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Who are we?

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KRS

Well-known member
Dear fellow 'Brahmins',

I have been reading the threads here for a while and responding to some postings along the way. But as I read more of them, more I realize that we, as a community are in a flux. There are the pragmatists, there are the orthodox and then there are the extremists amongst us.

Recently in a thread, both Sri Ramki Ji and Sri Silverfox Ji have defined a 'Brahmana':

"The acid test for being a Brahmin or not in today's scenario does not lie in what you eat; but what you do to help your fellow community members."

This got me thinking. Who is a Brahmin in today's context? Why do they hate us Brahmins (at least in TN for sure) when our only sin is to be born in a brahmin family? Is Varna system a noble system? Was it mandated by our scriptures? What about the Shastras that prescribe a certain way of doing things? What about the 'Guna' theory, where our scriptures say that everything in the physical world is made up of 3 Gunas. Do the scriptures then say what guna applies to each Varna? If so, then, does previous Karma determine which Varna one is born into? So, then, one's entire nature and behaviour is controlled by the fruits of one's Karma? What is Karma anyway?

Can we act on our so called 'conscience'? Or do we need to follow 'Dharma' and submit to the dictates of the Varna system, where in certain societal rules were prescribed? Do the Vedas, Scriptures and the Shastras take precedence over our modern conscience in terms of how we live and view others in the society?

Vivekananda and Gandhi said things that were completely opposite to some of our Gurus' utterences. Shankara was not followed by ALL. How do we resolve the seeming contradictions between the philosophies enunciated by our walking Saints? Is there a cogent explanation?

Given all this, Who Are We, as People Today?

Folks, these are MY QUESTIONS. I think I know some of the answers. And I would like to discuss the above in this thread, if you all think that this is an important topic. I have lived in USA for the past 37 years (like Sri Silverfox Ji), and I ave an abiding attachment to my birth country and my community I am aTamil Brahmin, (Kaushika Gothra, Vadama), and when I say 'my community' it is all of India, with some special affection towards the Tamilians!

So, if you think that I can add some value here, please let me know - we will discuss all the above topics. But if the majority of you feel that this is not interesting, then I have no problem in discontinuing this thread.

Please let me know either way.

Pranams,
KRS
 

murali

Member
Dear sir,
i am a half baked person who is not competent to preach high funda sermons.In our faith,anushtana is much more important than high sounding philosophies.

What is anushtanam?Here again my intellect(atma?)cautions me not to preach.I who am not punctilious in my sandhyavandanam etc.

Let me quote a great jivan muktha,SRI SRI ABHINAVA VIDYATHEERTHA MAHASVAMINAH of SRINGERI SHARADA PEETAM.1)"In the modern world for a brahmana to maintain his brahmanyam it is enough to do pratah snanah and Sandhyavandanam.(properly starting with achamaniyam,pranayamam,prokshanam,maarjanam,argyam,Gayatri japam,upastham,dig vandanam,saranaagathi to Lord Krishna,ending with Adhyano Deva savithah.)He should also try to learn Sri Rudram,Chamakam(this is specifically for smaarthas),Purusha Sooktam,Sri Sooktam,Vishnu Sahasranamam,Nama Japam.
Sandhyavandanam is Bhakti,karma rolled into one,with meditation on the Supreme and Its(HIS) Blessings as its fruit.It results in bodily purity and chitta shuddi.

2)We should not hurt the feelings of others,while being orthodox ourselves.
nor should we practice untouchability etc.

3)we should also practice atma gunas like compassion,truth.

Those who are interested in knowing about Acharyal's upadesham (Which is an authentic voice of sankara Bhagavadpada for the present day)can read the book "Exalting Elucidations" published by Sri Vidyatheertha Foundation (TEL:044-22447451).Copies are available at Bhavan's Pusthak Bharathi,7,Sannadhi St,Mylapore-600004.

There are many devotees of acharyal who do sandhyavandanam in the U.S.
Someone known to me,who is in california gets up at 5am in the morning and does 1008 gayathri japa.An excellent book "Acharyalin Sandhyavandana Vilakkam " is available.Perhaps,those who are interested can check up with the above number.

Ofcourse Sri Vaishnavism is an autonomous and vibrant tradition with deep roots in our land.Perhaps they will follow their acharyas.Ditto with madhvas.

As for as the secular world is concerned,my two paise worth views.Brahmanas are natural heirs to the liberal,scientific,humanist traditions of the European Enlightenment.

In the real world,each one has to measure up to the demands of an intensely competitive world.

Are there contradictins between the brahmana world view and the liberal,humanist world view.

I dont see any systemic conflict,but indviduals will have widely varying capabilities to respond to the pressures.

I,a half baked paapan,hasve ventured for my five minute fame in the net.but i do hope acharyaals words are a guiding light to atleast a few forum members,
 
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kashyap

Active member
who are we? let me first find who i am?

icon7.gif


Who are we?

Let me first try to see who I am?
Part of God. That is the ultimate answer. To know that I need to meditate.

But as long as I am still stuck in the Maya, let me act accordingly. I never felt myself to be different from people in other castes except in the diet habits and daily Sandhya vandana and reciting shlokas. But when you attend school you do notice the difference in the diet part and the way I speak(namma dialect) which invited laughs and comments.
Apart from that I never felt any difference; neither did I treat anyone different. My non-Brahmin friends were welcome at home and they had food with us. I too went to their houses and had vegetarian food. (They would specifically tell their mothers about this). And Then.. 10+2 and Professional courses admission happened!!
Then I got to know the difference!!
At that point I came to know I am not wanted in TN and in fact hated in TN. Suddenly I realized that I am different from my friends.
That set me thinking. After much struggle I was able to attain a good position. But I saw so many among my friends suffer because they were born in Brahmin families, not able to study in professional colleges even though they had high marks etc etc.

So my aim is to first remove this injustice in the society. Hence I am teaming up with like-minded folks. To me it does not matter if the person who fights this injustice is a dalit or OBC or Brahmin. I am with them. They are with me. In this plane, I want myself to be a good citizen of India or world for that matter, a good human being concerned with removing the injustice in the society. Of course in this plane I need to work well and earn money in the ways that are legal as recognized by the society. Support my family well etc. This plane is my outermost public plane.

In the next plane, since I have a belief in Vedas, Shasta’s etc, I will ensure that I can do my best in terms of charity to help poor and the needy, charity to temples etc. In this plane I consider myself as a Hindu.

In the next inner plane I am a Brahmin – meaning here somebody who does his Sandhya vandhan and Gayathri japa and shlokas (this is my own definition for myself. In fact in all these planes, it is my own definition—a subset of what shastras preach. For instance I do Sandhya vandan only once because after that I am at work throughout the day till 7 pm atleast).
But considering myself a Brahmin does not make me oppress or discriminate against other communities and castes or for that matter thrust my views on them.
It just makes me do my work better in this plane. This plane also touches the other areas of my private life – in terms of marriage specifically and not in terms of having friends in other communities. People may find a contradiction here between marriage and friends, but I intend to have it --- I think this classification is needed for at least to protect the Vedas, shastras etc. (I will tell about this in detail later if needed.).

In the innermost plane I must feel that I am part of god and must view others irrespective of caste/ religion/gender etc as part of god too. I know that as a statement. But have not felt it as an experience. Meditation and Devotion is a key to this. I am yet to get there.


Until then, I will be in the outer planes and in those planes I will follow the following simple rules:
  • Don’t harm others
  • Help others as much possible and charity of course begins at home.
So to answer your question—I really don’t know and I really am not sure how to answer this. I am ok with whatever others want to classify me as, as long as me and my son are not discriminated against in work and education . Regarding way of worship, forms of worship, etc etc, I think these are more personal things and I leave it to each one to do on his own. In fact my wife is a devotee of sri seshadri swamigal. I consider him a great saint but my guru is some one else. Hence these are personal preferences according to me and left that way.
My answers might have confused you, and maybe the different planes might be even more so, but this is the best I can attempt at this point. Maybe if i evolve more, I will know more
J
 
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hariharan1972

Active member
Who am I ?

KRS Sir,

This is a wonderful thread that you have started.

My humble submission is :

I personally view myself as an individual & then as a Brahmin.

I often feel that this janma of mine is a "test" - test of what i can do with god given potential, using opportunities created by Him under circumstances again designed by him.

My social status, i believe is part of the "environment" created by him - my background, learning (?) abilities, economic condition, parentage, friendship etc....

The environment is the "intercept". He wants me to show him my ability to "design my own slope" so that i can even do better than a guy who has had a higher intercept.......

What determines this slope ? - Is this measured by success ? money ? fame ? power ? I wonder.

For the present, i only think of becoming a better individual than yesterday...It is with this thought i go to bed & god willing i get up next morning....
 
Tam Brahm Blues

This thread has a serious air to it. So I figured leavening it a little would'nt hurt ... Btw - I certainly did'nt have the creativity to compose it - just stumbled upon it on the Web. Enjoy!

Tam Brahm Blues

The Tam Brahm is an antique creature
Pompous thinking his fancy feature
Takes big crises in lighter vein
Looks down on fun, in disdain
Thinks too long, thinks too wide
Not more than curd-rice on his side
Likes to soar, over the worlds
Has a weakness to hear his own words
Frets on the future, of humanity
Has property rights on sanity!
But curls up then, in foetal grace
Sacred ash, upon his face
In a jiffy makes those numbers tally
Goes forth to conquer the Silicon Valley
But misses his roots, all the same
Sambar and cricket, entirely to blame
Seeks power in ideals, ideals in wealth
Adores simplicity, loves some stealth
Three thousand years, upon his genes
Amuses oldies, annoys the teens
He still might change the new millennium
With the excess packed, in his cranium!
 
OP
OP
K

KRS

Well-known member
Folks,

I have one support to continue the thread, one probable negative feedback in terms of this being a serious topic and two personal viewpoints on the topic.

I was planning to take us from the Hindu Creation theory, through the Varna Ashrama Dharma, and end with what the current dissonnace about 'who we are'.

Unless a majority of you feel that I should continue on, I do not want to impose my views on you. My perspectives come from having lived abroad almost 37 years of my life and having lived a 'non-orthodox' life. In this process, I do not wish to hurt anybody's feelings; and so I ask for feedback.

Pranams,
KRS
 
Sincere apologies ...

KRS-ji,

I certainly did not imply that you should close the thread at all - nor did I mean a-n-y disrespect to your discussion. I was simply sharing a more light-hearted view of "who we are". Please consider anything you might have found offensive - unsaid.
 

lotus_quartz

Active member
Wow! Maami you are wonderful!!

Maami aap to chchaa gayee!

You are approximately correct, except that sacred ash is no more considered a vital embellishment.

Filter coffee, however continues to be the elixir of tambram life!


This thread has a serious air to it. So I figured leavening it a little would'nt hurt ... Btw - I certainly did'nt have the creativity to compose it - just stumbled upon it on the Web. Enjoy!

Tam Brahm Blues

The Tam Brahm is an antique creature
Pompous thinking his fancy feature
Takes big crises in lighter vein
Looks down on fun, in disdain
Thinks too long, thinks too wide
Not more than curd-rice on his side
Likes to soar, over the worlds
Has a weakness to hear his own words
Frets on the future, of humanity
Has property rights on sanity!
But curls up then, in foetal grace
Sacred ash, upon his face
In a jiffy makes those numbers tally
Goes forth to conquer the Silicon Valley
But misses his roots, all the same
Sambar and cricket, entirely to blame
Seeks power in ideals, ideals in wealth
Adores simplicity, loves some stealth
Three thousand years, upon his genes
Amuses oldies, annoys the teens
He still might change the new millennium
With the excess packed, in his cranium!
 
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M

maruti

Guest

This got me thinking. Who is a Brahmin in today's context?

Simple. A Brahmin today is a bundle of contradictions, nothing more. He's ignorant, has no respect for Hindu scriptures, is invariably a leftist brainwashed by propaganda against caste system, and so on.

By the above q, you're also implying that the principles of Varnashrama Dharma change over a period of time. If it does, we wouldn't call it "sanatana" now, would we? Lord Krishna has mentioned that he creates varna, and nowhere does he mention that His rules change according to kaala, desha, whatever. They're permanent.

So the q, Who's a Brahmin, makes little sense, because either you're a Brahmin by birth, or you're not. The real q is: what should a Brahmin do, what are his chief duties? And what are the duties of other varnas?

If one reasons that a person is not Brahmin by birth, not only is there no pramaana to that effect, but even this forum would serve no purpose if we admit such view. How can we fight against reservations, for instance, when there's no Brahmin who's being victimized? Born Brahmin or brahmin-by-qualities, who's being victimized here? If it's the former, you admit birth-based caste system. If the latter, you have no evidence, because the whole thing becomes subjective, and hence our 'fight against injustice' will have to end then and there.

Therefore, it may be politically correct to say that a person is Brahmin by his qualities and so forth, but it has zero value for a person who actually knows a bit of shastra. And if one argues that shastra has no value, fine, then why do you call yourself Brahmin, because even that word is only understood from shastra!

Bottom line, Brahmins have to accept Hindu Scriptures, because even their claims of being Brahmin is only substantiated by scriptures, none else. They can't have it both ways. They can't claim to be Brahmins and complain about so-called discrimination against their community, and in the same breath, maintain that there's no such thing as birth-based caste system. Which is why I feel brahmins are a bundle of contradictions, no brain, no muscle, nothing. Totally inferior.
 

murali

Member
This thread has a serious air to it. So I figured leavening it a little would'nt hurt ... Btw - I certainly did'nt have the creativity to compose it - just stumbled upon it on the Web. Enjoy!

Tam Brahm Blues

The Tam Brahm is an antique creature
Pompous thinking his fancy feature
Looks down on fun, in disdain
Thinks too long, thinks too wide
Not more than curd-rice on his side
Likes to soar, over the worlds
Has a weakness to hear his own words
Frets on the future, of humanity
Has property rights on sanity!
Seeks power in ideals, ideals in wealth
Adores simplicity, loves some stealth
Three thousand years, upon his genes
Amuses oldies, annoys the teens
He still might change the new millennium
With the excess packed, in his cranium!
Absolutely brilliant!! Can someone find out who wrote this?
 

kashyap

Active member
We again have hateful postings here. If i choose to be really nasty in replying to it then the thread maybe closed. Hence I am showing the restraint. I am not quoting the whole message becos it is a waste of space.

They can't have it both ways. They can't claim to be Brahmins and complain about so-called discrimination against their community, and in the same breath, maintain that there's no such thing as birth-based caste system. Which is why I feel brahmins are a bundle of contradictions, no brain, no muscle, nothing. Totally inferior.

The above quoted text is because of twisted and hateful thinking. I want to know if you can suggest the same to people from other community -- that he cannot be a muslim/chrisitian/obc and claim they are discriminated.
Calling himself a brahmin does not mean he should ignore the discrimination by the govt.
A person can be muslim/. christian . obc by birth -- that should not be relevant in the modern world in terms of modern education and employment and that should nto be used to discriminate against him.
Brahmins never discriminated against others in gainful education and employment. In the olden days, the other castes were not interested in learning vedas and shastras because it was not remunerative.Period.
There is no logic in using the situation in olden days to snatch someone's livelihood now out of jealousy and justify it.
Besides if I stop calling myself brahmin then will the govt stop discriminating against me? They will not, because in open and fair competition they dont stand a chance and that is why they discriminate out of jealousy.

Everyone and every community is a bundle of contradictions because they are after all humans.
Pouring venom like the quoted text on any community is indecent and hateful to say the least.
 
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murali

Member
An after thought.There are many brahmanas who are quite and focussed.Akala kaal vaikaama,ozhunga avaa vellaya paakurava.

Regarding sandhyavandanam,i attended a programme on kanchi Periyavaa at ratnagireeswarar temple,besant nagar recently.

Prof.Kalyana Raman,Neurologist,Apollo Hospitals recounted an experience.He had to go to UK for advanced training in the 60s.Many years after he returned,he had gone to see Periyavaa to know whether he had to any prayaschittam for going abroad.

Without his asking any question Periyavaa remarked "inniku kalyana raman prayaschittam sambandama etho kekka vandirukkan nennaikiren."

Periyavaa asked kalyanaraman"bharata deshatula evalavu ramayanam irrukum?"

KR-300 irukkum

Periyavaa-"entha ramaayanithliyavuthu bhagvan lankaiku ponnathuku prayaschittam panninan irukka"

KR-theriyala

Periyavaa-"onuthillayum illai".Prayaschittam ethukunna,sandhyavandanam pannadaduku.veli desam porathuku illa.Bhagvan acharathodu irunthan.Athunala avanuku prayashchittam avashyam illa.

It is a different matter,bhagvan is beyond all this.

Dear members,

I am no one to comment on shaastras.Please do not think,i am pontificating and sermonising.Food,sandhyavandanam are personal habits. Just remembered this incident.
 
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lotus_quartz

Active member
My dear Sir,

Sweeping generalisation of this nature renders disservice to the viewpoint you are trying to propogate.

Varnashram system and manusmriti are detestable, I fully agree and no amount of justification offered by orthodox variety of tambrams of this gathering will ever convince me otherwise. I also agree that knowledge of vedas and ability to recite mantras does not place brahmins on a higher pedestal or accords them a superior status.

Having agreed to the crux of the issue, I differ from the sweeping statements made by you. Calling a whole lot of people inferior, no brain, no muscle etc is imbecility. It stinks of racism, albeit of a different kind.

Zanaab, lagta hai aapne abhi hindustan poora dekha nahin hai. Hamaara mashwara hai ke aap ek dafa poore hindustan ka safar karen, sab mazhab aur tabke ke logon se milen aur phir apne khyalat zaahir karen !

bon voyage to you!

LQ



Simple. A Brahmin today is a bundle of contradictions, nothing more. He's ignorant, has no respect for Hindu scriptures, is invariably a leftist brainwashed by propaganda against caste system, and so on.

By the above q, you're also implying that the principles of Varnashrama Dharma change over a period of time. If it does, we wouldn't call it "sanatana" now, would we? Lord Krishna has mentioned that he creates varna, and nowhere does he mention that His rules change according to kaala, desha, whatever. They're permanent.

So the q, Who's a Brahmin, makes little sense, because either you're a Brahmin by birth, or you're not. The real q is: what should a Brahmin do, what are his chief duties? And what are the duties of other varnas?

If one reasons that a person is not Brahmin by birth, not only is there no pramaana to that effect, but even this forum would serve no purpose if we admit such view. How can we fight against reservations, for instance, when there's no Brahmin who's being victimized? Born Brahmin or brahmin-by-qualities, who's being victimized here? If it's the former, you admit birth-based caste system. If the latter, you have no evidence, because the whole thing becomes subjective, and hence our 'fight against injustice' will have to end then and there.

Therefore, it may be politically correct to say that a person is Brahmin by his qualities and so forth, but it has zero value for a person who actually knows a bit of shastra. And if one argues that shastra has no value, fine, then why do you call yourself Brahmin, because even that word is only understood from shastra!

Bottom line, Brahmins have to accept Hindu Scriptures, because even their claims of being Brahmin is only substantiated by scriptures, none else. They can't have it both ways. They can't claim to be Brahmins and complain about so-called discrimination against their community, and in the same breath, maintain that there's no such thing as birth-based caste system. Which is why I feel brahmins are a bundle of contradictions, no brain, no muscle, nothing. Totally inferior.
 
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Hateful postings ...

Dear Kashyap-ji:
I saw your very polite protest against the closing of an earlier thread - and I entirely agree with your sentiment. Free speech is valuable - however there are people who abuse freedom. They propagate hate under the guise of freedom. We cannot do away with such people - they have a right to exist. They are entitled to their opinions, much as we may disagree with them.
However, shutting down our own interesting discussions on account of their uninformed/incendiary/annoying statements simply defeats our purpose - and plays into their inflated sense of power and self-worth.
My suggestion is that we a-l-l completely ignore (= socially boycott) this annoying person - and get on with our interesting exchange. I realize that we can only achieve this if we are united in our goal & mission.
Perhaps this miscreant also has a purpose to serve: perhaps he was sent to our midst to ascertain whether this group can actually hold together under fire and achieve its larger goal of serving the Tam-Brahm community ...
We again have hateful postings here. If i choose to be really nasty in replying to it then the thread maybe closed. Hence I am showing the restraint. I am not quoting the whole message becos it is a waste of space.



The above quoted text is because of twisted and hateful thinking. I want to know if you can suggest the same to people from other community -- that he cannot be a muslim/chrisitian/obc and claim they are discriminated.
Calling himself a brahmin does not mean he should ignore the discrimination by the govt.
A person can be muslim/. christian . obc by birth -- that should not be relevant in the modern world in terms of modern education and employment and that should nto be used to discriminate against him.
Brahmins never discriminated against others in gainful education and employment. In the olden days, the other castes were not interested in learning vedas and shastras because it was not remunerative.Period.
There is no logic in using the situation in olden days to snatch someone's livelihood now out of jealousy and justify it.
Besides if I stop calling myself brahmin then will the govt stop discriminating against me? They will not, because in open and fair competition they dont stand a chance and that is why they discriminate out of jealousy.

Everyone and every community is a bundle of contradictions because they are after all humans.
Pouring venom like the quoted text on any community is indecent and hateful to say the least.
 

silverfox

Active member
Dear born_again_aiyar_maami

An excelelnt and wise piece of advice (if I may say so)! Thank you!
Silver Fox

<<<quoted by born_again_aiyar_maami>>>>>>
Dear Kashyap-ji:
I saw your very polite protest against the closing of an earlier thread - and I entirely agree with your sentiment. Free speech is valuable - however there are people who abuse freedom. They propagate hate under the guise of freedom. We cannot do away with such people - they have a right to exist. They are entitled to their opinions, much as we may disagree with them.
However, shutting down our own interesting discussions on account of their uninformed/incendiary/annoying statements simply defeats our purpose - and plays into their inflated sense of power and self-worth.
My suggestion is that we a-l-l completely ignore (= socially boycott) this annoying person - and get on with our interesting exchange. I realize that we can only achieve this if we are united in our goal & mission.
Perhaps this miscreant also has a purpose to serve: perhaps he was sent to our midst to ascertain whether this group can actually hold together under fire and achieve its larger goal of serving the Tam-Brahm community ...
 
OP
OP
K

KRS

Well-known member
Dear Born_again_Iyer_maami Ji,

No need to apologize. I will continue.

Folks,
My main intention is to create a healthy dialogue, based on what our Scriptures and Shastras say. And try to understand what does Sanatana Dharma really mean. I will be posting each subject, starting with the available knowledge about the origins of our faith, as well as what our Scriptures say about 'Creation'.

I am drawing upon my knowledge and I would like to draw from each one of your knowledge in adding to the picture. Some of you, if not most of you are probably more learned than myself and so I ask your pardon if I offend anyone's sensibilities here. If I do offend, it is not because it is intentional, but rather because of my ignorance.

Judging from the responses already to this topic, it seems to me that we should delve deeply in to the subject. The title question comes from my own question about myself. Some of you do not have any such questions. You have known the answer all along. But, I would kindly request those to present arguments within the context, so that rest of us can benefit.

In my mind, unless we all understand the answer to the question "who are we?", we will continue to be fragmented as a community. As I said before, unfortunately the Caste system makes us all Brahmins, when we are born in to the community, as viewed by others in the Indian (T.N.) society.

I will pause between postings to allow for healthy discussions. Again, let us not get emotionsl, ideas do not and should not hurt. We should be able to discuss everything openly, without any insult to any one.

My first posting will be tomorrow.

Pranams,
KRS
 
On "Varnashram" & "Manusmriti" being detestable ...

LQ: I don't disagree with you in essence - i.e. there are statements in the "Varnashram system" and "Manusmriti" - that seem appalling from our modern perspective - i.e. 21st century & "Age of Enlightenment" thinking.
However, do not forget that it was the "Age of Enlightenment" that begot: Fascism, Communism, the bloody (not intended as a swear word!) French Revolution and a host of other horrors.
This does NOT in any way absolve US (Tamil Brahmins) of being a gentle, upright, honest and open-minded community - but it does mean that we must embrace European "Enlightenment" (and European perceptions of our social system) with extreme caution.
My own (limited) understanding (remember "understanding", NOT "justification") is that the "Varnashram" and "Manusmriti" were (imperfect?)systems of social organization and control. In any society - there is a king (or chief), and there is the nobility (or tribal leaders) - who make laws and decide policy. However, "policy" alone is meaningless - "enforcement" is a very important social function. In the absence of "enforcement" there is lawlessness, lawlessness leads to a lack of security - and the absence of security leads to social collapse (as we see in many African nations).
E-v-e-r-y enforcement system has its flaws - Europe had the Catholic Church - and we all know about the Spanish Inquisitions, the burning of witches and heretics (including many astronomers & scientists), the persecution of Jews in Spain & Portugal, the slave trade etc etc
Pot calling the kettle black?
Social organization and control is a dirty and unpleasant business - but it is a necessity.
I just riles me when people castigate our system as though we a-l-o-n-e were some depraved and benighted people. Esp. when it is our own people, looking at our systems, through the lens of a "Western education".
It was NOT about reciting vedas & mantras - it was about social organization and control. Brahmins were expected to live up to a high moral code - they were expected to be austere, and to LEAD BY EXAMPLE. In return for this leadership - they were accorded social privileges, and a high social status.
The British & the missionaries had clued into this. The only way they could break into Indian society (gain power and converts) was by causing the general populace to hate the Brahmins - and this they did by depicting our system in particularly unkind light.
With the advent of British education we imported notions of class (as opposed to 'status groups' - which were odiously termed 'castes'), of Fascism and Marxism, upper crust and proletariat, and foisted these paradigms and their interpretations upon our social structure.
Do you suppose that Marie Antoinette dined with the French peasants/ paid them social calls?
I simply ask that you judge the Varnashram and Manusmriti with contemporaneous systems - and not beat upon them from today's perspective and social context!
Segregation was a fact of life as recently as the late 60s - today we all believe (I think!) that racism is wrong!

... Varnashram system and manusmriti are detestable, I fully agree and no amount of justification offered by orthodox variety of tambrams of this gathering will ever convince me otherwise. I also agree that knowledge of vedas and ability to recite mantras does not place brahmins on a higher pedestal or accords them a superior status.
LQ
 

kashyap

Active member
mami you are great!

ms.mami
I appreciate your advice.
Your posting on varnashrama and manu smriti should definitely serve as an eye opener for many.
Hats off to you !!! I dont have words to appreciate you enough.
icon14.gif
 

lotus_quartz

Active member
Varnashram and Manusmriti have become detestable not because of age of enlightened thinking brought by europeans but because it contradicts the tenets of nyaya and dharma preached by hinduism.

During the past 2000 odd years, probably a small minority of thinkers and philosophers could see the fallacy of the argument (of varnashram) but did not dare to challenge the combined might of the upper three varnas who shrewdly practiced and foisted the system to their advantage.

An almost parallel development of society in Sri Lanka proves this point. There you had only two types of people - monks and commoners, royalty and the ruled. No one was forced to carry the pot of shit of others on his or her head.
 

kashyap

Active member
carrying the pot - forced by the rulers

LQ
carrying the pot is not mentioned anywhere in the shastras. It was introduced by muslim rulers who subjugated the former warriors of the lands to this inhumnan practice. Those who were made to carry these were former warrirors who did not make peace with them unlike many rajputs.

Also many dalits(not all) were oppressed by the rulers of the land who were all predominantly non brahmins. The hate was perperated by the forefathers of the current obC/mBC etc and they do it even now-- u see vanniyatrs killing dalits, thevars killing dalits etc etc.
You dont hear a brahmin doing that. So holding brahmin responsible for this is wrong.
Regarding varnashrama etc, as mami pointed out, even if you consider them to be bad, many such practices existed all over the world. In fact worse practices existed
It could very well be that the then rulers of India ( almost all obc and mbc) used their political power and and armies to arm-twist brahmins into writing certain objectionable rules too.
The bottom line is no body hounds a german today for what hitler did. Nobody hounds a british for the famines of bengal. So why are brahmins being targeted for any past crimes even if they could be assumed as his deeds?






.
 
Utopian Sri Lanka ...

Wikipedia appears to contradict your Utopian assertion regarding Sri Lankan society:
"The Caste system in Sri Lanka is a division of society into strata, differing somewhat from the classic Varnas of North India but is similar in nature to the Jāti system found in South India. The four fold caste model in Sri Lanka's pre-British period Sinhala history and literature was: Raja, Bamunu, Velenda and Govi. Ancient Sri lankan texts such as the Pujavaliya, Sadharmaratnavaliya and Yogaratnakaraya and inscriptional evidence show that the above hierarchy prevailed throughout the feudal period. The repetition of the same caste hierarchy even as recently as the 18th century, in the British / Kandyan period Kadayimpoth - Boundry books as well, indicates the continuation of the tradition right up to the end of Sri Lanka’s monarchy. Other ancient texts such as the Gavaratnakaraya and Sarpothpaththiya (Sarpavedakama Col. Museum publication, 1956, pgs vi, 5 & 123) respectively classify even Sri Lankan cattle and snakes into the four caste categories as Raja, Bamunu, Velanda & Govi, where again the Govi is the lowest form."
Please see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caste_in_Sri_Lanka
for more.

I personally do not know whether/what the Manusmriti and Varnashrama say about "carrying the pot of shit" - and whether Sri Lankan society had/did not have the practice. (I prefer to check my sources before I make bland assertions!)
However, I find it very hard to believe that a-n-y society (other than hunter/gatherer tribes) could have only two strata - rulers & ruled. Stratification is a direct consequence of the division of labour. So any sufficiently complex society is bound to have social stratification.
An almost parallel development of society in Sri Lanka proves this point. There you had only two types of people - monks and commoners, royalty and the ruled. No one was forced to carry the pot of shit of others on his or her head.
 

silverfox

Active member
Dear born_again_aiyar_maami, lotus_quartz, kashyap, KRS:

Now.... this is what I call a high-calibre, high-quality, academic and enlightening discussion. I, for one, thoroughly enjoy reading all your postings. I am learning a lot!
Please keep it up; keep it coming!!
 
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