Caste system is one of the evils of Hindu religion that still exists in the society. Caste system is nothing but isolating the low castes from the society. It divides people within the Hindu fold. The condition of low caste people has been miserable. Low castes people suffered the Brahminical oppression. The Untouchables were not allowed within the gates of Pune city under the reign of Peshwas and Marathas. In Gujarat the Untouchables were forced to wear horns. In Bombay they were not allowed to wear clean and untorn clothes. Read the article Manu and the Shudras for more information on the condition of low castes in ancient India. Low caste women were not allowed to cover their breasts. This was abolished by Tipu Sultan. But was again reinforced after his death. In the 18th century, Low caste women lead Channar revolt which resulted in many low caste Hindus converting to Christianity. Oppression by Brahmins made low castes people embrace other faiths especially Islam. Swami Vivekananda writes,
“Why amongst the poor of India so many are Mohammedans? It is nonsense to say, they were converted by the sword. It was to gain their liberty from the . . . zemindars and from the . . . priest” [ Source ]
Islam came in India as a savior to the low castes. The low castes were attracted towards the equality given in Islam unlike Hinduism which discriminated people based on their birth. Although the Indian constitution gives equal right to every citizen irrespective of religion or caste. The menace of caste system still exists in India. A temple was washed after Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi visited it , Dalits threatened the priests that they will convert to Islam if they are prohibited from entering the temple , a Dalit man was set afire for fetching water at a hand pump , another Dalit man was killed for ringtone praising Dr. B.R. Ambedkar , honor killings due to inter-caste marriage is well known. There have been thousands of caste related violence in India, you can refer to Wikipedia’s article Caste-related violence in India. All these caste based violence perpetrated by higher caste people is wholly inspired by religious doctrine. Hindu god Rama is said to have beheaded a Shudra named Shambuka just because he was practising religious rite. With such kind of stories is sure to inspire radicals. Some apologists try to show that there is no caste system in Hinduism, that it is actually is based on profession one acquires. I would have appreciated their effort if they really wanted to emancipate the low castes. But there is actually a motive behind it. Politicians try to befriend Dalits only to garner votes and to use low caste people in riots. While religious leaders do it to get as many followers as they can, because more followers means more donations and popularity. One such Hindu reformer was Dayanand Saraswati who said that Veda treats all castes alike. But he said this only to get followers. He didn’t abolish the caste system, but upheld the caste system. He discriminated between the castes. He opined that the duty of a Shudra is to serve the Dvijas and held Manu Smriti has authoritative text, read the article Mulshankar and Casteism for more information. Hindu terror organizations conducts Ghar Wapsi programs, rallies against minorities but they never conduct any event or program for the betterment of the low caste Hindus. Purusha Sukta is said to be the root of caste system in Hinduism, it is mentioned in Veda,
Rig Veda 10.90.12 The Brahman was his mouth, of both his arms was the Rājanya made. His thighs became the Vaiśya, from his feet the Śūdra was produced.
Table of Contents
As we all know, caste system in Hinduism is birth based and not based on the profession acquired by the individual.
Apastamba Dharma Shastra 188.8.131.52-5 [There are] four castes Brahmana, Kshatriyas, Vaishya, and Shudra. Among these, each preceding (caste) is superior by birth to the one following.
Mahabharata 13.143.6 “The illustrious one said, ‘The status of a Brahmana, O goddess, is exceedingly difficult to attain. O auspicious lady, one becomes a Brahmana through original creation or birth. After the same manner the Kshatriya, the Vaisya, and the Sudra, all become so through original creation.
Kisari Mohan Ganguli writes,
”Nisargat is literally through creation or original nature, or birth. Of course, what is implied is that one becomes a Brahmana, or Kshatriya, or Vaisya or Sudra, through original creation as such, by the Self-born, that is, birth.” [ Source ]
It is mentioned in Bhagavat Purana,
Srimad Bhagavatam 11.5.5 “But Brahmanas, Ksattriyas and Vaisyas, by virtue of their original birth, and second birth through their Upanayana (investiture of the sacred thread) ceremony (become eligible for studies, performance of sacrifices, etc.)…” Tr. G.V. Tagare, edited by J.L. Shastri
Acharya Medhatithi writes on Manu Smriti 2.148
“Jati stands for ‘Janma’, birth.”
Shiva Purana, Uma Samhita 44.13 ”O excellent sage, birth as a man is very difficult to obtain; especially that as a Brahmin…” Tr. Board of Scholars, edited by J.L. Shastri
Padma Purana II.38.20b-24 “[The Sages said:] The three castes viz. brahmanas, ksatriyas and vaissyas are twice born. This (i.e. the Veda) is an ancient sacred text meant for all the castes. The beings behave according to the Vedic practices; therefor they (continue to) live. You are born in the family of Brahman. (So) you are a brahmana only.” Tr. N.A. Deshpande
Agni Purana 162.3-7 “…By reading the Vedas and practicing equally to all, a man enters the region of paradise. This is the prerogative of the twice born castes, specifically belonging to a Brahamana as his birth right, as he might read the Vedas and realise the truths inculcated therein by living any of the four orders of life. A Brahmana by dwelling in this world, may attain the Supreme Brahma.” Tr. M.N. Dutt-
Vasistha Dharma Shastra 4.1-3 The four castes are distinguished by their origin and by particular sacraments. There is also the following passage of the Veda, ‘The Brâhmana was his mouth, the Kshatriya formed his arms, the Vaisya his thighs; the Sûdra was born from his feet.’ It has been declared in (the following passage of) the Veda that (a Sûdra) shall not receive the sacraments, ‘He created the Brâhmana with the Gâyatrî (metre), the Kshatriya with the Trishtubh, the Vaisya with the Gagatî, the Sûdra without any metre.’
Mahabharata 13.27.3-6 O best of kings, how may one, if he happens to be a Kshatriya or a Vaisya or a Sudra, succeed in acquiring the status of a Brahmana? It behoveth thee to tell me the means. Is it by penances the most austere, or by religious acts, or by knowledge of the scriptures, that a person belonging to any of the three inferior orders succeeds in acquiring the status of a Brahmana? Do tell me this, O grandsire!’ “Bhishma said, ‘The status of a Brahmana, O Yudhishthira, is incapable of acquisition by a person belonging to any of the three other orders. That status is the highest with respect to all creatures. Travelling through innumerable orders of existence, by undergoing repeated births, one at last, in some birth, becomes born as a Brahmana.
Skanda Purana clearly states that a Shudra must not study, must not sacrifice, he has to stay in the same state as at birth which is contrary to what apologists claim that a Shudra by studying Veda becomes a Brahmin,
Skanda Purana V.iii.122.16 ”A separate duty has not been assigned by Paramesthin to the Sudra. He need not have any Mantra, consecration or pursuit of lores. He need not have any conventional study of the science of words (i.e. Grammar) and special worship of deities. He has to be, day and night, in the same state as at birth.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Manu Smriti 10.3 On account of his pre-eminence, on account of the superiority of his origin, on account of his observance of (particular) restrictive rules, and on account of his particular sanctification the Brahmana is the lord of (all) castes (varna).
Manu Smriti 1.98-99 The very birth of a Brahmana is an eternal incarnation of the sacred law; for he is born to (fulfil) the sacred law, and becomes one with Brahman. A Brahmana, coming into existence, is born as the highest on earth, the lord of all created beings, for the protection of the treasury of the law.
Mahabharata, Santi Parva, 12.72 …”Matariswan answered, ‘The Brahmana, O best of kings, has sprung from the mouth of Brahman. The Kshatriya has sprung from his two arms, and the Vaisya from his two thighs. For waiting upon these three orders, O ruler of men, a fourth order, viz., the Sudra, sprung into life, being created from the feet (of Brahman). Originally created thus, the Brahmana takes birth on earth as the lord of all creatures, his duty being the keep of the Vedas and the other scriptures. Then, for ruling the earth and wielding the rod of chastisement and protecting all creatures, the second order, viz., the Kshatriya was created. The Vaisya was created for supporting the two other orders and himself by cultivation and trade, and finally, it was ordained by Brahman that the Sudra should serve the three orders as a menial.’ “Pururavas said, ‘Tell me truly, O god of Winds, to whom, this earth righteously belong. Does it belong to the Brahmana or to the Kshatriya?’ “The god of Winds said, ‘Everything that exists in the universe belongs to the Brahmana in consequence of his birth and precedence. Persons conversant with morality say this. What the Brahmana eats is his own. The place he inhabits is his own. What he gives away is his own. He deserves the veneration of all the (other) orders. He is the first-born and the foremost. As a woman, in the absence of her husband, accepts his younger brother for him, even so the earth, in consequence of the refusal of the Brahmana, has accepted his next-born, viz., the Kshatriya, for her lord…
As per Hinduism, a person attains specific caste due to the deeds of past life, Krishna said,
Gita 18.41 “Of Brahmanas, Kshtriyas and Vaishyas, as also the Sudras, O Arjuna, the duties are distributed according to the qualities born of their own nature.” Tr. Swami Prabhupada
Ramanuja Acharya writes on this verse,
”The character of Brahmanas, Ksatriyas, Vaishyas, and Sudras arise from their various inherent dispositions. In other words their past Karma is the cause of their being born in a specific social group…”
Swami Swarupananda writes on Gita 18.41,
“According to the Karma or habits and tendencies formed by desire, action, and association in the past life manifesting themselves in the present as effects. Or, nature (Svabhava) may here mean the Maya made up of three Gunas, the Prakriti of the Lord”
It is mentioned in Brahma Vaivarta Purana,
Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Krishna Janma Khanda 74.10 ”According to Karma, some go to heaven or are severally born in the houses of a Brahmin, Ksatriya, Vaisya or a Sudra.” Tr. Rajnedra Nath Sen
Chandogya Upanishad 5.10.7. ‘Those whose conduct has been good, will quickly attain some good birth, the birth of a Brahmana, or a Kshatriya, or a Vaisya. But those whose conduct has been evil, will quickly attain an evil birth, the birth of a dog, or a hog, or a Kandala.” Tr. Swami Nikhilanda
- CHILD BORN TO PARENTS OF DIFFERENT CASTES
A Brahmin couple begets a Brahmin child, a Shudra couple begets a Shudra child. But if parents belong to different caste then the child will not belong to either his mother or father’s caste,
Manu 10.5 In all castes (varna) those (children) only which are begotten in the direct order on wedded wives, equal (in caste and married as) virgins, are to be considered as belonging to the same caste (as their fathers).
Vishnu Smriti 16.1-3 Sons [begotten] on women equal in caste [to their husbands] are equal in caste [to their fathers]. [Sons begotten] on women of lower castes, become of the caste of their mothers. Sons begotten on women of higher castes are despised by the twice-born.
Agni Purana 150.9-11 ”The duties which appertain to the Shudra caste, O thou best of the Bhrigus, are to serve the Brahmins and to practice the handicrafts. Since the investiture with the holy thread, a member of the twice born caste is supposed to take a second spiritual birth, and I shall describe the castes which children born of parents not members of the same caste, would respectively belong to. A child born of parents belonging to different castes would get the caste of its mother, but on the contrary a child born of a Shudra father by a Brahmin mother would be a Chandala.” Tr. M.N. Dutt
Manu Smriti 10.6. Sons, begotten by twice-born man on wives of the next lower castes, they declare to be similar (to their fathers, but) blamed on account of the fault (inherent) in their mothers.
Manu Smriti 10.16 From a Sudra spring in the inverse order (by females of the higher castes) three base-born (sons, apasada), an Ayogava, a Kshattri, and a Kandala, the lowest of men;
Manu Smriti 10.6-23 gives a list of castes that springs up due to inter-caste marriage. It is mentioned in Yajnavalkya,
Yajnavalkya Smriti verse 90 By men of the same caste (Varna) in women of the same caste (Varna) are born sajati (sons of equal birth or caste). In blameless marriages sons (are begotten continuing the line.
Like Manu, Yajnavalkya also goes on mentioning the list of castes from verse 91. However this system mentioned may not be applicable in the case of Niyoga. Because all men of Kshatriya caste were killed so the Kshatriya ladies went to Brahmins for contracting Niyoga and their son were considered Kshatriyas,
Mahabharata 1.104 And the illustrious scion of Bhrigu’s race, by means of his swift arrows annihilated the Kshatriya tribe one and twenty times. “And when the earth was thus deprived of Kshatriyas by the great Rishi, the Kshatriya ladies all over the land had offspring raised by Brahmanas skilled in the Vedas. It has been said in the Vedas that the sons so raised belongeth to him that had married the mother. And the Kshatriya ladies went in unto the Brahamanas not lustfully but from motives of virtue. Indeed, it was thus that the Kshatriya race was revived.
Sons born to father of higher caste (like Brahmin) are considered to be Brahmin in quality only, though of low caste than their father. It is mentioned in Manu Smriti,
Manu Smriti 10.67-69 The decision is as follows: ‘He who was begotten by an Aryan on a non-Aryan female, may become (like to) an Aryan by his virtues; he whom an Aryan (mother) bore to a non-Aryan father (is and remains) unlike to an Aryan.’ The law prescribes that neither of the two shall receive the sacraments, the first (being excluded) on account of the lowness of his origin, the second (because the union of his parents was) against the order of the castes. As good seed, springing up in good soil, turns out perfectly well, even so the son of an Aryan by an Aryan woman is worthy of all the sacraments.
Some scholars interpret the ‘Sacraments’ here as minor sacrifice like Pakayajna which can be performed by low caste also. It is mentioned in Mahabharata,
Mahabharata 13.48.5 The son that is begotten by a Brahmana upon a Sudra wife is called Parasara, implying one born of a corpse, for the Sudra woman’s body is as inauspicious as a corpse. He should serve the persons of his (father’s) race. Indeed, it is not proper for him to give up the duty of service that has been laid down for him.
So this is yet another proof that caste is based on birth in a particular family, If a baby is born in a Brahmin family then he is a Brahmin but if he is born to a Shudra parents then he is Shudra by default which is his permanent caste for entire lifetime.
Mahabharata 12.188 The complexion the Brahmanas obtained was white; that which the Kshatriyas obtained was red; that which the Vaisyas got was yellow; and that which was given to the Sudras was black.’
Kurma Purana II.34.65 “A Brahmana, while Ucchista (with particles of food in the mouth or on hand) willfully touches Candalas or fallen persons (outcastes) should observe the Prajapatya vow for purification.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Garuda Purana 1.222.20-21 “…A brahmin defiled by the touch of a dog or a Sudra defiled by Ucchista shall fast for a night and drink Pancagayva. He shall become pure. Touched by an outcaste he shall fast for five nights.” Tr. J.L. Shastri
Kurma Purana II.34.80 “…On treading the shadow of a Candala, one shall take bath and drink ghee.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Parashara Smriti 6.22 Having seen a Chandala, a Brahmana should cast look at the sun; having touched a Chandala a Brahaman should bathe with all his wearing apparels on.
Apastamba Dharma Shastra 184.108.40.206. As it is sinful to touch a Candala, [so it is also sinful] to speak to him or to look at him. The penance for these [offences will be declared].
Vishnu Smriti 23.41 Mire and water in the ruts on a high road, defiled by the touch of a dog, of a crow, or of a low caste person, as well as buildings constructed of baked bricks are purified by the winds.
Manu Smriti 4.140. Let him not journey too early in the morning, nor too late in the evening, nor just during the midday (heat), nor with an unknown (companion), nor alone, nor with Sudras.
- PROHIBITED FOR A SHUDRA SERVANT TO MAKE WEALTH
Mahabharata 12.60.28-29 A Sudra should never amass wealth, lest, by his wealth, he makes the members of the three superior classes obedient to him. By this he would incur sin. With the king’s permission, however, a Sudra, for performing religious acts, may earn wealth.
So a Shudra servant cannot even amass wealth and rather has to seek permission from the king for making wealth.
Mahabharata 12.60 The Sudra should never abandon his master, whatever the nature or degree of the distress into which the latter may fall. If the master loses his wealth, he should with excessive zeal be supported by the Sudra servant. A Sudra cannot have any wealth that is his own. Whatever he possesses belongs lawfully to his master.
Manu Smriti 8.417 Let a Brahmana unhestitangly appropriate to himself whatever (his) Sudra (Slave) has earned, inasmuch as nothing can be belong to the latter, he being himself an enjoyable good of the Brahmana.
Manu Smriti 10.129 No collection of wealth must be made by a Sudra, even though he be able (to do it); for a Sudra who has acquired wealth, gives pain to Brahmanas.
The penance for killing a Shudra is as same as killing animals in many Hindu texts while Manu Smriti prescribes death penalty for killing a Brahmin,
Mahabharata 12.165.56 Having slain a dog or bear or camel, one should perform the same penance that is laid down for the slaughter of a Sudra.
Agni Purana 169.25-32 “…A man having killed a cat, a mongoose, a frog, a dog, a Godha, an owl, and a crow, should practice the penance he ought to have done, if he had killed a Shudra…” Tr. M.N. Dutt
Agni Purana 227.21-31 “…a Shudra using force to a Kshatriya should have his tongue cut off. A Shudra who would aspire to give moral instructions to a Brahmana, should be punished by the king…” Tr. M.N. Dutt
Manu Smriti 8.282-3 If out of arrogance he spits (on a superior), the king shall cause both his lips to be cut off; if he urines (on him), the penis; if he breaks wind (against him), the anus. If he lays hold of the hair (of a superior), let the (king) unhesitatingly cut off his hands, likewise (if he takes him) by the feet, the beard, the neck, or the scrotum.
Manu Smriti 8.272. If he arrogantly teaches Brahmanas their duty, the king shall cause hot oil to be poured into his mouth and into his ears.
Manu Smriti 8.270-1 A once-born man (a Sudra), who insults a twice-born man with gross invective, shall have his tongue cut out; for he is of low origin. If he mentions the names and castes (gati) of the (twice-born) with contumely, an iron nail, ten fingers long, shall be thrust red-hot into his mouth.
Matsya Purana 227.73-75 “A Sudra should be deprived of his tongue if he abuses violently a twice-born, if his offence be moderate; if his offence be highest, he is to be fined Uttama Sahasa. A king should be put a red, hot iron spike twelve Angulas long in the mouth of a Sudra who vilifies violently one, taking his name, caste and house. A Sudra who teaches Dharma to the twice born should also be punished by a sovereign by getting hot oil poured into his ears and mouth.” Tr. Taluqdar of Oudh, edited by B.D. Basu
The irony is that a Shudra is given corporal punishment for abusing Dvijas (Twice-born) while a Brahmin or other castes are not,
Gautama Dharma Shastra 12.11-13 But a Brahmana (who abuses) a Kshatriya (shall pay) fifty (Karshapanas), One half of that (amount if he abuses) a Vaisya, (and if he abuses) a Sudra, nothing.
Matsya Purana 227.67-68 ”A Ksatriya who abuses a Brahmana should be fined 100 Panas, a Vaisya doing so should be fined 200 Panas, and a Sudra if he does so should be sentenced to capital punishment. A Brahmana who abuses a Ksatriya should be fined 50 Panas, if he abuses a Vaisya, he should be fined 25 Panas and if he abuses a Sudra the fine should be 12 Panas.” Tr. Taluqdar of Oudh, edited by B.D. Basu
Manu Smriti 8.279-280 With whatever limb a man of a low caste does hurt to (a man of the three) highest (castes), even that limb shall be cut off; that is the teaching of Manu. He who raises his hand or a stick, shall have his hand cut off; he who in anger kicks with his foot, shall have his foot cut off.
If a Shudra is accused of committing some crimes, then he should prove his innocence by drinking poison, by means of fire ordeals etc.,
Agni Purana 255.32-47 “The accused should fast and bathe at sunrise with all his clothes on the day of the test, and pass through his ordeal in the presence of the king and the Brahmanas. An old, infant, blind, lame, invalid, or a female accused should be tested with the ordeal by scale, while the innocence of a Shudra, should be ascertained by means of the ordeal by fire, water, or the seven Yava (barley) weights of poison… In the ordeal by fire, the palms of the accused, should be first examined as to whether it had not been plastered over with clay… Then the accused should address the fire god as follows:- ”Thy seat is in the inside of all creatures, O Fire, and thou art the witness of acts of merit and demerit. I have held thee in my palms, speak truth, O god, as a witness of my innocence.” Then a red hot iron ball, weighing fifty Palas should be placed on his palms, covered as above and the accused or the person suspected, should be asked to slowly walk over seven Mandalas or rings… In an ordeal by poison, the accused should first address the poison to be imbibed… Thus having addressed the poison (born of a hill), he should imbibe the same in the presence of the assembled Brahmanas. His innocence should be established, if he could assimilate the poison safely without rethcing or vomiting.” Tr. M.N Dutt
Manu Smriti 9.248. But the king shall inflict on a base-born (Sudra), who intentionally gives pain to Brahmanas, various (kinds of) corporal punishment which cause terror.
Gautama Dharma Shastra 12.2 If he [Shudra] has criminal intercourse with an Aryan woman, his organ shall be cut off, and all his property be confiscated.
As per Hindu text the Shudra servant or slave must eat the remnants of his Dvija master’s meal,
Manu Smriti 10.125 The remnants of their food must be given to him, as well as their old clothes, the refuse of their grain, and their old household furniture.
Mahabharata 13.143.29 As regards food, he should eat that which remains after the needs of all persons have been satisfied.
Manu Smriti 5.140. Sudras who live according to the law, shall each month shave (their heads); their mode of purification (shall be) the same as that of Vaisyas, and their food the fragments of an Aryan’s meal.
Shudra here refers to those Shudras who are servants in the house of Dvijas and it also refers to Slaves. The Dvijas are not even allowed to give the leavings of their food to other Shudras,
Manu Smriti 4.80-81; Vasistha 18.14 Let him not give to a Sudra advice, nor the remnants (of his meal), nor food offered to the gods; nor let him explain the sacred law (to such a man), nor impose (upon him) a penance. For he who explains the sacred law (to a Sudra) or dictates to him a penance, will sink together with that (man) into the hell (called) Asamvrita.
It’s the highest level of hypocrisy, a Brahmin should feed his Shudra servant with the remnants of his meal but if a Brahmin accidentally eats the remnants of the food partaken by a Shudra or even in the company of a Shudra then he is to perform penance,
Manu Smriti 11.153. But he who has eaten the food of men, whose food must not be eaten, or the leavings of women and Sudras, or forbidden flesh, shall drink barley (-gruel) during seven (days and) nights.
Mahabharata 13.136.20-22 The Brahmana who takes his food in the company of Sudras is purged from all impurity by duly observing the ceremonies of purification. The Brahmana who takes his food in the company of Vaisyas is absolved from sin by living on alms for three successive nights. If a Brahmana takes his food with Kshatriyas, he should make expiation by bathing with his clothes on.
Other Hindu texts doesn’t prohibit a Brahmin from partaking food in the company of upper three castes (Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaishya) but it clearly prohibits them from partaking food with Shudra (Anarya) and Mleccha (Non Hindus).
Brahma Purana 115.24 ”The food cooked by a Sudra is despised by gods and noble men, O goddess. That which is uttered by Brahma is authoritative.” Tr. J.L. Shastri
Manu Smriti 4.223. A Brahmana who knows (the law) must not eat cooked food (given) by a Sudra who performs no Sraddhas; but, on failure of (other) means of subsistence, he may accept raw (grain), sufficient for one night (and day).
Garuda Purana 1.115.7. ”Women perish due to their beauty, penance due to fury, the way due to an undue length and pious brahmana by taking sudra’s food.” Tr. J.L. Shastri
Kurma Purana II.17.1 ”A Brahmana should not eat food offered by a Sudra whether out of delusion or otherwise. He who eats it, except an emergency, is born as a Sudra.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Mahabharata 13.143.18 The food of a Sudra, O goddess, is always disapproved of by the high-souled deities. Even this, I think, is the authority enunciated by the Grandsire with his own mouth. If a Brahmana, who has set up the sacred fire and who performs sacrifices, were to die with any portion of a Sudra’s food remaining undigested in his stomach, he is sure to take birth in his next life as a Sudra.
Skanda Purana V.iii.11.30-31 ”Brahamana’s food is (regarded as) Amrta (Nectar); Ksatriya’s food is remembered as milk; Vaisya’s food is mere food, and Sudra’s food is proclaimed as blood. Those excellent Brahmanas who get nourished with Sudra’s food and juice and later die, become deprived of Tapas and knowledge and are born as crows and vultures.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Varaha Purana 174.42 ”He who dies with the food given by a Sudra within him, becomes a ghost.” Tr. Venkitasubramonia Iyer, edited by J.L. Shastri
Mahabharata 13.141.38 Another duty of the Brahmana consists in avoiding the food prepared by the Sudra.
Vasistha Dharma Sutra 10.31; 20.17; Skanda Purna V.iii.50.6-8 also prohibits the twice born from partaking the food of Shudras.
The penance for eating the remnants of Shudra meal is as follows,
Garuda Purana ch 231 “Articles of Indian bell metal, smelled by kine or defiled by the touch of residue of a Sudra’s meal, or by the contact of a dog or a crow, are purified by being rubbed with ten kinds of ashes. Having partaken his meal out of the saucer of a Sudra, a Brahmana shall regain his purity by fasting for a day, and by taking Panchgavya as well.” Tr. M.N. Dutt
Garuda Purana 1.222.2 “If inadvertenly a brahmin takes food defiled by the Ucchista (residual of food partaken) of a Sudra he should fast for a day and night and drink Pancagavya. He shall be purified.” Tr. J.L. Shastri
For those who don’t know about Panchagavya. Let me tell you Panchagavya is the mixture of five products of cow, they are cow dung, urine, milk, curd and ghee. The leavings of a Shudra is considered so worst, And ironically it is cleansed by consuming cow urine and dung. Shudras are much worst than animal’s dung and urine as per Hindu text. Apastamba allows Dvija to partake the food cooked by a Shudra. Dayanand Saraswati had also used this verse from Apastamba to support his view that food cooked by a Shudra in the house of a Brahmin may be eaten. But Dayanand is said to have refused to partake the food in a Brahmin’s house that was cooked by a Shudra. So he didn’t practice it himself then how can he advocate this to others. As I said earlier, trying to give rights to low castes was a drama just to get followers. Dayanand didn’t abolish the evil Vedic caste system but upheld it. Read the article Mulshankar and Casteism. As Dayanand had used the verse from Apastamba to support his view, let me quote a verse from Apastamba prohibiting it,
Apastamba Dharma Sutra 1.6.18. According to some (food offered by people) of any caste, who follow the laws prescribed for them, except that of Sudras, may be eaten.
Guess what? Hinduism doesn’t even permit the Shudras to eat the leavings of a Shraddha,
Manu Smriti 3.249 The foolish man who, after having eaten a Sraddha (-dinner), gives the leavings to a Sudra, falls headlong into the Kalasutra hell.
Brahmanda Purana 220.127.116.11 ”The leavings of food from a Sraddha should not be given to women or Sudras.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Out of compassion a Brahmin may give the fragments of his Shraddha meal to his Shudra servant but never to other Shudras.
A sacrifice called Bhuta Yajna can be performed with the remaining food (not leftover food) and this is to be given to dogs, pigs and Chandalas,
Markandeya Purana 29.45-46 “Having done reverence to the gods, and the pitri and guests, relatives likewise, and female relations, and gurus also, the griha stha who has substance should scatter the fragments on the ground for both dogs and low caste men and birds.”
Kurma Purana II.18.105-6 “With the cooked food that remains after the offering unto Devas, one should offer Bhuta Bali. This should be known as Bhuta Yajna. It is the bestower of prosperity unto all embodied beings. O excellent Brahmanas, the cooked food should be given to dogs, cooker of dogs (i.e. Candalas), fallen persons (i.e. outcastes) and birds, on the ground outside.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Manu Smriti 3.92. Let him gently place on the ground (some food) for dogs, outcasts, Kandalas (Svapak), those afflicted with diseases that are punishments of former sins, crows, and insects.
It is mentioned in Smritis that the food offered to gods and manes will not be accepted if the sacrifice is assisted by the Shudra wife,
Manu Smriti 3.18 ”The oblations, offered by a twice-born one who is assisted by a Sudra woman in the capacity of his principal married wife in the rite of a Pitri or Daivaa Sraddha ceremony, neither the manes, nor the divinity partake of. Even by practicing hospitality to Atithis, he cannot ascend to heaven, after death.” Tr. M.N. Dutt
Vishnu Smriti 26.7 The gods and Pitris do not accept the oblations offered to them by (twice born ones), who perform the Daiva and Pritri (sacrifices), or propitiate the Atithis, in the company of their Sudra wives; such men go to hell.
It is mentioned in Veda,
Krishna Yajur Veda 18.104.22.168 [After it the Anustubh metre] was created, the Vairaja Saman, of men the Çudra, of cattle the horse. Therefore the two, the horse and the Çudra, are dependent on others. Therefore the Çudra is not fit for the sacrifice, for he was not created after any gods.
Shudra is prohibited to participate in sacrifice just because of his birth in a Shudra family and one of the main reason behind Shudra been prohibited to participate in sacrifice is because it includes recitation of Vedic mantras and Shudras are clearly prohibited from uttering any Vedic mantra. Adi Shanakaracharya writes,
”But this scriptural ability is denied by the prohibition of the right to study. As for the text, ”The Sudra is unfit for performing a sacrifice” (Tai. S.VII.i.1.6), since it is based on a logic having common application, it suggests that the Sudra has no right to knowledge as well, for the logic applies both ways.” Shankaracharya on Brahma Sutra 1.3.34, Tr. Swami Gambhiranand
It is mentioned in Brahmana,
Pancavimsa Brahmana 6.1.11 Out of his feet, his firm support, he created the twenty one fold (stoma); along with it of the metres the anustubh came into existence, of the deities none, of the men the Sudra. Therefore the Sudra is, it is true, rich in cattle, but excluded from the sacrifice, for he has no deity, as no deity had come into existence after him.
Shiva Purana, Kailasa Samhita 6.12.22 ”The Vedas enjoin rituals for the first three castes. The Sudras are excluded since their only activity is service.” Tr. J.L. Shastri
Mahabharata 5.29.26 The following are the duties declared for a Sudra from the olden times. He should serve the Brahmanas and submit to them; should not study; sacrifices are forbidden to him; he should be diligent and be constantly enterprising in doing all that is for his good. The king protects all these with (proper) care, and sets all the castes to perform their respective duties. He should not be given to sensual enjoyments. He should be impartial, and treat all his subjects on an equal footing.
Manu Smriti 11.13. (Or) the (sacrificer) may take at his pleasure two or three (articles required for a sacrifice) from the house of a Sudra; for a Sudra has no business with sacrifices.
Mahabharata 12.165.8 The Sudra has no competence for performing a sacrifice. The king should, therefore, take away (wealth for such a purpose) from a Sudra house of ours.
Varaha Purana 211.4 ”Three castes participate in sacrifices and share their benefits in general. The Sudras are kept out by Brahmins from those that are purified by Vedas.” Tr. Venkitasubramonia Iyer, edited by J.L. Shastri
Mahabharata 13.91.43-44 From the place where the Sraddha is being performed, the Chandala and the Swapacha should be excluded, as also all who wear clothes steeped in yellow, and persons affected with leprosy, or one who has been excasted (for transgressions), or one who is guilty of Brahmanicide, or a Brahmana of mixed descent or one who is the relative of an excasted man. These all should be excluded by persons possessed of wisdom from the place where a Sraddha is being performed,’
Vayu Purana 16.24 ”The naked and similar (apostates and non-Vedic sects) people should not see the Sraddha rite. This is the rule. Such Sraddhas as are seen by these, do not reach PItrs or Pitamahas.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Ganesh Vasudeo Tagare writes,
”…The text not only includes non Vedic sects like Jains and Buddhists but includes apostate Brahmins, atheists, committer of gross sins (maha-patakas).
Brahmanda Purana 22.214.171.124 ”The following should always be avoided in the Sraddha ceremonies; Sudras, milk of Avi (a variety of sheep), the varieties of grass named Balbaja, Virana and Otuvala, pebbles and Laddus (a sweetmeat?)” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Kurma Purana II.16.54 ”Instructions regarding observance of holy vows should not be given to a Sudra; a learned man should not expound Dharma unto him. No one should submit to anger and avoid hatred and passion.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Kurma Purana I.12.25b-26 ”The Almighty Lord created Brahamanas from his mouth and the Ksattriyas from his arms. The Lord created Vaisyas from both of his thighs. The grand-sire of the universe created Sudras from the pain of his feet. Brahma created all castes excepting the Sudras, for the purpose of (performance of) sacrifices.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Manu 10.126. A Sudra cannot commit an offence, causing loss of caste (pataka), and he is not worthy to receive the sacraments; he has no right to (fulfil) the sacred law
(of the Aryans, yet) there is no prohibition against (his fulfilling certain portions of) the law.
A good reply to apologists from Mahabharata,
Mahabharata 13.128 That man who thinks it all right when a Sudra ignites the fire upon which he is to pour libations or who does not see any fault when women who are incompetent to assist at Sraddhas and other rites are allowed to assist at them, really becomes stained with sin.
Varaha Purana 112.16-22 ”One who receives Kapila as a gift from a Sudra should be considered as most lowly like a Candala. Therefore let not a Brahmin receive the offering from Sudras. They are to be kept far away like dogs during sacrifices. They are discarded by the manes during new moon and full moon. They should not be spoken to and nothing should be received from them because they do only sinful deeds. Those (Sudras) who drink (the milk of) Kapila make their forefathers eat the filth in the earth for long. Note what happens to the Sudraas who feed on the milk, ghee and butter of the Kapila’s cows. They go to the terrible hell called Raurava. After living there for a hundred crores of years, they are born as dogs.” Tr. Venkitasubramonia Iyer, edited by J.L. Shastri
Mahabharata 13.23.16 Those Brahmanas who pour libations on the sacred fire for Sudras, or who are preceptors of Sudras, or who as servants of Sudra masters, do not deserve to be invited.
Markandeya Purana 14.83 By receiving favours from an outcaste, by performing sacrifices for an outcaste, by constant attendance on an outcaste a man ever reaches the condition of an insect that lives among stones.
Markandeya Purana 15.1 For accepting anything of value from an outcaste, let a dvija be born an ass; but let him who sacrifices for the outcaste become a worm, on his release from hell.
Gautama Dharma Shastra 20.1 Let him cast off a father who assassinates a king, who sacrifices for Sudras, who sacrifices for his own sake (accepting) money from Sudras…
Mahabharata 2.35.8-10 ”That (sacrificial) platform, crowded with the celestials, Brahmanas and the great Rishis, all endued with the Vedas, looked as beautiful as the sky studded with the stars .O king there was no sudra or any man without vows near the inner (sacrificial) platform of Yudhisthira’s palace. Seeing the prosperity of the prosperous and intelligent Dharmaraja, which was the result of that sacrifice, Narada became exceedingly happy.” Tr. M.N. Dutt
Shudras are not allowed to participate in sacrifice or perform it. However Hinduism allows Shudra to perform minor sacrifices but without uttering any Mantra, they are to be kept away from sacrifices due to the fact that Shudras are not allowed to hear any Mantra,
Mahabharata 12.60 Sacrifice has been laid down as a duty of the three other orders. It has been ordained for the Sudra also, O Bharata! A Sudra, however, is not competent to utter swaha and swadha or any other Vedic mantra. For this reason, the Sudra, without observing the vows laid down in the Vedas, should worship the gods in minor sacrifices called Paka-yajnas.
Other than the sacrifice to Manes, Shudras cannot perform any other sacrifice. As it is said that serving the twice born (Dvija) is equivalent to sacrifice for the Shudras,
Vayu Purana 57.50 “Aranbha (expedition or enterprise) was a sacrifice for Ksattriyas. Havis (offering of ghee etc.) was the Yajna of Vaisyas. Sudraas had service as Yajna and excellent Brahmanas had Japa (chanting of Mantras) as their Yajna.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Above verse from Vayu Purana is talking about the Treta Yuga. Treta Yuga is the second Yuga among the four Yugas or ages of mankind in Hinduism. It says that service to Dvija was the Yajna of the Shudras which shows that Shudras were not allowed to perform sacrifice in such earlier period also. However this is not just limited to the Treta Yuga but also applicable in the present Kali Yuga, it is mentioned in Mahabharata,
Mahabharata 12.232 The growing of corn is the sacrifice laid down for the Vaisyas. Serving the three other orders is the sacrifice laid down for the Sudras.
Manu Smriti 3.240-1 What (any of) these sees at a burnt-oblation, at a (solemn) gift, at a dinner (given to Brahmanas), or at any rite in honour of the gods and manes, that produces not the intended result. A boar makes (the rite) useless by inhaling the smell (of the offerings), a cock by the air of his wings, a dog by throwing his eye (on them), a low-caste man by touching (them).
Skanda Purana II.iv.3.35-37 ”He who worships and bows to the idols installed by Sudras, goes to hell along with ten ancestors and ten descendants. If one touches the idol worshipped by a Sudra, he will burn (get burnt) his family up to the seventh generation. Hence one must enquire and worship an idol that has been installed by Brahmanas.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Varaha Purana 186.49-50 “But a Salagrama should not be touched by men of inferior caste or by women and Sudras. If a woman or Sudra touches it even out of curiosity, the result will be torment in hell till deluge.” Tr. Venkitasubramonia Iyer, edited by J.L. Shastri
A Shudra is not even allowed to utter Om.
Narada Purana III.70.72-73 “This is called Visnu Gayatri which removes all sins. Tara=om., hrt=namah, then bhagavan ending in the dative case, then vausdevaya. This great mantra consisting of twelve syllables gives enjoyment and salvation. This is to be used without tara=om by women and sudras but by the twice born it is used with tara=om.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
It is mentioned in Mahabharata,
Mahabharata 13.23.7 “Food that has been eaten by a person incompetent to utter the syllable Om, or that has been eaten by a person bearing arms, O Bharata, or that has been eaten by a wicked person should be known to form the portion of Rakshasas*.” Tr. Kisari Mohan Ganguli
Kisari Mohan Ganguli writes in the footnote,
”* i.e., any food, a portion of which has been eaten by any of these persons, is unworthy of being given away. If given, it is appropriated by Rakshasas. One incompetent to utter Om is, of course, a Sudra.” [ Source ]
Not even a single Hindu text permits a Shudra to study Vedas. Puranas explicitly says that since Vedas cannot be learned by Shudra and women, the God composed Itihasa (Ramayana, Mahabharata) and Puranas for them,
Srimad Bhagavatam 1.4.25 ”The degenerated twice-borns, the Sudras and women are barred from the holy truths of the Vedas, and, out of compassion for them, Maharshi Vyasa composed the Mahabharata.” Tr. J.M. Sanyal
Devi Bhagavatam 1.3.18-24 “…knowing this in every Dvâpara Yuga Bhagavân expounds the holy Purâna Samhitas. The more so because women, S’udras, and the lower Dvijas are not entitled to hear the Vedas; for their good, the Purânas have been composed…” Tr. Swami Vijnananda
Same is repeated in Natya Shastra, Gods along with Indra approached Brahma and said,
Natsya Shastra 1.12-13 As the Vedas are not to be listened to by those born as Sudras, be pleased to create another Veda which will belong to all the Colour-groups (Varna). ‘Let it be so’, said he in reply and then having dismissed the king of gods (Indra) he resorted to yoga (concentration of mind) and recalled to mind the four Vedas.”
Brahma Purana 64.19 ”In regard to the people of the first three castes the rite of holy bath and the reception of Mantras is in the manner mentioned in the Vedas. The utterance of the Vedic passage is to be avoided by women as well as Sudras.” Tr. J.L. Shastri
Apastamba Dharma Shastra 126.96.36.199 (For all these), excepting Sudras and those who have committed bad actions, (are ordained) the initiation, the study of the Veda, and the kindling of the sacred fire; and (their) works are productive of rewards (in this world and the next).
It is mentioned in Bhagavat Purana that twice born men only are entitled for performing sacrifices and to learn Vedas,
Srimad Bhagavatam 11.17.40 “All twice-born men — brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas and vaiśyas — must perform sacrifice, study the Vedic literature and give charity. Only the brāhmaṇas, however, accept charity, teach the Vedic knowledge and perform sacrifice on behalf of others.” Tr. Swami Prabhupada
But a Brahmin alone can teach the Vedas,
Manu Smriti 1.103. A learned Brahmana must carefully study them, and he must duly instruct his pupils in them, but nobody else (shall do it).
Manu Smriti 10.1. Let the three twice-born castes (varna), discharging their (prescribed) duties, study (the Veda); but among them the Brahmana (alone) shall teach it, not the other two; that is an established rule.
If all the three castes have learned the Vedas then why does it differentiates the Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas? As apologists claim that one who is learned in the Vedas is a Brahmin. And when Kshatriya and Vaishya are conversant with the Vedas then why a Brahmin alone should teach it why cannot a Kshatriya or a Vaishya teach the Veda?
Acharya Medhatithi writes on Manu Smriti 2.241,
“Though the term ‘non Brahmana’ denoting all the three castes, except the Brahmana, stands for all men, yet the Shudra could not be meant here; for the Shudra is not entitled to learn the Veda; and it is only when one has learn something that he can teach it. ‘But by transgressing the scriptural ordinance, the Shudra also might learn the Veda, just as the Ksattriya and the Vaishya do the work of teaching (which is not permitted).’ This also cannot be; because it has been laid down that is the Shudra happens to learn the Veda, his body should be cut up. And since the penalty is so severe, it follows that the act if a grievous sin.”
Shankaracharya writes in the commentary of Gita 18.41,
“Sudras are separated from others who are all mentioned together in one compound word, because Sudras are of one birth and are debarred from the study of the Vedas…” Tr. Mahadeva Shastri
Shankaracharya also writes on Brahma Sutra 1.3.38
“38. And on account of the prohibition, in Smriti, of (the Sûdras’) hearing and studying (the Veda) and (knowing and performing) (Vedic) matters.
The Sûdras are not qualified for that reason also that Smriti prohibits their hearing the Veda, their studying the Veda, and their understanding and performing Vedic matters. The prohibition of hearing the Veda is conveyed by the following passages: ‘The ears of him who hears the Veda are to be filled with (molten) lead and lac,’ and ‘For a Sûdra is (like) a cemetery, therefore (the Veda) is not to be read in the vicinity of a Sûdra.’ From this latter passage the prohibition of studying the Veda results at once; for how should he study Scripture in whose vicinity it is not even to be read? There is, moreover, an express prohibition (of the Sûdras studying the Veda). ‘His tongue is to be slit if he pronounces it; his body is to be cut through if he preserves it.’ The prohibitions of hearing and studying the Veda already imply the prohibition of the knowledge and performance of Vedic matters; there are, however, express prohibitions also, such as ‘he is not to impart knowledge to the Sûdra,’ and ‘to the twice-born belong study, sacrifice, and the bestowal of gifts.’–From those Sûdras, however, who, like Vidura and ‘the religious hunter,’ acquire knowledge in consequence of the after effects of former deeds, the fruit of their knowledge cannot be withheld, since knowledge in all cases brings about its fruit. Smriti, moreover, declares that all the four castes are qualified for acquiring the knowledge of the itihâsas and purânas; compare the passage, ‘He is to teach the four castes’ (Mahâbh.).–It remains, however, a settled point that they do not possess any such qualification with regard to the Veda.”
Ramanuja Acharya writes on Brahma Sutra 1.3.38,
“38. And on account of the prohibition of hearing, studying, and performance of (Vedic) matter.
The Sûdra is specially forbidden to hear and study the Veda and to perform the things enjoined in it. ‘For a Sûdra is like a cemetery, therefore the Veda must not be read in the vicinity of a Sûdra;’ ‘Therefore the Sûdra is like a beast, unfit for sacrifices.’ And he who does not hear the Veda recited cannot learn it so as to understand and perform what the Veda enjoins. The prohibition of hearing thus implies the prohibition of understanding and whatever depends on it.”
Vijnanesvara writes in Mitakshara,
“Manu has also shown that the twice born alone are entitled to study the Dharma Sastras and a Brahmana alone can teach them and no one else.” Vijnanesvara in his book Mitakshara on Yajnavalkya Smriti verse 3
It is mentioned in Bhagvad Gita,
Gita 9.32 ”For those who take refuge in Me. O Partha, though they be of sinful birth- women, Vaisyas, and Sudras even they attain the Supreme Goal.” Tr. Swami Nikhilananda
Hindu scholar named Swami Swarupananda writes,
”Of inferior birth…Shudras because by birth, the Vaishyas are engaged only in agriculture, etc., and the women and Shudras are debarred from the study of the Vedas.” Source
Swami Nikhilananda writes,
”The Vaisyas are engaged in agriculture and trade; women and Sudras are debarred from the study of the Vedas. Therefore all these classes of people remain outside the Vedic scheme of salvation…” [Swami Nikhilananda on The Bhagwad Gita 9.32, page 233, Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1944, Printed in USA by The Haddon Craftsmen, Inc.] Source
Another scholar named Swami Sivananda writes,
“…Women and Sudras are debarred by social rules from the study of the Vedas…”
Now no one can claim that they know Hinduism more than these scholars especially a scholar of such calibre like Adi Shankaracharya.
Skanda Purana III.ii.6.79 ”One should never teach a Vedic Mantra to a Sudra. (Thereby) the Brahmana becomes deficient in his Brahmanical powers and the Sudra in his merit” Tr. G.V. Tagare
It is mentioned in Manu Smriti that sacrificing for a lower castes, or assisting them in sacrifice and teaching them is prohibited,
Manu Smriti 10.109-111 On (comparing) the acceptance (of gifts from low men), sacrificing (for them), and teaching (them), the acceptance of gifts is the meanest (of those acts) and (most) reprehensible for a Brahmana (on account of its results) in the next life. (For) assisting in sacrifices and teaching are (two acts) always performed for men who have received the sacraments; but the acceptance of gifts takes place even in (case the giver is) a Sudra of the lowest class. The guilt incurred by offering sacrifices for teaching (unworthy men) is removed by muttering (sacred texts) and by burnt offerings, but that incurred by accepting gifts (from them) by throwing (the gifts) away and by austerities.
Skanda Purana V.iii.228.8-9”One should not give knowledge, leavings of food or Havis to a Sudra. He should not be taught righteous and pious rites nor should he be initiated in Vratas. The following six things cause downfall of women and Sudras: japa, penance, pilgrimage, renunciation of the world, practice of Mantras and initiation for the adoration of a deity” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Mahabharata 13.10.66-70 Unto Sudras, therefore, the Brahmanas should never give instructions. Hence, O king, the Brahmana should avoid imparting instructions (to such as are low-born), for it was by imparting instruction to a low-born person a Brahmana came to grief. O best of kings, the Brahmana should never desire to obtain instruction from, or impart instruction to, a person that belongs to the lowest order. Brahmanas and Kshatriyas and Vaisyas, the three orders, are regarded as twice-born. By imparting instruction unto these, a Brahmana does not incur any fault. They, therefore, that are good, should never discourse on any subject, for imparting any instruction, before persons of the inferior order.
Shudras studying the Veda and performing sacrifice are some of the evils of Kali Yuga predicted in Hindu scriptures,
Linga Purana 40.40-41 ”Some sell Vedas and others sell Tirthas (holy waters) i.e. make illegal gain out of these. When Kali yuga begins heretics will be born who will be opposed to the system of four castes and stages of life. Sudras will learn the Vedas and will become experts in the meaning of Dharma.” Tr. J.L. Shastri
Tulsi Ramayana, Uttara Kanda, Doha 98A-B.1 Dominated by women, my lord, all me dance to their tune like a monkey controlled by its trainer. Sudras instruct the twice born in spiritual wisdom and, wearing the sacred thread, accept the worst type of gifts.
Kurma Purana I.30.21-22 ”In Kaliyuga, the Brahmanas, dependent on the Sudras, hover round and serve the Sudras seated in their vehicles and eulogise them by songs of praise and prayer. Dependent on Sudras, they teach them Vedas. Due to the calamity of appeasing those without Vedas, they resort to terrible atheism.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Matsya Purana 273.46-47 ”Thenceforward all this world will fall upon very bad times. Men will be liars, greedy, and destitute of righteousness, affection and wealth. The religion of Srutis and Smritis will become very lax, and so also will be destroyed the orders and castes. The people will be of mixed origin, weak in body and will be led astray and deluded. Brahmanas will sacrifice for Sudras (or will study under Sudraas) and Sudras will take to teaching Mantras.” Tr. Taluqdar of Oudh, edited by B.D. Basu
Matsya Purana 144.40-42 ”Many with them profess to be Brahmajnanis, because, thereby, they will easily earn their livelihood. Some hypocrites will mark their bodies with Vedic symbols also. In the Kaliyuga any body will study the Vedas; Sudraas will be experianced in the Vedas. So there will be many false religionists.” Tr. Taluqdar of Oudh, edited by B.D. Basu
Vayu Purana 58.46 “Then, when the end of the age approaches, even the great goddess like the earth will yield but little fruit. Sudras will begin to perform penance” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Mahabharata 13.94 [Rishi Agastya said]That Time has come upon us. Hence, Righteousness is afflicted. It is meet that I should go to heaven for good, before unrighteousness assails the world and establishes itself here! Before the time comes when Brahmanas, loudly uttering the fully Vedas, within the precincts of villages and inhabited places, cause the Sudras to hear them, before the time comes when kings often against the rules of Righteousness from motives of policy, I shall go to heaven for good
Hinduism prohibits Dvijas (upper three castes) from reciting Vedas in the presence of Shudras,
Manu Smriti 4.99. Let him not recite (the texts) indistinctly, nor in the presence of Sudras; nor let him, if in the latter part of the night he is tired with reciting the Veda, go again to sleep.
Vasistha Dharma Shastra 18.11-14 Some call that Sudraa race a burial-ground. There (the Veda) must not be recited in the presence of a Sudra. Now they quote also the (following) verses, which Yama proclaimed: ‘The wicked Sudra-race is manifestly a burial ground. Therefore (the Veda) must never be recited in the presence of a Sudra. Let him not give advice to a Sudra’…
Apastamba Dharma Shastra 188.8.131.52 He shall never study in a burial ground nor anywhere near it within the throw of a Samya. [8-9] But if that place is known to have been a burial ground he shall not study (there). A Sudra and an outcast are (included by the term) burial ground, (and the rule given, Sutra 6, applies to them.)
Linga Purana 85.161 ”The repeater of the mantras shall not perform japa in the open street, or in the presence of the Sudras
or in a ground smeared with blood, or sitting in a cot.” Tr. J.L. Shastri
- It is prohibited for a Shudra to hear the Vedas,
Devi Bhagavatam 15.11-20 As a man of a lowest caste acts contrary and incurs a sin if he hears the Veda mantra…
Mahabharata 2.44.15 Desirous of speedy death, this fool had desired Rukmini. But the fool obtained her not, like a Sudra failing to obtain the audition of the Vedas.”
If the Shudra somehow manages to hear the Vedas then he is punished in the following way,
Gautama Dharma Sutra 12.4-6 ”A king shall cause molten lead or shellac to be poured into the ear-holes of a Sudra who has willfully heard a recitation of the Vedas. Similarly, the punishment for his reciting the Vedas is the cleaving of his tongue.” Tr. M.N. Dutt
If a Shudra pronounces the Vedic text then his tongue should be clipped off,
Skanda Purana V.iii.200.6 ”It has been decided that for merely pronouncing the Veda (Vedic text by a Sudra) the tongue of that Sudra should be cut off by Ksatriyas who are the protectors of Dharma” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Brihaspati Smriti 20.12 (A Sudra) teaching the precepts of religion, or uttering the words of the Veda, or insulting a Brahman, shall be punished by cutting out his tongue.
Skanda Purana III.i.10.32 ”The Sudra named Drdhamati came to the hermitage and was honoured by the ascetics. He prostrated in front of them with the eight limbs (touching the ground). [34-44] Then he felt inclined to perform an excellent penance. So he approached the Kulapati (Head sage of the hermitage) and spoke these words… O sage of good holy rites, initiate me in the Yaga rite. O Brahmana, I belong to the Sudra community, O excellent one. I wish to render services to you. Be pleased with me who have sought refuge in you. When this was spoken by the Sudra, the Brahmana spoke to him: A Sudra being low low birth cannot be initiated in a sacrifice. Be pleased to listen. If you are so inclined, be engaged in service. No (religious) instructions is to be given to one of low caste. In instructing him, the preceptor incurs great sin. A learned man shall not teach a Sudra, nor should he perform a Yaga on his behalf… If a Brahmana were to teach a Sudra these subjects, the other Brahmanas shall banish him from the village, from Brahmana community. One shall abandon like a Candala, the Brahmana who instructs a Sudra. One should avoid from afar a Sudra who is literate. Hence, welfare unto you. Render service unto Brahmanas with reverence. Service to the twice-born has been prescribed by Manu and others (as the duty) of a Sudra.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Drdhamati was not taught Vedas just because he belonged to Shudra caste.
Ramanuja Acharya and Adi Shankaracharya writes that Gautama Rishi started teaching Vedas to Jabala only after he ascertained that Jabala was not a Shudra. They also prohibit teaching Veda to Shudras
Acharya Ramanuja writes in the commentary of Brahma Sutra 1.3.37
“37. And on account of the procedure, on the ascertainment of the non-being of that.
That a Sûdra is not qualified for knowledge of Brahman appears from that fact also that as soon as Gautama has convinced himself that Gâbâla, who wishes to become his pupil, is not a Sûdra, he proceeds to teach him the knowledge of Brahman.”
Shankaracharya writes on Brahma Sutra 1.3.37,
” 37. And on account of (Gautama) proceeding (to initiate Gâbâla) on the ascertainment of (his) not being that (i.e. a Sûdra).
The Sûdras are not qualified for that reason also that Gautama, having ascertained Gâbâla not to be a Sûdra from his speaking the truth, proceeded to initiate and instruct him. ‘None who is not a Brâhmana would thus speak out. Go and fetch fuel, friend, I shall initiate you. You have not swerved from the truth’ (Kh. Up. IV, 4, 5); which scriptural passage furnishes an inferential sign (of the Sûdras not being capable of initiation).”
Gautama Rishi started teaching Vedas to Jabala only after knowing that he was not a Shudra, this shows that Veda was not taught to Shudras.
Sita the wife of Rama said,
Ramayana of Valmiki, Sundara Khanda 28.5 “I may be slain by that dreadful monster but I can no more give him my affection than a brahmin can impart the teachings of the Veda to one of low caste.” Tr. Hari Prasad Shastri
Srimad Bhagavatam 9.18.14 “And we are even more respectable because we are in the dynasty of Bhṛgu. Yet although this woman’s father, being among the demons, is our disciple, she has put on my dress, exactly like a śūdra taking charge of Vedic knowledge.” Tr. Swami Prabhupada
Srimad Bhagavatam 4.2.13 “To this proud, impious fellow who has given up performance of religious acts, and has violated all the bounds (of religious prosperity), I gave my young daughter though reluctant to do so, as one would be to impart the sacred beautiful word (Vedas) to a Sudraa (who is not eligible to receive Vedic lore).” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Srimad Bhagavatam 10.38.4 “Just as recitation and study of the Vedas is impossible to a person born in the Sudra class, I consider that gaining even the sight of Krsnaa of excellent renown is very difficult for me, inasmuch as my mind is addicted to sensual pleasures.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Garuda Purana ch 96 ”the sole duty of a Shudra is to render personal service to the foremost of the twice born castes.” Tr. M.N. Dutt
Yajur Veda 30.5 For Brahman (Priesthood) he binds a Brahman to the stake; for Kshatra (Royalty) a Râjanya; for the Maruts a Vaisya; for Penance [service] a Sudra;
Sankha Samhita 1.5 Serving the Brahmanas, and performance of different handicrafts should be the specific duties of a Sudra. Practice of forbearance, truthfulness, and self-control, and cleanliness of body and spirit are equally obligatory on all, without any distinction of caste.
Mahabharata 13.141 The service of the three regenerate classes constitutes the high duty of the Sudra. That Sudra who is truthful in speech and who has subdued his senses is regarded as having acquired meritorious penances. Verily, the Sudra, who having got a guest, discharges the duties of hospitality towards him, is regarded as acquiring the merit of high penances. That intelligent Sudra whose conduct is righteous and who worships the deities and Brahmanas, becomes endued with the desirable rewards of righteousness.
Manu Smriti 10.123. The service of Brahmanas alone is declared (to be) an excellent occupation for a Sudra; for whatever else besides this he may perform will bear him no fruit.
The same is repeated in Apastamba Dharma Shastra 184.108.40.206; Vishnu Smriti 2.8; Manu Smriti 10.334 and Yajnavalkya Smriti 1.120. Shudra’s duty is to serve the twice born but it is prohibited for twice born to serve low caste people,
Padma Purana V.9.40-47 …A brahmana should always avoid serving low people….
Parasara Smriti 2.16 By not in any way serving the Brahmanas, and by doing heinous acts, a Sudra becomes short lived, and goes to hell, after death. These duties are imperatively obligatory on the men of four castes.
Skanda Purana III.ii.40.56 ”If a Sudra created for service does not serve Brahmanas, nor does he give the means of sustenance (to them), Hanuman becomes angry with him.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Kurma Purana II.16 28-29 “The following eleven defects caused by mingling of the castes are called sins of intermixture (Samkarya Dosas) viz. sharing the same bed, sharing a common seat, sitting in the same row, sharing of the same vessel, partaking of the cooked food together, presiding over the sacrifices, teaching, marriage alliance, taking of food together, studying together, and jointly presiding over the sacrifices.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Inter-dining, sharing the same seat and doing other things together is a sign of civilization and a humane act while the Hindu scriptures views it as an evil thing.
Kurma Purana II.16.26-27 ”An excellent Brahmana shall not stay anywhere else except within half a Krosa of the holy river (1 Krosa=3 Km). He shall not stay near the village of the Sudras. He should not live in the same place with that of fallen castes, Candalas, Pukkasas, foolish fellows, arrogant persons, Sudras and the people of the lowliest castes called Antavasayins.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Skanda Purana III.ii.6.76-77 ”Close association with fallen people is but conducive to one’s own fall. One should never offer a higher seat or rostrum to a Sudraa. (Thereby) a Brahmana becomes deficient in his Brahmanical powers and a Sudraa in his merits. Instruction in Dharma to Sudras shall obstruct one’s own progress and glory.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
A Shudra is punished if he sits on the same seat with a Brahmin
Manu Smriti 8.281. A low-caste man who tries to place himself on the same seat with a man of a high caste, shall be branded on his hip and be banished, or (the king) shall cause his buttock to be gashed.
Vasistha Dharma Shastra 20.45. Property received from outcasts, after forming alliances with them either by (teaching) the Veda (and by sacrificing) or by marriage, must be relinquished. Let him not associate with such (men).
Varaha Purana 112.25-27 ”Once a Brahmin receives a gift from a Sudra, his ancestral manes fall into filth. No other Brahmin shall speak with him or share a seat with him. He is to kept afar. The Brahmin who, however, chances to speak with him or share a seat, shall perform Prajapatyakrcchra ceremony for purification.” Tr. Venkitasubramonia Iyer, edited by J.L. Shastri
Linga Purana 40.6-8 “Men perish. Ksatriyas and Vaisyas decline gradually. In Kali Sudras claim kinship with brahmins through their learning through interdining and sharing seats and beds. Kings become mostly Sudras and they harass brahmins. Killing of foetus and murder of heroes become prevalent. Sudras adopt the conduct of life prescribed for the Brahmins and the brahmins adopt the ways of Sudras.” Tr. Board of Scholars, edited by J.L. Shastri
Brahmanda Purana 220.127.116.11 “Span of life, intellect, strength, beauty and prestige of the family dwindle down and become extinct. The Sudraas take to the conduct of life of the Brahmanas and the Brahmanas behave and act like Sudras.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Kurma Purana I.30.18 ”O tormentor of enemies, Sudras will be occupying lofty seats in the middle of Brahmanas. In Kali age, as a result of the influence of times, the king will dishonour the Brahmins.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Hinduism prohibits inter-caste marriage to an extent. It permits a Brahmin to take wives of all four castes, but at the same time also prohibits to take a Shudra wife, Yajnavalkya and Vasishta are of the same view. However this has been interpreted by some scholars as, a Brahmin can take a Shudra wife but he should not have sexual intercourse with her in her ‘courses’ which can impregnate her, in other words it prohibits a Brahmin from begetting child on a Shudra wife, a Shudra wife is taken only for sexual gratification. As per Hindu scriptures a Dvija should take his first wife from his own caste and then of succeeding castes. A Kshastriya can take wives of his own caste, a Vaishya and a Shudra wife, a Vaishya can marry women from Vaishya and a Shudra caste while a Shudra can take only one wife from his own caste.
Agni Purana 150.14-15 A marriage should take place only between the members of the same class, the union of a person belonging to a higher class with one of the lower being always forbidden…” Tr. M.N. Dutt
If a Shudra wants to marry a Brahmin women then he is given death sentence.
Matsya Purana 227.131 “If a low caste man wants to marry a high caste girl and does so would be punished with death; similarly a high class woman marrying a low caste man should be punished with death.” Tr. Taluqdar of Oudh, edited by B.D. Basu
Mahabharata 13.48 It is only from sexual union of women with persons who should not have such union with them that mixed classes spring up
Mahabharata 18.104.22.168 That Sudra who has sexual intercourse with a Brahmana woman, has, after death, to take birth as a hog. As soon as he takes birth in the porcine order he dies of disease, O king. The wretch has next to take birth as a dog. O king, in consequence of his dire act of sin. Casting off his canine form he regains upon the exhaustion of his demerit, the status of humanity. The Sudra who begets offspring upon a Brahmana woman, leaving off his human form, becomes reborn as a mouse.
Garuda Purana ch 95 “A Brahmana is at liberty to take a wife from any of the first three social orders, or to put it more explicitly, a Brahmana shall marry a girl either of his own caste, or one belonging to the warrior (Kshatriya), or to the trading (Vaishya) community. Similarly a Kshatriya shalll marry a Kshatriya or a Vaishya girl, while a Vaishya shall take a wife from his own community, the marriage of a Shudra girl with a member of any of the twice born castes being hereby absolutely forbid.” Tr. M.N. Dutt
Manu 3.14. A Sudra woman is not mentioned even in any (ancient) story as the (first) wife of a Brahmana or of a Kshatriya, though they lived in the (greatest) distress.
Some interpret it as, a Brahmin should not take a Shudra wife as his first wife. He can take four wives of succeeding castes i.e., first a Brahmin, second a Kshatriya and so on, His Brahmin wife is considered superior among wives of other castes.
Hindu text goes on to depict Shudra wives as sex objects when it says that a Brahmin can marry a Shudra only for sexual pleasure,
Vasistha Dharma Shastra 18.17-18 Let him not approach a wife of the Sudra caste after he has built the fire altar for a Srauta sacrifice. For a Sudra wife who belongs to the black race, (is espoused) for pleasure, not in order to fulfil the law.
Vishnu Smriti 26.5 ”The Sudra wife of a Brahmana can never be for virtue. She is only the object of enjoyment of a passionate Brahmana.” Tr. M.N. Dutt
The son of a Brahmin born to Shudra mother shall not inherit anything,
Manu Smriti 9.155-6 The son of a Brahmana, a Kshatriya, and a Vaisya by a Sudra (wife) receives no share of the inheritance; whatever his father may give to him, that shall be his property. All the sons of twice-born men, born of wives of the same caste, shall equally divide the estate, after the others have given to the eldest an additional share.
Hinduism even discriminates between the style of living. Nothing can be more disgusting than this,
Manu Smriti 10.51-54 But the dwellings of Kandalas and Svapakas shall be outside the village, they must be made Apapatras, and their wealth (shall be) dogs and donkeys. Their dress (shall be) the garments of the dead, (they shall eat) their food from broken dishes, black iron (shall be) their ornaments, and they must always wander from place to place. A man who fulfils a religious duty, shall not seek intercourse with them; their transactions (shall be) among themselves, and their marriages with their equals. Their food shall be given to them by others (than an Aryan giver) in a broken dish; at night they shall not walk about in villages and in towns.
Hinduism also divides the lifestyle of persons belonging to different castes, it says all castes should dress differently, should have different names, should make houses differently, it completely divides their way of living,
Manu Smriti 2.30-32 But let (the father perform or) cause to be performed the Namadheya (the rite of naming the child), on the tenth or twelfth (day after birth), or on a lucky lunar day, in a lucky muhurta, under an auspicious constellation. Let (the first part of) a Brahmana’s name (denote something) auspicious, a Kshatriya’s be connected with power, and a Vaisya’s with wealth, but a Sudra’s (express something) contemptible. (The second part of) a Brahmana’s (name) shall be (a word) implying happiness, of a Kshatriya’s (a word) implying protection, of a Vaisya’s (a term) expressive of thriving, and of a Sudra’s (an expression) denoting service.
Agni Purana 152.2-8; Vishnu Purana 3.10 ”The name of a Brahmin child should end with the term ”Sharma” (the happy one), the name of a child of the Kshatrya caste should end with the term ”Varma” (the defender or protector) while those of a Vaishya or a Shudra child should respectively end with the terms ”Gupta” and ”Dasa” (slave).” Tr. M.N. Dutt
Manu Smriti 3.8-9 Let him not marry a maiden (with) reddish (hair), nor one who has a redundant member, nor one who is sickly, nor one either with no hair (on the body) or too much, nor one who is garrulous or has red (eyes), Nor one named after a constellation, a tree, or a river, nor one bearing the name of a low caste, or of a mountain, nor one named after a bird, a snake, or a slave, nor one whose name inspires terror.
Hinduism also makes discrimination in marriages,
Agni Purana 153.1-4 “…A Kshatriya woman having been duly wedded, should hold an arrow in her hand, a Vaishya bride should hold a paddy measure while a Shudra girl should hold a cotton string in her hand just after the wedding ceremony had been gone through…” Tr. M.N. Dutt
Method of building houses should also be different,
Matsya Purana 253.13-14 ”In laying the foundations of a building or digging a tank or well first it is necessary to test the nature of the soil before commencing the operations and lying Vastua. White earth is lucky for the Brahamanas, red is good for the Ksatriyas, yellow earth for the Vaisyas, and black earth is auspicious for the Sudras. This can be ascertained by digging. The earth tasting sweet is good for the Brahmanas…and astringent earth is good for the Sudras.” Tr. Taluqdar of Oudh, edited by B.D. Basu
Natya Shastra II.46-57 Direction of pillars (first to be raised) should be different as per castes
Garuda Purana 1.213.143 “The procedure of bath has been laid down thus by great men. While taking bath Brahmins, Ksatriyas and Vaisyas have to repeat Mantras. A Sudra has to observe silence during bath and perform Namaskara also silently.” Tr. J.L. Shastri
Garuda Purana chapter 94 ”A member of any of the twice born castes, shall first take two draughts of water to rinse his lips with, and then cleanse his face with undisturbed and frothless water. The twice born shall purify their breasts, throats, palates and umbilical regions with water. It will be enough for women and Shudras to purify their regions of back and umbilicus.” Tr. M.N. Dutt
Discrimination even at performing funeral rites,
Manu Smriti 5.92. Let him carry out a dead Sudra by the southern gate of the town, but (the corpses of) twice-born men, as is proper, by the western, northern, or eastern (gates).
Manu Smriti 5.104. Let him not allow a dead Brahmana to be carried out by a Sudra, while men of the same caste are at hand; for that burnt-offering which is defiled by a Sudra’s touch is detrimental to (the deceased’s passage to) heaven.
Agni Purana 158.38-51 ”A Brahmana who has followed the dead body of a Shudra to the burning ground or has joined with friends of such a deceased in mourning his death, becomes pure at the expiry of three days. On a Shudra woman having been delivered of a child in the house of a Brahmana, or a Shudra having, departed his life therein, the master of the house should abstain from making any gift or from undertaking any religious ceremony for the attainment of any object, for that entire day. Cooking pots and other articles of pottery should be thrown away and the flows an walls should be plastered over with a fresh coating of clay, whereby the house would be again clean and pure…” Tr. M.N. Dutt
Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras should have umbrellas of different colors,
Varaha Purana 128.38 ”The white umbrella is for the Brahmin, red for Ksatriya, yellow for Vaisya, and blue for Sudra.” Tr. Venkitasubramonia Iyer, edited by J.L. Shastri
Linga Purana 85.216 “He shall not partake of the cooked rice touched and defiled by pigs, Candalas, wicked people and cock. If he eats it he shall repeat the japa hundred and eight times.” Tr. Board of Scholars, edited by J.L. Shastri
Manu Smriti 12.55 The slayer of a Brahmana enters the womb of a dog, a pig, an ass, a camel, a cow, a goat, a sheep, a deer, a bird, a Kandala, and a Pukkasa.
Manu Smriti 3.239 A Kandala, a village pig, a cock, a dog, a menstruating woman, and a eunuch must not look at the Brahmanas while they eat
Apastamba Dharma Shastra 22.214.171.124. They blame it, if dogs and Apapâtras are allowed to see the performance of a funeral-sacrifice.
Gautama Dharma Shastra 15.24. If (a funeral offering) is looked at by dogs, Kandâlas, or outcasts, it is blemished.
Mahabhara 13.23.5 Gifts of articles that have been proclaimed before many people or from which a portion has been eaten by a Sudra, or that have been seen or licked by a dog, form portions of Rakshasas.
Agni Purana 168.1-12 ”…The boiled rice smelled by a cow, or dedicated to one’s ancestors, as well as that partaken of by a Shudra or a dog, or that prepared by a fallen man, if eaten by a person, would entail the performance of the pencance known as the Taptakrichchha…” Tr. M.N. Dutt
Parasara Smriti 7.24 Vessels of bell metal, smelled by kine, or defiled by the touch of dogs, crows, etc., or out of which Sudras have taken their food, should be purified by rubbing them with ten kings of ashes.
Garuda Purana 4.58-63 Thus, it is declared, O Tarksya, that there are many torments for the sinful. Why should I explain them fully, when they are spoken of in all the S’astras? Being tortured thus, men and women by thousands are baked in dreadful hells until the coming of the deluge. Having eaten there their undecaying fruits they are born again. By order of Yama they return to the earth and become unmoving and other creatures: Trees, bushes, plants, creepers, rocks and grasses, these are spoken of as unmoving; enveloped in great delusion, Insects, birds, animals and fish;–it is said that there are eighty-four hundred thousands of fates of birth-fates. All these evolve thence into the human condition; having come back from hell they are born in the human kingdom amongst low outcastes, and even there, by the stains of sin, become very miserable.
Garuda Purana 5.11 Who steals jewels is born in a low caste…
Apastamba Dharma Sutra, Prasna 2, Patala 1, Kanda 2.6 Thus after having undergone a long punishment in the next world, a person who has stolen (the gold of a Brahmana) or killed a (Brahmana) is born again, in case he was a Brahmana as a Kandala, in case he was a Kshatriya as a Paulkasa, in case he was a. Vaisya as a Vaina.
Dalits suffered the Brahmincal oppression for ages then why suddenly some people has to show equality in Hindu scriptures instead of rejecting such anti Human scriptures? If Hindu scriptures really advocated equality for all then why did the Brahmins hid those verses in their dhotis? As I said earlier they have no sympathy towards the low caste people, all they want is votes and followers. In present age they cannot enforce their inhumane Brahmin laws moreover the constitution of India giving equal rights to everyone (including Dalits) is being one of the main reason some have started to show equal status (and also to present Hinduism in good light). The most common explanation given by Hindu apologists is that,
CLAIM:- Hinduism doesn’t believe in caste system. Caste system was actually based on the profession, by the passage of time this system became caste system. It wasn’t based on their birth but it was wholly based on the profession acquired by the individual. If a Shudra studies the Vedas, he becomes a Brahmin.
I don’t need to refute this point, because the greatest scholar of Hinduism, Adi Shankaracharya had refuted this long ago,
“The pûrvapakshin maintains that the Sûdras also have such a claim… Smriti moreover speaks of Vidûra and others who were born from Sûdra mothers as possessing eminent knowledge.–Hence the Sûdra has a claim to the knowledge of Brahman.
To this we reply that the Sûdras have no such claim, on account of their not studying the Veda. A person who has studied the Veda and understood its sense is indeed qualified for Vedic matters; but a Sûdra does not study the Veda, for such study demands as its antecedent the upanayana-ceremony, and that ceremony belongs to the three (higher) castes only. The mere circumstance of being in a condition of desire does not furnish a reason for qualification, if capability is absent. Mere temporal capability again does not constitute a reason for qualification, spiritual capability being required in spiritual matters. And spiritual capability is (in the case of the Sûdras) excluded by their being excluded from the study of the Veda.–The Vedic statement, moreover, that the Sûdra is unfit for sacrifices intimates, , because founded on reasoning, that he is unfit for knowledge also;”
Shankaracharya on Brahma Sutra 1.3.34
He also said in his commentary of Brahma Sutra 1.3.36,
“36. On account of the reference to ceremonial purifications (in the case of the higher castes) and on account of their absence being declared (in the case of the Sûdras).
That the Sûdras are not qualified, follows from that circumstance also that in different places of the vidyâs such ceremonies as the upanayana and the like are referred to.”
The statement that ‘Shudra becomes a Brahmin if he studies the Vedas’ is a white lie. Because not even a single Hindu scripture allows a Shudra to study Vedas. As Shankaracharya rightly pointed out that a Shudra cannot study the Vedas as learning the Veda requires one to go through the Upanayana ceremony and this ceremony is permitted only for upper three castes. Smritis gives instructions only to Dvija children but they doesn’t even mention about Shudra children, It is mentioned in Manu Smriti,
Manu Smriti 2.35-40 According to the teaching of the revealed texts, the Kudakarman (tonsure) must be performed, for the sake of spiritual merit, by all twice-born men in the first or third year. In the eighth year after conception, one should perform the initiation (upanayana) of a Brahmana, in the eleventh after conception (that) of a Kshatriya, but in the twelfth that of a Vaisya. (The initiation) of a Brahmana who desires proficiency in sacred learning should take place in the fifth (year after conception), (that) of a Kshatriya who wishes to become powerful in the sixth, (and that) of a Vaisya who longs for (success in his) business in the eighth. The (time for the) Savitri (initiation) of a Brahmana does not pass until the completion of the sixteenth year (after conception), of a Kshatriya until the completion of the twenty-second, and of a Vaisya until the completion of the twenty-fourth. After those (periods men of) these three (castes) who have not received the sacrament at the proper time, become Vratyas (outcasts), excluded from the Savitri (initiation) and despised by the Aryans. With such men, if they have not been purified according to the rule, let no Brahmana ever, even in times of distress, form a connexion either through the Veda or by marriage.
As you can see Manu only gives instructions about when Dvija students should be initiated but not about Shudra students, Yajnavalkya is of the same view,
Yajnavalkya Smriti verse 14 In the eighth year of conception or in the eighth (year of) birth, the Upanayana ceremony of the Brahmanas, of the Ksatriyas in the eleventh; of the Vaisyas in eleven plus one. Some say according to family custom.
It is mentioned in Agni Purana,
Agni Purana 152.2-8 ”The rite of Chudakaranam (binding of the tuff of hair on the crown of a child) together with that of Upanayanam (investiture with the holy thread in the case of a Brahmana child) should be performed in its eighth year or in the eighth year counted from the period of jestation, while the same should be performed in the eleventh and the twelfth year (counterd from the period of gestation) in the case of a Kshatriya, and Vaishya child respectively.” Tr. M.N. Dutt
Acharya Medhatithi writes,
“…Of these four, three castes are ‘twice born’, the initiatory rite being prescribed for them. ‘One caste’ is the Shudra; there is no Initiatory Rite for him; since the injunction of this rite contains the distinct mention of the three castes, Brahmanas and the rest; e.g., the Brahmana shall be initiated in the eight year, the Ksattriya in the eleventh and the Vaishya in the twelfth; and nowhere is the name of the Shudra mentioned…” Medhatithi on Manu Smriti 10.4
As you can see Hindu texts gives instructions on when Brahmin, Kshatria and Vaishya children should be initiated for Vedic study but they don’t mention about Shudra children as Shudra by birth has no right to study the Veda, they are completely barred from the Vedas.
- PERFORMANCE OF SACRIFICE IS PERMITTED ONLY FOR THREE CASTES
Manu Smriti 2.16 “He, whose all life, from the rite of Nisheka to that of funeral, is governed by the regulations of the Sastrass, is alone competent to read, or to hear this Sastra, and no other.” Tr. M.N. Dutt
Yajnavalkya Smriti verse 10 “The castes are the Brahmanas, the Ksatriyas, the Vaisyas and the Sudras. Only the first three (of these) are twice-born, the performance of the ceremonies beginning with the rite of impregnation and ending (with the funeral rites) in the cremation ground, of these only, is prescribed with sacred formulas.”
Mahabharata 3.149 while to serve the twice-born orders is said to be the duty of the Sudra. The Sudras cannot beg alms, or perform homas, or observe vows; and they must dwell in the habitation of their masters.
Another claim is that
If a Brahmin doesn’t study the Vedas then he becomes a Shudra
It’s true to an extent. If a Brahmin doesn’t study the Vedas then he looses his rank. This is actually quoted out of context. When Hindu text says ”looses the rank of a Brahmin’, it connotes degradation and loosing the authority to perform rites. It doesn’t literary mean that the Brahmin just by refusing to study the Vedas becomes low caste. However there are expiations for all such sins in which the Brahmin looses his rank but there is absolutely no instruction which can elevate a Shudra to the status of a Brahmin in the same life. Can any apologist quote a single verse which says that if a Shudra studies the Vedas then he can become Brahmin in the very same life? It is mentioned in Upanishad,
Chandogya Upanishad 6.1.1. Harih, Om. There lived once Svetaketu Aruneya (the grandson of Aruna). To him his father (Uddilaka, the son of Aruna) said: ‘Svetaketu, go to school; for there is none belonging to our race, darling, who, not having studied (the Veda), is, as it were, a Brahmana by birth only.’
As you can see, a Brahmin is still considered a Brahmin just on the basis of his birth even if he has not studied the Veda. For detailed explanation on this Brahmin loosing his status issue, read the article Response to Manu Smriti and Shudras. Hindu scripture rather says that a Brahmin whether he has learned the Vedas or not is still a Brahmin. It is mentioned in Mahabharata,
Mahabharata 3.199.88 Whether the Brahmana be cognisant of the Vedas or ignorant of them, whether they be pure or impure, they should never be insulted, for Brahmanas are like fires.
How can one remain a Brahmin if is he is ignorant of Vedas? As it is claimed by apologists that one ignorant of Vedas becomes a Shudra.
Mahabharata and Smriti shows that even if one is ignorant of the Vedas then he is still a Brahmin due to his birth (in a Brahmin family). Mahabharata and Maharshi Manu lists learned Brahmin and unlearned Brahmin separately,
Mahabharata 12.180 Thou, O Kasyapa, art a human being! Amongst human beings, thou art again a Brahmana. Among Brahmanas, thou art again one that is conversant with the Vedas.
Manu Smriti 1.96-97 Of created beings the most excellent are said to be those which are animated; of the animated, those which subsist by intelligence; of the intelligent, mankind; and of men, the Brahmanas; Of Brahmanas, those learned (in the Veda); of the learned, those who recognise (the necessity and the manner of performing the prescribed duties); of those who possess this knowledge, those who perform them; of the performers, those who know the Brahman.
Manu Smriti 9.317. A Brahmana, be he ignorant or learned, is a great divinity, just as the fire, whether carried forth (for the performance of a burnt-oblation) or not carried forth, is a great divinity.
Manu Smriti 2.118. A Brahmana who completely governs himself, though he know the Savitri only, is better than he who knows the three Vedas, (but) does not control himself, eats all (sorts of) food, and sells all (sorts of goods).
This again implies that one need not study Vedas to be a Brahmin as it is all based on one’s birth. A Brahmin whether learned or unlearned is a Brahmin. Hindu apologists should know that a learned Brahmin is called Vipra.
Manu Smriti 12.92. After giving up even the above-mentioned sacrificial rites, a Brahmana should exert himself in (acquiring) the knowledge of the Soul, in extinguishing his passions, and in studying the Veda.
- Apologists have one more explanation. They say if a Brahmin is of evil behavior or behaves like a Shudra then he becomes a Shudra. This is wrong because it is mentioned in Manu Smriti,
Manu Smriti 10.73 Having considered (the case of) a non-Aryan who acts like an Aryan, and (that of) an Aryan who acts like a non-Aryan, the creator declared, ‘Those two are neither equal nor unequal.’
Above is Rameshvar Bhatt’s Hindi translation. The meaning of this verse is simple, A Sudra by behaving like a Brahmin doesn’t become a Brahmin likewise a Brahmin by behaving like a Shudra doesn’t become a Shudra. This is based on Pundit Tulsiram’s interpretation and various other scholars are of the same view. I am reproducing Pundit Tulsiram’s translation with commentary of Manu Smriti 10.73,
It is mentioned in Mahabharata,
Mahabharata 13.151.20-23 Even the Brahmana that is destitute of knowledge is a god and is a high instrument for cleansing others. He amongst them, then, that is possessed of knowledge is a much higher god and like unto the ocean when full (to the brim). Learned or unlearned, Brahmana is always a high deity. Sanctified or unsanctified (with the aid of Mantras), Fire is ever a great deity. A blazing fire even when it burns on a crematorium, is not regarded as tainted in consequence of the character of the spot whereon it burns. Clarified butter looks beautiful whether kept on the sacrificial altar or in a chamber. So, if a Brahmana be always engaged in evil acts, he is still to be regarded as deserving of honour. Indeed, know that the Brahmana is always a high deity.’”
There is another verse in Manu Smriti which refutes the claim of apologists.
Manu Smriti 10.96 A man of low caste who through covetousness lives by the occupations of a higher one, the king shall deprive of his property and banish.
If caste system is based on profession then why punish the low caste for living the occupation of higher one? Hindu text also says that in time of distress when one cannot make a living with the occupation of one’s caste can live by the occupation of other castes but it doesn’t say that by acquiring the profession of higher caste the Shudra becomes a Brahmin. It is mentioned in Agni Purana,
Agni Purana 258.80-83 “… A Shudra living like a Brahmana and performing religious rites exclusively belonging to the creed of the latter, should be liable to pay a fine of eighteen hundred Panas…” Tr. M.N. Dutt
I don’t have to explain this as this verse speaks for itself. There is another such verse mentioned in Tulsi Ramayana,
Tusli Ramayana, Aranya Kanda, Doha 33.1 A Brahmana, even though he curse you, beat you or speak harsh words to you, is still worthy of adoration; so declare the saints. A Brahmana must be respected, through lacking in amiability and virtue; not a Sudra, though possessing a host of virtues and rich in knowledge.
It is mentioned in Manu Smriti,
Manu Smriti 8.20-21 ”The Judicial officer of a king must be a Brahmana even if he be a mere Brahmana by birth (and bereft of the virtues of his order), or a mere professional adjudicator of issues, and not a Sudra under any circumstances whatsoever.” Tr. M.N. Dutt
If the Shudra is competent enough, possess all knowledge then why a ignorant Brahmin is still considered superior than him just because of his birth as a Brahmin? Padma Purana VII.23.29 says that king named Nityodaya was a Shudra by caste but being a King didn’t change his caste. Caste system is not based on education, it’s based on birth. Normally a father would give best education to his child but Hindu text says that a son born to Dvija is still not Dvija if the mother belongs to low caste,
Mahabharata 13.47.17 The son born of the Sudra wife should not be regarded as invested with the status of a Brahmana in consequence of his being unskilled (in the scriptures and the duties ordained for the Brahmana). Only those children that are born of wives belonging to the three higher orders should be regarded as invested with the status of Brahmanas.
Apologists misinterpret Hindu text to show that some personalities attained higher castes. It’s true that one attains higher caste in the next life but in no way can one attain higher caste in the same life. As per Hindu text it is only in next birth that a man attains higher caste or is degraded to lower caste.
Apastamba Dharma Sutra 126.96.36.199-11 In successive births men of the lower castes are born in the next higher one, if they have fulfilled their duties. In successive births men of the higher castes are born in the next lower one, if they neglect their duties.
Manu Smriti 10.42. By the power of austerities and of the seed (from which they sprang), these (races) obtain here among men more exalted or lower rank in successive births.
Manu Smriti 9.334-5 But to serve Brahmanas (who are) learned in the Vedas, householders, and famous (for virtue) is the highest duty of a Sudra, which leads to beatitude. (A Sudra who is) pure, the servant of his betters, gentle in his speech, and free from pride, and always seeks a refuge with Brahmanas, attains (in his next life) a higher caste
Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva, 13.28 …If born as human being, he is sure to take birth as a Pukkasa or a Chandala. Verily, one having taken birth in that sinful order of existence, viz., Pukkasa, one, O Matanga, has to wander in it for a very long time. Passing a period of one thousand years in that order, one attains next to the status of a Sudra. In the Sudra order, again, one has to wander for a long time. After thirty thousand years one acquire the status of a Vaisya. There, in that order, one has to pass a very long period. After a time that is sixty times longer than what has been stated as the period of Sudra existence, one becomes a person of the fighting order. In the Kshatriya order one has to pass a very long time. After a time that is measured by multiplying the period last referred to by sixty, one becomes born as a fallen Brahmana. In this order one has to wander for a long period. After a time measured by multiplying the period last named by two hundred, one becomes born in the race of such a Brahmana as lives by the profession of arms. There, in that order, one has to wander for a long period. After a time measured by multiplying the period last named by three hundred, one takes birth in the race of a Brahmana that is given to the recitation of the Gayatri and other sacred Mantras. There, in that order, one has to wander for a long period. After a time measured by multiplying the period last named by four hundred, one takes birth in the race of such a Brahmana as is conversant with the entire Vedas and the scriptures…
So no matter what you do, you should perform duties prescribed for your castes and only after few thousand years you can attain higher caste.
Skanda Purana V.ii.22 A Kshatriya king was a Shudra named Somaka in one of his previous birth.
Srimad Bhagavatam 1.13.15 Yama was cursed by Sage Manduka and was born as a Shudra
Srimad Bhagavatam 7.15.72-73 Sage Narada was cursed to become Shudra from the womb of a maidservant and after his birth by serving the Brahmins he took birth as a Brahmana.
Shiva Purana, Kotirudra Samhita 4.9.3 A Brahmin lady named Saumini had become an outcaste in her next birth.
Mahabharata 13.10 In consequence of the merit he acquired by those practices, the Sudra in the next life, took birth in the family of a great king, and in course of time became possessed of great splendour
Prabhupada writes on SB 4.30.48 ” In this connection the word mahad-avajñānāt is significant. King Dakṣa was the son of Lord Brahmā; therefore in a previous birth he was a brāhmaṇa.
But because of his behaving like a non-brāhmaṇa (abrāhmaṇa) by insulting or disrespecting Lord Mahādeva, he had to take birth within the semen of a kṣatriya — that is to say, he became the son of the Pracetās.”
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada on Bhagvad Purana 4.30.48 http://vanisource.org/wiki/SB_4.30.48
As you can read, all these people attained higher or were degraded to lower caste only in their next birth. As it is mentioned in the Hindu law book Apastamba 188.8.131.52-11 that only in successive births men take higher caste or are degraded to low caste. And why should god assign this? Is Hindu god a job recruiter who commands that people born in specific caste must perform specific job. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was born in a Dalit family but due to his hard work he became the first Minister of Law and Justice and was also the chairman of Constitution drafting committee. It’s not like if a person is born in family of specific should continue to do his family business, people have varied interests. Wasn’t Hindu god aware of this fact? This is my reply to the apologists.
Caste system is an integral part of Hinduism, you cannot be a Hindu and reject caste system. Caste system is an evil which Hinduism has produced and upheld in India. Message of god is eternal it cannot be outdated like Hinduism. It is no different than the racial discrimination fought by Nelson Mandela. Such evil thing surely cannot be from god.