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The sub sects in brahmins divide the communityh

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The brahmin community is already under attack not only from other religions but from Hindus too. more so by athest.

In this back ground should we continue to divide our seleves frm within by subscribing to the views of dividsionson of Brahmins as Vadama.Brahacharanam,ashtasasthram, and what not. Even among vadamal the regional sub sect such as Thanjavoure vadama or other Vadama looms large.

does it do good for the unification of community.

why can't we subscribe to a view A Brahmin is a Brahmin who ever he may be and wherever he may be be to whtever sect he may belong to

Right on Priabhakaran!

Ask those from Vadama.Brahacharanam,ashtasasthram, etc. and even Iyengar and Iyer and Madhwas the purpose of such division.

Fools are those who insist on the needless division but lose their children to other castes and other religions.

I say: "Keep the gothram in tact but forget the subsect!"

would it not be better that we be more inclusive? can we not consider that all of us are hindus.

i think the ideal must be, that since we pray together, we come together.

thank you.

would it not be better that we be more inclusive? can we not consider that all of us are hindus.

i think the ideal must be, that since we pray together, we come together.
Looks good to talk (this is what we call secularism!) but defeats the purpose of this blog!

1. There are natural divisions and there are artificial divisions. Varnas are natural divisions and we have scriptures of the very Hindu you extoll telling you and me that they are divine divisions. How can you be comfortable being Hindu when you decry and ignore in spite of all the explanations given in this very blog?

2. If it is any consolation to you the varnas are universal and they exist among men in spite of their profession to alien religions in all the countries. By sticking to the varnas you are not doing anything that other religionists are not doing!

3. Therefore Such ignorance about varnas leads to adharmic practices of paapa karma (doesn't matter which religion one would profess) and willful flouting of varna dharma is asuric and will attract divine wrath. Practicing varna dharma is 'being who you are' and refusing to be 'different from who you are'. The codes are just guides but knowing who one is natural to oneself without the need for the guidance from the code. Inculcating this necessity to be 'himself/herself' to the children is our bounden duty.

You have to do a lot of reconciliation with your own religion, my dear friend, or you can create your own version of Hinduism but before you do so pl. remember to read (3) above.

sorry saab,

i have to heed my conscience in this one.

i think there are sages in hinduism who have advocated inclusivity - swami vivekananda for one, comes immediately to my mind.

thank you.
Dear Sri Kunjuppu Ji,

You have more than to just depend on your conscience on this one. Our scriptures have plenty of evidences to support what you say, in spite of what a limited number of folks say about the Varna Dharma.

First and foremost, Varna Dharma came about for the ordering of the then society, and this fact is agreed by everyone. The reference to the four Varnas in Purusha Suktham in Rg Veda only cites the four Varnas as emanating from Him. Nothing more, nothing less.

In fact there are other Rg Veda stanzas that clearly shows that at the time of Rg Veda, Varnas and intermarriages between Varnas were going on.

Several Upanishads (I can cite them here if you want) talk about Varnas being non birth oriented. In fact both Ramanuja and Madhvacarya believed that Varna was not by birth. Sri Madhvacarya believed that one is born in to a Jathi and not to a Varna and Varna is a ‘quality’ in born with each person’s internal make up. There are other Hindu luminaries (Swami Vivekanada, Paramahamsa Yoganada, Mirabai among others) who held the view that if Varna system exists, it does so broadly in all humanity and describes the in born qualities/proclivities and nothing more.

A few luminaries (recently Maha Periaval of the Kanchi Matham) who have held the view that Varnas are by birth. And they cite mainly the Bhagavad Gita to substantiate there beliefs. (The same Gita lines are interpreted differently by those who are holding the opposite view).

If one reads Maha Periaval’s ‘Hindu Dharma’, one understands why Maha Periaval holds the view that Varna is by birth. He sees it as the most ‘safe’ way to preserve our Vedas and traditions. (He is by the way my family Guru and I agree with His views).

But I will not state that that is the SOLE valid view of what our scriptures say. If I do, then I negate all other opposite views from other Hindu luminaries. So, to insist that our scriptures provide only one non arguable answer is patently false and untrue, as you can see.

There is a great difference between the two views. If you accept the Varna classifications by ‘quality’ then it makes sense that the modern society can function much better with that view as a basis for natural meritocracy. If you do not accept that view, then you have no choice but to say that a day will come to go back to the original Varna by birth system (which degenerated at the advent of technology and secular education) and not acknowledge the fact that today’s life is also ordained by Him.

So, in my view it is much harder to unite as Brahmins under the three Sambradhayams than as Hindus. The same people who talk about unity will try to force their cosmological views on others!

To blame everything on ‘secularism’ is laughable. To blame other religions is laughable. By the way, the only difference between the so called Abrahamic religions and Dvaitham is in the concept of reincarnation. In almost every other broad concepts such as Bhakthi, God being separate from Jiva, the Universe being not illusionary, going to heaven and hell, they are the same. As I have said, Hinduism contains all concepts known to mankind.
One final point. Secularism is the only concept valid for a democracy under which several minorities coexist with a majority. There are no other valid ruling system that would be governed by a system rather than by the ‘goodness’ of the ruler.

I could not stand by and let misconceptions about our religion thrown up as though they are the only truths contained in our religion.

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sorry saab,

i have to heed my conscience in this one.

i think there are sages in hinduism who have advocated inclusivity - swami vivekananda for one, comes immediately to my mind.

thank you.
Hey, don't feel sorry! You have made a conscious choice. I have already told you what it means.

What you sow, so you reap!
Dear Kunjuppu,

A religion is scripture driven. Changing it or interpreting as one sees fit is a matter of convenience. Such convenience is desire driven. The so called 'conscience' isn't far removed from this core desire (sort of negative samskaara) that makes someone to be prone to (doing) something.

Relying on others is only a matter of convenience.

A man makes a choice whether such convenience is available or not. Such is the drive of the base desire that manifests as the convenience of conscience.

It results in action (karma)!

A religion is scripture driven. Changing it or interpreting as one sees fit is a matter of convenience. Such convenience is desire driven. The so called 'conscience' isn't far removed from this core desire (sort of negative samskaara) that makes someone to be prone to (doing) something.
Relying on others is only a matter of convenience.

A man makes a choice whether such convenience is available or not. Such is the drive of the base desire that manifests as the convenience of conscience.

It results in action (karma)!

Interpretation as a matter of convenience serves both, traditionalists and secularists. Wud be interesting to see why such a convenience exists - perhaps to make things convenient for all.

Varna by birth wud have applied where there was no mixing of communities. But we see that central asian hordes mixed up with asian hordes at the advent of kali-yuga. Brahmanical cultures and rishis themselves seem very asian in origin atleast in terms of regions where they lived as vipras in swat-pirak and below in present day india. However, the people constituting various communities in the present times seem to have come about a vibrant integration of ancient cultures. A puritanical attitude might be a mis-placed one.

looks like people have always been moving and taking up new roles, completely giving up and forgetting old ones. And therefore am not sure that desires that manifest as convenience of conscience is by birth. Neither do i feel that conscience can serve anything as a 'convenience'.

And certainly i do not think a religion needs to be scripture driven. What is the heart for..listening to one’s heart and going by it may result in more happiness than scholarship.

Was told that a heartfelt desire and love for Rama nama while bringing it upon one’s lips or told in one’s mind is more than sufficient to safely row across this ocean of samsara moving in the direction of the present tide rather than battle it. And i believe that.
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.... Just listening to the heart, Shivan everyday seems to solve unpleasantness and therefore am sure my religion is my lifestyle, my love of sanatan. (btw, solving stuff is not what most ppl are into, uncertainity is the only certain thing and is therefore not addressed to).

...Was told that a heartfelt desire and love for Rama nama while bringing it upon one’s lips or told in one’s mind is more than sufficient to safely row across this ocean of samsara moving in the direction of the present tide rather than battle it. And i beleive that.


this is very close to my way of thinking. you have brought out very well, what i have to say. except for me it is Shiva, whose name is on my lips at frequent times. :)

thank you.

i have tried the strictures. it is not for me. i am more a low level peace loving leave-it-to-myself sort of person.

i have neither the desire nor the want to know further.

happy hindu has paraphrased my practices and attitudes very well.

thank you for your concern.
A brilliant lecture on Secularism

Dear Sri Kunjuppu Ji,

Even though not directly connected to the thread's topic, this speech brilliantly outlines the many issues surrounding Secularism in India. This comes very close to my own way of thinking.

You should not miss the responses (3 of them) by a same person at the end of the article. It shows the real problems we are facing in defining this concept!


Sri Prabhakaran,

I agree with you that the division among Brahmins are artificial and should be given up. I also believe such messy jaathaka porutham and financial dealings should be considered criminal interference in the wedlock between willing adults.

I am sure girls like being courted but are afraid of admonitions from parents. The parents are scared to death that some boy even if it be a Brahmin would impregnate their daughter and vanish or deny. A daughter who hides things from her parents is a stupid loser. Any parent who don't care for the daughter is a criminal. I tell you, raising girls and getting them married is not easy.

Now couple of men in this thread are advocating cross marriages between Brahmins and NBs of the entire spectrum. I wonder if their next step would be to advocate abandonment of even the marriage within Hindu fold for they are saying that all religions are equal.

These idealists are a happy bunch in some other part of the planet. If you are a Brahmin and are proud of being so, take the advise from a middle-aged Maami: "Talks are cheap. Don't be led astray! Just carry on confining your problems to solveable limits. Have ambitions that are realizable. And above all know that marriage is to eventually raise children with values and traditions that you are proud of."

Good luck!
thank you krs. i will read the article.

i already have a feeling, that after having skimmed through it, it will go a long way with my whip :)

thanks again.

thank you for your postings. i have read them all, and in this forum, under the aegis of a decorum, we can all exchange views.

we can address each other directly. i respect you. your views. and above all, your regard for traditions as perceived by you. these are what that makes you what you are. i have no problem with that.

i wish you had not referred to other commenters on this post as couple of men. we are not couple of men. we are just as human, and personally, have gone through the equivalent of the whole nine yards of a brahmin male's ritualistic obligations (twice at that too - one for my maternal grandparents and one for my dear own).

not one iota of rituals was spared. the pithurs should be happy. so do all my extended relatives, whose death is ignored, an act of shame or forgotten, every one of them, and all their pets.

kamakshi, it behooves beyond the extent of my sense of decency to seek out your status in life. but, in my experience of close to 58 years, i find, that the strongest supporters of status quo, are those that have everything working good in their life. why is the need to be different? - they ask!

God has been kind to me. i have been fortunate, thank God, for many things in my life. i do not desire more. but, and the big BUT, i see so many of my friends, acquaitances, relatives, coming up with low cards in the life on earth that is the poker game. there is no rhyme or reason.

i am unable to callously dismiss it as their fate. or as the effect of the sins committed in the previous life.

i cannot accept the concept of a tamil brahmin in the narrow sense of preserving something that is endangered. to me, unless you grow, you cannot survive. and you cannot grow by shrinking.

i feel, that we need to open our minds, to welcoming communities beyond our narrow definitions and help them embrace the best of our traditions. the best of our culture. the best of our food. and above all, the best of our thoughts.

kamakshi, re the previous paragraph, with deep regrets, i would disagree with you, based on your postings, on almost all counts.

anger, fear, outrage, i think are better overcome, with confidence, open mind and above all, to welcome the concept of a universal Hinduism.

in a scientific context, what you have posted, about moving away from scrutiny of the jaaghagam / subsects / language et al, is akin, to an extension, that if these do not matter, nothing else matters.

you cannot compromise on your own terms, and take a moral turpitude on it. either you go to the vedas, and live by it. or you don't. no middle way to suit your current sense of morality. if that be so, the rest of us, are just a few years ahead of you.

on the other hand, while revelling in your own standards, you might just look at some of us, who have gone beyond, and wonder, if that would be the mirror to the future! i don't intend to hurt your feelings. but i am obliged, not only on my behalf, but on many here, to pen these words.

hope this explains.

thank you again.
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There isn't anything I have to say to you so I didn't address you. If you feel sensitive about what I said, rest assured there is no disrespect meant.

You have not written anything new in your last post except to say you don't agree with me. Good for you and I have no problem.

Jaathakaporutham and subsects are not Vedic. Padhavi poorva punyaanaam. Whose spouse you are is a padhavi. There are other padhavis too for each all lumped up as padhavi. Some find dhukkam only in it and some find sukham and some find misram. Therefore this padhavi for each one is unique and this is related to poorva punya. If you disagree with this I have no problem.

If you want to know, my philosophy is what is destined to happen will happen but it does not forbid anyone from doing what he/she wants. The result will always be the same. The result in my opinion is in terms of sukham and dhukkam that each person know only for himself/herself and not the physical result as can be measured by everyone.

I remember that there is a verse in Naaladiyar but I can't remember the exact words. It says that a prince who misses a pillow in his pallanquin and a pauper who misses salt in his gruel suffer the same misery! Dridhraashtra was an emperor but was blind and lost his hundred sons in war and had to beg for money from Yudhishtira for the funeral of his sons. Imagine the misery he went through and compare it to a begger and his healthy sons happily eating the mixed left overs they had begged from others. You will realize that happiness is not wealth but contentment. You may sympathize with the begger but you may not know that he is happy.

Sometimes I get involved in discourses with others and sometimes I refrain. So I may or may not continue this discussion.
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Dear Sri Kunjuppu Ji,

I don't see anyone in this Forum encouraging our youth to go and marry people from different castes.

We all agree that our CULTURE is unique (even as the subsets of TB community) and it really takes singular acts to even consider marriages between the various sects of TB community. I once mentioned in this Forum that my family held the view that any alliances from Palghat and Tirunelveli coming forth for my sister needed to be classified as not very suitable - we are from the Tanjore district. And this among the Vadamas! And, if I remember, Sri Hari Ji once looked for a Telugu Brahmin boy for his sister because his father desired so.

Imagine the distance we have to cover as a community to allow inter marriage within the broad category of TBs. Mind you, we are not even talking about anything outside of our TB community.

Sow Kamakshi Ji, who apparently belongs to my own Vadama community has made statements to Sro Silverfox Ji, on the account that he is an Iyengar. Her statements about Iyengars are recorded here. So, my question is this: How with a world view that is so perceived to be different from a Smartha viewpoint, one would welcome such inter-marriages with other 'Brahmin' sects?

How can one accept the fact that all Brahmin sects are the same, when one espouses a particular theory of Varna Dharma and Karma, when the founders of all three major sects did so with huge differences in their philosophies?

Who accomodates whom?

This is the fundamental issue that these Fundamentalist folks seem to ignore when they talk about Brahmin Unity (forget about other Brahminical sects who eat Fish and Meat - that is a different story altogether).

So, it takes all the more effort for our children to marry totally outside the community. With so much divide within the sects of our TB community itself, how can we blame a fraction of our children who are disaffected for whatever reason to look outside?

The issue then is how do we make sure that we hear those children and support them. And understand why they made their choices the way they did. No condemnation is necessary. If we condemn, then we are the losers as the community. Why our sparrow is not willing to live with our own, but has to look outside? We need to understand this first.

By the way, 'values' are Universal. Sow. Kamakshi Ji implies that one can only impute 'values' if one follows tradition. This is not so. There are Universal values that are God given. They are true to the values of human culture, as our Vedas taught us. Values that come out of a degeneration of a culture that can not adopt to changing time are not real values.

thank you kamakshi.

i agree with you 100% re contentment is the key to life, and to me as important as avoidance of tension. tension kills.

i think the purpose of my query to you, was that i perceived a dichotomy in your posting to prabharan.

i am especially thrilled at your first para.

not sure what re 'advocating abandonment of marriage within hindu fold'.
even in india, we are living in a multi ethnic society - within or outside of hindu fold.

not sure how it is in india today, re families or parents, talking to their children about the possibility of a love marriage. in which case, to give them some broad parameters to chose from, and explain why.

the concept of love marriage appears to be getting popular. it is best, i think, as parents, we manage it and provide our children with the wherewithals to select a compatible partner.

i think, after the first few instances, when the heart is the leader, the mind or common sense starts to prevail. this is when our values should kick in. i believe that no matter, who the person is, as long as we emphasize on our values, we will have a good porutham.

either we welcome the new person to our fold, and familiarize them to our best practices. or. shunning this person, only drives our child to another fold. our attitude makes such a difference. we as brahmins, if we lay the welcome mat, have a built in goodwill, which will only enhance our stature in the eyes of the family and community of the other.

i think, that the concept, that their son/daughter, has been accepted, and is now an integral part of a brahmin family, would gratify them. this is the only remnant of the regard of yore, that we used to command. i think anyway.

going against the tide, i think, and refusing to acknowledge reality, is working against our community, and hence the resultant handwringing and angst. the net result is notes like prabhakaran's, whom i imagine to be a youngster, in search of a partner. but his parameters for selection, might not find enough hits.

hence, comes the relaxation of rules, as you mentioned, .. ie ignore the subcastes. and i go further, ignore castes. that is all.

kamakshi, i think we are all together in facing these issues. where i live (canada) my challenges are tad higher. i am never sure, if i as a parent, ever do the right thing. but atleast, it must be something, that is seen as fair, from my children's viewpoint.

i enjoy your postings, and wish you would continue to provide us with your perspectives.

thank you.

i do not how long the concept of subcastes will last.

i come from a palghat vadama with roots in malabar myself. from both my parents' side. i remember the identity to this group very strong in my mother.

we had an iyengar neighbour, whose neice, married an iyer out of lovvu, in the early 60s. my mother was so upset, and to my query, her wonderment mattered to the level, of how this girl would know how to tie the 18 yards the iyer style, at weddings and thevasams.

i grew up in a mixed neighbourhood, with christians and non brahmins. i had only good experience growing up there. my elder brother like mentor was a hindu nadar. so, i guess, my attitude is tempered by my childhood.

much of what i read re mixing of castes etc. i am familiar with in my own family. what i have found, that with each aberration from the norm, it only makes it easier for the next one. till finally, it becomes a non issue.

one issue always comes to the fore is the matter of food. i think this is the easiest to resolve. cooking can be learnt. that too easily, these days.
i speak from experience, ie not knowing how to boil water stage, to making a half decent sambhar/poriyal/pickle myself.

thayir saadham is my comfort food. if the partner has some other preference, so be it. i do not have to partake it, if i wish.

i think the key is the amount of accommodation that we are willing to give (or take). it is easier in the west. in india, i am not so sure. india is changing, but i still see the silliness in conversions and forceful attendance to the spouse's faith, and the children's faith, etc being petty, and involves one partner denying his/her complete heritage.

i would have problem with that myself. if that be the situation, i would rather assert my faith, and insist that the resultant union, becomes a hindu brahmin household.

radical, you think?

thank you krs.

you bring a happy (no pun) refreshing view to these topics.

good to have you around. may you and your tribe increase hundredfold!!

thank you.
kamakshi, i think we are all together in facing these issues.

Sorry, I am not with you. You want intercaste and inter-religious marriage. I don't. So just talk to your friends (strangely but truly mirror image of yourself! - just a perception but no insinuation) and leave me alone.
one clarification i missed kamakshi, re demarcation - we are in it together, in as much that we face the same perceived issues re intercaste/religion marriage, and coming from a common background of iyers.

how we resolve it, is based on our own level of comfort and convictions, and we differ here. i respect your views, which is probably similar to those held by a significant number of my own relatives.

off hand what comes to my mind are such expectations from parents, cause immense tensions within the family, with the invevitable body/heartaches and decline of health.

one female relative had a nervous breakdown and is permanently under care, one male relative had a heart attack, another one prior to the night of the wedding, beat her breasts and created such a scene and is in constant dose of valium since then. and many more like this.

i found that the rigidity of approach, to a situation, where we have little control, creates havoc to ourselves and our loved ones.

as a father of three, i want to learn how to manage the flow of tides, as i do not want to kill myself over my children's actions. there are no guarantees that what they do is dependent on their upbringing. life is so full of surprises!!

thank you for your consideration.
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Dear Sri HH Ji,

My own view on this is slightly different from yours. There are definitely orthodox and conservative families that probably predominate in our culture, be it TB or NB. I have seen some NBs, who are probably more orthdox than the TBs, in some respects.

Children who have grown up in those households, as a general rule tend to have orthodox and conservative values themselves. And for them, I don't see any issue with still being married the old fashioned arranged way. When we talk about the girls who look around outside of their community in India (as the boys) we are talking, what is still a minority. And, this group includes a growing number of children with liberal attitudes because of their upbringing (consciously or otherwise) and so I would think that only a minority amongst such a minority are the children who were brought up in orthodox/conservative households.

But regardless, the overall problem of a portion of our children marrying outside of their clan will only increase over time. We are now sending our children to work side by side with the opposite sex at odd hours of the day and that too during the time of life when harmones do their mischief, when such an admixture is bound to be volatile. The money one earns at work (unlike college) and the perceived freedom it brings also work as a catalyst to stamp out the feeble thought process of restraint.

This is why, blaming our children or the parents lead to nowhere. If one thinks that marrying someone regardless of their caste or creed is okay, then the current situation is fine. But for a large number of families who are caught up in the emotional turmoil, like the examples that Sri Kunjuppu Ji gives about his relatives, then these type of families need to be given proper modern tools to stem the 'tide' as they perceive it to be.

This is why I have suggested some time ago that our children should be allowed to mingle under supervision from teenage years on social occassions. We can very easily construct Youth Centers for this purpose. The jewish community in America which faced the similar issue some time ago have done similar things to make sure that the marriages remain within their clan.

Just my two cents.

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