I have received an email from a reader asking about caste and preference for certain deities. Before I answer it I should point out that I don’t believe that hereditary caste is part of Hinduism. I wrote a post “The Caste System” where I discussed this issue . The Hindu American Foundation’s statement “Not Cast in Caste” also makes it clear that caste and Hinduism are not necessarily linked.
The pertinent part of the email I received is as follows:
My name is Jason and I am a student at Western Michigan University studying Religions of The World. My explorations in religions of India have lead me to the following question about Hinduism:
Preference for certain deities is somewhat caste and profession-linked among Hindus. When matching up the deities with the Indian social divisions, which deities do might go with which groups, and why?
Mainly I am concerned with the Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Kali, and Lakshmi.
Thank you very much for taking the time to read and respond to my message. I look forward to hearing your response.
I decided to respond to this email in a post because though I can give a reasonable theological answer I am sure that some of you reading this know a lot more about the day-to-day practices than I do. Any comments will be most welcome.