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Reviving Dharma- Part 4- Thoughts on Jati-Varna System

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Nithin Sridhar

In the ideal Varna System, Jati is for vocations and not vice-verse. In a society there are multiple jobs that must be done by different groups of people. Only then, there will be smooth functioning. If every person is competing for some jobs and some other jobs are neglected, there will be unemployment, jealousy etc in the society.

Hence, in order to achieve effective division of labor Jati system was create. Jati refers to a group of people involved in a specific job. It was made hereditary as by this, it was easy to pass the skills required from father to son, generation to generation. Varna’s as you know is determined based on Guna and based on it certain Duties/Dharmas has been allotted. But, a child’s Guna is most affected by the environment in which it grows. Hence, the Jati was designed such that, generation after generation grew in that particular environment and did those jobs and contributed to the society. They lived a happy and content life. There was no jealousy, hatred or violence. As No Job can be said to be inferior or superior to another, no Jati was considered inferior or Superior. Hence, there was progress and harmony.

Of course, all these are in an Ideal Society with Varna-Jati System in place. But, this system has been decaying for many centuries now. In fact with each Yuga, Dharma declines. Yet, it can be seen that, even till few hundred years ago, till the time of coming of British, there was very less caste violence. The untouchability etc had already taken its ugly form. Yes. But, the situation was still better than today. After the arrival of Britishers, the situation became worse. People abandoned their dharma/duties. They all started competing for luxuries imported from the west etc. People left their Jati Dharma- heredity vocation and duties but held on to the Jati names. This was like cutting of head itself because of headache. Every system over time may develop some branches that decay. The solution is to take corrective actions and set right the mistakes and not abandoning the whole system. In India’s case, because of development of social discrimination and rigidity in the Varna-Jati system and because of the temptations of the material comforts, people abandoned the whole system.This is the root of current mess. Today Jati is only in a name to be invoked during elections. The concept of simple life, Sva-Dharma as applicable to each Individual have been completely abandoned.

According to Sri Chandrashekara Saraswati Swamiji, the major blame lies with Brahmins, who first abandoned their Dharma. It is Brahmin’s dharma to study scriptures, learn vedas and all the rituals and practice them, teach them and living life in a humble and simple way. They guided society by example. When, they abandoned their Dharma for material comforts, then even the other Jatis followed. Hence, the whole system ended in a mess full of jealousy, discrimination etc. In fact, it must be added that, for many centuries before British had come,the Caste system had become rigid. The Jatis were not supposed to be too rigid. And discrimination had already lifted its head. Hence, the society had marched towards slow decay.

The Ideal solution should be that everybody should return back to Varna/Jati system in its Original form devoid of distortions. Doing so, will remove all the present conflicts and other problem. But, of course this is not practical immediately. It may take a long time. So, he suggests that for the sake of protection and propagation of Dharma, a set of people must be fully dedicated for learning, practicing and teaching. He says, at least Brahmins must return back to their Dharma of Vedic learning. Brahmins must let their children learn Vedas and live life by teaching and performing Vedic rituals. Or a new Caste of Brahmins be created for the study and practice of Vedic Dharma. If this happens, may be in some future by seeing the example of Brahmin Jati who are doing their duties in humble and simple way, the other people of society will also return to the Varna fold.

But, till then everybody can try to live life in a simple way even in the midst of luxuries. Everybody should try to be content with what God provides. Everybody should earn money through Dharmic means and not by corruption or bribery. Everyone should try to practice Samanya Dharma- Truth, Non-Violence, Cleanliness, Control of Mind etc.

Hence, those who have desire to gain wealth must do so in a Dharmic manner with an attitude of surrender to God. Those who are in political power must perform their work in a unbiased way for welfare of society again with attitude of Surrendering to Lord. This same is applicable to everyone in all the jobs be it defense or corporate sector. Everyone should do their work in dedicated way and try to be content with what they have. This is not to say they should not desire for better life but such a desire should be fulfilled by honesty and hard work. And people should perform some form of sadhana/bhakti and learn to control their desires.

And among the vast masses, if a few feel desire to learn scriptures, they should learn and practice them and propagate them. Society as a whole must make little efforts in protection and propagation of Vaidika Dharma. Only Dharma can save us.

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I am a civil engineer working with Essar Projects India Ltd and have a passion for writing articles on Politics, History, Religion and Philosophy.

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