"Jagat satya!"

Vaidya Sundaram vaidya_sundaram at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Aug 7 10:21:50 CDT 2002


----- Original Message -----
From: "Jagannath Chatterjee" <jagchat01 at YAHOO.COM>
> (1)What purpose does the varnashrama serve today? I think it has stymied
> 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.

OK. I have a problem here. You understand that the shastras speel it out,
but appear to be willing to sidestep it, if not do away with it. I am sure I
don't have to elaborate more ...

As much as I hate to simply parrot previously made statements, what needs
reforming is not the "caste system" but the way people understand it and
follow it. I find it a twist of irony that just as we start discussing the
Bhagavad Gita, there arises a debate on this list that once again harps back
to me atleast, to the values of the sanatana dharma. If you go back and see
Arjuna's arguments as to why he won't fight, he says that when it will
eventually leading to a corruption of the castes and there by cause the
downfall of the families. (BG 1.41 thru 44, specifically 42). The whole Gita
is for one to fully understand not just the final goal to be reached, but
hte stepping stones as well. That stepping stone is the varna dharma.

> (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
> the hold of the upper castes and on the other hand he tried to give the
> masses the full privilleges of a vedic civillization.

 Look, there is no magical wand that one can wave and say abra-cadabra to
save the people. What we need is a regimen that will offer a tested
mechanism to sustain changes. Hence, it is indeed difficult to digest some
aspects of the dharma; that is a added reason why people who have the
ability to understand actually understand it.

> It should not be presumed that Swamiji was against the varnashrama only.
> was against all sorts of dogmatism.

I find it rather odd that you wish to do away with dogmatism but choose to
be rather adamant about what Swami-ji taught. Sure, we are adamant about
what Shankara taught too, but we don't take His teaching literally. We take
it, and debate it and see why He did or said something. And we try to see if
those are in line with the Shashtras. I don't think there is anything wrong
in treating Swami Vivekananda the same way.

> In the Ramakrishna Mission devotees have prasadam together regardless of
> caste, culuture and religion. This was unthinkable a century ago. If we
> today moving towards a caste/classless society some credit of it should go
> to Swamiji also.

OK. Here is another example of what is terribly wrong with our
understanding. Eating with a fellow human is not forbidden in the caste
system. "Caste" and "Class" are worlds apart. And what makes you think that
making all people sit and eat together is going to solve the problems of
*spiritual development* of the **individual** ??

bhava shankara desikame sharaNam

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