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The case of Brahmin Identity

cs19844

Member
The case of Brahmin Identity

Definition of 'Identity' - It is a sense of belonging to a particular community where every one in that community will have inherent attachment among themselves.

Identity is a survival thing for any human being, no one in this world live without an identity. I repeat no one really leads an identity-less life ANYWHERE in the world. The sense of brahmin identity is very strong even today and it will stay strong forever. You must have been misled from the fact that many don't even remember Gayathri Japam, and from some of the cases of brahmin men who are regular smokers/drinkers and brahmin women who are also regular drinkers in India. It is not required for everyone to do sandhyavandhanam everyday and in fact it is not even necessary to follow hindu religion. Despite of all this, brahmin identity will sustain. Identity will stay strong despite of diverse lifestyles. The idea of identity is an important ingredient for every human being. No one can survive without that. A person moves away from a particular identity only if he/she has a strong inclination for a different identity. It is always either a person belonging to one identity or a different identity and never the case of no identity. Many will say blindly that brahmin identity is dying, but if you observe closely that no single person will say he/she have a strong inclination to move to a different community or there is no one who will say I don't belong to the community. On the contrary, everyone has a strong desire for a coordinated effort for the cause of brahmin identity but they are unable to do it because of survival needs and practical concerns. As long as you are in India you are safe without much consideration for the same because your identity is not disturbed. That's why most of the brahmins take the presence of strong identity for granted and focus only on self growth without any awareness of the same which is totally justified.

The case of US migration.

As you are all aware from my earlier posts that there is no concept of "arranged marriage" among second generation indians in US, mostly dating or live-in relationships, at least they choose their boyfriend or girlfriend who is very unlikely to be a brahmin. As a result the second generation move away from brahmin identity and third generation will not know of their identity at all. The third generation cannot call themselves of 'Indian' identity mainly for the reason that they are not compatible with other indians who are mostly second generation or first generation. But as every human has a need for identity the third generation will assume the identity of 'Blacks' mainly for the reason that they are more american. In reality, 'Blacks' are not really an identity in US. They are a general group who can be termed as people of African descent. But there are millions of groups among themselves and you can not expect a strong attachment but still they assume a superficial identity in US for the sake of survival.

American conservatives (caucasians / whites) have a strong sense of "independent identity in US" without any clear set of common practices. On one side you will find women who bare it all and the other side with places of strict dress codes, they maintain a strong identity with diverse lifestyles. Whereas the people of 'Blacks', which include third generation indians, always maintain a low-profile all their life because of without a strong sense of identity who cannot stand against american conservatives with strong identity.

Forever.
 
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prasad1

Well-known member
Sir,
How is this thread any different than your other thread:


The answers in that thread are fitting replies to your this thread.
So ask the moderator to combine the two threads.
 

cs19844

Member
No sir. This is definitely different. It is completely a different way to look at seemingly similar situation.
 

GNANA SUNYAM

Active member
Dear cs19844,

There was a time when our religion, caste, nationality defined our identity. But times have changed and many things have changed with times. Hence the elements that define, constitute and make up for our identity have also changed. From hindus/muslims/christians and also from indians/british/american/german/french etc we moved over to engineers/doctors/lawyers and from there on to introverts/extroverts/ambiverts/ etc etc. Now identity is an even more complicated matter. There are many who do not want any named or branded identity. Their attitude is 'let me be myself, who I am. Please do not brand me or give me some nomenclature'.
 

GNANA SUNYAM

Active member
Dear cs19844,

those who are in the teens and those who are in their early 20s and also those in late 20s in current times, want to break out of all shells/cocoons which have been binding them. They want to break out of their conditioned/programmed mind/thinking. they want to do what pleases them without harming others. Seems to be a welcome change in mindset and mentality of people.
 

GNANA SUNYAM

Active member
Dear cs19844,

please read jiddu krishnamurti's views on identity. i trust it will be very revealing to you and liberating.
 

cs19844

Member
Dear cs19844,

There was a time when our religion, caste, nationality defined our identity. But times have changed and many things have changed with times. Hence the elements that define, constitute and make up for our identity have also changed. From hindus/muslims/christians and also from indians/british/american/german/french etc we moved over to engineers/doctors/lawyers and from there on to introverts/extroverts/ambiverts/ etc etc. Now identity is an even more complicated matter. There are many who do not want any named or branded identity. Their attitude is 'let me be myself, who I am. Please do not brand me or give me some nomenclature'.
Sir, Everyone will be on himself/herself. There is no question about it. But at the same time everyone belong to some identity and no one will EVER say to I do not belong to any identity even though he is a richest man on earth. This is because one cannot survive without identity. You are not understanding the idea of 'identity'. Please re-read my original post fully. I have given the definition of identity. Everyone will be independent and will not be bounded by any restrictions. There will be no requirement to stick particular ritual or practices, but everyone has a need of belonging to a community and have inherent attachment with their community members. this is not the case with brahmins alone, it is the case with everyone in the world.
 

Brahmanyan

Well-known member
Brahmin is part of Varna Ashrama devised to serve a particular duty in the society. When we do not follow that duty, Caste has no relevance.

I should admit I had woven around me a lot of sectarian and religious restrictions without my knowledge, or understanding mostly by the influence of the society in which I am born and brought up. When I grew up slowly it dawned on me how stupid I am in thinking that I am different from others. By birth all living beings are same. Creator never differentiated the creation as high or low. I delved into scriptures and writings to find an answer as to "the purpose of my birth". I couldn't get a convincing answer.

Then I threw out the blinkers that I had put around my view and came out of the cucoon that I had woven around me in the name of Nation,Religion, Caste, Language, high and low, to see the real purpose of my birth in this world. The purpose is nothing. The whole thing is a "Passing Show", in which I am a pawn. I am no different from any other living being. All things that happen from the moment I am formed in my mother's womb, till my demise is planned by nature, the creator. All that I pass through just happens. As the learnered call, it is illusion . Sages call it
"Maya".

आहार निद्रा भय मैथुनं च सामान्यमेतत् पशुभिर्नराणाम् ।
धर्मो हि तेषामधिको विशेष: धर्मेण हीनाः पशुभिः समानाः ॥

Eating, sleep, fear and Copulation. these habits are common between human beings and animals. It is Dharma ( Here Dharma Represent Knowledge, not different religion / Right conduct) which is important quality of human beings, without which he is same as an animal.

We can lead a life of Good Human-being by "Compassion and love. " All things essential for our living given by Creator are free to be shared. Wealth and knowledge are given to share with all living beings. Otherwise they are of no use.

As the time passes changes will happen. Nothing can stop this. There is no use of lamenting over the past.

It was the Poet "Omar Khayyám" who said.
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.
Regards,
Brahmanyan,
Bangalore.
 
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GNANA SUNYAM

Active member
Sir, Everyone will be on himself/herself. There is no question about it. But at the same time everyone belong to some identity and no one will EVER say to I do not belong to any identity even though he is a richest man on earth. This is because one cannot survive without identity. You are not understanding the idea of 'identity'. Please re-read my original post fully. I have given the definition of identity. Everyone will be independent and will not be bounded by any restrictions. There will be no requirement to stick particular ritual or practices, but everyone has a need of belonging to a community and have inherent attachment with their community members. this is not the case with brahmins alone, it is the case with everyone in the world.
sir,

I don't disagree nor differ with you on your definition of identity. but your definition is obsolete, outdated and no longer holds any relevance. please remember we are now in 21st century. perhaps you were born during the 60s or 70s.

when you say brahmin identitiy, even within brahmins there are numerous divisions, more than 1000 and each have their own unique practises, beliefs, values etc which have changed and are dynamic.

the elements which uniquely identified each division (or community as you refer it) are extinct and do not exist any longer.

individuals in every division among brahmins have mingled with others and have absorbed/incorporated new elements which project as their identity.

those born during 80s or 90s have realized they can no longer be rigid but have to be flexible to survive. they can no longer be stubbornly adamantly hold on to outdated customs/traditions and hence have mingled with the mainstream. this is also the case with every community of yester-century.

on numerous occasions this subject has been discussed in numerous threads under various titles in this forum yet never could a conclusion be arrived at. there were only heated exchanges, parading of tempers and all sort of emotional outbursts, exposing our weaknesses.

change is inevitable and we need to adjust ourselves with change. this does not mean compromise. this is being wise, to be abreast with times. we are in no way similar to our forefathers many centuries ago.

we are no longer living in agraharams. we cannot afford to live isolated any longer.

only in towns in and around trichy you will find some agraharams struggling to survive.

I trust your eyes have been opened a little about identity.
 

cs19844

Member
sir,

I don't disagree nor differ with you on your definition of identity. but your definition is obsolete, outdated and no longer holds any relevance. please remember we are now in 21st century. perhaps you were born during the 60s or 70s.

when you say brahmin identitiy, even within brahmins there are numerous divisions, more than 1000 and each have their own unique practises, beliefs, values etc which have changed and are dynamic.

the elements which uniquely identified each division (or community as you refer it) are extinct and do not exist any longer.

individuals in every division among brahmins have mingled with others and have absorbed/incorporated new elements which project as their identity.

those born during 80s or 90s have realized they can no longer be rigid but have to be flexible to survive. they can no longer be stubbornly adamantly hold on to outdated customs/traditions and hence have mingled with the mainstream. this is also the case with every community of yester-century.

on numerous occasions this subject has been discussed in numerous threads under various titles in this forum yet never could a conclusion be arrived at. there were only heated exchanges, parading of tempers and all sort of emotional outbursts, exposing our weaknesses.

change is inevitable and we need to adjust ourselves with change. this does not mean compromise. this is being wise, to be abreast with times. we are in no way similar to our forefathers many centuries ago.

we are no longer living in agraharams. we cannot afford to live isolated any longer.

only in towns in and around trichy you will find some agraharams struggling to survive.

I trust your eyes have been opened a little about identity.
Sir, my point is no one can live without the sense of identity. It is not possible to survive.
 

prasad1

Well-known member
Sir, my point is no one can live without the sense of identity. It is not possible to survive.
You are not born with an IDENTITY.
You create your identity as you grow up.
Identical twin brothers create their separate IDENTITY.
So you can not be born with "IDENTITY", so it is all created.


American conservatives (Caucasians / whites) have a strong sense of "independent identity in US" without any clear set of common practices.
You see Caucasian/White as monolithic Identity, that is complete ignorance. No two individual has the same identity.

Americans/ Europeans/ Australian, in general, are independent, irrespective of ethnic origin.

Unless you have a self-identity and a little bit of ego, one can not be successful in a material world.
If you are satisfied with being part of the crowd, then you are just that.
If you are good enough to sing solo you should be satisfied with Kumbhal lo da Govinda.

You are talking about arranged marriage among 1st generation Indian Americans, have you lived in Major Cities of India, say Delhi or Mumbai? do you know of love marriages, living together before marriages, or child being born outside of marriages, divorces are pretty common?

I posted in your other thread a similar message.
I am sorry to say that there is a disconnect between your thinking and reality on the ground.

Either educate yourself or you are going to be sorry.
 
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GNANA SUNYAM

Active member
Sir, my point is no one can live without the sense of identity. It is not possible to survive.
you seem to be redefining identity. my comments were in response to your statements about 'brahmin identity'. if you were to refer to identity in general, then every individual indeed has his/her own character traits, personality traits, beliefs, disbeliefs, likes and dislikes, intelligent quotient and emotional quotient etc etc which uniquely identify that individual.

there were times when people belonging to named communities had common character traits, attitudes, perceptions which uniquely identified them as belonging to that community. this again was mechanically imposed on them and their minds programmed and conditioned to conduct/act/behave in a particular way influenced by fellow members of their community. but times and circumstances have had impact on them and common traits which identified/projected individuals as belonging to any named community disappeared. identities based on communities have disappeared. even communities of yester-centuries are gradually disappearing. we are moving towards global union. inter-religious, inter-caste, inter-community marriages have become common. in a few decades named communities of present times will become things of the past.

for instance you cannot conclude a vegetarian as brahmin nor vice versa. in a few years from now many would not know to which named community they or their forefathers belonged. neither you nor I can do anything to counter this change, a better change for that matter.
 

cs19844

Member
Let me be very clear, no one in US live an identity-less life. Especially American Conservative are with strong sense of identity. Period.
 
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prasad1

Well-known member
Let me be very clear, no one in US live an identity-less life. Especially American Conservative are with strong sense of identity. Period.
I say period, that statement should have some substance that is indisputable.

Does Laura Ingram a staunch American conservative have the same identity as Rush Limbaugh another staunch conservative? Not at all.
 

Brahmanyan

Well-known member
I say period, that statement should have some substance that is indisputable.

Does Laura Ingram a staunch American conservative have the same identity as Rush Limbaugh another staunch conservative? Not at all.
Dear Sri Prasad,
In a lighter vein I find the entire discussion seems to have turned for US based Tamil Brahmins. What you have written is "Chinese " for me.
Hope to read the translation to understand the same.
Regards,
Brahmanyan
Bangalore.
 

zebra16

Well-known member
I do not know the purpose of this post, but I find it to have a lot of contradictions. Many points are mere
affirmations without any evidence.

The case of Brahmin Identity



Identity is a survival thing for any human being, no one in this world live without an identity. I repeat no one really leads an identity-less life ANYWHERE in the world.
Mere assertion. There are a set of people known as "parivraajakas" or the wandering monks or ascetics or the "baudha bikshus" who make it a point to lose their identity. They too live till their full life without seeking any "identification".

The sense of brahmin identity is very strong even today and it will stay strong forever.
Nothing in this world stays "for ever". The only thing that is constant is continuous change.

You must have been misled from the fact that many don't even remember Gayathri Japam, and from some of the cases of brahmin men who are regular smokers/drinkers and brahmin women who are also regular drinkers in India. It is not required for everyone to do sandhyavandhanam everyday and in fact it is not even necessary to follow hindu religion.
You should do a bit of Social Anthropology studies and Cultural Anthropology studies before asserting your views and opinions as facts.

First talking about gayatri japam: The mantra-dhrastA of "gayatri" is Sage vishwAmitra who himself was a rajarishi with kshyatriya origins and there is nothing unique in the gayatri japam, although brahmins cling on to it. The basic 24 syllabled gayatri mantrA is found in the Rg Veda, though the Pranavam and vyahruti like "Om bhUh, Om bhyvaH" etc. are found in yajurveda which was cognized or "composed" at least a good 500 years after the basic gayatri japam came into existence. The mere fact that pranavam and vyahruti are incorporated in gayatri japam as we know it today (like doing 10 prAnayams before starting gayatri japam) means these are modifications.

This is more than adequate to realize that life styles of even brahmins do get modified depending upon the circumstances.

Now about "smoking and drinking". There is NO ban on smoking, at least in the original scriptures themselves. You do not find any reference to smoking in the vedas, itihAsAs (rAmAyaNam, mahABharatam) or in the purANams. It was quite unknown.

Drinking is more associated with social evils more than with brahminism. It was enjoined upon the brahmin yajmAnans, the rithwiks, the sAman singing udgitrs and the vedA chanting yajushs to partake sOmapAnam during and after completion of vedic sacrifices. References are aplenty both in the Sruthis and smruthis. In fact even devAs are classified as "sOmapAs and asOmapAs" in the vedAs. The very fact that moon is referred to as "sOmA" from where Lord Indra drank "sOmA" to his heart content and that moon has to be filled in periodically with sOmarasam at the beginning of every new moon day should tell you something.

Not content with just sOmarasam, in due course they also discovered the fermentation process of fermenting liquor from barley and it came to be called "surApAnam". This surApAnam consumption had to have become such a menace that Manu while composing Manusmriti brought in a total ban on surA consumption.

Despite of all this, brahmin identity will sustain. Identity will stay strong despite of diverse lifestyles. [/quote}

The issue before the current day brahmins is whether it is worthwhile to retain this identity so that they do not become square pegs in the round hole. The brahmin identity (which is mostly cultural, rather than social as you make it out to be) has long been overtaken by other identities like ethnic identity, lingua identity, class identity, national identity. For example, the Tamil brahmins have more in common with other tamilians (whether brahmins or not) than with Bengali brahmin or with a UP brahmin.

The idea of identity is an important ingredient for every human being. No one can survive without that.
It is not in the way you think. The identity is more established how the other "person" or entity as you view it. I may like to be identified as a white caucasian as much as I want, but it is my counterpart white who confirms my identity. I may try my level best to be recognized as a white caucasian by copying and internalizing all his habits and ways of life including the region specific slangs, but a white caucasian will refuse to treat me as belonging to his community because of the color of my skin.

A person moves away from a particular identity only if he/she has a strong inclination for a different identity.
This argument is totally devoid of any merit. Migration has always happened due to economic consideration and the identity is felt only when you are in company of others belonging to a different identity.

Many will say blindly that brahmin identity is dying, but if you observe closely that no single person will say he/she have a strong inclination to move to a different community or there is no one who will say I don't belong to the community.
If you closely analyze, you will find that this statement is totally vague. To identity oneself as a "brahmin", you must define what does the term "brahmin" mean. Does it mean a person in search of brahmin? (your arguments do not EVEN touch this aspect), does it mean one born to brahmin parents?; does it mean who does the rituals like gayatri japam, sandhyA vandanam etc. as enjoined in our code of life? Does it mean getting enlightened gradually (as told by Lord Krishna in Gita like "janmAt jAyate ShudraH etc). You wont get a single person to totally agree with you to the definition in this very small community of brahmins who subscribe to this site.
 

prasad1

Well-known member
Dear Sri Prasad,
In a lighter vein I find the entire discussion seems to have turned for US based Tamil Brahmins. What you have written is "Chinese " for me.
Hope to read the translation to understand the same.
Regards,
Brahmanyan
Bangalore.
I am sorry, it was in reference to the previous post talking about American Conservatism.

Laura Anne Ingraham is an American conservative television and radio talk show host. Since 2001, she has hosted the nationally syndicated radio show The Laura Ingraham Show, is the editor-in-chief of LifeZette, and beginning in October 2017, has been the host of The Ingraham Angle on Fox News Channel. Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laura_Ingraham

Rush Hudson Limbaugh III is an American radio talk show host and conservative political commentator. He resides in Palm Beach, Florida, where he broadcasts The Rush Limbaugh Show. Wikipedia
They are unofficial Trump advisors, Trump's base listens to them, so they are the brand ambassadors of Trump conservatism.
 

a-TB

Well-known member
I do not know the purpose of this post, but I find it to have a lot of contradictions. Many points are mere
affirmations without any evidence.



Mere assertion. There are a set of people known as "parivraajakas" or the wandering monks or ascetics or the "baudha bikshus" who make it a point to lose their identity. They too live till their full life without seeking any "identification".



Nothing in this world stays "for ever". The only thing that is constant is continuous change.



You should do a bit of Social Anthropology studies and Cultural Anthropology studies before asserting your views and opinions as facts.

First talking about gayatri japam: The mantra-dhrastA of "gayatri" is Sage vishwAmitra who himself was a rajarishi with kshyatriya origins and there is nothing unique in the gayatri japam, although brahmins cling on to it. The basic 24 syllabled gayatri mantrA is found in the Rg Veda, though the Pranavam and vyahruti like "Om bhUh, Om bhyvaH" etc. are found in yajurveda which was cognized or "composed" at least a good 500 years after the basic gayatri japam came into existence. The mere fact that pranavam and vyahruti are incorporated in gayatri japam as we know it today (like doing 10 prAnayams before starting gayatri japam) means these are modifications.

This is more than adequate to realize that life styles of even brahmins do get modified depending upon the circumstances.

Now about "smoking and drinking". There is NO ban on smoking, at least in the original scriptures themselves. You do not find any reference to smoking in the vedas, itihAsAs (rAmAyaNam, mahABharatam) or in the purANams. It was quite unknown.

Drinking is more associated with social evils more than with brahminism. It was enjoined upon the brahmin yajmAnans, the rithwiks, the sAman singing udgitrs and the vedA chanting yajushs to partake sOmapAnam during and after completion of vedic sacrifices. References are aplenty both in the Sruthis and smruthis. In fact even devAs are classified as "sOmapAs and asOmapAs" in the vedAs. The very fact that moon is referred to as "sOmA" from where Lord Indra drank "sOmA" to his heart content and that moon has to be filled in periodically with sOmarasam at the beginning of every new moon day should tell you something.

Not content with just sOmarasam, in due course they also discovered the fermentation process of fermenting liquor from barley and it came to be called "surApAnam". This surApAnam consumption had to have become such a menace that Manu while composing Manusmriti brought in a total ban on surA consumption.
Though I am not sure regarding the purpose of this thread and Post 1, I see some contradictions in your response also.

Hope you do not mind my sharing them and you are welcome to respond if you see issues in my reasons.

One is that so called "parivraajakas" also carry an identity of those trying to shed identities. They may preach and try to be without identity but that effort and thinking itself is their identity. So to say a person does not have an identity cannot be proven because if they try to defend and prove that itself becomes an identity for them. So your objections cannot stand,

Regarding Gayatri Japam etc I am sure you are eminently qualified in pronunciation and memorization etc having learnt Vedas in formal setting (I think you shared this once a long time ago). But memorization is not really knowledge in my view. To know the answer one has to study in a different setting. Seeing the Sun as God and say "Please activate my intellect" is not a big thing and I agree with you. But since Gayatri Mantram has been talked about in very high esteem by many scholars of Vedanta I think there must be more to it than the literal meaning. I heard even Shankara wrote commentaries on it. So without factual basis to say Gayatri Japam is not unique is just a opinion of a layman. It is the same critique you offered to the thread starter.

Some of the responses to the thread are not worth commenting on
 

a-TB

Well-known member
Though I am not sure regarding the purpose of this thread and Post 1, I see some contradictions in your response also.

Hope you do not mind my sharing them and you are welcome to respond if you see issues in my reasons.

One is that so called "parivraajakas" also carry an identity of those trying to shed identities. They may preach and try to be without identity but that effort and thinking itself is their identity. So to say a person does not have an identity cannot be proven because if they try to defend and prove that itself becomes an identity for them. So your objections cannot stand,

Regarding Gayatri Japam etc I am sure you are eminently qualified in pronunciation and memorization etc having learnt Vedas in formal setting (I think you shared this once a long time ago). But memorization is not really knowledge in my view. To know the answer one has to study in a different setting. Seeing the Sun as God and say "Please activate my intellect" is not a big thing and I agree with you. But since Gayatri Mantram has been talked about in very high esteem by many scholars of Vedanta I think there must be more to it than the literal meaning. I heard even Shankara wrote commentaries on it. So without factual basis to say Gayatri Japam is not unique is just a opinion of a layman. It is the same critique you offered to the thread starter.

Some of the responses to the thread are not worth commenting on
One more point in Mr Zebras's post I wanted to comment on or rather add to the above points.

There is a big difference between modification and addition. If there is a rule in a household that one has to do Gaytri Japam in the morning only after taking a shower, that is not a modification of the Japam itself. Similarly if the first line was not initially part of the original Gayatri mantram, addition of it does not change or modify the Gayatri mantra itself since the add on is in line with the overall theme. So the conclusion that Gayatri Mantra was modified over the ages is not logical
 
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KRN

Active member
For various situations there are various prayogas of the Gayatri and other Veda mantras, with some modifications. For example there is a prayoga mentioned in the Upanishads in which in which the GM and the Madhu mantra (Madhu vata..) are interspersed. Then there is the Bala-Atibala mantra which is a mix of the GM and certain other formulae. There are other prayoga like this. It is not related to creating an identity. Similarly in our nitya karmas we have this prayoga of including the Vyahritis also. The Upanishads state that by reciting Bhuh Swaha in a ritual, all evils associated with reciting the RIG vedic mantras incorrectly, are removed. Similarly, Bhuvah for Yajus and Suvah for Sama mantras. So i think, these Vyahritis are used with GM because they will have a purifying effect on our recital.

GM is a magnificent mantra. I have experienced wonderful changes in my life.
 

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