World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Shudra

Article Id: WHEBN0000343429
Reproduction Date:

Title: Shudra  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Administrators' noticeboard/IncidentArchive111, Caste system in Goa, Mahapadma Nanda, Hinduism, Bartaman Bharat
Collection: Shudra Castes, Varnas in Hinduism
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Shudra

Shudra is the fourth varna, whose mythological origins are described in the Purusha Sukta of the Rig veda, one of the sacred texts of Hinduism, and later explained in the Manusmṛti. This latter text defines society as comprising four groups, sometimes also called chaturvarna, of which the other three are Brahmins (priests), Kshatriya (those with governing functions) and Vaishya (agriculturalists, cattle rearers and traders). According to this ancient text, the Shudra perform functions of serving the other three varna.[1][2]

The Rig veda was compiled over a considerable period and it is generally agreed that the Purusha Sukta, which is the only hymn in the Rig Veda which mentions the varnas,[3] was added during the Mantra period, the period immediately preceding the Brahmana period, or the beginning of the post-vedic age.[4] Since the varnas are first mentioned in the Purusha Sukta, it is evident that they did not exist before the Mantra period.

The relationship between occupation, varna, and social ordering in the Rig Vedic period is complex. In the varna ordering of society, notions of purity and pollution were central.[2] The phenomenon of the upper classes living on the labour of tribesmen was just emerging, and was not ritualized or ideologically ratified until the Purusha Sukta.[3] [5]

The varna system became rigid in the later Vedic period.[6] In modern Indian society, the government is taking steps to end these distinctions.

Sri Aurobindo finds varna system actually depicts an aspect of Physical cosmology, where he terms Shudra is one of the power, tendencies, nature of toil, labour & service being present in all human beings in different proportions, He finds that with time this concept was too much externalised and mechanised which became a hard system quite different from what it was intended.[7]

Dr. Ambedkar, a polymath and a Dalit activist, believed that there were initially only three varnas: the Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaishya, and that the Shudras were the Kshatriyas who were denied the Upanayana, an initiation ritual, by the Brahmins.[8] This claim has been contested by historians such as Sharma.[9]

The tenets of Vedic Hinduism in north India held less sway in the south, where the societal divisions were simply Brahmin and Shudra. However, some non-Brahmins adopted the classification of Sat Shudra (clean Shudra) in an attempt to distinguish themselves from other non-Brahmin communities.[10]

See also

References

  1. ^ Davis, Marvin (1983). Rank and Rivalry: The Politics of Inequality in Rural West Bengal. Cambridge University Press. p. 51.  
  2. ^ a b  
  3. ^ a b  
  4. ^ Muir, John (1968). Original Sanskrit Texts on the Origin and History of the People of India: Their Religion and Institutions, Volume 1 (2nd ed.). London: Trubner and Co. p. 12. 
  5. ^ Sharma, Ram Sharan (1990). Śūdras in Ancient India: A Social History of the Lower Order Down to Circa A.D. 600. New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. p. 10. 
  6. ^ Naval, T. R. (2001). Law of prevention of atrocities on the scheduled castes and the scheduled tribes. Concept Publishing. p. 6.  
  7. ^ Aurobindo (1996), pp. 740-747
  8. ^ Ambedkar, B.R. (1970). Who were the Shudras (PDF). Bombay: Thackers. p. xiv. 
  9. ^ Sharma, Ram Sharan (1990). Śūdras in Ancient India: A Social History of the Lower Order Down to Circa A.D. 600. New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. p. 5. 
  10. ^ Vaitheespara, Ravi (2011). "Forging a Tamil Caste: Maraimalai Adigal (1876-1950) and the discourse of caste in colonial Tamilnadu". In Bergunder, Michael; Frese, Heiko. Ritual, Caste, and Religion in Colonial South India. Primus Books. p. 96.  

Further reading

  • Chandra, R.; Chanchreek, K. L. (2004). Shudras in Ancient India. New Delhi: Shree Pub.  
  •  
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.