[Advaita-l] Knowledge, renunciation and varNASrama rules

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Thu Aug 12 15:29:13 CDT 2010

> This topic seems to come up on this list and others and is of importance to those seeking a Guru and knowledge. If sanyasa is restricted to Dvijas (at least among Smarthas/Advaitins), we see there are those that are of non-Dvija jaathis taking sanyasa, with ? deeksha from Shankaracharyas (directly or indirectly).

I believe I have addressed this in my previous post on this topic.
> Chettiars in Tamil Nadu are merchants, but I have heard they are Shudra by varna. Also Swami Chinmayananda in his purva-ashrama was a Nair, a Shudra/non-Dvija jaathi in Kerala. (I have also read that Nairs were descendants of Naga Kshatriyas who transformed themselves to human non-Dvijas to escape Parashurama's wrath at dawn of Kali Yuga).

In Tamil Nadu, brAhmaNa-s labeled any non-brAhmaNa as a SUdra. In Kerala, the kings were from Nair/Menon
families and considered kshatriya, but the Nair/Menon community in general was considered SUdra. There were
complex social and historical factors involved, which have hardly anything to do with vedAdhyayana and vedAnta.
> Without digressing into history/sociology, etc; can a Braahmana or other dvija have a Sanyasi as a guru from a non-Dvija background and even be formally initiated into sanyasa ashrama by that guru ? In addition, can a Sanyasi from non-Dvija background formally learn vedanta ? If so, would that violate the nishedha for veda-adhikara for non-Dvijas ?

I believe these are questions best answered on a case-to-case basis by appropriate authorities on saMnyAsa, like
one of the current SankarAcArya-s. We all have a tendency to create overarching general rules, but how does one
create a general rule to cover a set made almost entirely of exceptions?!!

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