[Advaita-l] Seeking God, swadharma, varna and occupation, etc

ravi chandrasekhara vadhula at yahoo.com
Tue Apr 4 23:26:34 CDT 2006

Dear Lsit members,

To elaborate further on Jaldhar's reponses to Santosh
Nair, I would like to add further responses/questions.

It appears that many of the Shudra and Avarna jatis
may have more flexibility in chosing occupations that
may not go against their swadharma and nityakarmas.
They can still follow "dharmas common to all as per
shastras". In many instances many still can eat meat
(barring beef) and perhaps consume ethanol.  Kanchi
Acharya Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati stated all 4
varnas can perform oupasana with agni and have many
samskaras in common. The only thing is that they
cannot undergo upanayan, wear yagnopaveet, chant
vedas, or become "Brahminical" purohits. (I used that
term b/c there are instances of non-Brahmin purohits
in some shrines)  To elaborate further, the Kamma
caste in Andhra Pradesh are part of the Shudra varna
but have engaged in agriculture, films (e.g. NT
RamaRao), politics, and as kings (Nayaks of
Thanjavur). So what a Kamma's swadharma be in terms
occupation ?

On the otherhand, a Brahmin need not be "professional
vadika or purohit, etc" but can maintian swadhrama by
undergoing upanayana, etc.  Kanchi Acharya grudgingly
accepts this as a minimum (as per book: Hindu Dharma) 
But are their occupations inimical to a Brahmin's
swadharma? (working as a butcher, fisherman, etc)

What is a Kshatriya to do if not rule or be a soldier?
 In my limited reading of puraanas, etc; in
pre-Mahabharata times all Kshatriyas engaged in those
activities. In modern times, it is harder to do (No
formal kings in India) Do non-Kshatriyas have shastric
sanction to be kings ? I heard Brahmins can in times
of apat-kaal.  The maharaja of Varanasi is Bhumihar
Brahmin, Rani of Jhansi was Karhade Brahmin, and
Maharaja of Dharbanga of Northern Bihar is a Mithilla

There are some Shudra, avarna, and Panchama (Harijan)
jatis have fixed hereditary occupations. So as per
shastras should a Tamil Hindu Fisherman caste member
always be one to maintain swadharma ? (or does he have
shastric sanction to do another occupation)

Another thing is that "why" are some jatis who perform
Kshatriya or Vaisya like functions considered Shudras
? (e.g. Reddys, Kammas, Patidars, Kunbis, Vellalas,
etc)  I read in one list where the author stated that
those jatis who didn't accept "vedic norms" (prob not
the accurate word I am using), could perform their
occupations as Kshatriyas/Vaisyas but wouldn't have
the right for yagnopaveet and would be considered
Shudras; what is the historical veracity of this ?  On
the otherhand, there are stories behind why jatis like
Maheshwaris in Rajasthan and Aggarwals who were
Kshatriyas that became Vaisyas.  But on the otherhand,
jatis like Lohanas and Khatris are Kshatriyas but
historically for the past 1000 years (reported as
decline during Muslim rule) have performed Vaisya like

Many modern day occupations dont fit into any varna
and many members of all varnas perform them.
(physician, attorney, IT, engineering, etc)  What do
shastras or more specifically,  acharyas of the major
sampradayas say ?  It would appear based on what I
stated above many Shudra/avarna jatis, Brahmins, and
perhaps Vaisyas can perform these modern day
occupations w/o violation of swadharma. But what about
those of Kshatriya varna ? And to take it further, if
all Kshatriya descendants of a Kshatriya
nonruler/non-soldier continue in a similar fashion,
would they still be considered Kshatriyas (by virtue
of marrying Kshatriya members only <who may also be
non-rulers/non-soldiers>  and undergoing
upanayana/performing sandhya-vandana as per Kshatriya
customs) Or do we all have it wrong and we should
perform our traditional roles professionally ?

Another point is that Brahmins in some respects are
more homogeneous than Shudras.  For example, gotras
are similar, performance of nitya-karmas, and
samskaras, and their specific dharma.The regional
differences among Brahmins are prob more recent b/c of
migration.  Many Bengali Brahmins are from Kannauj in
UP, Havyaka Brahmins in Karnataka are from UP, Nagar
Brahmins in Gujarat poss came from North India. 
Barring sagotra, from a shastric standpoint there prob
is no bar on intermarriage among jatis of Brahmins. 
Iyers and Iyengars (belonging to different
sampradayas) intermarry, many North Indian Brahmin
jatis intermarry, as some Kannada and Marrathi
Brahmins. (Similarly this occurs among royal families
belonging to Kshatriya varna)But among many Shudra
jatis, it appears to be very jati specific rather
varna specific.  For example would ther be shastric
injunction barring marriage between a Telugu Reddy and
Maratha Kunbi or Gujarati Patel and a Tamil Vellala ?

Sorry this is long, more to come later.

Dhanyavaad, Ravi Chandrasekhara

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