Varna System Birth based or merit based?

This topic has been a subject of debate for a long time, in this thread I am providing evidences from texts to highlight what Varna System actually was Pls don’t conclude anything before reading it to the end as I will cover every detail
First let’s look at this word वर्ण it is made from word root वॄञ् and अच् प्रत्यय because of अदर्शआदिभ्योऽच् sutra of Ashtadhyayi, so according to this the meaning of varna will be – Quality, gold, color, vrat, praise etc.
As we know there are 4 Varnas Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaisya, Shudra. Each of them has their own Karma for example as Geeta 18/42 says. Peace, restraint, piousness, tolerance, simplicity, knowledge etc. are karma
of a brahmin due to his Swabhava (will explain ahead)
If a person does not do these karmas can he still be called a brahmin? The word used in shloka is ‘Swabhav’ it means naturally, hence a person who is a brahmin naturally do these karmas. So those who have a different natural behavior are not Brahmins.
Similarly, there are natural karmas for each varna, and also for those who are outside varna system. What about birth in a particular family? what about those who are born in for e.g. Brahmin families, do they naturally do these karmas?
For this we will need to understand karma, whatever actions we do are according to our level of knowledge, when we experience something it leaves an impression on our mind, this impression is called samskara, samskaras can be good or bad. These samskaras induce us to do karmas.
For e.g. a mother tells her child “helping others is good”, that leaves an impression on his mind, when he will see someone in need this samskara will urge him to help the person.
Another e.g. Someone saw Adv. Of a beverage on TV, that leaves an impression on mind, when he will go to market this impression will urge him to buy that particular brand.
hence our samskaras urge us to do certain karma, these urges can be controlled but what we do under influence of these urges is called Natural Karma or Swabhavik karma. It is clear that Samskaras are the reason behind a particular Varna.
Now what are the sources of these Samskaras? Parents, Friends, Teachers, Books, environment etc. now days even TV series, Web series, Social media etc. too are sources of samskaras.
These samskaras decide our natural acts and eventually our Varna.
So, a person born in a Brahmin family (as defined above) they will get samskaras accordingly, a Person born in Kshatriya family will get samskaras accordingly. But parents are not the only source of samskaras, other sources of samskaras can easily overpower samskaras by parents
Hence Varna can never be Birth based because birth DO NOT ensure good samskaras of in person, birth is a factor of course, but not the only factor. So there must be some mechanism to change Varna in texts,there are a lot of examples in our history where Varna of a person changes
If we see Apastamba Dharma Sutra(2,5,11,10-11) it says –
धर्मचर्य्यया जघन्यो वर्णः पूर्वं पूर्वं वर्णमापद्यते जातिपरिवृत्तौ.....
It means if a person does dharma, he rises to better varna and if he does adharma his varna changes to a lower varna. Hence Varna changes.
Manusmriti 2/28 tells how a person becomes a Brahmin- Study of Vedas, Vrata (Brahmcharya etc.), Yajna etc. karmas makes body of a Brahmin. Without these karmas nobody can become Brahmin.
Manusmriti 10/65 says that a Shudra can become a Brahmin and Brahmin can become a Shudra and similar rules apply for Vaisya and Kshatriya.
Manusmriti 4/245 says a Brahmin becomes better when he keeps company of good people, in company of bad people he becomes a Shudra (Exactly what I said, bad samskaras from bad company makes him shudra)
There are many Such Shlolas in Manusmiriti but I think readers have an Idea now
Lets see some examples from History where Varna of a person changed-
Aitreya Brahman 2.19 –
Rishis were doing Yajna on banks of Saraswati River, a person named Kavash Ailush was denied Soma by Rishis because he was son of a Dasi and had a bad behaviour, so he went away, did tapasya and he did ‘Shakshatkar’ of a Sukta.
Due to this Rishis made him a Brahmin and a Rishi.
Son of Dasi became a Rishi because of his Karma i.e. tapasya, that’s Sanatana Dharma. Also this is a very ancient text as it mentions Saraswati river.
Upnishads tell a beautiful and very famous story of Satyakama Jabala who was made a brahmin(and later Rishi) because he spoke truth about his father being unknown and his mother being a Dasi
His swabhava was truthful hence he was made a Brahmin. Exactly as Bhagwan Krishna says in Geeta.There are many such examples of varna being changed.
In conclusion,
Varna of a person is according to his qualities i.e. Samskaras, Birth in a particular family is a factor but not the only factor hence Varna System is merit based NOT birth based.

नमो नारायणाय नमो शंभवाय। ।
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