I am following this thread with interest. Honestly I could not understand your aim. If your aim to understand Advaitham, then what is the need for undergoing Upanayanam, becoming a Brahmana or even becoming a Hindu for that matter? Honestly I am at loss in understanding your priorities.
This is from Raghy to Justin, but am putting this note for Justin.
Since you want to follow advaitha, it is better for you to be informed about its tenets.
Here i am mentioning the views of Ekadandis, that is advaitins (advaitha followers) (except those of the 4 (+1) Shankara mutts):
1) Performing upanayanam does not make one a brahmin. It can make one a brahmachari, or one who is on the path to brahman
2) Brahmin (going by this thread title) is not a status. Brahmin is one who has attained union with brahman
. It can be called a state of mind. Union with brahman is what the ekadandis call as moksha
or salvation (from which there is no re-birth). Some sects opine that re-birth is possible, but if there is re-birth, then it is only for a specific purpose.
3) Ekadandis are not averse to the concept of avataras. They accept polytheism, monoism, all forms of theism and certain forms of atheism; and accept all souls as divine.
4) Ekadandis are not averse to idol worship, but are usually not into it.
5) Ekadandis do not beleive that ritualism results in union with brahman
. They are therefore non-ritualists.
6) Ekadandis believe that dhyana or meditation results in union with brahman
. Since there are many types of meditation, some based on concepts and conceptualization, the ekadandis tend to move on to kundalini yoga over time (starting off with physical yoga forms like hatha yoga. Patanjali's yogasutra is an important text). Please note: Kundalini yoga is a form of meditation. And they blank out the mind completely (no concept / conceptualization).
7) All ekadandis are wandering monks with ashrams / mutts as their base (they study there under their guru or gurus and then move on to becoming wandering monks). They may wear the sacred thread during the course of their study. Their curriculum includes both shrutis and smrithis (as well as puranas, etc); and a lot of reasoning and discussions.
Some of their sects know (are taught) to perform yagyas but do not perform them. That is they give up on lighting fire
outside the body. If they do wear the thread, then upon sanyasam, all ekadandis (as far as i know) remove the sacred thread. The only belongings that remain with them are the kaupinam, kamandulam, a hand-rest and sometimes a rudraksa mala.
Depending on the sect, the water in the kamandulam is all they usually need for their survival. They may or may not eat. If they eat, it is only by way of seeking bhiksha. Some of them (not all) may seek samadhi. When on the way to seeking samadhi, they give up on their megre belongings, food and water as well.
Am not into conversing with sapthajihva. But since you are reading his posts on this thread, just letting you know that his explanations would not be considered valid by the ekadandis. Though in common parlance the ekadandis do refer to priests as 'brahmin priests' (in conversations), the Ekadandis do not consider priests as brahmins. Nor do they consider varna as connected to the occupation (jaati), or rather, they do not consider a child's varna as dependent on the father's occupation (jaati).
Also, to let you know, the purvamimansa ritualists do not seem to consider the soul as seperable from the body. That is where the concept of bodily purity comes in (and perhaps the need for constructing seperate crematoriums). Their basis comes from Jaimini's Mimansa sutra.
Jaimini's mimansa sutra (JMS) is nearly opposite to the brahmasutra. JMS considers rituals subserviant to the self. Originally, the followers of JMS they had no concept of brahman
. And they believed that 'devas' need to be appeased with sacrifices. And generally, they do not accept evolution either. They consider that God made Brahma and that they descended from him, a view considered flawed in the way it is understood, by the ekadandis.
The ekadandis consider the whole world are having originated from brahman
and all of humanity as rishiputras (that is, from rishis or stars or from hiranyagarba). Amongst Ekadandis, not all sects believe in the concept of gotras. If they do, then the general belief is that all of humanity has some or the other gotra since they have descended from a common set of forefathers. In my observation, the commonest gotra some ekadandis assign (if they do) to their students is Kashyapa, who literally, is considered to be the father of all humankind.