Thursday, February 17, 2011

The CASTE System...

This topic is sensitive to write or to discuss.
I don't have to.... Datuk J. Jegathesan did..
With your permission, Datuk, .. and NST too, may I lay it in my Blog....
image taken from Google on the Caste System.

The caste system: It is division of labour

I REFER to the letter "Blame history for the divisions" by brother Ariff Shah R. K. (NST, Feb 11).

I call him brother though he is unknown to me, for men such as him are a brother to all humanity. He dares to delve into the truth, without fear or favour as to what kind of negative impact this could have on him as a Muslim.

He did not fear that lower minds might condemn him for having such a profound knowledge about Hinduism, and even daring to quote from the Bhagavad Gita.

Here is a true Malaysian, reflecting 1Malaysia to the world as it should be: never demeaning another and always exalting others and thus exalting even higher his own religion.
Abroad, in Africa and in many other nations, Malaysia has established a shining reputation as a nation of religious and ethnic harmony that many nations want to emulate.

However, today, this great Malaysian legacy is being threatened by lower minds, who risk bringing bring disrepute to themselves and their faiths.

I am not a historian but merely a "development economist" , who as a pioneer member of the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (Mida), way back in 1967 , helped in a small way in Malaysia's big push for economic development and job creation after May 13, 1969.

I wish to present the facts about the caste system as it was meant to be, from the ancient texts.

But even as one reads what I write, one must be conscious of one thing: man is known to corrupt great truths and great teachings, and turn things around to suit his own selfish ends, be it for personal, racial or religious needs.

For example, if one reads all the holy texts of all religions, one will see that all the teachings as to what one should do to have a peaceful and happy life are more than 90 per cent similar.

No religion asks one to rob, rape, murder, sexually abuse children or anyone, steal, lie, condemn and so on.

All religions teach the fundamental human values of truth, righteousness, peace, love, non-violence, respect and reverence for father and mother, loyalty and hard work.

Yet, we see the very people who praise their own religion and even priests and "men of the cloth" violating these principles, to the shame and horror of the majority of the followers of the religion.

The important thing to remember is that the acts of shame of a minority should not in any way be used to judge the great teachings of a religion.

Would the founders of the various religions recognise the great religions they started, given the diverse splits and dissension in them today?

Every society, wittingly or unwittingly, practises the caste system. Does not every society have:

- preachers, philosophers, authors and scientists? These are the Brahmanas (Brahmins) according to ancient Hindu texts;

- government officials, judges, soldiers and the police, and those who administer and defend the nation? They are the Kshatriyas;

- those involved in agriculture, trade, banking, commerce, industry and business" They are the Vaisyas; and,

- those involved in manual work, labourers and artisans? They are the Sudras.

Let me give a couple of quotes to throw some light on what the original Hindu texts say about the caste system:

- "Not birth, not samskaras, nor study of the Vedas, nor ancestry are the causes of being twice-born (that is a Brahmin). Conduct alone is verily the cause thereof. (Vana-parvan, cccxiii 108); and

- Truth, charity, forgiveness, good conduct, gentleness, austerity and mercy, where these are seen, he is called Brahmana. If these marks exist in a Sudra and not one twice-born (Brahmins), the Sudra is not a Sudra nor the Brahmana a Brahmin; where this conduct is shown, he is called a Brahmana, where this is not shown, he should be regarded as a Sudra (Mahabharata, cixxx 21, 25, 26).

We can see that:

- This division of labour exists in every society;

- The work people do is defined by their aptitude for that work;

- The caste, that is, the varnas or colours, which is also the colouring of one's mind, defines the work one will do; and,

- Caste is not a birthright but is defined by the work one does and this is defined by one's aptitude and ability.

If you look at this division of labour, you will know into which colour or caste you fall. If you are a teacher, preacher or scientist, than you are a Brahmin. Your father could be a government servant or army captain (Kshatriya), your brother or uncle could be a trader or banker (Vaisya) and your cousin could be an artisan (welder) or mechanic (Sudra).

This was how the caste system evolved; a division of labour and the scriptures declared that if your aptitude is to be a businessman (Vaisya) though your father is a university lecturer (Brahmin), go for it. Don't allow anyone to force you into doing something against your aptitude and inclination; if you do, you may end up being very mediocre in that field, whereas you could have shone like a star in the area of work your heart and soul was set on.

So, what happened?

Ariff Shah put it very nicely: man, for his own selfish needs, made the division of work based on aptitude a birthright, and thus the nobility of a great teaching (as so many other teachings in other religions) became corrupted and institutionalised.

Today, at least in India, because it is so entrenched, this caste system attitude still exists in some sectors, even among the educated, but many leaders are trying to revive the true traditions of Hinduism.

As for overseas, these entrenched issues are slowly giving way. For example, there are many priests in temples who were not born in a Brahmin family. They just have the aptitude for such work.

Kuala Lumpur

I am a teacher ...  So....,don't argue...
Have a nice day...

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