• Religion,  Sociology

    What is Daivī Varna System?

    The previous post identified two impersonalist tendencies—i.e. “we are one” and “we are equal”—and discussed their respective impacts on Indian and Western societies. The post also discussed how a personalist system based in hierarchical thinking (rather than equality or oneness) is necessary for social organization. This post carries forward that topic, and identifies two kinds of personalist social systems—one material and the other spiritual. These are respectively called Varṇa and daivī Varṇa systems. When talking about the Varṇa system, people often think that we are talking about the material system, which previously led to the modern “caste system”. There is, however, another Varṇa system—the daivī Varṇa system—which is different from…

  • Economics,  Religion

    How Culture Influences Religion

    We generally think of religion as something that pertains to transcendence beyond the current material existence. The reality, however, is that the day-to-day practice of religion involves societies whose cultural norms must be compatible with the tenets of the religion. If there is a misfit between culture and religion, then most likely the religion would be changed rather than the culture. This fact has important implications for the understanding of religion, namely, that the vision of transcendence we create is often determined by the vision of material existence we currently want to lead. Similarly, those serious about the long-term viability of religion must pay close attention to its cultural fit.…