jagchat01 at YAHOO.COM
Sat Aug 3 05:26:24 CDT 2002
Your questions are valid.(1) Why do away with the varnashrama? And again,
(2) was Swami vivekananda really against the varnashrama?
(1)What purpose does the varnashrama serve today? I think it has stymied to
two situations. That of marriage rituals and second political oppurtunism.
Would it not be better to do away with it altogether? I think it has
outlived itself in the sense the shastras spell it, and is today taking a
different shape. For good or worse I don't know.
The concept of a corrupt caste system may be alien to those Indians living
abroad. But living in India it is difficult to escape its clutches. Only a
handful of well educated and refined upper caste families have risen above
the system. But what we need is a silent revolution without any political
(2) Yes, Swamiji was against the varnashrama. More than his lectures one
has to go through his life to see that. In fact he gave the sacred thread
to a number of his disciples who were not socially eligible. But social
opposition was so strong that most of them could not keep the thread. This
incident was a symbolic fight by Swamiji. On the one hand he tried to break
the hold of the upper castes and on the other hand he tried to give the
masses the full privilleges of a vedic civillization.
It should not be presumed that Swamiji was against the varnashrama only. He
was against all sorts of dogmatism. He tried his best to eradicate
untouchability in all forms including those meted out to Muslims and
In the Ramakrishna Mission devotees have prasadam together regardless of
caste, culuture and religion. This was unthinkable a century ago. If we are
today moving towards a caste/classless society some credit of it should go
to Swamiji also.
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