We have spoken of caste as a positive principle in the Hindu context, but we do not wish to give the impression that caste is the only legitimate type of social order. There are positive aspects to the opposite approach, which is that of the ‘casteless traditions.’
By ‘casteless traditions’ we mean primarily Christianity and Islam, and in its own way Buddhism. We allow, then, that these traditions are capable of producing a hierarchical social order, as Christianity did with much success in the medieval period. Yet these Revelations are ‘levelling’ in the emphasis and we call them casteless because the system of caste is not essential to them and in some cases, like that of Islam, it seems almost entirely excluded.
For Islam’s part, we can say that along with its indifference to distinctions of caste it also presents an indifference to race. Islamic egalitarianism being rooted in man’s transcendent (as opposed to his animal) aspect, the resulting social order would be much more immune to racism than Western humanist egalitarian, in which racism is perfectly at home, fitting itself quite easily into the scientific-evolutionary worldview, which is painstakingly searching for ways to connect the human with sub-human species.
In other words, when one’s focus is on the transcendent nature of the spiritual being, race is an accident, and is not of any great importance.
In Christianity (and in Buddhism) we likewise see a rejection of hereditary and racial distinctions, since here any man can become a priest or a monk without having to provide any kind of pedigree.