From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Varṇasañkara literally means ‘intermixing of varṇas or castes’.

Varṇaśañkara Definition[edit]

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[1] was called Varṇaśañkara or intermixing of varṇas.

Repercussions of Varṇasañkara[edit]

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.[2]


  1. It means a person of one varṇa marrying a person of another varṇa and having children by that union.
  2. Gautama Dharmasutras 11.9 and 10
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

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