|A commonly held perception regarding Vedas
is their prejudice against Shudras. Vedas
are accused of being Brahminical texts designed to subdue the
Shudras. They are considered to be the source of caste-based
discrimination that is touted as the primary characteristic of
Hinduism/ Sanatan Dharma or Vedic
Dharma. The entire pro-Dalit movement also has its foundation on
this baseless notion.
Unfortunately, nothing could be far from truth. In this series of articles, we would provide evidence from Vedas and related texts to establish the following:
a. The meaning of four Varnas and Shudra in particular is
completely different from what the Macaulay inspired intellectuals
would want us to believe.
Before we begin our journey of solving the caste-puzzle through Vedas, let us start with certain worship mantras from Vedas that mention Shudras:
It is clear from these mantras that a Vedic person:
Thus it is clear that as per Vedas, Shudras deserve the same respect as other Varnas and as per Vedic prayer, Shudras are accorded great esteem.
It is also interesting that in all of these mantras, the word Shudra comes before Vaishya. So one cannot counter-argue that Shudras are given last mention or least preference.
These are sufficient evidence to conclude that Shudra, as per Vedas, imply something quite different from a caste or community that has to be discriminated against. We shall explore the meaning of Shudra and associated terms like Daas, Dasyu and Anarya, which are often confused to be synonyms, in subsequent articles.
May the truth prevail!