Today, let us take a trip down Greek “history” lane, approximately dated thousands of years ago. In the beginning (of universe) was Hecatoncheires (Greek for thousand headed, thousand eyed creature). From him formed the universe and he formed the human society. His mouth formed the Athens (upper class), Metics were his arms (middle class), freedmen (lower class) from his thighs and slaves were born from his feet.
What do you make of this brief creation story of our universe and creation of modern day society? If you were born Greek/a keen student of Greek mythology, certain names would be familiar but not the story. For a non-Greek person who has never heard of this, it would feel completely balderdash. And complete balderdash it is. I just made this story right now.
But consider this. Substitute Hecatoncheires creature with Purusha and substitute Greek society classes with castes existing in India and we have what is termed as “पुरुषसूक्त” (Purusha-Suktam). And I quote 2 verses below.
ॐ सहस्रशीर्षा पुरुषः सहस्राक्षः सहस्रपात् |
स भूमिं विश्वतो वृत्वा अत्यतिष्ठद्दशाङ्गुलम् |
Purusha has thousand heads, thousand-eyes and thousand legs. He encircles the earth from all sides and transcends it by ten finger length
ब्राम्हणोस्य मुखमासीत् बाहू राजन्यः कृतः ||
ऊरू तदस्ययद्वैश्यः पदभ्यां शूद्रो अजायत ||
The Brahmana was his mouth; the Kshatriya were his arms. His thighs were the Vaisya and from his feet Sudra were born
I promise. Above creation story is completely real. This is the first mantra of the Purusha-suktam. As per Vedas, this is exactly how the universe was formed and this is how the society classes (castes) were derived.
Do we believe what we believe because of where we are born? Are we just a geographical construct?