Caste Inequality NOT supported by Vedas

by Madhavan

For centuries it has been believed the Vedas are supporting caste
division and discrimination against lower castes. Granted that there
is discrimatory remarks and injunctions in the dharmashastras,
written by caste-centric priests in the later times, but this cannot
be shown as having any roots in the Vedas.

The following verses are not often referenced by those who make
charge against the Vedas:

om ajyesthaaso akanisthaasa ete sam bhraataro vaavrdhuh saubhagaaya I

“In mankind, nobody is superior or inferior. All strive together like
brothers for the glory and prowess.”
-rigveda 5.60.5

te ajyesthaa akanishthaasa udbhido’madhyamaaso mahasaa ni vaavrdhuh I

“No one is higher or lower nor is anyone of middle status. Everybody
with effort toils on the path of progress.”
-rigveda 5.59.6

om samaani prapaa sahavo’ nnabhaagah samaane yaktre sahavo yunajmi I
samyancho’ gnim saparyataaraa naabhimivaabhitah II

‘Oh man! May there be conformity in your life and may the bounty of
mother earth provide food and drink for all. I enjoin you to the
common yoke of social welfare. As the spokes of the wheel meet
equally at the axis to give movement, in the same way, be united and
equal, and make progress.’
-atharva ved 3.30.6

People have vague conception of Purushasuktham but do not actually
read it. the manthra asks:

mukham kimasya kau bahu kaa uru pada uchyete I
what formed the mouth of that purusha? what were his arms? what were
his abdomen/thighs and feet?

and the following verse answers the question:

brahmano’sya mukhamaasid – the brahmin was his mouth
baahurajanya krtah – his arms were the kshatriya
uru tadasya yad vaishyah – his abdomen/thighs were the vaishya
padbhyaam shudro ajaayata – and the shudra was his feet.

The Purusha is not in this context God, Parmatma, but the human
society visualised (vyakalpayan) as the body.
This doesn’t show graded inequality from brahmin to shudra but that
they are performing the different duties to keep the body of the
Purusha functioning properly. Since when we say my head is better
than my arms, and my stomach and thighs are better than my feet?

So we must not be saying that Vedas is oppressive Aryan scripture and
for Dravidians. Veda is for all Hindus, and not even only for

yathemaam vaacham kalyaanimaavadaani janebhyah I
brahmarajanyabhyaam shudraaya chaaryaaya cha svaaya chaaranaaya II

“So may I speak these blessed words (Veda) to all the people; to the
Brahmana and the Kshatriya, to the Shudra and the Vaishya, to those
very dear to me and those not so close.”
– yajurveda 16.2


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s