Caste System In Hindu Dharma

1. Introduction

Table of Contents


Caste system is one of the evils of Hindu religion that still exists in society. It serves to isolate the low castes, creating divisions within the Hindu community. The condition of low caste people has been unfortunate, as they faced Brahminical oppression throughout history. The Untouchables endured severe discrimination, such as being barred from entering certain places, compelled to wear horns in Gujarat, and restricted from wearing clean and untorn clothes in Bombay. In ancient India, low caste women were even denied the right to cover their breasts, a practice that Tipu Sultan later abolished but was later reinstated after his death. The 18th-century Channar revolt, led by low caste women, led to many converting to Christianity to escape the oppression of Brahmins. Such oppression pushed some low caste Hindus towards embracing other faiths, particularly Islam. Swami Vivekananda also addressed this issue in his writings, ”Why amongst the poor of India so many are Mohammedans? It is nonsense to say, they were converted by the sword. It was to gain their liberty from the . . . zemindars and from the . . . priest”  (source), Islam is believed to have attracted some low caste individuals in India due to the principle of equality it offers, which was in contrast to the discrimination based on birth prevalent in Hinduism. While the Indian constitution guarantees equal rights to every citizen, regardless of religion or caste, the caste system continues to be a persistent issue in the country. Instances of caste-based discrimination and violence highlight the challenges that still exist. For example, there have been cases of temples being washed after visits from individuals belonging to lower castes, and Dalits facing threats and violence for attempting to enter temples. Tragic incidents like a Dalit man being set on fire for fetching water or another being killed for a ringtone praising Dr. B.R. Ambedkar further underscore the ongoing issues faced by the lower castes. Honor killings resulting from inter-caste marriages also remain a well-known concern. These incidents demonstrate that despite constitutional guarantees, the menace of caste system and its associated prejudices persist in Indian society. Efforts toward social reform, awareness, and fostering equality are crucial in addressing these deep-rooted issues. According to the National Human Rights Commission Report on the Prevention of Atrocities against Scheduled Castes, the statistics reveal a grim reality: every 18 minutes, a crime is committed against a Dalit. On a daily basis, 3 Dalit women are raped, 2 Dalits are murdered, and 2 Dalit houses are burnt in India, while 11 Dalits face physical assault. Every week, 13 Dalits are killed, 5 Dalit homes or possessions are set on fire, and 6 Dalits are kidnapped or abducted. These alarming figures highlight the continued prevalence of violence and discrimination faced by the Dalit community in the country.

In 27.6% of India’s villages, Dalits face exclusion from police stations, while in 25.7% of villages, their entry into ration shops is denied. Around 35% of villages restrict Dalits from selling their produce in local markets. Disturbingly, 47% of villages with milk cooperatives prevent Dalits from selling milk, with 25% even disallowing them from purchasing milk. Official Indian crime statistics reveal an alarming reality – approximately 27 atrocities against Dalits occur daily, leading to 13 Dalit murders each week and 3 Dalit women being subjected to rape daily. Shockingly, a crime against a Dalit is committed every 18 minutes, despite the presence of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. These figures are troublingly on the rise, as evident from the rise in registered cases related to atrocities on Dalits between 2004 and 2013. Crimes against Dalits surged to 47,064 in 2014 from 39,408 in 2013, with a notable 19% increase in 2014 alone.

Source: Cow Fury: 4 Dalits Stripped and Beaten by Shiv Sena

There have been thousands of caste-related violence incidents in India, which you can find detailed in Wikipedia’s article “Caste-related violence in India.” These acts of caste-based violence, perpetrated by higher caste individuals, are believed to be wholly inspired by religious doctrines. For instance, there is a narrative about Hindu god Rama beheading a Shudra named Shambuka merely for practicing a religious rite. Such stories can serve to inspire radicals. Some apologists attempt to argue that there is no caste system in Hinduism and that it is based on one’s acquired profession. While their intentions might seem appreciable if they were genuinely seeking to emancipate the low castes, there appears to be an underlying motive behind their claims, Politicians often try to befriend Dalits solely to secure votes and exploit low caste people during riots. On the other hand, religious leaders may seek to gain as many followers as possible, as a larger following can translate to increased donations and popularity. One Hindu reformer, Dayanand Saraswati, claimed that the Veda treats all castes equally, but his assertion might have been driven by a desire to amass followers rather than a genuine effort to abolish the caste system. In fact, he upheld the caste system and even discriminated between castes, expressing the view.

📚Rig Veda 10.90.12📚
His mouth became the Brāhmaṇa, his arms became the Rājanya, his thighs became the Vaiśya; the Śūdra was born from his feet.”  (source)

-Who are the Twice-Borns?

📚Vishnu Smriti 2.1-2📚
Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras are the four castes. The first three of these are (called) twice- born.”  (source)

Abolishing the Caste System equals the destruction of Dharma (righteousness). Note that the following verse associates the elimination of caste system with the dismantling of Dharma,

📚Garuda Purana 3.16.70-71📚
Vayu will be born as Maniman daitya, known as Sankara. He will be so called, for he will abolish caste and destroy dharma.”  (source)

2. Superiority of Brahmins Over Other Castes

📚Mahabharata 12.188.5📚
The complexion the Brahmanas obtained was white; that which the Kshatriyas obtained was red; that which the Vaisyas got was yellow; and that which was given to the Sudras was black.”  (source)

Brahmins may never face punishment for Adultery,

📚Baudhayana Dharmasutra 2.4.1
Everybody except a Brahmin is subject to corporal punishment for Adultery.”  (source)

A Brahmin can never face harsh punishments,

📚Manusmriti 8.380📚
Verily he shall not kill the Brahmana, even though he be steeped in all crimes; he should banish him from the kingdom, with all his property and unhurt.”  (source)

📚Manusmriti 8.379📚
Tonsure has been prescribed as the death-penalty for the Brahmana; for other castes the penalty would be actual death.”  (source)

📚Apastamba Dharmasutra 2.27.14-17📚
If a Sudra hurls abusive words at a virtuous Arya, his tongue shall be cut out. If, while he is speaking, walking on the road, lying in bed, or occupying a seat, a Sudra pretends to be equal to Aryas, he should be flogged. If a Shudra kills a man, steals, or appropriates land, he should be executed and his property confiscated. If a Brahmin is guilty of these crimes, however, he should be blindfolded.”  (source)

Shudras and other castes may face capital punishment, whereas Brahmins are subject to a maximum penalty of exile from the village or kingdom,

📚Agni Purana 227.51📚
The king should kill (criminals belonging to) śūdra and other (communities) and banish the brahmin sinners. The wealth belonging to great sinners should be offered to (god) Varuṇa (God of righteousness).”  (source)

There is no greater crime on Earth than killing a Brahmin,

📚Manusmriti 8.381📚
There is no greater crime on earth than the slaying of a Brahmana; the king shall, therefore, not even think of his death in his mind.”  (source)

Only Brahmins are eligible to receive charity,

📚Kurma Purana 2.16.22📚
The race and the caste get lost by the giving away of the charities to Asrotriya (Non-Brahmanas), shudras, or the people who conduct themselves against the scriptures.”  (source)

Even a Brahmin who lacks knowledge or wisdom is still considered deserving of respect and reverence,

📚Mahabharata 13.151📚
Even the Brahmana that is destitute of knowledge is a god and is a high instrument for cleansing others. He amongst them, then, that is possessed of knowledge is a much higher god and like unto the ocean when full (to the brim). Learned or unlearned, Brahmana is always a high deity. Sanctified or unsanctified (with the aid of Mantras), Fire is ever a great deity. A blazing fire even when it burns on a crematorium, is not regarded as tainted in consequence of the character of the spot whereon it burns. Clarified butter looks beautiful whether kept on the sacrificial altar or in a chamber. So, if a Brahmana be always engaged in evil acts, he is still to be regarded as deserving of honour. Indeed, know that the Brahmana is always a high deity.”  (source)

📚Parashar Smriti 8.25📚
Even a Brahman of a bad character deserves respect; but not so a Shoodra, even though his passions may have been subdued by him. Who would quit a wicked cow, and try to milk a docile female ass?”  (source)

Hierarchy between brahmins and kshatriyas,

📚Manusmriti 2.135📚
The Brahmana or ten years and the Ksatriya or a hundred years should be known as father and son; and of the two this Brahmana is the father.”  (source)

📚Mahabharata 13.8.21📚
If there be a Kshatriya of full hundred years of age and a good Brahmana child of only ten years, the latter should be regarded as a father and the former as a son, for among the two, verily, the Brahmana is superior.”  (source)

Kshatriyas and vaishyas can never become brahmins,

📚Devi Bhagavatam Purana 9.29.68-69📚
A Kshatriya or a Vaishya can never obtain Brahmanahood, even if he performs asceticism for one Koti Kalpas. This is stated in the Shrutis. Without enjoying the fruits, no Karma can be exhausted even in one hundred Koti Kalpas.”  (source)

A Brahmin can seize the properties of a Shudra,

📚Manusmriti 8.417📚
The Brahmana may confidently have recourse to seizing the goods of the Sudra; as the latter has no property, and his property is meant to be seized by the master.”  (source)

A dead Brahmin cannot be touched or carried by a shudra,

📚Manusmriti 5.103📚
One should not havbe a dead Brahmana carried by a Shudra, while his own people are there. For it would be an oblation into fire, defiled by the touch of the Shudra, and as such not conducive to heaven.”  (source)

A brahmin gets anything he desires,

📚Brahma Purana 45.77-78📚
Whatever the Brahmins desire in their mind may be given to them, even if the objects be women, jewels, villages and cities. Let the fertile lands or fields be given to the suppliants.”  (source)

3. Birth Based Caste System

As we know that caste system in Hinduism is birth-based and not determined by the profession acquired by the individual

Shudras are of evil birth,

📚Chandogya Upanishad 5.10.7📚
Those whose conduct has been good, will quickly attain some good birth, the birth of a Brahmana, or a Kshatriya, or a Vaisya. But those whose conduct has been evil, will quickly attain an evil birth, the birth of a dog, or a hog, or a Kandala.”  (source)

📚Apastamba Dharmasutra📚
(There are) four castes-Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras. Amongst these, each preceding (caste) is superior by birth to the one following.”  (source)

📚Mahabharata 13.143.6📚
The illustrious one said, ‘The status of a Brahmana, O goddess, is exceedingly difficult to attain. O auspicious lady, one becomes a Brahmana through original creation or birth. After the same manner the Kshatriya, the Vaisya, and the Sudra, all become so through original creation.”  (source)

Kisari Mohan Ganguli writes,

”Nisargat is literally through creation or original nature, or birth. Of course, what is implied is that one becomes a Brahmana, or Kshatriya, or Vaisya or Sudra, through original creation as such, by the Self-born, that is, birth.”  (source)

📚Narada Purana 1.24.7-9📚
Those castes are said to be four, viz., the Brahmans, Ksatriyas, Vaisyas and Sudras. Among these the Brahmana is the foremost. The Brahmanas, Ksatriyas and Vaisyas- these three are called Dvijas (the twice-born), because at first they are born of their mothers and later on, they are consecrated by means of sacred thread with due repetition of the Mantras (which constitute the second birth). Thus twice-born-ness is attained by these three classes. All holy rites and duties must be performed by these castes in accordance with the specific duties prescribed for their castes. By failing to perform the holy duties prescribed for one’s own caste, one is called a heretic by learned men.”  (source)

📚Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.86.53📚
By his very birth, a brahmana is the best of all living beings in this world, and he becomes even more exalted when he is endowed with austerity, learning and self-satisfaction, what to speak of devotion to me.”  (source)

📚Shrimad Bhagavatam 11.5.5📚
But Brahmanas, Ksattriyas and Vaisyas, by virtue of their original birth, and second birth through their Upanayana (investiture of the sacred thread) ceremony (become eligible for studies, performance of sacrifices, etc.)…”  (source)

📚Shiva Purana 5.44.13📚
O excellent sage, birth as a man is very difficult to obtain; especially that as a Brahmin…”  (source)

📚Padma Purana 2.38.20b-24📚
[The Sages said:] The three castes viz. brahmanas, ksatriyas and vaissyas are twice born. This (i.e. the Veda) is an ancient sacred text meant for all the castes. The beings behave according to the Vedic practices; therefore they (continue to) live. You are born in the family of Brahman. (So) you are a brahmana only.”  (source)

📚Agni Purana 162.3-7📚
By reading the Vedas and practicing equally to all, a man enters the region of paradise. This is the prerogative of the twice born castes, specifically belonging to a Brahamana as his birth right, as he might read the Vedas and realise the truths inculcated therein by living any of the four orders of life. A Brahmana by dwelling in this world, may attain the Supreme Brahma.”  (source)

📚Vasistha Dharmasutra 4.1-3📚
The four castes are distinguished by their origin and by particular sacraments. There is also the following passage of the Veda, ‘The Brâhmana was his mouth, the Kshatriya formed his arms, the Vaisya his thighs; the Sûdra was born from his feet.’ It has been declared in (the following passage of) the Veda that (a Sûdra) shall not receive the sacraments, ‘He created the Brâhmana with the Gâyatrî (metre), the Kshatriya with the Trishtubh, the Vaisya with the Gagatî, the Sûdra without any metre.”  (source)

📚Mahabharata 13.27.3-6📚
O best of kings, how may one, if he happens to be a Kshatriya or a Vaisya or a Sudra, succeed in acquiring the status of a Brahmana? It behoveth thee to tell me the means. Is it by penances the most austere, or by religious acts, or by knowledge of the scriptures, that a person belonging to any of the three inferior orders succeeds in acquiring the status of a Brahmana? Do tell me this, O grandsire!’ “Bhishma said, ‘The status of a Brahmana, O Yudhishthira, is incapable of acquisition by a person belonging to any of the three other orders. That status is the highest with respect to all creatures. Travelling through innumerable orders of existence, by undergoing repeated births, one at last, in some birth, becomes born as a Brahmana.”  (source)

The Skanda Purana explicitly states that a Shudra should not study or perform sacrifices and must remain in the same state as at birth. This contradicts the claims made by some apologists that a Shudra can become a Brahmin through studying the Vedas,

📚Skanda Purana📚
A separate duty has not been assigned by Paramesthin to the Sudra. He need not have any Mantra, consecration or pursuit of lores. He need not have any conventional study of the science of words (i.e. Grammar) and special worship of deities. He has to be, day and night, in the same state as at birth.”  (source)

📚Manusmriti 10.3📚
On account of his pre-eminence, on account of the superiority of his origin, on account of his observance of (particular) restrictive rules, and on account of his particular sanctification the Brahmana is the lord of (all) castes (varna).”  (source)

📚Manusmriti 1.98-99📚
The very birth of a Brahmana is an eternal incarnation of the sacred law; for he is born to (fulfil) the sacred law, and becomes one with Brahman. A Brahmana, coming into existence, is born as the highest on earth, the lord of all created beings, for the protection of the treasury of the law.”  (source)

📚Katyayana Smriti 8.6📚
Many wives of the same caste and of other castes existing, the rite of churning, for producing the Fire, should be done by the chaste wives of the same caste, on account of the superiority of birth.”  (source)

📚Brahma Vaivarta Purana Krishna Janma Khanda 74.10📚
According to Karma, some go to heaven or are severally born in the houses of a Brahmin, Ksatriya, Vaisya or a Sudra.”  (source)

📚Mahabharata 12.72📚
Matariswan answered, ‘The Brahmana, O best of kings, has sprung from the mouth of Brahman. The Kshatriya has sprung from his two arms, and the Vaisya from his two thighs. For waiting upon these three orders, O ruler of men, a fourth order, viz., the Sudra, sprung into life, being created from the feet (of Brahman). Originally created thus, the Brahmana takes birth on earth as the lord of all creatures, his duty being the keep of the Vedas and the other scriptures. Then, for ruling the earth and wielding the rod of chastisement and protecting all creatures, the second order, viz., the Kshatriya was created. The Vaisya was created for supporting the two other orders and himself by cultivation and trade, and finally, it was ordained by Brahman that the Sudra should serve the three orders as a menial.’ “Pururavas said, ‘Tell me truly, O god of Winds, to whom, this earth righteously belong. Does it belong to the Brahmana or to the Kshatriya?’ “The god of Winds said, ‘Everything that exists in the universe belongs to the Brahmana in consequence of his birth and precedence. Persons conversant with morality say this. What the Brahmana eats is his own. The place he inhabits is his own. What he gives away is his own. He deserves the veneration of all the (other) orders. He is the first-born and the foremost. As a woman, in the absence of her husband, accepts his younger brother for him, even so the earth, in consequence of the refusal of the Brahmana, has accepted his next-born, viz., the Kshatriya, for her lord…”  (source)

📚Gita 18.41📚
The duties of Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, and Vaisyas, and of Sudras also, O chastiser of foes, are distinguished by (these three) qualities born of nature.”  (source)

Ramanuja Acharya writes on this verse,

”The character of Brahmanas, Ksatriyas, Vaishyas, and Sudras arise from their various inherent dispositions. In other words their past Karma is the cause of their being born in a specific social group…”

Swami Swarupananda writes on Gita 18.41,

“According to the Karma or habits and tendencies formed by desire, action, and association in the past life manifesting themselves in the present as effects. Or, nature (Svabhava) may here mean the Maya made up of three Gunas, the Prakriti of the Lord.”

3.1 Child Born to Parents of Different Castes

📚Mahabharata 13.48📚
The Brahmana may take four wives, one from each of the four orders. In two of them (viz.,the wife taken from his own order and that taken from the one next below), he takes birth himself (the children begotten upon them being regarded as invested with the same status as his own)… A Kshatriya may take three wives…The Vaisya may take two spouses…The Sudra can take only one wife, viz., she that is taken from his own order. The son begotten by him upon her becomes a Sudra….”  (source)

If parents belong to different castes, their child won’t be attributed to either the mother’s or father’s caste,

📚Manusmriti 10.5📚
In all castes (varna) those (children) only which are begotten in the direct order on wedded wives, equal (in caste and married as) virgins, are to be considered as belonging to the same caste (as their fathers).”  (source)

Acharya Medhatithi writes on Manusmriti 2.148 –  ”Jati stands for ‘Janma’, birth.”  (source)

📚Vishnu Smriti 16.1-3📚
On women equal in caste (to their husbands) sons are begotten, who are equal in caste (to their fathers). On women of lower caste than their husbands sons are begotten, who follow the caste of their mothers. On women of higher caste than their husbands sons are begotten, who are despised by the twice-born.”  (source)

📚Agni Purana 150.9-11📚
The duties which appertain to the Shudra caste, O thou best of the Bhrigus, are to serve the Brahmins and to practice the handicrafts. Since the investiture with the holy thread, a member of the twice born caste is supposed to take a second spiritual birth, and I shall describe the castes which children born of parents not members of the same caste, would respectively belong to. A child born of parents belonging to different castes would get the caste of its mother, but on the contrary a child born of a Shudra father by a Brahmin mother would be a Chandala.”  (source)

Manusmriti 10.6-23 provides a list of castes that emerge as a result of inter-caste marriages,

📚Manusmriti 10.6-23📚
Sons, begotten by twice-born man on wives of the next lower castes, they declare to be similar (to their fathers, but) blamed on account of the fault (inherent) in their mothers. Such is the eternal law concerning (children) born of wives one degree lower (than their husbands); know (that) the following rule (is applicable) to those born of women two or three degrees lower. From a Brahmana a with the daughter of a Vaisya is born (a son) called an Ambashtha, with the daughter of a sudra a Nishada, who is also called Parasava. From a Kshatriya and the daughter of a Sudra springs a being, called Ugra, resembling both a Kshatriya and a Sudra, ferocious in his manners, and delighting in cruelty. Children of a Brahmana by (women of) the three (lower) castes, of a Kshatriya by (wives of) the two (lower) castes, and of a Vaisya by (a wife of) the one caste (below him) are all six called base-born (apasada). From a Kshatriya by the daughter of a Brahmana is born (a son called) according to his caste (gati) a Suta; from a Vaisya by females of the royal and the Brahmana (castes) spring a Magadha and a Vaideha. From a Sudra are born an Ayogava, a Kshattri, and a Kandala, the lowest of men, by Vaisya, Kshatriya, and Brahmana) females, (sons who owe their origin to) a confusion of the castes. As an Ambashtha and an Ugra, (begotten) in the direct order on (women) one degree lower (than their husbands) are declared (to be), even so are a Kshattri and a Vaidehaka, though they were born in the inverse order of the castes (from mothers one degree higher than the fathers). Those sons of the twice-born, begotten on wives of the next lower castes, who have been enumerated in due order, they call by the name Anantaras (belonging to the next lower caste), on account of the blemish (inherent) in their mothers. A Brahmana begets on the daughter of an Ugra an Avrita, on the daughter of an Ambashtha an Abhira, but on a female of the Ayogava (caste) a Dhigvana. From a Sudra spring in the inverse order (by females of the higher castes) three base-born (sons, apasada), an Ayogava, a Kshattri, and a Kandala, the lowest of men; From a Vaisya are born in the inverse order of the castes a Magadha and a Vaideha, but from a Kshatriya a Suta only; these are three other base-born ones (apasada). The son of a Nishada by a Sudra female becomes a Pukkasa by caste (gati), but the son of a Sudra by a Nishada female is declared to be a Kukkutaka. Moreover, the son of by Kshattri by an Ugra female is called a Svapaka; but one begotten by a Vaidehaka on an Ambashtha female is named a Vena. Those (sons) whom the twice-born beget on wives of equal caste, but who, not fulfilling their sacred duties, are excluded from the Savitri, one must designate by the appellation Vratyas. But from a Vratya (of the) Brahmana (caste) spring the wicked Bhriggakantaka, the Avantya, the Vatadhana, the Pushpadha, and the Saikha. From a Vratya (of the) Kshatriya (caste), the Ghalla, the Malla, the Likkhivi, the Nata, the Karana, the Khasa, and the Dravida. From a Vratya (of the) Vaisya (caste) are born a Sudhanvan, an Akarya, a Karusha, a Viganman, a Maitra, and a Satvata.”  (source)

📚Yajnavalkya Smriti Verse 90📚
Sons of the same caste are begotten by [persons of the] same caste upon [wives of the] same caste. Sons [begotten] in unblamable marriages (such as Brahma, etc.,) multiply the race.”  (source)

Similar to Manu, Yajnavalkya also enumerates the list of castes starting from verse 91. However, this system might not be applicable in the context of Niyoga. Due to the annihilation of all men from the Kshatriya caste, Kshatriya women turned to Brahmins for Niyoga, and their offspring were recognized as Kshatriyas.

📚Mahabharata 1.104📚
And the illustrious scion of Bhrigu’s race, by means of his swift arrows annihilated the Kshatriya tribe one and twenty times. “And when the earth was thus deprived of Kshatriyas by the great Rishi, the Kshatriya ladies all over the land had offspring raised by Brahmanas skilled in the Vedas. It has been said in the Vedas that the sons so raised belongeth to him that had married the mother. And the Kshatriya ladies went in unto the Brahamanas not lustfully but from motives of virtue. Indeed, it was thus that the Kshatriya race was revived.”  (source)

Sons born to a father of a higher caste, such as a Brahmin, are regarded to possess the qualities of a Brahmin, although they may belong to a caste considered lower than their father’s. This is stated in the Manu Smriti.

📚Manusmriti 10.67-69📚
The decision is as follows: ‘He who was begotten by an Aryan on a non-Aryan female, may become (like to) an Aryan by his virtues; he whom an Aryan (mother) bore to a non-Aryan father (is and remains) unlike to an Aryan.’ The law prescribes that neither of the two shall receive the sacraments, the first (being excluded) on account of the lowness of his origin, the second (because the union of his parents was) against the order of the castes. As good seed, springing up in good soil, turns out perfectly well, even so the son of an Aryan by an Aryan woman is worthy of all the sacraments.”  (source)

Certain scholars interpret the term ‘Sacraments’ in this context to refer to minor rituals like Pakayajna, which might be permissible for individuals of lower castes as well. It is mentioned in Mahabharata,

📚Mahabharata 13.48.5📚
The son that is begotten by a Brahmana upon a Sudra wife is called Parasara, implying one born of a corpse, for the Sudra woman’s body is as inauspicious as a corpse. He should serve the persons of his (father’s) race. Indeed, it is not proper for him to give up the duty of service that has been laid down for him.”  (source)

This indeed presents another indication that caste is determined by birth in a specific family. If a child is born into a Brahmin family, he is considered a Brahmin. Similarly, if born to Shudra parents, his caste is considered Shudra, which remains unchanged throughout his life.

4. Punishments for Shudras/Lower Castes

4.1 Punishment for a Shudra who Teaches Dharma to the Upper Castes

📚Matsya Purana 227.75📚
A Sudra who teaches Dharma to the twice born should also be punished by a sovereign by getting hot oil poured into his ears and mouth.”  (source)

📚Manusmriti 8.272📚
If through arrogance, he teaches brahmanas their duty, the king shall pour heated oil into his mouth and ears.”  (source)

📚Agni Purana 227.26📚
A śūdra giving moral instruction to brahmins is liable for punishment.”  (source)

📚Vishnu Smriti 5.24📚
If a (low-born) man through pride give instruction (to a member of the highest caste) concerning his duty, let the king order hot oil to be dropped into his mouth.”  (source)

4.2 Punishment for a Shudra who Hits a Twice-Born

📚Manusmriti 8.279📚
With whatever limb the low-born man hurts a superior person, every such limb of his shall be cut off; this is the teaching of Manu.”  (source)

📚Vishnu Smriti 5.19📚
[The king] shall cut off that limb of an inferior caste with which he strikes the body of a superior one.”  (source)

📚Narada Smriti 15.25📚
With whatever limb a man of low caste offends against a Brahman, that very limb of his shall be cut off; such shall be the atonement for his crime.”  (source)

📚Agni Purana 227.29📚
One of a lower caste should without enquiry be severed of the organ by which he had done harm to a member of the (three) higher castes.”  (source)

📚Manusmriti 9.248📚
If a low-born person intentionally harasses a Brahmana, the king shall strike him with various terror-striking forms of corporal punishment.”  (source)

4.3 Punishment for a Shudra who Insults a Twice-Born

📚Manusmriti 8.270📚
If a once-born person insults a twice- born one with gross abuse, he should suffer the cutting off of his tongue; as he is of low origin.”  (source)

📚Manusmriti 8.282📚
If out of arrogance he spits (on a superior), the king shall cause both his lips to be cut off; if he urines (on him), the penis; if he breaks wind (against him), the anus.”  (source)

📚Manusmriti 8.283📚
If he lays hold of the hair (of a superior), let the (king) unhesitatingly cut off his hands, likewise (if he takes him) by the feet, the beard, the neck, or the scrotum.”  (source)

📚Apastamba Dharmasutra 2.27.14📚
If a Shudra hurls abusive words at a virtuous Arya, his tongue shall be cut out.”  (source)

📚Manusmriti 8.271📚

”If he mentions the name and caste of these men with scorn, a burning iron nail ten inches long shall be thrust into his mouth.”  (source)

📚Agni Purana 227.25📚
A śūdra having censured a kṣatriya should be getting (the punishment of) severing the tongue.”  (source)

📚Vishnu Smriti 5.20-23📚
If he places himself on the same seat with his superior, he shall be banished with a mark on his buttocks. he shall lose both lips; If he spits on him, If he breaks wind against him, his hindparts; If he uses abusive language, his tongue.”  (source)

📚Vishnu Smriti 5.25📚
If a (low-born man) mentions the name or caste of a superior revilingly, an iron pin, ten inches long, shall be thrust into his mouth (red hot).”  (source)

📚Matsya Purana 227.73-74📚
A Sudra should be deprived of his tongue if he abuses violently a twice-born, if his offence be moderate; if his offence be highest, he is to be fined Uttama Sahasa. A king should be put a red, hot iron spike twelve Angulas long in the mouth of a Sudra who vilifies violently one, taking his name, caste and house.”  (source)

4.4 Punishment for a Shudra who Tries to Occupy the Seat of a Twice-Born

📚Manusmriti 8.281📚
If a low-born person tries to occupy the same seat with his superior, he should be branded on the hip and banished; or the king shall have his buttocks cut off.”  (source)

📚Gautama Dharmasutra 12.7📚
If he assumes a position equal (to that of twice-born men) in sitting, in lying down, in conversation or on the road, he shall undergo (corporal) punishment.”  (source)

📚Apastamba Dharmasutra 2.27.15📚
If, while he is speaking, walking on the road, lying in bed, or occupying a seat, a Shudra pretends to be equal to Aryas. he should be flogged.”  (source)

📚Vishnu Smriti 5.20📚
If one (i.e., a low-caste man) sits on the same seat [with a superior caste] he, having his hip branded, shall be banished.”  (source)

📚Narada Smriti 15.26📚
If an inferior desires to sit on the same seat with his superior, he shall be banished, after having his hinder parts stamped, or he shall be deprived of his buttock.”  (source)

📚Agni Purana 227.30-31📚
If a member of a low caste had occupied the seat of a member of a higher caste, his lower organ (buttocks) should be cut…”  (source)

4.5 Hell for Shudras who Oppose the Brahmins

📚Skanda Purana📚
The Sudras who become antagonistic to those Brahmanas who were honoured by Brahma, Visnu and Siva go to the Raurava hell.”  (source)

4.6 Punishment for a Shudra who Kills a Brahmin

📚Narada Purana 1.30.17-18📚
On killing an ordinary Brahmana (by birth only who has not studied the Vedas, etc.), he should perform the expiatory rite for one year. O Brahmana, thus the mode of expiating for killing a Brahmana has been stated. The expiation for a Ksatriya is twice this and that for a Vaiya is thrice: Learned men know that the Sudra who kills a Brahmana is to be pounded to death with a club.”  (source)

4.7 Hell for Shudras who Drink the Milk of ‘Kapila’ Cows

📚Varaha Purana 112.19-21📚
Those (Shudras) who drink (the milk of) Kapila make their forefathers eat the filth in the earth for long. Note what happens to the Shudras who feed on the milk, ghee and butter of the Kapila cows. They go to the terrible hell called Raurava.”  (source)

5. Discriminations Against Shudras/Lower Castes

5.1 Prohibition on Consuming Food Water Offered by Lower Castes

📚Angiras Smriti 1.48-49📚
He, who continually partakes of a Shudra’s food for one month, becomes a Shudra in this birth and is born as a dog after death. [Partaking of] a Shudra’s food, associating with a Shudra, sitting with a Shudra, acquiring knowledge from a Shudra, degrade even one burning with Brahma-energy.”  (source)

📚Angiras Smriti 1.56📚
[By taking] a Brahmana’s food, [one attains to] poverty; [by taking] a Kshatriya’s food, [one becomes] a beast; [by taking] a Vaishya’s food, one becomes a Shudra; (and by taking] a Shudra’s food, one, forsooth, goes to hell.”  (source)

📚Garuda Purana 1.115.7📚
Women perish due to their beauty, penance due to fury, the way due to an undue length and pious Brahmana by taking Shudra’s food.”  (source)

📚Atri Smriti 1.248📚
By knowingly drinking water from the Shudras, a Brahmana should fast for a day and night and. [then] after bathing, should get himself purified with the Paichagavya.”  (source)

📚Vasistha Dharmasutra 6.27📚
If a Brahmana dies with the food of a Shudra in his stomach, he will become a village pig (in his next life) or be born, in the family of that (Shudra). For though a (Brāhmaṇa) whose body is nourished by the essence of a Śūdra’s food may daily recite the Veda, though he may offer (an Agnihotra) or mutter (prayers, nevertheless) he will not find the path that leads upwards.”  (source)

📚Narada Purana 1.12.12📚
Whatever is given in charity to one who habitually partakes of Sudra’s food or to one who cremates the corpses of Sudras or to one who takes food prepared by an unchaste woman, becomes futile.”  (source)

📚Vyasa Smriti 4.64📚
He, who dies with a Sudra’s boiled rice in his stomach, is sure to be reborn as a hog, and all his progeny will belong to the same genus, after death.”  (source)

📚Mahabharat 13.141.38📚
Maheshvara said, ‘Listening to the mysteries of religion and duty, observance of the vows indicated in the Vedas, attention to the sacred fire, and accomplishment of the business of the preceptor, leading a mendicant life, always bearing the sacred thread, constant recitation of the Vedas, and rigid observance of the duties of Brahmacharya, are the duties of the Brahmana. After the period of study is over, the Brahmana, receiving the command of his preceptor, should leave his preceptor’s abode for returning to his father’s house. Upon his return he should duly wed a wife that is fit for him. Another duty of the Brahmana consists in avoiding the food prepared by the Sudra. Walking along the path of righteousness, always observing fasts and the practices of Brahmacarya, are his other duties.”  (source)

📚Kurma Purana 2.17.1📚
A Brahmana, should not consume the food offered by a Shudra, leaving aside the case of emergency. One accepts the food from a shudra, he is born as a Shudra.”  (source)

📚Brahma Purana 115.24📚
The food cooked by a Shudra is despised by gods and noble men, O goddess. That which is uttered by Brahma is authoritative.”  (source)

📚Manusmriti 11.175📚
If a Brahmana unintentionally approaches a woman of the Candala or other lowest-born castes, or eats her food, or receives her presents, he becomes an outcast; but if he does it intentionally, he becomes her equal.”  (source)

📚Parashar Smriti 6.32📚
When a Brahman through ignorance chances to eat any food that belongs to one of the Chandala caste, he should purify himself by living on half-ripe barley and cow’s urine for ten nights.”  (source)

📚Parashar Smriti 6.67-69📚
Articles of food which have been looked at by a dog, or by a person of the Chandala caste, should be thrown away. What food is forbidden, and what the purification is for polluted food, I am going to tell you, just as Parasara has propounded it. If it is food, which has been already cooked, where its quantity equals an Dhaka or a droids a, and is polluted by contact with a crow or a dog, the owner of the polluted food should present himself before a number of Brahmans, and should submissively ask them how the food should be rendered pure. But a quantity of food equal to a drona in measure, though it be touched by the mouth of a crow or a dog-, should never be thrown away as unclean food.”  (source)

📚Parashar Smriti 7.20📚
While a Brahman has not washed himself after taking his meals, if he chances to be touched by another yet unwashed after a meal, or by a dog, or by a Shoodra, he should fast for a single night, and then swallow the five articles derived from a cow, whereby purity is restored to- him.”  (source)

📚Parashar Smriti 11.1📚
If a Brahman has partaken of any impure food, or has swallowed virile seed, or beef, or a Chandala’s food, he should perform a Krichchhra-chandrayana.”  (source)

📚Parashar Smriti 11.16-17📚
If a Brahman unwittingly partakes of food belonging “to one who is unclean on account of impurity caused by birth or death,— what should be the expiation having reference to each particular caste? In case of a Shoodra’s food, unclean on account of impurity by birth, — the purification is the recitation of the Gayatri hymn for eight thousand times ; — in case of a Vaishya, five thousand times; — in case of a Kshatriya, three thousand times.”  (source)

📚Parashar Smriti 11.20📚
If at a time of distress, a Brahman has eaten in a Shoodra’s house, he becomes pure by repentance; — or he should one hundred times recite the verse of the Veda named the Drupada.”  (source)

📚Parashar Smriti 12.35📚
A Brahman who gets his food habitually cooked by a Shoodra woman, or has got a Shoodra woman for the matron of his house, is shunned by the pitrus and the gods, and goes to the hell called Battrava.”  (source)

📚Garuda Purana Chp 231📚
Articles of Indian bell-metal, smelled by kine or defiled by the touch of residue of a Sudra’s meal, or by the contact of a dog or a crow, are purified by being rubbed with ten kinds of ashes. Having partaken his meal out of the saucer of a Sudra, a Brahmana shall regain his purity by fasting for a day, and by taking Panchgavya as well.”  (source)

📚Garuda Purana 1.222.2📚
If inadvertenly a brahmin takes food defiled by the Ucchista (residual of food partaken) of a Sudra he should fast for a day and night and drink Pancagavya. He shall be purified.”  (source)

📚Atri Smriti 1.72📚
By taking forbidden food, the residue of a food partaken of by a Sudra or a woman, or by eating forbidden meat, one should drink the extract of barley for seven nights”  (source)

📚Mahabharata 13.136.20-22📚
The Brahmana who takes his food in the company of Sudras is purged from all impurity by duly observing the ceremonies of purification. The Brahmana who takes his food in the company of Vaisyas is absolved from sin by living on alms for three successive nights. If a Brahmana takes his food with Kshatriyas, he should make expiation by bathing with his clothes on.”  (source)

📚Angiras Smriti 1.4-7📚
When one drinks water lying stale in a vessel in the house of a lowcaste person, he should perform a penance…By drinking, unknowingly, water from degraded castes, a Brahmana, fasting for a day and night, becomes purified with the Panchagavya.”  (source)

📚Likhita Smriti Verse 70📚
By unwillingly partaking of boiled rice (lit. any kind of food) in a Chandala’s house, as well as of that prepared by a fallen or degraded person, one should live on water alone for a fortnight. The term of the penance should be extended to a month in cases where the delinquency has been knowingly committed.”  (source)

📚Vishnu Smriti 51.57-58📚
Having eaten the food of a Chandala, one shall fast for three nights. A Paraka penance is the expiation for eating the cooked food of a Chandala.”  (source)

📚Manusmriti 4.223📚
A Brahmana who knows (the law) must not eat cooked food (given) by a Sudra who performs no Sraddhas; but, on failure of (other) means of subsistence, he may accept raw (grain), sufficient for one night (and day).”  (source)

📚Narada Purana 1.26.33📚
One should avoid even from a distance, the wind from the winnowing basket, the smoke from the burning corpse, eating the cooked food of a Sudra and the contact with the paramour of a Sudra woman.”  (source)

📚Atri Smriti 1.195-196📚
A washerman, a cobbler, an actor, a Varuda, a Kaivarta, a Meda, and a Bhilla these seven are known in the Smriti, as degraded castes. By knowing their women, taking their food and accepting gifts from them, if willingly one should perform Prajapatya for a year; and, if unknowingly, two Chandrayanas.”  (source)

📚Atri Smriti 1.168-173📚
A twice-born person, who take food from a washer-man or from an actor, or from one who lives on bamboo work, should perform a Chandrayana. By knowing women of lowcastes, taking their meals and lying with them on the same bed, one should get [himself] purified with a Paraka. By drinking the water [that lies’ in a Chandala’s vessel, the foremost of the twice-born should live, for thirty-seven days, on barley and the urine of a cow. A Brahmana, who unknowingly partakes of cooked food touched by outcastes or by women in [their] menses, should perform half a Prajapatya. The [following are the means of] expiation for the four castes when they [happen to] partake of a Chandala’s food. A Brahmana should perform a Chandrayana; and a Kshatriya, a Santapanam. A Vaisya should perform a penance and live on the Panchagavya for six nights. A Sudra should perform [the same] for three nights and purify [himself] by making gifts.”  (source)

📚Atri Smriti 1.208📚
The celestials do not partake of the food nor drink the water offered by the foremost of the twice-born, who eats the food of a drunkard or of a Chandala.”  (source)

📚Apastamba Dharmasutra 9.40📚
A Brahmana, drinking water in touch with a Chandala, should regain his purity by fasting for a day and night and by bathing thrice during the fast.”  (source)

📚Angiras Smriti 1.53-55📚
If a twice-born person, being fed by a Sudra’s food, procreates sons, those sons belong to him (i.e., the Sudra who gives the food): for semen originates from food. Any article touched by a Sudra, or any residue of his food, should not be given to a twice-born out of carelessness or with the one palm. So the ascetic Apastamva has said. One may always take a Brahmana’s food; a Kshatriya’s, on Parva-days; a Vaisya’s, in times of calamity; but never a Sudra’s.”  (source)

📚Mahabharata 13.143.18📚
The food of a Sudra, O goddess, is always disapproved of by the high-souled deities. Even this, I think, is the authority enunciated by the Grandsire with his own mouth. If a Brahmana, who has set up the sacred fire and who performs sacrifices, were to die with any portion of a Sudra’s food remaining undigested in his stomach, he is sure to take birth in his next life as a Sudra. In consequence of those remains of a Sudra’s food in his stomach, he falls away from the status of a Brahmana. Such a Brahmana becomes invested with the status of a Sudra. There is no doubt in this.”  (source)

📚Skanda Purana📚
If a Brahmana dies with the food offered by a Sudra remaining undigested within his belly he certainly becomes a Preta even if he has learned all the six Angas of the Vedas.”  (source)

📚Skanda Purana📚
Brahamana’s food is (regarded as) Amrta (Nectar); Ksatriya’s food is remembered as milk; Vaisya’s food is mere food, and Sudra’s food is proclaimed as blood. Those excellent Brahmanas who get nourished with Sudra’s food and juice and later die, become deprived of Tapas and knowledge and are born as crows and vultures.”  (source)

📚Varaha Purana 174.42📚
He who dies with the food given by a Sudra within him, becomes a ghost.”  (source)

📚Mahabharata 13.141.38📚
Another duty of the Brahmana consists in avoiding the food prepared by the Sudra.”  (source)

📚Vasistha Dharmasutra 10.31📚
A Brāhmaṇa who wears the sacred thread, who holds in his hand a gourd filled with water, who is pure and avoids the food of Śūdras will not fail (to gain) the world of Brahman.”  (source)

📚Vasistha Dharmasutra 20.17📚
The same (penance must be performed) for eating food given by a Cāṇḍāla or by an outcast. Afterwards the initiation (must be performed) once more; but the tonsure and the rest may be omitted.”  (source)

📚Skanda Purna📚
O king, a Brāhmaṇa who eats the cooked food of a Śūdra though consecrated with Mantras is a Karmacāṇḍāla (Cāṇḍāla by acts as against one born as a Cāṇḍāla). If one touches him, one should take bath. He is not worthy of being even touched.”  (source)

📚Usana Smriti 9.49📚
By drinking water touched by a Chandala, the foremost of the twice-born becomes purified [by fasting] for three nights or by taking the Panchagavyam.”  (source)

📚Samvarta Smriti Verse 30-32📚
He, who takes his food or drink from a Sudra’s hands, should get himself purified with the Panchagavya after fasting for a day and night…By taking food in a vessel belonging to a Sudra or in a broken plate, one should get himself purified with the Panchagavya after fasting for a day and night.”  (source)

📚Parashar Smriti 7.24📚
Vessels of bell metal, smelled by kine, or defiled by the touch of dogs, crows, etc., or out of which Sudras have taken their food, should be purified by rubbing them with ten kings of ashes.”  (source)

📚Vyasa Smriti 3.53📚
Boiled rice procured with one’s own earnings, or kept in a vessel which is not defiled by the touch of wine, nor licked by a dog, nor smelled by a cow, nor touched by a crow or a Sudra, is always pure.”  (source)

📚Samvarta Smriti Verse 194📚
By taking food from the vessel of a degraded caste, or from that of a woman in menses, one would become purified, in half-a-month, by living upon barley and the urine of a cow.”  (source)

📚Samvarta Smriti Verse 182📚
By drinking well water contaminated by a Chandala’s vessel, one becomes purified by living on barley and the urine of a cow for three nights.”  (source)

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar led the Mahad Satyagraha in 1927, advocating for untouchables to gain access to public water tanks. This discriminatory practice finds its roots in Hindu texts,

📚Parashar Smriti 6.24📚
Having drunk the water of a well which has been defiled by the touch of a Chandalas water pot, a Brahmana should live on barley and cow’s urine for three days, whereby he would regain his personal cleanliness.”  (source)

📚Apastamba Dharmasutra 2.2📚
Having drunk water in a Prapa, or that lieing accumulated in a forest or in the furrows of a ploughed field, as well as that which is flowing out of a pond, or is owned by a Svapak or a Chandala, one should regain one’s purity by drinking Panchagavyam…Having drunk water out of, or bathed in, a well or tank, caused to be excavated by another, one should regain one’s purity by drinking Panchagavyam.”  (source)

Panchagavya, a blend of five cow-derived elements—cow dung, urine, milk, curd, and ghee—is used for cleansing purposes. It’s noteworthy that the residue left by a Shudra is considered even lower in status, and paradoxically, it’s remedied by ingesting cow urine and dung. Hindu texts seem to deem Shudras to be beneath even the excrement of animals. Apastamba’s scripture permits Dvijas to consume food prepared by Shudras. This stance was also cited by Dayanand Saraswati, who initially advocated the acceptance of food cooked by Shudras in Brahmin households. However, there’s a contradiction: despite advocating this, Dayanand himself reportedly declined to partake in meals prepared by Shudras in Brahmin homes. This highlights a discrepancy between his advocacy and practice. While Dayanand’s efforts to grant rights to lower castes could be seen as a strategic move to gain followers, it’s argued that he didn’t truly eliminate the oppressive Vedic caste system but rather upheld it. For a contrasting perspective, a verse from Apastamba stands in opposition to the consumption of such food.

📚Apastamba Dharmasutra📚
According to some (food offered by people) of any caste, who follow the laws prescribed for them, except that of Sudras, may be eaten.”  (source)5.2 Shudras are Prohibited From Reading the Vedas

5.2 Shudras are Prohibited From Reading the Vedas

No Hindu scripture allows a Shudra to study the Vedas. Puranas explicitly state that Vedas are not meant for Shudras and women. Instead, God composed Itihasa (Ramayana, Mahabharata) and Puranas for their benefit,

📚Shrimad Bhagavatam 1.4.25📚
The degenerated twice-borns, the Sudras and women are barred from the holy truths of the Vedas, and, out of compassion for them, Maharshi Vyasa composed the Mahabharata.”  (source)

📚Devi Bhagavatam Purana 1.3.18-24📚
knowing this in every Dvâpara Yuga Bhagavân expounds the holy Purâna Samhitas. The more so because women, S’udras, and the lower Dvijas are not entitled to hear the Vedas; for their good, the Purânas have been composed…”  (source)

📚Natsya Shastra 1.12-13📚
As the Vedas are not to be listened to by those born as Sudras, be pleased to create another Veda which will belong to all the Colour-groups (Varna). ‘Let it be so’, said he in reply and then having dismissed the king of gods (Indra) he resorted to yoga (concentration of mind) and recalled to mind the four Vedas.”  (source)

📚Brahma Purana 64.19📚
In regard to the people of the first three castes the rite of holy bath and the reception of Mantras is in the manner mentioned in the Vedas. The utterance of the Vedic passage is to be avoided by women as well as Sudras.”  (source)

📚Brahma Purana 64.19📚
In regard to the people of the first three castes the rite of holy bath and the repetition of Mantras is in the manner mentioned in the Vedas. The utterance of the Vedic passage is to be avoided by women as well as Shudras.”  (source)

📚Skanda Purana📚
One should never teach a Vedic Mantra to a Shudra. (Thereby) the Brahmana becomes deficient in his Brahmanical powers and the Shudra in his merit.”  (source)

📚Parashar Smriti 1.64📚
Drinking the milk of a Kapila cow, knowing a Brahmana woman, and reciting the Vedas are the acts, by doing which a Sudra is punished with hell.”  (source)

📚Apastamba Dharmasutra📚
(For all these), excepting Sudras and those who have committed bad actions, (are ordained) the initiation, the study of the Veda, and the kindling of the sacred fire; and (their) works are productive of rewards (in this world and the next).”  (source)

📚Shrimad Bhagavatam 11.17.40📚
All twice-born men — brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas and vaiśyas — must perform sacrifice, study the Vedic literature and give charity. Only the brāhmaṇas, however, accept charity, teach the Vedic knowledge and perform sacrifice on behalf of others.”  (source)

📚Shrimad Bhagavatam 7.11.13📚
He is called a dvija or twice-born one whose (sixteen) purifying rites (accompanied by recitation of mantras) have been performed without any break in succession, and to whom god Brahma has designated as such. Performance of sacrifices, study of scriptures and charity are prescribed for all twice-born classes (viz. Brahmana, Ksattriya and Vaisya) who are of pure birth and conduct. It is for these that duties incumbent on different stages of life (asrama) are prescribed.”  (source)

📚Manusmriti 1.103📚
A learned Brahmana must carefully study them, and he must duly instruct his pupils in them, but nobody else (shall do it).”  (source)

📚Manusmriti 10.1📚
Let the three twice-born castes (varna), discharging their (prescribed) duties, study (the Veda); but among them the Brahmana (alone) shall teach it, not the other two; that is an established rule.”  (source

Punishments for Shudras who recite the Vedas,

📚Gautama Dharmasutra 12.4-6📚
Now if he listens intentionally to (a recitation of) the Veda, his ears shall be filled with (molten) tin or lac. If he recites (Vedic texts), his tongue shall be cut out. If he remembers them, his body shall be split in twain.”  (source)

📚Skanda Purana📚
She should never be meditated upon by Shudras for fear of incurring the sin of Brahmana-slaughter. If it is uttered or retained in the mind by a Shudra he certainly falls in Naraka. It has been decided that for merely pronouncing the Veda (Vedic text by a Shudra) the tongue of that Sudra should be cut off by Kshatriyas who are the protectors of Dharma.”  (source)

📚Garuda Purana 4.22-23📚
The Śūdra who studies the letter of the Vedas, who drinks the milk of the tawny cow, who wears the sacred thread or consorts with Brāhmiṇ women. Having come all along the path the sinful reach the abode of Yama, and having come, by command of Yama, the messengers hurl them into that river again.”  (source)

While all three castes may have learned the Vedas, the distinction between Brahmins, Kshatriyas, and Vaishyas persists. Although some apologists assert that Vedic knowledge defines a Brahmin, the question arises: if Kshatriyas and Vaishyas are knowledgeable in the Vedas, why should only Brahmins be authorized to teach them?

Scholars advocating against the teaching of Vedas to Shudras, Acharya Medhatithi writes on Manu Smriti 2.241, ”Though the term ‘non Brahmana’ denoting all the three castes, except the Brahmana, stands for all men, yet the Shudra could not be meant here; for the Shudra is not entitled to learn the Veda; and it is only when one has learn something that he can teach it. ‘But by transgressing the scriptural ordinance, the Shudra also might learn the Veda, just as the Ksattriya and the Vaishya do the work of teaching (which is not permitted).’ This also cannot be; because it has been laid down that is the Shudra happens to learn the Veda, his body should be cut up. And since the penalty is so severe, it follows that the act if a grievous sin.”  (source)

Adi Shankaracharya’s commentary on Bhagavad Gita 18.41 states, ”Sudras are separated from others who are all mentioned together in one compound word, because Sudras are of one birth and are debarred from the study of the Vedas…”  (source)

Adi Shankaracharya’s commentary on Brahma Sutra 1.3.38 mentions,

”This is again why a Shudra has no competency (for Brahma- Vidya) , because in the Smriti there is prohibition against a Shudra hearing, learning, knowing (the Vedas) and performing Vedic Karma. The prohibition against hearing Vedas is as follows : — “He who listens to the Vedas should have his ears filled with lead or tin and lac”; “A Shudra is nothing but a walking cemetery, therefore, one should not learn (the Scriptures) in his presence.” From this of course follows the prohibition against (a Shudra) learning the Vedas, because when in his presence Vedas are not even recited, how ever can he learn them ? Again a sentence of cutting off of the tongue is prescribed for a Shudra guilty of uttering Veda word and his body is to be cut off if a Shudra memorizes the Vedas.”  (source)

Ramanuja Acharya writes on Brahma Sutra 1.3.38,

”And on account of the prohibition of hearing, studying, and performance of (Vedic) matter.
The Sûdra is specially forbidden to hear and study the Veda and to perform the things enjoined in it. ‘For a Sûdra is like a cemetery, therefore the Veda must not be read in the vicinity of a Sûdra;’ ‘Therefore the Sûdra is like a beast, unfit for sacrifices.’ And he who does not hear the Veda recited cannot learn it so as to understand and perform what the Veda enjoins. The prohibition of hearing thus implies the prohibition of understanding and whatever depends on it.”

Madhwacharya initially implies that Shudras can engage with scriptures, but he later unequivocally restricts them from studying the Vedas,

“…For, in the text, ‘Let the Brahmana be initiated at the age of eight and let him be taught scripture,’ the ceremony of purification is mentioned as the immediate preliminary condition to teaching scripture. And in the case of the Sudra, the absence of this ceremony of purification is spoken of in the Paingin’s Sruti. ‘The Sudra has no consecrated fire, no sacrifice, no prayers, no ceremonies (to be performed); no process of purification, no austerities (to be practised). Hence the Sudra is not eligible for the study of Scripture…Haridrumata having (first) concluded that ‘A non-brahmin is not capable of such truthful answer,’ (ib), and consequently Satyakama was not a Sudra, proceeded to perform the ceremony of initiation for him. Hence the Sudra is not eligible for the study of the Vedas. For the Sudra is prohibited (from the study of the Vedas) as in the Gautama Dharma Sastra, ‘The ears of him (the Sudra) who hears the Veda are to be filled with molten lead and lac, his tongue is to be slit if he pronounces it, his heart is to be cut open, if he attempts to know its meaning.’ And Smriti says, ‘the Sudra has no (consecrated) fire (to be maintained), no sacrifices (to be performed); so possibly he could not study the Vedas; however, free service to the three higher classes is prescribed for the Sudra, as the means of higher life’…” Madhvacharya on Brahma Sutra 1.3.36-38  (source)

Vijnanesvara writes in Mitakshara,

”Manu has also shown that the twice born alone are entitled to study the Dharma Sastras and a Brahmana alone can teach them and no one else.” Vijnanesvara in his book Mitakshara on Yajnavalkya Smriti verse 3  (source)

Keshava Kashmiri writes on Bhagavad Gita 18.41,

“…The Brahmins the priestly class, the ksatriyas or royal warrior class and the vaisya’s the mercantile and agricultural class are all spoken of in unison because they only have the right to initiation making them qualified to study the Vedic scriptrures, engage in yagnas or ritualistic propitiation and worship. Whereas the sudra or servant class are mentioned separately as they have not the qualification for initiation and study of the Vedic scriptures but all are factually the product of their own innate natures. To study the Vedic scriptures and perform yagna the prerequisite of initiation essential and required. A sudra is a fourth class citizen who may perform unauthorised activities without sin because they are only once born from the womb not twice born by the spiritual master. It is prohibited in the Vedic scripture to initiate a sudra. If done it will bring calamity upon the spiritual master, his dynasty and the whole kingdom. There are direct references in the Vedic scriptures prohibiting sudras from initiation. Such passages as: The sudra carries the dead body to the cremation ground that is a sudra and if a sudra hears a mantra his ears should be filled with wax, if he recites a mantra his tongue should be cut out and if he memorises a mantra his life should be taken. So it can be understood that in ancient times the prohibitions of a sudra were strictly enforced…” Keshava Kashmiri on Bhagavad Gita 18.41

Sridhara Swami writes on Bhagavad Gita 18.41,

”…Now Lord Krishna commences a new theme with this verse explaining that the duties of the different classes of Vedic society such as brahmana or priestly class, ksatriya or royal and warrior class, vaisya or agricultural and mercantile class as well as sudra or menial worker class which is the only one not qualified to take part in any Vedic activity as they serve the other three classes. The duties enjoined for all the classes are clearly delineated and itemised with distinct divisions…” Sridhara Swami on Bhagavad Gita 18.41

It is mentioned in Bhagvad Gita,

Gita 9.32 ”For those who take refuge in Me. O Partha, though they be of sinful birth- women, Vaisyas, and Sudras even they attain the Supreme Goal.” Tr. Swami Nikhilananda

Hindu scholar named Swami Swarupananda writes,

”Of inferior birth…Shudras because by birth, the Vaishyas are engaged only in agriculture, etc., and the women and Shudras are debarred from the study of the Vedas.”  (source)

Swami Nikhilananda writes,

”The Vaisyas are engaged in agriculture and trade; women and Sudras are debarred from the study of the Vedas. Therefore all these classes of people remain outside the Vedic scheme of salvation…”  (source)

Another scholar named Swami Sivananda writes,

”…Women and Sudras are debarred by social rules from the study of the Vedas…” It’s difficult to argue against the extensive knowledge of Hinduism possessed by scholars of such stature, particularly someone as esteemed as Adi Shankaracharya.

Prohibition against imparting Vedic knowledge to individuals from lower castes,

📚Manusmriti 10.109-111📚
On (comparing) the acceptance (of gifts from low men), sacrificing (for them), and teaching (them), the acceptance of gifts is the meanest (of those acts) and (most) reprehensible for a Brahmana (on account of its results) in the next life. (For) assisting in sacrifices and teaching are (two acts) always performed for men who have received the sacraments; but the acceptance of gifts takes place even in (case the giver is) a Sudra of the lowest class. The guilt incurred by offering sacrifices for teaching (unworthy men) is removed by muttering (sacred texts) and by burnt offerings, but that incurred by accepting gifts (from them) by throwing (the gifts) away and by austerities.”  (source)

📚Manusmriti 11.181📚
By sharing the same bed, or cushion, or by riding in the same car with, or by eating in the company of a degraded person for a year, a man becomes degraded’ by teaching the Vedas to such a person, or by officiating as a priest at a sacrifice instituted by him, or by contracting any marital relation with him, one becomes degraded on the same day.”  (source)

📚Vasistha Dharmasutra 1.22📚
Now they quote also (the following verse): He who during a year associates with an outcast becomes (likewise) an outcast; not by sacrificing for him, by teaching him or by (forming) a matrimonial (alliance with him), but by using the same carriage or seat.”  (source)

📚Vishnu Smriti 71.48-52📚
He must not give advice to a Sûdra; Nor (must he give him) the leavings of his food, nor the residue of an oblation (unless he is his own servant); Nor (must he give him) sesamum; Nor (must he point out) the sacred law to him; Nor (must he prescribe) a penance (for him for atonement of a sin).”  (source)

📚Mahabharata 13.10.66-70📚
Unto Sudras, therefore, the Brahmanas should never give instructions. Hence, O king, the Brahmana should avoid imparting instructions (to such as are low-born), for it was by imparting instruction to a low-born person a Brahmana came to grief. O best of kings, the Brahmana should never desire to obtain instruction from, or impart instruction to, a person that belongs to the lowest order. Brahmanas and Kshatriyas and Vaisyas, the three orders, are regarded as twice-born. By imparting instruction unto these, a Brahmana does not incur any fault. They, therefore, that are good, should never discourse on any subject, for imparting any instruction, before persons of the inferior order.”  (source)

📚Vasistha Dharmasutra 20.45📚
Property received from outcasts, after forming alliances with them either by (teaching) the Veda (and by sacrificing) or by marriage, must be relinquished. Let him not associate with such (men).”  (source)

5.3 Difficult for a Shudra to Worship

📚Skanda Purana📚
He who worships and bows to the idols installed by Sudras, goes to hell along with ten ancestors and ten descendants. If one touches the idol worshipped by a Shudra, he will burn (get burnt) his family up to the seventh generation. Hence one must enquire and worship an idol that has been installed by Brahmanas. Better than this is an idol made by Devas. It yields worldly pleasures and salvation.”  (source)

📚Varaha Purana 186.49-50📚
But a Salagrama should not be touched by men of inferior caste or by women and Sudras. If a woman or Sudra touches it even out of curiosity, the result will be torment in hell till deluge.”  (source)

📚Narada Purana 1.23.26📚
The observer of the holy rite should never talk to one who nourishes his progeny through a Sudra woman, to the husband of a Sudra woman and to one who performs sacrifices on behalf of those who are not eligible for the same.”  (source)

A Shudra is not even allowed to utter ‘Om’/’Aum’,

📚Narada Purana 3.70.72-73📚
This is called Visnu Gayatri which removes all sins. Tara=om., hrt=namah, then bhagavan ending in the dative case, then vausdevaya. This great mantra consisting of twelve syllables gives enjoyment and salvation. This is to be used without tara=om by women and sudras but by the twice born it is used with tara=om.”  (source)

📚Narada Purana Uttarabhaga 61.51-53📚
The procedure for the holy dip and the repetition of Japas is, in regard to the three castes, the same as mentioned in the Vedas. O fair lady, in regard to the Sudras and the women the repetition of the Vedic texts is to be avoided…”  (source)

It is mentioned in Mahabharata,

📚Mahabharata 13.23.7📚
Food that has been eaten by a person incompetent to utter the syllable Om, or that has been eaten by a person bearing arms, O Bharata, or that has been eaten by a wicked person should be known to form the portion of Rakshasas.”  (source)

Kisari Mohan Ganguli writes in the footnote,

”i.e., any food, a portion of which has been eaten by any of these persons, is unworthy of being given away. If given, it is appropriated by Rakshasas. One incompetent to utter Om is, of course, a Sudra.”  (source)

📚Skanda Purana📚
The following six things cause downfall of women and Sudras: japa, penance, pilgrimage, renunciation of the world, practice of Mantras and initiation for the adoration of a deity.”  (source)

5.4 Shudras Cannot own Properties or Accumulate Wealth

📚Mahabharat 12.60.28-29📚
A Shudra should never amass wealth, lest, by his wealth, he makes the members of the three superior classes obedient to him. By this he would incur sin. With the king’s permission, however, a Shudra, for performing religious acts, may earn wealth.”  (source)

📚Mahabharata 12.166.8📚
The Shudra is not competent to celebrate a sacrifice. The king should, therefore, take away (wealth for such a purpose) from a Shudra’s house.”  (source)

📚Mahabharata 12.60.36📚
The Sudra should never abandon his master, whatever the nature or degree of the distress into which the latter may fall. If the master loses his wealth, he should with excessive zeal be supported by the Sudra servant. A Sudra cannot have any wealth that is his own. Whatever he possesses belongs lawfully to his master.”  (source)

📚Manusmriti 8.417📚
Let a Brahmana unhestitangly appropriate to himself whatever (his) Sudra (Slave) has earned, inasmuch as nothing can be belong to the latter, he being himself an enjoyable good of the Brahmana.”  (source)

📚Manusmriti 10.129📚
Even though he be able, the Shudra shall not amass wealth; for having acquired wealth, the Sudra harasses the Brahmanas.”  (source)

5.5 Shudras Cannot Eat the Leftover Food of Shraddhas

Hinduism even denies Shudras the right to consume the leftovers from a Shraddha ritual,

📚Manusmriti 3.249📚
He who, having eaten at a Shraddha, gives the leavings to a Shudra, this foolish man falls headlong into the Kalasutra hell.”  (source)

📚Brahmanda Purana 3.15.56📚
The leavings of food from a Sraddha should not be given to women or Sudras.”  (source)

Driven by compassion, a Brahmin might offer the remnants of their Shraddha meal to their Shudra servant, but this gesture is strictly limited to that individual and not extended to other Shudras, A ritual known as Bhuta Yajna involves utilizing the remaining food (not leftovers) to provide for dogs, pigs, and Chandalas,

📚Markandeya Purana 29.45-46📚
Having done reverence to the gods, and the pitri and guests, relatives likewise, and female relations, and gurus also, the griha stha who has substance should scatter the fragments on the ground for both dogs and low caste men and birds.”  (source)

📚Kurma Purana 2.18.105-106📚
With the cooked food that remains after the offering unto Devas, one should offer Bhuta Bali. This should be known as Bhuta Yajna. It is the bestower of prosperity unto all embodied beings. O excellent Brahmanas, the cooked food should be given to dogs, cooker of dogs (i.e. Candalas), fallen persons (i.e. outcastes) and birds, on the ground outside.”  (source)

📚Manusmriti 3.92📚
Let him gently place on the ground (some food) for dogs, outcasts, Kandalas (Svapak), those afflicted with diseases that are punishments of former sins, crows, and insects.”  (source)

5.6 No Capital Punishment for Abusing a Shudra

The irony lies in the fact that Shudras receive physical chastisement for insulting Dvijas (Twice-born), whereas Brahmins and other castes do not,

📚Gautama Dharmasutra 12.8-13📚
A Kshatriya (shall be fined) one hundred (Karsapanas) if he abuses a Brahmana. In case of an assault, twice as much. A Vaishya (who abuses a Brahmana, shall pay) one and a half (times as much as a Kshatriya). But a Brahmana (who abuses) a Kshatriya (shall pay) fifty (Karsapanas). One half of that (amount if he abuses) a Vaishya, (And if he abuses) a Shudra, nothing.”  (source)

📚Matsya Purana 227.67-68📚
A Ksatriya who abuses a Brahmana should be fined 100 Panas, a Vaisya doing so should be fined 200 Panas, and a Sudra if he does so should be sentenced to capital punishment. A Brahmana who abuses a Ksatriya should be fined 50 Panas, if he abuses a Vaisya, he should be fined 25 Panas and if he abuses a Sudra the fine should be 12 Panas.”  (source)

5.7 Shudras are Slaves of Upper Castes

📚Manusmriti 8.413📚
But a Shudra, whether bought or unbought, he shall make to do servile work; since it is for doing servile work for the Brahmana that he has been created by the self-born one.”  (source)

📚Parashar Smriti 1.64📚
The highest virtue for a Shoodra is to serve the members of the regenerate castes. Fruitless for him is everything else that he may do. ”  (source)

📚Parashar Smriti 2.1-2📚
Now, I shall explain, conformably to what Parasara formerly propounded, the law relating to the duties and observances prescribed for a householder, in the age of Kali ; also the rules of conduct, which, being common to all, are suited to the four castes and stages of life, so far as they are able to follow. A Brahman who regularly performs the six ceremonies, may also betake himself to agriculture. [The six ceremonies have been enumerated in Chp 1, Shloka 39. Madhava says that the causal form ‘karayet’, in connection with the practice of agriculture allowed in the Kali to the priestly class, has a special meaning: — he says that a Brahmana must employ ploughmen of the lower caste in carrying on his agricultural operations; he is not permitted himself to hold the plough.] ”  (source)

📚Parashar Smriti 2.14📚
Abandoning the service of the regenerate castes, the Shoodras who betake to improper occupations become short-lived beings, and undoubtedly go to hell.”  (source)

Swami Prabhupada, the founder of ISKCON, said that Shudras should be denied freedom and equal treatment,

Swami Prabhupada said, “Śūdra is to be controlled only. They are never given to be freedom. Just like in America. The blacks were slaves. They were under control. And since you have given them equal rights they are disturbing, most disturbing, always creating a fearful situation, uncultured and drunkards. What training they have got? They have got equal right? That is best, to keep them under control as slaves but give them sufficient food, sufficient cloth, not more than that. Then they will be satisfied.” Room Conversation Varṇāśrama System Must Be Introduced — February 14, 1977, Māyāpura  (source), Swami Prabhupada asserts that Shudras lack intelligence, “Sudras [black people] have no brain,” he said. “In America also, the whole [of] America once belonged to the Red Indians. Why they could not improve? The land was there. Why [did] these foreigners, the Europeans, came and improved [it]? So sudras cannot do this. They cannot make any [improvements].”  (source) “The real aim is tam abhyarcya, how to become Kṛṣṇa conscious. Everyone is…. Brāhmaṇa is guiding, kṣatriya is ruling, and vaiśya is producing food, and śūdra, they have no brain; they are helping.” Swami Prabhupada, Morning Walk — April 9, 1976, Vṛndāvana  (source) Prabhupada contends that Shudras are ignorant, “Those who are completely in ignorance are called śūdras. And those who are less than that are animals or animal life.” Swami Prabhupada, Room Conversation — November 3, 1976, Vṛndāvana  (source)

5.8 Killing a Shudra is Equal to Killing a Cat, Crow, or Dog

The atonement for killing a Shudra is often equated with the act of killing animals in several Hindu texts, whereas the Manu Smriti imposes the death penalty for the killing of a Brahmin.

📚Mahabharat 12.165.56📚
Having slain a Vaisya one should perform such a sacrifice for two years and make a present of a hundred kine with one bull. Having slain a Shudra, one should perform such a sacrifice for one vear and make a present of a hundred kine with one bull. Having slain a dog or bear or camel, one should perform the same penance that is laid down for the slaughter of a Shudra.”  (source)

📚Agni Purana 169.25-29📚
For acts which defile one (drinking of) boiled barley (water) for three days would be (the expiation). A fourth part (of the expiation) for the killing of a brahmin is prescribed for killing of a warrior class, an eighth part (for killing) a tradesman and a sixteenth part (for killing) the fourth class. Having killed a cat, a mongoose, a blue jay, a frog, a dog, godha (a kind of alligator), an owl, and a crow one should practise the expiation as for killing the shudra. For having killed an unsteady woman belonging to any one of the four castes and for having killed a woman unintentionally one should observe the expiation as for killing the fourth class. Doing breath-control is the expiation for killing all (beings) not having bones. One should practise the expiation santapana for having stolen things of little value from another’s house. One becomes pure after completing the vow.”  (source)

5.9 Untouchability/Cannot Touch a Low Caste

Hindu texts explicitly prohibit Dvijas (Brahmins, Kshatriyas, and Vaishyas) from physically interacting with individuals from lower castes, including Chandalas. The prescribed penance for touching lower castes involves consuming Panchagavya, a mixture consisting of cow urine, cow dung, milk, curd, and clarified butter. This ritual underscores the perceived hierarchy, suggesting that lower castes are considered inferior, even compared to cow waste. The Hindu caste system consists of four primary castes, and there is no recognition of a fifth caste. Groups like Chandala and Musahar are labeled as outcasts, existing outside the boundaries of these four Varnas. They are referred to as Achoots (Untouchables) within Hinduism. This status might stem from the prohibition for Dvijas to come into contact with them. Hindu texts further equate lower castes and women during menstruation with dogs and pigs, indicating that a Dvija must cleanse themselves if they come into contact with such individuals, The text even advocates death as a punishment for a lower caste person intentionally touching a higher caste individual,

📚Vishnu Smriti 5.104📚
If one who (being a member of the Kandala or some other low caste) must not be touched, intentionally defiles by his touch one who (as a member of a twice-born caste) may be touched (by other twice-born persons only), he shall be put to death.”  (source)

📚Angiras Smriti 1.39📚
When [a Brahmana] is touched by a woman in [her] menses, by a dog or by a Shudra, he becomes purified by the Parchagavya after fasting for a night.”  (source)

📚Angiras Smriti 1.9-10📚
If he on any occasion, touched by a Sudra who has not washed his mouth after taking meals, he should bathe and recite [the Gayatri] and shall become purified by [fasting for] half a day. If a Vipra is [similarly] touched by a Vaisya, a dog or a Sudra, he shall after fasting for one night become purified with the Panchagavya.”  (source)

📚Vyasa Smriti 1.10-12📚
To the third kind belong the sons begotten by Sudra fathers on mothers who are Brahmanis. Vardhakis (carpenters), Napitas (barbers), Gopas (milkmen), Ashapas, Kumbhakaras (potters), Vanik (traders), Kayasthas (Userers), Malakaras (flower-men), Varatas, Medas, Chandalas, Dasas, Shvapachas, Kolas and beef eaters belong to the lowest castes of men. Even a conversation with a person of any of these castes should be expiated by an ablution and a sight of the sun.”  (source)

📚Atri Smriti 1.74📚
By being touched by castes that should not be touched, one should bathe. He, who takes the residue of their food, should perform a distressing penance for six months.”  (source)

📚Parashar Smriti 6.25📚
If a Brahman drinks water from a tank excavated by a Chandala, and if it be done without knowledge, he will be pure by omitting one meal ; else it is necessary to fast for a day.”  (source)

📚Parashar Smriti 7.22📚
A Brahmana, who touched a dog, or a Sudra before washing his mouth, after eating, should fast for a day, and take the compound known as Panchagavyam in order to recover his cleanness.”  (source)

📚Yama Smriti Verse 41📚
A twice-born person, who has the leavings of food in his mouth, on being touched by such a person, a dog, or a Sudra become purified with the Panchagavya, after fasting for a night.”  (source)

📚Apastamba Dharmasutra 5.1-2📚
What would be the form of expiatory penance for a twice-born one, who, touched by a Chandala, drinks water before performing an A’chamanam? A Brahmana under the circumstance, should regain his purity by fasting for three nights and by taking Panchagavyam, while the term of the penance is two days only for a Kshatriya, its other factors remaining the same.”  (source)

📚Apastamba Dharmasutra 7.5📚
A woman in her menses, happened to be touched by a S’vapak or a Chandala, should fast for three nights and recover her purity by taking Panchagavyam, thereafter.”  (source)

📚Apastamba Dharmasutra 7.19📚
A Brahmana-woman in her menses, happening to be touched by a S’udra woman, similarly circumstanced as herself, should regain her purity by fasting for a whole day and night, and by taking Panchagavyam.”  (source)

📚Usana Smriti 9.75-76📚
By touching a Chandala, a woman who has given birth to a Child, a dead body, a woman in [her] menses or those touched by her, or any outcaste, one should bathe for purification. If, out of mistake, one touches an article touched by a Chandala, a woman who has given birth to a child, or a dead body, purification is attained by bathing, rinsing the mouth and [thereafter] reciting the Gayatri.”  (source)

📚Atri Smriti 1.185📚
if a twice-born person being anointed with oil or clarified butter, touches a Chandala; he should, after fasting for a day and night, purify [himself] with the Panchagavya.”  (source)

📚Atri Smriti 1.233📚
The foremost of the twice-born, when, having still the leavings of food in his mout, touched by a caste outside [the pale of the recogniged castes], should, after fasting for five nights, get purified with the Panchagavya.”  (source)

📚Atri Smriti 1.263-264📚
By touching a Chandala, an outcaste, a Mlechchha, a wine-bowl, or a woman in [her] menses, a twice-born person should not take his meals. If [he is touched by any of these] while taking [his] meals, [he must at once stop.] Thereafter he should not take his meals; and giving up his food, he should bathe. And being commanded by the Brahmanas, he should fast for three nights. And taking Yavaka (food prepared from barley) together with clarified butter, he should complete the sacrifice.”  (source)

📚Atri Smriti 1.273📚
By being touched by dogs, Chandalas, or crows, a woman in her menses should remain fasting till [the menstrual period] and should get herself purified by bathing in time.”  (source)

📚Samvarta Smriti Verse 178📚
By touching Chandala, an outcaste, a dead-body, a lowcaste, a woman in her menses, and a woman in a state of impurity consequent on child-birth, one should bathe with the cloth on.”  (source)

📚Apastamba Dharmasutra 4.5📚
A Brahmana, having touched a Chandala before washing his person after attending to a call of nature, should, for three nights, practise the proper expiatory penance, while the term of the penance should be extended to six days in case where he might have touched a Chandala before rinsing his mouth with water, after a meal.”  (source)

📚Usana Smriti 5.30-32📚
One should not touch a person of grim visage, a Mlechchha and a woman in menses.”  (source)

📚Angiras Smriti 1.37-38📚
One does not become of pure conduct so long as the menstrual flow continues. When the menses is stopped, a woman may be employed in domestic works and known for sexual purpose. On the first day [of the menses], she is a Chandala woman; on the second, she is the murderer of a Brahmana; on the third, she is called a washer-woman; and on the fourth day, she becomes purified.”  (source)

📚Narada Purana 1.14.2-3📚
I shall mention the atonement to the person who, while taking food, touches an impure or a fallen person or a Candala, either out of anger or due to ignorance. Such a person shall perform bath three times a day (trisavana snana) either for three days or for six days. A Brahmana becomes pure by sipping paca-gavya (the five products of the cow taking collectively, viz. milk, curds, clarified butter, urine, and cowdung).”  (source)

📚Vishnu Smriti 23.41
Mire and water in the ruts on a high road, defiled by the touch of a dog, of a crow, or of a low caste person, as well as buildings constructed of baked bricks are purified by the winds.”  (source)

📚Kurma Purana 2.34.65📚
A Brahmana, while Ucchista (with particles of food in the mouth or on hand) willfully touches Candalas or fallen persons (outcastes) should observe the Prajapatya vow for purification.”  (source)

📚Garuda Purana 1.222.20-21📚
A brahmin defiled by the touch of a dog or a Sudra defiled by Ucchista shall fast for a night and drink Pancagayva. He shall become pure. Touched by an outcaste he shall fast for five nights.”  (source)

5.10 Cannot Converse With a Low Caste

Hinduism forbids a Dvija (Twice-Born) from engaging in conversation with a low caste,

📚Apastamba Dharmasutra📚
As it is sinful to touch a Candala, (so it is also sinful) to speak to him or to look at him. The penance for these (offences will be declared).”  (source)

📚Usana Smriti 2.4-6📚
After conversing with a Chandala or a Mlechchha, after talking with abandoned women or with Sudras…drinking or touching urine and excreta, one should rinse his mouth again, even if he has rinsed it once…”  (source)

📚Vishnu Smriti 71.58-59📚
He must not speak to a woman in her courses; Nor to barbarians or low-caste persons.”  (source)

📚Vishnu Smriti 64.15📚
He must not converse, (after having bathed,) with barbarians, low-caste persons, or outcasts.”  (source)

5.11 Cannot Greet a Low Caste

📚Atri Smriti 1.308📚
He, who unknowingly salutes a low-caste person, should immediately bathe and get himself purified by taking clarified butter.”  (source)

5.12 Cannot Look at a Low Caste

📚Shatapatha Brahmana📚
And whilst not coming into contact with Sûdras and remains of food; for this Gharma is he that shines yonder, and he is excellence, truth, and light; but woman, the Sûdra, the dog, and the black bird (the crow), are untruth: he should not look at these, lest he should mingle excellence and sin, light and darkness, truth and untruth.”  (source)

📚Agni Purana 230.1-4📚
Mixtures of herbs and black cereals are inauspicious, Cotton, grass, dried cow-dung, wealth, charcoal, molasses and resin, one having a shaven head or one that has besmeared oil (for bathing) and one that is nude, iron, mud, hide and hair, a lunatic, an eunuch, a cāṇḍāla, a dog, an outcaste and others, men guarding the captives, a pregnant woman, widow and oil-cake, etc., dead (body), husk, ash, skull and bone and broken vessel are not commendable (to be seen).”  (source)

📚Usana Smriti 9.53📚
By taking food, out of ignorance, after seeing a Mahapatakin, a Chandala, or a woman in [her] menses, one is purified [by fasting] for three nights.”  (source)

📚Brahma Purana 113.140-147📚
This selfsame purificatory rite should be performed by intelligent persons after looking at the following persons etc. : a woman in her monthly course, a dead body that has been left abandoned and lying (unattended), persons devoid of righteousness or persons of other religions, a woman who has given birth to a child, a eunuch, a naked man, a man of the lowest caste, persons who have carried a dead body and those who are enamoured of other men’s wives.”  (source)

📚Parashar Smriti 6.24📚
On seeing a Chandala, let him look at the sun without a moment’s delay. For touching a Chandala, let him bathe with his clothing on.”  (source)

Hinduism further includes teachings that advise avoiding the presence of individuals who prepare food for Shudras, handle Shudra’s corpses, or are considered Chandala, often equating them with derogatory terms like bastards and thieves,

📚Brahma Vaivarta Purana Krishna Janma Khanda 78.33-41📚
O father, now I am going to describe to you things whose sight is sinful. Bad dream is the root of sin and sole cause of calamity. The sight of the following…the cook of a S’udra, one who burns the corpse of a S’udra, a Brahmin who eats food prepared in connexion with the funerals of a S’udra…a S’udra, a widow, a Candal…a bastard, a thief, a liar…a Brahmin who is the husband of a barren woman, a S’udra who commits adultery with a Brahmin woman…”  (source)

📚Manusmriti 4.140📚
Let him not journey too early in the morning, nor too late in the evening, nor just during the midday (heat), nor with an unknown (companion), nor alone, nor with Sudras.”  (source)

5.13 Cannot Even Step on the Shadow of a Low Caste

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar wrote, “The laws of caste are often as absurd as they are tyrannical. Thus into the city of Poona, under the Native Government, no low caste man was allowed to enter before 9 o’clock a.m., or to remain after 3 p.m. Why.? Because, before nine and after three he cast too long a shadow ; and wherever that shadow fell upon a Brahman it polluted him, so that he dared not taste food or water until he had bathed and washed the impurity away. So, also, no low caste man was allowed to live in a walled town. Cattle and dogs could freely enter and remain : but not the Untouchables.”  (source)

📚Usana Smriti 9.89📚
By getting on the shadow of a low-caste person, one should drink clarified butter after bathing. By looking at the Sun in an impure state, one should recite the Mantram,  Agnindraja.”  (source)

📚Kurma Purana 2.34.80📚
After serving food irregularly (partially to persons sitting) in the same line, one becomes purified of the sin by means of krcchra rites. On treading the shadow of a Kandala, one shall take bath and drink ghee.”  (source)

5.14 How does a Shudra who is Accused of a Crime Prove his Innocence

📚Agni Purana 255.35-47a📚
(The accused) that has bathed together with the dress and observed fast should be called up and made to carry all the ordeals in the presence of the king and brahmins. The balance is for women, boys, the aged, the blind, the lame, brahmins and the sick. The (ordeals of) fire, water and seven yava (weights) of poison are for the śūdra. (The accused) that is resorting to the balance is weighed by those conversant with balances. After the balance comes to rest, line is drawn and (the accused) is taken off. (The accused should begin the ordeal thus)…You were created by the gods in olden days. Speak the truth. O Auspicious one! Deliver me from suspicion. If I am a sinner, O mother! Then lead me downwards. If I am pure then take me upwards.”…After he has released the fire and rubbed rice (between his hand), the one that is not burnt gets (freed) as innocent. If the ball falls in between or if there is doubt, he should carry it again. (One should say as below in the water ordeal): “You are the most holy among the holy. O Purifier! You purify the accused. O Varuṇa! (You) protect me with the truth.” Having addressed (the water) thus, one should enter the water holding onto the thighs of a man standing in water upto his navel. His innocence would be established, if one bringing back an arrow simultaneously discharged, finds him fully dived (into the water). (In the case of the ordeal of poison one should address the poison as follows): “O Poison! the son of Brahmā: One established in truth and Virtue! Deliver me with your truth from this curse. You become ambrosia for me.” After having said thus, he should take the śārṅga poison that is got from the Himalaya mountain. His purity should be declared if he could assimilate (the poison) without vomitting.”  (source)

5.15 Eating Remnants of Dvija Master’s Meal

According to Hindu texts, a Shudra servant or slave is instructed to consume the leftovers from their Dvija master’s meal,

📚Manusmriti 10.125📚
The remnants of their food must be given to him, as well as their old clothes, the refuse of their grain, and their old household furniture.”  (source)

📚Mahabharata 13.143.29📚
As regards food, he should eat that which remains after the needs of all persons have been satisfied.”  (source)

📚Manusmriti 5.140📚
Sudras who live according to the law, shall each month shave (their heads); their mode of purification (shall be) the same as that of Vaisyas, and their food the fragments of an Aryan’s meal.”  (source)

The term “Shudra” in this context pertains to those Shudras who serve as domestic help in the households of Dvijas and also includes slaves. Additionally, Dvijas are forbidden from sharing their leftover food with other Shudras,

📚Manusmriti 4.80-81📚
Let him not give to a Sudra advice, nor the remnants (of his meal), nor food offered to the gods; nor let him explain the sacred law (to such a man), nor impose (upon him) a penance. For he who explains the sacred law (to a Sudra) or dictates to him a penance, will sink together with that (man) into the hell (called) Asamvrita.”  (source)

📚Vasistha Dharmasutra 18.14📚
Let him not give advice to a Śūdra, nor what remains from his table, nor (remnants of) offerings (to the gods); nor let him explain the holy law to such a man, nor order him (to perform) a penance.”  (source)

📚Manusmriti 11.153📚
But he who has eaten the food of men, whose food must not be eaten, or the leavings of women and Sudras, or forbidden flesh, shall drink barley (-gruel) during seven (days and) nights.”  (source)

5.16 Shudras Cannot Become Kings

📚Shrimad Bhagavatam 11.4.22📚
In his incarnation as Buddha, He shall bewilder by his arguments of ahimsa (non-injury) the Daityas performing sacrifices, though not entitled to the performance thereof. Then in the Kali Yuga, incarnating himself as Kalki He shall slay the Shudra kings.”  (source)

5.17 Shudras Cannot Take Part in Sacrifices

It is mentioned in Veda,

📚Krishna Yajur Veda📚
[After it the Anustubh metre] was created, the Vairaja Saman, of men the Çudra, of cattle the horse. Therefore the two, the horse and the Çudra, are dependent on others. Therefore the Çudra is not fit for the sacrifice, for he was not created after any gods.”  (source)

Shudras are forbidden from engaging in sacrifices due to their birth in a Shudra family. A key reason for this prohibition is the involvement of reciting Vedic mantras during the ritual, which Shudras are explicitly barred from uttering. Adi Shanakaracharya writes,”But this scriptural ability is denied by the prohibition of the right to study. As for the text, ”The Sudra is unfit for performing a sacrifice” (Tai. S.VII.i.1.6), since it is based on a logic having common application, it suggests that the Sudra has no right to knowledge as well, for the logic applies both ways.” Shankaracharya on Brahma Sutra 1.3.34, Tr. Swami Gambhiranand

It is mentioned in Brahmana,

📚Pancavimsa Brahmana 6.1.11📚
Out of his feet, his firm support, he created the twenty one fold (stoma); along with it of the metres the anustubh came into existence, of the deities none, of the men the Sudra. Therefore the Sudra is, it is true, rich in cattle, but excluded from the sacrifice, for he has no deity, as no deity had come into existence after him.”  (source)

📚Shiva Purana 6.12.22📚
The Vedas enjoin rituals for the first three castes. The Sudras are excluded since their only activity is service.”  (source)

📚Mahabharata 5.29.26📚
The following are the duties declared for a Sudra from the olden times. He should serve the Brahmanas and submit to them; should not study; sacrifices are forbidden to him; he should be diligent and be constantly enterprising in doing all that is for his good. The king protects all these with (proper) care, and sets all the castes to perform their respective duties. He should not be given to sensual enjoyments. He should be impartial, and treat all his subjects on an equal footing.”  (source)

📚Manusmriti 11.13📚
(Or) the (sacrificer) may take at his pleasure two or three (articles required for a sacrifice) from the house of a Sudra; for a Sudra has no business with sacrifices.”  (source)

📚Mahabharata 12.165.8📚
The Sudra has no competence for performing a sacrifice. The king should, therefore, take away (wealth for such a purpose) from a Sudra house of ours.”  (source)

📚Varaha Purana 211.4📚
Three castes participate in sacrifices and share their benefits in general. The Sudras are kept out by Brahmins from those that are purified by Vedas.”  (source)

📚Mahabharata 13.91.43-44📚
From the place where the Sraddha is being performed, the Chandala and the Swapacha should be excluded, as also all who wear clothes steeped in yellow, and persons affected with leprosy, or one who has been excasted (for transgressions), or one who is guilty of Brahmanicide, or a Brahmana of mixed descent or one who is the relative of an excasted man. These all should be excluded by persons possessed of wisdom from the place where a Sraddha is being performed…”  (source)

📚Vayu Purana 2.16.24📚
The naked and similar (apostates and non-Vedic sects) people should not see the Sraddha rite. This is the rule. Such Sraddhas as are seen by these, do not reach PItrs or Pitamahas.”  (source)

Ganesh Vasudeo Tagare writes, The text not only includes non Vedic sects like Jains and Buddhists but includes apostate Brahmins, atheists, committer of gross sins (maha-patakas).

📚Brahmanda Purana 3.11.87📚
The following should always be avoided in the Sraddha ceremonies; Sudras, milk of Avi (a variety of sheep), the varieties of grass named Balbaja, Virana and Otuvala, pebbles and Laddus (a sweetmeat?).”  (source)

📚Kurma Purana 2.16.54📚
Instructions regarding observance of holy vows should not be given to a Sudra; a learned man should not expound Dharma unto him. No one should submit to anger and avoid hatred and passion.”  (source)

📚Kurma Purana 1.2.25b-26📚
The Almighty Lord created Brahamanas from his mouth and the Ksattriyas from his arms. The Lord created Vaisyas from both of his thighs. The grand-sire of the universe created Sudras from the pain of his feet. Brahma created all castes excepting the Sudras, for the purpose of (performance of) sacrifices.”  (source)

📚Likhita Smriti Verse 6📚
The [three] twice-born castes have equal rights in both Ishta and Purtta works. A Sudra is entitled to [perform] Purtta [works] but not Vedic rites.”  (source)

📚Manusmriti 10.126📚
A Sudra cannot commit an offence, causing loss of caste (pataka), and he is not worthy to receive the sacraments; he has no right to (fulfil) the sacred law (of the Aryans, yet) there is no prohibition against (his fulfilling certain portions of) the law.”  (source)

📚Manusmriti 4.81📚
The Brahmana, who gives religious instructions to a Sudra, or advises him to practise a religious vow, is drowned with that Sudra in the hell of Asamvritam (unrestrained darkness).”  (source)

📚Mahabharata 13.128.5📚
That man who thinks it all right when a Sudra ignites the fire upon which he is to pour libations or who does not see any fault when women who are incompetent to assist at Sraddhas and other rites are allowed to assist at them, really becomes stained with sin.”  (source)

📚Varaha Purana 112.16-22📚
One who receives Kapila as a gift from a Sudra should be considered as most lowly like a Candala. Therefore let not a Brahmin receive the offering from Sudras. They are to be kept far away like dogs during sacrifices. They are discarded by the manes during new moon and full moon. They should not be spoken to and nothing should be received from them because they do only sinful deeds. Those (Sudras) who drink (the milk of) Kapila make their forefathers eat the filth in the earth for long. Note what happens to the Sudraas who feed on the milk, ghee and butter of the Kapila’s cows. They go to the terrible hell called Raurava. After living there for a hundred crores of years, they are born as dogs.”  (source)

📚Mahabharata 13.23.16📚
Those Brahmanas who pour libations on the sacred fire for Sudras, or who are preceptors of Sudras, or who as servants of Sudra masters, do not deserve to be invited.”  (source)

📚Narada Purana 1.15.32b-34📚
The Brahman who, on being invited by a Sudra, partakes of his food, should be known as a wine addict. He is excluded from all holy rites. That mean fellow who does the work of an attendant with the permission of a Sudra, incurs a sin equal to drinking of wine…”  (source)

📚Markandeya Purana 14.84📚
By receiving favours from an outcaste, by performing sacrifices for an outcaste, by constant attendance on an outcaste, a man ever reaches the condition of an insect that lives among stones.”  (source)

📚Markandeya Purana 15.1📚

”For accepting anything of value from an outcaste, let a dvija be born an ass; but let him who sacrifices for the outcaste become a worm, on his release from hell.”  (source)

📚Vamana Purana 12.36📚
He who accepts Daksina from Candalas or Sudras, the priest and the person employing the priest to perform a sacrifice, every one of them is born as a big insect inside stone slabs.”  (source)

📚Brahma Purana 108.37-43📚
A Brahmana though well versed in the Vedas is born as an ass if he receives charity from a fallen person…If he officiates at a sacrifice performed by a low person, he is born a worm and in the form of a worm he lives for fifteen years. Released from the form of worm he is born an ass and in the form of an ass he lives for five years; in the form of a cock for five years; in the form of a jackal for five years; then he is born in the form of man; then a jealous person; then an animal…”  (source)

📚Yama Smriti Verse 29-32📚
one who officiates as a priest for those to whom no such service should be given…all these should be carefully shunned at a Sraddha and [while making gifts].”  (source)

📚Gautama Dharmasutra 20.1📚
Let him cast off a father who assassinates a king, who sacrifices for Sudras, who sacrifices for his own sake (accepting) money from Sudras…”  (source)

📚Usana Smriti 4.23-30📚
The following are disqualified to be present at the Sraddha ceremony:- Those, who sell the Sruti; those who marry widows; those, who enter in to a locked room without the permission of the owner; and those, who officiate as priests for inferior castes; are described as out-castes.”  (source)

📚Usana Smriti 9.56📚
By officiating as a priest for servants, [or by helping] others (i.e., other castes) in other rites, by performing rites causing death to another person, and other unworthy deeds, [a Brahmana] becomes purified by three distressing penances.”  (source)

Smritis state that if a Shudra wife is involved in assisting the sacrifice, the food offered to gods and ancestors will not be accepted,

📚Manusmriti 3.18📚
The oblations, offered by a twice-born one who is assisted by a Sudra woman in the capacity of his principal married wife in the rite of a Pitri or Daivaa Sraddha ceremony, neither the manes, nor the divinity partake of. Even by practicing hospitality to Atithis, he cannot ascend to heaven, after death.”  (source)

📚Vishnu Smriti 26.7📚
The gods and Pitris do not accept the oblations offered to them by (twice born ones), who perform the Daiva and Pritri (sacrifices), or propitiate the Atithis, in the company of their Sudra wives; such men go to hell.”  (source)

Proofs that Shudras were excluded from sacrifices,

📚Mahabharata 2.35.8-10📚
And, O king, that platform crowded with gods, Brahmanas and great Rishis looked extremely handsome like the wide expanse of the firmament studded with stars. O monarch, there was then no Sudra near that platform of Yudhisthira’s mansion, nor anybody that was without vows. “And Narada, beholding the fortunate Yudhisthira’s prosperity that was born of that sacrifice, became highly gratified.”  (source)

Shudras are prohibited from taking part in or conducting sacrifices in Hinduism. Although they are permitted to engage in minor sacrifices, they are not allowed to recite any mantras. The rationale behind their exclusion from sacrifices stems from the prohibition for Shudras to hear any mantras,

📚Mahabharata 12.60📚
Sacrifice has been laid down as a duty of the three other orders. It has been ordained for the Sudra also, O Bharata! A Sudra, however, is not competent to utter swaha and swadha or any other Vedic mantra. For this reason, the Sudra, without observing the vows laid down in the Vedas, should worship the gods in minor sacrifices called Paka-yajnas.”  (source)

Apart from the sacrifice offered to Manes, Shudras are restricted from performing any other form of sacrifice. Instead, it’s emphasized that serving the twice-born (Dvija) is deemed equivalent to a form of sacrifice for Shudras,

📚Vayu Purana 1.57.50📚
Aranbha (expedition or enterprise) was a sacrifice for Ksattriyas. Havis (offering of ghee etc.) was the Yajna of Vaisyas. Sudras had service as Yajna and excellent Brahmanas had Japa (chanting of Mantras) as their Yajna.”  (source)

The verse from the Vayu Purana refers to the Treta Yuga, the second age in Hindu cosmology. It underscores the notion that service to the twice-born (Dvija) was the form of sacrifice designated for Shudras during that era. This highlights that Shudras were prohibited from conducting sacrifices even in that earlier time. This principle extends beyond just the Treta Yuga and applies to the current Kali Yuga as well, as mentioned in the Mahabharata,

📚Mahabharata 12.232📚
The growing of corn is the sacrifice laid down for the Vaisyas. Serving the three other orders is the sacrifice laid down for the Sudras.”  (source)

Contact with dogs, pigs and low-castes invalidate a sacrifice,

📚Manusmriti 3.240-241📚
What (any of) these sees at a burnt-oblation, at a (solemn) gift, at a dinner (given to Brahmanas), or at any rite in honour of the gods and manes, that produces not the intended result. A boar makes (the rite) useless by inhaling the smell (of the offerings), a cock by the air of his wings, a dog by throwing his eye (on them), a low-caste man by touching (them).”  (source)

6. How are Discriminations Justified by the Karma Doctrine

📚Agni Purana 369.15-20📚
O Twice-born! A person who does sinful deeds, would enjoy (the fruits of good deeds at first) in the heaven. Then he takes a second body of sinners to experience (the fruits of sin). After experiencing the fruits of sin one that has enjoyed heaven, is thereafter born in a pure and prosperous family. A person doing pious deeds having (a little of) sin would first experience (the fruits of) the sin and when that body is dissolved would attain a beautiful body. A person gets freed from hell even if a little of past deed still remains. There is no doubt that he would be born as an animal after getting liberated from hell. The soul after having entered the womb dwells in the foetus. It gets hard in the second (month). The limbs (grow) in the third (month). Bones, skin and flesh (are formed) in the fourth (month). Hair grows in the fifth (month. Heart (is formed) in the sixth. The soul feels pain in the seventh.”  (source)

📚Garuda Purana 1.113.27-29📚
Neither the son with Pinda-dana and other rites nor the father with various rites for the welfare of the son can ward off the adverse influence of karma. In the physical bodies born as a result of karma, different kinds of illness, physical or mental, fall in quick succession like the shafts discharged by a skilful archer. Hence, a courageous man should view objects in the light of shastric (scriptural) injunctions and not otherwise. In every birth, a man reaps the fruits of his previous merits and demerits in the respective ages of infancy, youth or old age at which the actions had been performed.”  (source)

📚Markandeya Purana 10.92📚
Among mosquitoes and such like. After having been born among elephants, trees and such like, among cattle, and among horses also; and among other evil and noxious creatures; he attains humanity, and is born a man, contemptible as a hunch-back or a dwarf; among Candalas, Pukkasas and such-like castes; and then accompanied by the remainder of his sin and merit, he enters the castes in ascending order, such as Shudras, Vaishyas, kings and so on; also the position of Brahmans, the gods and Indra. Sometimes in descending order, and thus evil-doers fall headlong into the hells. “What happens to righteous-doers, listen while I declare that. They take the holy course decreed by Yama. Bands of Gandharvas singing, bevies of Apsaras dancing, brilliant with various celestial garlands, bedecked with strings of pearls.” (source)

7. Prohibition on Intercaste Marriage

📚Matsya Purana 227.131📚
If a low caste man wishes to marry a high caste girl and does so would be punished with death; similarly a high class woman marrying a low caste man should be punished with death.”  (source)

📚Brahma Purana 108.74-77📚
He who disregards his elderly brother, who is no less respectable than his own father, is born a heron. He lives in that form for ten years. Then he is born a cakora bird, then a man. If a Sudra approaches a Brahmin woman he is born a worm.”  (source)

📚Brahma Purana 115.29-30📚
A Brahmin falls off from his status if he is a wine addict, a brahmin-slayer, a thief, a robber, one who has violated the vow of holy observances, an unclean one who refrains from regular study of the Vedas, is a sinner, a greedy person, one who indulges in misdemeanour, is a knave, one who does not observe religious vows, is the husband of a Sudra woman, one who has taken food for sustenance from a bastard, one who sells Soma juice and one who serves a mean person.”  (source)

📚Parashar Smriti 1.67📚
By drinking the milk of a tawny cow, by cohabiting with a woman of the Brahman caste, by discussing the sense of the words of the Veda, a Shoodra becomes a Chandala (Lowest sect) ”  (source)

📚Parashar Smriti 7.7📚
If a Brahman, deluded by ignorance and pride, comes to marry a girl of the aforesaid kind, he does not deserve to be spoken to ; food should never be partaken in company with him : that Biahman becomes the husband of a Shoodra girl.”  (source)

📚Brahma Purana 106.121📚
There is a hell named Gudapaka. It is full of boiling eddies of treacle and molasses. A man responsible for the mixture in castes is thrown into it. He is burnt therein.”  (source)

📚Agni Purana 227.43-47📚
A woman defiled by one of the superior (caste) should have her head shaved. A brahmin copulating with a vaiśya woman and a kṣatriya going to a woman of the low caste (should be fined) with the first (variety of fine). A kṣatriya and a vaiśya are punishable for going to a śūdra woman…”  (source)

No expiation for Brahmins engaging in sexual relations with a woman of lower caste,

📚Manusmriti 3.19📚
There is no expiation for him who has drunk the moisture of the mouth of a Shudra woman, who has been tainted by her breath, and who has begotten children on her.”  (source)

8. Myths of Caste Mobility

Some common misconceptions perpetuated by certain individuals within the Hindu community assert that Varna solely pertains to occupation and has no correlation with the caste based on birth. However, an examination of relevant verses from the Hindu scriptures serves to dispel this fallacy. Within these texts, it is elucidated that an individual belonging to a specific Varna is indeed bound by the responsibilities and duties associated with their specific caste or varna. Nonetheless, in times of hardship or limited alternatives, an individual belonging to a higher Varna is permitted to engage in the occupation of an individual from a lower Varna. This clarification unequivocally establishes that Varna is not solely determined by one’s occupation, but rather an inherent status bestowed at birth.

📚Gautama Dharmasutra 7.4-7📚
(In times of distress it is permissible) to offer sacrifices for (men of) all (castes), to teach (them), and to accept (presents from them). Each preceding (mode of living is) preferable (to those named later). On failure of the (occupations lawful for a Brahmana) he may live by the occupations of a Kshatriya. On failure of those, he may live by the occupations of a Vaishya.”  (source)

📚Manusmriti 10.81-82📚
If he is unable to subsist by these two occupations, and the question arises as to how it should be, he may live the living of the Vaishya, having recourse to agriculture and cattle-tending. If the Brahmana is unable to subsist by his own occupation as described above, he may make a living by the function of the Kshatriya; since this latter is next to him.”  (source)

📚Vashista Dharmasutra 2.22-24📚
Those who are unable to live by their own lawful occupation may adopt (that of) the next inferior (caste), but never (that of a) higher (caste). (A Brahmana and a Kshatriya) who have resorted to a Vaishya’s mode of living, and maintain themselves by trade (shall not sell) stones, salt, hempen (cloth), silk, linen (cloth), and skins.”  (source)

📚Vishnu Smriti 2.15📚
In times of distress, each caste may follow the occupation of that next (below) to it in rank.”  (source)

9. Ram Kills Shambuka

📚Valmiki Ramayana Uttar khand Chp 76📚
Hearing the words of Rama of imperishable exploits, that ascetic, his head still hanging downwards, answered: “O Rama, I was born of a Shudra alliance and I am performing this rigorous penance in order to acquire the status of a God in this body. I am not telling a lie, O Rama, I wish to attain the Celestial Region. Know that I am a Shudra and my name is Shambuka.” As he was yet speaking, Raghava, drawing his brilliant and stainless sword from its scabbard, cut off his head. The Shudra being slain, all the Gods and their leaders with Agni’s followers, cried out, “Well done! Well done!” overwhelming Rama with praise, and a rain of celestial flowers of divine fragrance fell on all sides, scattered by Vayu. In their supreme satisfaction, the Gods said to that hero, Rama: “You have protected the interests of the Gods, O Highly Intelligent Prince, now ask a boon, O Beloved Offspring of Raghu, Destroyer of Your Foes. By your grace, this Shudra will not be able to attain heaven!”  (source)