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The Caste System: A Monograph

The Caste System: A Monograph
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Item Code: IDG648
Author: Swami Harshananada
Publisher: Ramakrishna Math
Edition: 2000
ISBN: 4047
Pages: 47
Cover: Paperback
Other Details: 5.4" X 4.4"
weight of book 36 gms

About the Book:

If the Hindu Caste system is an anathema to some, it is positively like a red rag to a bull, to a few others. All the same, it is very doubtful if these persons have stopped practicing it in their own lives! This Monograph is an honest attempt to present the subject in all its aspects, without pride or prejudice. After weighing the pros and cons of the question, the reader is free to draw his own conclusions.

If this brochure helps the beleaguered Hindu society to get a few more rays of light, may be, through the very chinks it is supposed to have, the writer feels immensely rewarded.

 

Introduction

Though human beings come all alone into this world and return to the Abode of their Father in Heaven, also alone, they cannot live alone here! It is in their very nature to create a family or a group, to live with. However, when their gregarious in- stinct makes their herds grow into crowds, divisions into smaller groups become inevi- table. Various factors may contribute to this division: professions, racial features, beliefs and customs carried over from the ancient generations, status consciousness brought about by economic wellbeing or higher levels of education and culture, and so on.

People all over the world have been subjected to this phenomenon.

Nor have such groups, clans and tribes remained static and unaffected by the vicissitudes of time and life. Terrific changes brought about by variegated experiences, the impact of the different ways and values of life of other groups, growth or deteriora- tion of civilization and culture or even unexpected upheavals from inside their own groups have often wrought permanent trans- formations in them. Such groups as were incapable of withstanding the shocks of changes, have either been decimated or have been devoured and digested by the more aggressive ones.

The one social system that has success- fully withstood all the onslaughts from without and within, over several millennia, is the caste system of the Hindus. If similar systems that existed in Greece, Rome, Persia or Japan have quietly disappeared into oblivion and only the Hindu system has survived, it speaks volumes for not only its resilience and tenacity, but also for its having fulfilled a great need and purpose of the Hindu peoples. This point will be dealt with later.

It may not be irrelevant to mention here a notion that we normally have-that the Semitic religions are monolithic and do not have any social system that is compa- rable to the Hindu caste system. It is true that-unlike the Hindu religion-they have only one founder and one Book. But one will be surprised to know that there are numerous varieties or schools of Christianity and that, in India at least, there are several castes even among the Muslims.

CONTENTS

 

  To the Reader 3
1. Introduction 5
2. Varna, the Basis of Caste System 8
3. Growth of the Caste System 12
4. Positive Aspects of the Caste System 14
5. Gradual Decadence of the Caste System 19
6. The Brahmana Ideal 22
7. The Brahmana in Actual Life 26
8. The Sudra Problem 29
9. Untouchability 33
10. Solution to the Caste Problem in Modern India 36
11. Epilogue 45

 

Sample Page


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