[Advaita-l] brahmans & Shudras

Siva Senani Nori sivasenani at yahoo.com
Wed May 10 02:33:07 CDT 2006

s v a <a_satish03 at rediffmail.com> wrote:
  This thread is not directly related to advait philo but indirectly to it. As in earlier discussions on end not means' we seen several view on brahmins & their adhikaras. Here i am raising fewer points, which can be discussed.
1. According to Manu-Smriti, there are only two Varnas in Kaliyuga, Brahmans & Shudras

  Could you give references please? 
  Taken on a whole, that certainly is not the main theme of Manusmriti. In fact Manusmriti is about duties of the four castes. The word brahmana is mentiond 451 times; kshatriya, 101; vaisya, 87; dvija, 110; and Sudra, 147. Seven instances of when somebody becomes a Sudra are mentioned; two of those are related to inter-caste marriages. The other five relate to i) not studying vedas, ii) a brahmin through improper conduct, iii) some kshatriyas like dravidas [became Sudras] through neglect of duties, iv) a brahmin who sells milk, and v) [a brahmin] who consumes liquor. The relevant poems with translations are given below.
  Based on the first two of the above somebody might have, in a specific and narrow context, said something like: "we have only Sudras and Brahmins now, at least according to Manusmriti". We should be careful not to give wide currency to such narrow observations.
  Instances of SUdratvapraapti in Manusmriti (translations are by George Buhler):
  II.168 - yo'nadhItya dvijo vedamanyatra kurute Sramam |
             sa jIvanneva SUdratvamASu gacchati sAnvayah ||
  Tr: A twice-born man who, not having studied the Veda, applies himself to other (and worldly study), soon falls, even while living, to the condition of a Sudra and his descenants (after him)
  IV.245 (244 in some readings)
  uttamaanuttamaaneva gacchan heenaamstu varjayan |
  braahmaNah SreshThataameti pratyavaayena SUdrataam ||
  Tr: A Brahmana who always connects himself with the most excellent (ones), and shuns all inferior ones, (himself) becomes most distinguished; by an opposite conduct he becomes a Sudra.
  Sanakaistu kriyaalopaadimaah kshatriyajaatayah |
  vrishalatvam gataa loke braahmaNaadarSanena ca || X.43 ||
  pauNDrakaaScau~NdraaviDaah kaambojaa yavanaah Sakaah |
  paaradaapalhavaaSchInaah kiraataa daradaah khaSaah || X.44||
  Tr: But in consequence of the omission of the sacred rites, and of their not consulting Brahmanas, the following tribes of Kshatriyas have gradually sunk in this world to the condition of Sudras; (Viz.) the Paundrakas, the Chodas, the Dravidas, the Kambogas, the Yavanas, the Sakas, the Paradas, the Pahlavas, the Chinas, the Kiratas, and the Daradas.
  X. 92 - sadyah patati maamsena laaxayaa lavaNena cha |
            tryaheNa SUdro bhavati braahmaNah xiravikrayaat ||
  Tr: By (selling) flesh, salt, and lac a Brahmana at once becomes an outcast; by selling milk he becomes (equal to) a Sudra in three days.
  X1.98 - yasya kaayagatam brahma madyenaaplaavyate sakrit |
             tasya vyapaiti braahmaNyam SUdratvam ca sa gacchati ||
  Tr: When the Brahman (the Veda) which dwells in his body is (even) once (only) deluged with spirituous liquor, his Brahmanhood forsakes him and he becomes a Sudra.

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