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कृण्वन्तो विश्वमार्यम्

Re: Vedic Varna Vyavastha & the British Caste System

(Excerpts from "Edward Hamala's letter as appeared in Old Website Re: The British 'caste system' is more prevalent than the Indian)

In response to the letter by Roger Williams captioned "The Rig Veda does refer
to caste"? ?I thought I might share a few points with your readers.

1)About Indians to-day.
Today, most Indians are alienated and mostly ignorant about their culture, the
Vedas and their history, and few understand the Vedic philosophy or its
teachings or the highly advanced science it encompasses. They know little else
about Hinduism, besides the ritualistic traditions. This Vedic social structure
was put in place at the time when in the rest of the world slavery was rampant
and pivotal to every European Empire!

2) About Vedic Varna vyavastha & Gandhi ji
I also remind you that the Indian Social Structure as it was depicted in the
Vedas Millenniums ago, made it an edict to leave Tribals and Adivasis alone and
not to impose Hindu religion, culture or values on them.The word "caste" my
friend is an English word! The Sanskrit word for "caste" is "Varna" and it means
vocation or occupation and does not mean "caste" as it does in the English
interpretation or translation of the term!Likewise, "untouchable" meant not to
go near them, don't touch them, don't intermarry with them and don't corrupt
their culture don't try to
conform them. Leave th
em alone!The unfortunate thing was that Mahatma Gandhi was also British
educated, trained as a lawyer and had little or no knowledge about the ancient
Vedic philosophy, history or culture. What little Gandhi knew about Vedic
philosophy was mostly thought to him by Vinoba Bhave, an avid freedom fighter, a
devoted supporter of the Mahatma who was a Hindu monk and a highly educated
Brahman who among other things spoke 14 languages.It was Vinoba Bhave who
connected Gandhi's political views with Vedic values and philosophy that gained
such a wide appeal and the support of the Indian masses. If Gandhi would have
had a better grasp of Vedic Philosophy he would have been able to counter many
of these British myths and instead of being an apologist he could have
challenged and defeated the British, the most classist society, at their own
game.Let me ask you, Mr. Williams, what modern country that you know of today
still have primitive tribals living undisturbed,
"uncivilized" and untouched by their society living around them? As they do in
the Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India? Did you know that these islands are
off limits to all Indian citizens, to protect these tribals?Is it done to
discriminate against the tribals as "untouchables" or is it done to protect
them?The State of Assam, was a similar tribal area until it got overran by
zealous Christian Missionaries that have destroyed their social fibre and their
culture
3) About British System & Vedic Varna Vyavastha
Westerners can't seem to resist the temptation of trying to impose their
political and social values and religions on other cultures!How many societies
does Mr. Williams know, where a group of refugees arrived and sought refuge as
the Jews did in Kerala, India in 70 AD and were given sanctuary and freedom to
practice their religion. This community lived and prospered in India without
anyone trying to convert them and many returned to their homeland when the State
of Israel was created!The same holds true for the Parsi refugees arriving from
Persia when the forceful Muslim conversion was taking place there and they are
still practicing their own ancient religion as Zoroastrians and no one tried to
convert them.Recently, a large number of Tibetians arrived in India along with
the Dalai Lama and they were all received graciously and were given sanctuary.I
suggest Mr. Williams should ask the Australian aboriginals or the American
Indians if they would prefer
to be untouched by th
eir foreign invaders or if they preferred to be forced to conform to an alien
culture that was imposed on them, by forcefully removing their children to place
them into Christian institutions where violence and sexual abuse was rampant.It
has destroyed their self esteem, traditions and culture. The Eastern Indian
social structure was designed that different castes served each other, each with
a distinct duty to perform for the benefit of the whole of society.
It was a farmer's duty to teach his son to be a good farmer and the merchant's
to teach his son his craft, while the warrior was trained to be the protector
and defender of all???..It is also noteworthy that governance was the duty of
the Kshatryas not to rule by whims and despotism as it was the rulers privilege
in the "civilized west" but to rule in accordance with the Vedic principles.

Yet the highest caste, above them all was not the Kings who were given the
highest social position. It was the Brahmans who were the custodians of all the
Vedic Sciences and knowledge and their duty was to teach and to preserve the
knowledge of Vedas.

The teachers, the priests, the doctors, the scientists and philosophers the
poets and the writers were all Brahmans whose duty also included giving moral
guidance to the Kings! It is simplistic to believe that a farmer or a potter
would be capable to teach their children nuclear science or medicine or the
Vedas!

This educational system assured the proper training and apprenticeship of all
with a life time of gainful employment for all the participants.

This, Mr. Williams, has established an interesting value system in India, alien
to the west! The most valuable asset was not money or power as it is today in
the western value system! It was knowledge and wisdom that took decades to learn
and a life time to acquire! And it was the society's duty to support the
Brahmans to afford their study providing food, clothing and shelter to them.