[Advaita-l] Re: Question: Swadharma

Sanjay Srivastava sksrivastava68 at gmail.com
Sun Feb 5 21:22:35 CST 2006

Sri Ram Garib wrote:

> I am not suggesting a complete break off with traditions; nor the
> perpetuation of all traditions. I think only those traditions need be
> emphasized, which we can relate to. This stand necessrily involves
> subjective discretion in regard to dharma, which has been vehemently denied
> by Sri Chandrashekharendra Saraswati in "Hindu Dharma". However, I do not
> see how it can be otherwise. Take for example rules of manu. No
> self-respecting non-dvija can ever relate to those rules. I understand that
> no one today is insisting for imposition of those rules, but the sanction of
> them by a religious scripture attacks at the very core of ones value as a
> human being. As a non-dvija, it makes you feel worthless as a human being.
> Therefore identifying those traditions which we can relate to, should be the
> first step in defining dharma.

Namaste Ram-ji. I would like to share my comments, though they are not
answers to your questions. "It is better to debate the issue, without
settling it; rather than settle the issue without debating it". Take
my comments in this spirit only.

We can view caste system in one of the two ways. The first is to look
at it from an outsider's eyes. The other is to look at it from the

If we look at the caste system from an outsider's eyes who does not
believe in reincarnation, this is the most unjust system. After all if
I have only one life, how can I justify a caste, which is based on

Now look at it from a vaidika's point of view. This is not the only
life I have. What I get in this life is partly determined by my
karma-s of past lives and what I will get in the next life will partly
be determined by my karma-s of this life. For a vaidika, universe is
supported by a "just" order, but this "justice" is maintained over the
entire life spans of a jiva-- not every individual life span.

For a believer in reincarnation, caste system is not inconsistent with
the concept of justice. This world view helped hindu society to become
a non-competitive society where occupations were decided on birth. On
the flip side, this world view also gave rise to a complacency and
condonation of excesses in the name of dharma. Ideally, I would like a
system to have all the positive qualities without any negative
repercussions. However, in practice, one is usually gained at the
expense of the other. It seems somewhere we lost this balance.
Fortunately, hindus of all hues have recognized that a rectification
is needed. You rarely find someone who does not advocate to restore
the balance of caste system.


More information about the Advaita-l mailing list