What is adhikAra? (fwd)

Nanda Chandran Nanda.Chandran at NBC.COM
Fri Jun 5 14:34:48 CDT 1998

I thank Ram Chandran for the very informative post.

The ManuSmriti states that a Brahmana can have only three means of
subsistence : 1. Teaching, 2. Performing sacrifices for others and 3.
Accepting gifts from others. Plus it also warns the Brahmana not to
follow the other castes in the ways of the world and to live a pure life
conducive to spiritual progress.

When I mentioned Brahmanas in South India who've not given up their
traditions, I did not ofcourse include myself and others like me who've
been born in a Brahmana family but have forsaken the tradition as per
the above clauses. Brahmanas like the Agnihotra Brahmana that Ram
Chandran mentions are the people I was referring to. There are still
some of them who complete with the kudumi (shaven head with a tuft of
hair in the centre falling backwards in a tail) still preserve their
legacy. I met such a man, elderly, in the Kanchipuram mutt the last time
I was in India. Knowledge just shone in his face. IMO, I think they are
much more evolved and more suitable for jnana than any other section of
people I know. Infact, I think this small section of the society is
still the foundation on which the rest of the Brahmana community rests
on, thus justifying the existing caste system.

I'm aware of the sensitive nature of the subject. All our discussions
seem to be generating more heat than light. I was just trying to make
some sense of the caste system and gather more knowledge. But I
understand it's very difficult to be objective about this subject
without getting emotional. As an old Sanskrit saying goes, "Speak only
what's true. Speak only what's pleasant".

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