Caste system- a threat to Hinduism
In the Vedic age, the caste system was more flexible than it is today. During the Vedic age priesthood had no privileged order. The word vaishya denoted the whole community, it was not specific to profession or lineage. The caste system prevalent then was rudimentary and a person’s caste depended on his profession and not upon birth, this is evident from the hymns of the Rigveda.
The emergence of caste system as a social reality during the Vedic period can be linked to numerous reasons. Its development can be credited to the social compulsions of that time. For the Vedic people caste system was a means to unite the multiracial society into one complex system.
The later Vedic age saw the caste system being justified in the name of religion by those in power and authority. The main aim during that era was to increase the dominance of the priestly class and reduce competition to the ruling class in matters of political dominance.
This was accomplished in many ways. Firstly, the concept behind the word ‘Brahmin’ and the hidden meaning was changed with the social requirements of the changing times. The word 'Brahmin' or Brahman' depicted a person who understood Brahman, the one who was one with Brahman or the universe, the highest God, or the one who had the knowledge of Brahman. Later on this word was used to denote a person who was born in a brahmin family or to a brahmin father.
Secondly,the tradition of passing of the Vedic knowledge from one generation to another through oral means, made sure there was enough scope for manipulation of the vedic mantras. This resulted in the addition of some new verses, which were deliberately added into the early vedic scriptures to justify the system and ensure the supremacy of the higher castes.
The earliest reference of caste system in vedic society is in the “purusha sukta” of the Rigveda. This verse must be an addition to the Rigveda later, as there is no mention about caste...