1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Caste System and Status of Women in Hinduism

Discussion in 'Hinduism DIR' started by Doodlebug02, Feb 9, 2009.

  1. Doodlebug02

    Doodlebug02 Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    Messages:
    423
    Ratings:
    +33
    Hi everyone. I am considering converting to Hinduism. However, I have a couple of problems. The problems are with the caste system and with the status of women in Hinduism. I was hoping someone could clear up my misconceptions and help me to understand Hinduism from a more positive point of view. Is the caste system still a part of the Hindu religion? What about the status of women? Do women hold a low status in Hinduism? :confused: Please help me out.
     
  2. zenzero

    zenzero Its only a Label

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2007
    Messages:
    12,246
    Ratings:
    +1,303
    Friend Holly,

    As far as personal understanding goes [yes, born in a family of sanatan dharma/hinduism]
    Caste system is fading and women are equal to men. However individuals are still there is rural areas who may or are still following caste system and women folk thought to be only good to be mothers and doing household work.
    Personally do not believe in organized religion or conversion in that sense as personally accept all religions as ways/path which can be followed to reach that state which they speak of and for that have to just follow them by doing it. By following the 10 commandments does not mean that I am a follower of organized Christianity but am just a Christian similarly following the 8 fold path do not necessarily mean that am a Buddhist but yes can become a Buddha.
    The choice is individual to be a true follower in spirit or get an official stamp and do one's own thing. Sanatan Dharma is unique as not only does it not mean *the Eternal Way* but allows any individual all freedom as it believes that any way or all ways are just ways and so in that sense each human is a follower of Satan dharma.
    Best Wishes.
    Love & rgds
     
  3. Doodlebug02

    Doodlebug02 Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    Messages:
    423
    Ratings:
    +33
    Thank you ZenZero for your help. I greatly appreciate it. Anyway, I did not realize that most Hindus now consider men and women to be equal and that the caste system is now fading. Thank you for this information. :D
     
  4. nameless

    nameless The Creator

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2008
    Messages:
    2,000
    Ratings:
    +182
    There are a lot number of godesses in Hinduism, out of it some of them are considered to be ultimate. Hinduism has equal respect for men and women but not all Hindu people brings it into practice in their life.
     
  5. nameless

    nameless The Creator

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2008
    Messages:
    2,000
    Ratings:
    +182
    Actually there is no caste system in Hinduism. But Hinduism differenciates people into four types- Priests, Warriors, Merchents and workers. You can see that these four exists in every society and each one is very much essential in a society, so Hinduism have equal respect for each ones as they all are interdependent each other.

    Hindusim differenciates people not by his birth but by his thinking and personality.
    People who are spiritually advanced is priest, and they share their spiritual knowledge with people who are seeking that. People with good physical qualities and martial arts is warriors, they save the society from invaders. People who produces and sells goods necessary for the people are merchants. And all other people come under working class, which includes engineers, carpenters, blacksmith etc.........
     
  6. Doodlebug02

    Doodlebug02 Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    Messages:
    423
    Ratings:
    +33
    Ah ok. I did not know this. Thank you for this information. I am a recent convert to Hinduism and am still learning.

    Oh ok cool. Thank you for this information. Again, I did not know this.
     
  7. Don Penguinoini

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2007
    Messages:
    9,247
    Ratings:
    +729
    Religion:
    Hindu Atheist
    Caste system is alive in rural parts of India, but virtually non-existent anywhere else. It is not a problem really, it is dying out. Men and women hold equal positions in religion and everyday life, but once again rural India is still unequal, but it is getting better.
     
  8. Doodlebug02

    Doodlebug02 Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    Messages:
    423
    Ratings:
    +33
    Yeah I thought I heard about the caste system being alive in rural India. That is sad. I honestly don't believe that Krishna would want the caste system to exist.
     
  9. native3

    native3 Shrinidhi Kowndinya

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2009
    Messages:
    36
    Ratings:
    +7
    well first of all i am against the convertions but still feel thats the right of the individual to choose whichever religion he wants to be in....

    as being a Born hindhu all i can say is Caste system in Hinduism was there to protect the people and is as said fading away which is a good sign but in rural parts there is still caste system which does not pose as a social evil problem at all... all the people there live equally with each other..... only the difference comes in their jobs... some may be cobblers others may be agriculturists or tailors or landlords.... but no one seems to humilate the others in the concept of caste.... a farmer and cobbler respects the Landlord for his experience age and helping them with money....

    and the same farmer cobbler and the landlords son play togeather without any inequality so that dosent bother you anymore my friend....

    and comming to the status of women.... it may surprise many of you but Women is considered as the the holy sign of god than men in india and hinduism.....

    if you have not heard of Lord Shiva who has placed his wife GANGE on his head itself is just not because of hiding from but has the respect for the sacred womenhood....

    Women as mothers are respected and help in social status as the Sacred for brining new life on earth......

    in religions beliefs also the Goddess is as poweful and equal to the gods in the religion...

    there are numerous incidents where a Goddess has punished and destroyed a man demon or evil....

    Hinduism is the perfect uplift of true ideas and perfect blend of Scientific facts with Great Cultural practices...
     
  10. Wannabe Yogi

    Wannabe Yogi Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,858
    Ratings:
    +556
    Hinduism is very interesting when It comes to the place of Women in religion. The further you go back in time the higher place women hold in the culture of India.

    I believe it is clear that in Vedic times women and men were for the most part equal. Women were a part of public sacrifices alongside men. Some Vedic hymns, are attributed to women such as Apala, the daughter of Atri, Ghosa, the daughter of Kaksivant or Indrani, the wife of Indra. This make Hinduism the only religion that some of its scriptures were written by females.

    The following is a Vedic Hymn that came out of the mouth of a woman. This woman realized her true nature was that she is ONE with the cosmos.

    Devi Suktam: (Part of Rig Veda 10.8.125

    Om ! I move along with the Rudras, Vasus, Adithas and all other Devas. I bear the Mithra, Varuna, Indra, Agni and the two Ashwini Devas.

    I bear the Soman who is the destroyer of enemies and the Twashta, Bushan and Bagan. I give wealth to the performer of the Yajna or Sacrifice who submits sacrificial things in the Yajna, who pours the Soma rasa, and who makes the Devas receive the Havis or their due of the Sacrifice.

    I am the Queen of the Universe; I give wealth to those who worship me. I am the all-knowing one and the prime one among the worship-able deities. I enter many bodies as the Atma, taking various forms and with different manifestations, in various ways. Hence, the Devas have incorporated me in various places.

    That one who eats food, who sees, breathes, and hears whatever is said, he does all that only through me (my powers). Those who do not understand me, die. O dear one ! (to the worshipper or devotee), hear this singing of mine with concentration.

    "All these are me (and various manifestations of mine). I am the one worshipped by the Devas and the earthly beings. If I like someone (for his meditation towards me), I make him the greatest, the most intelligent as a Sage, and as a Self-Realised soul.

    I bend the bow of the Rudra to kill all those enemies who detest all good things. I fight these bad elements / enemies only for the people. I enter, pervade and persist throughout the earth and the sky.

    I created the sky, which is (as a shelter) above the earth and which is fatherly for all beings. My creativity (power) is within the Ocean and waters. By that, I am present in all the worlds. And I touch the sky with my body

    When I start creating all the worlds, I function like the air (so fast in the function). I am taller and higher than the Sky. I am greater than this earth. Such is my valor, might, prowess and greatness."

    OM! Shanti: Shanti: Shanti:


    The Upanishads also refers to women as philosophers and sages, who disputed relegion with the men of their time, Vacaknavi who challenged Yajnavalkya is just one of these women.

    It was not Intel the foreign invasions of the Muslims and the British that the place of women become low and degraded. This is changing today and was never accepted by many sects of Hinduism.
     
  11. Hema

    Hema Sweet n Spicy

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2006
    Messages:
    4,538
    Ratings:
    +714
    According to Hinduism the material is only temporary. The true Self is the Spirit which is the same nature as God. This Self or Spirit is the light of God which equally exists in men and women in the rich and in the poor...among all castes of people...even among the animals. In the Gita it is written that a devotee will see the Lord equally in an elephant, a dog, a learned person and an outcaste. When the Lord came in the Avatar of Sri Ram, he gave blessings to his devotees based on their devotion. He did not differentiate based on caste. People themselves have given women a low status. Some people say that women cannot discourse from our texts to a public gathering. I wonder if they know that the Vedas which are the pillars of Hinduism were recorded by both men and women.
     
  12. zenzero

    zenzero Its only a Label

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2007
    Messages:
    12,246
    Ratings:
    +1,303
    Friend Hema,
    Thank you for your post; which appears after a long gap [to my knowledge].

    Here take the opportunity to translate your words in an universal modern language or understanding.

    If we use the word energy instead of the word god and if we understand that all forms and no-forms are nothing but energy then we see that all forms and no-forms are ONE [energy].
    Avatars are nothing but all forms and no-forms which are again that energy.

    A devotee is none other than a person who has reached that understanding that all forms and no-forms are but ONE [energy]

    Those who agree/disagree, may kindly respond with reason for further clarifications.
    LOve & rgds
     
  13. santdasji

    santdasji Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Messages:
    197
    Ratings:
    +3
    “I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who perfectly know this engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts. (Bg.10:[​IMG]

    “I am all devouring death, and I am the generator of all things yet to be. Among women I am fame, fortune, speech, memory, intelligence, faithfulness and patience. (Bg. 10.34) Because I am transcendental, beyond both the fallible and the infallible, and because I am the greatest, I am celebrated both in the world and in the Vedas as the Supreme Person.” (Bg.15.18)

    Going on to the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Lord Krishna specifically explains that before, during, and after the universal creation, there is always Himself that exists.

    “Brahma it is I, the Personality of Godhead, who was existing before the creation, when there was nothing but Myself. Nor was there the material nature, the cause of this creation. That which you see now is also I, the Personality of Godhead, and after annihilation what remains will also be I, the Supreme Lord.” (Bhag.2.9.33)

    “Gold alone is present before its manufacture into gold products, the gold alone remains after the products’ destruction, and the gold alone is the essential reality while it is being utilized under various designations. Similarly, I alone exist before the creation of this universe, after its destruction and during its maintenance.” (Bhag.11.28.19)

    “Before the creation of this cosmic manifestation, I alone existed with My specific spiritual potencies. Consciousness was then unmanifested, just as one’s consciousness is unmanifested during the time of sleep. I am the reservoir of unlimited potency, and therefore I am known as unlimited or all-pervading. From My material energy the cosmic manifestation appeared within Me, and in this universal manifestation appeared the chief being, Lord Brahma, who is your source and is not born of a material mother.” (Bhag.6.4.47-48)

    “Fools deride Me when I descend in the human form. They do not know My transcendental nature and My supreme dominion over all that be.” (Bg.9.11)

    “Unintelligent men, who know Me not, think that I have assumed this form and personality. Due to their small knowledge, they do not know My higher nature, which is changeless and supreme. I am never manifest to the foolish and unintelligent. For them I am covered by My eternal creative potency [yoga-maya]; and so the deluded world knows Me not, who am unborn and infallible. A Arjuna, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I know everything that has happened in the past, all that is happening in the present, and all things that are yet to come. I also know all living entities; but Me no one knows.” (Bg.7.24-26)

    Lord Krishna also explains that he is the Supersoul of each and every living being, who exist only because of Him. He also establishes that He is the spiritual sound vibrations that can be chanted, as well as the forms of the Deities that we can see. “All living beings, moving and nonmoving, are My expansions and are separate from Me. I am the Supersoul of all living beings, who exist because I manifest them. I am the form of the transcendental vibrations like omkara and Hare Krishna Hare Rama, and I am the Supreme Absolute Truth. These two forms of Mine--namely the transcendental sound and the eternally blissful spiritual form of the Deity, are My eternal forms; they are not material.” (Bhag.6.16.51)
     
  14. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2004
    Messages:
    27,531
    Ratings:
    +14,181
    Religion:
    Vedanta (reform)
    There is theory/scripture. There is law, and there is tradition/culture.

    Hinduism sounds great and harmonious in theory, and India is free and equal in law -- caste discrimination has been illegal for some time. But culture trumps both religion and law. India is still a very stratified society (or societies -- the subcontinent's a cultural mish-mosh). Whilst everything looks fine on paper, you have only to look in the the papers to see the disharmony and discrimination. In the rural areas you can fimd whole communities of Dalits ("untouchables") and children living in virtual slavery.

    But a religion is not confined to the society that claims it. Your individual beliefs and actions are your own.
     
  15. zenzero

    zenzero Its only a Label

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2007
    Messages:
    12,246
    Ratings:
    +1,303
    Friends,

    Agree with both friends santdasji and Seyorni.
    Both are poles apart but the common factor in both are that it relates to us humans.
    All enlightened people have been trying to bridge this gap and the root of this gap is the MIND. All one needs is to STILL the mind.
    A still mind does not discriminate, does not craete dualities.
    Love & rgds
     
  16. santdasji

    santdasji Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Messages:
    197
    Ratings:
    +3
    I agree.But the important bit is that atma and parmatma are not one and same.
     
  17. zenzero

    zenzero Its only a Label

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2007
    Messages:
    12,246
    Ratings:
    +1,303
    Friend Santdasji,

    Atma and parmatma are made of the same *ENERGY*.
    Materially the are the same except one is individual and the other is universal.
    Love & rgds
     
  18. Wannabe Yogi

    Wannabe Yogi Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,858
    Ratings:
    +556
    This is the the basic philosophy of Dvaita that God is distinct from individual souls.

    Advaita Vedanta believe that divine love can take you to the highest state. Even Sri Caitanya when Ramananda tried to talk about Prem-Vilas-Vivarta put his finger to his lips and asked his disciple not to talk about this highest truth. Why ? not because its not true. Because for the Bhakta the goal is not to become the sugar but to taste the sugar. I bow to Sri Caitanya for giving us humans such a beautiful path to God.
     
  19. zenzero

    zenzero Its only a Label

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2007
    Messages:
    12,246
    Ratings:
    +1,303
    Friends,

    From this too it is clear that the energy [individual] is the same as Brahman [universal]
    Only barrier is human MIND which conceives dualities.

    LOve & rgds
     
  20. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2004
    Messages:
    27,531
    Ratings:
    +14,181
    Religion:
    Vedanta (reform)
    Oh dear. Are we getting into a dvaita vs advaita debate here?
    I fear no good will come of this.....
     
Loading...