Statement against caste-based discrimination: Amma Sri Karunamayi

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Background

Amma Sri Karunamayi is one of Hinduism's few female holy leaders. Her compassionate words and presence have bestowed peace and spiritual illumination to individuals of multiple faiths worldwide. She often likes to say that her only work in this world is to remove the suffering from the hearts of all people. This she does through her kind, loving words of spiritual guidance and encouragement, her healing touch, her divine insight, and her charitable work on behalf of India’s poor, including a free hospital, free schools, housing for the displaced, water programs and more. She can be seen regularly on India’s Gemini TV, and during her annual global tours for peace. For additional information, visit www.karunamayi.org.

Statement

Whatever one’s caste may be, God knows our real nature. One may dress and act outwardly like a pious Brahmin, for example. Yet, if he has no righteous values, and is not following the ways of Dharma, is he indeed a Brahmin? One cannot fool the Divine.
 
Hinduism — Sanatana Dharm a— is like a Banyan tree which gives shade to all. Its sages, the Rishis of lore, had beautiful insights into the workings of our minds. In their lifetimes, the orders of caste were distinguished by a person’s ways of thinking, rather than his parental background. Beautifully, scriptures such as the Bhagavad Gita describe this. A kshatriya (warrior caste), for example, must express the qualities of “heroism, fearlessness, firmness, cleverness, not fleeing from battle, generosity, lordliness... born of their innate natures.” (v. 18:43) Yet, not all people born into kshatriya families are endowed with such qualities. All the while, there are many brave dalits (people once labeled “untouchable”), such as the female freedom fighter, Jhalkari Bai, who express such heroic natures beautifully.
 
Similarly, a Brahmin’s duties include, “serenity, self-restraint, austerity, purity, [and] forgiveness.” (v. 18:42) However, as recently as last year, there were well-publicized stories of Brahmin priests committing violent acts within temples themselves. Such actions far from adhere to the meaning of scripture.
 
If we truly wish to live according to Sanatana Dharma, we must rise above our base instincts and be divine. Meditate. Serve others. Be a boon to the world. Strive every day to express the qualities Lord Krishna himself set before us in the Bhagavad Gita-- None of which are to disdain our fellow man due to the family in which he is born. Instead, let us remember that God’s limitless divinity is expressed in all, and may we serve all accordingly.