viprataa (was Re: Sadhana)

sadananda sada at ANVIL.NRL.NAVY.MIL
Fri May 8 06:25:37 CDT 1998

>Well, that's my two cents worth.  Now that you have the etymology,
>what do you make of it?  If it helps, you will find the word vipra
>used in GK 4.86.
>Regards, Charles.

Charles, very illuminating analysis for viprataa.

I am a strong believer that our fore-father vision was far beyond that what
is believed or practiced by the confines of the walls of superficial caste
divisions based on the birth.  The  teaching is to the mind and
pre-requisite qualifications should naturally pertain to the mental state
of the student rather than just the birth.

To have vipratwam, birth in a family is neither necessary nor sufficient,
while recognizing, as in all cases, hereditary and environment do play a
role. Of course, I am not blind to the fact that in reality birth and
gender played a significant role in the admissions to a gurukula in the
past and that is perpetuating in a different form even now. We may give a
broader meaning to the sloks 2 and 3  in VivekachuuDamani, but the
contextual meaning in relation to the existing practices at that time and
history when the book was written, there is no doubt that Shankara meant
brahmana by birth as is examplified by his relavent text Upadesha sahasri
where qualifications of the student is much more eloborately discussed.

I appreciated John Grimes commentary based on more broader outlook, which
is also reflected in the Swami Chinmayanada's commentary on the boo. I do
not like to shield the past practices with the present outlook.  Without
making a judgemental call, one can provide the direct meaning, past
practices as well as state more broader or generic view of the contents of
the sloka.

Again, qualifications to the study of scriptures is different from the
qualifications for moksha. This, one has to be clear.  Study can lead to
mananam and nidhidhyaasanam but that again rests on the mental purity of
the individual.

Even in this country, I am reminded of the admissions to the Ivy league
schools where some consideration is given to the applicants whose parents
are alumni of the school.

Hari Om!

K. Sadananda
Code 6323
Naval Research Laboratory
Washington D.C. 20375
Voice (202)767-2117

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