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Untouchability - The Origin Of Untouchability

untouchable caste purity untouchables

There are many theories about the origin of caste and, subsequent to that, the origin of untouchable castes. The untouchable leader B. R. Ambedkar (1891–1956) held theories on both. He wrote that the caste system originated from the Brahman requirement of endogamy to preserve its purity and from that was spread to lower castes. Untouchables, he held, had been Buddhists isolated and despised when Brahmanism became dominant about the fourth century. His theory is important both because it led to his conversion to Buddhism and because it represents the need of all untouchables to explain their status. Most untouchable castes have a myth of origin usually relating to a cosmic mistake; almost none assume that a past karma of bad deeds has resulted in an untouchable status in this life. On the other hand, most caste Hindus think that sins or good deeds or the careful fulfillment of duty in a previous life produce the karma that determines the caste into which one is born.

Vivekananda Jha agrees on the time period of Ambedkar but disagrees with the idea of untouchables' Buddhist past, as do most caste Hindu writers. An influential book by Louis Dumont (1970) focuses exclusively on the concept of purity and pollution as determinants of the entire Hindu hierarchy. For Dumont, untouchables are necessary for the purity of Brahmans: "It is clear that the impurity of the Untouchable is conceptually inseparable from the purity of the Brahman.… In particular, untouchability will not truly disappear until the purity of the Brahman is itself radically devalued" (p. 54). Other theorists limit the role of purity and pollution, holding chiefly that the purity needed for ritual spread to other occasions in life. A Marxist approach presumes tribal groups coming into the caste system found a ranking dependent on their economic opportunities. Many inside and outside of India hold that race is behind caste distinctions, especially that of Brahman and untouchable, and this belief is reflected in many untouchable belief systems, such as the supposition that untouchables were indigenous people ruling the land, forced to submit to invading Aryans (people speaking an Indo-European language and coming from outside India). Whatever their beginnings, untouchable groups were clearly delineated by the seventh century, when the Chinese traveler Xuanzang listed butchers, fishermen, public performers, executioners, and scavengers as marked castes living outside the city.

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7 months ago


On Earth, in India, the Hindus have a social caste system where the lowest class, the Untouchables, has limited opportunities for advancement compared to the rest of society. They are allowed to do only the lowliest of duties such as removing dead animals from the streets, emptying and cleaning toilets, cremating the dead and similar chores. They are not allowed to interact with higher castes, much less make physical contact. Although many outsiders look at the caste system as immoral discrimination, this Hindu law was originally created out of compassion. More than a law, Hinduism merely recognized and supported the natural progression and evolution of the soul on a grand scale. In so doing, it allows select, aspiring lower-entities, souls who have risen from planes below Earth ascending through the Earth’s lower astral plane, an apprenticeship on Earth. Here, they are not only given the opportunity to rise out of the lower astral plane, but also to learn and humbly prove themselves worthy of being human. And one day, they’ll awaken spiritually. Like humans, they are not perfect.

Those who oppose this so-called discrimination would shun, if not run, from an entity from a lower plane. Regardless, on Earth, their concern and compassion for the Untouchables, though they may not see the whole picture, is what the Untouchables need most of all – to be accepted and welcomed as equals – which untimely, they are. And those who fuel their discrimination with hatred are backsliding and barely one step ahead, if that, of those they loathe. The Untouchables, though not awakened spiritually, are the highest evolved of those in the lower astral plane. However, some are on the fast track and will surpass most humans to achieve spiritual enlightenment. The same compassion as those on Earth is resounded throughout the higher spiritual planes above Earth, allowing evolved souls from the preceding plane to enter the next higher plane and continue with their spiritual awakening and evolution. Without this migration, every existing soul would be locked in place, and our growth and progress would come to a stand-still.

From "The Inner Passage of the Sixth Chakra"

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almost 8 years ago

Untouchability is a direct product of the caste system. Nepal’s Constitution abolished “untouchability though it was prevailing in Nepalese society.

Roshan kumar jha

Kathmandu school of Law

LL.B 3rd year, Nepal