[Advaita-l] Fw: [hc] Reinterpreting Dwaita versus Adwaita by sanjay rao

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sat Sep 29 04:49:38 CDT 2012

On Sat, Sep 29, 2012 at 12:04 AM, Balasubramanian Ramakrishnan <
rama.balasubramanian at gmail.com> wrote:

> > verse 164:
> > हत्वा त्ववैष्णवं विप्रं प्रायश्चित्तं न कारयेत् ।
> > तेन तुष्यति मध्वेशः प्रायश्चित्तं तु निष्फलम् ॥
> > [Upon killing a non-vaiShNava brahmin one need not perform any expiatory
> > rites (prAyashcitta).  By such a killing the Lord of Madhva will only be
> > pleased and therefore the expiatory rite will be useless.]
> >
> > Sounds like 'jihad'?
> >
> No. For the simple reason that such things never really happened or
> were implemented, unlike the real jihad. It is just an exageration for
> effect in poetry - something "modern" minds don't seem to understand.
> Sankara and Ramanuja quote a verse which says molten lead has to be
> poured into the ears of a shudra who has heard the vedas being
> recited. Do you think anyone really implemented that? If the previous
> one were jihad, what would you call this?
> Rama


The case of Shankara citing that Gautama smRti is in support of/accordance
with the sUtrakAra's teaching:  श्रवणाध्ययनार्थप्रतिषेधात् स्मृतेश्च
Br.sUtra  The sUtra is saying that there is a prohibition for the
shravaNa, etc. of the Veda by someone who has not had the upanyana samskAra
(shUdra).  And there is a smRti too.

We cannot say with certainty whether such penalties were really meant or
carried out.  We have no record of what prevailed during Shankara's time.
But even today we come across cases, by the day, of what is called 'honour
killings' where the parents kill their sons/daughters who have married or
propose to marry from other/lower/dalit castes.  There is the practice of
'two tumbler' system in many parts of the country prevalent today.  Temple
entry for certain people of the society was barred and the practice
continued till recent times and is still in practice in some pockets.

The Ratnaprabha vyAkhyAnam for the above sutra bhashya says:

अस्य शूद्रस्य द्विजैः पठ्यमानं वेदं प्रमादाच्छृण्वतः सीसलाक्षाभ्यां
तप्ताभ्यां श्रोत्रद्वयपूरणं प्रायश्चित्तं कार्यमित्यर्थः ।

The nyAyanirNaya of Anandagiri too gives the same explanation to the
citation in the bhashyam.  If it were a mere poetic requirement (alankAra)
there would be no need for an elucidation of what is stated in the smRti.


For example the Brahmins, who become the top of the caste hierarchy had a
lot of privileges. The priests of the Caste Hindus' Temples were
exclusively Brahmins. They were not given with hard manual labor in the
process of production. The Brahmins had been playing the role of
intellectual agents for the dominant classes until the entrance of British
colonialism into India. Furthermore, the Brahmins were a part of the
dominant class in ancient India. In some parts of India complete immunity
from death sentence was given to the members of the Brahmin caste for any
offense including murder, if it is committed by a Brahmin. On the contrary
a member of the untouchable caste, even if he commits an "ordinary offense"
like walking in the streets where Brahmins live, he would be subjected to
severe forms of punishment. Thus, the Brahmins had even legal privileges.
Learning the Hindu Religious language, Sanskrit, was considered as the
monopoly of Brahmins.

Under the untouchability system certain religious and social disabilities
are imposed on the members of the untouchable caste cannot enter the temple
of the upper and middle castes. In some parts of India, the members of the
untouchable castes cannot enter the temples of the lower untouchable castes
can not enter the temples of the lower castes. As a result, most of the
untouchable castes have their own temples. Many untouchable castes have
their own god and goddesses also!

A member of the untouchable caste cannot be allowed to take water from a
well being used by the members of the upper and middle castes. The members
of untouchable castes must not live or even walk in the streets where the
upper and middle castes live. The members of the untouchable castes are not
allowed to sit equally with the members of the upper and middle caste in
the village restaurants. Inter-caste marriages are strictly prohibited by
caste norms.

The paradigms above do not exist uniformally all over India. The nature,
pattern, number and intensity of the disabilities on the members of the
untouchable castes differs from region to region due to the uneven
development of different historical forces. But even today in Indian
villages, the essential core aspect of this system still remains and its
expression varies in different regions, although untouchability has been
abolished theoretically by the Constitution.



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