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The Hindu Doctrine of Castes (Rene Guenon)

One of the concepts less understood in the modern Occident refers to the Hindu Doctrine of Castes. Taking your own socioeconomic references and transposing it tendentiously, the Westerners criticize violently what they judge to be “the unjust system of castes” as if it was a discrimination among socioeconomic classes, just as they exist, for instance, in the USA and Europe.

Actually, the caste is certain for each individual’s own nature, that is, your deeper vocation. The term Hindú for this concept is VARNA, that means quality or nature peculiar of a being. Nobody will doubt that in a same family there are clear differences among the children and that they show it very early. One of them demonstrates, for instance, easiness for singing and musical instruments. Other, prefers to devote himself to mechanical or manual tasks. And other, with an introspective nature, is devoted to the studies with easiness. These differentiations are determined essentially and it announces the constitution of each one, constituting what we calls his/her natural “vocation” or “calling”.

In traditional India, the goal of education is to provide each person with the best means, so that his own qualities can be developed completely, since tender age. Four castes exist, based in criterion that nothing has to do with socioeconomical position. The castes are: Brahmana, Kchatriya, Vaishya and Shûdra. Such division settles on criterion of hierarchy , that is, from the highest stature – the spiritual – until the more inferior, the material.

The Brahmanes are individuals whose vocation leads them irresistibly to the spiritual life. It is their attribution the preservation and transmission of the metaphysical and religious knowledge. Their symbolic color is the white, that symbolizes the purity and the spiritual light (sun). Their direction is vertical, ascendent. The mental physiognomy is concentrated. Their accomplishment, transcendent. The symbolic metal is the gold, because its qualities are permanent, it is not corrupted with the time. He is identifie to the Age of Gold. Essence. Light Sapience. SUN. Priesthood, Theocracy.

The Kchatriyas are those individuals whose own qualities qualify them to the functions related to the men’s government and the defense instruments of this government. The kings and the armies are in this caste. Your symbolic color is the red, related to the heat, the expansion. The Japanese flag is par excellence, a Kchatriya representation , as well as their feudal organization and the samurais. The direction is horizontal, expansion. This caste report itselfs naturally to Brahmanes and it is for this reason that, for instance, in the Medium Age, the kings were sacred by Pope. The real function, affirms the Taoism, is to unite the sky and the earth, establishing a government in agreement with spiritual principles. The Kchatriya reflects and orders (in the two senses of the word). They are identified to the Age of Silver. MOON. Monarchy. Aristocracy.

The Vaishyas are the ones that naturally identify themselves with the commercial and industrial function. They are the “material providers “, we can say. The ones that work in the fields planting or creating animals. The ones that build houses and and other private or public constructions. Any craft and manufactures. And those that trade victuals, utensils, finally, everything that constitutes the material support so that the men’s life is possible and that each one can accomplish his own function. In summary, the ones that produce and sustain. Symbolic color is dark yellow or brown. They identify to the Age of Bronze, that is their symbolic material (constituted of: copper/red + tin/gray). They link to the material world. EARTH. Bourgeois democracy. Sentimentalism.

Are Shûdras the ones wich their nature is devoted to the most varied functions of heavy manual work. Workers. They are the ones that apply physical force in their professional occupations. They identify to the Age of Iron, whose symbolic color is the dark ash. The mental physiognomy of the Shûdras is marked by the attachment to the appearance, to the emotion and the superficiality. Working class. Socialism and communism. Kingdom of the Amount.

As one can see, nothing is compared to the modern social divisions, marked by the materiality, represented by the financial power. A Shûdra can be rich , while a Brahmana, what happens with certain frequency, entirely poor, materially speaking. Exists a sub-caste, Shandala, that is characterised by the absence of any qualification. They accomplish the function of agents of the dissolution, disaggregation, destruction. They are blind forces, corrupted and corruptors, dissolute, acting everywhere and in several levels.

The allege of “democratic” equality is something not only inexistent but also entirely impossible among the men. It attacks violently the Hindú Doctrine of Castes, doctrine that keeps perfect analogy with all the genuinely oriental knowledege.

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