[Advaita-l] RE: Vedic Shakhas for kshatriyas and vaishyas?

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Fri Jan 14 10:47:13 CST 2005

On Thu, 13 Jan 2005, ravi chandrasekhara wrote:

> Dear Jaldhar and list members,
> If Gandhiji underwnet upanayana, how come no photos in
> his later years in a dhoti portray him with a janoi or
> yagnopaveet ?

Read "My Experiments With Truth"  It made zero impression on him and he
probably never bothered replacing it after the first year.

 I know many Gujarati vaishyas (I presume
> with the last names: Shah, Seth, Shroff, etc) who dont
> wear the yagnopaveet or even had upanayana. (the ones
> I know are around my age --- 35-40 and the generation
> before) This also appears to be the case among some
> Arya Vaisyas in South India in this generation (but
> they obtain it day before thier wedding and many do
> not wear it afterwards) but their parents generation
> tends to wear the yagnopaveet.

A Rajput friend of our family once told me a similiar thing.  In his
community, a groom is given yagnopavita the day before the wedding and
takes it off immediately after the festivities conclude.

> Another point; I read an article in an US Indian
> newspaper where members of the Patel community were
> initiated into Sanyas in the Swami Narayan sect and
> received yagnopaveet. First of all, I thought taking
> Sanyas, one gives up the yagnopaveet.

This is only amongst Advaitins.  Swaminarayan sampradaya follows Ramanuja
and vishistadvaita believes in jnanakarmasamucchaya.  So their sannyasis
keep yajnopavita, shikha etc. or even acquire them as in the above case.

>  In addition are
> Patels Dvijas ?; the many I know do not have a history
> for generations undergoing upanayana. I heard Patels
> (or more apt Patidars) are descendants ok Kurmis from
> Punjab and call themselves Kshatriyas.  But in North
> India, Kurmis are thought to be considered Shudras.
1.  I think you mean Kunbis not Kurmis and they are from Maharashtra not Punjab.

2. The claim is based on the fanciful derivation of their two main castes,
Leva and Kadwa from Lava and Kush, the sons of Shri Rama.

3. Patels are not dvijas.  However what this shows is that while the caste
system discouraged individual social mobility, entire groups did move up
and down in status.  Sometimes they rewrote history to bolster their

But this all beside the point as far as dharma is concerned.  One of the
people I admire the most, a Patel woman who babysat my daughter, wouldn't
know what a janoi was, doesn't know any sanskrit and is still one of my role
models of how a dharmic person should be.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
It's a boy! See the pictures - http://www.braincells.com/nilagriva/

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