Sūta is the narrator of the Bhagavatam and the father of Ugrasrava (Sauti.)
Sūta jathi: At the time of the Mahabharatam, Suta was name given to a specific mixed-jathi where the mother was a brahman and the father was a Kshatriya. Charioteering and story telling were two of the occupations allowed to them. In fact Vyasa taught the Puranas and Itihasas to Romaharshana because he was a sūta. (Maybe he thought that fighting side of his nature would enjoy retelling stories of battles, while the contemplative side would make him wish to avoid an actual battle!)
Sūta Putra. All of us, without exception, have had our heart broken by the incident in Karna’s story, where his jathi as a Suta Putra (son of a suta), comes in the way of his resplendent merit and he is told to go pick up a whip to control horses instead of a bow.
During the time of Yayati’s (Kshatriya) marriage to Devayani (Brahman – Sukracharya’s daughter), their son Yadu was never referred to as a Suta, nor his children as Suta Putras. There was no name for it, because there were no restrictions. Sri Krishna himself was a Yadava, a descendant of Yadu and his brother, Balarama was the king of Dwaraka.
Merit or Reservation. Vyasa (like Bharadwaja) was deeply sympathetic to *merit as opposed to jathi (race) as evident from his heart wrenching narration of Karna’s story. In modern times the “reservation vs merit” debate continues. Some people are pro-reservation and some people are anti-reservation., but the idea of reservations in some form or the other have been with us for 5000 years, since the end of Dwapara Yuga.
(Sūta is not to be confused with sanskrit word Suta which means son.)
*……..”Might is the cardinal virtue of a Kshatriya, and even a Kshatriya of inferior birth deserveth to be fought with. The lineage of heroes, like the sources of a lordly river, is ever unknown. The fire that covereth the whole world riseth from the waters. The thunder that slayeth the Danavas was made of a bone of (a mortal named) Dadhichi. The illustrious deity Guha, who combines in his composition the portions of all the other deities is of a lineage unknown. Some call him the offspring of Agni; some, of Krittika, some, of Rudra, and some of Ganga. It hath been heard by us that persons born in the Kashatriya order have become Brahmanas. Viswamitra and others (born Kshatriyas) have obtained the eternal Brahma. The foremost of all wielders of weapons, the preceptor Drona hath been born in a waterpot and Kripa of the race of Gotama hath sprung from a clump of heath. Your own births, ye Pandava princes, are known to me. Can a she-deer bring forth a tiger (like Karna), of the splendour of the Sun, and endued with every auspicious mark, and born also with a natural mail and ear-rings? This prince among men deserveth the sovereignty of the world, not of Anga only…….” from the Mahabharata…
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