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Committed to a Brahminical lifestyle: Need advice please!!!!

Govindh

Member
Namaskaram to all the esteemed Bramhanas,

I am going anonymous with the name of my favorite Lord Govinda as I write this. Forgive me if it is a bit long.
I am an NRI and have been brought up in a western country my whole life. My parents are extremely religious/spiritual and they raised me in the same way (daily ArAdhanA, weekend geetha classes, frequent listening to pravachanas followed by dinner discussions on bramha sUtrAs were a norm growing up). Since I never grew up in India, I un/fortunately (I'm not sure which) never grew up realizing the intricacies of caste, caste politics, and was simply "a proud Hindu" throughout my schooling. My parents were always incredible encouraging and also started me in Sanskrit classes. I requested my parents to start learning the vEdAs and we underwent upanayam and I follow sandhya vandana daily along with studying in one of top notch programs at my country by God's grace. Now, here comes the plot twist.

When I asked of my family's caste/heritage as a young adult, I was informed we were something called balijas. Evidently, a class that were political leaders turned merchants in the vijjayanagara empire. By birth, my gothram was jyanakala and after undergoing upanayanam I had adopted the officiating priest's gotra and pravara. (He obliged after much discussion/testing and had agreed to officiate the ceremony for me as he thought I was fit). I used to think that varnA was based solely on gunA-karmAs but looking through an unbiased view of the sAstrAs, it is becoming clear that it has always been birth-based (even at the time of the tri-mathAchAryas, as per their bhAsyAs). However, this brahminical way of life has literally become second nature. Doing agnihOtrA/samidAdhAna, sandhyA, parisEchanam before meals, strictly eating only sattvik food, daily ArAdhanA to perumAL is something that gives me order and purpose. I am attached to the duties itself. At the same time, I want to be on the side of dharmA and righteousness. I did a lot of research on my last name (which is a VERY uncommon last name, mind you) and there is some heritage with a family of telugu niYogI brAhmins who went into business or vAnijyA (possibly intermixed and corrupted into balijA?). Their gOtra was listed and it seems they were rig vedin brAhmins as well. I also did a lot of extensive research on balijA familial roots and found that the banajiga was a core guild that was started by 500 brahmin swAmi merchants in Ayyavole, Karnataka over a 1000 years ago. Over the years, several people from all four castes came in and strictly speaking because of the failure of vedic samskaras and varna sAnkaryam, the guild turned into a caste that is placed in the sUdra varnA today. I am not here to contend the status of that caste, but strictly speaking, even if I did have the brahminical roots in my ancestors, I am by all means a sUdra for lack of samskAras for seven generations or I am at least of mixed ancestry. I was not aware of maintaining varnA by birth, etc before undergoing upanayanA but having followed the brahminical lifestyle/rituals and reading sanskrit for years now, I am being exposed to the truth that caste has traditionally been birth based.

My question to the elders of this forum: What do I do now? Am I to strip off my poonol and pour lead in my ears for reciting mantrAs? Please note that I have no ulterior motive for this. I am not in love with any brahmin girl nor is there any privilege to being a brahmin in America. In fact, it is probably MUCH more "enjoyable" to live life in a western country without such discipline but this lifestyle is simply a part of who I am now. I personally know of several "brahmin" friends who drink, smoke weed, and eat beef to give you perspective that caste does not really matter here. Also, the gOtrA that was given to me and my father during the upanayana ceremony also matched the one of my (possible) ancestors so there is a possibility that I am actually linked to that rshi. Either way, I have only been using that gOtrA for everything. However, for all purposes, it is a gOtrA that has come from a guru to me so it is not descended male to male descendants. Is this even legal? Am I doing some paapam or committing apachAram by performing someone else's svadharmA? Or am I one of the rAkshasA sUdrAs predicted in bhAgavatha purAna that "dress like a brAhmin" in kali-yugA? I cannot bear to be doing anything against Lord Kannan but at the same time, I promise I have no malintentions and I have nothing but great respect for all the esteemed sages, AchAryas and proper brahmins that have safeguarded our rich culture. My identity and being is literally tied to this lifestyle now and I can't imagine my children not growing up without doing daily sandhyavandanam, etc. Neither do I have relatives in India really, most of us are based in America and me and my entire family have been following this way of life (sandhya vandana, samidadhana, parisechana) for a while now. Please point me in the right direction. I would also like to add that I cannot be told to suddenly start eating meat or eating indiscriminately at restaraunts (we maintain utmost saucham at home and do not share meals with others unless it is prasAdam or they are bhAgavthAs). I am studying medicine now and hope to maintain this lifestyle throughout my life and career by God's grace.
 

Rudra_Maha

New member
Hello Sir,

Really amusing and surprising that, you are still rooted to the tradition and infact, you wanting to continue and pursue it, despite all the virtue signaling and hatred by the media and so called progressives, hats off!.

I appreciate this clarity of thought, atleast you now know what your identity is. Well done on the first step, many are struggling to even get this correct.

Now coming to your question:

Disclaimer:- I'm not an old fellow, just in my mid to late 20s living in India, giving only my suggestions as a brother, u can consult the elders of the forum for better explanation on this subject.

No, you don't have to remove the thread and forgo it. You wanted it, you earned it, now your duty is to stick to it and ensure that you are worth its weight. Thats the only thing you should be worried about. How can be better each day. Dont regress, just progress from where your are. I can sort of understand this situation, straight out of college, i too had such confusions and thoughts, the solution is, dont think too much over it. It will settle and fall in place.

You had mentioned like, you encouraged your parents to start learning the vedas and get the upanayanam done. If you were a rakshasa as you mentioned yourself, your thought would have been to destory the ones doing such stuff. Why go the other way around and ask your parents also to get the sacred thread. From my understanding, there is a calling in you. Something made you to do this. Why not think like, it is the Rishi in you who made u do it?..

Most importantly, pls dont call yourself a shudra/Rakshasa. No one is. It is all ones action that determines, how he gets labelled. You pray to krishna, do all the nityakarmas, control your urgres and lead a disciplined life, studying medicine...is this a rakshasa guna???..my dear, you're already in the top 10% of the good humans, i would say. Many would yearn or die to be like this. Dont give up.

1. You got your gotra from your guru, who initiated you. Stick to it. There is this incident from Jabala Upanishad, where one boy wishes to learn the vedas and become a scholar. When the Rishsi enquired about his father, the boy didnt know. He went to his mother and asked her to identify his father, to which she said, she had known many men and cannot identify who his father was. The boy conveys this to the rishi and the rishi gives him his Gotra and accepts him as a disciple because of his honesty and says, honesty is the primary virtue of a brahmin.

Many such examples abound in our scriptures like Vishwamitra, Krishna, King Janaka etc.

Hence, dont worry about the initiation part. Whatever background u're from, once you are initiated, all that matters is how u stick to it. This is your Svadharma.

You are not violating anyone else's Svadharma. If you had walked into someone else's house and stopped him from practicing his rituals, here your violating another persons Svadharma. You chose a lifestyle for yourself and your parents also blessed you for it. Why worry then, Never look back, go ahead and achieve it. The world is your playground now. As long as the intention is right and dharmic, nothing is wrong.

2. Regarding the pouring of lead into ears, pls Sir, this is non-sense. You seriously think this is even possible. When the kings were coronated, people of his kingdom would assemble outside his palace to witness the coronation, the brahims would be chanting the vedas at that moment as in every ceremony. Would'nt a so called Shudra hear it then?. So, the king will go on pouring lead on everyone's ears, to punish them. This is complete non sense.

Infact from what i know of, this lead pouring is not from Manusmriti but from Gautama smriti. Even today, the agamas openly state that every temple festival must include all four varnas and the procession through the streets is to be accompanied by Vedic chanting and of course courtesans dancing. The palanquin of the deity is always carried by Sudras who walk in front of the Veda chanting Brahmins. Here, arent the shudras listening to vedas. Shall we punish them.

All this lead pouring story holds no water and is baseless. And my advice would be dont take them at face value. Its Sanskrit, a bit confusing, one word can have many meaning and intrepretations. Hence, dont take the smritis literally. They can be discarded if you want. It changes over periods of time. These Dharma sutras are written and geared for the people of those times, will it be practical today completely. Smritis also says, i may have to go to forest and do a tapas to attain power and benefits. Hence, can i pack my bags and move to a forest today. Not practical at all. Why:-

1. We're already cutting down our forests
2. I dont want to get mauled by a wild animal
3. Most forests are filled by Naxals or Maoists. I'll get killed by these fellows.

:D

See, practicality is a question. Krishna was facing this difficulty with Yudhishtira in Bharatam. Yudhistir was following dharma to the rule, completely. Krishna was applying the same Dharma, say bending and twisting without breaking it. Just like say, Theoretical Physics vs Applied Physics. You think the Pandavas would have survived without Krishna by their side. It was his brilliance and practicality that won the game for them. You do Sandhyavandam daily right, there is a mantram there like :-

Aakashath Pathitham Thoyam
Yatha Gachathi Sagaram
Sarvadeva Namaskaram
Keshavam Prathi Gachathi


It all goes to Kesavan in the end. When Krishna himself is the authority here, you need anyone else to guide you on your journey?

My suggestion is:

1. You have started on a holy path. Don't give up. Its a tough path to tread, but a worthy one. Easy to give into desires, but once you cross it, you'll be unstoppable.

2. Yes, our society has been based on caste by birth. But it is not something new. It has been the same since the days of Krishna. This is beyond our control. But what we are all blessed with is CHOICE. The choice to follow or unfollow, just like the quote in MATRIX:

No, you've already made the choice. Now you have to understand it.
- ORACLE


There is neither any blasphemy law here, nor is anyone going to come and appreciate you for following it. You've chosen the identity of a brahmin. If you want to follow a strict regimented disciplined life, u can subscribe to this. If not, don't follow, you're welcome to go back to what you want to be. (My personal suggestion, follow it).

3. Don't take those brahmin friends and make an example of them. They maybe brahmin by birth. But by Guna/Karma, they've fallen. On the contrary, you have risen.

Stick to Dharma, learn the shastras, be a proud Dharmika, propagate and encourage the vedas, become a great doctor and set an example for the generations to come. Our ancestors were pioneers and beacons of wisdom, we have a lot to catch up to and a future to look up to.

May you and your tribe flourish. God bless.
 
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OP
G

Govindh

Member
Hello Sir,

Really amusing and surprising that, you are still rooted to the tradition and infact, you wanting to continue and pursue it, despite all the virtue signaling and hatred by the media and so called progressives, hats off!.

I appreciate this clarity of thought, atleast you now know what your identity is. Well done on the first step, many are struggling to even get this correct.

Now coming to your question:

Disclaimer:- I'm not an old fellow, just in my mid to late 20s living in India, giving only my suggestions as a brother, u can consult the elders of the forum for better explanation on this subject.

No, you don't have to remove the thread and forgo it. You wanted it, you earned it, now your duty is to stick to it and ensure that you are worth its weight. Thats the only thing you should be worried about. How can be better each day. Dont regress, just progress from where your are. I can sort of understand this situation, straight out of college, i too had such confusions and thoughts, the solution is, dont think too much over it. It will settle and fall in place.

You had mentioned like, you encouraged your parents to start learning the vedas and get the upanayanam done. If you were a rakshasa as you mentioned yourself, your thought would have been to destory the ones doing such stuff. Why go the other way around and ask your parents also to get the sacred thread. From my understanding, there is a calling in you. Something made you to do this. Why not think like, it is the Rishi in you who made u do it?..

Most importantly, pls dont call yourself a shudra/Rakshasa. No one is. It is all ones action that determines, how he gets labelled. You pray to krishna, do all the nityakarmas, control your urgres and lead a disciplined life, studying medicine...is this a rakshasa guna???..my dear, you're already in the top 10% of the good humans, i would say. Many would yearn or die to be like this. Dont give up.

1. You got your gotra from your guru, who initiated you. Stick to it. There is this incident from Jabala Upanishad, where one boy wishes to learn the vedas and become a scholar. When the Rishsi enquired about his father, the boy didnt know. He went to his mother and asked her to identify his father, to which she said, she had known many men and cannot identify who his father was. The boy conveys this to the rishi and the rishi gives him his Gotra and accepts him as a disciple because of his honesty and says, honesty is the primary virtue of a brahmin.

Many such examples abound in our scriptures like Vishwamitra, Krishna, King Janaka etc.

Hence, dont worry about the initiation part. Whatever background u're from, once you are initiated, all that matters is how u stick to it. This is your Svadharma.

You are not violating anyone else's Svadharma. If you had walked into someone else's house and stopped him from practicing his rituals, here your violating another persons Svadharma. You chose a lifestyle for yourself and your parents also blessed you for it. Why worry then, Never look back, go ahead and achieve it. The world is your playground now. As long as the intention is right and dharmic, nothing is wrong.

2. Regarding the pouring of lead into ears, pls Sir, this is non-sense. You seriously think this is even possible. When the kings were coronated, people of his kingdom would assemble outside his palace to witness the coronation, the brahims would be chanting the vedas at that moment as in every ceremony. Would'nt a so called Shudra hear it then?. So, the king will go on pouring lead on everyone's ears, to punish them. This is complete non sense.

Infact from what i know of, this lead pouring is not from Manusmriti but from Gautama smriti. Even today, the agamas openly state that every temple festival must include all four varnas and the procession through the streets is to be accompanied by Vedic chanting and of course courtesans dancing. The palanquin of the deity is always carried by Sudras who walk in front of the Veda chanting Brahmins. Here, arent the shudras listening to vedas. Shall we punish them.

All this lead pouring story holds no water and is baseless. And my advice would be dont take them at face value. Its Sanskrit, a bit confusing, one word can have many meaning and intrepretations. Hence, dont take the smritis literally. They can be discarded if you want. It changes over periods of time. These Dharma sutras are written and geared for the people of those times, will it be practical today completely. Smritis also says, i may have to go to forest and do a tapas to attain power and benefits. Hence, can i pack my bags and move to a forest today. Not practical at all. Why:-

1. We're already cutting down our forests
2. I dont want to get mauled by a wild animal
3. Most forests are filled by Naxals or Maoists. I'll get killed by these fellows.

:D

See, practicality is a question. Krishna was facing this difficulty with Yudhishtira in Bharatam. Yudhistir was following dharma to the rule, completely. Krishna was applying the same Dharma, say bending and twisting without breaking it. Just like say, Theoretical Physics vs Applied Physics. You think the Pandavas would have survived without Krishna by their side. It was his brilliance and practicality that won the game for them. You do Sandhyavandam daily right, there is a mantram there like :-

Aakashath Pathitham Thoyam
Yatha Gachathi Sagaram
Sarvadeva Namaskaram
Keshavam Prathi Gachathi


It all goes to Kesavan in the end. When Krishna himself is the authority here, you need anyone else to guide you on your journey?

My suggestion is:

1. You have started on a holy path. Don't give up. Its a tough path to tread, but a worthy one. Easy to give into desires, but once you cross it, you'll be unstoppable.

2. Yes, our society has been based on caste by birth. But it is not something new. It has been the same since the days of Krishna. This is beyond our control. But what we are all blessed with is CHOICE. The choice to follow or unfollow, just like the quote in MATRIX:

No, you've already made the choice. Now you have to understand it.
- ORACLE


There is neither any blasphemy law here, nor is anyone going to come and appreciate you for following it. You've chosen the identity of a brahmin. If you want to follow a strict regimented disciplined life, u can subscribe to this. If not, don't follow, you're welcome to go back to what you want to be. (My personal suggestion, follow it).

3. Don't take those brahmin friends and make an example of them. They maybe brahmin by birth. But by Guna/Karma, they've fallen. On the contrary, you have risen.

Stick to Dharma, learn the shastras, be a proud Dharmika, propagate and encourage the vedas, become a great doctor and set an example for the generations to come. Our ancestors were pioneers and beacons of wisdom, we have a lot to catch up to and a future to look up to.

May you and your tribe flourish. God bless.
Anna,

Namaskaram. Thank you for your reply; admittedly, reading it right after sandhya vandanam, narayana mantra japam and gayatri japam, I feel the Divine has spoken through you. It is a breath of fresh air to have someone encouraging me while I am in doubt since the only information I have been getting has been from pravachanas/upanyAsakAs of pEEtAdhipathIs (who I realized are absolutely right in their interpretations for the Indian environment and I am equivalent only to the dust on their feet) and the interpretations of dharmasAstrAs on hindustackexchange.org (again, I find no fault in them. They are just relaying the information as it is). Perhaps if someone had told me when I was a kid that it was wrong to do this I would have stopped but seeing as it has become a part of my identity, (like you said), I will continue it with great fervor and respect to the duty that God has entrusted upon me.

Regarding the so-called "progressives", they have no idea what richness they are missing out on. Being in America, the liberals here bash on Hinduism and support Islam and the Right-wings hate on anything that is not christianity so trust me when I say we have faced hinduphobia in schools. Half of them are truly corrupt and trying to malign the Dharmic community and the other half I found to have their heart in the right place but are just severely misinformed. Having ancestry from Telugu states, I can assure you that literally all of the Dalit atrocities that I know of so far have been carried out by rAjus, arya vysya, kamma naidus, reddys, balijAs, vElamAs, etc. If at all Brahmin parents find that their child has eloped with a member of a different varnA, they either cut off all ties, accept it as a truth of life or in extreme circumstances, end their own lives because of societal pressure. In fact, Brahmin upanyAsakars have produced most of the only so-called "Forward Caste" people who I have seen speak out against honor killings. How could someone who refrains from harming even animals or plants unless absolutely necessary kill human beings? That being said, there has been discrimination in our history, but all castes have been a part of it and we as Hindu brothers and sisters should own up to it and stop blaming the British or Islam for that aspect of out history. Differentiation is never a problem (and the more I think about it, it is a must) since all occupations are necessary but discrimination was and is never okay. To be honest, I am unsure of why the TN/Kerala has so much hatred toward Brahmins; in the Telugu states (as far as I know since I have never lived there), this aryan/dravidian divide and hatred has never been there. The non-brahmins and brahmins have tremendous respect for each other and work hand in hand frequently in several professional fields.

True Brahmins must always be protected; I don't think people understand the impact that their own community would have if they disappeared. If one took an unbiased look into history, the advent of Jainism/Buddhism had already caused much "sAnkaryam" in the southern states which is why the 4-tier system deconstructed into 2 varnas (brahmins and non-brahmins who took up the roles of kshatriyAs, vysyAs and sUdrAs at different times), not because the "evil brahmins came on horses from the north and subjugated the Dravidians". This may very well mean that Periyar, the leader of the anti-Brahmin movement, may have very well had Brahminical or at least vEdic ancestry that converted to Buddhism generations ago. I understand he may have had certain times in his life in which he was disrespect or discriminated against by a couple brahmins, but that did NOT give him the right to go and malign an entire community. If he was in Rome or an Islamic country, he would not have been able to get away with what he did. It angers me, but I realized that I cannot change the view of misinformed people and I have stopped paying attention to politics because I do not want to start labelling people before I got to actually know them. I find that it is easier to maintain samAnathvA as stated in the BG to all people if I just carry out my duties and take each day as it comes, and see Krishna speaking to me through each person.

All in all, I really appreciate your input anna. I have heard that regarding jAbAli, all three of the traditional vEdAntic AcharyAs were of the opinion that his father must have been a brahmin (by birth) for him to have been so honest. Whichever way I see it, the way I was raised and the rituals I follow definitely would not have been accepted by orthodox AcharyAs in the past. But seeing as you said that times change and for some Divine reason, God may have put me on this path (or a rshi's blood in me may have awakened), I will try my best to do my duty to propogate Vedic truths as I learn them from a qualified AchArya and safeguard the practices of yagnAs/homAs at least within my family/descendants while I continue to finish school and become a stellar physician by God's grace. If I do gain any merits/punyA from this, some of the credit definitely goes to you for providing me with encouragement and clarity of thought when I was sinking into a state of confusion. I pray for your wellbeing Anna.

That being said, if any of the elders feel that they have a different viewpoint, then please feel free to share. I promise that I will not be offended :). You all are much wiser than me, probably older than me and I will always respect your unbiased inputs. I will definitely keep all of your ideas in mind.
 
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Rudra_Maha

New member
@Govindh Those are high words. I gave my suggestions, because i can relate to what you're going through. There is a point in life, where we need to stand back and think for ourselves, over who we are and what our identity is. If we can figure this out, you get a clarity wherein you can blossom to your full potential. Unfortunately, many of us, start with something, slog years in it and later realize we're not meant for it. Be it career or spirituality its the same. TIME/kaalam(in tamil) is the real god. If i had removed some doubt of yours, i'm happy. Who knows what lurks around the corner, you may turn into an Acharya yourself, or one of your descendants might become big contributors to Dharma. I, you or anyone of us may not be around that time to witness it, but its because we've sown the seed today, someones gonna reap its benefit tmrw.

Take for example: those monumental temples, you find in India, do you think, the people of those times would have lived to see their hardwork materialize into the structure we see today. Nope, many have died mid way. Some 2-3 generations of people have worked on it. Of course, some were made to work forcefully, but there are also others who worked voluntarily, otherwise you would'nt be seeing this beauty. Now what sort of an attitude is that to keep working continously with passion without caring about the results, it still is amusing that such people existed, peak of Krishnas Karma Yoga principle. Hence, this spiritualtiy and rituals are an investment, not just for the present but for the future, future of your coming generations.

Go onto become a great doctor, even become the Surgeon general there, but never forget ur Dharma. That is all that matters. We are just tiny specks in this mighty universe. Dont break your head over such trivial stuff. There are many issues where we can go and break heads, not this, never give up or give in, stay balanced like Lord Ram. Have fun. Cheers!!!:D
 

renuka

Gold Member
Gold Member
Namaskaram to all the esteemed Bramhanas,

I am going anonymous with the name of my favorite Lord Govinda as I write this. Forgive me if it is a bit long.
I am an NRI and have been brought up in a western country my whole life. My parents are extremely religious/spiritual and they raised me in the same way (daily ArAdhanA, weekend geetha classes, frequent listening to pravachanas followed by dinner discussions on bramha sUtrAs were a norm growing up). Since I never grew up in India, I un/fortunately (I'm not sure which) never grew up realizing the intricacies of caste, caste politics, and was simply "a proud Hindu" throughout my schooling. My parents were always incredible encouraging and also started me in Sanskrit classes. I requested my parents to start learning the vEdAs and we underwent upanayam and I follow sandhya vandana daily along with studying in one of top notch programs at my country by God's grace. Now, here comes the plot twist.

When I asked of my family's caste/heritage as a young adult, I was informed we were something called balijas. Evidently, a class that were political leaders turned merchants in the vijjayanagara empire. By birth, my gothram was jyanakala and after undergoing upanayanam I had adopted the officiating priest's gotra and pravara. (He obliged after much discussion/testing and had agreed to officiate the ceremony for me as he thought I was fit). I used to think that varnA was based solely on gunA-karmAs but looking through an unbiased view of the sAstrAs, it is becoming clear that it has always been birth-based (even at the time of the tri-mathAchAryas, as per their bhAsyAs). However, this brahminical way of life has literally become second nature. Doing agnihOtrA/samidAdhAna, sandhyA, parisEchanam before meals, strictly eating only sattvik food, daily ArAdhanA to perumAL is something that gives me order and purpose. I am attached to the duties itself. At the same time, I want to be on the side of dharmA and righteousness. I did a lot of research on my last name (which is a VERY uncommon last name, mind you) and there is some heritage with a family of telugu niYogI brAhmins who went into business or vAnijyA (possibly intermixed and corrupted into balijA?). Their gOtra was listed and it seems they were rig vedin brAhmins as well. I also did a lot of extensive research on balijA familial roots and found that the banajiga was a core guild that was started by 500 brahmin swAmi merchants in Ayyavole, Karnataka over a 1000 years ago. Over the years, several people from all four castes came in and strictly speaking because of the failure of vedic samskaras and varna sAnkaryam, the guild turned into a caste that is placed in the sUdra varnA today. I am not here to contend the status of that caste, but strictly speaking, even if I did have the brahminical roots in my ancestors, I am by all means a sUdra for lack of samskAras for seven generations or I am at least of mixed ancestry. I was not aware of maintaining varnA by birth, etc before undergoing upanayanA but having followed the brahminical lifestyle/rituals and reading sanskrit for years now, I am being exposed to the truth that caste has traditionally been birth based.

My question to the elders of this forum: What do I do now? Am I to strip off my poonol and pour lead in my ears for reciting mantrAs? Please note that I have no ulterior motive for this. I am not in love with any brahmin girl nor is there any privilege to being a brahmin in America. In fact, it is probably MUCH more "enjoyable" to live life in a western country without such discipline but this lifestyle is simply a part of who I am now. I personally know of several "brahmin" friends who drink, smoke weed, and eat beef to give you perspective that caste does not really matter here. Also, the gOtrA that was given to me and my father during the upanayana ceremony also matched the one of my (possible) ancestors so there is a possibility that I am actually linked to that rshi. Either way, I have only been using that gOtrA for everything. However, for all purposes, it is a gOtrA that has come from a guru to me so it is not descended male to male descendants. Is this even legal? Am I doing some paapam or committing apachAram by performing someone else's svadharmA? Or am I one of the rAkshasA sUdrAs predicted in bhAgavatha purAna that "dress like a brAhmin" in kali-yugA? I cannot bear to be doing anything against Lord Kannan but at the same time, I promise I have no malintentions and I have nothing but great respect for all the esteemed sages, AchAryas and proper brahmins that have safeguarded our rich culture. My identity and being is literally tied to this lifestyle now and I can't imagine my children not growing up without doing daily sandhyavandanam, etc. Neither do I have relatives in India really, most of us are based in America and me and my entire family have been following this way of life (sandhya vandana, samidadhana, parisechana) for a while now. Please point me in the right direction. I would also like to add that I cannot be told to suddenly start eating meat or eating indiscriminately at restaraunts (we maintain utmost saucham at home and do not share meals with others unless it is prasAdam or they are bhAgavthAs). I am studying medicine now and hope to maintain this lifestyle throughout my life and career by God's grace.
I only saw this post today.

Firstly you are following a lifestyle which jives with your nature and makes you feel balanced.
That's all there is to Dharma.
Dharma is being aligned to your intrinsic nature.

Do not attach importance to Varna/Jati.
When coming to eating meat or being vegetarian or vegan, there is no rule that only a birth based Brahmin has to be veg.

Many Non Hindus Non Indians are vegans and do not drink milk too.

Whether caste is birth based on not its not really a matter here.
You must be aware that ISCKON has everyone from all over the world leading Vedic lifestyle.
On Facebook there is a page called Hinduism in Africa and the Africans especially from Ghana are leading Vedic lifestyles. They dont identify with Caste there, the just align with God.

I know lots of people who take on their Guru's gotra if they are not birth based Brahmins.
If you are ok with that then fine. It's not about being legal or illegal. Its just the procedure you are following.

Personally I still feel we have to honour our parents and be in their gotra as a karmic debt we owe our bodies to them(Note: I am not a Tamil Brahmin,so my opinions would differ a lot)

BTW your identity is not tied to the the lifestyle you lead.
Your true identity is the ATMA.
Since you are mentioning that you are a Krishna Bhakta, all the more you would know that finally after having preforming our duties/dharma etc we would have to go beyond attachment to Dharma and surrender on to Him.

TEXT 66
sarva-dharman parityajya
mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
moksayisyami ma sucah

TRANSLATION
Abandon all varieties of Dharma and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.

When we are told to finally surrender, that includes deleting all the multiple identities we have given ourselves and be an empty conch shell for Shree Krishna to blow the Bhagavad Gita through you.

Aim to be Shree Krishna's Panchajanya Conch, let that be your identity at least for now till you decide to totally surrender all attachment to Dharma.
 
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Brahmanyan

Well-known member
Dear friend,
Varna, Caste, Gothra are outward labels given by ourselves. The search for truth is going on from time immemorial and only a few gifted souls reach the destination. They are not identified by names. It is my belief any one can lead a life of good human being by Compassion, Contentment and companionship. In creation, we are part of nature. We do not know "why" we are born. All that science can find is an answer for "how" only.
Be a good Brahmin if you desire so. Please share your wealth and knowledge with others.
Wishing you all the best.
Brahmanyan,
Bangalore.
 

usaiyer

Active member
'Manisha Panchakam ' is a great revealation.We have to know
the principle 'yaanaikkum Adi sarukkum' We have to learn things in the hard way from life as in this illustration ,Many times,our gunas hinder us from seeing the truth,Sankara Bhagavat padal had developed the mental sensitivity that is required to understand the truth,We need understanding and no judgement of people for realising our true selves.
'Sruthi,Smruthi,purananam ,Aalayam Karunalayam,
Namami Bhagavatpada ,sankaram,Loka Sankaram"
 
Namaskaram to all the esteemed Bramhanas,

I am going anonymous with the name of my favorite Lord Govinda as I write this. Forgive me if it is a bit long.
I am an NRI and have been brought up in a western country my whole life. My parents are extremely religious/spiritual and they raised me in the same way (daily ArAdhanA, weekend geetha classes, frequent listening to pravachanas followed by dinner discussions on bramha sUtrAs were a norm growing up). Since I never grew up in India, I un/fortunately (I'm not sure which) never grew up realizing the intricacies of caste, caste politics, and was simply "a proud Hindu" throughout my schooling. My parents were always incredible encouraging and also started me in Sanskrit classes. I requested my parents to start learning the vEdAs and we underwent upanayam and I follow sandhya vandana daily along with studying in one of top notch programs at my country by God's grace. Now, here comes the plot twist.

When I asked of my family's caste/heritage as a young adult, I was informed we were something called balijas. Evidently, a class that were political leaders turned merchants in the vijjayanagara empire. By birth, my gothram was jyanakala and after undergoing upanayanam I had adopted the officiating priest's gotra and pravara. (He obliged after much discussion/testing and had agreed to officiate the ceremony for me as he thought I was fit). I used to think that varnA was based solely on gunA-karmAs but looking through an unbiased view of the sAstrAs, it is becoming clear that it has always been birth-based (even at the time of the tri-mathAchAryas, as per their bhAsyAs). However, this brahminical way of life has literally become second nature. Doing agnihOtrA/samidAdhAna, sandhyA, parisEchanam before meals, strictly eating only sattvik food, daily ArAdhanA to perumAL is something that gives me order and purpose. I am attached to the duties itself. At the same time, I want to be on the side of dharmA and righteousness. I did a lot of research on my last name (which is a VERY uncommon last name, mind you) and there is some heritage with a family of telugu niYogI brAhmins who went into business or vAnijyA (possibly intermixed and corrupted into balijA?). Their gOtra was listed and it seems they were rig vedin brAhmins as well. I also did a lot of extensive research on balijA familial roots and found that the banajiga was a core guild that was started by 500 brahmin swAmi merchants in Ayyavole, Karnataka over a 1000 years ago. Over the years, several people from all four castes came in and strictly speaking because of the failure of vedic samskaras and varna sAnkaryam, the guild turned into a caste that is placed in the sUdra varnA today. I am not here to contend the status of that caste, but strictly speaking, even if I did have the brahminical roots in my ancestors, I am by all means a sUdra for lack of samskAras for seven generations or I am at least of mixed ancestry. I was not aware of maintaining varnA by birth, etc before undergoing upanayanA but having followed the brahminical lifestyle/rituals and reading sanskrit for years now, I am being exposed to the truth that caste has traditionally been birth based.

My question to the elders of this forum: What do I do now? Am I to strip off my poonol and pour lead in my ears for reciting mantrAs? Please note that I have no ulterior motive for this. I am not in love with any brahmin girl nor is there any privilege to being a brahmin in America. In fact, it is probably MUCH more "enjoyable" to live life in a western country without such discipline but this lifestyle is simply a part of who I am now. I personally know of several "brahmin" friends who drink, smoke weed, and eat beef to give you perspective that caste does not really matter here. Also, the gOtrA that was given to me and my father during the upanayana ceremony also matched the one of my (possible) ancestors so there is a possibility that I am actually linked to that rshi. Either way, I have only been using that gOtrA for everything. However, for all purposes, it is a gOtrA that has come from a guru to me so it is not descended male to male descendants. Is this even legal? Am I doing some paapam or committing apachAram by performing someone else's svadharmA? Or am I one of the rAkshasA sUdrAs predicted in bhAgavatha purAna that "dress like a brAhmin" in kali-yugA? I cannot bear to be doing anything against Lord Kannan but at the same time, I promise I have no malintentions and I have nothing but great respect for all the esteemed sages, AchAryas and proper brahmins that have safeguarded our rich culture. My identity and being is literally tied to this lifestyle now and I can't imagine my children not growing up without doing daily sandhyavandanam, etc. Neither do I have relatives in India really, most of us are based in America and me and my entire family have been following this way of life (sandhya vandana, samidadhana, parisechana) for a while now. Please point me in the right direction. I would also like to add that I cannot be told to suddenly start eating meat or eating indiscriminately at restaraunts (we maintain utmost saucham at home and do not share meals with others unless it is prasAdam or they are bhAgavthAs). I am studying medicine now and hope to maintain this lifestyle throughout my life and career by God's grace.
Jai Sri Ram.
Let me come straight to your queries. I am a 64years old, retired professional technocrat as well a R&D scientist. However, I feel proud to be a Vashitadvaitika follower of Sri Sri Ramanujachariar and a SriVaishnava Iyengar. Despite many foreign visits, stay and Sr.Positions, I never compromised with nor adopted (giving the lame reasons of professional & positional needs) any thing that is against my (Brahmin) family traditions and is against Vedic Dharma. I do follow myself till date rigidly and meticulously the stipulated dharma of a Brahmam (n) and do preach and teach others Spirituality, Samskrutam and Veda. So, at the outset I do appreciate, as a Veda follower, that you are an open minded person having good values. Therefore, you may comprehend what I say and mean by reading in between the lines too.
(1) Whatever your name or surname or Gotra or lineage or varna may be, the moment you do not give importance to humanity and Sanatana Dharma principles, you can not claim first to be a Hindu.
(2) Vedic Codes of conduct, like Indian Penal Code for disciplined & harmonious living, are there to follow and lead a time-tested value based civilised life and have healthy progeny.
(3) x,y,z from X,Y,Z clan have either deteoriated (in the eyes of stipulated Sanatana Dharma rules) or progressively uplifted one-self are totally due to poorvajanma karma and what ever one does good or bad has to repay himself or gets back.
(4) As a Brahmin for many generation, if I follow and maintain my family tradition than its not at all 'great', because its my duty and I am continuing my family traditions. However, if one with varying background, from other Varna, do uplift himself to a very rigid and dharma of Brahmam (misunderstood and misrepresented as Brahman) than its really appreciated by Lord Narayana and again its due to purvajanma punya-karma that his/her mind made him to uplift, resisting the easy environs in which he is born. Such, a change only has led to many famous rishis, Azhwars, Nayanmars of vedic period to become great sages and are worshipped by millions. Surprisingly, by birth one cannot become a sage or rishi of reverence. So, by birth, the environment becomes conducive to continue family tradition with least effort. So, is the converse- hope you & many can understand, what & where the degeneration leads!
(5) In one of lectures, some one raised a controversial and pungent question, eating non-veg is adharma or dharma? I said, dharma for one is adharma for another. One man's food is other man's poison. Further, when the question gained pricking state, I had to give an example and silence was restored. I said, If a Tiger kills a deer in the forest for its hunger and eats, its Dharma for Tiger, poorvajanma karma for Deer. But, if a six sensed affluent educated man shoots / kills and eats the same deer in the forest, its Adharma for him, though poorvajanma karma of deer is that it has to killed by X or Y. Hopefully, I need not elaborate what is Dharma & Adharma for human, not only for food but for every other needs of survival.
(6) Please pardon, may be my words are very harsh and pungent, if I say "Having a Brahma(n) lineage for generations, one having holy thread across his chest, if does Tamasa activities, including food, forgetting his Satvic duties than it is like having holy mangalsutra, a .. does adulteration and cheat ... The sin is similar and the individual shall beget the lower life in subsequent janma. Again, it is said that the individual go down in character and loose values, due to purvajanma karma only. He was blessed to be born in Satvic environment due to some poirvajanma punya snd had chance to sustain and progress further. But...
(7) Conclusion: Never worry or think for progeny, do the best - be satvic and follow sanatana dharma, destiny is divine Brahmam. Even the divine Lotus blooms in dirty slush, diamond is from Coal, All Sages are not born in Brahman lineage, and Shudra too is a child of sri Vishnu, and thus a brother of Brahmam(n).
Hopefully, I could clarify your ambiguities of real-time living. सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिन:। शुभं भूयात्।🤘🙏
 

usaiyer

Active member
Agree with #10.
Living life is difficult and advice from others is only a guidance.
Remember 'Katti kodutha sorum and sollikodutha varthayum"
proverb,
We have to live with others ,but individual salvation is the supreme motto. We have to see not the mind in others ie their
brilliance or ignorance ,but look beyond as co- travelers in the
life journey, If you believe in 'Aham Brahmasmi" .you should
try to see the Brahmam in Every one 'All other things
are immaterial.(Narayaneeyam)
 

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