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Who is Brahmanan

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Background:-
All the respectable members,
Sri Kunjuppu in a different thread wondered how one can define being a Brahmin; what are the basic requirements as in karma, attitude etc. I could not resist myself and posted this:-
Andhanar enbore aravore; matr evuirkkum chenthanmai
Poondu ozhugalaan. – thiru Valluvar in Thirukkural.

A Brahmin is a person who leads a honourable, fault free life. They do not hurt any living being through thoughts, words and/or actions.

Sri Naran raised a question quoting that Thirukkural. He said:-
Only in our culture good qualities are appropriated to one category of people determined through birth. Why can't a person with such qualities be just a good a person? Why should he be a Brahmin, the one whose primary vocation is performing vedic rituals?
With the above background, this thread starts. This is not an exclusive conversation between Raghy and Sri. Naran.

In the above Kural, Valluvar has not mentioned anything about birth. He just described the basic qualities to be an ‘andhanar’ (Brahmin). Anyone with those basic qualities will be eligible to be considered as ‘andhanar’. The important point Valluvar makes here is, such a good person is qualified to be an ‘andhanar’. Valluvar did not specify any vocation for such a person. Such a good person who can qualify to be ‘andhanar’ would have performing vedic rituals is just an assumption from Sri. Naran’s part. I beg to disagree with that just because the above mentioned Kural does not say anything like that.
(There is a concern about the length of the posts amoung members. I value their opinion and stops this post here. I will continue in the next post).
 
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Raghy

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In continuation to the previous post:-
Valluvar had not restricted andhanar to performing vedic rites. This takes us to Sri. Naran’s first question which is :-
“Only in our culture good qualities are appropriated to one category of people determined through birth.”
I beg to disagree again. Good qualities are not automatically appropriated to anyone. I am not even going to touch the part “one category of people determined through birth”. I will talk about the misgivings in that statement separately.

‘Good qualities are appropriated to one category of people’ part:- Yes, it is so. When someone calls him/herself as ‘andhanar’, then they are expected to be ‘aravore’ and are expected to be ‘matr evuirkkum chenthanmai poondu ozhugalaan/ozhugalaal.’ Those are the basic qualities; bigger and better qualities may be displayed by different individuals. If I call myself as a student, the expected basic quality is that I should have enrolled in some kind of course. The standard set by Valluvar is that basic. It is neither determined by the vocation nor by birth.

Valluvar wrote Kural in Tamizh. Sanskrit was also important at that period. Unless a parallel thinking was displayed by scholars across the Bharatha Varsha, the idea may not have a strong credibility. So, let us examine a Sanskrit Scholar Sri Vyasa who wrote Mahabharata which contains Srimad Bhagavat Gita. We shall go through that in my next post, please.
 
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Raghy

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Continued from last post;-
Sri Krishna said (as Sri Vyasa wrote in Mahabharata):-
Catur- varnyam- maya srstyam -Guna -karma –vibhagasah-tasya kartaram.. Srimad Bhagavat Gita 4:13.

Four varnas (namely brhma, kshtriya, vaisya & sudra) were created by me fathered by (or based upon) the gunas (satva, rajas and thamasa) and work (here karma is taken as work or action, not as nithya karma).

Here Krishna says he only created the four varnas. He did not say that he created the people in the varnas. Krishna did not say he created the varnas based on birth. He clearly specified that the varnas are based on guna and karma.

When the four varnas are mentioned, people think of 4 different persons representing one varna each. But in reality four varnas were created; that’s all. They are for each individual. In other words, every single person at different times of the day follow different varna choosing from brahma, kshtriya and vaisya. Looking at this in today’s world, it does not matter whether a person is a harijan by birth or Brahmin caste by birth. Irrespective to that both the extremes and all the ones in between wear different varna hat at different times. Nobody has a fixed varna. Even in the period when Gita was written, and all the periods after, nobody could have had a fixed varna. I have not spoken about sudra varna yet. I request the forum to comment on this. I can explain my arguments with examples. Later on I will present my arguments about sudra varna.
 
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These kind of discussions were there over hundreds of years. Participants will lead the discussion in their own preconceived notions .

Now if one believes and agrees with what is happening .fine why should enter into discussion? If one doesn't like to to conform to the existing beliefs and practices, then if nobody compels him physically why should it be discussed.It can be kept private ,and one can live comfortably under the civil law.

If the aim is to draw a new constitution for the conformist,to be more practical and realistic to the modern life, then it has to be attempted by all together, the experts, the layman.the pandit and paamaran, poor and rich.

All concerned can congregate, not on virtual space, but in real person communication.


Greetings.
 
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(There is a concern about the length of the posts amoung members. I value their opinion and stops this post here. I will continue in the next post).

Hey hey hey, if someone says you have a large portion in your plate you can't just divide it up into three plates and still eat 'em all :)

Just kidding :)

I think if the post is well formatted it would be alright ....

Before pressing "Submit" click on "Preview" and edit the content. The editing features available here are excellent.
 

pvraman

Active member
Dear Sri Raghy,

I agree totally for the 3rd post. Brahmana has a fixed duties, and anybody who is capable of discharging those duties they are Brahmanas. (for other varans too.)
Present Brahmin is by birth only. No doubt about it. Those two are different.

Now the characteristics of a present brahmin are

A Brahmin kid realizes that he is a brahmin once he/she fails to score the top mark and misses his/her beloved higher studies. because right from the infant stage their parents teach them only 3 things, study well study well & study well.

A Brahmin Still does not eat non veg foods. But suddenly to shield his brahmin identity and to copy other castes starts to eat anything including smoking and drinking and convince himself it is the requirement of time.

A Brahmin is one who does not know (m)any of the Manthras with meaning.But he must say on important occasion.

A Brahmin, if, faces with hostile condition, just go around it, because he still values family, and life. Rather,try to do shadow boxing because he does not have people strength. They are still hostile.

A Brahmin house hold still wants follow the rituals but without knowing the mantras or meaning. ( I am talking about families like mine).

A Brahmin kid is taught to study well study well study well, not using bad words, not fighting others, be a samththu boy or girl. They growup, when they do well they go to US or achieve good status, but they dont do, they fall down so fast, then they will loose all the identity. Majority are like that.

As I read somewhere, we like it or not, there is no resemblance between the Vedam Katra Brahamana and Velaikku sellum Brahmin.

My view is that, the present situation is not right and it is not our path we wish to go, which is not based on Aram. We are forced and so are the others by power hungry society.

Thiruvalluvar, before writing this Kural, before defining about Andhanar, in Kural 8 itself he advise the people to follow andhanar. is that right?

"Aravaazhi Andhanan thaalserthaark kallal
piravaazhi neendhal aridhu"

My understanding to this is Araththin Moolam Vaazum Andhanananai, follow seyya vittal, one can not cross this ocean of life.

I feel, here andhanan is not Brahmin. (i May be wrong), here Aram has multiple meaning.

1. Moral or religious duty, virtue, performance of good works according to the
Sastras, duties to be practised by each caste; jUkk;. (gpq;.)
2. Merit; Gz;zpak;. mwk;ght nkd;D kUq;fapw;whw; fl;b
3. That which is fitting, excellent; jFjpahdJ. (,iw. 29> gf;. 136)
4. Religious faith; rkak;. (rPtf. 544)
5. Wisdom; Qhdk;. mwj;jpd tpUg;Gr; rpwg;nghL Ee;j (Qhdh. ghap.5)
6. Feeding house; mwr;rhiy. mwj;Jf;Fg; Gwj;jd; (T.A.S. I,9)
7. Fasting; Nehd;G. (rPtf.386)
8. Letters or words in a verse which cause harm; jPg;ga Dz;lhf;FQ;nrhy; -
mwk;tpog;ghbdhd;.
9. Goddess of virtue; jUkNjtiu. (Fws;>77.)
10. Yama; akd; mwj;jpd; ike;jDf;F (ghuj. Thuzh. 112)

source www.thirukkural2005.org/researchpaper/Kulandaisamy.pdf.

Which roughly translates into the person who does his duties practiced by each caste, called andhanar. (what a beauty). Vedam odubavar moondru varnam.

Now we can relate this to our present brahmin. Now whatever varna we take each day each session, if we do it properly we are andhanar. All are Brahmin. Then if somebody wants be a brahmana varna specifically, then i think there is no other way except to read vedas and teach vedas and beg for existence.

In the present world, all the marketing and sales service people are sudra varna's only (that includes me during the day time!!.), but BG & Thirukkural console me, if we do our duty then we can reach the superior position in heaven near to god.

For all other ex-varna (apart from Brahmana), they have a clear target to hate, ie brahmana. But for the present brahmin, we dont know whom to hate, we must hate only our ancestors who did not educate properly the other varnas so much so that they have left us with so much hatred. We are stunned, we don't know why it is happening to us. Fortunately, we convince ourselves saying that its all Murpiravi karma.

Though the present world only understands the rich, we still have hope. There are some things which will be eternal. So A Brahmin can be a brahmin who lives a life so that others can follow.

And we have a greater responsibility as a Brahmin, to have a Ara Vazhi and guide others along with us. Now govt has given many facilities for other backward class people. One of our aram is to find out and encourage them to use the facilities. Once, if one generation of them comes up, the injustice forced on our present brahmins will cool down, and the hatred towards our ancestors will go.

We takeup our path of Aram, and help all backward hindus. As Kaliyug defines, in this yuga our duty will be liberality, and lets spend our life time usefully. We can make them march forward without hating anybody.

Thanks for the posts, as i write, i get to learn the things. I am happy about that.

Another link is also pending, what will happen to our traditions and practices besides Aram...say agraharams, we are leaving it in order to join with the main stream, if the hindu society did not improve, we may have to leave our whole identity to other religion one Day.............
PV
 
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Anthanar

Hi Raghy, Greetings!

Your initial post covers ThiruvaLLuvar's anthaNar verse and varNashrama dharma. Here, in this post I want to address anthanar. First, Thirukkural verse 30.

அந்தணர் என்போர் அறவோர் மற்றெவ்வுயிர்க்கும்
செந்தணமை பூண்டு ஒழுகலான்.

The term அந்தணர் is really a beautiful word. I don't believe there is an equivalent word in either English or Samskritham.

The meaning of the word அந்தணர் is embedded into this Kural itself. அந்தணர் = அம் + தண்மை + யார். அம் refers to good, nice, pure, தண்மை = like water, cool and soothing. So, அந்தணர் simply means one whose natural outlook or temperament towards all life forms is like pure, cool, soothing water.

Now, consider the placement of this Kural. It is the last Kural under the chapter நீத்தார் பெருமை, i.e. one who has renounced all things worldly and material. Therefore, as you rightly say, it is extremely unlikely that Thiruvalluvar had Brahmins in mind for அந்தணர் in this Kural.

For referring to Brahmins Thiruvalluvar uses the term பார்ப்பான். Here, look at verse #134.

மறப்பினும் ஓத்துக் கொளலாகும் பார்ப்பான்
பிறப்பொழுக்கம் குன்றக் கெடும்.

This kural is part of Chapter 14, ஒழுக்கமுடைமை. As you see, even during the days of Thiruvalluvar, there was பிறப்பொழுக்கம் for பார்ப்பான், in other words, the Varna "Brahmin" is determined by birth, and by extension other varnas are also determined by birth. Even if you forget your Vedas, it does not matter, this Kural says; all he has to do is follow the rules prescribed for brahmin birth if he is to be treated as a brahmin.

Having said all that, it is also true that over the course of time this word அந்தணர் has come to refer only to Brahmins. Even by the time of சிலப்பதிகாரம் and மணிமேகலை, அந்தணர் meant Brahmins.

மணிமேகலை
The Buddist poet describes a scene where a boy named ஆபுத்திரன் enters a யாகசாலை where some அந்தணர்கள் are in the midst of performing a Velvi, and a cow awaiting sacrifice is howling. ஆபுத்திரன் unties the cow and releases it. The scene then proceeds with the cow goring one of the அந்தணர்கள் and running away. The அந்தணர்கள் then accuse ஆபுத்திரன் and ... The point is in the whole chapter the poet uses the term அந்தணர் to refer to Brahmins and that too in a very bad light. So we can infer that the word அந்தணர் that had exalted meaning at the time of Thiruvalluvar was already being used exclusively to refer to Brahmins, even Brahmins with absolutely no செந்தணமை at all, by the time of மணிமேகலை.

After the eradication of Buddhism and Jainism from Tamilnadu and with the ascendancy of Brahminism, (i) the word அந்தணர் became even more synonymous with பார்ப்பனர் and (ii) Brahmins, due to their overwhelming preponderance among the educated, were successful in interpreting the word அந்தணர் the way Thiruvalluvar meant. This is why I think my original comment “Only in our culture good qualities are appropriated to one category of people determined through birth.” is valid.

Cheers!
 
Four varnas (namely brhma, kshtriya, vaisya & sudra) were created by me fathered by (or based upon) the gunas (satva, rajas and thamasa) and work (here karma is taken as work or action, not as nithya karma).

[..]

Krishna did not say he created the varnas based on birth. He clearly specified that the varnas are based on guna and karma.


Hello Raghy, I am a relatively recent member here and yet I myself have debated this issue at length. I think if one goes back further into the archives, there be other instances as well. So, now, I will try to present something different from the last time.

There are two perspectives on this issue, (i) theoretical and (ii) practical.

Theoretical:
Srimat BG does state in two places, in chapter 1 and in chapter 9 that cannot be taken to mean thae varna is anything other than by birth. This I have already stated previously. But, I would like to state that Varnadharma, as a system, cannot be implemented unless it is birth based.

If it is based on gunas, at what point is one's gunas become evident and to whom he should demonstrate his gunas so that the person becomes or recognized as a brahmin or whatever? Take for instance a baby born to a shudra couple. Will this baby remain Varna-less until such time as his gunas become evident? What age is that? Are there any metrics to determine the proportion of the three gunas present in him? How will you ensure the system is not gamed in favor of those who are already in a dominant caste?

Now, study of Vedas is supposed to start at age 7 after upanayanam. Will a kid born to shudra couple will then go in front of a panel to prove his guna credentials? What about other crafts, how do you determine a child has the gunas to be a merchant, i.e. Vaishya caste? How do you determine a child has the gunas to be a worker and therefore must be denied any education at all?

What about a girl? How is her varna determined. These are questions that are never answered anywhere and I sub it to you that these questions never arose because Varna system was always a birth based system.

Therefore, I submit to you, Varna system cannot exist unless it is birth based.

Practical
The early homosapiens are said to have existed for at least 50,000, may be more like 100,000 years. The varna system came into being at some point of time. In other words, it evolved over time. To that extent the first brahmins were not born brahmins. But after the Vedic period the Varna system pretty much settled down into a birth based system.

By the time of Ramaynam and Mahabharatham, Varna was determined at birth. We have Rama killing a Shudra chanting vedas. If karma as in action was to determine varna, this shudra chanting vedas must have been accepted as a Brahmin. Similarly, in Mahabharatam, of all the characters it was only Vithuran who exhibited what brahmins like to call "brahmnical" qualities. Yet, Vithura was identified and treated as a shudra.

Today, people try to rationalize by saying Varna was a good system, but caste is political as though these two are completely unrelated or at the very least, varna system is not responsible for caste system. Yet, we have a group of castes that are clearly called brahmins.

If Varna and caste are not one and the same, what is meant by calling an Iyer or Iyengar or Madhva a brahmin. Is this Brahmin different from varna brahmin? Then why use the term brahmin? If it is the same, but the members are not living up to the ideals, then how can you say it is not birth based?

I have heard with my own two big ears, in agraharams where I spent many a wonderful summer vacations, brahmins referring to maid servants and other laborers as shudracchi and shudras. Are these shudras different from the Shudra varna? Are they shudra because they were maid servants or are they shudras because they were born shudras?

Lots of obfuscation and dare I say, hypocrisy.

Anyway, I am willing debate this further as I love to argue. But, I am very aware of the impatience of others. I will play it be my ear.
 
1. Moral or religious duty, virtue, performance of good works according to the
Sastras, duties to be practised by each caste; jUkk;. (gpq;.)
2. Merit; Gz;zpak;. mwk;ght nkd;D kUq;fapw;whw; fl;b
3. That which is fitting, excellent; jFjpahdJ. (,iw. 29> gf;. 136)
4. Religious faith; rkak;. (rPtf. 544)
5. Wisdom; Qhdk;. mwj;jpd tpUg;Gr; rpwg;nghL Ee;j (Qhdh. ghap.5)
6. Feeding house; mwr;rhiy. mwj;Jf;Fg; Gwj;jd; (T.A.S. I,9)
7. Fasting; Nehd;G. (rPtf.386)
8. Letters or words in a verse which cause harm; jPg;ga Dz;lhf;FQ;nrhy; -
mwk;tpog;ghbdhd;.
9. Goddess of virtue; jUkNjtiu. (Fws;>77.)
10. Yama; akd; mwj;jpd; ike;jDf;F (ghuj. Thuzh. 112)
Dear Sri PVRaman,
The quoted part of your posting is all Greek and Latin to me. Seems you typed in Tamil non- unicode and it got changed to Roman script.Please review before and after posting.
 
Dear Sir,

Theoretical:
Srimat BG does state in two places, in chapter 1 and in chapter 9 that cannot be taken to mean thae varna is anything other than by birth. This I have already stated previously. But, I would like to state that Varnadharma, as a system, cannot be implemented unless it is birth based.

If it is based on gunas, at what point is one's gunas become evident and to whom he should demonstrate his gunas so that the person becomes or recognized as a brahmin or whatever? Take for instance a baby born to a shudra couple. Will this baby remain Varna-less until such time as his gunas become evident? What age is that? Are there any metrics to determine the proportion of the three gunas present in him? How will you ensure the system is not gamed in favor of those who are already in a dominant caste?

According to the yogis i spoke to, jaati was decided by the teachers of the gurukul. Tried to find info online and found this: ATMA JYOTI ASHRAM - The Bhagavad Gita - The Mystery of Action and Inaction (please note the fluidity of the shudra section).

Am not sure since when the shudra section comes into the pic - probably they were indo-scythian 'outsider' hordes that needed to be accomodated into a scenario where already the class systems of brahmin, kshatriya and vaishya were being followed.

Am told that all children went to a gurukul at that time, and the teacher there was in the best position to decide the future occupation of a child, depending on his inherent aptitude, temperment, ability and so on. The arya samaj also holds the same view. According to them, varna (occupation / caste) of a student was decided after an education period of 14 years: 16 reasons that make Vedic Religion superior. | Aryasamaj

Am also told that in the (later) times when brahmin was taken to mean a priest, a brahmin was no longer considered a brahmin if he did not follow the duties prescribed for him to do as per the law books. And thence comes the Manusmrithi statement that Shudro Brahmanathamethi Brahmanaschethi shudrataam ( a shudra becomes a brahmin and a brahmin becomes a shudra...)
simply bcoz he does not follow the prescribed duties required of him.

And then there is also this concept that varnashrama dharma meant different things to people of 2 diff sects. Tridandis (vaishnavites) who supposedly follow the daiva-varnashrama, do not accept the stand of the asura-varnashrama sect in which the social code of varna is indicated by birth: Excerpt from Sannyasa Initiation of Viraha Prakasa Swami -- Mayapur, February 5, 1976 Initiations -- Prabhupada Lectures

At the end of the day, there is no saying how much of all is true. Perhaps God alone knows what was the system followed in diff places by different sects in the past.

Now, study of Vedas is supposed to start at age 7 after upanayanam. Will a kid born to shudra couple will then go in front of a panel to prove his guna credentials? What about other crafts, how do you determine a child has the gunas to be a merchant, i.e. Vaishya caste? How do you determine a child has the gunas to be a worker and therefore must be denied any education at all?

What about a girl? How is her varna determined. These are questions that are never answered anywhere and I sub it to you that these questions never arose because Varna system was always a birth based system.

Therefore, I submit to you, Varna system cannot exist unless it is birth based.

Practical
The early homosapiens are said to have existed for at least 50,000, may be more like 100,000 years. The varna system came into being at some point of time. In other words, it evolved over time. To that extent the first brahmins were not born brahmins. But after the Vedic period the Varna system pretty much settled down into a birth based system.

By the time of Ramaynam and Mahabharatham, Varna was determined at birth. We have Rama killing a Shudra chanting vedas. If karma as in action was to determine varna, this shudra chanting vedas must have been accepted as a Brahmin. Similarly, in Mahabharatam, of all the characters it was only Vithuran who exhibited what brahmins like to call "brahmnical" qualities. Yet, Vithura was identified and treated as a shudra.

Today, people try to rationalize by saying Varna was a good system, but caste is political as though these two are completely unrelated or at the very least, varna system is not responsible for caste system. Yet, we have a group of castes that are clearly called brahmins.

If Varna and caste are not one and the same, what is meant by calling an Iyer or Iyengar or Madhva a brahmin. Is this Brahmin different from varna brahmin? Then why use the term brahmin? If it is the same, but the members are not living up to the ideals, then how can you say it is not birth based?

I have heard with my own two big ears, in agraharams where I spent many a wonderful summer vacations, brahmins referring to maid servants and other laborers as shudracchi and shudras. Are these shudras different from the Shudra varna? Are they shudra because they were maid servants or are they shudras because they were born shudras?

Lots of obfuscation and dare I say, hypocrisy.

Anyway, I am willing debate this further as I love to argue. But, I am very aware of the impatience of others. I will play it be my ear.

Sir, reg the hypocrisy part, sometime back we had a poster (banned) who claimed that he himself wud convert SCs into brahmins (he did not cite any instance where he had already done so). But anyways, i hope such hypocrites remain as a tiny minority.

Perhaps it bcoz some ppl choose to call others the deriding way, as a shudra, that donors to temples (that have / had an agraharam and a vedapatshala attached to it) no longer attract patrons...its really unfortunate..In malaysia, the creed of non-brahmin temple priests look like they are really growing by the day (again, perhaps ppl decided they can create an option if a brahmin wants to pass castist remarks or decide superiority or inferiority). I do hope that someday hinduism is an all-inclusive faith.

Anyways, coming to the varna origin part, in the neolithic period (abt 10,000 years back) when man settled into agriculture mode, certainly there was no varna (am not sure there was anything even called religion then, save for the possibility of some primitive type of spirit appeasement forms). The scenario is that of man moving from a hunting scene to domestication of animals to growing crop by farming and settling into village like primitive settlements.

The whole concept of socially organized units must have come only after man advanced well into the neolithic, at the stage when organization was a required / acceptable concept to create flourishing towns / cities. The vedic period is abt 2000 bc to 600 bc and the puranic period is about 300 to 1500 ad. The dharmasutras correspond more with the puranic period. So the organization and prescribed codes of conduct are not really an ancient creed (certainly might not have existed, in any case, before 2k bc).
 
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Raghy

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Sri pvraman,

thanks for your inputs. The angle taken by you to look at the message is thought provoking. Your post deserves a detailed reply. I request you to kindly allow me 8 days. (I am a full time student. My assignment is due next week. After that, I am free. So, kindly bear with me).
Valluvar referred to God Almighty by 'Aravaazhy andhanan', I think. that's way I was taught when I was in primary school. I will get back to you for more.

regards,

Raghy.
 
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Raghy

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Sri Naran,

thanks for your detailed responses. I am going to love debating you. I am not a learned person. I will seek your help to conduct research to debate you. But that has to wait for a week atleast. I am a full time student who has an assignment due next week. Once that gets out of the way, I will spend focused time for this thread. I hope you don't mind.
I agree with you. The word 'Andhanan' is loosely translated as 'brahmin'. That translation does not justify 'Andhanan'. I don't mean the 'caste brahmin' in my message at all. Just though I should clarify that. By the way, you are contradicting yourself in post #7; In Gita, Krishna did not say anything in chapter #1; I don't recall his mentioning about varna by birth in chapter #9. I request you to look at it once again, please. I have not mentioned anything about sudra yet. So, kindly hold your horses until then, please.
By debating with you I am going to learn a lot. I am looking forward to that.

Regards,

Raghy.
 

pvraman

Active member
Dear Sri PVRaman,
The quoted part of your posting is all Greek and Latin to me. Seems you typed in Tamil non- unicode and it got changed to Roman script.Please review before and after posting.

Dear Sri Vikrama,

I am sorry sir, just upgraded my ubuntu machine, i am trying to figure out where my scim (from 9.04 version) gone. Thatswhy i have linked the original pdf. sorry for the trouble.....

In pdf also i read those roman script only, can you tell me what it is? since the left side meaning was sufficient i just left it that way :decision:,

Thanks for pointing out.
 
In the present times, a Brahmin is one who is born of so-called Brahmin parents. In the lineage of a Brahmin, how did the first person in the line become a Brahmin? Who assigned the Brahmin status to him? Did Thiruvalluvar refer to Brahmins by the word Andhanar?
 
Sri Naran,

thanks for your detailed responses. I am going to love debating you. I am not a learned person. I will seek your help to conduct research to debate you. But that has to wait for a week at least. I am a full time student who has an assignment due next week. Once that gets out of the way, I will spend focused time for this thread. I hope you don't mind.

Regards,

Raghy.
Sr Raghy

I really enjoyed the quoted portion.

The scene which immediately came to mind was: In the battlefield of Kurukshetra, Dharmaputra stands in front of all Gurus and Acharyas and elders , who are now mostly in th opponent's side . He offers his pranamamsto them and seeks permission to fight them in the Dharma yudha.....

Nara deserves the pranams for his erudition.

Can we expect a real Dharmayudha of logical arguments?(discussion)

Expecting a " Sariyaana Potti"

Gretings.
 
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Dear Sri Vikrama,

I am sorry sir, just upgraded my ubuntu machine, i am trying to figure out where my scim (from 9.04 version) gone. Thatswhy i have linked the original pdf. sorry for the trouble.....

In pdf also i read those roman script only, can you tell me what it is? since the left side meaning was sufficient i just left it that way :decision:,

Thanks for pointing out.

Unicode is problem free. If you have xp, you can type Tamil directly.
 
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Sri Naran,

Glad to be back. Thanks for allowing me the time.

"மறப்பினும் ஓத்துக் கொளலாகும் பார்ப்பான்
பிறப்பொழுக்கம் குன்றக் கெடும்."

In this Kural (post #7 in this thread) Valluavar talks about 'Paarppaan', not 'andhanan'. Paarppan had the obligation to learn thevedas and teach the vedas to all three varnas namely Brhma, kshtriya and vysya.

( I am not still opening about Sudhra yet. I am required to define Sudhra first. I am aiming to do that after explaining the aim of strating this thread. So, I humbly request you not to get in to the debate about Sudhras. Secondly, I am not aiming to talk about present condition about jaathi either. There are plenty threads on that issue, one started by your own self).

Valluvar did not say 'andhanan' in the place of 'paarppaan'. In other words, a paarppan need not be an andhanan; He just had a job to do, an obligation to fulfil. 'Pirappozhukkam' essentially is learing vedas and teaching vedas, assissting in God worship etc. He need not be an andhanan for that. Like you rightly explained quite beautifully, andhanan quality is way above the simple 'paarppan'. An andhanan need not know vedas in the first place. What's more, an andhanan need not be educated at all.

So, andhanan respect can not be claimed by birth.

Sri Naran,

"Srimat BG does state in two places, in chapter 1 and in chapter 9 that cannot be taken to mean thae varna is anything other than by birth."

I do not recall Krishna teaching anything in Chapter 1. I also fail to recall Krishna connecting varna and birth in chapter 9. Vysa said through Krishna's mouth that four varnas were created in the social order. But he never said that people were segregated in different varnas. I searched, but could not find such a thing. I have no desire to assume anything. I am not able to accept various translations and explanations given by somany scholars on this subject.

Over to you, please.
 
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Sri Pvraman said:-

"Thiruvalluvar, before writing this Kural, before defining about Andhanar, in Kural 8 itself he advise the people to follow andhanar. is that right?

"Aravaazhi Andhanan thaalserthaark kallal
piravaazhi neendhal aridhu"

My understanding to this is Araththin Moolam Vaazum Andhanananai, follow seyya vittal, one can not cross this ocean of life."

Sir,

'Aravaazhi' is aram + aazhi. 'an ocaen of aram'. The one who has aram like an ocean; one who is perfect; all the arams come from him..... The one is the God Almighty. Valluvar talks about 'saranagathy' in this kural. He reckons that only by joining the feet of the God Almighty one can swim the piravaazhi ( Piravi + aazhi = ocean of birth; piravi perunkadal).

Sri Pvraman :-

"For all other ex-varna (apart from Brahmana), they have a clear target to hate, ie brahmana. But for the present brahmin, we dont know whom to hate, we must hate only our ancestors who did not educate properly the other varnas so much so that they have left us with so much hatred. We are stunned, we don't know why it is happening to us. Fortunately, we convince ourselves saying that its all Murpiravi karma."

Sir,

I concur with you about the plight of caste brahmin today. Unfortunately, in my opinion, this misery may increase more. When one community can be bullied and discriminted legally, I do not see an end to it. All the caste brahmins will be systematically crushed. It has already happened in most villages. Unless caste brahmins mainly the youth find a way to get out of this rut, it may never abate. Personally I never kiss the feet of someone who discriminate me. I struggled while I was in India. But, I read the writing on the wall. I never deluded myself in any illusions of getting a fair deal in my life.

Sri Pvraman said:-

"And we have a greater responsibility as a Brahmin, to have a Ara Vazhi and guide others along with us."

No sir. I humbly beg to differ with you. If you mean caste brahmins by the word 'We', then we have no responsibility to guide anybody. In today's condition, in my opinion, the caste brahmins have the responsibility to survive. Sir, we do not have any superiority over others.
 
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Dear Friend. I am only a junior member and am like a kid in a big school. Often in my mind I have a question whichy I think this is the correct forum to get cleared. We have many Gods and Goddess and can we identify any one as Brahmin. For Lord Rama was a Kshatriya being son of Raja Dasarada. Lord Krishna relative of another King and brought up with yadavas. Any deity when we go deep do not come under Brahmin perview. I also wonder if a sudra boy/girl was adopted by a brahmin and taught vedas will he not chant as good as a brahmin boy? request clarification.
 

kunjuppu

Active member
......... I also wonder if a sudra boy/girl was adopted by a brahmin and taught vedas will he not chant as good as a brahmin boy? request clarification.

kr,

i do not know much about clarification. except God itself, i do not think anyone has enough knowledge for clarifications. i think that would be sheer arrogance from those folks.

but, i can tell you what i feel and what has been proved through history.

i feel, that anyone, will come up to the maximum potential, given the right schooling, food, environment and encouragement. it can be boy or girl, and caste, creed, race et al do not matter.

in our own land, we have seen since the indian independence, the liberation of the dalits and the so called shudras into the field of education.

today, it is a matter of fact, that you go to the doctor and seek treatment, irrespective of what caste or religion he belongs. you want cure and that is all it matters.

i could extrapolate and say the same thing about chanting vedas. if you have the interest and a good teacher, anyone can do it. we have westerners and hare krishna folks, chanting vedas as well as anyone else.

in the aftermath of the russian revolution, the entire middle class and intelligentsia was butchered. admission to the universities was only for children of peasants and working class. a much more rigorous quota system than ours.

yet soviet science grew by leaps and bounds during the 1930s to 1970s, thanks to heavy government patronage and recognition.

that is all matters. money, environment, recognition.

ultimately, we are all equal humans before our God. differentiation of humans based on birth, is but another castle in the air of the ignorant.

let you and i atleast take comfort, that we do not belong to that crowd who believe in such ignorance. thank you.
 
Glad to be back. Thanks for allowing me the time.

Hello Raghy, good to see you back. Hope your assignment went well.


So, andhanan respect can not be claimed by birth.

I agree, because, that term, originally, had nothing to do with any caste. However, in due course of time things changed. We can tell for sure that by the time of மணிமேகலை, written by கூலவாணிகன் சீத்தலை சாத்தனார், the word அந்தணர் had become a synonym for Brahmin. Please read the section on மணிமேகலை from my post #7.

Also, Thondaradippodi Azhvar in verse #43 of திருமாலை, uses the phrase சாதி அந்தணர் to mean Brahmin. I have already posted details about this verse in post #10, and many other posts, from the எங்கே
Sri Vaishnavam thread.

While I agree with you that the term anthaNan did not mean Brahmin originally, but the word and the intended respect became synonymous with Brahmin a very long time ago. This, I think, did not happen just by accident or because Brahmins in general exhibited the superior qualities of an andhaNan.

===================

I do not recall Krishna teaching anything in Chapter 1.

I have a lot of respect for Srimat BG. I think it contains many useful lessons for how to lead one's life. But it is also a flawed text in some ways, just like the great Thirukkural, which is inspiring in many ways, is also flawed in the way the role of women is described. So, don't think I am condemning BG outright.

With this disclaimer, here is what I have on BG and caste/varna. Please read the original text and you will see that what I am saying is quite faithful.

In Shloka 41 of Chapter 1, Arjuna declares that Varna Sankraha, i.e. mixing of Varna, will result if the women of the clan become blemished.

अधर्म अभिभवात् कृष्ण प्रदुष्यन्ति कुल स्त्रियः ।
स्त्रीषु दुष्टासु वार्ष्णेय जायते वर्ण सङ्क्ररः ॥

(adarma abhi bhavAt krushna, pradushyanti kula sthriya:
strIshu dushtAsu vAshNeya, jAyate varNa sangkra: )

If mixing of varnas will result from the rape of women, why then varna is not birth based?

In the next Shloka, Arjuna says that what follows from this mixing of Varna, is the destruction of of Jati and Kula virtue that have existed from beginningless time. Then, the dead fathers will lose their pinda etc..

सङ्करो नरकाय एव कुल घ्नानां कुलस्य च ।
पतान्ति पितरः हि एषाम् लुप्त पिण्ड उदक क्रियाः ॥

(sankaro narakAya eva, kula ghnAnAm kulasya cha
patanti pitara: hi eShAm lupta piNda udaka kriyA: )

If varna is not birth based and only based on gunas, what is the connection between destroying kula and pitru shrardham?

In shloka #43, Arjuna says mixing of Varnas will destroy jAti darma and kula darma.

दोषैः एतै कुल घ्नानां वर्ण सङ्कर कारकैः ।
उद् साद्यन्ते जाति दर्माः कुल दर्माः च शाश्वताः ॥

(doShai: etai kula ghnAnAm varNa sangkArakai:
ud sAntyante jAti darmA: kula darmA: cha shAshvatA: )

If varna is not birth based why should its mixing result in the destruction if jAti darma and kula darma?

Finally, in Shloka #44
Arjuna cites the authority of tradition for what he had stated.

उत्सन्न कुल धर्माणाम् मनुष्याणाम् जनार्दन ।
नरके नियतम् वासः भवति इति अनुशुश्रुम ॥

(utsanna kula darmANAm manushyANAm janArdana
narake nityam vAso bhavati iti anu shushruma )

Arjuna says he is only stating what he had heard from elders and that these are not just his delusions.

Now, I know what you are going to say. These were Arjuna's questions from a disturbed mind. These are not the words of Sri Krishna. But this objection raises two questions in my mind.

[1] Since Arjuna cites the authority of elders and tradition in shloka #44, why should this not be taken as the common practice and view at that time?

[2]If Arjuna's words on Varna/Jathi are erroneous, why then Lord Sri Krishna never once disputes Arjuna on this issue anywhere? The Lord speaks of Varna several times in BG, yet, never once does he correct Arjuna on mixing Varna due to women loosing their chastity.

I also fail to recall Krishna connecting varna and birth in chapter 9.

We discussed this earlier in this forum. I am not going to give you interpretations from one scholar or another. I am specifically referring to shlokas 32 and 33 of Chapter 9.

Let me first set the stage. In this portion of the chapter the lord is trying to give confidence to Arjuna that he too can achieve moksham. So to buck up Arjuna lord says even women, vaishya and shudra, who are pApa yOnayaha, can attain moksha. So, kshathriyas and brahmanas, who are of noble birth, need not worry, they can surely get release through surrender to the lord.

Now, I will give you the actual shlokas without any interpretation.

मां हि पार्थ व्यापाश्रित्य येपि स्युः पाप योनयः ।
स्त्रियो वैसयास्तथा शूद्रास्तॅ अपि यानि परं गतिं ॥ 32

(mAm hi pArtha vyAp Asritya yE api syu: pApa yOnaya:
striya: vaishya: tathA shUdra: te api yAnti parAm gatim)

किं पुन ब्राह्मणाः पुण्या भक्ता राजर्षयस्तथा ।
आनित्यं असुखं लॉकं इमं पप्राप्य भजस्व मां ॥ 33

(kim puna: brAhmaNA: puNyA bhaktA rAjarShya tathA
anityam asukham lOkam imam prApya bhajasva mAm)

With the literal meaning of the word yOni being uterus or female reproductive organ, anyone who says the lord was not making a connection between varna and birth in the same way gender is, is the one who is doing some fanciful interpretation.

Finally, over to you....

(I apologize for the length, I am constrained by having to give copious references.)
 
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Aim of this thread

When I was young, I did not understand the reason for legally sanctioned discriminations against me in the name of caste. I was very busy trying to find a way to survive and to beat the discriminations. This thread is not focused on discriminations and the effects of discriminations. This thread is not even about any realities.

If we are to fix a problem, then we ought to know the ideal situation as a bench mark. Then only we can analyse the amount of deviation from an ideal situation. This thread is meant to talk about the ideal situation with respect to Varna system and how it could have helped every individual for a spiritual betterment.

As I mentioned earlier, each individual follow different varna at different occasions. For example, I had one harijan gentleman who was working in our farm. I used to be his apprentice. Whenever he taught me about different cultivation techniques, he belonged to brhma varna. When he negotiated wages for different tasks with different other people to be performed in our farm on our behalf, he indeed belonged to viyasya varna. Stealing water was a regular occurrence in farming. I have noticed him so many times arguing, threatening and chasing away the water thieves, protecting our small farm. At those times he exhibited kshatriya varna. I have not known him ever to be dishonest. If he were to be dishonest, he would have displayed ‘sudhra’ varna. In such a situation, if the action were to be serious enough, the village would have shunned him. In other words, if someone accepted to perform certain duties and deliberately failed to perform, then only such a person may become a sudhra.

We have three gunas namely sathva, rajo and thamasa. We display all these gunas at various times. Sathva guna leads to honesty; when under this guna, we may perform brahma, kshtriya and viysya actions. All thre actions are honourable. When under the influence of rajo and thamasa gunas, we expose ourselves to the possibility of risking sudhra actions.
The aim of this thread is to bring the awareness to the reader so that, the reader would be aware of his/her actions. Once we are to stop and consider any action, we are likely to perform that action as decently as possible.

I am aware that this posting and this thread may seem ridiculous. But, I have been following this for a very long time. I have no regrets. This thread is not for a social reform or anything like that. This is just for a personal development only.
 
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renuka

Well-known member
but i feel " the varna being a birth right " practice has been there even in Dwapara Yuga.
Remember the episode after the Mahabharat war where Yudhisthira did not want to preform funeral rites for the slain Karna when Kunti asks him to do so.
Yudhishtira says "why should i do for a Sutaputra"(by product of a Kshatriya father and Brahmana mother)
only after Kunti reveals the truth of Karna, Yudhistira preforms the funeral.
If caste was practised based by Gunas alone and not by birth right then why was Karna never considered a kshatriya even though crowned king of Anga by Duryodhana.
but the irony is both Pandu and Dhrtarashtra were considered Kshatriyas even though fathered by sage Vysa( a Brahmana).
shouldnt the Kauravas be considered Brahmanas by birth.
i dont know about the Pandavas which Varna they come under since they were fathered by Devas and Varna does not apply to Devas

weird isnt it
 
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Sri Nara,

Thanks for the welcoming message. Yes, my assignment went well.

I did not respond to your message in post #10 because, I am writing from a different platform, as you can see from my post ‘Aim of this thread’. But that need not stop you from debating. The more you write, the more will be the knowledge for everyone.

In response to Srimat BG, chapter 1, slokas 41 through to 44 :-
Yes, discrimination in the name of varna and jati was prevalent even in those days. Jati system by birth was so ancient! What was the period of Mahabharata? Was it 3 to 5 thousand years before? It was so prevalent and despicable; Vyasa had to write in Mahabharat in detail about that. Of course, we see that in Ramayana too. (was Gukan an untouchable? I am not sure…)

But, Srimat BG does not preach it; Sri Vyasa did not tolerate it. That was my point. Krishna was surprised to see Arjuna harbouring such thoughts. Essentially, Krishna did not approve such thoughts. In reply to Arjuna, Sri Krishna says,
Kutas tva kasmalam idam visame samupasthitam
Amarya justam asvargyam akirti karam Arjuna! – Ch-2. slokam -2.

Krishna basically wonders how this ‘garbage’ (kasmalam) came into you? Krishna condemns such thoughts as ‘garbage’. Krishna preached Gita after this; subsequently said to him the slokam ‘ chatur varnyam…. (4:13). My point is, Vyasa rejected varna or jati by birth although it prevalent in that period.

(mAm hi pArtha vyAp Asritya yE api syu: pApa yOnaya:
striya: vaishya: tathA shUdra: te api yAnti parAm gatim) – 9:32.

Sri Nara, I anticipated you to quote this slokam. ( My wife was reciting BG at one time. After reading this slokam she got offended and became very angry. As a result of that, we went through the whole BG, discussing each slokam!)
Papa yOnaya – one who passed through a sinful Yoni. In other words, one who was born through illicit relationship, born to a prostitute etc. Come to think of it, mother’s less than agreeable behaviour should not affect the child though.( Along with such person, even a woman, a vaishya and sudhra can attain parama ghathi). Here, Krishna is talking about the people who attained or would attain paramaghati. I took that as an emphasising slokam for Arjuna. In my opinion that slokam was a pep talk. That slokam did not isolate any such a person for discriminations or for harsh treatment. Importantly, that slokam does not preach such person to be discriminated, but the opposite.

(kim puna: brAhmaNA: puNyA bhaktA rAjarShya tathA
anityam asukham lOkam imam prApya bhajasva mAm) – 9:33

Krishna groups brahmana, punya bhakta (Raja rshya) righteous or dharmatma kings as equals. He did not speak anything by birth here. Punya bhakta could very well be a lower caste or anyone from slokam 33. Just a bhakta who committed saranaghati. Such person would become equal to brahmana or raja rshya. I don’t see this as an unfair deal! Don’t you think so?
Over to you, please.
 
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but i feel " the varna being a birth right " practice has been there even in Dwapara Yuga.
Remember the episode after the Mahabharat war where Yudhisthira did not want to preform funeral rites for the slain Karna when Kunti asks him to do so.
Yudhishtira says "why should i do for a Sutaputra"(by product of a Kshatriya father and Brahmana mother)
only after Kunti reveals the truth of Karna, Yudhistira preforms the funeral.
If caste was practised based by Gunas alone and not by birth right then why was Karna never considered a kshatriya even though crowned king of Anga by Duryodhana.
but the irony is both Pandu and Dhrtarashtra were considered Kshatriyas even though fathered by sage Vysa( a Brahmana).
shouldnt the Kauravas be considered Brahmanas by birth.
i dont know about the Pandavas which Varna they come under since they were fathered by Devas and Varna does not apply to Devas

weird isnt it

Sow. Sri. RenukaKarthikeyan,

The whole Mahabharatham was weired. In that period, as we can see from Srimat Baghavat Gita, caste descriminations were prevalent. I have heard from scholars that Mahabharatha is story that one should know; but one should never follow!
Sage Vysa was not considered a brahmana by many other brahmanas because his mother was a fisher woman, 'macha ghanti'. His father was Parasura Muni. from that time, caste or varna were not practised by 'guna and karma'; they were essentially by birth. I think Vysa wanted to wanted to change that; but, I don't think he got too far.
 
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