What is adhikAra? (fwd)

sadananda sada at ANVIL.NRL.NAVY.MIL
Tue May 19 10:21:55 CDT 1998

I read with great interest the input from Vidya on the topic.  I wish he
completes his thesis soon and educates us more about the shastra and
smRiti's assertions of who is Brahmana.  It is nice of him to take a brake
and provide his input.

I also read the related input from Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian.

There is still a question in my mind - Was caste ever intended to be based
on birth?  Obviously, I am not questioning the practice.  Is there any
sRitipramaana (assuming smRiti is secondary) for this.  Purushasuuktam only
uses the word birth for the sudras but not for other castes.  Hence one can
interpret that by birth everyone is sudra, and by guna or vidya one ascends
to the Brahmin-hood to sit at the face.   I do not have Vajrasuchi
Upanishad here with me to quote readily.  I have to go back and read the

With all due respects to the piiTaadhipaties and their interpretations of
the Shastras, the final say in these is not what they said or thought but
what is the Shastra pramana, and I would like to get as complete picture of
what exactly is given in the shRities - directly relevant instead of
indirectly implied.  Has any one done objective study of this?  In B.G.also
is there any direct reference to caste based on birth.  I do not remember
seeing that anywhere.   If and when Vidya has the time, I would appreciate
a full discussion of this.  I am asking the necessory and/ or sufficient
qualifications for one to be a Brahamana - as per the ShRities, separating
from what has been practiced or what different acharyaas interpreted.

Vidya's post reconfirms my own understanding that caste prevails in
relation to the dharma - pertaining to purvamiimaamsa involving rituals and
not uttara miimamsa relating to Vedanta.

I am happy to hear that one who speaks truth or one who does not hurt
anybody - manasaa, vaacha, karmana is Brahmin - is also perfectly
acceptable since he has the requisite mental frame to be a Brahmana. It is
logical and universal.  It also follows that one alone knows whether one is
Brahmana or not - since in the ultimate analysis one alone knows whether
one is telling the truth or not.

Hari Om!

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

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