Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Unity of Sedentary Worlds

Conner Lewis, World History 4 11/4/14
Thoughts and Reflections On: Caste
   Wall of Unity
          The caste system of Hinduism has been an integral part of India's history for millennia, however, now it proves to be both a blessing and a curse. The system gives people who follow it a sense of purpose, and this sense of purpose allows people to remain where they are in society, thus increasing national stability. However now this system also divides castes, as the lower classes hold much resentment for the higher and more "privileged" castes. The caste system is a system found in Hinduism which determines ones role in society and their dharma, or life goal. A person's caste is determined by their karma, which is the good and bad deeds they have performed in previous lives. If they do well enough in accomplishing their dharma in a previous life, through the process of samsara and reincarnation, they can move up in the caste in a next life. The ultimate goal is to leave samsara and achieve unity of their atman, or soul, with the god Brahman. This is moshka, and upon reaching moshka they achieve Nirvana. The caste system entered India after the nomadic Aryans invaded India and brought their religion, which was stored in the Vedas. The Aryan people became the Warriors and rulers who would later form the Kshatriyas, and the Aryan priests would later form the Brahmins. The conquered people's were the Sudra, and the merchants became the Vaisya. Because the Aryans would not marry out of their people, the hereditary caste system formed. The caste system gives a sense of unity to the Hindus and also a sense of purpose. It allows them to believe that hard work in this life will lead to a better life down the line, and that they should follow their dharma and not try to revolt in this life. The caste system still survives because people still resent marrying out of their caste, and also because lower castes are given aids by the government. This aid program attempts to level the playing field for all castes, however it just causes the caste system to persist longer as now there are economical reasons to know what caste you are in.  

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