Saturday, 26 March 2011

Colour Distinction (vannabhedavada or varnadharma)


Vedic social norms classified the human society into four social classes mainly based on colour and vedic religious text named it as varNadharma.

Brahmanasya mukhamasId - bahurajanyah krtaH
Urutadasya yad vaiśyaM - padbyaM śudro ajAyata.

“Brahmins were born from his mouth,
Kings (ksatriyas) were born from his solders,
Vaiśyas (those occupied in business, farming etc.) were born from his thighs,
Śudras (workers & slaves) were born from his feet.”
                                                                 (Rgveda, 10 mandala, 90 sukta)

There were duties assigned to each caste, on this ground Brahmins established their social and political authority. Brahmin was the only educated person in the society on religious lore, linguistics and supramundane science. Therefore he was the prince’s teacher and king’s advisor; all the works of social, political, arrangement etc were done on the directions of Brahmin chaplain (purohita).

There was fifth social group called paJcama who were craftsmen or manufacturers. They also had equal level to sudras in social grade or even worse. The five groups are

1.  Vena – cane, craftsmen
2.  ñesAda – butchers
3.  Pukkusa –caretakers of cemetery
4.  ®athakAra – chariot makers
5.  CandAla – cleaners

Brahmins had their authority and superiority over all these social grades.

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