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Brahminism in current day context

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prasad1

Active member
It is surprising that people born in Brahmin family have so much of anger against their own family. Then they wonder about the anger they will have if they were born as NB. I think the next anger level can only be "Kolluvari". In that murderous rage you will resort to violence.
But to have that much of anger directed towards your parents and family something drastic must have happened to someone. I am sorry for such a person, they are marred for life. But unfortunately they pass on such behavior to their children. I have empathy and sympathy for such an individual.
 
dear servall,
re dalits in particular: my own awareness, of the historical wrong done to them, came late in life, and as i age, in contrast to the norm, i
appear to be veering towards the trend to understand and atleast lend my voice to the correction of past wrongs, which i term as 'crimes
against humanity'. there is not much more to say than that.
You got it late. So? You want to replay this to all of us for the rest of your life? We are aware and not late like you, so please fast forward.
many a times, i wonder, had i been born a dalit, instead of a brahmin, how much my anger towards those who were instigating this hierarchy, and
who condemned my ancestors to situations akin to the worst of animals, would be. to say it mildly, i would probably explode. one needs to
peruse the writings of Malcolm X, to understand the minds of those who have been suppressed for ages, and deprived of human dignity. one or two
generations alone cannot set things right.
It would be more convincing if you can share anything that you have done to uplift a single dalit after this realisation. That way, we can
salute you and see you as leading by example. Otherwise, this pouring of sentiment would simply be a hogwash and a clamour for cheap recognition.
contrast to this, i live in canada - alien to me in race, language, religion, weather and culture. within one generation, my children are not
only proud canadians, have the best of opportunity provided by an egalitarian non sectarian society which believes and practices the
fundamental right of every human - to be provided equal opportunity with dignity. all within one generation, a ex homogeneous white society has
adjusted itself, with a little effort, to a multicultural mosaic, sufficiently tolerant enough for its non white citizens to attain their
potential.
That was an opportunistic move I think. You should have stayed and done something yourself and not just lament. Late realisation is probably a reason to hide this retreat.
India when it gets past its economic development will sarpass these countries and with all the people who carry the baggage of 'holding onto ideas that are inhuman' gone by then, India will be a heaven.
i feel somewhat at despair, when i think of the dalits, and their accumulated anger at the past. i dont know what praayaschiththam can be done.
by the upper castes. that includes and be led by us brahmins.
From the deep pain and anguish I come to realise that something terrible must have happened that you are unable to let go. You shouldnt disown this; Neither should your future generations.
I think you should immediately think of donating all your wealth to some of them and choose the poorest among them, live your remaining life
with them and help them get over this anger. Since you have this gift of speech and the inherent talent to convert, I feel you are the able one to do it right. This is no where close to a praayaschiththam I agree, but this is the least you should do.
That way you can be a leading light for the rest of the Brahmins.
i hope this explains somewhat where i am coming from. this is the best i can do.
Yes, to some extent. Also tells us where you are heading ...
Everyone out here are also doing the best we could
 
The dalits have formed their own Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a welcome step. There are many dalit crorepatis, and the share of dalits/ obc in the work force of major industries is also high - about 20% in tata group to about 80% in leyland. Interesting point is - dalits fear OBCs more than the forward castes. Indian express article reference is at the end.

******

"First, a bit of a statistical fix on how various groups are doing in terms of their income levels. The discrimination seems apparent from the bald facts. SC/ST accounted for 22.9 per cent of the population in 2004-05 but just 15.4 per cent of the country’s income; the figures for Hindu OBCs were 35.6 per cent and 32.7 per cent, for upper-caste Hindus the figures are 27.7 per cent and 38 per cent. For upper caste Muslims, the figures were 4.5 per cent and 4.2 per cent respectively (in relative terms, they’re like the Hindu OBCs, though at Rs 65,474, their annual household incomes in 2004-05 were higher than the Hindu OBC’s Rs 59,249 per annum)

******

"Interestingly, Dehejia and Panagariya point out, in their sample base, the most important competition for SC entrepreneurs is not from forward castes but OBCs. The largest growth, in terms of Gross Value Added, between 2001-02 and 2006-07, has been by STs (82 per cent), followed by OBCs (46 per cent) and then SCs (26 per cent)

Castes of mind - Indian Express
 
Dear Sangom Sir,

Re your post # 41 to K sir.

Sir, there is plenty of evidence to suggest the south was already populated before the vedic people arrived or merged into the local scenario.

I tried to find origins of Siddhas but not able to. It will be nice if someone can mention the earliest text describing or mentioning the Siddhas or their religion.

So far i found papers that Saiva Siddhanta cannon of interpreting Thevaram hymns, absorbed Siddha beliefs into its religion in the Chola period. Apparently, before that Siddha religion was already in existence (i sort of suspect Siddha religion was influenced by Jainism or maybe it was even a school of Jainism before it got copied / absorbed into Saiva Siddhanta)

Reg Gitabhasya of Shankara, i feel we need to take the history of Bhagavata religion into account.

It may seem plenty of prominent native Gods and their belief systems were absorbed into the brahmanical religion or mainstream Hinduism around the time of Mahabharat.

The earliest religious documents of Vaishnavas are Narayaniya section of Mahabharat, Pancharatra and Bhagavad Gita (Banerjee, 1973).

The Narayaniya declares there were seven Chitra Shikhandi rishis and they proclaimed the Pancharatra shastra as equal to the 4 vedas; and that it was meant for the general populace. Since it was to teach both Vritti and Nivritti it was made to conform to the Vedas.

Some authors say the very fact that Pancharatra was drawn up for the populace, and made consistent with Vedas, shows the system was non-vedic in origin. It seems Krishna-Vasudeva and Bhagavatism had a popular origin, and was later reconciled with the brahmanical religion. There are also direct statements from Mahabharat to show that both Pancharatra and Pasupata religion differed from or were different from the Vedas (Banerjee, 1973).

One of the earliest historical mentions of Bhagavatism is the Garuda Pillar at Besnagar (part of its details can be found here - Vedic Discoveries: Krsna and Balarama in Greece ? Dionysus ? Herakles )

The Garuda Pillar inscription says it was erected by Heliodoros the son of Diya (Dion) in honour of the God of the Gods, Vasudeva. Heliodoros is described as a Bhagavta worshipper of Vasudeva, resident of Takshashila, who came as an envoy of Amtalikata (Antialkidas) to the court of Kasiputra Bhagabhadra.

Evidence from numismatics dates Amtalikata to 175 BC – 135 BC. So it seems during this period Bhagavata religion was already in existence, but perhaps not yet widely followed. Ray Chaudhri says the Vasudevakas were a local sect confined to the Yamuna valley and little known until their rise in later times.

Bhagavatism is postulated to have originated in Mathura. Its founder Vasudeva-Krishna was a scion of the Sattvata or Vrishni clan. The Vrishnis were not Brahmins, instead their origin was popular.

The Vasudevakas are not mentioned in jaina, or buddhist literature of the 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] century BC, so it may seem they came into contact with mainstream religion under the Sunga rule of Kasiputra Bhagabhadra.

Under the Sunga rule, the itihaasas were recast, and this led to incorporation of non-vedic religions into what Banerjee called ‘neo-brahmanism’ (or nouveau brahmanical cultures).

Perhaps Shankara did not give importance to the Gita, because the primary deity Vasudeva-Krishna, and the religion is quite heterodox, also in the sense that the religion infact goes against the vedic religion in some ways. I find no evidence it suggests resurgent aryanism and hence of casteism.

The Gita does not say a man’s occupation is to be fixed at birth and that too by violence (as endorsed by manusmirthi / dharmashastras). On the contrary, it may be possible the Gita was misinterpreted and interpolated by a section of smrithi-followers.

Regards.
 
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Shri Srinivasan,

I am glad that you have been able to compress your notion of "brahminism" like winzip, but am surprised by your statement "If we live a simple life, eat vegetarian, follow honesty, teach what we know to interested persons, and speak Tamil just like our forefathers used to speak AND NOT FEEL BAD ABOUT IT, then I think we are doing our part to uphold "Brahminism".

Kindly tell me whether you consider three or four generations as sufficient to represent "forefathers" which as per dictionary meaning covers almost all those who have contributed to the present stage from time immemorial.

Brahmins of yore were not, as a rule, living simple life; they used to get huge dakshinas for the sacrifices (like somayaga, ashvamedha, rajasuya, etc.) they performed. Yajnavalkya won 1000 cows in a debate.

Vegetarianism is a late advent into brahminism. Brahmins used to eat beef also and it was compulsory for marriage feast. Eating the meat of different animals (500 to 1000 different kinds of animals have been alluded to as necessary to be sacrificed in an ashvamedha) was a religious injunction. It is laid down in the dharmasastras that if porcupine meat is served to the 'brahmanas' on sraaddham day, the pitrus concerned will not feel hungry for one (earth) year. Hence, vegetarianism is not a sign of brahminism.

"teaching what we know", for example chemistry, physics, surveying and levelling, etc., are not allowed for brahmins; only teaching of vedas is allowed.

And our forefathers did not necessarily all speak Tamil, nor did they all have same or similar accents/slangs. A brahmin is supposed to master sanskrit, the devabhasha and all other languages are considered polluting according to dharmasastras.

Hence, unless you say that "this what I believe to be brahminism and I don't want anybody else's opinion but others should listen to me since this is a public forum", I think your case stands on very weak grounds.

PS. Regarding the highlighted portion above, I am reminded of the bible preachers-cum-proselytizers (called "suviSeSha pracaarakan" - one who publicises the noble tidings, in Malayalam). They stand in public places, preach what they (are called upon to) believe and will not brook any doubts or questions or dissent.
Sangom sir,

Sorry to post this in between your conversation with balaji srinivasan. I suppose, people are not aware what brahmanism means in books discussing sociology and history of hinduism.

Maybe people have their own individual definitions for the word...Maybe Shri Balaji had something in mind, lets hope he posts more about his definition of brahmanism.

Can't help say this, but all we do today is sing praises of past glory, follow some rituals and argue over which is better - advaita or dvaita. Am wondering about the basic minimum to define one as a brahmin.

If only rituals were sufficient to define one as a brahmin, then Ramanuja, Shankara, Madhava, why even Vishwamitra (in the vedic period itself) would have created rituals, or followed rituals rigorously from day to night rigidly.

A religion primarily depends on its corpus texts, and its relevance in each period of time. While islam and christianity are busy reinterpreting their texts, and finding ways to grow them, we simply do nothing to grow our religion, there are no new compositions, no new philosophical ontologies, no new interpretations, nothing coming from the sanyasis of orthodox mutts, or from intellectuals of dharmasabhas..

Basically there is no effort to grow the religion...instead we blame the brits, politicians, missionaries, secularism, everything, everyone, all and sundry...

At this rate, am wondering if brahmanical hinduism will become a academic study in future after running into disuse, while the public reverts back to worshipping their Gods in their own tribal (or native) worship forms / practices.

Maybe the public (since it can't hope to follow, or expect to be absorbed into the orthodox religion) will run to all sorts of Babas, Gurus, Swamis (and maybe these will have a prosperous time propagating their own version or brand of hinduism).

Maybe we should be satisfied as long as people are still 'hindu', even though they actually oppose brahmanical hinduism of rigid birth-based varnasharama dharma (either in their heart or openly).

Regards.
 
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Smt. HH,

This is with reference to your post #54, especially the following portion thereof:

"The Gita does not say a man’s occupation is to be fixed at birth and that too by violence (as endorsed by manusmirthi / dharmashastras). On the contrary, it may be possible the Gita was misinterpreted and interpolated by a section of smrithi-followers."

How do we then interpret the term "svadharma" used in III-35? Also XVIII -41 to 45?
 

kunjuppu

Active member
dear suraju,

re your post #50.

i am unable to answer your queries. because i think i have said enough, atleast to what i think, made me what i am, what i feel.

beyond it, we are going into esoterics like conscience, sensitivities and ancestor worships..things that are very personal. i feel, to answer your queries i need to dwelve that deep into my own self and share some of my inner most angsts, which i prefer not to.

hope you understand. thank you.

God Bless.
 
Kunjuppu,

I am sorry I addressed those queries to you. My effort was only to get to the bottom of truth. But I do understand. Excuse me.

Cheers.
 
Sangom sir,

Sorry to post this in between your conversation with balaji srinivasan. I suppose, people are not aware what brahmanism means in books discussing sociology and history of hinduism.

Maybe people have their own individual definitions for the word...Maybe Shri Balaji had something in mind, lets hope he posts more about his definition of brahmanism.

Can't help say this, but all we do today is sing praises of past glory, follow some rituals and argue over which is better - advaita or dvaita. Am wondering about the basic minimum to define one as a brahmin.

If only rituals were sufficient to define one as a brahmin, then Ramanuja, Shankara, Madhava, why even Vishwamitra (in the vedic period itself) would have created rituals, or followed rituals rigorously from day to night rigidly.

A religion primarily depends on its corpus texts, and its relevance in each period of time. While islam and christianity are busy reinterpreting their texts, and finding ways to grow them, we simply do nothing to grow our religion, there are no new compositions, no new philosophical ontologies, no new interpretations, nothing coming from the sanyasis of orthodox mutts, or from intellectuals of dharmasabhas..

Basically there is no effort to grow the religion...instead we blame the brits, politicians, missionaries, secularism, everything, everyone, all and sundry...

At this rate, am wondering if brahmanical hinduism will become a academic study in future after running into disuse, while the public reverts back to worshipping their Gods in their own tribal (or native) worship forms / practices.

Maybe the public (since it can't hope to follow or expect be absorbed into the orthodox religion) will run to all sorts of Babas, Gurus, Swamis (and maybe these will have a prosperous time propagating their own version or brand of hinduism).

Maybe we should be satisfied as long as people are still 'hindu', even though they actually oppose brahmanical hinduism of rigid birth-based varnasharama dharma (either in their heart or openly).

Regards.

Smt. HH,

I am unable to post "reply with quote" most times. So, I don't know if this will go through.

You have very nicely summarized the position. Hinduism, imho, was a construct purely and entirely of brahmins. By efflux of time and its actions, brahmins were dethroned from their preeminent social positions. Now, they take "pride" in being 'brahmins', speak praises about "brahminism" which is a very nebulous concept, but understood all the same, as a very laudable aspect of brahmins; but, rather (too?) cleverly they disown any responsibility for any wrong done by their forefathers, because they feel, as individuals born only yesterday, they have absolutely no blame coming to them, even while they laud their "brahmin heritage" and "brahminness" which obviously they have inherited from the very same forefathers! ;)

The fact that there is no effort to modify hinduism so as to be in tune with the times, can be attributed, imo, to the fall of brahmins from their social heights; even from much earlier, hinduism had become a place for mere sycophancy; any intellectual growth or dissent had been effectively destroyed with the dictum of the inerrancy of the vedas. The last stalwarts who had the necessary knowledge and circumstantial advantages like Sankara, Ramanuja, Madhvacharya, etc., were more obsessed with the correct philosophical interpretation of 'truth' and liberation; they also could not or did not care much for social changes except to the extent demanded by creating separate schisms of their own followers. Thereafter, hinduism became a stunted religion, bereft of any further intellectual growth but content with the packaging and marketing of old, time-worn and inapplicable ideas from the religion to mainly western clientele by the nouveau-emergent babas, gurus, swamis, etc.

In the light of the foregoing, I feel, what may remain of hinduism fifty years from now will have apparently no connection or similarity with what goes as hinduism today. Quite possibly, there will be church-like temples, candles, and a very well organized priesthood not based on any caste, also. Christna may be the central and only deity and iskcon the main hindu church, and so on. Who can say?:)
 

kunjuppu

Active member
..
Maybe the public (since it can't hope to follow or expect be absorbed into the orthodox religion) will run to all sorts of Babas, Gurus, Swamis (and maybe these will have a prosperous time propagating their own version or brand of hinduism).

Maybe we should be satisfied as long as people are still 'hindu', even though they actually oppose brahmanical hinduism of rigid birth-based varnasharama dharma (either in their heart or openly).

Regards.

good point happy.

extrapolating on this: modern babas, like sathya sai or amma or srisrisrisrisri ravi or mahesh yogi or prabhupada - atleast on the surface appear to cut across caste and nationality. i dont know if there are inner shenanigans, which provides separate treatment based on some criteria - may not be birth based varna, but maybe rupee or dolla power? we simply dont know.

dwelling even further, due to the gradual disuse of rituals, for whatever may be the reasons - (in)convenience, lack of opportunity, disinterest, dislike, unavailability of vathyars or simply 'cantbebothered' - we may eventually come to definine hinduism as a hodgepodge of something, which is NOT islam, christianity, buddhism or any of the other organized religions. the lifecycle of the concept known as hinduism, would then have eventually, completed its circle, and end up with where it all began..in the minds of people and their relationship with their nature. it may not be a bad thing after all.
 
Sowbagyavathy Happyhindu, Greetings. Wishing a happy and prosperous 2012 to you and your family.

I refer to your message in post #40. In the message quoted by you, Sri. Balaji Srinivasan is not talking about Tamil as in general terms. He talks about the Tamil 'as spoken by his forefathers', which is a different Tamil dialect. Such dialect got ridiculed in so many movies, gets ridiculed usually in everyday life; inspite of all the ridicule faced, he wishes to continue to talk in the same dialect. If you closely observe it, it is his personal desire and that does not hurt anybody's feelings. I know that for sure. I spoke such dialect too. Here is the example of the dialect he talks about -

Brahmin dialect - கார்த்தாலே எங்கம்மா எங்காத்துலே சாத்தமது பண்ணினா.
Equivalent NB dialect - காலீல எங்க ஆத்தா எங்க ஊட்டுலே ரசம் காச்சினாங்க.

Both dialects are just dialects of the same language. Both are beautiful. I am well versed with both dialects. I don't see any discrimination in Sri.Balaji's desire. By the way, I did not know vegetarianism was invented by Jains or buddhists.

You were quite upset with Brahmins from the past for not sharing their knowledge; here Sri.Balaji Srinivasan assures he would impart his knowledge (whatever it may be) to any interested person (means, irrespective of caste differences). I liked that bit very much. It is disappointing to note you ignored that completely.

Cheers!
 
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I

Iyer

Guest
Sowbagyavathy Happyhindu, Greetings. Wishing a happy and prosperous 2012 to you and your family.

I refer to your message in post #40. In the message quoted by you, Sri. Balaji Srinivasan is not talking about Tamil as in general terms. He talks about the Tamil 'as spoken by his forefathers', which is a different Tamil dialect. Such dialect got ridiculed in so many movies, gets ridiculed usually in everyday life; inspite of all the ridicule faced, he wishes to continue to talk in the same dialect. If you closely observe it, it is his personal desire and that does not hurt anybody's feelings. I know that for sure. I spoke such dialect too. Here is the example of the dialect he talks about -

Brahmin dialect - கார்த்தாலே எங்கம்மா எங்காத்துலே சாத்தமது பண்ணினா.
Equivalent NB dialect - காலீல எங்க ஆத்தா எங்க ஊட்டுலே ரசம் காச்சினாங்க.

Both dialects are just dialects of the same language. Both are beautiful. I am well versed with both dialects. I don't see any discrimination in Sri.Balaji's desire. By the way, I did not know vegetarianism was invented by Jains or buddhists.

You were quite upset with Brahmins from the past for not sharing their knowledge; here Sri.Balaji Srinivasan assures he would impart his knowledge (whatever it may be) to any interested person (means, irrespective of caste differences). I liked that bit very much. It is disappointing to note you ignored that completely.

Cheers!

I am given to understand that Brahmin dialect of Tamil is an influence of Sanskrit. I am given to understand that originally Brahmins spoke only Sanskrit. Brahmins started mingling with people of other languages and hence evolved Brahmins in different languages. That is also hence in every language, not only Tamil, you have a Brahmin dialect. You have Brahmin Telugu, Brahmin Malayalam, Brahmin Kannada, Brahmin Marathi, Brahmin Gujarathi, Brahmin Punjabi, Brahmin Marwadi, Brahmin Bengali, etc etc. But I don't have any evidence to corroborate this view.
 
I find it difficult to accept this. Is there a any reference for this statement?

Sanskrit was the language of scriptures, a link language across bharatavarsha, may be for conduction debates on philosophical and religious issues. There were many prakrita languages used by the local people. Borrowing words from samskrit was a legitimate process.

This applies to brahmins as well.

I am given to understand that originally Brahmins spoke only Sanskrit.
 
Sowbagyavathy Happyhindu, Greetings. Wishing a happy and prosperous 2012 to you and your family.

I refer to your message in post #40. In the message quoted by you, Sri. Balaji Srinivasan is not talking about Tamil as in general terms. He talks about the Tamil 'as spoken by his forefathers', which is a different Tamil dialect. Such dialect got ridiculed in so many movies, gets ridiculed usually in everyday life; inspite of all the ridicule faced, he wishes to continue to talk in the same dialect. If you closely observe it, it is his personal desire and that does not hurt anybody's feelings. I know that for sure. I spoke such dialect too. Here is the example of the dialect he talks about -

Brahmin dialect - கார்த்தாலே எங்கம்மா எங்காத்துலே சாத்தமது பண்ணினா.
Equivalent NB dialect - காலீல எங்க ஆத்தா எங்க ஊட்டுலே ரசம் காச்சினாங்க.

Both dialects are just dialects of the same language. Both are beautiful. I am well versed with both dialects. I don't see any discrimination in Sri.Balaji's desire. By the way, I did not know vegetarianism was invented by Jains or buddhists.

You were quite upset with Brahmins from the past for not sharing their knowledge; here Sri.Balaji Srinivasan assures he would impart his knowledge (whatever it may be) to any interested person (means, irrespective of caste differences). I liked that bit very much. It is disappointing to note you ignored that completely.

Cheers!
Wish you also a very happy new year sir.

I do not know if Shri Balaji meant he would impart his knowledge to any interested person. I also do not know if Shri Balaji meant the brahmanical tamil dialect. I thankyou for the clarification in both these points.

However, am not sure if what you say is what Shri Balaji meant. Maybe its better to have Shri Balaji clarify things himself.

Also, am not "upset with Brahmins from the past for not sharing their knowledge". The only thing that upsets me sometimes is the way some brahmins behaved in the colonial period, ie, in a world of motor cars, railways, government offices, 'western' clothing, secular education, etc...A changing world where evidently varnas had / have no relevance...Am able to understand what the commoner aspired for then and still does now....

It also upsets me that hindutva is being utilised, by some, as a platform for brahmanical aspirations of opposing secularism, and bringing back varna system in some form or the other. The kind of hindutva i support is different from this.

Sir, i was also not aware that vegetarianism was followed by jains and buddhists in the past. Three years back i too thot vegetarianism was a brahmin thing. But the past 2 years, esp the past 1 year, has been quite a roller coaster ride wrt to digging out all kinds of info wrt practices, history of the religion, cultural phases, etc,...

I cannot say the ride was an enjoyable one. Anyways, have sorta reconciled...The hurt period is over.

Lets wish and hope for a good future and a better world for everyone, from now on atleast.

Cheers!
 
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I

Iyer

Guest
Can we come out of this shell, cocoon which we call 'Brahminism'!!! I think it never existed. It is only an illusion, a deception, a false and an unreal identity. In the present context, no individual can afford to be exclusive. The globe is shrinking to a village, thanks to WWW, etc etc. I read Chinmayanda's interpretation of the 66th Verse of the Gita, where it is written 'Sarva Dharman Parithyajya ...'. Literally translated it means 'Shed all Dharmas..'. Chinmaya begins his sermon and interpretation by questioning the verse itself like this 'If we should shed Dharma, why Dharma at all?'. He goes on to explain the meaning of the Dharma in the context and after a long discourse eventually he sums up saying 'Shed your ego and surrender to the Supreme personality of Godhead. He will cleanse you of all sins. You shall have no fear". Prabhupada Das, the founder of ISKCON, makes it very simple by interpreting it as 'Abandon all religions and come to me'. Hence in the present context, we need to shed the 'Brahmin' tag itself and return to the highest state of being, that of 'Human', who we were when created.

Luv,
Iyer.
 
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Smt. HH,

This is with reference to your post #54, especially the following portion thereof:

"The Gita does not say a man’s occupation is to be fixed at birth and that too by violence (as endorsed by manusmirthi / dharmashastras). On the contrary, it may be possible the Gita was misinterpreted and interpolated by a section of smrithi-followers."

How do we then interpret the term "svadharma" used in III-35? Also XVIII -41 to 45?
For Svadharma, i come across two explanations. The brahmanical orthodoxy interprets it as caste by birth (ie., varna by birth). This is used to justify their own positions as brahmins by birth. A position passed on from father to son.

The non-brahmanical gurus of various yoga schools also interpret it as inherent proclivities and caste by birth. In discourses i listened to explanations that Svadharma refers to one's inherent nature, a result of one's own karma. But there is a difference here.

The most common stand i come across, from gurus of various yoga schools, is that a brahman can be born anywhere, to parents professing any kind of profession. Its one's own karma that determines his proclivities -- akin to saying 'i am a bard, my father is a physician and my mother grinds corns'.

To understand which of these two is correct, the brahmanical orthodox view or the non-brahmanical yoga schools, maybe we have to take some religious history into account.

The Vrishins followed a republican type of government, ie., where the ruler was elected. They did not follow a birth-based system. So why would Vasudeva-Krishna of this clan refer to a birth-based system. Hence i feel various gurus of yoga schools offer the right explanation.

Regards.
 
Smt. HH,

I am unable to post "reply with quote" most times. So, I don't know if this will go through.

You have very nicely summarized the position. Hinduism, imho, was a construct purely and entirely of brahmins. By efflux of time and its actions, brahmins were dethroned from their preeminent social positions. Now, they take "pride" in being 'brahmins', speak praises about "brahminism" which is a very nebulous concept, but understood all the same, as a very laudable aspect of brahmins; but, rather (too?) cleverly they disown any responsibility for any wrong done by their forefathers, because they feel, as individuals born only yesterday, they have absolutely no blame coming to them, even while they laud their "brahmin heritage" and "brahminness" which obviously they have inherited from the very same forefathers! ;)

The fact that there is no effort to modify hinduism so as to be in tune with the times, can be attributed, imo, to the fall of brahmins from their social heights; even from much earlier, hinduism had become a place for mere sycophancy; any intellectual growth or dissent had been effectively destroyed with the dictum of the inerrancy of the vedas. The last stalwarts who had the necessary knowledge and circumstantial advantages like Sankara, Ramanuja, Madhvacharya, etc., were more obsessed with the correct philosophical interpretation of 'truth' and liberation; they also could not or did not care much for social changes except to the extent demanded by creating separate schisms of their own followers. Thereafter, hinduism became a stunted religion, bereft of any further intellectual growth but content with the packaging and marketing of old, time-worn and inapplicable ideas from the religion to mainly western clientele by the nouveau-emergent babas, gurus, swamis, etc.

In the light of the foregoing, I feel, what may remain of hinduism fifty years from now will have apparently no connection or similarity with what goes as hinduism today. Quite possibly, there will be church-like temples, candles, and a very well organized priesthood not based on any caste, also. Christna may be the central and only deity and iskcon the main hindu church, and so on. Who can say?:)
Dear Sir,

Considering the growing number of churches that dot the landscape of punjab, andhra, karnataka and kerala (not to mention northeast india which is nearly fully christian), what you say may become the reality, who knows.

Alternatively organisations like Art of Living, Chinmaya Mission, Arya Samaj, Brahma Kumaris, etc, will possibly continue to attract followers...All these organisations thrive because people are not welcome to follow the orthodox religion.

The sense of veneration, the 'need' to realise oneself, etc is all inherent in every human i feel. So the only available choice for NBs is to flock to these organisations, to provide a venue or vent for their spiritual side.

Surely, we wud prefer such organisations anyday over the ridiculous preachings of indian churches..

Am unable to accept that hinduism is a contruct of brahmins alone. The practices, customs, traditions, beliefs, etc are far too varied across the length and breadth of the religion called hinduism.

Historically there is no evidence for a single point origin for a class called brahmins today. I accept the explanation of historians that various individual brahmins and brahmanical groupings arose from the general populace.

Regards.
 
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For Svadharma, i come across two explanations. The brahmanical orthodoxy interprets it as caste by birth (ie., varna by birth). This is used to justify their own positions as brahmins by birth. A position passed on from father to son.

The non-brahmanical gurus of various yoga schools also interpret it as inherent proclivities and caste by birth. In discourses i listened to explanations that Svadharma refers to one's inherent nature, a result of one's own karma. But there is a difference here.

The most common stand i come across, from gurus of various yoga schools, is that a brahman can be born anywhere, to parents professing any kind of profession. Its one's own karma that determines his proclivities -- akin to saying 'i am a bard, my father is a physician and my mother grinds corns'.

To understand which of these two is correct, the brahmanical orthodox view or the non-brahmanical yoga schools, maybe we have to take some religious history into account.

The Vrishins followed a republican type of government, ie., where the ruler was elected. They did not follow a birth-based system. So why would Vasudeva-Krishna of this clan refer to a birth-based system. Hence i feel various gurus of yoga schools offer the right explanation.

Regards.

Smt. HH,

I do not buy the argument that the vrishni vaasudeva-krishNa himself did all the oratory of the entire BG as we have it today. To me it looks like an interpolation into M.Bh. by some poetically gifted brahmins who aimed at rejuvenating or resurrecting their own brand of caste-based hinduism; and found this gita interpolation to be a good idea. Probably they were very astute and had great foresight.

That said, no one would have bothered to write the gita keeping in mind all the time, the character of a vrishni, what he can say and what he would normally not say, etc. After all the clever scribes had already built in 'viSvaroopa darSanam' into the very gita itself, had they not? Then the message is loud and clear, as it is to this day, through ever so many scholiasts, gurus, babas and so on, that it was the Supreme Lord (the अस्याध्यक्षः परमे व्योमन्न् in the nāsadīya sūkta) who was giving out the long and tiring advice in the battlefield!

The notion that svadharma is equivalent to one's innate proclivities or inherent nature, and that this was what Krishna alluded to and which, according to you, the non-brahmanical gurus of various yoga schools endorse, cannot be accepted, imho, because the very same vrishNi says what sort/s of inherent nature each of the four castes is bound to have in BG XVIII, 41-45. Further, in BG II, 31, Krishna tells arjuna :-

स्वधर्ममपि चावॆक्ष्य न विकम्पितुमर्हसि ।
धर्म्यादि युद्धाच्छ्रेयोन्यत् क्षत्रियस्य न विद्यते ॥

svadharmamapi cāvekṣya na vikampitumarhasi |
dharmyādi yuddhācchreyonyat kṣatriyasya na vidyate ||

Now, if krishna had followed the "inherent proclivities" principle, he ought to have allowed arjuna to choose the brahmin varna and go perform 'tapas', instead of killing his cousins, etc. But obviously, krishna considers arjuna to be a 'kshatriya', since, by birth he is one (though paternity-wise, he is the son of indra and hence a deva!) and compels him not to run away from a war enjoined by his 'dharma'. I, therefore, feel there are no grounds to even suspect anything other than caste-based society (cāturvarṇya) and the duties assigned on that basis are called 'svadharma'; we have a caveat also from krishna saying "paradharmo bhayāvahaḥ", so that any change-over from one's own svadharma falling to one's lot according to the birth-based caste system is diligently adhered to.

Apart from all these things, 'the proof of the pudding is in the eating', and history does not provide us with any definite era when the inherent proclivities-based varna system was widely followed in any part of bharatavarsha or under sanaatana dharma.

I look forward to your comments.
 
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guruvayurappan

Active member
Dear K:

I continue to read your posts with interest and have aligned with you many times in your progressive thinking on many common issues that are addressed in this forum.

One thing I strongly disagree with you, from day 1 I joined this forum, is the constant tirade of your brahmin vs dalit sentiments. Your comments in this regard somehow resembles that of a man who may have had some bitter personal experiences and you somehow cannot get over it.

It may be true, as Mr. Sangom suggested elsewhere on this thread, that the ancestor brahmins may have 'created and perpetuated' casteism and supremacy against their fellow beings once upon a time...and the current 'brahmins' have no clue about it....how is it fair K that you incessantly continue to ask all generations to come to take responsibility for it and reel under it? So it must be true of living British because of General Tyre,
all living Pakistanis for their past astrocities in Bdesh? I strongly detest those behaviours and apologize for those atrocities committed but how do we move forward? If you still insist that generations to come should feel guilty about it, isnt that tantamount to your dispensing 'the poorva karma janma' theory in a new bottle, that you are so vehemently opposed to?

All societies, in general, may be in different degrees, committed crimes in the past and will continue to do so in the future. It is nonsense to hold the future generations to account for it.

Wake up K, didnt we elect a dalit to be president of the second most populous nation in the world? Have you walked the halls of TCS or Wipro lately and watched those young men and women who work in those cubicles, or those doctors that tend the patients in the hospitals etc. These people have no time, or patience nor do they care to identify what happened centuries ago!!

Your lines of thinking while intrigued me with creativity at times, your constant insistence that somehow I was responsible just because I happen to be a brahmin, for poor dalit's flight is not appropriate. You look around men and women in trains and any public place today, do you think any one cares who the next person is? Do you really know your neighbour? When I hire someone at work, the caste or color is the last thing that comes to mny mind,
and I am sorry, the discussion B vs NB is so much discussed only in this forum and not really in too many other places!!

We all take responsibilities to our own actions: any rational brahmin will no more condone any ill treatment that is dished out to fellow beings, isnt it time we all knew that every day brings us new opportunities and the world expects us to accomodate to all this newness and we need to be flexible.

The caste train derailed long time ago; if you insist it is still prevalent in India, it is only in some narrow packets and it is a matter of time that also is removed, the new train with new hope and order is ready to leave and I am ready to jump on it.

Cheers to everyone....
dear servall !
it is true that while traveling in bus or train we are not bothered to know the the cast to which the persons belongs ? but we are particular about their appearence and dress code. even in marriage all are taking dinner in the same row irrespective of their caste. new caste system in terms of money is coming up.even gift are made in anticipation of some favor. more costly presents for well placed HOD, officers and influential person family functions.
electing president or chief justice of India are all political game for vote bank.
we can not deny the fact that all tamil brahmins are feeling sorry for taken birth in abrahmins family and repeatedly saying ,our generation is paying for the the deeds /position (i do not say good or bad )they enjoyed (as you said poorva jenma karma ).the caste train has derailed long time ago for Brahmins only and not for others.all community is represented in ministry making where as the brahmin comunity is mostly engaged in service sector to implement their plans with the tag of most trusted servant(bonded labour ).the survival of many brahmins depends on the employment opportunity of their wards abroad
who knows in next century we will be dalit and will enjoy all reservation benefit.
guruvayurappan
 
Smt. HH,

I do not buy the argument that the vrishni vaasudeva-krishNa himself did all the oratory of the entire BG as we have it today. To me it looks like an interpolation into M.Bh. by some poetically gifted brahmins who aimed at rejuvenating or resurrecting their own brand of caste-based hinduism; and found this gita interpolation to be a good idea. Probably they were very astute and had great foresight.

That said, no one would have bothered to write the gita keeping in mind all the time, the character of a vrishni, what he can say and what he would normally not say, etc. After all the clever scribes had already built in 'viSvaroopa darSanam' into the very gita itself, had they not? Then the message is loud and clear, as it is to this day, through ever so many scholiasts, gurus, babas and so on, that it was the Supreme Lord (the अस्याध्यक्षः परमे व्योमन्न् in the nāsadīya sūkta) who was giving out the long and tiring advice in the battlefield!

The notion that svadharma is equivalent to one's innate proclivities or inherent nature, and that this was what Krishna alluded to and which, according to you, the non-brahmanical gurus of various yoga schools endorse, cannot be accepted, imho, because the very same vrishNi says what sort/s of inherent nature each of the four castes is bound to have in BG XVIII, 41-45. Further, in BG II, 31, Krishna tells arjuna :-

स्वधर्ममपि चावॆक्ष्य न विकम्पितुमर्हसि ।
धर्म्यादि युद्धाच्छ्रेयोन्यत् क्षत्रियस्य न विद्यते ॥

svadharmamapi cāvekṣya na vikampitumarhasi |
dharmyādi yuddhācchreyonyat kṣatriyasya na vidyate ||

Now, if krishna had followed the "inherent proclivities" principle, he ought to have allowed arjuna to choose the brahmin varna and go perform 'tapas', instead of killing his cousins, etc. But obviously, krishna considers arjuna to be a 'kshatriya', since, by birth he is one (though paternity-wise, he is the son of indra and hence a deva!) and compels him not to run away from a war enjoined by his 'dharma'. I, therefore, feel there are no grounds to even suspect anything other than caste-based society (cāturvarṇya) and the duties assigned on that basis are called 'svadharma'; we have a caveat also from krishna saying "paradharmo bhayāvahaḥ", so that any change-over from one's own svadharma falling to one's lot according to the birth-based caste system is diligently adhered to.

Apart from all these things, 'the proof of the pudding is in the eating', and history does not provide us with any definite era when the inherent proclivities-based varna system was widely followed in any part of bharatavarsha or under sanaatana dharma.

I look forward to your comments.
Dear Sir,

I do agree the Gita was interloped into the Mahabharat (Mbh). Been reading some works of which i liked the explanation of Banerjee the most. He refers to a hymn in the MBh which occurs in the first chapter itself saying it had 3 beginnings and grew into 24,000 shlokas from an original 8800 shlokas.

So, Banerjee says the data probably went thru 3 stages of development. He explains the Mbh originally consisted of just 8,800 shlokas. It grew to 24,000 shlokas because various episodes or Upakhyanas were added to it over time. He offer dates – says the earliest portions were written around fifth century BC; and it reached its present form around 350 AD.

Farquhar in this book says the epics were recast under the brahmanical Sunga rule and during this time didactic and sectarian elements were introduced into them. To me, it seems rather obvious the Sungas were elevating themselves into Brahmins after coming to power. Though Pushyamitra Sunga had no sacred thread, maybe the later Sunga rulers successfully adopted the ritual, who knows….

Was also reading thru this intriguing paper on interpolations into the Gita -- http://www.hinduwebsite.com/secretcode.asp . It portrays some kind of struggle between the Upanishad followers versus the Brahmins in order to portray the Gita as each wanted it. It explains the self-contradictory statements in the Gita (of Krishna sending Arjuna to war, etc).

I sort of suspect Krishna originally belonged to the Sankhya school with emphasis on self-realization, but His core compositions were hijacked by different schools and thus we have the current Gita today.

Regarding the Vishvaroopa darshanam which you mention, shall make a separate post later today or within a few days.

Regards.
 

prasad1

Active member
Can we come out of this shell, cocoon which we call 'Brahminism'!!! I think it never existed. It is only an illusion, a deception, a false and an unreal identity. In the present context, no individual can afford to be exclusive. The globe is shrinking to a village, thanks to WWW, etc etc. I read Chinmayanda's interpretation of the 66th Verse of the Gita, where it is written 'Sarva Dharman Parithyajya ...'. Literally translated it means 'Shed all Dharmas..'. Chinmaya begins his sermon and interpretation by questioning the verse itself like this 'If we should shed Dharma, why Dharma at all?'. He goes on to explain the meaning of the Dharma in the context and after a long discourse eventually he sums up saying 'Shed your ego and surrender to the Supreme personality of Godhead. He will cleanse you of all sins. You shall have no fear". Prabhupada Das, the founder of ISKCON, makes it very simple by interpreting it as 'Abandon all religions and come to me'. Hence in the present context, we need to shed the 'Brahmin' tag itself and return to the highest state of being, that of 'Human', who we were when created.

Luv,
Iyer.
Mr. Iyer,
I too come from Chinmaya camp. I do not have detailed knowledge of Sanskrit and out scriptures. Chinmayananda was not brahmin, and on occasion make fun of brahmins.
But some people on this site relish the disembowelment of Hindu point of view, scriptures, and the fabric of Indian culture. They use their "superior" knowledge of Sanskrit to question the faith of billions.
If you had faith that Chinmayananda or others had more authority or knowledge then you, then you may accept that, but if others thought that they have superior knowledge then they do not have to accept that notion.
 
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Mr. Iyer,
I too come from Chinmaya camp. I do not know have detailed knowledge of Sanskrit and out scriptures. Chinmayananda was not brahmin, and on occasion make fun of brahmins.
But some people on this site relish the disembowelment of Hindu point of view, scriptures, and the fabric of Indian culture. They use their "superior" knowledge of Sanskrit to question the faith of billions.
If you had faith that Chinmayananda or others had more authority or knowledge then you, then you may accept that, but if others thought that they have superior knowledge then they do not have to accept that notion.
Does this mean whatever Chinmayananda said has to be 100% correct? Whereas whatever researchers say is wrong? Its 'wrong' just because it goes against one's own pet beliefs?

Please note, Chinamaya Mission, Arya Samaj, Art of Living, and such organisations are not involved in researching the religion from the historic pov. They do not compare religious literature against inscriptions, study cultural phases based on epigraphies, archeological finds, linguistic evidence, numismatics, etc.

No need to compare things that are uncomparable.

Those who want to beleive have all the freedom to do so. If their 'faith' is strong they need not feel threatened by info given by researchers.
 
Dear Happy Hindu,

Just as clarification: Raghy's understanding of my ideas is absolutely correct. Thanks for asking for my clarification.

Happy New Year to all!

--- Balaji
 
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