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Tamil Brahmins - Beliefs which alienates others

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Being a Tamil Brahmin and having moved intimately with all sections ranging from temple Kurukkal, sasthirigal and rich sophisticated Brahmins, I have always wondered at some of our beliefs which leads to our alienation from other communities.

1. We believe we are Vaidic. That is we follow the Vedas. But even there we qualify it saying that Atharva Veda is not part of the Vedas.

But except for some Brahmins who study in the Veda Pathasalas, we have given up the recitation of the Vedas. We get some Sasthirigal to recite the Vedas and perform Vedic Homas for us. But that does not make one a Brahmin. All Brahmins are expected to study the Vedas and also perform the Vedic rituals. Yajamana concept is only for those who are not permitted to learn the Vedas. Sasthirigals do perform the same rituals for non-Brahmins also.

Why have we rejected the Atharva Veda? How come Tamil Brahmins never practiced Ayur Veda? Most of the Brahmins in other parts of the country do practice Ayur Veda. We call Atharva Veda inferior. So an alienation of the believers of Atharva Veda.

2. We do not believe in Agamas and Tantras. This has been the bone of contention with the non-Brahmins of Tamil Nadu. They accept the Vedas. We do not accept the Agamas.

Strangely Tamil Brahmins do go to the temples in Tamil Nadu most of which are Agamic. The worship is Agamic. So we do not even accept our temples and temple priests. Tamil Brahmins are the only Brahmins who have rejected their temple priests. They consider them as inferior. The Gurukkal community now call themselves Adi Saivas.

In the functions of the Brahmins of the rest of India the temple priest is a honored guest. But in Tamil Brahmin functions you rarely see a temple priest.

Many of the temple priests in rest of India are Vedic scholars. But in Tamil Nadu Veda Patashalas produce only Purohits.

Brahmins are described as a community of priests. In Tamil Nadu it is a community of Purohits.

(Will continue)
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