[Advaita-l] Brahmins and Vaishnavas

Ananth Padmanabhan padmanabhan_ananth at hotmail.com
Fri Jul 30 18:16:03 CDT 2010

Pranaams Vidyashankarji!. Superb clarification and excellent narration. I happen to read 'Vidhura Needhi' and 'Sanatsujaatheeyam' and no where does it distinguish 'Jnaanam' being a sole right for anyone with specific qualifiers by birth.

'Dhurlabham triyamEvaidhath dEvAnugraha hEthugam|
manushyathvam mumukshuthvam mahApurusha samsrayaha|| 


> From: svidyasankar at hotmail.com
> To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
> Date: Fri, 30 Jul 2010 15:21:26 -0700
> Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Brahmins and Vaishnavas
> > This website has questioned Brahmanas today. Have they become Sudras?
> > http://gosai.com/writings/the-ontological-position-of-the-vaishnava-over-the-brahmana
> > 
> > A is a Brahmin settled in USA. He has crossed ocean and he is working
> > for foreigners. Sudra Vrutti.
> > B is white American come to India and doing devotional service in Iskcon temple.
> > C is Indian non dvija doing devotional service in Iskcon temple.
> > 
> > How is A better than B and C? Iskcon says B and C are converted to
> > Brahmanas but A converted to Sudra.
> > 
> > Any counter arguments from learned members ?
> Dear Venkatesh,
> I've seen this webpage many years ago and dismissed it without much thought. To raise social
> and political issues to the status of ontological debates is a fruitless exercise. In such debates,
> as far as they have to do with the social order, one has to first address whether varNa is quite
> completely determined by birth or not. To say that A has lost brAhmaNa status and become a 
> SUdra presumes that brAhmaNa-tva is determined by birth. To say that B and C have acquired
> brAhmaNa status presumes that brAhmaNa-tva is not determined by birth. Which is it?
> ISKCON leaders may have a vested interest in privileging those who perform devotional service
> in their temples. How about those Indian groups of non-dvija-s who have performed devotional
> service for generations over generations in temples that are hundreds and thousands of years
> old in India? What about their caste status? These would include cowherds who supply milk, the
> women who provide flowers, the devadAsI-s who provided music and dance services in temples,
> the shehnai and nAdaswaram players who played music for ritual processions and festivals, the
> farmers who donated a portion of their agricultural produce to the temple - the list goes on. And
> how about those born in dvija families, who never leave Indian shores, work for multinational
> companies, i.e. foreigners, but still find time for devotional service in temples or to keep up their
> rituals at home?
> One can argue back and forth and ask many such questions and give many answers, for ever
> and ever, but how is that going to help gain insight into vedAnta, the primary focus of this mailing
> list?
> It seems to me that you are highly engaged with brAhmaNa-tva and its attendant privileges and
> responsibilities. I would suggest a study of the sanatsujAtIya bhAshya. Those who want to stick
> only to the prasthAna trayI bhAshya-s may contest that it is by Sankara bhagavatpAda, but the
> fact remains that it is a text accepted within the advaita vedAnta tradition as authentic.
> The sanatsujAtIya is a portion of the mahAbhArata epic, containing vidura's dialogue with the blind
> king, dhRtarAshTra. At one point, dhRtarAshTra asks for clarifications on adhyAtma vidyA and
> vidura uses his yogic powers and summons the Rshi, sanatsujAta, to talk to the king. The reason
> is that vidura says that being born a SUdra, it would be better if he did not teach the king himself.
> The bhAshya on this introduction is very important to read and keep in mind. Here, vidura is
> described as Sruta-vAkya. Clearly, his being a SUdra did not stand in the way of his "having heard
> the vAkya-s". Lest you think this is a very nebulous term and does not mean that vidura had heard
> the veda-s, he is further described as recalling the nArada-sanatkumAra dialogue in the chAndogya
> upanishad and thinking to himself that sanatkumAra would similarly address the king's questions.
> Clearly, according to this bhAshya, vidura's SUdra status did not prevent him from not only being
> a jnAnI, but also being someone who knew the veda, and specifically the chAndogya upanishad.
> If hot molten lead should have been poured into his SUdra ears for having heard and remembered
> the veda, the sanatsujAtIya bhAshya is totally silent about such a punishment. Also, in the epic,
> vidura's SUdra status did not stand in the way of his having the power to summon an ancient 
> Rshi and introduce him to the king. All of which goes to show that one can talk of caste and varNa
> and jAti and class and social status and sundry other topics till one is blue in the face, but in the
> end, jnAna alone counts.
> Regards,
> Vidyasankar
> _______________________________________________
> Archives: http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/archives/advaita-l/
> http://blog.gmane.org/gmane.culture.religion.advaita
> To unsubscribe or change your options:
> http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/cgi-bin/listinfo/advaita-l
> For assistance, contact:
> listmaster at advaita-vedanta.org

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list