Varna and one more, Question by Ravi Chandrasekhara MD

K. Sadananda sada at ANVIL.NRL.NAVY.MIL
Tue Oct 16 06:10:06 CDT 2001

Shree Ravi Chandrasekharaji -

I would like to separate the practice of casteism (I am not sure the
spelling is right!) versus the fundamental basis for casteism.  We
have discussed this so many times in this list that it pretty soon
gets muddled with emotional aspects associated with the caste since
there are social implications and practice of discrimination on the
basis of caste. From the point of practice point, most of the rules
of who is Brahman, etc., I gather, is laid down by Manu dharma

On a  fundamental basis- I consider the classification is universal
(independent of time and place) and scientific.  It is the
classification of human behavior based on the texture of vaasana-s -
that reflect in terms of satva rajo tamo guNa-s.  Four combinations
are predominately the classification intended for ones evolution.  It
is intended for self-evaluation and self-evolution since evolution
progresses from tamas to rajas to saatvic nature.  Hence spiritual
practices will be more successful if one evaluates oneself correctly
and subscribes to appropriate saadhana-s that is in tune with his
tendencies - this is part of swadharma that by following one dharma
one can evolve more rapidly.  It is not intended to judge others
whether the other one is a Brahmin or not.

Ones birth is related to ones vaasana-s.  Basis of caste on the basis
of birth is putting cart before the horse.  The root cause is
vaasana-s and one knows his own vaasana-s more than other people's

I am not disagreeing with Jaldhar.  He emphasizes certain aspects
that cannot be denied either.  The example of satyakaama he mentioned
if one examines, the teacher concludes that the boy must be Brahmin
because he is not afraid of telling the truth.  Telling the truth is
a necessary condition of being a Brahman (as Ravi pointed out that it
is dharma) but not a sufficient condition - in that case everybody
who tells the truth is a Brahmin.   We have several questions in the
scriptures that declares that one is Brahman not by birth but by guNa
and Karma - In Mahabhaarata - YudhishhTara answers questions of
Nahishaa to that effect.  This is different from what was being
practiced at that time- Dronaachaarya is one example - Vyasasa was
born of Brahmin father and fisher-woman.  Vishvamitra was born of
kshatriya.   Valmiiki himself was an example- People say previously
he was a Brahmin.  DR^itaraashhTra. PanDu and Vidura -The first two
are considered as Kshatriya-s and the third one suudra since their
mothers were of those castes while father for all the three was Vyasa
himself.   The Vijrasuuchi upanishad provides a classification of
castes not on the basis of birth but on the basis of guNa and karma.
Jaldhar does not consider that as an authentic Upanishad and I am not
qualified to judge its authenticity either way.  But the fact is it
says so very clearly.  Hence I refuse to get into any arguments on
these other than to learn besides the quoted upanishads and smR^it
pramaaNa is there any other direct statements in shruti-s in terms of
classification.  Manudharma shaastra is not pramaaNa it is  law-book
to laid down for smooth operation of society at that time.

Now having said all these, I must confess something.  I may sound
like a hypocrite, but I am quite sensitive to the reverse
discrimination in the name of caste.  This may not be forum for
discussion of this and my apologies to the moderators if it is not
appropriate to bring this issue on this forum.  When I went to India
few years ago I found many young very bright Brahmin boys have no
access to education due to financial burden.  In my home town
Anantapur, there are hostel for Vaisya-s, Kshatriya-s and other
castes but none for Brahmin boys to join and these hostel would not
admit them since they don't belong to those caste.  But these are
very intelligent students who are also denied of any scholarships
because they belong to forward caste. They are economically backward.
In the name of my father we have started a poor Brahman Vasati
Gruham. The construction of the building was completed three years
ago. It is being run very efficiently by many volunteers who
themselves were retired principals and teachers.  There are currently
35 students who are getting completely free lodging and boarding so
that they can pursue education including Vedic teaching.  Currently I
am raising funds for the support of the students  - called
"Rushi-Putra Program"  it costs $1,500 to support one student on
permanent-basis.  The money is put in fixed deposit and the interest
is used for the support.  I appreciate anyone  interested to support
this "Rushi-Putra Program"   to contact me and I will provide
information how the money can be send as US Tax deductible donation.
There are other programs - to feed all the students for one day in
year- every year - casts around $500/- the interest is only used for
the operating expense.  It is called "Brahmana Vasiti Gruham" - I am
trying to be practical at the cost of being branded as a hypocrite.

Hence I am differentiating the casteism as practiced versus as the
basis for the classification.

Hari OM!

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