[Advaita-l] shudra

Michael Shepherd michael at shepherd87.fsnet.co.uk
Mon Aug 17 04:50:10 CDT 2009

I would be happy to clear up this matter of 'shudra' with the help of
members here : it is clearly an aspect of advaita, yet there seems to be a
confusion about the real meaning of the term -- and thus, whether it has any
relevance in today's society..

The confusions seem to be two in particular : first, that varna and jati and
'caste' are randomly used in relation to shudra; and second, that by
translating it as 'labourer' rather than 'servant' there is a sense of
inferiority implied.

Yet if the definition of 'servant' and 'service' is applied, it is
immediately obvious that one can serve kings, ministers, brahmins,
kshatriyas, and anyone else -- paid or unpaid -- with the highest
faithfulness, skills, devotion, and knowledge.

How then can any spiritual gifts be denied to shudras ? How can shudra be
seen as
next to dalit in some map of society ?

I wouldn't raise this question if it were not that still today, so much
wrong or contradictory information about 'shudra' seems to be floating
around !

I was educated to believe that 'seva', service, was every man's duty : to
the Lord, to his faith, to his nation, to his family, to strangers,  to his
fellow human beings, to all creatures...to himself... so I'd be glad to hear
what others have to say about this.


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