Relationship Between Varna And Karma Essay

1744 words - 7 pages

Relationship between Varna and Karma

What is the relation, if any, of the concept of varna to the concept of karma?

Two major concepts of the Hindu religion are varna and karma. While at first glance it may not appear that they are related, they in fact do have a direct correlation. The combination of the caste system and the concept of karma have an important part in explaining the consequences of life for the Hindu followers.
Varna refers to the caste system. The caste system was divided into four categories. The Brahmins, the Kshatriyas, the Vaisyas, and the Shudras. There were also the untouchables. The Brahmins were the priests. The leaders were the Kshatriyas. The Vaisyas were the common people and the Shudras were the servants. Your membership in a particular caste was derived at your birth. If your mother was a Brahmin then you were a Brahmin for the remainder of your life. You could not marry someone unless they were in the same caste that you belonged to and in some cases they had to belong to the same sub caste.
The Law of Karma assumes that everything one does, each separate deed of one's life, weighed along with every other deed, determines destiny. (Noss) Whatever you do in your life will have consequence in a later life. These consequences could be good or bad. With enough good deeds one may become a Brahmin. On the other hand if your deeds were not so great you might end up being a rock or a worm. Thus the Law of Karma and Varna relate with one another.
With the caste system installed it was quite easy to discriminate against another person of a lower caste, which also meant discrimination against color because varna can mean class and color. Obviously a Shudra had done things in his previous life that had caused him to be born in a lower caste. This gave the Brahmins incredible power. They believed that they had earned their position through great deeds in previous lives and deserved to be on top.
With only varna or only the Law of Karma there would be no way to judge yourself and your progress in samsara. No one would be able to know if they were becoming closer to moksha or drifting farther away into eternal death and re-birth. The junction of the two concepts helped people's beliefs and led on to the principles of modern day Hinduism.

Explicate each, and compare and contrast with each other the concepts of animism, polytheism (paganism), and (mono)theism.

Religious beliefs have existed since the beginning of man. Whether they wanted answers to make themselves feel secure or to explain natural wonders man had to create something to make it all make sense. While there are many different religious concepts three are very prominent and include almost all of the world's religions. These concepts are animism, polytheism, and monotheism. While they are very different there are some similarities.
Animism is considered the most ancient belief. Animism is the belief that...

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