Varna and one more, Question by Ravi Chandrasekhara MD

ravi chandrasekhara vadhula at YAHOO.COM
Mon Oct 15 18:20:04 CDT 2001

Namaskar to all,

I have heard/heard that a Brahmin by birth is defined
as :

1. One born of both parents being Brahmin by birth

2. Brahmin as a result of an anuloma vivaha wher the
father is a Brahmin and the mother is a Kshatriya or
Vaisya by birth.  The mother may be either a second
(Kshatriya) or third wife (Vaisya) of a Brahmin or
possibly even a primary and possibly only a wife
(Kshatriya or Vaisya) e.g. Parashurama's father was
Jamadagni, a Brahmin rsi, and his mother was Renuka, a
Suryavamshi Kshatriya from Ayodhya.

3.Apparently progeny of a Brahmin male and a
Non-dvija/Harijan/Mlecha (used to describe a
"foreigner") apparently are not Brahmins and are
either Sudras or of the mother's caste.

4. But what about Thai and Balinese Brahmins:  They
appear to be descendents of Brahmin males from India
and local women of those lands; then how can they be
Brahmins birth according to the Dharma-Shastras ?

I want to know from anyone what the Dharma-Shastras
say about the above-mentioned situations.

Pranam, Ravi Chandrasekhara
5.Pratiloma or hypogamous marriages between Brahmin
females and non-Brahmin males result in progeny who
according to Dharma-Shastras are not Brahmins and may
be Sudras or of the father's caste.
--- "Jaldhar H. Vyas" <jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM> wrote:
> On Mon, 15 Oct 2001, K. Sadananda wrote:
> > But I am not sure about your statement that varNa
> is not a caste.
> > Traditionally VarNa in the chaturvarNyam .. sloka
> has been
> > interpreted on the basis if four castes.  VarNa is
> used both in terms
> > of caste and/or color.  VarNaashrama dharma is
> used to designate
> > dharma for the four castes. The basis of human
> classification is
> > universal based on the proportions of satva rajas
> and tamo guNa-s.
> > The 18th chapter of B.G. has an extended
> discussion  related to GuNa
> > and karma-s.  Brahman is one who has predominately
> satvic GuNa.
> > Natually he follows the Dharma as defined by Saint
> ThiruvaLLuvar.  On
> > the other hand - jaati is used traditionally for
> caste.  I know
> > 'kula' is used - but never heard the use of jaati
> for caste.
> > Shankara uses in VivekachuuDaamani - jaati neeti
> kula gotra duuragam
> > ...
> >
> > Relation of caste to birth rather than guNa - But
> am not sure it is
> > shruti based.  If it is so I would like to hear.
> It is possible that
> > one can gravitate to a particular yoni based on
> ones predominant
> > guNa-s.   But then it  becomes a secondary cause.
> >
> > Anyway this is my understanding -
> >
> Anyone who has spent even five minutes in India
> knows that ones caste is
> based on birth.  That this is even an issue shows
> how bogus it is to rely
> on books, ignoring the evidence in front ones own
> eyes.
> An example of this from the Shruti that comes to
> mind is there is a
> certain rite which is supposed to be performed by a
> rathakara
> (chariot-maker.)  The sages asked does this mean a
> person who follows
> the profession of chariot making or someone who
> belongs to the caste of
> chariotmakers?  The answer is the latter.  We
> recently discussed the story
> of Satyakama and that all acharyas have interpreted
> Brahmanhood to be a
> matter of birth in his case not deeds.
> From very early on, thinkers have realized the
> connection between varna
> and jati is problematic.  One theory mentioned in
> the Dharmashastras is
> that the various jatis are the result of
> varnasankara (or mixture of the
> varnas.)  But again, this doesn't accord very well
> with reality.
> --
> Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

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