Niṣāda

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niṣāda (‘one who sits [or lives on the outskirts of a village]’) Though the fourfold division of the Hindu society, designated as the varṇa- system, is very ancient, mixing up of the varṇas (varṇasañkara) either within the ambit of the sacrament of marriage or outside it, was a real and continuing phenomenon. This gave rise to many new castes and subcastes. The niṣāda is one such. Niṣādas were the offsprings of a brāhmaṇa male from a śṅdra woman. They were considered to be outside the pale of the four castes. They are often described as dark in colour with reddish eyes and living by hunting wild animals. The Rāmāyana (Ayodhyākānda 50.33; 52.77-92) mentions that Guha who was the chieftain of the niṣādas, helped Rāma to cross the Gaṅgā river. Later he took Bharata to meet Rāma (ibid 89.12-19). In music, niṣāda (ni) is the seventh note. It is supposed to come out of the region of lalāṭa (forehead) and resemble the sound of an elephant.