Chandran, Nanda (NBC) Nanda.Chandran at NBC.COM
Fri May 8 14:14:43 CDT 1998

>I take to mean one who knows brahman  (see B.rhad 3.8.10,
>4.4.23, for example), and any relation to the physical body (caste)
>being coincidental.  To label a man according to the pregenitors of
>the skin-bag -- full of blood, fat, urine, faeces -- does place undue
>credence on the reality of the physical world:

It's very simple to talk from the Paramartika level and state what makes
one a Brahmana. In the Paramartika level even the shruti is useless, as
Shankara states in Vivekachoodamani.

But when we get down to the Vyavaharika level the rules differ. Let's
take for instance the survival of the shruti itself. If a particular
community had not been made responsible for the safekeeping of the
revelations, what're the chances it would have survived intact over the
millinea? Even good knowledge and understanding of the scriptures
doesn't mean that one's qualified to contradict the rules laid down by
the great masters. After all, none of us in this list are Realized, are
we? When we become jnanis we can then refute Shankara's claim that only
Brahmanas are eligible for moksha or reading the shruti.

It's my opinion that the Brahmin way of life is very closely linked to
all this. The vegetarian diet, the respect given to knowledge, the
devout attitude, the morals, the profession etc might be the key
factors. Marco Polo in his jounals states that the Brahmanas were highly
moral and would speak only the Truth. As the Taiittriya Upanishad
states, "May we see, hear and speak only what's good". Infact I remember
a cousin of mine who went into business and lost all his money! My
grandfather rebuked him saying, "There's a reason why the ancients have
said that Brahmanas shouldn't go into business". The Brahmanas even till
a few centuries back would only be priests or work in temples or teach
or administrater Govt etc but never engage in anyother 'commercial'
profession as it might expose them to negative influence. But I doubt if
any of us 'neo' Brahmanas who have diversified into all fields can be
equated with them.

I recently met a Buddhist who vehemently argued that since the
Compassionate One didn't preach vegetarianism Buddhists can eat meat!
What can one say when one of the main objectives of any sadhana is to
annihilate the Ego? Annihilation of the Ego is not sitting in some room
and engage in Zen style meditation and supression. It's the recognition
of all of God's sentient creation as equal and to develop compassion for
all weak and under privileged creatures. It totally escapes me as to how
anybody can talk of realization and still eat meat! But I'm sure in this
age of equality and progress, anything goes!

And as Giri said just because something doesn't apply to you, doesn't
mean it doesn't apply to everybody else. Just because one can understand
and appreciate Vedanta, doesn't mean everybody else can and it's wrong
to state that such rules and regulations laid down by the acharyas are
foolish. The ancient masters had greater insight and understanding of
the human psyche, than we realize and had the responsibilty of the
welfare of the whole society as well. Hence such preconditions.

Being a Brahmana stood for something atleast in the yesteryears. Let's
not with our current conditioning and perceptions, cast doubts on a
system we don't and can't understand.

        Because e-mail can be altered electronically,
        the integrity of this communication cannot be guaranteed.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list