The word "BrAhmaNa" (Re: [Advaita-l] RE: Vedic Shakhas...)

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at
Tue Jan 18 15:42:04 CST 2005

--- "Jaldhar H. Vyas" <jaldhar at> wrote:

> On Tue, 18 Jan 2005, arun nair wrote:
> > Dear All,
> >
> > A doubt from a relatively new student of Vedanta. Is one a brahmana
> by
> > birth or as per one's gunas and karma as mentioned in Bhagavad
> Geeta
> > Chapter4.13.
> >
> The qualification for Brahmanahood is  birth in a Brahmana family. 
> And to
> be a Dvija by upanayana samskara.  The qualification for ability to
> realize Brahman is consciousness alone.

AFAIK, there are two meanings for the word "BrAhmaNa":

1) Male belonging to the priestly caste -- *both* birth and conduct
need to be taken into account. The dharma shAstras themselves say (e.g.
BaudhAyana), "One who does not study the scriptures, does not perform
the sandhyA worship and agnihotra, even if he be born into a BrAhmaNa
family, is to be considered a shUdra."

2) Knower of Brahman- The jIvanmuktiviveka says (I forget the exact
page), "In certain contexts, the word BrAhmaNa refers to the Knower of


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