# Castes of India

Discussion in 'Eastern Philosophy' started by kmguru, Jul 30, 2001.

Messages:
11,757

3. ### kmguruStaff Member

Messages:
11,757
Here are some more thoughts on the matter:

In India basically there are four major type of castes:
1. Brahmin: Priests
2. Kshatriya: Kings, Aristocrats and the military
4. Sudra: Who provide services to the society such as fisherman, cobbler etc.

There are sub castes based on the division of labor as in SIC code. It is not supposed to be one is better than any other, because “it takes a village” to be a society. For a long time, priests son studied to be priest, kings son trained to be king and the business family continued their know how within that caste system. Since Brahmins were the priests, they controlled the social rituals, books and manipulated the society to favor them and declared themselves the high caste along with the Kshatriyas who were the keeper of the swords. In fact many thousand years ago, there was a war between Brahmins and Kshatriyas and guess who own? (hint: Kshatriyas are the ones with sword and weapons)

(Does this remind you the TV series Babylon 5 ?)

Today in USA, we have 4 classes based on money and education.

Super rich: Billionaires
Rich: Millionaires
Middle Class: Teachers, Engineers, Managers (further subdivided into Upper & Lower based on income)
Poor: Those who visit welfare offices regularly

In US and most part of the western culture, education and social interaction does play a role in defining whether a person is high class or low class (also called “redneck” in south). So here the class division is based on material assets and education than type of job a person does because we have universities to learn the trade one wants to be in.

Back to India: Those who do not fall into those categories fall under outcaste and hence untouchable. There is a whole group of people that were in India before the Aryans colonized India. They also fall under untouchables. The Government of India stamps them as “Scheduled Caste” (they did in 1970, don’t know what they do today). A lot of people that fall through the cracks switch their religion to Christianity in the hopes of getting out of the unfair practice and discrimination.

Anytime any group has a identifiable marker, others have a tendency to be biased more in a bad way than good way. In USA, a person can change that class by education, hard work etc. In Europe, it is difficult because the markers are Italian, German, Polish etc. In USA we still have the black and white marker that causes all kinds of problems. In case of blacks the marker is genetic. In India those markers are artificially created. So a lot of people drop their surname (last name) to make the marker unidentifiable for good reason.
So, my thought on the matter is, there is nothing wrong in having a marker to identify who you are or what you do in life, but please let us not use that to create a negative bias when that has no relationship with the marker.

There is work underway to further create more markers. Read my post in Aryan Invasion. Scientific study is one thing but let us not create more biases from the study.

Messages:
386
Interesting, when I was taught the caste system in Primary School, it was taught in more of a way that defined who the upper class including the very upper(kings, queens, princes etc) was, the middle class, the lower class and the untouchables.

So it is a lot different thinking of castes in ways of fitting into a society. It reminds me of my own religion, Christianity. Where we have the 'body of Christ' which includes all Christians. What this teaching says is that don't consider one job over another. Like say don't consider the job of a Priest higher than that of a person who prays or cleans the church and so forth. Because without the church cleaner, no one would want to go to a filthy church, but without a priest, there is no one to give the sermon. So just as a body requires lungs, it need a heart and a brain to function also. So therefore, no one person is considered more important than the other.

kmguru, how do you actually become an 'untouchable'? Could a person in one of the castes become an untouchable during the course of their life?

Thanks

7. ### kmguruStaff Member

Messages:
11,757
For every man made rule, chances are there are exceptions. I do not know for sure, but you are born in to a caste system, so you just do not switch a caste on some deeds. Mind you though, if a ruler class male marries an unknown caste, the child becomes the ruler class.

Also Deadwood, the caste system has nothing to do with the religion but somehow got integrated into it. I remember parables written specifically not to have such discrimination - since it takes all kinds to create a functioning society.

I am hoping, as India marches to the new information age, they will gradually clean several thousand years worth social garbage. It may take one or two generations to make it happen.

I was told that, God made the Jews wander for one generation so that the old beliefs will die with the last generation. I hope that is the case here.

Messages:
386
Yes, there are always people who just crave power and will go to any lengths to achieve it.

However, I do find it interesting reading your posts how in western society we are taught about Eastern religion with a Western view. One very interesting thing was that a few months ago, I saw an interview with India's foreign minister being interviewed by an Australian. You see to Western society, Pakistan and India look like the plain enemies. However, what the Indian foreign minister was saying was that they weren't enemies, but it is kind of like a 'family dispute'. the interviewer couldn't believe what she was saying and kept on going with the point "but you are enemies?". You see the different societies and how they see each other. The US would probably do well to study more about Chinese culture. You will find that they are a very honourable race. The way they respect there parents and so forth.

Only after understanding will you have change. I guess if the Indians find out their roots or heritage that might start some change. But then again I really don't know. I only know a little bit about Hinduism. kmguru, if you don't mind, what is your religious background?

Thanks

9. ### kmguruStaff Member

Messages:
11,757

You need to read my other postings under Eastern Philosophy to get a better idea of my religious background. You are correct as to how people percieve others based on their own background. It happens because, people do not really want to study other cultures when they were young. Once they reach 21, it is harder for them to understand different view points.

Take the case of communism. There is not a single person in US that knows anything about Communism as espoused by Karl Marks. All they know is that Communists are our enemy and that is that. No ifs, buts....

My base belief with respect to Christianity is this: I believe and try to obey everything that Emmanuel (sp, Jesus birthname?) spoke of including the ten commandments. However I am not a Christian by the rules of his followers - and I do not give a darn. This belief, to me, does not contradict my way of life based on Sanatana Dharma. If you are a Christian, I recommend to stick with what Jesus said (go to the source) and not what his followers said or are saying today.

I do not know, if in Christianity you are supposed to ask for favor from Jesus (being son of God) and/or God himself. In Hinduism and Chinese society, you must. Now, I have been in trouble a few times and asked Jesus for help and received help with astronomical odds. Does that make me a Christian, I do not know. God works mysterious ways....I will take anyhelp I can get.

As I was writing this, I heard in CNN that they are going to add DHA to baby formula, because Mothers Milk contains DHA and those who are breastfed get an IQ boost of 20 points. When you tamper with nature....

10. ### kmguruStaff Member

Messages:
11,757

Messages:
386
Hi kmguru.

I'm sorry I had read your posts, but I couldn't pick out anything specific. I know you're into Yoga and want to make a retreat and do't have the money, but thats about all I got.

Yes, I obey the teachings of Jesus Christ. And according to the bible, He taught the disciples to believe in Him. I have seen His work as well. He works miracles. It is He who has strengthened my belief in Him, ever since God answered a prayer when I was I think four. My mum told me to pray and so I did. I was having this very bad recurring nightmare. And I've never had it again, though I can remember it exactly now as I write. I believed in Him before that. I still have recurring dreams like continuations spanning years but nothing real nightmarish if you catch my drift.

Yeah, Emmanual refers to Jesus Christ. It means I think but positive "God with Us" and I think Jesus means that to. In those times, who a person was, was characterized by their name.

And I agree, that there are a lot of iffies in the church, there are heresies. But you can tell that a Christian is a true believer by the way they act. (I'm not trying to be up myself here) They should not exalt themselves, they should be gentle, and have no hate for their brother (all people). Sorry about going off topic, but as I think you do, I love to share my faith.

Oh yes, I think I see another difference in culture.
We don't ask for favor as in Hindism and such. We ask for help, guidance, councilling, teaching, healing. But we just don't ask for blessing. We worship and praise God for who He is, for what He has done, and for what He is going to do and doing within us. Though I cannot comprehend it, Jesus is fully man fully God. I think when referring to the word Son in this context means having the 'nature' of God. Jesus was sinless, and blameless before God. The Christian God is triune (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), I myself can testify to the Holy Spirits work within me. I am a changed person, because of Him. Really, I mean it, these are not just empty words but I am telling the truth from my experience. The old testament, prophesied around 300 prophesies about the Messiah (Saviour) and Jesus fits the description perfectly. Though not all are fulfilled. They are to be fulfilled at His second coming. Well, thats what I believe.

But what is Sanata Dharma? Sorry again for going way off topic, but I'm really interested in what you believe. You've got me intrigued. And it is only us two replying in this thread. And likewise, if you do not understand something about what I believe or have not been clear enough so that I've confused you, please feel free to ask anytime.

Thanks.

12. ### kmguruStaff Member

Messages:
11,757

May be my poor choice of word 'favor" should be replaced by "help" - and that is what I ask from Jesus and God and they work. My understanding is that Christians are not supposed to go directly to God for help or forgiveness. They must go thorugh Jesus. Jews directly go to God and so do Hindus.

I obey the ten commandments not because I have to, not because I am Jewish or Christian wannabe, but it seems to be the right thing to do. I sincerely ask God (the word is God and not Kali, Shiva, Vishnu or Hebrew God, Christian God) to guide me. I try to do the right thing, be humble, assertive but not arrogant. I do not start a fight but with the help of God I can finish it.

When I am in serious trouble due to no fault of mine and I ask for help from God, I usually get it period. So I know, God loves me.

...and so life goes on...

Last edited: Aug 1, 2001
13. ### Chagur.Seeker.Registered Senior Member

Messages:
2,235

If you must refer to the Jewish or Hebrew God, and don't wish to use His sacred name (YHVH), please, please don't refer to him as the 'Jew God'

Thanks.

14. ### kmguruStaff Member

Messages:
11,757
Chagur, ...done....will make a mental note of that....thanks....

Messages:
386
Sorry guys, I said God as in the Christian God because since we are talking about different religions, it is best to avoid confusion. I will refer to God as God, but I did not mean to any disrespect to Him [God]. So I do apologise.

Another point of interest. When Christians say that they pray through Jesus Christ they are not saying that they are not talking to God. What they mean is that they can pray to God because they are made clean through Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament if you had sinned or have done something that was wrong before God, you were unclean and therefore, unfit to worship God. So therefore, a sacrifice was needed. This is why the Jewish people made sacrifices as individuals, and the High Priest made sacrifices for his own sins and on behalf of the people each day.

This is where the prophesies come in. The Old Testament prophesied a coming Messiah, who would free His people. This New Covenent(contract, testament) would also be made available to Gentiles(non-Jew) as well as Jews. Because Jesus was fully man and fully God here on Earth(I am not to sure about now) and sinless(blameless before God) He was able to be a sacrifice made possible for all men, women and child.

That is wonderful.

Also, I have some more things to comments and questions about the caste system. Even with the caste system being in society with people being put into certain jobs as I understand it. What would happen if someone didn't want to be in the military or trade and commerce?

and also, perhaps Budha didn't like it because back in his time it was more of a upper, middle, lower, untouchable class system as I was taught it is today when I was back in my public primary school.

Thanks

16. ### kmguruStaff Member

Messages:
11,757
Old days that was not a problem. Now you may need a new identity. It is no different than today in US. Suppose you did the work of a carpenter for 5 years and did not like the dust and switched to electrician job for another 2 to 4 years. If you go back to the carpentry work, no one will hire you because of your current job status. It happens today in computer jobs.

17. ### kmguruStaff Member

Messages:
11,757
I just remembered something that is worth noting. While in the western society, upper class does not mix well with the lower class, in caste system mixing of rich and poor in the upper castes is welcome. So in a way, money does affect the socialization at least not to the same extent as in western society....

Messages:
386
Hey kmguru, I think that Western Society is starting to come away from that the rich stick together and the poor stick together. Today, its more about whether you send your children to public or private schools. Thats the dividing line today I think.

19. ### kmguruStaff Member

Messages:
11,757
I have news for you, rich do stick together, poor do not have a choice. I can give a lot of examples from my own personal experience.

Messages:
386
hehe, fair enough kmguru. I reckon you could tell me a lot of stories about when you and your rich pals stuck together

nah, actually, in Australia, people do send their children to private schools. On one of our A Current Affair programs, they were putting one willing politician each week in the shoes of one whats termed Aussie Battler family(poor Australian family just trying each week to make ends meet).

Well on the second week, I couldn't believe it, they had this family who was struggling each week just to make ends meet. You see, after all of the other expenses ie. 3 children going to private school AUD$5000 a year * 3(US$2500 * 3) the politician then had to make a budget and shop for food and live with the family. I can tell you they usually went 50 or so dollars(US$25) over budget. But with cashing out 15 grand each year, I can see why, and the Current Affairs program didn't even consider that a problem. you see the point is, I think if you send your children to private school, you vanquish your right to complain about money. But I would really love to hear a couple of stories about rich people sticking together. You can see this too in the school ground, not to mention private school people looking at you in your public school uniform like they are higher in society than you, well you get the picture. But then again it makes me happy to know that I'm not like that. Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image! 21. ### kmguruStaff Member Messages: 11,757 Oh! I have plenty of stories. A quick one about my kids. They have been to public and private school depending on where we lived (I moved around a lot within US). In one area, when the kids are in junior high, we did not pay any attention to their clothes because we did not understand fashions for that age group. We noticed, they are picking up rifraffs as their friends. We decided to do a little experiement. After a little research, we found out the culprit is the clothes. So we queitly took the kids to a better store with very expensive clothing. Within a few weeks, our shy kids had rich friends. So, all I could say is...hmmm...that is how the society works...it was not in my technical manual of life.... 22. ### DeadwoodRegistered Senior Member Messages: 386 hey kmguru, I did that experiment too, and the same thing happened, well kinda. In Australia, at school we wear school uniforms. But about once each term we have a free dress day where you don't have to wear school uniform. So the first time, I wear my stussy shirt. In Australia, this brand is classed as 'cool'. My classmate in my clan(don't ask, just wear you go for 20 minutes each day to get the newsletter read and your name marked off, plus give any notes from your parents if you were absent the previous day) said "Stussy, coowell!". Actually I didn't even know the shirt was stussy, I just liked it. Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image! So I had a name brand T-Shirt and gained peoples respect. So next time, I wore a cheap no name brand shirt. He reacted just the way I thought. Oh thats a cheap shirt. So I got teased by some classmates. This is one way to tell who your friends are. but I don't stoop to the 'cool' persons level where spending an extra AUD$30(US\$15) on a shirt can mean the difference between respect and worthy of teasing. Well, since I buy my own clothes I can't afford to get expensive shirts. I kinda have half name brand, half don't, if I like omething I'll get it.

However, the most important thing to me is whether I'm comfortable underneath. I'm not going to wear expensive stuff on the outside, and not be comfortable. The opposite for me is preferable.

Oh well, sounds like you have some stories to tell. I hope you enjoyed mine. Pretty funny eh, though we live on different sides of the planet we still do the same experiment.

23. ### kmguruStaff Member

Messages:
11,757
I will tell you another story:

Many years ago, I was a young engineer at a major consulting company. We had a beautiful girl friday (she did misc. chores around office). Because I was very young among a bunch of old engineers, she gravitated towards me to chat. What I found out is that she got married just after high school to a jock. By the time I talked to her, she was married for 5 months and things were not so good at home. After the honeymoon was over, reality started biting back. The guy with high school education could only find a labor job. He will come home dirty, get his beer and sit in front of the Television. His language slowly changed to slangs and obscenities. Everyday he will go to work in a blue collar environment and she to a white collar environment. In the evening, after small talk, arguments usually ended the day. She was ambitious, he was not.

After listening to this for the next 3 months, crying over my shoulder, I could not take it anymore. So I became the guilty party to encourage her to shop around for a better deal. We had several single engineers. I palyed the cupid, planned the program and liberated her from the hell on the 11th month.

Until next time...