’t he the Guru of

Swami continued to explain further, “Now let me explain the meaning of the four divisions Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Sudra. Let me explain the meaning of ‘ब्राह्मणोस्य मुखमासीत’. As per you it means that, Brahmins are born from the face of Brahma. If that’s the case, then for Brahmins the ‘Adi-Purusha’ (first point of origination) is Lord Brahma. But many scriptures say that Brahma was born from the navel lotus of Lord Vishnu. If we consider this theory as true, then Brahma who is your first progenitor, he himself doesn’t have Brahmanatwa (Brahminism), where from did you get Brahmatwam? Secondly, all those saints who were born from Brahma’s face none exist on this earth currently. But the Ganga who was born from Vishnu’s feet exists on this earth as the sacred river and is getting respected as the most sacred river. If we go by your claim that one who is born from face are of highest caste and who is born out of feet are untouchables and belong to lowest caste, then don’t you think your false beliefs would make that great sacred river (which removes all sins with mere touch), as belonging to the untouchable category? Your false understanding of Vedic verses is making even the ‘Daksha Prajapati’ a ‘Sudra’ (untouchable) because he was born from the feet of Brahma. Think over it once and tell me whether Ganga and Daksha who were born from feet are in anyway Sudras? Because of you they’re falling under Sudra caste!”

Swami argued further, “Now let me come to your verse ‘बाहु राजस्य कृत’ which means from the shoulders emerged Kshatriyas (Kings). Our history speaks of mainly two divisions of Kshatriya clan viz. Surya dynasty and Chandra dynasty. Sun god ‘Surya’ was the progenitor of Surya dyansty and Moon god ‘Chandra’ was the progenitor of the Chandra dynasty. If you go by our scriptures, then Surya was born to Sage Kashyapa and Chandra was the son of Sage Atri. When Kashyapa and Atri were Brahmanas then how did their progeny become Kshatriyas? Moreover if kshatriyas have to be the ones who were born from the shoulders of the Brahma then how come Surya and Chandra dynasty gained the name as Kshatriyas? Let me explain the actual meaning of the verses what you have read and wrongly understood. Lord Narayana is called Vishnu because he is spread all over the universe, “विश्वम् नारायणं देवं”. Entire universe is assumed to be the body of the God. And since face/head is the primary organ of any body, it is considered as the Uttama (best) part of the body. On similar lines shoulders are Madhyama (better) part of the body. Thighs are considered Adhama (low) in importance, and finally the feet are considered Adhamadhamaha (lowest) in significance.

This is all symbolic and the same is applied on the castes as well. The creation of Brahma consists of four classes of people viz. one who is highly filled with divine wisdom is considered to belong to the Uttama (best) class. One who is little less in Vivekam (wisdom) is considered to be Madhyama (medium). One who is even lesser in wisdom is mapped to Adhama (low) caste and finally one who is Viveka-Shoonya (zero in wisdom and spirituality) is mapped to the Adhamadhamah (lowest) category. And they are termed as, Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Sudra castes. Hence these castes are mapped with the four parts of the Lord’s body but this is symbolic and those Sanskrit verses shouldn’t be understood with their meanings obtained from true translation. Children! Understand these verses symbolically. Agyana (Ignorance) is Sudratwam (lowest caste) and Sugyana (Wisdom) is Brahmanatwam (Brahmana caste).

You can see umpteen examples from our own scriptures which would clarify this fact. Take the example of sage Valmiki. He was a robber and was a Sudra but when he gained knowledge through enlightenment he was considered as one of the best of Brahmanas. His caste changed based on his Karma (duty). Even in Mahabharata’s Santi Parva you can find one statement which says that a Brahmana of wrong deeds is a Sudra and a Sudra born virtuous person gains the reputation of a Brahmana”.

Swami continued, “Even Sri Krishna told to Arjuna that the person who is equipped with calm nature, spirituality, wisdom, devotion, kindness etc. qualities; he loses Sudratwam and attains Brahmanatwam. So, my dear children! Think on these lines and understand the concept of castes correctly”.

No comments:

Post a Comment