By Devakinanda Pasupuleti
Ashtottaram 45) OṀ JĀṪI RAHITABHŨMYAI NAMAH:
Ashtottaram 45) OṀ (AUM) –JAA-ṪI-RA-HI-TA-BHOO-MYAI—NA-MA-HA
ॐ जातीरहित भूम्यै नमः
(Jaati: A class of men, kulam, color, caste; Rahitam: Abandoned, deserted, deprived of)
During Vedic times, our ancient sages and seers established four categories of people based on their virtues, guṇās, and their aptitude for the type of work they are inclined to do. This varṇavyavastha is unique to our country only. Very few Indians understand this and unfortunately, this was used by the British with their wicked agenda of divide and rule. The Varṇavyavastha transformed into a caste system, which is deep-rooted in today’s India and brought shame and degradation to our social system across the globe. It has grown like wild weeds.
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Thanks to the British, the disease has spread like wildfire in India and in Indians abroad. Indian parents make sure that their children know their superior caste heritage rather than the Vedic India and Bhagavad Gīta. In Bhagavad Gīta, Lord Shri Krishna said ‘svadharmo paramo dharma,’ meaning ‘there is no greater dharma than following your own dharma.’ Vedas said ‘Janmaṇā jāyate shūdrah, Brahma jnānāt Eva mokshah’ (‘everyone is born a śhūdra (ignorant) and with knowledge of Brahman alone one is Brāhmin‘).
Unfortunately, very few Indians understand this and those who do, still show off the superiority of their caste over fellow Indians for their own power, superiority complex, selfishness; and greed. They don’t mind serving foreigners with utmost obedience but when it comes to fellow Indians, they don’t mind sneering at them with an attitude. The sad part is that they don’t realize that it only shows their insecurity, low self-esteem, and low self-confidence.
The ancient Hindu scriptures divided society into four varṇās or groups, i.e., brāhmaṇās, kshatriyās, vaiśhyās, and śhūdrās. This division was based upon the allocation of duties and responsibilities as per their nature (guṇās). The Brāhmaṇās were the custodians of knowledge. They had to learn and teach not only spiritual wisdom, but also other branches of sciences, and arts.
The Kshatriyās governed the State and performed its executive functions. The Vaiśhyās generated and wielded economic power through trade. The Shūdrās merely assisted in the discharge of essential functions by contributing to manual labor. In times of calamities or emergencies, change of work was permitted.
The varṇa system gradually got fossilized into the jāti (caste) system and Indians (especially the upper caste) totally forgot their duties (svadharmās) and hung on to their caste and sub-caste. They ignored the fact that the ancient sages and Vedic ṛishis established the varṇa system for the progress and welfare of society in mind, but the hypocrites transformed it into a shameful caste system. India’s caste system was officially abolished in 1950, but the 2,000-year-old social hierarchy imposed on people by birth still exists in many aspects of life.
Despite all the above shortcomings, the ancient ṛishis, sages, and seers had tried to establish a system based on an individual’s aptitude rather than by birth, and hence, our motherland is ‘Jāṫirahita Bhūmi’.