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Remarks on the Caste System

The caste system was first mentioned in Manu Smriti (and not Vedas). The ultimate objective was to construct an ideal society in which everyone is happy. The caste of a person was meant to be decided based on a persons inherent demonstrated qualities, and not based on a persons birth — I assume that each person was meant to decide their own caste.

This would suggest that the modern form of the caste system is wrong, because it has become a sytem based on ones birth. This is politically significant, as this form of caste is considered as one of the biggest draw backs of Hinduism by others. Outside of Buddhism and Sikhism, nothing much has been done to follow the correct practice of the caste system.

Remarks on Scripture

Is it not possible that there is a scripture prior to Vedas? A scripture that explained only the core principles? At present we find people with power get their things done. But the honest and truthful people do not get their things done (except enlightenment, which can be pursued independently). Is it not possible that Vedas (and also Manusmriti) were manipulated for selfish motives?

Mahavakyas (Tat Tvam Asi) in Vedas are the core of Humanity. Then why are we giving higher importance other parts of the Veda (like caste system)? There are many points in Vedas, Manusmrithi, etc. which restricts a human being's freedom (such as freedom to choose the work); whereas Hinduism is meant to promote freedom. So are not these scriptures wrong?

Remarks on Practice of Hinduism

Hinduism has always been perfect. Then how come it is not perfect now? Compared to any other country, India has been following Vedas better. Then, why is it that U.S., Germany, etc. are evidently superior to India in terms of scientific knowledge, wealth and general ethics?

Unless we start practicing the right way of Hinduism, won't the world risk losing Hinduism? Other religions might try to eliminate / convert Hindus. Some will convert out of free will — Hinduism has declined by around 3% since 1961, and Islam has grown by 3% in India [reference]. Ultimately, is there not a risk that future human being might not even get a chance to understand Hinduism?

"Sati" was never a practice mentioned in any of Hindu scriptures, including Vedas and Manu Smriti. Neither did Shiva/Sati tell anybody to do this. It was followed in India by "people". The religion had nothing to do with this practice.

As to the status of women: their proper status is same as men. There are references to certain restrictions on women, but these restrictions might have been manipulations made by people. In Hinduism, everyone is equal.

We could have done much better. When, one by one, people came and tried to destroy Hinduism (including human beings and resources — Nalanda etc.), we Hindus (including Brahmins, Kshtariya, Vasihyas and Shudras) did not do enough to protect people. Our actions were not right. (We did not act as much as we should have.)

Our discrimination was wrong. We did not know whether a visitor (Mughals, Britishers) came for our good/bad. We applied "Athithi devoh bhava" and forgot what Krishna says in Bhagavad gita about selfless action. At present, most (95%) of Hindus (including Brahmins, Kshtariya, Vasihyas and Shudras) are selfish and do not follow their conscience. 

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After reading through your question, I'm not exactly sure what your asking, unless you want a general critique of what you've written. In that case, the line that stood out to me was: "Hinduism has always been perfect. Then how come we are not perfect now?" You're going to have a hard time proving that anything has ever been perfect. Hard as in historically impossible. –  commando Jan 16 '13 at 20:46
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This question is quite specific to the history – and from the sounds of it, the original motivations – of Hinduism as a religion and a basis of culture, which doesn't seem to be on topic to me. (Questions of a similar vein regarding Christianity or Islam would probably be quickly be forwarded to Christianity.SE or Islam.SE respectively.) –  Niel de Beaudrap Jan 16 '13 at 21:39
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Most of these points aren't really about philosophy; but those that are could be handled as individual queries. Note that great questions ask about some specific problem you are encountering. –  Joseph Weissman Jan 17 '13 at 6:04
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This appears to be a series of questions and speculations about Indian history. –  Michael Dorfman Jan 17 '13 at 7:39
    
@NieldeBeaudrap : Agreed. I expected a Hinduism.SE, but was not there. Hence posted here. –  user1744649 Jan 21 '13 at 9:34
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closed as off topic by iphigenie, Michael Dorfman, Niel de Beaudrap, Joseph Weissman Feb 3 '13 at 21:50

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1 Answer

up vote 5 down vote accepted

1) You are correct. Manu said caste is based on a person's own tendencies. Caste is a social custom, not a religious custom (Swami Vivekananda) Most parts of India follow local customs, not the laws of Manu (for example: brahmins in the south do not do animal sacrifice, Bengali brahmins do)

2) The Vedas are the eternal truths of God, not the written documents. The written truths of what you think of as the Vedas are the truths revealed to the Rishis. Do not get the written documents confused with the eternal truths. Veda has existed forever and will exist forever. Yes, Hinduism believes in complete freedom - freedom from the senses, not freedom of the senses. There is no complete freedom in the senses, the only thing completely free is the Atman, beyond the sensual world.

3) The west is the master of manipulating the outside material world. Hinduism is the master of manipulating the inner world.... Most of what I have read about Hinduism in Wikipedia is downright wrong....women are given a high status in the Upanishads......

4) read The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda - online edition at http://advaitaashrama.org/home.

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Thank you. Helped me. –  user1744649 Jan 21 '13 at 9:33
    
@Swami Vishwananda: Yes Swamiji. Well said. Women are not only given high status in Upanishads, but in the Puranas as well. And no one should believe Wikipedia, since anyone can create an account and write whatever he/she wants. –  Chandrasekhar Jul 7 '13 at 4:43
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