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The Base of Social Order
By Alain Danielou

Excerpts taken from "Virtue, Success,Pleasure, & Liberation. The Four Aims of Life in the Traditon of Ancient India."

Today we hold up egalitarian democracy, equality of the sexes and races, and multiculturalism as our social and political ideals. We are constantly faced with constant propaganda and pressure to be assimilated into a mode of human existence consistent with the goals and values contained within the perception of reality and the imagination of Western progressive commercial society.

Wherever assimilation and adaptation to these goals and values are resisted, conflict, oppression, and exploitation occurs. The "First World," comprising only 20 percent of the world’s population, enjoys 66 percent of the world’s income. The inconsistency between our "ideals" and these horrifying world realities makes it imperative for us to investigate the prevailing Eurocentric world view.

Prior to its colonization, India was the most culturally diverse nation on earth. How is it that all its different races, cultural lifestyles, religious practices, deities, and languages survived for more than five thousand years to the present day?  What is the nature of the social order that unquestionably produced one of the greatest and longest lasting civilizations know to man?

Elements of social Order

An ideal society must be based on the form of society that is natural to man and suited to his biological nature and collective psychology as a social being. From point of view of a systematic study of mankind’s collective tendencies, it must be stated that most modern ideologies are mere abstractions – dreams corresponding to no possible form of real society. If biological facts and the differences between the sexes and races are ignored rather than harmonized and artificial society is created in which practice fails to match theory. As a result, society is constantly plagued by conflict and disorders, which can be fatal, and inevitably becomes unjust and inhuman, since the more cunning rather than the more deserving will often appropriate every advantage.

In the resulting social and political crises, entire civilizations can flounder and disappear unless an eventual reaction brings about a return to more normal social patterns. None of the founders of the political and social systems currently discussed in the West seem to have studied the patterns of stable human societies.

The Hindus assert that their social formula meets the requirements of man’s individual and collective nature. The fact that the Hindu civilization has been able to survive over thousand of years, despite disorders caused by invasions, schisms, and internal wars, and has been capable of constant renewal, as demonstrated by one brilliant period after another, merits all our attention in the study of a social system whose longevity is unique in history.

Prior to colonial intervention, the resulting corporative organization created a deep unity over a continent whose linguistic, racial, religious, and national extremes and divisions seemed to condemn it to perpetual discord. It created harmony in which differences of origin were attenuated by the unity of the occupational group. Clashes between the different peoples were reduced to a kind of folklore competition, in which each was proud of being different, and to tournaments between princes to win noble titles. These activities no longer affected the continuation of civilization and the right of each class of individuals and ethnic and religious groups to stay as they were, keeping their customs, religion, social life, and systems of marriage and inheritance without impeding those of others. In fact, the differences in dress, custom, and manners became a title of glory and interest instead of an object of scorn and ridicule by groups who considered themselves superior or more evolved.

The Castes

The institution we know as the caste system is called varna-ashrama for the Hindus, varna meaning color, and ashrama a refuge of peace and harmony. The aim of the system is thus the harmonious coexistence of the various races and different sorts of human beings.

From its very beginning, the caste system was envisaged as the expression and codification of the social and ethnic realities inherent in all societies. The Hindu lawgivers felt that no advanced society could exist without the recognition of certain facts, such as professional organizations, relations between the various occupations needed to maintain the economic, political, and social stability of the state, and the problems arising from the various degrees of development among peoples and individuals, their various aptitudes, and the drawbacks of intermarriage. 

It should not be forgotten that the so-called equality in aptitude of the sundry human races takes only the capacities of the most aggressive races into account, and not of those that are unable to adapt to modern conditions, such as the Pygmies, the Australian aborgines, the munda populations of India, and many other groups.

For the Hindus, the caste system is not a man-made invention to justify slavery but the recognition of the Creator’s will, the codification of a state of fact, an attempt to harmonize human society in accordance with the general scheme of creation. It is easy to see that despite all the national and linguistic barriers, even modern Western society is fundamentally, like all societies, a caste system. From whatever position we view it, we see international corporations whose members have far more in common with each other than with the various professional or social levels of their own country. The problem with western society derive from the fact that while proclaiming the equality of men, it is entirely graded on a hierarchical system as far as the professions are concerned.

Under the pretext of equality, Western lawmakers do not let the various groups cooperate among themselves while keeping their different habits, ethics, and social life. Jews, Mormons, Muslims, Celts, Basques, Albigensians, Pygmies, blacks, or Inuits are accorded a relative equality on on condition that they conform to our customs, losing most of their social, national, and religious characteristics and in fact abandoning their own personality.

In order to cope with all the problems posed by a multiracial society, the Hindu lawgivers sought to establish rules making coexistence possible, resulting in the caste system which is still today solidly established in India despite all efforts to destroy it. In a country where populations of highly different origins and aptitudes live side by side, from men of the forest to refined Gangetic craftsmen and proud Aryan warriors, an equitable place had to be found for all. Each had to be able to continue in his ancestral way of life, governed by laws suited to him and with the form of social, religious, agricultural, intellectual, and moral life he preferred, without adversely affecting the rest of the community. This meant recognizing each group and each individual’s right to be different which is in fact liberty’s only valid criterion.

"The system of the four castes was created by me according to the difference in aptitude and occupation.
I created it, I who am inactive and immutable.

Bhagvad Gita, 4.13)

To some modern eyes, to be destined from birth to a certain profession is an injustice, to which it can be objected that all professions are indispensable and that one is good as another. However the selection is performed, there will always be a difference or inequality between professional groups. The real problem consists in making all professions honorable, rather than in opening to everyone certain professions considered more respectable than others.

Race and Racism

The respect accorded by the caste system to the various races and cultures is exactly the contrary of what the West terms racism. Racism, whose logical outcome is genocide, is the defense system of an oligarchy that claims to be superior and egalitarian. The nave and romantic social ideas of Europeans who preach the equality of man but insist that equality must be on the level of their own beliefs, way of life, customs, clothing, feeding habits, hygiene, and so on can only lead to genocide or false assimilation, which will in the end destroy the society that fathered it.

To present the Pygmies or Mundas of India with the alternatives of becoming bankers, lawyers, or factory workers, or else of disappearing, is a sinister jest, which has unfortunately already justified the annihilation of many human races. In the whole of history, India has been the only defender of peoples who do not adapt to the industrial exploitation of the world. The nomadic gypsies, victims of racism in Europe, have never had problems in India since their expulsion from their original home in Gandhara (present day Afghanistan ) by Islamized Arab, Turkish, and Mongol invaders. Anti-Jewish racism is first and foremost a struggle for economic and financial supremacy, directed against the only people in the West who resisted the imposition of Christianity. In India, the Jews form a caste and have never known such problems.

Duties and Privileges

It is certain that abusive caste practices were introduced when the administrative power ceased to be in Hindu hands, thus making the repression of abuses legally impossible.

Such abuses as there are have been greatly exaggerated in order to justify Western domination and are normally quite local. In most of India, the caste system functions today as always has: as a harmonious whole in which each tribe, family and religious group to live according to its customs, traditions, and convictions is respected as it is in no other country and no other form of society. Even in modern India, the most humble artisan, like the craftsman of medieval Europe, is proud of his race, profession, caste and customs, which he would not want to exchange for anything in the world. Nor has he the slightest desire to impose his habits or ways of seeing things on others. Even, if like the Christian, he is convinced on the grounds of his religion, customs, and moral concepts, unlike the Christian he has no urge to proselytize.

Caste and Marriage

For the Hindu lawmaker, marriage is above all a social institution, whose exclusive purpose is the propagation of the species and preservation of the caste, community, even the nation itself. The Hindu makes a clear distinction between erotic enjoyment in all its forms, which is part of the harmonious development of the individual, and marriage whose sole aim is the family and the continuation of the species. Marriage results not from love but from careful choice, which takes account only of the heredity, stability, and happiness of the children.

Momentary pleasures do not require an institution such as marriage, which can only lose dignity if viewed in such a light. Marriages of love, chance, or accident, which can be broken by divorce, is countenanced today by many Westerners, are from the Hindu point of view absurd and immoral, a sort of legalized prostitution. The Western notion of marriage has no moral or social counterpart in Hindu society. Marriage is not merely the legitimizing of sexual relations but an important institution, whose exclusive purpose is offspring – the continuation of the species under the best possible conditions of heredity and environment.

Love with all its fantasies is an essential achievement for the individual, but marriage is quite different. The sexophobic fanaticism of the Christian world and its extraordinary taboos were needed to give a sacred character to a marriage in which the child’s heritage is not even considered. The institution of marriage on such a basis has no meaning, and the consequent systematic mismatching of aptitudes is producing an ever-increasing number of ill-adapted beings in the modern Western world, lacking the basic virtues of the various groups.

Based on respect for the species as the work of the Creator, marriage as an institution concerns caste, race, profession, and nation, with which the individual has no right to tamper because it affects everyone else. If marriage restrictions are rigidly obeyed by all, the various castes or races can live amicably together, profiting by each other without endangering each other’s customs, traditions, and progeny. Women in ancient India were never shut away as they were after the Muslim invasion and are even today, because they were respected by all, and marriage out of the caste was unthinkable. Hindu legislation is not puritanical and gives much leeway to human weakness, but marriage outside the caste is considered an antisocial act jeopardizing the entire structure on which society is balanced.

Caste and Conquest

There is no moral objection to a prince or a state conquering other territories or peoples, providing caste restrictions and the duties of the conqueror are observed. By upsurping the prerogatives of other castes, one becomes a tyrant. Such an empire will not endure, because conflicts will break out.

It was this error that led to the failure of all the Western colonial empires. The use of Christianity spread by the missionaries as a means of assimilating conquered peoples had had disastrous results on every side.

"He must consider as law whatever the religion of the (conquered ) peoples ordains."

(Manu, 7.203)  



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