Question: The caste-system is absolutely bad. Why do you have it? Can you say even one word in favour of it?2

Sri Chinmoy: Well, I must take exception to your judicious comments and tell you that in this world there is nothing absolutely bad. The caste-system has served and even now serves a certain purpose. In spite of all its degenerations, it has been a system that unites the different parts of society. If we try to see it as a system uniting people instead of dividing them, we will better understand the value that it has had for thousands of years. Society was conceived as a great family. Each group worked to make it function harmoniously. In a family, one brother may be a spiritual teacher, another an executive, a third a merchant and the fourth a cultivator. Each one helps the family at the time of need. It is their combined knowledge and harmonious co-operation which create a real unity in their family life. So was it with the caste-system. Each group had responsibilities and duties. Each group worked for the good of the whole. The main thing is how one utilises this system. In itself the caste-system had much truth and value, but the wrong attitudes which entered it have necessitated that the whole system be supplanted with something more suited to a modern and advanced society.

These questions were asked by the high school students of the Central Synagogue of Nassau County, New York, after a lecture on Hinduism on 14 November 1965.

From:Sri Chinmoy,AUM — Vol. 1, No. 7, 27 February 1966, Boro Park Printers -- Brooklyn, N. Y, 1966
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