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Thread: Caste

  1. #1
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    Caste

    Namaste
    I am not really sure where this goes but here it is.

    If I am a westerner with no caste. I have been told I cannot be a Hindu unless I have a caste but I cannot have one without a Hindu birth??? Would I be assigned one based on my parents (both college educated). Or does it matter?
    Thanks
    Aum
    In whatever way people surrender unto me, I reciprocate with them accordingly.

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    Re: Caste

    Namaste Soul,

    Quote Originally Posted by Mystical Soul View Post
    I am not really sure where this goes but here it is.

    If I am a westerner with no caste. I have been told I cannot be a Hindu unless I have a caste but I cannot have one without a Hindu birth??? Would I be assigned one based on my parents (both college educated). Or does it matter?
    Caste is related with occupation is carried over from parents to the children. It actually became "Caste by Birth" much later. In ancient time, a family was engaged in a particular profession for its livelihood and the expertise earned by the family in that profession was passed on to their children and they adopted the same profession. So, members of a family were known by that profession and it was their caste. I would give you some example :
    a) Swarnkaar meaning "Goldsmith" is a caste of people who are in the profession of buying/selling/making ornaments of Gold/silver.
    b) Luhaar meaning "Blacksmith" is a caste of people who are engaged in working with Iron and making Iron tools etc.
    c) Maali meaning who tends the garden is a caste of people who are engaged in tending gardens and in the business of flowers

    etc. etc. However, though this was largely the trend, there were many exceptions but still even though son of a Blacksmith won't be engaged in the profession of making tools etc. from iron, he would be branded as Luhaar by the society ! Now, the profession is related to Varna because people take up profession based on their ability and mindset (Guna + Karma) and that is how the caste became synonym of Varna. The people engaged in learning Vedas / spirituality were called the BrAhmaNa (who seeks Brahman is a BrAhman), the warrior class who ruled the state were called the Kshatriyas, the people engaged in business were called the Vaishyas and the people taking up jobs of serving all sections of society were called the Shudras.

    So, having a caste is not necessary for being a Hindu but it is important to know your Varna. In fact, it is a blessing that you have no caste. I am waiting for a day when the Hindus will be known by their Varnas and not by their castes. Caste comes with your family profession which wrongly points to your Varna (You might be born to Spiritual people i.e. the BrAhmaNa but you may be a warrior i.e. Kashtriya or a businessman i.e. Vaishya) whereas your natural ability /tendency and your Karma (by mind, speech and physical action) decide your Varna. You should perform as per your Varna as Lord Krishna advises. Analyse your natural abilities / tendencies and your Karma and you will be able to know to which Varna you belong.

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

  3. #3
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    Re: Caste

    Namaste,

    Quote Originally Posted by Mystical Soul View Post
    I have been told I cannot be a Hindu unless I have a caste but I cannot have one without a Hindu birth???
    I would like to take the person who told you that to the back shed and whack his rear end with a 2 by 4. I have zero tolerance for 'stuck in the mud" type of people who want to assert their superior caste and expect others to worship them just because they think they were born into a "higher caste", whatever that means.

    In America an average Indian Hindu has a job or runs a business, does his own cooking, cleans his own toilet, dabbles in the stock market or does some other investment with his savings, watches the less than wholesome TV shows and maybe frequents McDonald's or Taco Bell or favors Colonel Sanders. So, what kind of caste was this person talking about? We perform so many functions on a daily basis that it is irrelevant to even talk about this so called 'caste'. Keep your distance from idiots. They only drag you down. You are a Hindu if you practice Hinduism and think of yourself as a Hindu. No one has the right or privilege to decide what you are, except yourself.

    Pranam.

  4. #4
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    Re: Caste

    Hinduism has had many "Names" or "titles" over the eons, I accept the general purpose though modern term Hinduism as sort of the "umbrella" terminology for all the sects, schools, teachers, lineages, and so on which are very broad and diverse and has many "Names" such as Shaiva, Vaishnava, Shakta, on and on also regarding Sampradayas, direct affiliations with certain Devatas down to teachers and humans, yet I understand what you mean when you say "Hinduism" - some use other terms, but I understand you and am proud to call myself a Hindu.

    I am 60 years old, I was born in California, my DNA if you will is Anglo-Saxon-Norman per science though my Father is English, my Mother is Swedish, my wife is Bengali-Gujarati (of Brahmins) and I have relatives in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and India.


    I am also a proud American and thus a "Westerner". I have STRONG affection for my Western Hindus who I will NEVER betray. Yet I have strong loyalty to India, lucky for me I have been in the circle of those who directly knew/know the family of well known Gurus, and are people popular in their Indian-Hindu community, involved in Hinduism. My wife's side of the family are Saiva-Shaktas with stronger loyalty to the Bengal side and thus the strong Devi aspects. Obviously influenced by this, I have and do attend Kali Temples in India, Durga Temples in India, Devi Temples both India and worldwide, but my background as far as Hinduism goes diectly to Kashi-Varanasi, a Telegu person who was a devotee of Kali, to Shiva and Annapurna Devi of Kashi, so I could go on and on but to the point, I am like you also.


    But I grew up at a time where I had the opportunity to actually meet and know famous Gurus, these included Vaishnav, Shaiva, Shakta, Kundalini, Vittala School, why I have been so lucky is hard to say, I have been a Hindu since 8 years old. But that does not matter while speaking to you, let me rest assured to you that I am a "Western Hindu" and perhaps you are too. And having known many Gurus, these are not your "run of the mill" Gurus but renowned, I can say from their teaching that absolutely YOU can be a Hindu if you realize it and step into the sanctum but you must step forward if you know that it is what you are. There may even be a Devata speaking to you to do so, do not be surprised in that you may not have even been looking but INVITED.


    These Savants and Gurus taught me that, no, you do not need to be born into any caste to be a Hindu. Rest assured of that.


    Everyone with any intelligence knows, what we call Hinduism today, is the oldest religion. In my belief, the very first Metropolitan City in the world of humans today, where we stopped being wanderers and built a City with walls and grew grains and lived by the Ganga was the First City of Civilization known as Kashi in Varanasi, India, the City of Light, the City Never Forsaken by Shiva, where the Queen of Kashi is the Devi called Annapurna Who came to Kashi from Kashmir and Who is Parvati the Great Goddess Herself.


    Hinduism is civilization itself.


    But civilization then, and now, is under threat. There are some timeless chants and "things heard and memorized" that some demons and foolish humans want to destroy. So over time, some things had to be "keep hidden" if you will from such "enemies" so they can not foul the great "treasures" of ancestors and Saints and Devatas from times past.


    So while there were some called Brahmins who kept these things of the Brahman, which had to be protected from invaders and demonic types, which should not fall into the hands of those who would try to destroy these things, so also there were Kshatriyas or Royals if you will, Knights, to protect the Brahmins.


    Sometimes jati (caste) is confused is this history. Do not confuse. You CAN be a Hindu and be of NO JATI. Anyway, jati is NOT the same as Hinduism.


    I have no caste. I am a Hindu. Someone who is a renowned Jyotish told me that I am a Vaishya. This same Jyotish said my daughter is a Brahmin. But I know I am a computer analyst.

  5. #5
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    Re: Caste

    Quote Originally Posted by ShivaFan View Post
    I am also a proud American and thus a "Westerner". I have STRONG affection for my Western Hindus who I will NEVER betray. Yet I have strong loyalty to India, lucky for me I have been in the circle of those who directly knew/know the family of well known Gurus, and are people popular in their Indian-Hindu community, involved in Hinduism. My wife's side of the family are Saiva-Shaktas with stronger loyalty to the Bengal side and thus the strong Devi aspects. Obviously influenced by this, I have and do attend Kali Temples in India, Durga Temples in India, Devi Temples both India and worldwide, but my background as far as Hinduism goes diectly to Kashi-Varanasi, a Telegu person who was a devotee of Kali, to Shiva and Annapurna Devi of Kashi, so I could go on and on but to the point, I am like you also.
    Namaste Shiva Fan, thanks for your very interesting and informative response. I have not yet been fortunate enough to go to India but I was introduced to Sanata Dharma in what is one of the most heavily populated Hindu areas in the US., that being the San Francisco, / Silicon Valley, CA Bay area. It was there in a very supportive environment that I discovered Lord Shiva and got answers to questions I had long held. Each new lesson begged another and gradually but sincerely gave my heart to Lord Shiva.

    Quote Originally Posted by ShivaFan View Post

    But I grew up at a time where I had the opportunity to actually meet and know famous Gurus, these included Vaishnav, Shaiva, Shakta, Kundalini, Vittala School, why I have been so lucky is hard to say, I have been a Hindu since 8 years old. But that does not matter while speaking to you, let me rest assured to you that I am a "Western Hindu" and perhaps you are too. And having known many Gurus, these are not your "run of the mill" Gurus but renowned, I can say from their teaching that absolutely YOU can be a Hindu if you realize it and step into the sanctum but you must step forward if you know that it is what you are. There may even be a Devata speaking to you to do so, do not be surprised in that you may not have even been looking but INVITED.

    I have only been a Hindu for two years but it has been two very enlightening and spiritually confirming years. Your comment about a Devata speaking to me really resonates because of the way in which I came to find Lord Shiva. In fact, because of the way it happened, I often say that I did not find him, he found me. I have had a few of my Christian friends try to “reconvert” me but this is not something I did lightly or on some whim. I know I have finally found what I have been seeking all my life and just wish it had been much earlier, but hey I take what I can get.
    Soooo maybe I will find out why I was was so honored as to have been invited, or maybe that is for another life to discover...

    Quote Originally Posted by ShivaFan View Post

    Hinduism is civilization itself.
    But civilization then, and now, is under threat. There are some timeless chants and "things heard and memorized" that some demons and foolish humans want to destroy. So over time, some things had to be "keep hidden" if you will from such "enemies" so they can not foul the great "treasures" of ancestors and Saints and Devatas from times past.
    Agree. Sad to sere many traditions eroding due to the very technology that brought us all together. That is happening in all aspects of our lives. While some change is healthy too much is erosive and can simply steal identity such as when some people were up rooted from their continent and removed to be slaves in foreign lands. When this was done it really impacted people generations later to what I think is a negative end.

    Thanks again for the response.
    AUM
    In whatever way people surrender unto me, I reciprocate with them accordingly.

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    Re: Caste

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    namasté

    This whole notion of caste always seems to cause confusion for some, & grief for others . There are many posts on varṇa¹ on this HDF site. If one has interest on what was written then you can search on ‘varṇa’ and find many-a-post.

    That said it is my opinion (only) that if you wish or do not wish to be hindu all well and good. Yet no matter who or where you are from , one can practice sanātana dharma ( some call ārṣa¹ dharma). It does not matter where you are from.

    You are ‘qualified’ to practice this due to one thing. You in-and-of your self in your simplest nature are pāramārthikasattā = (seated) in the highest being, existence ~brahman~. When you have ‘forgotten’ this you are the paśu or paśúnā - any tethered animal, singularly or collectively and you look for permission to do this and that. This is the blemish (āṇavamala); the blemish (mala) of smallness (āṇava). Because of this smallness we are considered the saṁsārī – he or she that is within saṁsāra - passing through a succession of states , circuit of mundane existence.

    So, now it becomes one of choice. If you have a need to feel ‘official’ to practice sanātana dharma, then spend time and do some research on this approach called vrātyastoma - a sacrifice performed to recover the rights forfeited by a delay of saṃskāra-s. This ~ritual~ is called out in the taṇḍya brāhmaṇa. Said simply it ~reincorporates~ one back into the brahmanic society. All the rites, rituals, behaviors and customs of this society the
    n becomes one’s responsibility, duty and the like. This means, this entry-point comes with responsibilities.

    इतिशिवं
    iti śivaṁ


    • varṇa - outward appearance , exterior , form , figure , shape , color ; color = race , species , kind , sort , character , nature , quality , property (applied to persons and things)
    • ārṣa - relating or belonging to or derived from ṛṣi-s; the ‘seers’ of truth, or perfected vision
    Last edited by yajvan; 21 May 2016 at 07:05 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  7. #7
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    Re: Caste

    I am feeling very satisfied and proud to be part of this Hindu community on SDF after reading comments of Believer (excellent !), Shivafan etc. on the issue of this very difficult subject ! Yajvan has always been my favourite on this forum.

    A Hindu is a Hindu ... A Hindu ... A Hindu and that is all ! Let there be no other label. Let us all move towards our ultimate goal ... attaining the Absolute that we are ! "That Thou Art" ===> You are Brahman (We all are Brahman), the ultimate reality. Why do we need any other label to get confused with our ultimate identity ? The ultimate Reality has no caste and that we all are.

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

  8. #8
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    Re: Caste

    Quote Originally Posted by yajvan View Post
    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    namasté

    So, now it becomes one of choice. If you have a need to feel ‘official’ to practice sanātana dharma, then spend time and do some research on this approach called vrātyastoma - a sacrifice performed to recover the rights forfeited by a delay of saṃskāra-s. This ~ritual~ is called out in the taṇḍya brāhmaṇa. Said simply it ~reincorporates~ one back into the brahmanic society. All the rites, rituals, behaviors and customs of this society then becomes one’s responsibility, duty and the like. This means, this entry-point comes with responsibilities.

    इतिशिवं
    iti śivaṁ


    • varṇa - outward appearance , exterior , form , figure , shape , color ; color = race , species , kind , sort , character , nature , quality , property (applied to persons and things)
    • ārṣa - relating or belonging to or derived from ṛṣi-s; the ‘seers’ of truth, or perfected vision
    Namaste thank you for this info. I have heard of this in relation to Hindus converting away and then wanting to return but I didn't realize it can also apply to those of us who missed all of our ceremonies growing up. It is something I feel is worth pursuing because in addition to providing a deeper understanding of the culture it also helps bind me closer to others of my religion. In other words, while performing the duties required to prepare for this entry point I gain knowledge and deepen the cultural bond. I exercise my responsibilities in order to gain rights and privileges just like rites of passage for other worthy endeavors.


    I would therefore accept that contributing to programs and sponsoring events (within my means) would be expected and met by me- that is IF I understand it correctly. As I said I will now go research.
    Aum
    In whatever way people surrender unto me, I reciprocate with them accordingly.

  9. #9

    Re: Caste

    ॐ प्रकाश ॐ

    When the mind is absorbed in something subtle and Divine, then ask yourself what you are.......

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