[Advaita-l] Re: Question: Swadharma

Ram Garib garib_ram at yahoo.co.in
Mon Feb 6 19:53:32 CST 2006

Thanks Krishnan, Sanjay, Ravi and Rishi for your
thought provoking inputs.

--- Krishnan Sundaresan <krish.sundaresan at gmail.com>

> Are/Were occupations really decided by birth? This
> is an erroneous thought
> that is perhaps the bane of our society today. The
> Bhagavad Gita clearly
> mentions that varnas are to be decided according to
> an individual's guna and
> karma (4:13). Swami Chidbavananda further qualifies
> this by saying that
> varnas are based on quality of mind alone (also
> quite clear from 4:13 that
> birth has nothing to do with caste) and that any
> human seeking realization
> shall have to pass through these varnas during his
> quest.

Sir! Swami Chidbavananda was a great soul. Like him
many have interpreted scriptures out of compassion.
With due regards to him, let me submit that historical
and scriptural evidence is quite otherwise. If I start
giving contrary evidence, it will fill volumes and may
be inconsistent with the list policies. Suffice it to
say that interpretation where caste is based on birth
is much stronger and more universally accepted.

Secondly, what was the basis of caste in some ancient
time can at best be of academic interest now. Much
more important is the issue of how it is iterpreted
and implemented tody? 

Thirdly, even assuming that caste was based on guna-s
and karma-s and not birth, does not solve the issue.
As I said, many scriptural passages violate the basic
human dignity of non-dvija-s. Surely, we do not want
to argue that violation of basic human dignity is not
permissible for non-dvija-s based on birth but is
acceptable for non-dvija-s based on guna-s and

With regards,
Ram Garib

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