BrAhmanas and their jobs

nanda chandran vpcnk at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Oct 21 18:27:55 CDT 1999

>Also, I have heard from elders that another hall mark feature of
>Brahmanism was poverty.  Southern Brahmins are more orthoprax ( maybe
>due to lack of "foreign" influences like muslim rule, especially in >the
>deep south ).  And as far as I know, very few Southern brahmins were
>prosperous ( I believe this is not the case up north ).

>   What I was told was that the accumulation of wealth and the
>accumulation of wisdom cannot be contemparenous.  In literal terms, >"it
>is like putting a car in reverse gear and expecting it to go >forward".
>I believe even the AchAryas have said that active pursuit of wealth >is
>not a brahmanical virtue.  I would like to know what the list members
>feel about this issue.

Read the chapters regarding the four stages of life in Manusmriti. The
brAhmana should beg for food, sleep on the bare ground, life a pure and
austere life, preserve the dharma by preserving the shruti, meditate on the
Self and try his utmost to obtain moksham in that birth itself.

True knowledge is only knowledge of the Self. And one can never acquire that
knowledge as long as one's unwilling to let go of the identification of the
Self with the body, mind and the senses - which is what indirectly reflects
the pursuit of wealth, material comforts etc

All subtle dialectic, philosophy, learning and knowledge of the scriptures
etc have no meaning at all and will bear no fruit, if one doesn't in the
minimum, live the life prescribed for the brAhmana in the Manusmriti. And if
one does try to gain knowledge of the Self without relinquishing his
material comforts, please remember our AchAryas ominous warning in the
VivekachUdAmani : "Without discipline, one who tries to know the Self will
be similar to one who when crossing a river mistakenly grasps a crocodile
taking it for a branch of a tree - he'll be destroyed."

And for moksham, you'll have to go a step beyond that. As the Manusmriti
says regarding the VAnaprastha stage : "Walk in the north easterly direction
subsisting only on air and water till you drop!"
Yes, spiritual life is hard - so hard that the Katha Upanishad equates it to
walking on the edge of a razor. And the true VedAnti according to our
AchArya is one who's smeared with basmam, with matted hair and who wanders

And history reveals that brAhmanas lived such a life - and that's probably
the only reason that the 'inequitable' caste system survived through the
millenea. So inheritors of the heritage, please consider this, before
posturing about brAhmanic vocation, "true" VedAnti, smartha and non-smartha
practices etc

Get Your Private, Free Email at

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

Archives :
Help     : Email to listmaster at
Options  : To leave the list send a mail to
           listserv at with
           SIGNOFF ADVAITA-L in the body.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list