60. Varnashrama Dharma

I believe that every man is born in the world with certain natural tendencies. Every person is born with certain natural tendencies. Every person is born with certain definite limitations which he cannot overcome. From a careful observation of those limitations the law of Varna was deduced. It establishes certain spheres of action for certain people with certain tendencies. This avoided all unworthy competition. Whilst recognizing limitations the law of Varna admitted of no distinctions of high and low; on the one hand it guaranteed to each the fruits of his labours, and on the other it prevented him from pressing upon his neighbours reputed. But my conviction is that an ideal social order will only be evolved when the implication of this law are fully understood and given effect to.

The Modern review, Oct'35, p.413

Varnashrama Dharma defines man's mission on this earth. He is not born day after day to explore avenues for amassing riches and to explore different means of livelihood; on the contrary man is born in order that he may utilize every atom of his energy for his purpose of knowing his Maker. It restricts him, therefore, for the purpose of holding body and soul together, to the occupation of his forefathers. That and nothing more or nothing less is Varnashrama Dharma.

Young India, 27-10-'27

I consider the four divisions alone to be fundamental, natural, and essential. The innumerable sub castes are sometimes a convenience, often a hindrance. The sooner there is fusion the batter.

Young India, 8-12-20

Today Brahmanas and Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras are mere labels. There is utter confusion of varna as I understand it and I wish that all the Hindus will voluntarily call themselves Shudras. That is the only way to demonstrate the truth of Brahmanism and to revive Varnadhrma in its true state.

Harijan, 25-3-33


I have frequently said that I do not believe in caste in the modern sense. It is an excrescence and a handicap on progress. Nor, do I believe in inequalities between human being. We are all absolutely equal. But equality is of souls and not bodies. Hence, it is a mental state. We need to think of, and to assert, equality because we see great inequalities in the physical world. We have to realize equalities in the midst of this apparent external to realize equality in the midst of this apparent external inequality. Assumption of superiority by any person over any other is a sin against god and man. Thus caste, in so far as it connotes distinctions in status, is an evil. I do, however, believe in Varna which is based on hereditary occupations, Varnas are four to mark four universal occupations,-imparting knowledge, defending the defence less, carrying on agriculture and commerce, and performing service through physical labour. These occupations ate common to all mankind, but Hinduism, having recognized them as the law of our being, has made use of it in regulating social relations and conduct. Gravitation affects us all, whether one knows its existence or not. But scientist who knew the law have made it yield results that have startled the world. Even so, has Hinduism started the world by its discovery and application of the law of Varna. When Hindus were seized with inertia, abuse of Varna resulted in innumerable castes, with unnecessary and harmful restrictions to inter-dining. The law of Varna has nothing to do with these restrictions. People of different Varnas may be necessary in the interest of chastity and hygiene. But a Brahmana who marries a Shudra girl, or vice versa, commits no offence against the law of Varna.

Young India, 4-6-31

It is as wrong to destroy caste of the out caste, as it would be to destroy a body because of an ugly growth in it or if a crop because of the weeds. The out casteness, in the sense we understand it, has there fore to be destroyed altogether. It is an excess to be removed, if the whole system is not to perish. Untouchability is the product, there fore, not of the caste system, but of the distinction of high and low that has crept into Hinduism and is corroding it. The attack on untouchability is thus an attack upon this 'high-and-low '-ness. the moment untouchability goes, the caste system itself will be purified, that is to say, according to my dream, it will resolve itself into the true Varnadharma, the four divisions of society, each complementary of the other and none inferior or superior to any other, each as necessary for the whole body of Hinduism as any other.

Harijan, 11-2-33

From the economic point if view, its value was once very grate. It ensured hereditary skill; it limited competition. It was the best remedy against pauperism. And it had all the advantages of trade guilds. Although it did not foster adventure or invention there, it is not known to have come in the way either.

Historically speaking, caste may be regarded as man's experiment or social adjustment in the laboratory of Indian society. If we can prove it to be a success, it can be offered to the world as a leaven and as the nest remedy against heartless competition and social disintegration born of avarice and greed.

Young India, 5-1-21

Inter-marriage and Inter-dining

Through there is in Varashrama no prohibition against inter-marriage and inter-dinning, there can be no compulsion. It must be left to the unfettered choice of the individual as to where he or she will marry or dine.

Harijan, 16-11-35