By Swami Harshananda
Varṇasañkara literally means ‘intermixing of varṇas or castes’.
Though the leaders of the society, especially the king and the brāhmaṇas, were very particular in preserving the purity of the varṇa system, mixing up did take place giving rise to several sub-castes and their offshoots. This mixing up was called Varṇaśañkara or intermixing of varṇas.
Repercussions of Varṇasañkara
This was considered bad for the society. Though anuloma marriages were tolerated and pratiloma marriages were frowned upon, Varṇaśañkara could not be prevented. Even by the time of the Mahābhārata Varṇaśañkara had already taken place to a large extent. It was the duty of the king to see that purity of the varṇa-āśrama-dharma or system was kept up and punishment awarded to the transgressors.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore