Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Vedic knowledge is so great, why are there Castes in India?

I put this post on Facebook:

American English, while a vulgar bastard, is descended from a perfect language (Sanskrit).

My friend Yvonne asked this:
A couple years ago when I was gag into yoga & th whole spiel I said something to someone re the wonderfulness of India & theyjcame back w an ascerbic comment about the caste system. So if Sanskrit is so wonderful how come their culture has untouchables? 
Good question. There is a long answer and a short answer. SHORT: There were no castes in the original Vedic system. According to my friend Niranjan, there were invaders who came and introduced it. There is some disagreement amongst scholars whether these "lesser Vedic" memes came from Muslims or Aryans, but that's really moot if you understand the greater Vedic cosmology.

LONG: First there was SOURCE. The ONE true God. Perfect, complete. Calling this object "God" or even an object, is absurd, because we are talking about what there was PRIOR to Name and Form, prior to time, space, objects, energy, phenomena, cause. Prior to material realms, a/k/a realms of pleasure and pain, i.e., Samsara, a hellish realm where we are always chasing satisfaction in wealth, sense pleasure, and story, but ultimately leaving us unsatisfied.

A fundamental aspect of the Universe is Change, so even the ONE true, and Perfect God changes and evolves, from perfection into desire. Then differentiates, then enters material realms, ... then all of this. This realm is also called Maya (illusion), and the time of descent is called Kali Yuga. The Yugas are long periods of time, perhaps 12 thousand of years, perhaps millions.

This is all laid out in precise detail in the Vedas and even in some extent, the Christian Bible. In the Vedas they talk about Heavenly Realms populated with Devas with God-like powers. There there are material paradises, like Eden, there there is slight separation, but everything is still mostly ALL-GOOD, except for a few snakes and poison apples.

But then, in the Garden, Desire causes Grasping, and the whole thing goes to shit. Everything get's all wonky. It's a time of great suffering.

But after a very long time, the Kali Yuga ends, and we begin to become more whole again. There is an ascent towards God. A re-unification or re-union. Things start getting better, more perfect, more complete. Every major religion describes this great cycle to some degree.

So if you accept this, if you can see this, then you can also see that during the period of descent, there is no depravity which should not be expected, including castes, and much worse.

But the question to each of us is... how long does the Soul of God wish to remain in Samsara? You, being part of the Soul of God, gets to help decide the answer to that. And IF you decide that we are tired of the suffering of material realms, then we will practice various karmas, like SEVA (service in the benefit of the poor, the despised, the helpless, and all beings) and also DANA (to the Guru or teacher who gave us the VEDANTA, the information which set us free).

Patanjali's 8-Limbs of Yoga, and the Buddha's Eight-Fold Path, each provide a complete and complementary plan for how to live a life while minimizing suffering.

Basically, all action should be from Truth and Compassion.

I hope this is helpful.

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