[Advaita-l] Re: Question: Swadharma

Sanjay Srivastava sksrivastava68 at gmail.com
Wed Feb 15 17:41:47 CST 2006

Sri Ram Garib wrote:

> As I said, the practice here is
> not that important since hardly anyone ever reaches
> this knowledge. It is the theoretcal stipulations that
> take away the self esteem of an entire community. As a
> hindu, how do we deal with such issues? These are
> important questions that will keep us nagging unless
> we develop broad consensus.

I believe a broad consensus does exist on these issues. While there
may be specific differences among different schools, it is generally
believed that caste system has not yet lost its utility in preserving
the hindu religion. At the same time, these differences should be
looked across horizontally rather than as vertical hierarchy. 
Episodes such as dharma vyadha and manisha panchaka etc. allow -- nay,
stipulate such interpretation. Unfortunately, many times people took
advantage of scriptural stipulations for their own benefit for
oppressing certain castes. Such transgressions can happen in any
system and must be resisted with full force.

As regards violent punishments mentioned in scriptures, they should be
read as simple discouragement without attaching too much meaning into
picturesque descriptions. As our sensibilities evolve over time,
definitions of political correctness in language also undergoes
changes. This is what seems to have happened with the expressions used
in manusmriti etc.


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