A Young Man’s Advice to an Old Society

India, you may never really get rid of the caste system.

Many of your greatest and most notable figures have advocated for the elimination of the castes, from Buddha (whom you now venerate as an incarnation of Vishnu) to Mohandas Gandhi.  Yet, here we are, in the 21st century, with the caste system in place on a defacto level, and it slowly beginning to creep back into the official, public realm.

It seems to be how you are; how you self-organize (and, indeed, it’s how many other societies organize on a defacto level).  However, imagine how much nicer it will be if, rather than changing the institutions, you change your attitude with regards to those institutions and your relative places in them.

Brahmins: is it fitting of a Brahmin, one who are said to have the most amount of compassion and wisdom, to be disdainful, ignorant, and callous to the suffering and conditions of the dalits and other lower castes?  Isn’t it nicer to be nice to other people, regardless of caste?  What is causing you all to collectively not see how your lives and well being are intimately connected to and dependent upon the well being, health, and quality of life of all those who are beneath you in social status?  Who else will carry your corpse to the funerary pyre, to unleash you into the bliss of what will, hopefully, be another Brahmin birth?  Correct me if I’m wrong, but, in Hinduism, being good to all others impartially is the essence of developing good karma for your present and future lives?  Wouldn’t it be better to get to know, understand, and effectively help those who are less fortunate than yourselves?  Wouldn’t that added level of social cohesion make your lives happier, more meaningful, and spiritually productive?  Is that not the grand lesson that gets repeated by all incarnations of Vishnu?  Why are the priests not listening or are too caught up in their own egos to understand or to wish to understand, the plight of the lower castes?

There’s a reason why I have a tattoo of a Celtic tree of life on my back.  It symbolizes a functional society, where the inevitably present elite bend down to listen, understand, and help the lower roots of the society, which in turn, causes the lower roots to bend up and support those upper branches.  The tree’s leaves provide energy for the roots that seek out nutrients, and the nutrients support the leaves and their production.  When conditions are right, and the tree is happy and healthy, it reproduces and spreads its influence further into the universe, repeating the successful model again, and again, and again, throughout time and space.  Yes, there is evolution.  Yes, there are adaptations.  Yes, things will not always be the same, that’s just how things work.  Things change in the cosmological and planetary environment, and so too much the tree of society.  But the essence of this mutual reciprocity?  I think that that’s something that is permanent in this universe, at the very least; repeatable across the board, and apart of the winning design that nature has produced.  If a system is going to be self sustaining, it must have some feedback to keep everything in balance.  The wolf cannot eat all of the deer, without causing their populations to dwindle, and the deer cannot become too plentiful, else they’ll eat too many plants and spoil the forest.  Parasitism only will get you so far in nature.  And that, my dear friends, is precisely where we are.

Think about it.

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