How many departments are there in Brahmins?

Max Weber's analysis of the Indian caste system

structure

introduction

First part
The geographical and religious framework of the caste system
1. Geographical limitation
1.1. Spread of Hinduism
1.2. The state of India
2. Doctrine and rite of Hinduism

Second part
The social structure of the caste system
1. The social structure category "caste"
1.1. Sect and church
1.2. Tribes
1.3. Guilds and guilds
1.4. Clans
2. The breakdown of the castes
2.1. The Brahmins
2.2. The kschatriya
2.3. The Vaiçya
2.4. The Çudra
2.5. The casteless

third part

Conclusion

bibliography

introduction

Maximilian Carl Emil Weber (born April 21, 1864; + June 14, 1920) wrote with his collection of essays “The Business Ethics of World Religions” from 1916 to 1918, the follow-up work to his Protestant studies “The Protestant Ethics and the Spirit of Capitalism” and “The Protestant Sects and the spirit of capitalism ”. In “The Business Ethics of the World Religions” he dealt with Confucianism and Taoism, ancient Judaism and the Pharisees as well as Hinduism and Buddhism. For the latter two he wrote the essays “The Hindu Social System”, “The Orthodox and Heterodox Salvation Teachings of Indian Intellectuals” and “The Asian Religiousness of Sects and Savior”.

In the present work I am mainly concerned with “The Hindu Social System” in order to deal with Weber's analyzes of the Indian caste system. With this work, however, I do not claim to deal with the business ethics of Hinduism in its entirety, as this would go beyond the scope of a simple housework on the one hand. On the other hand, it would probably amount to a simple summary of Weber's work "Hinduism and Buddhism". In addition, it is important to me to check the content of Weber's analyzes (at least in the beginning) to ensure that they are up to date. A certain topicality is assumed from the outset, because after all, the essays are still among the standard works for anyone interested in India, not only from the field of economics and social sciences. So I very much hope that although Weber wrote his study of Hinduism between 1917 and 1918, I will succeed in this “historical step forward” of more than ninety years.

First part

The geographical and religious framework of the caste system

In the first part of this work it should be discussed what the basic framework conditions of the caste system are. Since the caste system goes hand in hand with Hinduism not only in Weber's understanding but also quite obviously, the current extent of Hinduism should be presented here under the item "Geographical Limitation" on the one hand. And because Weber understandably only referred to India (in the sense of the time), on the other hand it should also be roughly outlined how India is to be located currently and historically. A discussion of Hinduism as a religion takes place under the point "Doctrine and Rite of Hinduism", in which I try to present a brief understanding of Hinduism, which partly goes beyond Weber's analyzes.

1. Geographical limitation

1.1. Spread of Hinduism

The caste system associated with Hinduism is not geographically very widespread. With a population of around 1.2 billion people, of which more than 924 million (80.5 percent) are Hindus, India is considered the Hindu metropolitan area, to which Max Weber with his essay "The Hindu Social System" (1917/1918 ) also put his main focus. The other 19.5 percent of the population are divided between Muslims (13.4 percent), Christians (2.3 percent), Sikh (1.9 percent) and other (1.8 percent) or undefined religions (0.1 percent) ).

Hinduism is also becoming more widespread: in the continental neighboring countries of Bangladesh (16 percent of the more than 156 million people living there are Hindus) and Bhutan (with a 25 percent Hindu share of almost 700,000 people, 28.4 percent apply as Hindus; in Guyana's neighboring state to the east of Suriname, whose population is around 476,000 people, 27.4 percent are Hindus (Hinduism is thus the religion with the largest number of followers in both states). 26 percent of the world's population is Hinduism, after Christianity and Islam, the third largest religion in the world (see Central Intelligence Agency 2009).

But even if Hinduism assumes a more widespread spread than previously expected, the practice of the caste system only takes place in India, Sri Lanka and on the Indonesian island of Bali, the latter two of which are to be ignored in this housework.

1.2. The state of India

The geography of today's state of India extends over almost the entire subcontinent. A natural border forms the long coast, which is formed by the Indian headland in the shape of a wedge in the Indian Ocean, between the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. On the eastern arm, India encompasses the state of Bangladesh in the shape of a pincer and borders with seven smaller states on Myanmar (German: Burma or Burma), the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China (whereby the border runs along the state of Arunachal Pradesh, which is a disputed territory since the area is claimed by China) and Bhutan. The north borders along the Himalayas on Nepal and in turn on the Tibetan part of China. In the northwest, India borders Pakistan. Various territorial claims are also being made in the northern area around the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir: from India to the east and north of the state on the areas of Aksai Chin and Shaksam Valley, which are under Chinese administration, and on the areas to the west and north of the state Azad Kashmir and the Northern Territories under Pakistani administration; Pakistan, in turn, claims the area around the Siachen glaciers north of Jammu and Kashmir against the Indian administration. In addition, three archipelagos (Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar Islands) belong to India, which are off the subcontinent in the Indian Ocean. (See Central Intelligence Agency 2009).

Weber refers in "The Hindu Social System" to the borders of British India, which were in place between the years 1886 and 1937 and, in addition to the territory of today's Republic of India, also the areas of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the People's Republic of Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) and the Union of Myanmar.

2. Doctrine and rite of Hinduism

“Hindu” is an expression that only came up for the non-converted natives of India since the Muslim rule. As “Hinduism” they themselves began to refer to their religious affiliation in modern literature. ”(Weber 1917/1918, p. 4). As a result of this foreign rule, the socialization of the Hindus that took place, Hinduism, as a polytheistic religion, unites several goddesses and gods, whose own diversity is further developed through the high diversity of different divine incarnations (for example Rama the seventh incarnation of god Vishnu, Krishna embodies the eighth). All of their stories are conveyed both in the sacred scriptures of Hinduism, the Vedas, and in numerous Indian folk tales.

The reception of these deities, all of which can be understood as a representation of a single all-pervading divinity, varies between the different regions of India and the different sects of Hinduism. This is how the elephant-headed god learns in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), the capital of the state of Maharashtra Ganesha ("Lord of hosts") high worship; in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), the capital of the state of West Bengal, the goddess of death becomes Potash ("The black one"), who also acts as the namesake of the city. There are also confessional divisions between the individual Hindu currents: "There are some Vishnu and Çiva sects among the Brahmins who never even utter the names of the other's gods." (Ibid., P. 22). However, the goddesses and gods represented in Hinduism are "not ethical gods, but function and hero gods, and they relate to one another and to the 'world' like the function and hero gods in Homer". (Schluchter 1991, p. 116). In this way, similar to the Homeric interpretation, they can also be brought into a certain ranking, the basis of which, however, is not a father of gods (such as Zeus), but the trinity of gods Brahma ("the creator"), Vishnu (“The sustainer”) and Shiva ("The destroyer") (cf. Weber 1917/1918, p. 25), as well as their female counterparts or feminine aspects of the divine in sequence Sarasvati, Lakshmi and Parvati, forms. In this trinity of deities (Trias or Trimurti), Hinduism shows itself to be similar to Christianity in that its teaching also relates to the Holy Trinity of "father“, „son" and "Holy Spirit“Appeals, even if this interpretation cannot be transferred one-to-one. Another thing the two religions have in common is the similarity of Kalki, the tenth (outstanding) incarnation Vishnuswho will cleanse the world at its end, at the second coming of Jesus Christ as judges over the dead (Revelation 20, 13: “They were judged, each according to his works”).

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