Why low-caste people are not allowed inside some temples and homes?
Well,the Hindu Shastras ,mostly consider the lowest caste,the Sudra,as being impure and also consider that they can transmit this impurity to other objects or living beings by touch or association etc.
Similar are the rules,for the fallen caste or the outcaste or the chandala.
I'm adding here a few verses from the Parashara Smriti,which is widely regarded as the Dharma Shastra to be followed in the current Yuga i.e the Kali Yuga.
21. If himself unwashed, he is touched by a Shoodra, who, however, is not unwashed, — the purification is to wash himself. If an unwashed Shoodra touches an unwashed regenerate man, the latter must perform the prajapatya penance
Bronze vessels smelt by a cow, or polluted by a dog or a crow, or if a Shoodra has made them unclean by eating off them, are rendered pure, when they have been ten times rubbed with ashes.
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.
The above verses make it clear that the Sudras have the ability to make things/beings impure by his touch.
Some more verses:
To eat a Shoodra's food, to associate with him, to sit in the same place with, him, and receive knowledge by his instruction, would cause degradation even to one who resembles the kindled fire
Salt, honey and oil, curded milk, whey, and milk all these are not polluted by the touch of persons of the Shoodra caste.Shoodra may sell these to all the castes.
Verse 35 clearly states that a Sudra can make many things impure simply by his touch .
The Manu Smriti states that Sudras are created out of Tamas(the mode of darkness,ignorance etc)(one of the 3 Gunas,the other two being Sattva and Rajas).
Manu Smriti 12.43. Elephants, horses, Sudras, and despicable barbarians, lions, tigers, and boars (are) the middling states, caused by (the quality of) Darkness.
So,the temple priests,who are all Brahmins,might be apprehensive of the fact that ,if the Sudras by accident touch them or any other objects in Temples,might render them impure.
To make them and themselves pure again(which is of course the first necessity in rituals) would be a cumbersome job.
That is probably the reason why such prohibitions are there regarding the Sudras and the outcastes entering Temple premises.
Although, i don't really know which Temples actually have such restrictions.
Also, take a look at the following verse which says that it is not all about caste by birth only:
- A Brahman, ignorant of the Gayatri hymn, is more unclean than even a Shoodra ; the Brahmans who know the nature and the sanctity of the Gayatri hymn, are honored and revered by all persons(Parashara Smriti)
So,even an ignorant Brahmin should be stopped from entering Temples.
But preventing Sudras from entering houses of the Higher castes is of course not supported by Scriptures.Because, to serve the higher castes is considered to be the only job of a Sudra.And to serve anyone a Sudra should first be allowed entry to his house.
The Vedas state that the Sudras are created from the feet of the Supreme Being.So,like everyone else,they are also a part of the Almighty,and they too reserve the right to worship the Almighty.
brāhmao’sya mukham ās īt | bāhūrājanyakta | ūrū tada sya yad vaiśya | padbhy āgśūdro aj āyata || 13 ||
The brahmin was his mouth, of both His arms was the Raja made. His thighs became the Vaishya, from His feet was the Shudra produced. 13(Purusha Suktam verse 13)
So,i am not quite in favor of stopping them from entering Temples.
Also,its not practically possible to check either, if someone entering a Temple is a Sudra(by birth) or an ignorant Brahmin like the one described above.
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