Caste, Ashrama, Karma and Moksha

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Tue Nov 19 20:43:30 CST 1996

> From: Ms. Aikya Param <aikya at IX.NETCOM.COM>
> I have a question at this point.  Where does the mumukshu feel bound?
> Also, what good is liberation if it doesn't free one "here"?

Here refers to samsara.  The Mumuksha doesn't wish to be bound to samsara.
He desires liberation because it is the truth not because it is good.

> Does Mr. Vyas use the word "karma" here to mean religious ritual or any


> Arjuna seemed tremendously interested in not having to kill his
> a caste-related duty during the particular ashrama he was in when
> he found himself on the battlefield.  He wanted to take sannyas
> instead of killing the relatives.  That was the karma he wanted to avoid,

Yes.  And Krishna Bhagavan convinces him that although this karma is a sin,
abandoning his dharma as a kshatriya is a far bigger sin.

> So now if we're only talking about caste-based duties, then this whole
> philosophy doesn't apply except if there's a caste system in place, is
> that so?

The caste system is always in place.  It may not always be practiced but
its validity does not depend on its popularity.

> And if Arjuna had been a little older and been vaanaprastha
> the whole problem wouldn't have come up for him. So the philosophy
> also seems to require adherence to the four ashramas, and the caste
> system.  Is that so?


> So now is it also true that people outside the caste system do not
>  bondage
> and thus do not require liberation.  Or is it that only people in the
>  system defined
> by caste are bound and all others are already free?

No because there is in the Dharmashastras the category of antyaja or
ashuddha to describe these peoples and certain dharmas are prescribed for
them.  For the most part they are eternally ignorant but at least the
possibility of liberation exists even for them.  Just like anyone else if
they remain in samsara they should follow their allotted duties.  If  they
seek Moksha they should seek it using the prescribed methods.

Jaldhar H. Vyas [jaldhar at]   And the men .-_|\ who hold
Consolidated Braincells Inc.                          /     \ -)~~~~~~~~  Perth->*.--._/  o-
"Witty quote" - Dead Guy   /\/\/\ _ _ ___ _  _ Amboy       v      McQ!

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