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

Navin Rajaram navinr at moschip.com
Thu Jan 20 08:18:21 CST 2005

Hari Om,

Jaldhar H. Vyas wrote:

>Who said anything about appearing out of nowhere?  All the doctrine of
>apaurusheyatva entails is that we know nothing of the reasons behind the
>Vedic revelation.  It is precisely to prevent second-guessing like "these
>were thoughts of mortals based on their experience of the consciousness..."
Quite a cyclic argument we are constructing here,arent we? Someone says 
the doctrine of apaurusheyatva came from the Creator and he/she is 
promptly told it is not so. I say it came from someone's experience of 
consciousness and I am promptly told it is not so. Basically, we do not 
know and we are told not to speculate on where these doctrines came 
from. I don't think you can expect people to stop questioning any time. 
The only valid reasoning here is someone's thoughts are the Vedas - if 
you feel the mist wrote them, please feel free to rest in that belief.
The intention is anything but second-guessing, it is to maintain proper 
perspective on the origins of our sacred texts. Sorry but that's 
anything but iconoclastic.

>So the prevailing leftist cant would tell you.  Yet we see women doing
>puja and attending mandirs all the time.  Why isn't that blocked by their
>household activities?
>My wife for instance is perfectly capable of reading Sanskrit.  Every day,
>she lights a dipa for the pitrs and she recites a Gujarati stotra called
>Datta Bawani (to Bhagawan Dattatreya.)  These were practices she learned
>from her mother and grandmother.  She does vratas, and attends satsangs.
>Does that sound like someone who is just sitting there twiddling her
>thumbs waiting for some man to graciously allow her to copy him?

My political leanings are hardly leftist. And feminism is something I am 
alien to . Let's not twist issues here.
The question is if we accept the Vedas are the corner stone of all our 
principles, why would you make that gender specific? The point is this - 
you or I being a Brahmana uses the Vedas as the guiding principles for 
one's actions. Does it matter if you or I is a male or female? Women are 
not being seen as different from men in terms of spiritual seeking. And 
that is why I do not see it as a form of copycat. It is merely a 
prescribed form of study for all seekers.

But, if the rules are different for men and women, then why so is the 

>> Would the same hold in today's society where individuals are seen for
>>what they are and not for what their genders are?
>Ones gender and other aspects of background _are_ part of who you are.
>(And the left agrees or they wouldn't be asking for special treatment for
>groups deemed victims)  I'd agree that the enlightened person shouldn't
>see gender etc. as the _only_ dimension to a person.  But nothing I have
>said suggests that.

Well then since the guru is an enlightened person, he is in a position 
to impart knowledge to a qualified disciple - male or female.

>>Would a honest seeker - male or female - be denied the right to seek
>That's a straw man.  Seeking consciousness doesn't require knowing the Vedas.

Elaborate on your statement. Your principles are based on the Vedas, 
your dharma is founded on the teachings of the Vedas. You say it is 
important to do one's dharma as prescribed in the scriptures. And yet 
all this is detached from the aim of consciousness?? I'd love to hear 
you elaborate in this direction.

>>It's quite convenient to say Gargi and Maitreyi never existed while
>>others did.
>Sorry which others did I say did?  Let me repeat, the nature or
>personality of the Rshis has no bearing on what they taught.  Only their
>_actions_ do.  That society is one way or another, that things were done
>one way or another, is a matter of historical fact.  It doesn't require
>guessing what anyone might have meant.

??? - refer to your previous statement. I think Siddharthaji said Gargi 
and Maitreyi were examples of women being well versed in the scriptures. 
But you said how would you know they even existed? Does this mean event 
he small fraction of women (11%?) who did study the scriptures and were 
well versed in it are open to scrutiny while the rest of the males are not?

>>Occam's razor - Jaldharji, I'll suggest we do not invoke this argument
>>at all. Atheism rests on Occam's razor and the atheist believes in the
>>non-existence of God/consciousness simply because that is the simplest
>>explanation available. Hence, Occam's razor might just not work to your
>>advantage in this case.
>It is the tragedy of our times that people have come to believe that
>religion does not also rest on logic.  William of Occam was a Christian
>monk.  Our own acharyas thought rigorously and systematically.  Not for
>its own sake but because without rational discourse only shouting matches
>are possible.
>Anyway the proposition I was making -- that the Vedantic acharyas did not
>overly stress the samhitas because they thought they were orthogonal to
>the pursuit of jnana -- is quite safe from any atheist.  Because it's true.

Seems you did not read my statement completely. You misinterpret me. 
Religion - particularly jnana by inquiry - does rest on logic. But if 
you use Ockham's razor and other such arguments, you are only digging a 
deeper hole for yourself, simply because Ockham's razor is the very 
logical foundation for an atheist's argument. Use it for trivial 
arguments but you forget that Ockham's razor can be used to greater 
effect in the argument against all consciousness.  Careful when you 
tread on such logic.

>Then you haven't been paying attention.  My arguments are founded on the
>historical and traditional practice and understanding of Dharma which is
>incidentally mentioned in books.

In case it takes time to realize, the very reason this discussion is 
going on is because there are people who interpret the eligibility to 
read the Vedas differently.  I simply wanted to point out why would you 
single out a certain class of people.

Sri Adi Sankara himself had a vision of Siva Bhagvan in the form of a 
Chandala. The Chandala asked Sankara that if Advaita was for all 
humanity, why was he the brunt of discrimination by Sankara's disciples 
himself? Which prompted Sankara to compose a hymn(I forget the exact 
words) but the meaning granted everyone the right to study the holy 

>>  My ignorance far outweighs my knowledge
>>but there are numerous cases where the Srutis and Smrutis do not
>Yes and there are millenia of discussion about how to deal with these
>cases.  Why not find out about it before venturing an opinion?

Yes, I intend to assimilate further on this. There are questions with 
regard to the Vedic practices, and even Swami Vivekananda says that if 
the smrutis contradict the srutis(and however you may try to 
rationalize, few contradictions are hard to reconcile) , you should 
choose the srutis.
Being realized is a binary issue, either you are there or you arent. 
Until then, I find myself qualified enough to discuss  what my reasoning 
mind might question. I hope that is the same with you as well.

Hari Om,

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