Explain the Difference Between Varṇa and Jāti, and Their Place in Hinduism.

1611 Words Sep 6th, 2010 7 Pages
Explain the difference between varṇa and jāti, and their place in Hinduism.

As both of the Sanskrit word varna and jati are usually translated as “caste”, it has always misleading because they have an important differences behind them. Varna and jati are deeply rooted in Hindu’s daily life, therefore, you cannot talk about Hinduism without mention varna and jati. Commonly, people saying that there are four varnas – Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra. But what we find today are not only varnas also jatis, there are only four varnas but thousands of jatis. In this essay will explain the difference between varna and jati, and their place in Hinduism. All Hindu traditions share an underlying respect for Varnashrama Dharma, most of the
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In each caste, the devout Hindus have their own dharma (or duty) or divinely ordained code of proper conduct. Accordingly, there is often a high degree of tolerance for different lifestyles among different castes. Brahmans are usually expected to be non-violent and spiritual, according with their traditional roles as vegetarian teetotaler priests. Kshatriyas are supposed to be strong, as fighters and rulers should be, with a taste for aggression, eating meat, and drinking alcohol. Vaishyas are stereotyped as adept businessmen, in accord with their traditional activities in commerce. Shudras are often described by others as tolerably pleasant but expectably somewhat base in behavior. Conversely, lower-caste people often view people of high rank as haughty and heartless with arrogance and ego. (Kaur, Suninder, 2010)

Jati is the Indian term for sub-caste and equally early word meaning “birth” or “genus,” is used for any set of beings supposed to cohere as a biological and/or social “community” (samaja)- a race, clan, region, occupation, religion, language, nation, gender, or varna. (McKim M, 2004, p.357) Though there are only four varnas, there are thousands of jatis, the great Indian epic as the Mahabharata suggests that varnas should not be confused with jatis, as jatis are based on birth and varans are not. For example, According to Steven J. Rosen
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