• This forum contains old posts that have been closed. New threads and replies may not be made here. Please navigate to the relevant forum to create a new thread or post a reply.
  • Welcome to Tamil Brahmins forums.

    You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our Free Brahmin Community you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!

    If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact contact us.

Enge Brahmanana?

Status
Not open for further replies.

Vivek_V

New member
@ Sri Sangom - Debate/Question was part of our tradition. Anyone can ask a valid question to matham, doesn't require "position"

"But what you want to convey by " if necessary form a separate sub-classifications of brahmins based on the idea different”is not clear to me. Kindly elucidate."

This means if people think differently, and even their debate (on a common tradition) doesn't lead them to conclude the same, they should form a separate group despite both being "brahmins". So say they become A brahmins and B brahmins. It will be that A brahmins don't have casteist practices, while B brahmins do. This is why many off shot philosophies came, and many continued to exist.

This is more practical and in accordance with honour than claiming titles like "ex-brahmin" of "throwing 50 percent rice bag with worms" after not even having gone through every aspect of your culture or thinking about other good ideas that exist in it.

"What exactly the head of any maṭhaṃ will do – when the manīṣāpaṃcakam is pointed out to him - is not for me to say, but it is the very same ādiśaṃkara who established these maṭhaṃs and is supposed to have given them the guidelines for their working and objectives. Hence, if, till today these maṭhaṃs have been toeing the caste-by-birth line, does it not itself indicate – even if not directly – that neither ādiśaṃkara nor his hagiographers intended this manīṣāpaṃcakam incident as nothing more to show that Lord Siva himself attested the advaita philosophy? I understand that ādiśaṃkara never went beyond the vedic injunctions of caste – whether we take it as “varna” system or ‘caste-by-birth’system – and in his brahmasūtrabhāṣya held that only brahmins who are authorized to read and chant vedas, can attain the self-realization propounded by him in advaita. I will be only too glad if you give concrete evidence to disprove this."

To think that Adi Shankaracharya's words have a contradiction in them seems silly to me - because he engaged in many debates. So, whatever view he had even if we don't agree is coherent with itself (without contradicting itself).
Now, what the head of a matham will do when pointed to the manisha panchakam even I don't know. What I am saying is it clearly gives a valid (orthodoxical) platform to fight casteist practices.

And when Adi Shankaracharya speaks that only brahmins can attain self-realization etc, he might have very well been speaking of the varna, not the caste-by-birth, and actually refering to individuals with that inclination. Because if he was speaking about the caste-by-birth it goes against the manisha panchakam. For both to be valid as his idea, it only makes sense that his reference to brahmin was based on the temperament of the indvidual.

I don't have any quotes from the Upanishads, I tend to see them in paper's or internet at glance and can say they speak of the Self as same - irrespective of caste.

"Secondly, the maṭhaṃs and our scholars, pundits and others who are held as authorities for interpreting and explaining our religion and scriptures, do not seem (to me at least) to reckon the manīṣāpaṃcakam as something greater than the smritis."

I thought the shrutis are more important than the smritis. In anycase, the text manisha panchakam is an important one and it still provides the basis against caste discrimination. What is also required is a thorough understanding of the philosophy from our side before a clash of ideas ensues with the present mainstream mathams, religious heads etc and their ways.

"even ādiśaṃkara did not say so."

I don't know if Adi Shankaracharya said any of his words were more important than the others. It was all regarded as one coherent philosophy.

"The portion in blue is confusing; do you mean to say the śaṃkarācārya does not represent your community or his own community itself?"

Yes, I said: "What is Shankaracharya of today to me? Just another man chosen to represent (not own) our community. His ideas still become questionable...."

The "not own" in this statement means any Shankaracharya's actions don't become "brahmin-like", a particular Shankaracharya is required to be "brahmin-like" because he represents us, and doesn't own (as in possess) us. So his actions, thoughts can itself be questioned on the basis of any philosophical text written by past brahmins because not doing that is to ignore what others have said (in the past from which we quote). For instance quoting Bhagvad Gita, which says caste is based on individual temperament we challenge their ideas by the scriptures they too consider valid.

"Now, to say “let us not go by what the maṭhaṃs and their heads say” (about our religion, the caste-by-birth rule, etc.) will require that you hold a position in our religious firmament which can outshine all those maṭhaṃ-heads; or, you should have a dedicated following in regard to your line of thinking on these matters, so that you can at least change the outlook of some people, like what Shri Basava did."

What Basva did, question an idea is central to the brahmin tradition, even if we don't do it often today. It doesn't require a position to ask why early philosophy seems to contradict what the mathams follow. Or ask them, why they consider caste to be through bloodline and not on individual tendency. It doesn't require a master to ask a question, only a student.

If the mathams etc. speak of representing vedantic, upanishad and practice caste ill-treatment, anyone can question. Even a weasel can reproach a king with a valid argument (as shown in Mahabharat). Unfortunately today, we don't understand our own philosophies as closely so as to challenge a evil practice in tradition. Either people blindly follow, or they are replused by the practices and become ex-brahmins like Nara and sulk in guilt without seeing that broader nature of human tendencies in any social set-up.

"It is true that we don’t know when and where the caste-by-birth norm originated. But it is, and has been, the rule for centuries if not more than a thousand years. So, what difference does it make whether we know about its origin or not? "

It is necessary for the reason to attest how it started to allay accusations by people like Nara. Further, its becomes necessary to try and find out, without which the only blame comes to the brahmin community - when all other upper caste communities follow it, some in even worse forms than any brahmin group. Still Nara will call it "Brahminism".

Obviously to seems to me that it did start as any social set up did - with people actually doing certain professions until these became communities. References that speak of caste with respect to occupation (not lineage) and also individual tendency, asserts that idea more.

Regards,
Vivek.
 

sangom

Well-known member
Sangom Sir,

Did really Adi Shankara himself write the Sankara Smrithi ?

The Namboodiris held (probably still hold) that the saankara smriti was given by Adisankara. For centuries they enforced untouchability and distance to be maintained between castes (to avoid ritual pollution), based on the saankarasmriti. It is not easy to prove or disprove the authorship of that work at this distance of time. But to me it appears as though these rules of (untouchability and distance to be maintained between castes (to avoid ritual pollution)) existed during the life time of Adisankara and that he followed them - as evidenced by the maneeshaapancakam episode. The hagiographies do not give any incident to support the conclusion that Sankara's outlook about castes, or at least about candalas, changed for ever after that incident. This shows, in my opinion, the objective of that narrative - viz., it is true that Sankara met a candala and asked him to go away, but it was not just his caste-based injunction; Lord Siva himself was making a play to show the entire world how true advaita is and what a great person Sankara is.

Probably, some sceptic of the advaita, belonging to purvameemaamsa school might have witnessed this candala-sankara encounter - Sankara ordering a candala to go away from his path - where it happened, not necessarily Kasi, and started a campaign against sankara and his advaita, in those days. So, it must have become something in the memory of the common folks then and had to be covered up. We must remember that the incident is believed to have happened in Kasi. This is rather an impossibility according to me, because in Sankara's time itself Kasi was a greatly renowned holy pilgrimage place and, looking at the smritis, candalas would not dare to walk the paths of the higher castes - at least during day time, I believe. (The time of the encounter is given as morning.) The hagiographers selected Kasi as the location possibly to bring in Siva easily and appropriately and to say that (1) Sankara had personal vision of Siva, and, (2) Siva himself attested the verity of advaita.
 
S

SwamiTaBra

Guest
Dear Sri. Sangom,

I would differ from your view. The Hindu population as a whole will not, in my considered opinion, lose any of their religious advantages, even if the brahmin legacy is not transmitted, because, today the hindus will be able to practice their religion without any dependence on the brahmin community. Even brahmins today go to temples for "annapraasanam", "vidyaarambham", "choulam", marriage, shashtyabdapoorthy, bheema-ratha saanti, sataabhishekam,etc.,; it will not be difficult at all to incorporate upanayanam, seemantam, and a few more remaining items into temple-based activities. Only funeral rites will remain unsolved, I think.
The issue of conduct of rites/rituals for NBs has been uppermost in my mind for quite some time now. What are the rituals prescribed for other castes? Certainly there must have been many. Have they all lapsed with time? Certainly the brahminical mutts have an obligation to provide a detailed response. Priests for NB is need -- this demands attention. What is we see now is that either a temple kurukkal doubling up as a priest or a dropout from veda patasala for Grahapravesam, or marriage or shashitabtapoorthi filling the need. The hapless NBs have to be content with such fellows. A well-trained cadre has to be developed. Codification too would be an imperative.

When the NBs have practically nothing left as “prayoga” to be observed, it is only Brahmins --with whatever knowledge still left by legacy-- to prepare them and transmit in measures that will easy for them to incorporate/assimilate. Vedic learning is quite far far away. When we ourselves are fast losing the tradition of vedic chanting, transmission to others is far far.off. Haranguing or trying to fix blame on Brahmins is not going to take us anywhere. You had started the thread on Rig Veda with the intention of gently nudging brahmins to familiarize with what they are supposed to know.

Just a few days back a NB friend of mine (not a dalit) for last 20 years phoned up to know the thithi of his father who passed away 10 years ago. This state of affairs is certainly pathetic.

We should not lose sight of the reality in the cloud of rhetoric
.
Religious books, including veda books can be purchased by any one irrespective of caste. Most religious discourses are also public and the TV has made it available to one and all who like to view/hear those.
Any one who as attempted to chant even Purusha sooktam or Sri Sooktam straight from books (to obviate an adhyapaka) would have realized the difficulty one has to face. Haranguing or trying to fix blame on Brahmins is not going to take us anywhere. You had started the thread on Rig Veda with the intention of gently nudging brahmins to familiarize with what they are supposed to know.

What is significant is that as for the spiritual quest is concerned, each individual is sovereign and has nothing to do with his caste. History is replete with instances of enlightened souls from all varnas. Whether is the history of Nayanmars, or Alwars or the bhaktas of Panduranga it is all there to see. The ineffable dimensions of plasticity in the Indic-culture is surely felt through the centuries.

Sanskritisation, a term coined by sociologist M.N. Srinivas, as I understand is the tendency of lower castes to imitate the practices of higher castes. The analysis may seem quite right, but my gravamen is that mere imitation often results in substantial loss of original value.



With regards,
Swami
 

sangom

Well-known member
@ Sri Sangom - Debate/Question was part of our tradition. Anyone can ask a valid question to matham, doesn't require "position"

Dear Shri Vivek,

I agree that anyone can ask a valid question to a matham but to engage in a debate with the head of the matham (or a representative nominated by him) and win them over to accept the questioner's pov seems to me to be impossible. Do you honestly feel you can do that?

"But what you want to convey by " if necessary form a separate sub-classifications of brahmins based on the idea different”is not clear to me. Kindly elucidate."

This means if people think differently, and even their debate (on a common tradition) doesn't lead them to conclude the same, they should form a separate group despite both being "brahmins". So say they become A brahmins and B brahmins. It will be that A brahmins don't have casteist practices, while B brahmins do. This is why many off shot philosophies came, and many continued to exist.

This is more practical and in accordance with honour than claiming titles like "ex-brahmin" of "throwing 50 percent rice bag with worms" after not even having gone through every aspect of your culture or thinking about other good ideas that exist in it.
I get a feeling that you mix philosophy with the social rules, including varna and jaati classifications. IMO philosophies have had nothing to do with the latter. These rules of social stratification are independent but in our smriti texts they are included because the smriti texts deal with the four castes, the rules and regulations applicable to each of these castes, the "samskaaraas" which each one (of the dwija castes, not much for sudras) has to have, how and when to do it, etc. That way, a habit has come to bracket these smritis also as "scripture" and confusing them with the other philosophical works. Buddha and Mahavira, and even Caarvaaka had their philosophies but they did not recognise the vedas at all as scripture. And today, if you see, nobody - even brahmins - learn the actual philosophical texts like brahmasutra and its bhashyas which are the core texts of the "vedanta" (interestingly, you know the word vedanta can also mean "end - demise - of the veda"!).

I don't think there was any group formation based on the acceptance or non-acceptance of the caste (varna) system in the past history of hinduism . This is as much a central tenet of vedic hinduism, having been sanctioned by the rigveda, purushasukta itself. For those who hold that all the vedas were of esoteric origin, etc., this caste system is a divine injunction itself. Groups formed on philosophical differences. Buddhism, Jainism, etc., denounced the vedas and so went out of the ambit of hinduism or vedic religion, if one may say so. Within that vedic religion, the six "darsanas" got a place but none of them challenged the caste system-in fact they could not do so while still claiming adherence to vedism.

Hence, I feel your suggestion to form brahmin A group, brahmin B group etc., will not work. Again, since it is a larger question concerning attitudes towards all castes, and not some intra-brahminical items, should we not name them as hindu A group, hindu B group, etc.?

If your objection is to the terms used by Shri Nara which makes you call for a split and group formation, without defeating Shri Nara in debate and making him accept your pov, your suggestion that "Debate/Question was part of our tradition." will not sound correct. So, I will request you to further debate with Shri Nara and convince him of your pov.

"What exactly the head of any maṭhaṃ will do – when the manīṣāpaṃcakam is pointed out to him - is not for me to say, but it is the very same ādiśaṃkara who established these maṭhaṃs and is supposed to have given them the guidelines for their working and objectives. Hence, if, till today these maṭhaṃs have been toeing the caste-by-birth line, does it not itself indicate – even if not directly – that neither ādiśaṃkara nor his hagiographers intended this manīṣāpaṃcakam incident as nothing more to show that Lord Siva himself attested the advaita philosophy? I understand that ādiśaṃkara never went beyond the vedic injunctions of caste – whether we take it as “varna” system or ‘caste-by-birth’system – and in his brahmasūtrabhāṣya held that only brahmins who are authorized to read and chant vedas, can attain the self-realization propounded by him in advaita. I will be only too glad if you give concrete evidence to disprove this."

To think that Adi Shankaracharya's words have a contradiction in them seems silly to me - because he engaged in many debates. So, whatever view he had even if we don't agree is coherent with itself (without contradicting itself).
Now, what the head of a matham will do when pointed to the manisha panchakam even I don't know. What I am saying is it clearly gives a valid (orthodoxical) platform to fight casteist practices.

And when Adi Shankaracharya speaks that only brahmins can attain self-realization etc, he might have very well been speaking of the varna, not the caste-by-birth, and actually refering to individuals with that inclination. Because if he was speaking about the caste-by-birth it goes against the manisha panchakam. For both to be valid as his idea, it only makes sense that his reference to brahmin was based on the temperament of the indvidual.
Here I find that you go by two important premises; one, that maneeshaapanchakam (mp) is as much an authoritative scriptural text like the vedas and all, and two, Adisankara could not have contradicted himself because it would then make him look silly, and hence it is not possible.

I do not agree with both the above. To me mp is just that, a group of five verses inserted into the hagiography of Sankara. Please see post #182 for more on this. As for contradictions, there are.

But whether Sankara referred to varna or jaati (caste) will depend on whether the brahmasutrabhashya was written post- or ante- mp. All available accounts show that it was ante-mp and so we are led to the conclusion that Sankara must have believed in the caste system, ritual pollution and the distance to be maintained by the different castes, etc., when he wrote his bhashya Hence when he talked about brahmin alone being "adhikaari" for vedic samskaaras, and finally to jeevanmukti, he must have referred only to the brahmin caste, or, brahmins by birth, according to me.


I don't have any quotes from the Upanishads, I tend to see them in paper's or internet at glance and can say they speak of the Self as same - irrespective of caste.
This type of knowledge is more than sufficient to take part in a forum like this where most of us are not fully learned vedic scholars. But to debate with the head of a matham, and to establish your pov, this is not at all sufficient. When I saw your suggestion for such a debate, I expected that you are well-versed in our scriptures, religious lores and the tarkasaastra, the rules of which have to be followed in any religious debate of value.

"Secondly, the maṭhaṃs and our scholars, pundits and others who are held as authorities for interpreting and explaining our religion and scriptures, do not seem (to me at least) to reckon the manīṣāpaṃcakam as something greater than the smritis."

I thought the shrutis are more important than the smritis. In anycase, the text manisha panchakam is an important one and it still provides the basis against caste discrimination. What is also required is a thorough understanding of the philosophy from our side before a clash of ideas ensues with the present mainstream mathams, religious heads etc and their ways.
Kindly see my remarks in the previous item, just above. Perhaps if you engage in any clash of ideas with the present mainstream mathams, religious heads etc., it will be necessary also to establish the importance of mp first, before going further.

"even ādiśaṃkara did not say so."

I don't know if Adi Shankaracharya said any of his words were more important than the others. It was all regarded as one coherent philosophy.
Not universally. Ramanuja was the first to raise objections and call advaita as untenable.

"The portion in blue is confusing; do you mean to say the śaṃkarācārya does not represent your community or his own community itself?"

Yes, I said: "What is Shankaracharya of today to me? Just another man chosen to represent (not own) our community. His ideas still become questionable...."

The "not own" in this statement means any Shankaracharya's actions don't become "brahmin-like", a particular Shankaracharya is required to be "brahmin-like" because he represents us, and doesn't own (as in possess) us. So his actions, thoughts can itself be questioned on the basis of any philosophical text written by past brahmins because not doing that is to ignore what others have said (in the past from which we quote). For instance quoting Bhagvad Gita, which says caste is based on individual temperament we challenge their ideas by the scriptures they too consider valid.
At your personal level all that you say above may be true and you are free to follow whatever course you want to. But, to many thousands of people - both Bs & NBs - the mathams and the Sankaracaryas are authorities on religion and their words are final. By shutting our eyes to this reality, we will only make our view dark, not the whole world.

You seem to go on generalising, if that is the correct word. For example, you say. "any philosophical text written by past brahmins because not doing that is to ignore what others have said (in the past from which we quote)"and then cite only BG. It is appropriate to give at least a few instances of the philosophical texts, past brahmins, etc.

Coming to BG, there is some contradiction there also. I had made a post on this point but right now search does not bring it up. I will let you know later.

"Now, to say “let us not go by what the maṭhaṃs and their heads say” (about our religion, the caste-by-birth rule, etc.) will require that you hold a position in our religious firmament which can outshine all those maṭhaṃ-heads; or, you should have a dedicated following in regard to your line of thinking on these matters, so that you can at least change the outlook of some people, like what Shri Basava did."

What Basva did, question an idea is central to the brahmin tradition, even if we don't do it often today. It doesn't require a position to ask why early philosophy seems to contradict what the mathams follow. Or ask them, why they consider caste to be through bloodline and not on individual tendency. It doesn't require a master to ask a question, only a student.

If the mathams etc. speak of representing vedantic, upanishad and practice caste ill-treatment, anyone can question. Even a weasel can reproach a king with a valid argument (as shown in Mahabharat). Unfortunately today, we don't understand our own philosophies as closely so as to challenge a evil practice in tradition. Either people blindly follow, or they are replused by the practices and become ex-brahmins like Nara and sulk in guilt without seeing that broader nature of human tendencies in any social set-up.
I find the use of the word "early philosophies" here also and am confused, once again.

"It is true that we don’t know when and where the caste-by-birth norm originated. But it is, and has been, the rule for centuries if not more than a thousand years. So, what difference does it make whether we know about its origin or not? "

It is necessary for the reason to attest how it started to allay accusations by people like Nara. Further, its becomes necessary to try and find out, without which the only blame comes to the brahmin community - when all other upper caste communities follow it, some in even worse forms than any brahmin group. Still Nara will call it "Brahminism".

Obviously to seems to me that it did start as any social set up did - with people actually doing certain professions until these became communities. References that speak of caste with respect to occupation (not lineage) and also individual tendency, asserts that idea more.
I am not very clear as to how "people" doing certain professions becoming "communities" and whether these communities were the euivalents of today's castes. A little elaboration will be of help pl.
 
S

SwamiTaBra

Guest
I'm pleasantly surprised to notice the change in the tone of Sri Nara (#157) and it should augur well for a healthy debate/discussion.

I have come across Late Sankaran (s/o Vaidyanatha Iyer), who was one time MLA through the common acquaintance and I did not notice anything different from an archetypal brahmin of his period. Interestingly, a portion of their old house on the West Perumal Maistry Street housed the branch of Theosophical Society and a library.

Was Vaidyanatha Iyer influenced by Theosophists? I don't know.
 
S

SwamiTaBra

Guest
I am not very clear as to how "people" doing certain professions becoming "communities" and whether these communities were the euivalents of today's castes. A little elaboration will be of help pl.

Trade guilds from a varna formed into jatis. Like carpenters, smiths, agriculturists, within vysya, I suppose.
 
S

SwamiTaBra

Guest
The Namboodiris held (probably still hold) that the saankara smriti was given by Adisankara. For centuries they enforced untouchability and distance to be maintained between castes (to avoid ritual pollution), based on the saankarasmriti. It is not easy to prove or disprove the authorship of that work at this distance of time. But to me it appears as though these rules of (untouchability and distance to be maintained between castes (to avoid ritual pollution)) existed during the life time of Adisankara and that he followed them - as evidenced by the maneeshaapancakam episode. The hagiographies do not give any incident to support the conclusion that Sankara's outlook about castes, or at least about candalas, changed for ever after that incident. This shows, in my opinion, the objective of that narrative - viz., it is true that Sankara met a candala and asked him to go away, but it was not just his caste-based injunction; Lord Siva himself was making a play to show the entire world how true advaita is and what a great person Sankara is.

Probably, some sceptic of the advaita, belonging to purvameemaamsa school might have witnessed this candala-sankara encounter - Sankara ordering a candala to go away from his path - where it happened, not necessarily Kasi, and started a campaign against sankara and his advaita, in those days. So, it must have become something in the memory of the common folks then and had to be covered up. We must remember that the incident is believed to have happened in Kasi. This is rather an impossibility according to me, because in Sankara's time itself Kasi was a greatly renowned holy pilgrimage place and, looking at the smritis, candalas would not dare to walk the paths of the higher castes - at least during day time, I believe. (The time of the encounter is given as morning.) The hagiographers selected Kasi as the location possibly to bring in Siva easily and appropriately and to say that (1) Sankara had personal vision of Siva, and, (2) Siva himself attested the verity of advaita.
When it suits ones' predilections, it is taken on the face value else we say its authorship is questionable, hagiographic etc. One could interpret that Sankara's ego started showing up (due to previous vasanas) and Siva wanted to rap him on his knuckles. We have to remember here that Sankara was a sanyaasi and his dharma different from those of a grihasta or a brahmachari.

A somewhat similar incident happened with Vivekananda during his wanderings in the country.

I'm disappointed that you too take such recourse.

With regards,
Swami
 

sangom

Well-known member
Dear Sri. Sangom,

The issue of conduct of rites/rituals for NBs has been uppermost in my mind for quite some time now. What are the rituals prescribed for other castes? Certainly there must have been many. Have they all lapsed with time? Certainly the brahminical mutts have an obligation to provide a detailed response. Priests for NB is need -- this demands attention. What is we see now is that either a temple kurukkal doubling up as a priest or a dropout from veda patasala for Grahapravesam, or marriage or shashitabtapoorthi filling the need. The hapless NBs have to be content with such fellows. A well-trained cadre has to be developed. Codification too would be an imperative.

When the NBs have practically nothing left as “prayoga” to be observed, it is only Brahmins --with whatever knowledge still left by legacy-- to prepare them and transmit in measures that will easy for them to incorporate/assimilate. Vedic learning is quite far far away. When we ourselves are fast losing the tradition of vedic chanting, transmission to others is far far.off. Haranguing or trying to fix blame on Brahmins is not going to take us anywhere. You had started the thread on Rig Veda with the intention of gently nudging brahmins to familiarize with what they are supposed to know.

Just a few days back a NB friend of mine (not a dalit) for last 20 years phoned up to know the thithi of his father who passed away 10 years ago. This state of affairs is certainly pathetic.

Shri Swami,

It seems to me that your ideas are something like making the brahmin priest, proper conduct of rites/rituals etc., as attractive propositions to NBs. But IMO these NBs are quite satisfied with what they now have or do; if they were not, they would have made efforts, a demand would have been created and, naturally, the supply would also have originated, may be with some lapse of time. But this is not the reality today.

The importance, sanctity and attention given to the ritualistic aspect of rites even in orthodox brahmin community today is more often than not, eclipsed by the more mundane and modern "attachments" like photos, video, etc. For example, you do not find the bride in "madi" clothes even in the "vratam ending" ritual - she has a beautician ready in the marriage hall to do "make-up" so that the photos/video present best appearance. In some instances the groom has to stop in between tying the "taali" on the orders of the videographer.

In effect your idea will require a demand to be felt by NBs for trained brahmin priests. I doubt whether this will be successful, when even Bs seem to be moving more and more away from any genuine faith in all these rituals; my feeling is that most people do these just for the mental satisfaction of having done those.

We should not lose sight of the reality in the cloud of rhetoric Any one who as attempted to chant even Purusha sooktam or Sri Sooktam straight from books (to obviate an adhyapaka) would have realized the difficulty one has to face. Haranguing or trying to fix blame on Brahmins is not going to take us anywhere. You had started the thread on Rig Veda with the intention of gently nudging brahmins to familiarize with what they are supposed to know.

While it may be difficult to get the intonations of purushasuktam or srisuktam from CDs, it is not all that difficult. I know many NBs just imitating - for fun - rudram which used to be chanted in the nearby Siva temple here on pradosham days by a group of people - mostly Bs, men and women - and which used to be loudly broadcast with powerful loudspeakers on all four sides of the temple. So, anyone who seriously wants to learn can do that without a teacher.

Sanskritisation, a term coined by sociologist M.N. Srinivas, as I understand is the tendency of lower castes to imitate the practices of higher castes. The analysis may seem quite right, but my gravamen is that mere imitation often results in substantial loss of original value.

It is not one of imitating the higher castes or brahmin castes. IMO, it was purely to claim that each group is superior to some other groups in the same occupation or original caste group.
 

ShivKC

Active member
I was born to brahmin parents, but I am not in anyway proud or ashamed about it. It was just an accident, I believe.

I wonder why dalits arent feeling the same way..

taking a negated statement would be "I was born to Dalit parents, but I am not in anyway proud, BUT ashamed about it. It was just an FATE, I was told to believe

I wonder why dalits are feeling this way!! I have no answer here !
 
S

SwamiTaBra

Guest
Sir,
It seems to me that your ideas are something like making the brahmin priest, proper conduct of rites/rituals etc., as attractive propositions to NBs. But IMO these NBs are quite satisfied with what they now have or do; if they were not, they would have made efforts, a demand would have been created and, naturally, the supply would also have originated, may be with some lapse of time. But this is not the reality today.

In effect your idea will require a demand to be felt by NBs for trained brahmin priests.
What I said was in response to the charges made on brahmins that they maintain practices exclusively for themselves. Whilst smritis may be an anathema in the prevailing mood, it would be worthwhile to refer smritis for the smritis could not have remained silent on the rituals enjoined on NBs. Those practices can be revived -- though uphill. If NBs are satisfied why then try to imitate Bs as far as possible on grahapravesam and sastiabdhapoorthi, annaprasanam? In fact I am not trying expand the market for brahmin purohits. With reference to suitable smitis, probably purohits can be developed amongst them. We just have to guide them and give proper guidance.
I doubt whether this will be successful, when even Bs seem to be moving more and more away from any genuine faith in all these rituals; my feeling is that most people do these just for the mental satisfaction of having done those.
Yes you have a point. Interestingly the NBs appear to show greater shradda for rituals as the overwhelming attendance of NBs for pradosham puja bears out. I must concede that many of cousins have scant regard for traditional brahminical practices particularly the ones hailing from Tiruvanthapuram who ridicule the observance of madi

While it may be difficult to get the intonations of purushasuktam or srisuktam from CDs, it is not all that difficult. I know many NBs just imitating - for fun - rudram which used to be chanted in the nearby Siva temple here on pradosham days by a group of people - mostly Bs, men and women - and which used to be loudly broadcast with powerful loudspeakers on all four sides of the temple. So, anyone who seriously wants to learn can do that without a teacher.
For learning slokas it may be okay, I very much doubt whether it is possible for the vedic chandas.
 
Last edited:
S

SwamiTaBra

Guest
I wonder why dalits arent feeling the same way..

taking a negated statement would be "I was born to Dalit parents, but I am not in anyway proud, BUT ashamed about it. It was just an FATE, I was told to believe

I wonder why dalits are feeling this way!! I have no answer here !

Dante's Divine Comedy it could be rephrased "Divine Accident"!
 

saidevo

Well-known member
namaste smt.HappyHindu.

I just now checked with someone who said that university guidelines in India are subject to the provisions of statutes, and hence admission has to be open to people irrespective of caste.

Am told that students who study in institutions, such as those affiliated to the Sampurnanand Sanskrit University also include NBs.

I am NOT talking about acamedic but only about Hindu religious institutions, such as the MaThams of various sampradAyas and their pAThashAlas, which, due to their religious nature, do not come under the purview of secular governmental statutes. You might be right about traditional veda-pAThashAlas admitting NB students, but NBs are yet to be seen publicly in veda-pArAyaNams. This is not to say that it may not happen.

Anyone very well trained will know to eliminate pata bhedas.

Consider this scenario:
Suppose a group of topmost Veda pandits, who are brahmins, are commissioned to do the chanting of all four Vedas, record it in DVDs (in audio and video form) and the Sanskrit universities where Vedas are studied, academically prescribe these DVDs as their standard oral text.

With such DVDs, it should be easy for anyone interested and willing to put in the strenuous efforts, to learn Vedic chanting without any pAThabheda theoretically. There are actually such DVDs and CDs available freely in the market for a price. With so much outcry against brahmins for having the exclusive privilege of Veda chanting, why are not the multitude of NBs who are supposed to be against brahmins, becoming professional Veda chanters? Why are not the universities training them? Why are not the NB MaThams using such DVDs? It should be theoretically possible and easier to learn and teach Veda chanting from such DVDs than by human efforts? Still, it is not happening.

This is where the guru-shiShya tradition comes in. pANINIya shikShA has very strict rules about Veda chanting to prevent pATha-bhedas (http://sanskrit.safire.com/pdf/PSHIKSHA.PDF).

Just as a university recruits its students based on some standard, it is the for the guru to decide on the yogatAMsha of his shiShyas who can be taught Veda chanting. There is no use in decrying or lamenting that the brahmin gurus in veda-pAThashAlas are admitting only brahmin students. Since some pAThashAlas, as you say, may admit NBs, why don't an NB become a guru and start his own school and enable the NBs to do the Veda chanting?

The point is that the rigours of total avoidance of pATha-bheda in the live oral tradition are such that, while scores of brahmin boys take to it (whether willingly or by parental wish to keep the tradition alive), and many of them become Veda pandits in time, such initiative is not common among the NB boys or parents. Had they really wanted it, the situation will be different today.

Thus, it is only the vested interests that are creating the havoc of brahmin/NB divide, and these vested interests have no interest whatsoever in the propagation and practice of the Vedas or in the Hindu religion for that matter.
 

sangom

Well-known member
namaste smt.HappyHindu.

...With such DVDs, it should be easy for anyone interested and willing to put in the strenuous efforts, to learn Vedic chanting without any pAThabheda theoretically. There are actually such DVDs and CDs available freely in the market for a price. With so much outcry against brahmins for having the exclusive privilege of Veda chanting, why are not the multitude of NBs who are supposed to be against brahmins, becoming professional Veda chanters? Why are not the universities training them? Why are not the NB MaThams using such DVDs? It should be theoretically possible and easier to learn and teach Veda chanting from such DVDs than by human efforts? Still, it is not happening.

Shri Saidevo,

The truth that one has to face is that we brahmins (may not include you and some others like you) - the caste, I mean, have conducted ourselves during the past so many centuries in such a way that the entire vedism (I refer to the cedas, vedic rituals, vedic deities, and so on) have become marginalized to the extreme. With the advent of uttaramīmāṃsā, and subsequently the bhakti cult, puranic gods, avatāras, bhakti literature and rituals, etc., have practically ousted the space formerly occupied by by vedism and vedic rituals. Part of the saṃskāras have been taken over by temples who are adept at marketing techniques. So, today we are in the sun-set stage of vedic hinduism. It may not be practicable to revive it to its full glory, nor even possible to stem the decay and disappearance. That is why nobody including Bs are interested in vedas and vedism. The lip-service to some fragmentary rites here and there will also disappear in the next one or two decades.
 
Last edited:

Vivek_V

New member
@ Sri Sangom - Debate is a BIG word, I would say "Ask questions" to the maths =)

"I agree that anyone can ask a valid question to a matham but to engage in a debate with the head of the matham (or a representative nominated by him) and win them over to accept the questioner's pov seems to me to be impossible. Do you honestly feel you can do that?"

I live in Mumbai. But such a challenge is a serious thing to consider for anyone within our community, I feel. It wouldn't be necessary to go with the fervor of "debating and winning", but more like in a mood to "ask questions". *See below in what manner I would ask it (hypothetically).

"I get a feeling that you mix philosophy with the social rules, including varna and jaati classifications. IMO philosophies have had nothing to do with the latter."

You mean what was written in scriptures was not meant to be practiced but merely called "philosophy"? That doesn't make sense to me.

I clearly understand the distinction between philosophy, and social rules - this is why I am opposed to using the term "brahminism" to speak of caste discrimination because the varna system was a construct of our society (as a whole), its not like brahmins assigned everyone their "caste". It seems to have evolved by itself as how we would consider occupations in today's world.

Ill-treatment too, has been practiced by all castes in previlaged positions - and that is just central to human tendencies.

Today, even Dalit leaders in power are misusing state funds, indirectly being the reason for the poverty of people. Should this also be called "brahminism"? The biases under which TN society is in, with its politics and the sense of guilt by which people like Nara seemed to have grown in for being brahmin is what makes them accept such a worldview to see every single mistake of our civilization as starting and ending with us.

Time to become more mature and level-headed for people like Nara, to understand ill-treatment in society, in any form, for what it is.

"And today, if you see, nobody - even brahmins - learn the actual philosophical texts like brahmasutra and its bhashyas which are the core texts of the "vedanta" (interestingly, you know the word vedanta can also mean "end - demise - of the veda"!)."

That makes little sense because none of the vedanta commentators, nor Adi Shankaracharya said the vedas had to be abandoned/destroyed/considered obsolete. They only claimed the contary.The only meaning that has come out of it seems to say it was the conclusion of the vedas.

But this etymology is interesting in how it becomes able for us to translate it as two completely opposite things. =)

"Within that vedic religion, the six "darsanas" got a place but none of them challenged the caste system-in fact they could not do so while still claiming adherence to vedism."

What is caste system? Today our society has people of various professions, should we challenge this and say all people should be of one profession, or without profession? Obviously, it makes less sense to fight against a social order, when its intergral to society's functioning.

What matters from a moral pov however is giving people chance and how we treat them.

"If your objection is to the terms used by Shri Nara which makes you call for a split and group formation, without defeating Shri Nara in debate and making him accept your pov"

If Nara can point out why the manisha panchakam was even carried forward in "evil brahminism" culture, he would have a point against me. I clearly pointed how the meanings of caste in certain places is itself not heriditary, and it was placed for occupations in society - not to ill-treat.

If Nara can explain why caste ill-treatment ought to be called "brahminism" when so many others (every upper caste) practiced it, he would have a point against me. So where is the "debate"?

There is really no debate with Nara. He spells his bias out openly without seeing how casteism (ill-treating on basis of caste) exists throughout Indian society - and doesn't even find reference in many philosophical works of brahmins. Clearly, their philosophy was their message to the world - only Nara can explain why he wouldn't call that "brahminism", but even a NB upper caste ill-treating a dalit as "Brahminism".

"one, that maneeshaapanchakam (mp) is as much an authoritative scriptural text like the vedas and all, and two, Adisankara could not have contradicted himself because it would then make him look silly, and hence it is not possible."

Which contradictions exist? I didn't say there wouldn't be any contradictions because it would "make him look silly", but because the matter of his philosophy had/has been throughly studied/debated for ages, which makes it less likely for it have internal contradictions. In anycase, since you said so point out what you think these are.

Further, I point to the Manisha Panchakam for us to take it as important to carry out the message to fight casteism in the very platform of othrodoxy.

"But to debate with the head of a matham, and to establish your pov, this is not at all sufficient. When I saw your suggestion for such a debate, I expected that you are well-versed in our scriptures, religious lores and the tarkasaastra, the rules of which have to be followed in any religious debate of value."

What is a debate? Is a string of questions, which critically question an idea of the matham head, a debate? This is what I thought myself (and anyone here) should consider doing. When engaging in all out debate, there is a matter of victory and defeat. Going like a discipile with queries, and putting your answers to the math like queries makes them see your pov and what you understand, without them thinking you came with a challenege.

If anyone is of course confident of their knowledge of the scriptures they could enter a debate.

"Perhaps if you engage in any clash of ideas with the present mainstream mathams, religious heads etc., it will be necessary also to establish the importance of mp first, before going further."

*On what basis does one scripture become more important than the other? Was Adi Shankaracharya falsely speaking when he composed the manisha panchakam? If not, how is it that we don't employ treating people as individuals and not based on their caste identity, it in our practice of daily life?

These questions is what I would ask, or I would think other should be asking within our community.

"For example, you say. "any philosophical text written by past brahmins because not doing that is to ignore what others have said (in the past from which we quote)"and then cite only BG. It is appropriate to give at least a few instances of the philosophical texts, past brahmins, etc."

Because what I speak is free to check up in the net =)

Since you ask: Varna (Hinduism) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

There are other instances too - Chanakya for instance taking a boy of the most humblest origins to make him king would have made do so only after believing that it was possible. If he was a casteist bigot, he wouldn't have tried his revenge against the Nandas through Chandragupta. Its also an openly acknowledged fact that Dalits of today come from lineages that were historically of various castes - they became "dalits" due to their economic, and thereby social conditions.

"I am not very clear as to how "people" doing certain professions becoming "communities" and whether these communities were the euivalents of today's castes. A little elaboration will be of help pl."

In earlier days a profession related to not just a job, but a way of living. This is what formed seperate cultures and thus communities. Take Rajputs, Thevars (kshatriyas) or Iyers or Chettiyars (any groups) etc. Right from the houses, surroundings to what they regarded important, to eating they were different. These formed communities on the basis of what they shared in common - which became community boundaries. I thought you should have figured that out.

Regards,
Vivek.
 
Last edited:

happyhindu

Well-known member
namaste smt.HappyHindu.

I am NOT talking about acamedic but only about Hindu religious institutions, such as the MaThams of various sampradAyas and their pAThashAlas, which, due to their religious nature, do not come under the purview of secular governmental statutes.
Dear Saidevo Sir,

As far as i understand, any institution due to its religious nature, can prohibit an other person based on religion, not caste. A Madrassa may prohibit a non-muslim on the grounds of religion. So also a Christian seminary based on religion. The law so far as i understand does not allow discrimination based on caste. No one has really taken such issues to court so far. Yet i feel tighter laws must be passed which specifically prohibits all religious insitutions from caste discrimination with relevant punishments.

You might be right about traditional veda-pAThashAlas admitting NB students, but NBs are yet to be seen publicly in veda-pArAyaNams. This is not to say that it may not happen.
TTD vedapatshalas admit NBs. Elderly brahmins run a veda kendra in Bangalore (which i shall not name here). I had read in newspapers about a vedapatshala run by Namboodiris (in Mumbai or pune i forgot) which admits NBs. Me thinks, if there is a group of people doing veda parayanam, it would be difficult to identify who WAS a non-brahmin before he was initated into brahmacharyam. I think this seems to be true for those trained by Arya Samaj atleast. We had once met a priest of surname shastri who revealed that he used to be an Agrawal. If he had not mentioned that, we wud never have known that he used to be a non-brahmin in his purvashrama.

Consider this scenario:
Suppose a group of topmost Veda pandits, who are brahmins, are commissioned to do the chanting of all four Vedas, record it in DVDs (in audio and video form) and the Sanskrit universities where Vedas are studied, academically prescribe these DVDs as their standard oral text.

With such DVDs, it should be easy for anyone interested and willing to put in the strenuous efforts, to learn Vedic chanting without any pAThabheda theoretically. There are actually such DVDs and CDs available freely in the market for a price. With so much outcry against brahmins for having the exclusive privilege of Veda chanting, why are not the multitude of NBs who are supposed to be against brahmins, becoming professional Veda chanters?
I may not know much, but so far as am told, there are universities where NBs are taught chanting. Even JRR university, or Sanskrit departments of BHU, Ajmer University, etc do not prohibit NBs from learning vedas and vedic chanting.

As regards CDs, i feel there are NBs who do learn from such audio material. I know some NBs who learnt Vishnu Sahasranama by repeating after MS Subbalakshmi' cassette. Atleast my mom and some of my aunts did.

These days, there also NBs who learn to chant portions of the taittriya or the rig from CDs because chanting calms the mind... But i do not think folks are interested in taking it up as a profession. I feel people are seeking vedic chanting like a lifestyle add-on, something like yoga. Not everyone who does yoga wants to become a sanyasi or a yogi. Those who truly have deep interest in learning vedas or wish to take it up as a profession join insitutions like arya samaj or colleges affiliated to sampurnanand sanskrit university, etc.

Why are not the universities training them? Why are not the NB MaThams using such DVDs? It should be theoretically possible and easier to learn and teach Veda chanting from such DVDs than by human efforts? Still, it is not happening.
As far as NB mathams are concerned, their role seems to be to serve the religious needs of the community they represent. Which is thru some meditation and chanting some shlokams and mantrams. In my view, most of them are reactionary institutions set up by people who found that brahmanism will not accept equality in hindusim. They basically had no choice but to set up their own mutt.

Atleast in colonial and in independent India they are able to set up their own mutts. If we were to go back 400 years in time, in some regions of the country, their tongues wud have been cut, or lead poured into their ears, even for attempting to chant shlokams and mantrams. I feel its only a matter of time. I won't be surprised if the so-called 'nb' mutts start teaching vedas in future...

This is where the guru-shiShya tradition comes in. pANINIya shikShA has very strict rules about Veda chanting to prevent pATha-bhedas (http://sanskrit.safire.com/pdf/PSHIKSHA.PDF).
Am told Paninian grammer is really not that tough to learn. Any learned and experienced teacher can teach his students to prevent pata bhedas.

Just as a university recruits its students based on some standard, it is the for the guru to decide on the yogatAMsha of his shiShyas who can be taught Veda chanting.
Very true, only the teacher is in the best position to ascertain the ability of his student and teach him only that which he can learn. Which is why not everyone who joins a vedic teaching institution can pass out successfully.

There is no use in decrying or lamenting that the brahmin gurus in veda-pAThashAlas are admitting only brahmin students. Since some pAThashAlas, as you say, may admit NBs, why don't an NB become a guru and start his own school and enable the NBs to do the Veda chanting?
This same stance was taken by RVR. I feel it is the duty of the government to open vedic schools and admit interested children irrespective of caste (but based on the criteria that the child will adhere to a brahmanical lifestyle). I feel opening such vedic schools is the only way to combat conversions and casteism.

Here i feel it is merely a fight over ideology. The general opinion amongst people (i feel) is that the vedas belong to all. People do not want their religion to be the sort that condemns anyone as inferior by birth.

If today mutt-run vedapatshalas open their doors to NBs, no one can say how many takers will be there. It is likely that there won't be any takers, or that the takers will not exceed more than a handful. But merely by declaring that vedic education is open to all, a powerful message will be sent to the masses -- that the religion does not condemn anyone as spiritually inferior by birth.

Please put yourself in the shoes of a NB and think -- what wud you do if a guru labels you as a shudra, and asks everyone to go back to their old professions and upkeep the dharmashastras? What legitimate purpose did such messages serve ?

It is really ironical that just 150 years back everyone was clamouring to be forward caste. Today we can only imagine an India where everyone fights to be forward....

I sincerely feel the iyers being shrautas should 'reinvent' themselves as shrautas. The smrithi injuctions will become more and more irrelevant with time.

The point is that the rigours of total avoidance of pATha-bheda in the live oral tradition are such that, while scores of brahmin boys take to it (whether willingly or by parental wish to keep the tradition alive), and many of them become Veda pandits in time, such initiative is not common among the NB boys or parents. Had they really wanted it, the situation will be different today.

Thus, it is only the vested interests that are creating the havoc of brahmin/NB divide, and these vested interests have no interest whatsoever in the propagation and practice of the Vedas or in the Hindu religion for that matter.
Am really sorry about your second paragraph. I often wonder what is it that makes a brahmin so insecure when it comes to sharing vedas with others. Please could you shed some light on it.

Regards.
 
Last edited:

saidevo

Well-known member
namaste shrI Sangom.

It may not be practicable to revive it to its full glory, nor even possible to stem the decay and disappearance. That is why nobody including Bs are not interested in vedas and vedism. The lip-service to some fragmentary rites here and there will also disappear in the next one or two decades.

You may be right about the Veda-sampradAya being ubiquitous during the time of the Vedic sages, but I don't think that the uttara-mImAMsA and the bhakti-sampradAyas have marginalized or can obliterate the karma-khANDa activities of the Vedas, which bring in prosperity to the world.

• Some of the karma-khANDa activities, such as the veda-pArAyaNam, have become part of the rituals of big temples such as the Venkateshvara temple, Tirupati. Temples like the SkandAshramam, Chennai, have been conducting the chaNDi homam daily since the year 1999 in this case. Sudarshana homam is conducted regularly in some VaiShNava temples. In this way, the veda-pArAyaNa and the relevant veda-yajnas are done at regular intervals in scores of temples and Ashrams throughout India, although unlike the bhakti rituals, they don't present an ubiquitous face to the public.

• What is missing are these karma-khANDa activities which used to be done regularly in the homes of brahmins, where at least one member of the family was versed in the Vedas.

• Although most of us are laukika brahmins, each of us have our own veda-shAkhA, whose adhyayana we profess to do in the abhivAdana mantra, without even knowing what we are committing by that declaration. So, IMO, each of us should at least sit and listen for some time, to our shAkhA of the Vedas using a CD or DVD, whether understand its text and meaning or not. We should also have the original Sanskrit text of the veda shAkhA and try to read it as we listen to the chanting.

• Some veda sUktas like the puruSha-sUktam are part of the regular rituals at many homes and temples. shrI rudram is chanted on the days of pradosham in Shivan temples.

• An Ayurvedic doctor has recently published a book titled 'shrI rudram decoded', explaining the esoteric medicinal properties of each mantra and how the treatment prescribed therein can cure specific diseases (HTDelhi). An elderly relative of a friend of mine, who was suffering from several physical ailments such as arthritis chanted shrI rudram at brahma-muhUrtam time for a maNDala or so and got completely cured. My friend says that today his relative is able to travel by city bus.

Thus, IMO, the karma-khANDa rites are performed regularly at many places, and they are not just 'lip services', but done with extreme shraddha, with explicit, benevolent results. After all the oral and ritual tradition of the Vedas have been maintained by only a tiny percentage of brahmins who were always a minority through their history, so there is no reason to doubt that this tradition will not survive.
 
S

SwamiTaBra

Guest
Since some pAThashAlas, as you say, may admit NBs, why don't an NB become a guru and start his own school and enable the NBs to do the Veda chanting?

The point is that the rigours of total avoidance of pATha-bheda in the live oral tradition are such that, while scores of brahmin boys take to it (whether willingly or by parental wish to keep the tradition alive), and many of them become Veda pandits in time, such initiative is not common among the NB boys or parents. Had they really wanted it, the situation will be different today.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Due to the allure of the wealth, and the easy lifesytle that can adopted with the secular education the enrollment of boys born to brahmin-parents have been dwindling in vedapatasalas. The rigours and austerity of the vedapatasalas are too much, even for most brahmin-born boys -- no onions or garlic and very restricted scope for entertainment. Even for entertaining oneself one had to get educated there i.e. one may have to be proficient in Samskrit to savour say Kalidasa's sringara rasa.

If the whole of the brahmin community has to feel contrite it has to be for that single reason --- abandonment of the svadharma.

I read some months in a newspaper about a muslim quite scholarly on rig-veda. It is not given whether that person chanted the vedas.

Arya-samaj for all its heterodoxy could not erase caste distinctions even in regions where it is relatively more popular.

With regards,
Swami
 
Last edited:

tbs

Well-known member
hi swamy,
well said...i am veda patashala student ....i know the discipline/restrictions in veda patashala.....its like army tradition.....many brahmin

born students ran away.....but i completed after six years rigourous veda training....its not a easy joke......arya samaj has its own

flaps......not able to eradicate caste system...

regards
tbs
 
Last edited:

saidevo

Well-known member
namaste smt.HappyHindu.

Please do NOT address me as 'sir', just my username will do.

As far as i understand, any institution due to its religious nature, can prohibit an other person based on religion, not caste. A Madrassa may prohibit a non-muslim on the grounds of religion. So also a Christian seminary based on religion. The law so far as i understand does not allow discrimination based on caste. No one has really taken such issues to court so far. Yet i feel tighter laws must be passed which specifically prohibits all religious insitutions from caste discrimination with relevant punishments.

Article 26 of the Constitution of India reads:

26. Freedom to manage religious affairs Subject to public order, morality and health, every religious denomination or any section thereof shall have the right
(a) to establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purposes;
(b) to manage its own affairs in matters of religion;
(c) to own and acquire movable and immovable property; and
(d) to administer such property in accordance with law

For your information, this article was enshrined in the Constitution at the behest of KAnchi ParamAchArya:
Kanchi Mahaperiaval : Experiences with His Holiness Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi MahaSwamiji : kamakoti.org
Post-independence India - Google Books

Thus, IMO, the State cannot control brahmin veda-pAThaShAlas into admitting NB boys, or else it would have done it long back.

Personally, I am not averse to NBs learning Veda chanting with proper regard to the rules of its oral propagation, if the initiative comes from NB institutions or individuals. What I object to is compelling brahmin MaThams to admit NB boys to their veda-pAThaShAlas.

There is one problem in brahmin veda-pAThaShAlas admitting NB boys. Suppose an NB boy is found not qualified and rejected for the veda adhyayana course, whereas some brahmin boys are selected (although many other brahmin boys are rejected), this is very likely to create politics and raise a demand for dilution of the standard. This might even introduce a 'quota system' of lower performance for NB boys!

Vedic chanting, as learnt from audio records, so long as it is personal or homely, why should any one object to anyone--men and women, Bs and NBs--doing it? However, when it comes to public and community chanting, the tradition of guru-shiShya should be followed, IMO.

If we were to go back 400 years in time, in some regions of the country, their tongues wud have been cut, or lead poured into their ears, even for attempting to chant shlokams and mantrams.

Do you have any historical proof of such incidents having happened, other than their mere mention in the Manu SmRti? Remember, brahmins have always been a minority, so any such punishment at their behest would surely have been recorded in history and legends.

As an impartial scholar, I hope you would not brush aside the fact that Manu SmRti is full of interpolations:
Organiser - Content

Am told Paninian grammer is really not that tough to learn. Any learned and experienced teacher can teach his students to prevent pata bhedas.

I referred to the pANiNIya shikShA, not pANiNIya vyAkharaNa. To have an idea of what is involved in the oral tradition of Veda chanting to preserve its structure, please check this link:
http://www.svbf.org/journal/vol1no2/chanting.pdf

I feel it is the duty of the government to open vedic schools and admit interested children irrespective of caste (but based on the criteria that the child will adhere to a brahmanical lifestyle). I feel opening such vedic schools is the only way to combat conversions and casteism.

This is a lofty thought no doubt, but will our pseudo-secular central and state governments who prevented even rudimentary Hindu religion being taught in government schools, ever take such an initiative? Even if a Hindu party like the BJP runs the government, will it be allowed to take such initiative?

Please put yourself in the shoes of a NB and think -- what wud you do if a guru labels you as a shudra, and asks everyone to go back to their old professions and upkeep the dharmashastras? What legitimate purpose did such messages serve ?

KAnchi ParamAchArya blamed only brahmins for giving up their svadharma and competing with the professions of other varNas. If brahmins stick to their svadharma, the scales of profession will automatically adjust and let the NBs be happy about their chances. Those NBs who are spiritually inclined and are serious about it, proving their mettle, will always be welcome. Sometime back, I read about a news report of brahmins in a still-surviving, traditional agraharam in KarnATaka doing pada-pUja to a dalit sage when he visited their area. In spirituality, talents are always bound to be recognized, when the initiative is personal.

The names of the four varNas have no suggestions about the mistakenly supposed distinction of superiority or inferiority. The varNa-vibhAga has been only a convenient and efficient way to administer the various affairs of a civilized society. Today it exists in the form of class distinction, whether one admits it or not.

And castes were born out of family professions, even in the English society. Obvious instances of such names are: Archer, Baker, Carter, Cook, Carpenter, Driver, Miller, Taylor, Weaver. Less obvious instances: Arkwright, Bailey, Barker, Cartwright, Chapman, Cooper, Fletcher, Fuller, Turner, Wainwright, Ward, Wheelwright, Wright. For meanings of these less obvious surnames, check The origin of English surnames 1: work and status | History and traditions of England.
 
S

SwamiTaBra

Guest
hi swamy,
well said...i am veda patashala student ....i know the discipline/restrictions in veda patashala.....its like army tradition.....many brahmin

born students ran away.....but i completed after six years rigourous veda training....its not a easy joke......arya samaj has its own

flaps......not able to eradicate caste system...

regards
tbs

It is indeed heartening to note that at least there is one active member who has gone to a veda patasala.

I think many would look forward to you for recording your experiences and opinions.

With regards,
Swami
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Follow Tamil Brahmins on Social Media

Latest posts

Top
Thank you for visiting TamilBrahmins.com

You seem to have an Ad Blocker on.

We depend on advertising to keep our content free for you. Please consider whitelisting us in your ad blocker so that we can continue to provide the content you have come here to enjoy.

Alternatively, consider upgrading your account to enjoy an ad-free experience along with numerous other benefits. To upgrade your account, please visit the account upgrades page

You can also donate financially if you can. Please Click Here on how you can do that.

I've Disabled AdBlock    No Thanks