Statement against Caste-based Discrimination: Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swami,  Pontiff, Vishishta Advaita Tradition of Sri Ramanujacharya

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Background

His Holiness Sri Sri Sri Tridandi Srimannarayana Ramanuja Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji was born on Diwali day in 1956 Andhra Pradesh, India to pious parents. He had his early education in the Oriental School, Gowthama Vidya Peetam Rajahmundry. It was the call of the Divine that made the young Srimannarayana Ramanujacharyulu to take up the ascetic order of JEEYAR (Lion) at a very young age of 23 years. He has inspired many to follow a spiritual life and runs many charitable institutions that schools for Vedic teaching, schools for children of tribals and fishermen, and a school, junior college and a degree college exclusively for blind children furnished with laptops.

Statement

In Hinduism's puranas and other scriptures there has always been acceptance of all people by Vedic scholars. Showing discrimination basing up on birth-based qualities is a social crime. Our Vedic scriptures have accepted all castes, races and other human differences and wanted them to live together, for which Vedic Sages have created many activities. The respect given always to all these sections was really amazing. So, we talk about caste based discrimination, as and how it was not allowed by our sages.  Those Vedic Sages wanted the whole society to lead a life where they need to feel oneness through the relationship from God and thus respect each other as different member playing different role in the same family.
 
As we know basically that in the Vedic Society people are classified into 4 sections i. Bramhin, ii. Kshathriya, iii. Vysya,  and iv. Sudra.  All other sections were included into the 4th one. Chanda:la (harijan was not the translation for this word)  was the word used to a person who was spoiled in all respects and ex-communicated by doing mean activities.  Such people were existing in all the 4 castes. This should be kept in mind.
 
Now here we are quoting some slokas denying the discrimination based on caste (wherever we use “ : “ indicates a long vowel) :
 
1) Sri Para:sara Samhitha, Visishta Parama Dharma Sa:sthra, 3rd Adhya:ya -
“Jna:na:th na suddhihi, da:syam sya:th sarva tha:nthrika bhe:dathaha,
Sada:
prapanna su:dra:na:m sarve:sha:m mo:ksha ka:nkshina:m,
Mathsa:yujya:di siddhyartham dwija dharmo:kthavad bhave:th ||”
 
Meaning – Purity can be attained by anybody not just by acquiring great knowledge, it should be attained by doing unconditional service to God, as a bra:mhin practices. This service is recommended to all the dedicated devotees, even born in 4th class and seeking mo:ksha (release from karmic bondages), a divine union with God. This sort of practice is recommended by a:gama scriptures according to the capability of the individuals in different ways.
 
2) “yah pasyathi  subha:cha:ram vyshnavam vi:tha kalmasham, yasmin kasmin kule: ja:tham dandavath prename:th bhuvi ||"
 
Meaning – One has to fall prostrating, like a stick, before a Vaishnava, whose practices are good and who is free from all sorts of ego etc.,  let that Vaishnava be born in any caste.
 
3) Ha:ri:tha Smruthi-  8th  adhya:ya
Bhagavad bhakthi di:ptha:gni dagdha  durja:thi kilbishah,
swapa:ko:pi  budhais sla:ghyah na ve:da:dhyayana:d dwijaha ||
 
Meaning - Even if one was born a dog-eater (a very low caste person), but later turned a Vaishnava, he should be praised by scholars. Even a bra:mhin need not be praised by his virtue of being born as bra:mhin or learning  all the Vedas, when he was not having any devotion towards the Lord; then, what about the caste of that dog-eater which came by his birth? The dreadful caste was burnt in the fire of devotion on Lord Vishnu.
 
4) Maha: Bha:rath –
Na su:drah bhagavad bhaktha:h  vipra:h bha:gavatha:s smrutha:ha |
Sarva varne:shu
the: su:dra:h  ye:hi  abhaktha:h jana:rdane: ||
 
Meaning - Those who are dedicated to the Lord Vishnu, should not be called as su:dras, but they should be considered as bhagavad bhathas, vipra:s or bha:gavathas. They are sudras from any caste, who are not blessed with the devotion on Lord Vishnu.
 
5) Sriranga Ma:ha:tmyam 2nd chapter –
Avaishnava:th ve:davith  yo:
ve:da hi:nas cha vaishnavaha .   jya:ya:nsam anayo:r  viddhi yasya bhakthis sada: mayi ||
Bhagavad bhakthi hi:nasya ja:this  sa:sthram  japam thapaha ,   apra:nasye:va  de:hasya  mandanam lo:ka ranjanam ||
 
Meaning – One is a Vedic Scholar but not dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the other one is a Vaishnav but not a Vedic scholar. I consider that the non-Vedic Vaishnava is greater than the scholarly non-Vaishnava.   All the qualities like caste, knowledge, meditation, penance etc., are of a person who is not devoted to the Lord Vishnu, are like decorations done to a corpse, to please the world.
 
6) pra:ja:pathya smruthi  -
Varna ru:pa:sraya:va:sa pu:rva vrutthi niru:panam ,  sri:vaishnavasya thattwe:na maha: pa:pa samam vidhuhu ||
 
Meaning - Trying to prove and recognize a Sri Vaishnava devotee through his i. caste, ii. form, iii.
place,  iv. home, v. profession etc., is considered as the greatest of the sins.
 
7)  su:dram va bhagavad bhaktham nisha:dam swapacham thattha, i:kshathe: ja:thi  sa:ma:nya:th  sa ya:thi narakam dhruvam ||
 
Meaning – One, who is a devotee of Lord Vishnu, should not be recognized just by virtue of his physical qualities, who is born in the 4th class, a hunter or a dog-eater (very mean class).  Whoever do such mistake they definitely go to miserable hell.
 
8) Bramha:nda Pura:na, Kuruka Ma:ha:thmya 2nd  chapter
Su:dro:pi mama bhakthas cheth vipra:dapi
adhiko: mathaha,  vipro:pi mayyabhakthas cheth su:dra:dhama uchyathe: ||
 
Meaning – Even the one born in the 4th class of the society and dedicated unto Me, he is considered greater than a Vipra, i.e., a  Bramhin. Even one born as a bramhin but not devoted to Lord Vishnu, such person is worse than a su:dra.
 
9) In 3rd Chapter  -  aja:nantham thada:ya:ntham da:ntham drushtwa:khila:s sura:ha, su:dras su:dra ithi pro:chuhu…
Attha the: puruhu:tha:dya:h vishnu bhaktha:vama:nathaha,  niru:pana:ccha thath  ja:the:h, sura:h nashte:kshana:h kshana:th |
Thatho:ganthum asaktha:s the: do:sho:sma:bhisthu kah kruthaha,  ithi chintha: para:s sarve:, harim saranam a:gatha:ha ||
Attha:sari:ra vag a:si:th yushma:bhir adhuna:sura:ha,  Ja:thim niru:pya:vamatho:  vishnu bhaktho: divowkasaha ||
Pu:jyas se:vyas sada:chinthyah ka:ryo:thra na hi samsayaha |
Tham pra:pyo:chur maha:bhaga!  Vishnu bhaktha! Vimatsara! Kshamaswa:jna:na rachitham amho:sma:bhir mahattharam ||
 
Meaning - Divowkasa a great devotee of Lord Vishnu born in 4th class of the society. During some occasion all the devathas assembled at one place and called ‘kuruka:puri’. This devotee Divowkasa also went there to pay his obeisance to the Lord. While he was arriving all the Devathas as if avoiding his presence there, loudly said “he is a su:dra, he is a Su:dra…”. Surprisingly they lost their vision within no time. They did not understand why did they lose their sight, approached Lord Vishnu and sought for their vision. Invisible Vishu’s voice was heard by them, “oh! De:vathas, you discriminatively  identified a great devotee of mine, with his physical status like caste, colour and creed and thus insulted him. Go to him and undoubtedly surrender to him. He was worshipable & approachable.” Following the instructions of Lord Vishnu all those devathas keeping Indra in the front, approached Divowkasa and pleaded before him to save them. As he was very humble and innocently consoled them, they got their vision back.