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 worlds population, enjoys 66 percent
of the worlds 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 mankinds
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
The Hindus assert that their social
formula meets the requirements of mans 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 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 Creators 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,
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 individuals right to be different which is in fact
libertys 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 naïve 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
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 childs 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 others 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."