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Being a Brahmin and all



Hello subalaji and All:

I fully agree w/you and this is one of the main objectives of me signing up here. We should start chalking out the objectives as a team; perhaps you should start a new Objectives thread for this group. Here is my 2 cents (opinion):

I wanted to do my best to help our Brahmin Community especially to the less fortunate. Once we accomplish that, we can extend our help to other caste/communities as well. Obviously, we don't want to be portrayed as an outfit like KKK(Klu Klux Klan - For those of you who are not familiar with this, it is a fraternal group advocating White Supremacy in the United States and its sole purpose is to propagate and retain the White Supremacy. Although this group is still very much alive and kicking, some White people resent that and it has become a social stigma). So long story short, we don’t want to be like KKK, instead, we should be a group of Brahmins helping out our community folks FIRST due to obvious reasons and then extend our services to other caste/community as well

FELLOW BRAHMINS: If history has taught us anything (like persecution of JEWS and all), minority people like us who have been oppressed should join hands to rebuild our community and our stature in the society. MY GOAL is simple: We as BRAHMINS should co-exist with other caste and community folks like we all do now, unlike what it used to be, and serve as a moral example to others yet anchored strongly to our beliefs and values.

At this juncture, I’d like to propose to:
[1] all BRAHMINS that, in today’s world, it is hard to distinguish between BRAHMINS from the others especially those who are from other Regions, so let’s start by changing our Last Names to sound Brahminical , typically in the US and the rest of the world, or for the most part the Last Name represent the Family they Hail from, for instance my Manager’s Last Name is Miller, thus his Wife, his kids, his parents, his brothers, sister all have the last names as Miller. So, you get the point. I’m planning on changing it to Iyengar shortly and similarly for my Wife as well.

[2] Please refrain from Drinking, Smoking, and Eating Non_veg food. I know it is easy to say but hard to implement. Guys, if we want to succeed as a group we have to do this. This is the main quality of a Brahmin.

[3] Let’s do Sandhayavandhanam everyday. I recently started with this after my trip to India last year

[4] Some of us take off our Poonals. Guys, I don’t blame you b/c I used to be like that when I was in College and for the first few years when I was in the US. Nowadays, I don’t take my Poonal no matter what.

[5] Do community service and some quality time at the temple along w/other priests reading ‘Nalayaa Prabandham’ or whatever is applicable to you.

[6] Share good beliefs/values to people. And etc., etc.,

I do not expect every one in this group or outside to agree with what I had mentioned, but if we don’t, we will cease to exist before even our life time.
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I was quite impressed by Mr. JS Iyengars' comments, and was equally depressed viewing Mr. Rajendran's comments. Personally, I dont see any reason to pull down Mr.Iyengar in his efforts to do his little for our community. I too share similar thoughts and I have seen both sides of the world, have been to US 6 times and at the same time witnessed the plights of some of our fellow people. Its totally fine if we don't encourage his efforts, but lets not discourage that. The hard truth is, "We have to stay UNITED" and this is not possible unless we shed our individual egos and join together.

Mr JS Iyengar,

Sir, I am currently at Boston, but would be back in India by mid of July. Would like to contribute anything I can, in your efforts.
Mr. Rajeandran:
I was somewhat sorry to see your sarcastic remarks to Iyengar. Mr. Iyengar has every right to express his views and you have every right not to adhere to it and go on with your life. But attacking a fellow member?
This is what I have been pleading with all the members right from the start; as members we definitely have our own views and we can disagree with others; but we must be united; no insults and sarcastic remarks.
Based on what I read, I dont believe Mr.Iyengar is advocating all of us to return to India to get a job as Gurukkal (even those jobs are not going to be available with reservations!!).
And, what has got to do with you living in the US?
Come on, man, disagree but be civil and be objective.

I do agree with most of the thoughts put forward by mr JS iyengar....I also think that the fact that he has expressed his views in such detail is quite commendable.. Mr rajendran...dunno what was the reason for ur hot headed reply to his post but lets not indulge in all this....caustic remarks such as the ones u made would be better used against people ganging up against us to ease us out of social significance....My JSiyengar i second your views..carry on the good work!!!
I am not able to understand what is wrong with Mr Iyengar's ideas for Mr Rajendran to react in so derisive and sarcastic manner!

I request Mr Rajendran to be constructively critical and please refrain from making sarcastic remarks that too for a write-up with positive intentions!

After all, Mr Iyengar says that we should not be like KKK but get integrated with others and live in harmony! I fail to understand why this irks Mr Rajendran this much!

When people abroad continue to extend financial and moral support to groups (in their motherlands) - that have been banned in most parts of the world- what is wrong in extending support to our own poor and innocent brethren who oppressed by vindictive regimes backhome!

I humbly request Mr Rajendran - Please help our cause if you are willing - If you are not willing, atleast please dont pour cold water on the enthusiastic!


i don't know why rajendran is throwing his displeasure on us. Mr. Iyengar's comments are to be very much welcomed. Its every Brahmin's duty to perform Sandyavandhanam. I think rajendran already posted some thing pessimistic things like this, he should refrain.
Dear Friends,

if someone consistantly makes bad remarks in this web site , be careful it could be an outsider trying to create a problem. This could be a one off remark from Mr. Rajendran , lets forget it . Coming back to Iyengar's suggestions and also reading other suggestions and comments about astrology etc I feel we are too early for all these larger issues , my 2 cents is

1. let us for a few years start serving brahmin community first , this itself is not an easy task as we dont have any help from govt . We can worry about larger society later , we have not even started doing it

2. Let us focus on training , education and employment of fellow brahmins for atleast an year as I feel many brahmin familes living in the smaller cities dont even know opportunities that actually exist for coming up in life

3. Let us make sure we will all unite if people unnecessarily hurt our feelings etc

let us welcome volunteers and ideas on this alone , atelast we will make a start somewhere , else we will just be commenting on issues and get into tussle on the website unecessarily

Please do not mistake me on this

Thanks a lot , lets make it happen - together
I don't believe you or Mr. Iyengar can dictate your views on other members. Perahps Mr. Rajendran meant to say that and it probably came out in an unpleasant way.
While I enjoyed reading Mr. Iyengar's views, we cannot simply tell members that they 'should' or 'must' do certain things; we could only suggest.

Thanks to Mr. Rajendran, this has brought up a valiant point, in that our organization truly stands for what it (all the members) believes in. That we are democratic, we do not prevent non-members (read: anybody who is not a Brahmin) from reading, posting or even becoming a member. This organization truly believes in harmony with all castes and religions and we believe in equality of ALL human beings.
I suspect Mr. Rajendran is not a Brahmin; not it makes any difference (from reading the last para of his posting):

Best wishes for a return flight or err should a say a cheaper way by ship so that you use the money you saved to uplift the your community !!!;

He says 'your community'!!

Nevertheless, I truly welcome his comments/views. We would very much like to hear his side on how he feels; it is important to us; but, please, let us keep it civil.
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One very important point , let us also start treating anyone from our community particularly the priests and vadhyars with great respect and pay them a decent amount for the rites etc / help educate thier children . We can even cut down on some of the lavishness in our functions and pay them a little more. I have seen very often the vadhyars etc are made fun off as well as being paid very poorly. I do understand some of them try to take us for a ride but I feel end of the day they do it as they are in such a situation
I feel if some mail is unpleasant , intentionally or otherwise let not too many people comment on it , if it is really intentional ( I hope so ) it only gives them too much importance
Dear Mr Rajendran,

I appreciate that you wanted to give a different point of view on the subject. Only thing - it was bordering on attack on an individual- Anyway, let us all forget all that and I will be happy to hear your views on various topics being discussed here.

It is immaterial whether one is a Brahmin or not , if the views are constructive and helps in achieving the objectives of the forum.

Regarding your views on using surnames - I agree that ,in India, you can easily guess one's caste by the surname he uses. Why only surnames? You can guess the religion from their first names themselves!
Obvious examples of first names:
Man Mohan Singh - You can guess easily he should be a Sikh even without knowing anything about him
A P J Abdul Kalam - Is it very difficult to guess his religion?
Antonio Maino (Mrs Sonia Gandhi) - Obvious she is Christian
Palaniappan Chidambaram - Even a child will tell the name is Hindu
Karunanidhi, Dayanidhi, Kalanidhi - Very clear sanskrit names from Hindu scriptures
(Stalin is an exception - One cannot guess the religion)
George Fernandes, Oscar Fernandes ......
The list is endless.
So can I say - Because the first name reveals the religious identity of a person - it should also be dropped! or Should we suggest using numericals or alpha numericals for one's first names?

What I mean to say is - using surname or not is not going to matter - once we are ok in our intentions and attitude - When a person is casteist, he is not going to change just by dropping his surname-

I dont write my surname- But, when I go to colleges of Tamil Nadu for application forms for college admission of my wards- One of the questions there was: Are you a Brahmin or not ( The question was not subtle as in other cases where they ask whether you belong to OC/OBC/MBC/SC/ST)- I am not talking about govt colleges- Please see the application forms of Womens Christian College, Stella Mary's etc-

Hence let us not be bothered about minor things like dropping of surnames etc. It is the change in attitude and thinking which is more important.


Caste names are not needed at all!. Surnames/Family Names/Gothram are very important in a social/cultural point of view. This helps a person marry the bride or groom from a different family and avoid inbreeding. This is the whole reason these came into existence.
i agree actually they are the carry the tradition of our brahmin. so all the working brahmins must donate liberally and also treat them with respect, especially taking girl or giving girl
the ways may vary,but it is most urgent, we must be united, for the welfare of the whole universe, 'sarva jano sugino bavan thu'.
dear members,
even if u do not use surnames(i dont use) people can recognise miles away.
in 1970s when i was interviwed for a professional course , the panelist saidd the course would not be suitable for me as i was a VEGETARIAN?!(get it)
but all are not like that. but as suggested before let us not bargain while paying to the vadiyars or kurukkals!!
Mr Iyengar is right on the money here, but in this day and age its difficult to cling to a vestige that so many associate incorrectly with hatred so dropping the caste tag is quite popular.
To rekindle that might be a bit dangerous considering the political climate.

I believe in North India many Tamil Brahmins openly maintain the 'Iyer' or 'Iyengar' suffix without undue recourse from the rest.
Mr Iyengar/MrJustice et al:

In this age of computers, it is important for all Tamilians to have a proper First Name and Last Name; (In the US, it is Last Name; in European countries, it is Surname or Family Name). I believe Tamilians are the only ones who do not have a proper Last Name.
I see this problem for Tamilians who come to the US. For instance, the guy has his father's first name as his Last Name; his wife and children all have his First Name as their Last Name. I bet this creates confusion when they travel, for instance. The computer will bring up his name but doesn't find the rest of the family!!

I would suggest that the Gotra name could be used as our Last Name; after all, we all descended from Rishis and Sages.

However, I would shudder to think of all the cost, inconvenience and the resulting confusion (for a while, at least), once one changes his name.
Dear Sri Silverfox, I am for keeping the last name as Iyer, Iyengar etc for it has a tradition and not the gothram which is too general. It was the anti-brahmin athiests who did away with the ancient nomenclature and as they are bound to have the last gasp pretty soon and we should revert back to the chain of our tradition.

This is my humble opinion.
As i was telling to Silverfox,

personally, i wouldnt "force" my kids to have the surnames as iyer/iyengar or the gotras.

Its more of a personal choice, if they want to have it so, they can. i have no objection to it.

leaving that,

i am not in favour of such a move though.
simply because we dont need to do such a thing to "showcase" our heritage.

If we all stop bad mouthing our religion and our elders and understand the times they were in for the various decisions and learn to accept them, it would be more easier.

I am with MrJustice on this,
with the present political situation, it would be asking for trouble not to mention the other "sideeffects".
Hello Mr Iyengar,
I have a very basic doubt. Are we working towards losing/shedding our identity OR towards reaffirming/creating our identity? Can anyone deny that our community is singled-out or separated? For example, imagine 2 members of our community talking with each other in the presence of others, they start talking in with brahminical accent (till then they would be taking in normal way to others). Is it differentiate us from others?
It is time we socialize with all in terms of language, names and attitudes. I dont agree that "surname" funda you suggested nor the "poonal" idea. They all label us with one tag which would prevent others come closer to us.
Also, you insisted (or rather requested?) to do sandhyavandhanams and stuff. The reason you cited was "birth duty". Are you sure we are inline with our birth duties? Which clause in manudharma allows us to work in US? Which clause allows us to do SW jobs? So, better dont take the "birth duty" concepts very seriously.
Our aim should not be to reinforce brahminism. We should look for some solutions which make us miscible with the social mainstream !! and not single-out and preserve our identity .....Any comments?
Nandoo I wont agree with you entirely/...when I am talking to a fellow Brahmin it is but natural that I use the "language' that I am used to hearing from birth.. the fact that I talk in a "different" way with others .. is only to make them feel comfortable.. there is no harm in talking "brahminical" tamil!!! but before that .. tell me how many tamilians talk to each other in Tamizh when we see fellow Tamilians ... let us inculcate the habit of talking in our mother tongue first.

But please all fellow Brahmins .... isnt it time we stopped these so called "family serials " making fun of our beautiful language ? A very popular serial aired on TV has the "iyengar " family talking in the most "unbrahminical" way.. Pray why single out Iyengars to portray that role ? why couldnt it have been any one of the so many other sects that dravidian society has ? Its time we Brahmins united and put an end to this ... THAMBRAAS.. please wake up
I tried to read everybody's point of view. I am a simple brahmin girl who was brought up in Northern part of India and I now live in US with my very much brahmin husband . I have always believed and felt lucky that I was a brahmin. My mom made every effort to make us feel good. We celebrated all the functions, we were taught that as brahmins we were inherently clean people and we has the advantages of all the vedas and access to all the religious ancient wisdom! To be honest with you I am a very modern girl in every way, I played basket ball as a kid and I never was once treated as a 'girl' and infact was given every freedom but with guidance and values that are more important that superficial things. Let me give you an example: I have a relative who celebrates every function for the blessing of god for her (and only her kids) but is extremely nasty to weak people and widows. Is this brahmnism? Vedas say only good things, they talk about tolerance, they talk about goodness and helping others and about improving ones life. But blindly following traditions without its heart and without understanding its value and just doing it for the sake of doing it is not good. For example we live some 30 miles from the hindu temple here but my husband goes for avaniavittam every single year! We follow all traditions atleast I try my best. At the same time I think widows should remarry and no tradition that restricts a person happiness and the right to live should be continued. The problems we are facing now is due to the dark age of hinduism..it because dumb people have been promoting all the wrong things! Even in Bhagawat gita Krishna says..every time you do a particular thing ..think twice... if you are doing the right thing .... proceed! As brahminism we have to learn to adapt(we are already doing the right thing) and at the same time have love and respect for our tradition...our values and culture.. is so rich that its still keeping us sane and morally right. You know america the richest country has 50% divorce rate...why..beacuse of lack of tradition and culture! Do you also know that bible mentions having a bath is a sin! Look at other religions ...why are they fighting always?....beacuse they are trapped in their religion and they are confused about which path to follow? that's why other religions have separated science and religion! we are not like that..... science has always been an essential part of our life that;s why we always pray goddess sarawati for knowledge! I thank everyday that I am a Hindu..a brahmin as these cultures are easily available to me.
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Dear Brahmi:
A very nice writeup. Regarding your statement that the Bible mentions having a bath as sin -- did you hear it from someone, or did you read it yourself? Could you give us the reference? I would be very interested to know!!
I would like to appreciate Brahmi's broad outlook ... But, I am just wondering how divorce rates have anything to do with "culture"? Also, why do we think that other religions only fight among themselves? Dont we (vaishnavites, saivites, buddists, jains?) have differences among us? Would like to tell you one instance.. I know a "old maami" of age 70 odd, at srirangam, who is an iyer by birth, very religious et al . I have literally seen her shooing away vaishvites and closing her doors when a "perumal utsavam" procession passes in the streets ... What do you call this? See, the down to earth reality is "we too have/had lot of differences among us..Thing is, this is time we shed all these" .. Howeever, Brahmi made a good point.. Nice write up

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