Varna and one more

miinalochanii paashamochanii miinalochanii at YAHOO.COM
Fri Oct 12 17:43:22 CDT 2001

--- Sunny Bhardwaj <sunny_bhardwaj at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:
> Popular question (though don't know if it's appropriate for this
> list. If
> not, please ignore) -
> Is Varna determined solely by birth or can one move between the four
> castes
> during their lifetime?
> I've been trying to get authoritative information on this question
> but have
> found the two famous opposing views in equal measure.

varNa is not caste. jAti is caste. From the name jAti  (jA) it is
clearly associated with birth.

> Second question -
> I'm a Brahman by birth and want to be one by action. We are supposed
> to
> consult the Shastras to find out what to do. Where do I get these
> Shastras?
> I've been following several threads on this list and have heard
> quotes and
> references from various texts that I've never even heard of. Where do
> you
> all get access to these? (I'm at student at a university in the US)

There are two kinds of dharma: sAmAnya and visheshha. The book hindu
dharma is online on explains it very well. Please read it.
Personally, I think it is extremely difficult to be a brahmaNa
according to the traditional way. At least I see no hope. My conviction
increases as I read pages from vaidyanAtha dIxitIyam (which puts
together the views of various smRti-s and veda) on different subjects
related to visheshha dharma.

These days I think of only of a simple rule. This is extremely
difficult as well. This is the view of saint thiruvaLLuvar. It is very
brief and precise. My translation does not do it justice. I use tamil
commentary by parimelazagar as reference (who treats it mostly from
vedic stand point).

anthaNar enbor aRavOr - maRRevvuyirkkum
chenthaNmai puuNDozhugalan

brAhmaNa is one who adheres to dharma (which is chiefly) acting towards
welfare of all beings.

anthaNar - brahmaNa (literally one who has beautiful qualities or one
who is beautiful inside: azhagiya thaTpam uDaiyOr)

enbOr - those who

aRavOr - those who adhere to dharma

maRRevvuyirkum - to all other beings

chenthaNmai - considering welfare (chemmai thaNmai), compassionate

puuNDu - adopting (clothing oneself)

ozhugalaan - living by.

1) Considering welfare need not always mean ahimsa. Sometimes you have
to punish someone to help them learn. It is like taking a bitter
medicine to treat a disease.

2) This definition is actually placed in the section of renunciates. I
think it is appropriate. To be a brahmaNa (by any standards) require
ENORMOUS sacrifice.

vaLLuvar is actually an authority on sAmAnya dharma (he does not touch
upon visheshha dharma). But I am fascinated by this verse (like many of
his other verse).

BTW we do plan to start a series on vaidyanAtha diixitiyam on this

My 2c.


ambaaL daasan


sharaNAgata raxakI nivEyani sadA ninnu nammiti mInAxI

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