[Advaita-l] How to become a Hindu? - vrAtyastoma

Satish Arigela satisharigela at yahoo.com
Tue Aug 24 23:51:54 CDT 2010

>The tANDya brAhmaNa, and dharma shAstra texts as well, mention the ritual of
>vrAtyastoma to bring back vrAtyas into the fold of varNAshrama dharma.

Can you please give the exact statements which say that this ritual applies to 
all varNa-s?

I ask because I am aware of an opinion that this ritual is meant to bring back 
only fallen brAhmaNa-s or dvija-s and hence it does not apply to non-dvija-s in 
the first place

>These vrAtyas were groups of people in ancient times who followed a quite
>unorthodox lifestyle, with few restrictions regarding food.
>Nor did they have an upanayana and study the Vedas.
>The vrAtyastoma, which is a set of four rituals, is performed to bring the 
>vrAtyas into the fold of
>varNAshrama dharma.

The restrictions regarding food etc and study of veda were meant only for 
dvija-s no?
So how does this ritual apply to non-dvija-s in the first place?  If we cannot 
apply this ritual to non-dvija-s where does the question of using this rite to 
bring those outside the varNa system into the fold come?

>For example, the kAtyAyana shrauta sUtra states,
>"व्रात्यस्तोमेनेष्ट्वा व्रात्यभावाद्विरमेयुः । व्यवहार्या भवन्ति ।", by
>performing the vrAtyastoma, the vrAtyas lose their vrAtya status and become
>eligible for social life with (followers of varNAshrama dharma).

Is there any commentary on this saying that the application of this ritual is to 
bring back foreigners into the varNa system? If they can be brought into the 
varNa system what would their varNa be? shUdra-s?

On a lighter note is this suggesting a "shUdrification procedure" for 

In the opinion of one shrauta ritualist: 
"Thus, while there is an element of prAyshchitta in the prathama vrAtya stoma 
does not seem to be for non-Aryans."

Please find pasted below two opinions on this vrAtyastoma:

The vratya stoma is described in the first 4 sections of the 17th  chapter of 
the pa~nchaviMsha brAhmaNa. The stoma has been described as a  means of 
admitting non-Aryans to the Aryan fold but this is not clear  from the vedic 
text describing the rite. A summary of the brAhmaNa  discourse is given below:
The vrAtya stoma’s frame tale goes thus.  The devas went to svargo lokaH. The 
gaNas of the dreaded The god were  left behind leading the life of vrAtyas. They 
reached the spot where the  devas had ascended to svarga but they neither found 
the stoma nor the  Chandas by means of which they may join them. Then the devas 
told the  maruts deliver the attendents of rudra the needful so that they may  
reach us. To them the maruts delivered that stoma with the 16 mantra  chant 
which is the cryptic anuShTubh.
Those who lead the life of a vrAtya are verily destitute or left  behind because 
they neither practise the vedic study nor farming nor  trade. It is by the stoma 
of the maruts that they prosper. For the rite  he deploys the chant ” adha hi 
indra girvaNaH: For o indra who delights  in the chants`(RV8.7-9)” which are in 
the kakubh Chandas. But the kakubh  is an unequal Chandas for the sAmans. So he 
shall perform the shifting  transformation on unequal padas of the kakubh to get 
the equalized  verses for the song to the maruts known as the dyautAna sAman.  
When the gR^ihasta chants the nidhana of this song it must end in the  word 
“indra” musically uttered. The vrAtyas would be excluded from the  prosperity if 
they were to use this nidhana. Hence they must replace  indra in the nidhana of 
the song with the anirukta nidhana which goes  thus with the following mystic 
stobha: au^2 3 ho^1 2345 ; i.e. falling  from the highest pitch to the second 
last svara of the regular saman  scale.
The sacrificial oblations to the maruts may be made with the series  of chants 
with 4 stomas with 16 mantras. The structure of the chants in  the rite with 
respect to the the number of mantras they contain is thus: 9, 15, 15, 15, 16 : 
16, 17, 17, 17, 16 : 16, 21

This  rite is supposed to expitiate those who have eaten abhojya food as  though 
the brAhmaNa’s food, those who speak in corrupted sanskrit, who  have perform 
unjust acts, who despite being vrAtyas speak in Chandas.Thus, while there is an 
element of prAyshchitta in the prathama vrAtya stoma does not seem to be for 
AFAIK, the
vratyastoma is grossly misunderstood. Vratyastoma is a
soma sacrifice. A person who doesn't even have
adhikAra to chant sAvitri is definitely excluded from
performing it. So, the idea of using vrAtyastoma to
"convert" other castes and tribes into dvijahood is
dead on arrival. This doesn't deter some neo-hindus to
suggest this route. 
If I am right, the deadline for brahmin to get
initiated is age 16 and the vaishya is age 24. After
that they become patita-savitrikas, who have lost
their eligibility to chant gAyatrI. Manu & other
shastrakartas agree that they have to be avoided
Manu is silent on re-admitting them into the "fold".
Apastamba (from khandas I & II of first patala, first
prashna) gives a penance if a dvija is not initiated
by the deadline. If his father is also not initiated,
the penance is severe. The severity increases for each
generation on the father's side if the ancestors are
not initiated (add one year of penance for each
ancestor who was not initiated).
So, there is a way for a "fallen dvija" to re-enter,
but it is not something relatively easy like 
performing vrAtyastoma. It is a long drawn course of
performing penances for months and serving the guru.
For shudras and itaras it is clear that they cannot
become dvijas even with the prescribed penance. 
However, there is a "Kashyapization" ritual in which
an idividual is absorbed into Kashyapa gotra and this
has been used to "absorb" non-dvijas into the fold
(especially in anuloma marriages). 
If my reply sounds hurtful, I apologize. 
I didn't want to write on vrAtyaShToma without
consulting the tANDya brAhmaNa. 


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