Definition of a Brahmana!!!

Vaidya N. Sundaram sundaram at ECN.PURDUE.EDU
Wed Feb 11 11:53:15 CST 1998

On Wed, 11 Feb 1998, Chandran, Nanda (NBC) wrote:

> I came across this yesterday :
> King Janaka, an acknowledged jnani, in a dispute between the Brahmanas
> and the Kshtriyas, invited a Brahmana to compete against him in open
> debate (I find this itself strange, since a jnani is supposed to be
> devoid of an Ego!). But the sage Uddalaka cautioned the other Brahmanas
> thus : "If I enter into a debate with him (Janaka) and he defeats me,
> then they will say that a Kshtriya defeated a Brahmana. But if I defeat
> him, what shall I say, "I, a Brahmana, defeated a Kshtriya?". There's no
> point in such a debate.".
> Rather contradicts the point that one who attains Brahman is a Brahmana!
> Can somebody give some information as to where this text occurs?

 It is not an established fact that one who has attained Brahman is a
Brahmana. There are a few other prerequisites. Some of them include daily
recitation of the Vedas, performing yajnas etc. Apart from these, a
Brahmana is also supposed to spend some time teaching the Vedas and
accepting gifts from people who want to give. It is established through
several instances in Vedic literature that only a Brahmana can teach the
Veda and only a Brahmana can accept gifts (alms) at ceremonies.
 Given such requirements, realisation of Brahman is not given any special
priority. In addition, there are examples of Rishis challenging Kings to
debates for no purpose other than to stimulate intellectual debate in the
land. i am not saying that the above quoted story is to be seen as
accomplishing that, nevertheless ...


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