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purushasuktam - varna

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happyhindu

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discussion so far:

Shri TBS ji,

Since you quote Purushasuktham as pramana for varna, am putting forth something, wud like to hear your views on them:

Brahmanah asya mukhaasit:
Popular meaning: Brahmins are the face or head (of the purusha).
Uttaramimansa meaning: The consciousness that leads to cosmic consiousessness, is in the region of the brain. Head represents brahmana, because it represents one who has attained awareness of that region thru yog or has attained his consciousness..in other words it means brahma janati iti brahmana, one whose mind is merged with brahman in meditation is a brahmin.

Vaahuh rajanyah kritah:
Purvamimansa meaning: Hands represent rajanya (kshatriya).
Uttaramimansa interpretation: One who works with his hands is rajanya. Because the terms vaahuh-kritah are not mentioning that hands "became" rajanya of the metaphysical purusha, literal meaning cud be also be one who "does" his hands is rajanya (or 'works' his hands is rajanya) based on kritah = done, made, performed.

Urutahah asya yat vaishya:
Popular interpretation: The thighs became vaishyas.
Monastic interpretation: thigh represents lap, like lap of Lakshmi, where money is saved. Asya = is of, of this. Therefore thighs is of vaishya, one who saves of money is of vaishya. Wud apply to any one who works to earn and save money, or one who works in an office, etc.

Padvyam shudrah ajayata (most popular sentence of all i guess :) ):
Shudra was born from the feet (of the purusha). Padavyam = of the feet, from the feet, or one who is 'of the feet' is a shudrah, or one who supports is a shudrah, or any subordinate who supports is a shudrah, can be applied to anyone working as a subordinate under a boss to support the functions of an office, or to a minister supporting a king.

In the later times,
a) brahmin became applied to the priestly class even though they did not engage their mind in meditation but were ritualists,
b) rajanya became applied to a kshatriya though it referred to a tiller of land before villages developed into a civilized form of an administered unit. The basis of vaahuh rajanya kritah appears to come from the fact that in the rigved times, one who tilled the land was treated as a crop giver, a saviour.
c) vaishya became applied to one who walks to save, since feet are extension of the thighs that help walk, that is it became applied to primitive sellers in a village,
d) and shudrahs that was meant to be be "anyone who serves" became applied to people who were kept as the labor classes by the dharmashastras.

In reality, the purushasuktam was not to show 4 diff castes as varnas, but to show functionary systems of the human body. In other words, each person has all '4 castes' or '4 varnas' in him. To the monastic traditions, all that the purushasuktam explains to man is his own self as the mythical purusha, and methods of union with the brahman.

The feet being the most sensitive part of the body with several acupressure points, were first managed and handled thru yog, to help man conquer his sense of desire to serve, to earn appreciation, money, etc. Then the overcame his thighs, or desire to save money and reproduce. Then he overcame his hands, or movement of fingers and neck at the vishuddha chakra. Finally, the union of mind with the superconsiouness brahman happened.

Shri TBS-ji, what are your views on the differences in the explanations b/w the purvamimansaka dharmashastra followers and those of monasticism schools.

Thanks.

hi HH ji,
I dont want deviate the original thread called ' widows and
hindu /brahmin tradition'...i feel that i already deviated..
sorry for that...i can explain about purvamiamsaka dharmasaastra/
and uttara mimansaka siddhantas...but im not scholar in
purvamimamsa dharmasastra...i have limited knowledge..

regards

i think almost all posts in this thread do not pertain to the topic of the thread.

perhaps we can continue the discussion here and then ask Praveen to move them to a new thread.

so you may please continue with the explanations.

thanks.
 

tbs

Well-known member
discussion so far:
hi HH
thank u for ur new thread...but i have limited know jaimineeya
purvamimsaka.......im basically specialization in advaitha...
but i learned little sayana bashya in purva mimamsa...

regards
 
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happyhindu

Well-known member
hi HH
thank u for ur new thread...but i have limited know jaimineeya
purvamimsaka.......im basically specialization in advaitha...
but i learned little sayana bashya in purva mimamsa...

regards

but sir that is a lot, its not at all easy to be specialized in advaitha...

am sure you must have come across differences in the way purusha suktam is explained by diff schools, please cud you explain why these differences seem to exist?
 

tbs

Well-known member
but sir that is a lot, its not at all easy to be specialized in advaitha...

am sure you must have come across differences in the way purusha suktam is explained by diff schools, please cud you explain why these differences seem to exist?
hi
i do purusha suktha parayanam daily in my daily abhisheka...
im not interested in different opinions...even i dunno...

regards
 
About Prusha Suktha and Varna post by happyhindu.

He says that the narration in Purusha suktham does not refer to the conventional four varnas of society, but are with respect to the limbs of the same body and hence "each person has allfour castes or varnas in him". But Sir, Vedas and Shastras enjoin particular varna or caste to do particular Karmas, for example a fourth varna man can not perform Yaga according to shastras. With happyhindu's explanation quoted above how this is possible.
 

Raghy

Well-known member
About Prusha Suktha and Varna post by happyhindu.

He says that the narration in Purusha suktham does not refer to the conventional four varnas of society, but are with respect to the limbs of the same body and hence "each person has allfour castes or varnas in him". But Sir, Vedas and Shastras enjoin particular varna or caste to do particular Karmas, for example a fourth varna man can not perform Yaga according to shastras. With happyhindu's explanation quoted above how this is possible.

Sri. Sankaranarayanan,

Sow.Sri. Happy Hindu refers Uttara Mimansa, Pooravameemansa etc when she says that everyone has four varnas. Personally I agree with that. I do not know any of the philosophies quoted by Sow.Happy Hindu. It is logical. Sir, have you ever thought that Vedas and shastras may have been wrongly interpreted?

Kindly read post#23 in this link, please.

http://www.tamilbrahmins.com/general-discussions/3180-who-brahmanan-3.html

Cheers!
 
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Raghy

Well-known member
Sow.Sri.Happy Hindu said:-

"Padvyam shudrah ajayata (most popular sentence of all i guess :) ):
Shudra was born from the feet (of the purusha). Padavyam = of the feet, from the feet, or one who is 'of the feet' is a shudrah, or one who supports is a shudrah, or any subordinate who supports is a shudrah, can be applied to anyone working as a subordinate under a boss to support the functions of an office, or to a minister supporting a king."

Sri. Happy Hindu,

I beg to differ with the views written in the quote. You have already covered this quality in the Vaishya varna. that is one who is working to make an earning and who saves money. Then, how are you classifying them again as Sudhra? It does not make sense for me.

To my understanding, every person when doing any legal, dharmic and honest work, adapts one of the three varnas namely brahma, kshatriya and vaishya. When that person involves in an illegal, adharmic or dishonest work, then he is a sudhra. This would apply to all the persons across the board in any community. The period he/she remains as a sudhra would be decided by the elders or panchayat or courts. In the present day situation, such persons are imprisoned or made to pay a penalty. I am looking forward to hear your opinions on this, please.

Cheers!
 
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happyhindu

Well-known member
Nice to see this thread being revived :)


Dear Sri Raghy ji,

Abt the purushasuktam explanation, a better explanation of the one i have is given, is in this book: Amazon.com: Kriya Yoga (9788120831414): P. Hariharananda: Books

The monastic folk i have spoken to, do not consider purushasukta as an interpolation into the rigved. Well, since the monastic folk predominantly belong to the yoga, samkhya, vaisheshika, vedanta schools, their interpretation of the purushasuktam, i suppose, is based on their school of thot.

To them, Shudra simply means a person who does not have his desires in control, meaning he does not understand himself. The best way to understanding the self (to them), is sheer surrender.

A Vaishya is one who has some amount of control, understands himself somewhat, but only to the extent that he understand he is self-centered. He has not yet learnt to become the master (kshatriya) of his desires.

While some ekadandis do not speak of jaatis / occupations at all, some do.

Of them, some monastic traditions do accept that gunas / qualities can be applied to professions (the only diff is that they do not believe that jaatis / occupations are fixed and unchangable by birth).

And according to them, when applied to occupations, a shudra, wud mean a servile person. And a vaishya was someone who saved money. A person with enough ability, and savings capacity, can move from being a shudra (an apprentice or a pauper in service) to a vaishya (money owner, better settled person).

In terms of professions professed, there seems to be little diff b/w the vaishya and shudra occupations. Am told that some smrithis consider cattle-tending, farming, etc as jobs of the vaishyas, while some consider the same jobs as that of the shudras. Perhaps the way occupations were defined in diff regional areas of old india varied.



Dear Sri Sankaranarayana ji,

There were 2 sects in the past (pre-shankara period) --
a) the upanishadic type wandering monks or just monks who predominently followed (and follow) the vedanta or uttaramimansa school; and,

b) the ritualistic type stationary priests, who predominantly followed (and follow) the purva mimansa school.

Each has their own explanation of the purushasuktam.

The vedantin or uttaramimansa monks beleive that, in the past, anyone cud be recruited into the profession of priesthood.

It may be possible that they consider it that way because yagas were also performed by some sects of ascetics (monks) in the past, and they wud pass on the knowledge to their students.

Its likely that this was before the days when the society became rigid into the mold where a profession, passed on from father to son, within the family (as also family secrets such as vaidyam (medicine) recipes).

I do not know if the current purvamimansa based schools accept that explanation. As far as i know, no they do not.

Kindly also note that the vedic society (as is debated) supposedly did not have the shudra section, either in terms of occupations (as is considered by the dharmashastras); or in terms of the varna classification itself, since the word shudra is rarely mentioned in the vedas.

Some say 'shudra' in the mahabharat refers to the name of a tribe that was enemies with the vedic tribes; and speculate that this word 'shudra' became applied to define occupations in the dharmashastra times (since the word denoted an outsider or an enemy).

Some say the shudra tribe was also an arya tribe, but non-vedic, like the dasas / dasyus and the panis, and that the scenario actually referred to intra-tribal warfare, meaning like cousin-brothers fighting with one another.

Some say the shudra tribe was one of the many tribes that entered india from the northwest as indo-scythians, but became merged with the existing traditions over time (probably after some resistance).

Whatever it was, today, we all remain mixed some way or the other. In terms of genetics, each of us carry part of the old and part of the new within us.

But based on the idea that the term shudra did not refer to a varna in any vedic text, some argue that the interpretation of purushasuktam as varnas-related-to-occupations is wrong.

Please also note that Vatsa, a descendant of Kanva, was called a shudra putra (in rigveda). Also Ambedkar asked in the book 'who were the shudras' about Sudas. He asks, how come Sudas, a shudra, was a composer of rigvedic hyms.

Anyways, what you mention about each profession (caste) performing certain karmas, is based on the dharmashastras. The vedas, as just hyms, poetry, astronomy, or simply as "knowledge texts" do not mention any such thing.

Regards.
 
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Nara

Well-known member
.... Please also note that Vatsa, a descendant of Kanva, was called a shudra putra (in rigveda). Also Ambedkar asked in the book 'who were the shudras' about Sudas. He asks, how come Sudas, a shudra, was a composer of rigvedic hyms.


Dear HH, I know where you are coming from, so I fully understand what you are saying. There is definitely value in understanding the antecedents of caste and varna, Similarly, I think you will agree with me that the present condition must also be clearly understood.

In this regard, the Rg Vedic verse in question is universally interpreted by all Vedantic schools, with the exception some you mention, to mean birth based varna. I suspect even in the case of the Ekadandi acharyas, the followers adhere to caste & Varna in their practical lives, just as much as anyone else, such as arranged marriage etc.

Cheers!

p.s.
Some years back I wanted to learn a little bit of Sanskrit when I was in Chennai for an extended stay. A freind hooked me up with an elderly Veda teacher. He misundertood my intent and thought I wanted to learn Vedas. When I saw him for the first time he made me recite my Abivadaye. After I did, he cited this Rg Vedic verse, which I already was aware of as I used to recite the five sukthas everyday (yes, hard to believe isn't), and told me that some Shudras tried to pass off as brahmins in order to learn Vedas from him and he needed to be vigilant and that was the reason he made me recite my Abivahdaye :)
 
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happyhindu

Well-known member
Dear HH, I know where you are coming from, so I fully understand what you are saying. There is definitely value in understanding the antecedents of caste and varna, Similarly, I think you will agree with me that the present condition must also be clearly understood.

In this regard, the Rg Vedic verse in question is universally interpreted by all Vedantic schools, with the exception some you mention, to mean birth based varna.

Yes sir, the non-shankara ekadandis also consider varna or mental qualities, the way the mind is coloured or conditioned and gunas by birth. The only diff is that they do not consider varna-linkable-to-jaati and jaati fixed at birth.

I suspect even in the case of the Ekadandi acharyas, the followers adhere to caste & Varna in their practical lives, just as much as anyone else, such as arranged marriage etc.
Oops no sir, i don't think so (i suspect that if something like this were suggested to them, they might take it almost as an accusation). Or atleast the ones i have gathered info from so far are not like that (which are, monks of Swami, Saraswati and Giri branches). They have their teachings and they follow it.

Those monks are usually celibate brahmacharis. Or upon sanyashrama, they have noting to do with grihasta life. So, i do not understand about arranged marriages. What is it?

The only exception, some say are some monks of the Ramakrishna Mission. It is said that most of the monks there are former brahmins (RK Mutt and its institutions are generally considered brahmin dominated units) and therefore in their writings, they put forth the varna-jati view of the purvamimansas. And i suppose it is unfortunate since neither Ramakrishna nor Vivekanada propagated such views.

p.s.
Some years back I wanted to learn a little bit of Sanskrit when I was in Chennai for an extended stay. A freind hooked me up with an elderly Veda teacher. He misundertood my intent and thought I wanted to learn Vedas. When I saw him for the first time he made me recite my Abivadaye. After I did, he cited this Rg Vedic verse, which I already was aware of as I used to recite the five sukthas everyday (yes, hard to believe isn't), and told me that some Shudras tried to pass off as brahmins in order to learn Vedas from him and he needed to be vigilant and that was the reason he made me recite my Abivahdaye :)
:) Which sect was the teacher from?

But i suppose this shows 2 things:

a) That there are ppl who will not teach Vedas (which i presume are the mantra parts?) to anyone else other than brahmins.

b) That there are ppl who want to learn Vedas (or mantras specifically?), but are turned away on the basis of caste; and therefore need to pretend to be brahmins to learn (??).
Am wondering why do they need to put on such a pretence. If they go to, say Chinmaya Mission or Arya Samaj, they can very well take classes there.

Anyways, as an after thought, am thinking that to be on the safer side, going by the discussions in this forum, its better not to approach a purvamimansa mutt affiliate to learn anything, irrespective of whether it is advaitha, vishishtadwaitha or dwaitha related things.

Actually i was being encouraged by someone elderly in the family (who is a NB bhagavata) to learn abt vishishtadwaitha. But now am thinking, what if am turned away for being an NB like the above teacher who tested you. Also, i suppose considering all the crazy segregation involved, its better for me to stick on to the current ekadandi schools of thot (which i have been involved in since i was abt 14). Although the interest is there to learn abt vishishtadwaitha, i suppose i will have to give it a miss.

Regards.
 
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kunjuppu

Well-known member
.......p.s.
Some years back I wanted to learn a little bit of Sanskrit when I was in Chennai for an extended stay. A freind hooked me up with an elderly Veda teacher. He misundertood my intent and thought I wanted to learn Vedas. When I saw him for the first time he made me recite my Abivadaye. After I did, he cited this Rg Vedic verse, which I already was aware of as I used to recite the five sukthas everyday (yes, hard to believe isn't), and told me that some Shudras tried to pass off as brahmins in order to learn Vedas from him and he needed to be vigilant and that was the reason he made me recite my Abivahdaye :)

.. and TBs, some of them, still deny, that we withheld knowledge over the milleniums, to other folks. :)
 

Nara

Well-known member
Those monks are usually celibate brahmacharis. Or upon sanyashrama, they have noting to do with grihasta life. So, i do not understand about arranged marriages. What is it?

I think there is a misunderstanding, I was not referring to the monks, but only their followers. My view is, whatever may be the actual meaning of the Rg Vedic verse, it is now interpreted by almost all Vedantins, except a few that you cite, as referring to Varna by birth. Further, in practical life they act as they do. In other words, if it walks like a duck, and quacks likes a duck, it is a duck :)

:) Which sect was the teacher from?
From what I could gather he was Shankara mutt follower, but I am quite confident that was just incidental, most veda teachers in TN would have done that.


Actually i was being encouraged by someone elderly in the family (who is a NB bhagavata) to learn abt vishishtadwaitha. But now am thinking, what if am turned away for being an NB like the above teacher who tested you.
They would not teach you to recite the vedas, that is all. You will be welcomed with open arms as far as learning the school of philosophy. If you are interested, I would recommend it -- as a confirmed you know what, only as an academic exercise :).
 
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happyhindu

Well-known member
I think there is a misunderstanding, I was not referring to the monks, but only their followers. My view is, whatever may be the actual meaning of the Rg Vedic verse, it is now interpreted by almost all Vedantins, except a few that you cite, as referring to Varna by birth. Further, in practical life they act as they do. In other words, if it walks like a duck, and quacks likes a duck, it is a duck :)

Oh the followers are far too many with all sorts. A lot of the followers, i notice, tend to be westerners.

Amongst indians, i think many ppl start developing an interest in spiritualism somewhat later in life, that is, after they are married with kids.....

from what i see, usually, while trying to swim that middle-age career-pressure tide, they start looking for some anchor to cope, that's when they turn towards yoga and some spiritualism...

its very hard to say if these followers had followed the caste factor in choosing their spouse...it looks like many of them were already married before becoming followers.

But after becoming followers, i dunno how many are following the caste system in personal life - atleast i can say that they do seva for all (no caste factor in that).

From the very few elderly followers i know, i notice that they do not mind their kids marrying any caste. As such, nobody seems intrested in speaking about caste. Only people like me seem to be interested in asking all sorts of things to the swamis to clarify doubts.

In my case i went for an arranged marriage, because i find this whole love thing rather complicated. If i liked a guy, then he did not like me. If a guy liked me, then i did not like him. In any case, i don't think i wud ever have managed to find a guy on my own. I have always been miserably indecisive.

As regards the interpretation, yes all vedantins (both shankara and non-shankara mutts) consider varna by birth. The only diff is the approach to the jathi matrix.

Yes the yoga explanation i have given, is quite an exception, because such teachings are followed only in the yoga school of thot, and not popular elsewhere.

They would not teach you to recite the vedas, that is all. You will be welcomed with open arms as far as learning the school of philosophy. If you are interested, I would recommend it -- as a confirmed you know what, only as an academic exercise :).

Ah that's ok. Am not interested in reciting things either. Me likes listening and meditating. But i don't think i can approch it as just an academic exercise. Its natural to bcome personally involved. i suppose, i will need time to decide.
 

Nara

Well-known member
As regards the interpretation, yes all vedantins (both shankara and non-shankara mutts) consider varna by birth. The only diff is the approach to the jathi matrix.

But there is a big difference if I understand you right -- varna, in the POV of these branches, is not based on the family of the birth. That is a huge difference.

Having said that, I hope you would agree that the keepers of present day vedic orthodoxy, view the varna of the Rg Vedic verse as based on the family of birth.

Cheers!
 
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happyhindu

Well-known member
But there is a big difference if I understand you right -- varna, in the POV of these branches, is not based on the family of the birth. That is a huge difference.

Having said that, I hope you would agree that the keepers of present day vedic orthodoxy, view the varna of the Rg Vedic verse as based on the family of birth.

Cheers!

sir, i honestly dunno if the present day shankara mutts represent the vedic orthodoxy.

all i can say is from what i notice so far.

and i notice that both the shankara and non-shankara mutts consider themselves the vedic orthodoxy representing original vedic beliefs..

and if one considers a particular verse as based on the family of birth, and if the other does not consider it that way, what can i say...

perhaps all i can say is each to his own...let all forms of truth live in peace....the only pressure factor comes from the current social pov - and i wish that did not exist.

best wishes.
 
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happyhindu in one of his letters accepts that varnas are by birth and not jathis. He distinguishes between the words 'Varna' and jathi'. The Sanskrit word 'jathi' itself means birth. So when Lord Krishna declares in "Bhagavatgita" that four varnas were created by him based on Guna and Karma, he means ony four castes. Guna and Karma of an individual is fixed on birth itself, they being carried in the present birth from the individual's past births. In fact this poorva janma, karma and its 'vasanas' are the main points in Hinduism. So when the Lord says four varnas were created by him based on guna and karma it is ony birth.

Further if the son of a brahmin, is of a varna other than a brahmin, based on whatever qualifications happyhindu would identify him so, how can the son perform pithru karma? Pithrukarmas of brahmin is different than those of others? Will the son do it as a brahmin or otherwise? It may be argued that these karmas etc., are of later creations. But i feel that it can not be so lightly dismissed.

In the 1st chapter of 'Bhagavatgita' Arjuna evinces concern about preponderance of vice during the periods of war and this preponderance will lead to 'varna sankara', ie. intermix of castes. And this in turn will destroy the 'kula dharma' and the entire society in a disarray.

Finally, if we accept poorva janma, poorva karma,its vasanas (the impressions left by those karmas on the individual that are carried to future births) the varna or jathi can be identified by birth..
 
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happyhindu

Well-known member
happyhindu in one of his letters accepts that varnas are by birth and not jathis. He distinguishes between the words 'Varna' and jathi'. The Sanskrit word 'jathi' itself means birth. So when Lord Krishna declares in "Bhagavatgita" that four varnas were created by him based on Guna and Karma, he means ony four castes. Guna and Karma of an individual is fixed on birth itself, they being carried in the present birth from the individual's past births. In fact this poorva janma, karma and its 'vasanas' are the main points in Hinduism. So when the Lord says four varnas were created by him based on guna and karma it is ony birth.

Further if the son of a brahmin, is of a varna other than a brahmin, based on whatever qualifications happyhindu would identify him so, how can the son perform pithru karma? Pithrukarmas of brahmin is different than those of others? Will the son do it as a brahmin or otherwise? It may be argued that these karmas etc., are of later creations. But i feel that it can not be so lightly dismissed.

In the 1st chapter of 'Bhagavatgita' Arjuna evinces concern about preponderance of vice during the periods of war and this preponderance will lead to 'varna sankara', ie. intermix of castes. And this in turn will destroy the 'kula dharma' and the entire society in a disarray.

Finally, if we accept poorva janma, poorva karma,its vasanas (the impressions left by those karmas on the individual that are carried to future births) the varna or jathi can be identified by birth..
Sankaranarayanan ji,

You are repeating the same thing again in a different thread. I dunno if you had read the previous replies at all.

It is better if you can approach any ekadandi sampradayam (of non-shankara mutts) for a clearer understanding in person. Try Arya Samaj. Why, you can approach any siddha tradition also.

In written words, i am only having to repeat myself here::

1) Varnas are mental qualities, conditioning (or colouring) of the mind, that are brought on by the karmas of previous births. It is by birth only. No one said it is not.

The only contension is about jaati; that is occupation. How can a man's occupation be fixed by birth? Was Einstein's father an astrophysicist? Was Ramanuja's father a mathematician? Was Mario Capecchi's father a genetist? How can anyone fix the son's occupation (by birth) based on his father's occupation?

2) Brahmin is one who has attained brahman - in simple terms, it is one who has cleared his vasanas, and is thereby able to attain the highest concentration levels in dhyanam.

In short, a brahman is a self-realized person, and someone (who in the final stages) has attained brahmalokam from where there no return (moksham).

A priest is a purva mimansa follower. There is no concept of attaining brahman in purva mimansa ritualism.

The purva mimansa concept is that of pitrulokam, from where there is re-birth. In terms of concepts, a priest's mind cannot be called as one that remains unconditioned. Therefore some say, a priest cannot be called a brahmin -- it is subject to debate if the occupation of a priest can ensure attainment of brahman.

3) You are talking of pitrukarmas and varna shankara - both those terms do not occur in the vedas.

Mahabharat is loaded with illegitimate births. The pandavas themselves were illegitimate children. Then why does the Mahabharat talk about varna shankara - unless those verses were a later-day addition / interpolation.

4) The concept of pitrukarmas comes from the grihyasutra period -- long after the vedas were composed.

To give you a very rough approximate idea of dates and dating.

Vedas -- composed by 1000 BC.
Girhya Sutras, dharmashastras, smrithis -- started being composed from 500 BC onwards.
Puranas -- composed from 300AD onwards.

Some consider the concept of ritualism in the vedas as very primitive, tribalistic, the kind we see in tribals and 'low-castes' even today.

The enhanced form of ritualism you see, in all other forms (in griha sutras, etc), are later-day developments that came after the vedas were composed.

Generally, all rituals have evolved over time. I already mentioned about the book "Hindu Samskaras" by Rajbali Pandey. Please read it to understand how some rituals developed.

The grihyasutras have a very vague concept of linking varna to jaati. But the whole concept of jaati (linked to varna) and fixed by birth, begins only from the dharmashastra-smrithi period, which was long after vedas were composed.

Please also understand that shankara mutts were established only in the 8th century. By 8th century, dharmashastras were already being followed by purva mimansa ritualists.

Various smrithis are like law-books for different kingdoms and contradict one another. The ekadandi (advaitin) monks are uttara mimansa followers. They study smrithis but do not follow them.

Only Shankara mutts have been propagating the dharmashastra concept of jaati-by-birth, which all other ekadandi do not follow. The ekadandis are advaitha sampradayams that are older than the shankara mutts.

Hope i do not have to repeat all this again and again.

Best regards.
 
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Respected happyhindu Sir, You say Jati is profession. As I had mentioned in my earlier post, the word actually means 'birth' and not profession. It is to be noted that the smritis, sutras etc., are also to be accepted as authorities just as vedas. If not, then the entire vedic structure crumbles. Your observation that pandavas themselves are illegitimate children is highly unfortunate. Because they were not born as a result of human union, but due to the power of manthras.

Even utharamimamsidins (vedantins as they are called) do not reject poorvamimamsa outright. They accept poorvamimamsa or karmas are to be done which ensusres 'chithasuddhi' of a person, which in turn helps him to further spiritual pursuits.
 
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happyhindu

Well-known member
Respected happyhindu Sir, You say Jati is profession. As I had mentioned in my earlier post, the word actually means 'birth' and not profession. It is to be noted that the smritis, sutras etc., are also to be accepted as authorities just as vedas. If not, then the entire vedic structure crumbles. Your observation that pandavas themselves are illegitimate children is highly unfortunate. Because they were not born as a result of human union, but due to the power of manthras.

There are smrithis that contradict one another. There are smrithis that are self-contradictory as well. Which smrithi is to be accepted as an authority equal to the vedas?

The tribal versions of the mahabharat do not say pandavas were born out of mantras. Try this version: http://www.indiadivine.org/articles/404/1/Kunti-and-the-Birth-of-the-Sun-Gods-Child/Page1.html What is wrong if they were born out of sexual union?

Hindusim has never seperated divinity from sexuality. The whole concept of purity of birth seeped into hinduism much later....

its later day shastras (puranas) that were written long after the vedic period that ascribed a man of unknown birth as someone born to "brahma"...

leaving the doings and undoings of brahma (the ones based on various ridiculous stories ascribed to him in puranas) aside; its obvious that those sages were local folk...

Even utharamimamsidins (vedantins as they are called) do not reject poorvamimamsa outright. They accept poorvamimamsa or karmas are to be done which ensusres 'chithasuddhi' of a person, which in turn helps him to further spiritual pursuits.
What you mention is the pov of shankara matts. Prof Nara and i have already discussed this. Please refer to the old threads / posts.

Regards.
 
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Dr.S.Ramanathan

Active member
Dr.S.Ramanathan,
Jr.Member.
I am greatly impressed by the scholarly discussion by Sri.Sankaranarayanan,Prof.Nara and Happyhindu on a limited four sentences in Purushasooktam. If we look at the Sooktam as a whole,(this sooktam is one of the most highly respected and almost universally chanted by all the Hindus),the sooktam starts with a reference to the Viratapurusha,with thousand heads,eyes etc,this purusha being everything,the past and the future etc etc. Similarly, following the four sentences referred to, the sooktam says that the Moon was born out of his mind,Sun from his eyes, Indra and Agni from his face,Vayu from His prana, Antariksha from his Nabhi etc etc. Similarly, the second Anuvaka carries us to a different plane. The Jati and Varna, as interpreted by the different schools of thought, are limited by their own levels of understanding.Moreover, they were constrained to carry the people of the respective times with them, keeping in view their involvement and necessity to upgrade their capabilities.
Thus, the various commentaries suffer from this infirmity. I have not so far been able to come across an in-depth commentary on Purushasooktam. All that I can understand is that this is a Sooktam of far too deep import and meaning than often frivolously interpreted by some Brahmin haters that this Sooktam preaches and encourages practicing caste system. It is far from that and far above that; how far, I am unaware.
Ramanathan.
 
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happyhindu

Well-known member
Dear Dr.Ramanathan,

I know my posts of late sound as such, but please do not consider me a brahmin-hater.

I know my posts have hurt the feelings of some people. But i am unable to restrain myself from saying things exactly as i see it. Being too frank, i reckon, is not a good quality.

Am very well aware that only some specific bad apples are the cause of troubles...

Sometimes i wonder if the bad apples or abnormals are present only on the internet - i have not once met any such person in reality.

Even on this forum, you can see brahmins who discuss neutral things, not involving in caste-arguments.

Please do not mistake me as someone who considers all brahmins in any negative light.

Regards.
 

Nara

Well-known member
Dear Shri Ramanathan:

Greetings!

... All that I can understand is that this is a Sooktam of far too deep import and meaning than often frivolously interpreted by some Brahmin haters that this Sooktam preaches and encourages practicing caste system. It is far from that and far above that; how far, I am unaware.


If I understand you correctly, please feel free to set me straight if I don't, you are unaware of the true deep import, but you think it is far more than the narrow caste and varna thing.

First, in your view, what is the deep knowledge that you think there may be in the sukhthas that can be of benefit to humanity?

You cited viratpursha and how everything came from that purusha et al. But these are just doctrine isn't. The Sukthams do sound great and I enjoy reciting them myself. But it is no more than some grand speculations of fertile minds. There are no great inner and deep meanings that is useful for a just and peaceful world where love abounds. For that you need to go to something like Thirukkural.

Also, the reason the single verse from Rg Veda attracts so much attention is that it is the earliest mention of Varnas in Hindu scriptures. With caste and Varna being an important part of Hindu religious doctrine and life it is not reasonable to expect those of us who want to discuss the antecedents of caste system to simply look at the other verses of the suktham which, contrary to your opinion, do not contain any great stored wisdom, but that is just me.

Cheers!
 

anandb

Active member
Dear Shri. Nara,

Y
ou cited viratpursha and how everything came from that purusha et al. But these are just doctrine isn't. The Sukthams do sound great and I enjoy reciting them myself. But it is no more than some grand speculations of fertile minds. There are no great inner and deep meanings that is useful for a just and peaceful world where love abounds. For that you need to go to something like Thirukkural.

I want to tackle this in two parts. The Meaning. Firstly I don't understand Sanskrit so have to depend on translations. Assuming the translator is right, I read one of the translations (word to word) and to me the Suktham seems to be pregnant with meaning. I do agree with Dr. Ramanathan on this. The essence is everything came from the purusa so the Creator and the Created are one. Isn't this a great truth (even if not true) which will make us appreciate all things better. The four varnas sprang forth from the four organs but where does it say there is discrimination or superiority? In fact if the Creator and the Created are one, where is discrimination? I really don't understand? May be you can enlighten me? But I should thank you because till this day I have chanted this Suktham without knowing the meaning. Now I can appreciate this better.

Secondly comes the Sound. The reason why I don't go into the meaning is because I don't know Sanskrit and I am wary of translations. Also the inherent belief that there should not be anything wrong in the meaning if the sound is so reassuring, peaceful and meditative. The power of sound is more potent than the meaning of words. The sound affects your subconscious in unknown ways while the meaning is more for the conscious mind. No doubt knowing the meaning makes you enjoy it more but that is when one reaches that stage. When I scold my 10 year old with a word carrying a negative connotation he recoils because of the sound even though he may not understand its meaning. Our Rishis understood this perfectly which modern science is discovering slowly. Science now advises mothers to talk to their children in the womb even though they may not understand the meaning as long as the conversation is comforting. The child discovers it is comforting because of the nature of the sound waves generated.

To dismiss the sukthams or the vedas as products of fertile imagination is fine but even imagination needs to start somewhere. If that is the case, I would salute these seers who had great imagination levels than the ones we are operating with now.
 

Dr.S.Ramanathan

Active member
Purushasuktam

Dear Happyhindu,
I am extremely sorry if I have even inadvertently hurt you. I apologise.What I had in mind is the atheists of the last century, who pluck only these four sentences, out of context, without reference to the descriptions prior to or later following, and talk about their literal meaning only to decry a particular caste. The intention of my post is that the meaning isnot so simple.

Dear Prof. Nara,
I would sincerely request you to read my post once again.The fact that I have not understood the deep import does not automatically mean that the Sooktam does not have any deeper significance than fertile imagination. We have had such discussions and arguments from the Vedic times, and the Vedas are replete with such quotations.
Many sages have stated as REVEALED, what they were convinced about as TRUTH, while other statements are qualified with the remark, "Brahmavagino Vadanti", " Those who have understood Brahman, say so".

I have dealt with some of these aspects very briefly in my book on The Glory of Vishnusahasranamam, which has been posted in this website by Sri. Praveen, under the head Literature. I would greatly appeciate your going through that and favour me with your comments and suggestions.
Thanks and regards,
Ramanathan.
 
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