|| shrI sha.nkarAchArya aShTottara-shata-nAmAvaliH ||

Ravi Mayavaram msr at REDDY20.TAMU.EDU
Sat May 16 13:05:35 CDT 1998

>purANasmR^itisAraj~no nityatR^ipto mahA~nChuchiH |
>nityAnando nirAta.nko nissa.ngo nirmalAtmakaH || 7 ||

AUM mahate namaH

I bow to shrI shankara who is a great being.

AUM shuchaye namaH

I bow to shrI shankara who is pure.

AUM nityAnandAya namaH

I bow to shrI shankara who is ever in the state of bliss.

AUM nirAta.nkAya namaH

I bow to shrI shankara who is fearless.

AUM nissa.ngAya namaH

I bow to shrI shankara who has no bondage.

AUM nirmalAtmakAya namaH

I bow to shrI shankara who has no impurities.


I took mahA~nChuchiH as two words, mahAn and shuchiH, is it

>From  Sat May 16 21:35:52 1998
Message-Id: <SAT.16.MAY.1998.213552.0400.>
Date: Sat, 16 May 1998 21:35:52 -0400
Reply-To: ramakris at erols.com
To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
        <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
From: Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian <ramakris at EROLS.COM>
Subject: Re: What is adhikAra? (fwd)
Comments: To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
        <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
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Ravi Mayavaram wrote:

> ---------- Forwarded message ----------

> Here is something to be forwarded to the mailing list. I thought of
> sending this after I rejoin the list later in June, but I see that there
> is a need for a timely statement of certain things. - Vidyasankar

[ ... ]

Thanks to Vidyasankar for his message. I'd like to add a few more
points. My apologies to those tired of this thread.

1. First the reasoning behind the caste system. It is very simple, it
lays down the path only to fulfill prArabdha karma and hence the "work"
to be done is not decided by "free-will". All work to be done is
automatically decided by birth and no choice is left to the person. In
fact even things like what veda to learn is determined by birth and not
by choice. The only choice given is to identify with the fruits or offer
it to Lord nArAyaNa. The former leads to more births and the latter
prepares one for GYAna. First point: because of this brahmins _cannot_
take up the work of other castes. This has been firmly refuted by shrI
chandrashekhara bhAratI swamigaL. We should also note that various
smR^iti-s enjoin strict prAyaschittam for brahmins doing karma of other
castes. As a result of this giving some quotations from stray smR^iti-s
is not of much use. When smR^iti-s contradict each other only the
statements of reknown leaders can be accepted. In this regard I'd like
to relate an incident pertaining to the life shrI chandrashekhara
sarasvatI swamigaL of the Kanchi Mutt. A brahmin came to him and
complained about the increase of brAhmaNa dveshhaM (brahmin hatred). The
poor soul was apparently looking for some words of solace. Instead the
AchArya snapped back somewhat angrily that if brahmins continued to take
up the jobs of other castes (that includes anything other than vaidikam)
there wouldn't be "brAhmaNa dveshhaM" but "brAhmaNa dvamsam"
(annihilation of brahmins). This was related to me my mothers cousin who
recently visited me. His mothers family was very close to the Kanchi

I am quoting the name of these two people because they were reknown for
their rigid adherence to smR^iti-s. Giving some stray verses from some
arbitrary smR^iti will not suffice, especially since many other
smR^iti-s (including gItA) contradict that.

2. A brahmin who takes up a job other than vaidikam automatically loses
the privelege of advising others. So persons writing software etc cannot
make claims that whatever they say becomes "tradition" and that too
overriding the acceptance of certain traditions by people like
upanishhad brahma yogin (as Jaldhar has claimed in the past).

3. Claiming that one's profession has been determined by fate (as in the
nADi josyam etc) is not acceptable. Whoever said following svadharma is
easy? If it were the case, everyone would be a karma yogi.

4. If at all one had an open mind, he/she would realize that claiming
brahmins can take up any job (using some stray quote) when it
contradicts the very reason for varNAshrama, contradicts other smR^iti-s
and statements of reknown leaders, is the height of hypocricy.

5. Next the qualifications of a brahmin. In the bhAratam there is a
story in the anushAsana parvam. A brahmin lad is beating a small donkey.
It cries out to its mother "O mother, you said brahmins are kind, how
come this fellow is beating me?". The mother replies "A brahmin has the
welfare of every living creature in his mind. Since this fellow does not
have it, he can't be a brahmin. In fact he is not, he is an illegitimate
child born of his mother and a barber." Note the curious fact about this
story. No, its not that two donkeys and one seemingly sarvaGYa are
talking in sanskrit, that too in the shloka metre :-). It is that this
qualification being absent is _enough_ to decide his lack of
brahmin-hood!!! I salute anyone who has this qualification, but the rest
better feel humble. BTW, shrI sha.nkara quotes this qualification (same
verse from the bhAratam) as to why brAhmaNa-s are great. If anyone has
this qualification they can feel happy, otherwise it would be good to
keep quiet. So obviously he was addressing only this level of people,
not the run of the mill "brahmins".

BTW, the story continues to say that brahmin hood is decided only by
birth, in case some one misinterprets the story.

6. BTW, this "krama mukti only" by the smR^iti-s (as in the case of
non-dvija-s) is not acceptable. This is what shrI Subbaramaiya, a direct
disciple of mahAsannidhAnam has to say in his book (which has a shrI
mukham by HH) in page 579.

pp.579: The sutra bhAshhya 1-3-9-38 points out that none can dispute the
dawn of knowledge and the inevitable result of the good tendencies
acquired in the past, in the case of **brahma GYAni-s** like vidura,
dharmavyAdha etc. ...

As a matter of fact, person **not belonging to any order** is also
entitled to *****brahmavidyA*****, as such cases are met with in the
upanishhad-s (sUtra 3-4-9-36).

This should settle the issue of krama-mukti only for non dvija-s. This
is an absolutely wrong view. As I mentioned before the lack of
about absence of vedAntic study and attainment of GYAna has been
explained by shrI sureshvarAchArya and sarvGYAtma muni.

Note that Sri Subbaramaiya has gone through vedAntic study in the
traditional manner and that too under HH himself.

As for following svadharma he comments: "That svadharma alone is to be
performed is emphasized by such statements as `Better is one's own duty
though it falls short of perfection' and `Better die doing one's duty'
etc. (page 583).

That should settle utterly bogus views that brahmins can take up any job
they please and claim superiority.

7. Claiming that brahmins are better because of the will of Ishvara and
their deeds in the past: I request that members not make such claims.
The qualification of a brahmin has been clearly laid out in the
bhAratam. If one does not have that and make such claims as above, it
will only lead to strengthening of the ego. One should again and again
remember the story of nArada and how his ego was subdued. When the
greatest of sages suffers this fate, what can we say? None except Sriman
Narayana himself knows the true worth of people.

8. I request that members not claim that non-dvija-s cannot attain
videha mukti (instantaneous moxa) without properly learning vedAnta
under a qualified guru. Such statements will lead to the frustration and
disappointment of our serious, practicing non-dvija friends (including a
lot of Americans) on this list. In my opinion that's a crime. The most
traditional of maTha-s (like Sringeri) do not accept such a claim. So, I
request that this list not be turned into some kind of exclusive club
for brahmins.

9. I have a final request. Could members please refrain from using the
word "shudra" unless very much necessary? The word though meaning
something else is now used generally by ignoramuses as some kind of four
letter word. I am not going to justify their behavior that "it is their
word view". Again, let's not convert the list into some kind of brahmin
exclusivistic club. We have many other members, some of them very
learned or serious practitioners or both in our midst.



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