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ALL ABOUT BRAHMINS n BRAHMINISM Topics in Hinduism

1 points | Post submitted by suyash95 6 days ago | 26 comments | viewed 62 times

Some Notes


  • suyash95 6 days ago | +0 points

    Brahmins are not a single homogeneous group -

    There are hundreds of different ethnic, linguistic, cultural and religious differences among them.

    The one thing common to Brahmins is the preservation of the Vedas - but they too are different and are chanted in different ways.

    There is also a hierarchy among Brahmins who are practicing as priests and they do not intermarry and often do not even dine in the same row.

    The priestly hierarchy is as follows

    1. Vaidikas - Brahmins who study and memorise the Vedas.

    2. Ahitāgnis - those who keep the sacred fire perpetually burning in their homes and make daily oblations.

    3. Vedic Purohitas - who perform the Vedic sacraments excluding death ceremonies.

    4. Sāmānya purohitas - who perform all rituals both Vedic and Pauranik in the homes of their client families.

    5. Temple priests

    6. Apara Prayogis or Mahāpātras - those Brahmin priests who perform ceremonies for the dead and partake of funeral dinners.

    Then there is the miscellaneous collective of non-Brahmin priests of the Tantric variety that perform all rituals and ceremonies.

     

    agnihotris are a default category whereas Ahitāgnis are more intense and dedicated to maintaining an eternal sacred fire.Agni-hotris just light a fire everyday.-Ahitāgnis and Agnihotras are not same.

     

    The variation in Brahmin customs, eating habits, looks, mother tongue, religious subsects etc speak for themselves. But genetically too, they didn’t arise from a single stock.

    Its probably more region based traditions than a perk of Hinduism only. Especially given in such a diverse country like India, which was mostly divided into separate kingdoms for most of its history.

    No surprise that local priests in different areas adapted different traditions and rules for their own local need.

    Just like how some regions like Bihar allow meat eating or Bengal allows fish eating, while others are strict vegetarians. If enough time passes, local culture and tradition always bleeds over into the dominant religion.

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  • suyash95 6 days ago | +0 points

    SEA TRAVEL BAN n MURDER OF BRAHMIN was prohibited -

    Everything about India is complex, multi-layered and confusing - simple formulae and paradigms do not apply. Everything you say about India is both right and wrong depending on time-place-circumstance.

    If Hinduism didn't ban sea travel, would India have industrialized faster than England?

     Sea travel was only banned for some brahmins. And even then some of them did emigrate to Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia both by land and by sea.

    Merchants, skilled artisans and craftsmen and everyone else travelled freely and spread Hindu culture throughout the entire South East Asia region.

    So Industrialization of India has nothing to do with sea-travel.



    Brahma-hatya - lit. Murder of a Brahmin. This does not mean any person of the Brahmin caste it refers to a learned Brahmin. One who has memorised the Vedas in a period before books. So killing a learned Brahmin is like destroying an entire library of books. Contemporary application would be the destruction of a persons life-work I.e. Destructive Computer viruses, killing of intelligent and productive individuals and destroying their works, etc.


    REsponse - Rajaraja Chola and his son literally massacred Vaishnava Brahmins in Karnataka.

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  • suyash95 6 days ago | +0 points

    BRAHMIN PRIVELEGE -

    Brahman privilege was linked to their rapid adoption of British Education during the Raj. It was the usefulness of cultured, English educated babus that led to their being given priority in the administrative bureaucracy. Since Indian independence and the quota and job reservation system, being a Brahman is a now a liability rather than a privilege. This is why so many thousands of Brahmans are immigrating to western countries.

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  • suyash95 6 days ago | +0 points

    This entire Fiasco about Hinduism as Brahminism is coming from Protestant Christian Theology BRAHMINISM - Brahmins as the ‘spiritual leaders’ of Hindus. Christians obviously had no idea that Brahmins are not the same as Christian priests. They are purely meant to act as intermediaries for the performance of rituals – unlike the role of the Christian priest in congregations, the Hindu priest is not meant to act as the ultimate ‘spiritual leader’ in providing advice on the duties and means to attain moksha. That role is reserved for gurus,Sadhus,Sanyasis,Tantrics, rishis and yogis – who can be from any caste whatsoever and very often are from the supposed ‘most backward castes’ n So called DALITS. Eg are Ramdev, Valmiki and countless other current and historical spiritual leaders.

    The tendency due to western colonisation is to analyse India through western lenses and it doesn’t work. One cannot compare the clergy of ancient India to the clergy of Europe who themselves had absolute power through very rigid organisational structures and even over the King himself who was subject to the Pope. Power in ancient India was a binary of temporal power - (kṣatra) which was invested in the absolute monarch and spiritual power (brahma) which was invested in the Brahmins. In the Catholic system the power of the clergy derives from their essential role in the salvation of an individual - extra ecclesiam nulla salus - outside the Church there is no salvation. In Hinduism the Brahmins play no role whatsoever in the spiritual progress or liberation of the individual they are irrelevant. The only power-role they had in Vedic times was to bolster the power and legitimacy of the Kings through their yajñas.

    Priests also is a misleading term which is associated with Preaching, we hv Pundit,Purohita,Pujari,Archaka All these terms r distinct and r used in different contexts

    Past 200 hundred years there was no value to land. The only wealth that everyone wants to have are Cows. A person’s wealth is estimated by the no. of cows held. The more no. of cows you have the greater you are. There even used to be a threshold of 1000 cows to hold, which makes one a mini king or a chief in that particular area. Going back to the kings time, when one talks about a kingdom, they talk about the wealth factor too where the amount of Gold and Cattle used to be first in the list. After Britisher's arrival (who tore India apart by creating caste system) the value to land started growing eventually and it's skyrocketing now and as of now, we know more the land you hold the richer you are.

    Before industrialization in Indian conditions all so called castes rather occupational groups have almost exclusive occupations that generate income without competition or minimal conflict. Post industrialization with traditional occupations gone all forced to scramble for jobs in industry or jobs provided by government in government institutions which needs education. Being the community which depended on education and being already educated got chances naturally. It's heard that even illiterates got jobs in telephone industry as there are jobs in plenty laying poles, cables etc and moderately educated in offices। To be true there many not joined or reluctantly joined as salaries were very low. Being literate Brahmins naturally got jobs, we specially in teaching side. To be true even those jobs with meger salary attracted Brahmins as they are dependent on professions of teaching during ancient times and the jobs and income is nothing for farmers then. Later on that farmers children, that too poor farmers children started attracted to it as agriculture is not a rewarding occupation. Rich farmers never sold his land to others to live so all others have to within their occupation or do other works, not agriculture the aspect of which all forget. It's true of all occupations where others can't enter occupation of others as all are not allowed even to learn as it's passed from generation to generation among them and thus not possible to shift from their occupation in those days but blame Brahmins who the same way preserve their occupation on which they have to live invariably considering those days conditions. Without population control no caste people get 100,% employment these days. What we suffered being poor, below middle class and middle class is enough and not get children whom settle satisfactorily. Even settling 1or 2 is so difficult these days to be true. All parents should aware of this. Blaming, attacking others doesn't make our children to have live great or good life, the only life, instantly and which all should be vary while begetting children.

    Often, Brahmins were priests and teachers, rarely controlling wealth and political power. Vaishyas generated wealth but did not teach beyond their trade. Kshatriyas did not engage in business or teach, but administered and ruled.

    Farmers, according Megasthenes, “were not interfered with during wartime [by the military].” Usually, war affects the marginalized and those low down the social order the most, but we do not see it here.

    It was also noted that at the time Indica was written, Indian society did not have a culture of employing indentured or slave labor. That is despite having a societal structure which had seven “castes.”

    Those who had no possessions, studied and renounced the world - sanyasis/ascetics - were held in the highest regard. Irrespective of jaati, individuals could move from Brahmacharya (early education) > Grihastha (family) Vanaprastha (retirement/advisory) > Sanyasa (renunciation)

    The hierarchical power arrangement in ancient India is not what is popularly parroted. According to the Buddhist and Jain texts, the Nobles or Kṣatriyas were the highest caste.

    According to the Brahminical works (authored by Brahmins) the Priests or Brahmins are the highest in the hierarchy.

    According to realpolitik, and what we know of other cultures, the Nobility were always in every culture higher than the clergy for the simple reason that real power was in their hands and the Priests derived any power they had solely from the consensus of their personal patrons (yajamānas).

    In other words the King held absolute power over the entire kingdom and had exclusive use of coercion and force. The priests were disunited and disparate with individual fiefdoms (yajamāni-system) comprised of their client families - they had no power of coercion whatsoever.

    The Vedic position is that there are two sources of power (brahma-kṣatram); worldly power is in the hands of the Nobles, and spiritual power in in the hands of the Priests. Priests were often retained as ministers and advisers by the Royalty but the kings were under no obligation or had any imperative to follow their advice.

    The Priests would perform yajñas and ceremonies for the benefit, prosperity and power of the Kings and the Kings would in turn patronise the Brahmins and bestow land and cattle upon them - so it was a symbiotic relationship with the Kings dominating.

    With colonisation from the West and the waning of Royal Patronage, the political influence of the Brahmins declined until they became almost irrelevant. They managed to reassert their influence by aligning themselves with the British Colonial government and adopting western education with great enthusiasm. They were drafted into influential positions in the Colonial Apparatus as clerks, accountants, managers, teachers, lawyers, judges, advisors etc.

    And the interesting historical fact is the majority of ancient Indian royal dynasties were actual of the Sudra caste - so they had in many cases become the Nobility and thus held real power over Brahmins.

    Everything about India is complex, multi-layered and confusing - simple formulae and paradigms do not apply. Everything you say about India is both right and wrong depending on time-place-circumstance.

    The position as laid out by orthodox acharyas such as even the Puri Shankaracharya is that varna vyavastha is foremost a ritual system, not temporal, so Brahmins aren't necessarily meant to be political or economic elites (although people might cross the wires) and are frequently at the mercy of patrons. The tone and demands of some Smritis to me actually betray a sense of insecurity about that fact…

    Irony is they make fun of the so called caste system when they have the concept of god's chosen people

    the majority of ancient Indian royal dynasties were actual of the Sudra caste”

    Maurya dynasty

    Chandragupta Maurya — the Brahmin Chanakya actually selected him to become king by destroying the Nanda dynasty which was Kshatriya!!!

    Bimbisara (son of Chandragupta Maurya)

    Ashoka (son of Bimbisara)

    Chalukya dynasty of Badami — ruled Deccan and south India for 700 years (6th-12th centuries)

    The kings of this dynasty such as Pulakeshi II were great patrons of Vedic religion and the mainstream Hindu culture, art, literature and architecture

    Rashtrakuta dynasty — ruled Deccan and south India for nearly 300 years between 8th and 11th centuries

    Once again the great kings of this dynasty promoted and nurtured classical Hinduism and was also responsible for the exquisitely beautiful cave temples in Ellora (e.g. Kailasanatha Temple)

    Chola dynasty — ruled the Tamil country for nearly 350 years (10th-13th centuries)

    Rajaraja and his son Rajendra were great patrons of Hinduism and Vedic religion, and their trade relations with southeast Asia also carried Hinduism and Buddhism to that region.

    Vijayanagara empire —

    Famously the Brahmin Svami Vidyaranya chose the Shudras Harihara and Bukkaraya to lead an organized revival of a Hindu empire to thwart the incursion of Islam in south India.

    The second generation king Kumara Kampana rescued the Tamil region from Muslim rule

    Krishnadevaraya continued to strengthen the empire and it became a bastion of classical Hinduism all across India, and attracted scholars, musicians, artists from all over India. Temple architecture developed a new style with the tall imposing “Raya Gopurams” named for the Vijayanagara Kings (“Rayas”).

    Chandela dynasty — ruled central India between 9th and 13th centuries

    These kings were of tribal origin, but established a strong Hindu kingdom and patronized the Vedic religion and all-rounded Hindu culture, arts, music, philosophy, etc

    They built the legendary Khajuraho temple complex

    They were a major resistance against early Muslim invasions of Ghaznavi and Ghori

    Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty — ruled over western India between 8th and 12th centuries

    Rajput kingdoms — famously valiant and fierce defenders of the western frontier of India and followers and patrons of Hinduism

    Maratha empire — Shivaji was a Shudra and he was educated by Samarth Ramdas. Shivaji is famous for a second revival of Hinduism after the fall of Vijayanagara and for bringing the downfall of the Mughal empire and resisting the British takeover of vast parts of India for nearly a century.

    the standard reiterated IDEAL perpetuated by the Brahmins. The question is what is the REALPOLITIK.

    BTW ”Bhramin” is one who is deluded, from the root BHRM. The actual caste is called Brāhmaṇa.

    These was also a caste-mobility - after the Gupta period the vaishyas went into banking and trading and the Sudras became the land-owners and primary producers as well as the artisans and craftsmen.

    Caste Hierarchy-

    REAL power was in the hands of the Kings in EVERY kingdom on the face of the earth.

    Sounds like the standard books found in libraries. There is no such pyramid. This is all made up. The academics and priests in this diagram identified as brahmins are supposed to the poorest, while in reality people who call themselves as brahmins are wealthy doing anything but priests job.

    The influence and relevance of the Shankaracharyas is confined to the Smārta Brahmin community and of course those who choose to accept their authority.

    Theoretically at least all Hindu monks of the Dasa-nāmi orders (other than the Shaivites and Vaishnavas) are associated with one or other of the four Pontifical seats, but they are under no obligation or control of the Pontiffs of those seats and mostly act independently of them.


    Historically, the Brahmins never had political sway over the population in the capacity of rulers and kings, (with the exception of a few sporadic examples). The education and Sastras of brahmins were largely deemed unfit for making a living, up until McCaulay started the system of white collar jobs for ruling the empire cheaply, without having to pay high salaries to natives of Britain. Brahmins, with their traditional mastery over literary, linguistic and mathematical skills and a heridity wedded to poverty, jumped first to become the salaried employee class in the British Raj. In fact, some brahmins mistook the British empire as relief from centuries of Islamic oppression of Hindu religion and Brahmins' in particular. The people who started with lowly clerical posts in courts, magistrate and accounting offices, within two generations, went on to become senior bureucrats, lawyers, judges, professors. The other upper castes with access to British education pretty much followed the same socioeconomic trend. The story of Brahmins, who probably never owned more than 2% of agricultural resources (which was the only form of wealth in the pre 20th century and despite being 8% of the total population) at any point in history, and who never did any business whatsoever, has been rewritten by many political “reformers” in the 20th century to create a socio political bogeyman, who continues to provide a convenient political narrative, as you hinted, for a number of political gains. Part of the blame must go to the Brahmins' themselves - the class of people who fought British tyranny vehemently fot over 60 years became voluntarily complacent when the same acts of corruption, looting and deception are repeated under the 70 years of Congress rule by the Nehru-Indira dynasty. Post independence, Brahmins' have forsaken their traditional life wedded to poverty, divinity and pure intellect, and started chasing money in the public and private sector employment. They lost their cultural superiority, but never found the money they began chasing.

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  • suyash95 6 days ago | +0 points

    REGARDING RITUALS -

    religious rituals are present in all religions where only a trained priest or nun or Imam can officiate the ceremony. Infact only Imams are supposed to understand and issue fatwa.

    It is very difficult to be a proper Brahmin. Without a proper instruction from childhood and instructions, all human beings will not show any discipline and indulge in everything mindlessly and feel good about themselves.

     Ignorance’. Ignorance is the thing that needs to be thrown out. Ignorance does not have caste discrimination. ignorant people are everywhere.

     Why are Brahmins so highly respected in India? The simplest way of understanding this is that Brahmins are the wisest of each community, the village elders, people to whom you go to for wise counsel. Why the question? Does your community have no wise people?



    Life of a Brahmin was very hard.

     

    A brahmin has to rise at 4am to have a bath and perform Sandhya vandana. Thereafter he has to recite a section of the Veda from memory and perform daily puja. All this takes about 3 - 4 hours.

    He can then have his meal and go to work and upon returning home in the evening he has to once again have a bath and perform Sandhya Vandana and the evening puja.

    He has to observe very strict rules regarding food and eating. He can only eat in his own house or in the house of another Brahmin - no restaurants or hotels or street food, nor processed foods. He cannot eat onions or garlic - his food is bland and uninteresting! No alcohol is permitted and obviously no meat or eggs, but some Brahmins in Bengal do eat fish.

    On certain days throughout the year he is required to perform tiresome rites and rituals - these obligations alone curtail travel and holiday plans.

    Every stage of your life is governed by rituals which must be performed — you are compelled to undergo all the 40 sacraments from birth to death - each of which entails large expense.

    When a Brahmin dies his relatives weep and wail bitterly - not so much from grief as for the huge expenses of the funeral. At least 3 cows have to be given away, a bull bought and released and on two occasions 10 types of gifts including gold and silver have to be given away including the feeding of dozens and sometimes hundreds of Brahmins. Including inviting a priest every day for 10 days to perform rituals.

    You are constantly under surveillance from other Brahmins and if you deviate or are even suspected of deviation you will have to perform expensive rituals to regain your status. Its all about what the neighbours will say - you life is lived according to the expectations of others of your community.

    As a Shudra one is under no obligation to fulfill any of these rituals and obligations - whatever you do choose to do, earns you great merit. You can eat what you like, wherever you like, and you have complete autonomy and freedom.

    To be a real Brahmin is more a curse than a blessing (to be truthful most Brahmins no longer even do Sandhya and after 2 days of failing to do so, a Brahmin reverts to the status of a Shudra!! So “real” Brahmins are very rare).

     

     

     

    Brahmins were focused on their own practice (ācāram) and affairs, never caring what the others were doing unless they came into their ghettos (agrahārams). And most Hindus never listen to what the priests have to say anyway!!

    The Dharma Shastras clearly state that a Brahmin should never give advice to Sudras nor tell them what they should or should not do - they should be left alone to do their own thing (Vasistha 18:24)!

    Hindu custom derives from Shastra (scripture) and from Custom & Usage (rīti-rivāj) - the Brahmins generally follow Shastra and the vast majority of Hindus follow Custom & Usage and hold it to be of higher authority than Shastra even when there is a conflict between the two. For example, Shastra severely condemns dowry as wicked and sinful - Custom & Usage endorse it. So no matter how much the priests may condemn dowry - will people change over night? Can the scourge of dowry be blamed on Brahmins?

    One of the misconceptions of the Varna-Jaati system is that the hierarchy was based on economic power. It was not. The Brahmins in fact were an economically disadvantaged community because they could only live by teaching, performing rituals and by begging/charity. The Kshatriyas earned through wages and taxes, the Vaishyas through business and mercantile activities and the Shudras were land owners, farmers, skilled artisans and craftsmen and musicians who were highly respected and commanded very large incomes, as well as being the menial workers.

    The building of many temples and charitable foundations have been commissioned by the Jaatis engaged in Shudra occupation . In many districts the wealthy landowners are Shudras who actually employed Brahmins in their service.

     

     

     

    Brahmins are only trustees, who have been given the responsibility by every other community to be a protector of the fundamentals of Hinduism in “codified” form, i.e. scriptures. This is why they were prohibited from doing other worldly occupations to avoid distractions, and they were prohibited from accumulating wealth to avoid corruption.

    However, the trustee has his job only as long as there are people who own the trust. The owners of the trust are the vast majority of Hindus. If there is a problem, the owners can go to the trustee for clarifications. But the trustee by himself is not the owner.

    Hinduism has survived and thrived for millenia because of every other community.

    As the great Padmabhushan philosopher and modern-day rishi DV Gundappa has written in his memoirs Jñāpaka-citra-shāle, Hinduism did not survive because a handful of Brahmins were muttering the Vedas. Hinduism survived because the simple, uneducated but pious villagers of every village in every corner of India celebrated traditional festivals and worshipped their village gods and goddesses.

    Only the truly wise people who have lived in the villages and studied village life, know that the village gods and goddesses are only variegated and diversified forms of the “standard orthodox” deities which have been “codified” in scriptures.

    The Brahmins have been entrusted with carrying the seeds of Hinduism. But for the seeds to grow into big tall trees and dense forests, they need the fertile soil, water, sunlight, care and nurture. All this should come from everybody else.

    For example, a Brahmin who did not study scriptures but received alms was considered a thief, and a village which supported such Brahmins were deemed to be supporting a thief and was punished —

    Vasishtha Smriti 3.2: “अव्रता ह्यनधीयाना यत्र भैक्ष्यचरा द्विजाः तं ग्रामं दण्डयेद्राजा चोरभक्तप्रदो हि सः

    Hindu Holy Books are all available in every book shop, on line and free from Hindu websites for download - in almost every language - so if a person can read they have access.

    All the major Hindu organizations, Ramakrishna and Chinmaya Mission, Divine Life society, Arya Samaj, Sai Baba centres, Saiva Siddhanta Sangam, Saiva Mandram, Divine Life Society, Dayananda Arsha vidyālaya - etc. etc. accept everyone into their folds without any discrimination whatsoever.

    The Vedas have no use for the average person and can neither enhance their lives or teach them any useful information. Only the Hindu priests have any practical use for the Vedas.

    The essence of the Vedas is the metaphysical teaching which they impart but they do so in very archaic language hidden in allegories and metaphors known as “Sandhya-bhāṣa”. So without an expert the Vedas are simply boring gibberish.

    The ancient sages distilled the teaching of the Vedas for the common people and presented them in the entertaining and engaging stories, narratives and conversations imbedded in the Puranas and Itihasas.

     you will find extremely boring unless you sit at the feet of a guru and learn them one by one - maybe 12 years it will take you. But what is the use if reading Vedas?

     other Varnas apart from Shudras were “compelled” to study the Vedas. The Artisans/workers were not “compelled” to study them as they must have been preoccupied with their respective trades/professions and studying Vedas was a time consuming and intensive affair. However, there was no reason that they cannot study the Vedas. There are many examples where Workers/Artisans have become great Rishis/Maharishis. It took 12 years of arduous study to complete the study of the Veda - the life span was average 50 years, they also had to learn Sanskrit, Grammar, exegesis, philosophy etc. - where did they have facility for this? All they had time for was to learn their own profession and apply to to their daily maintenance.

    All the lessons of the Vedas are given in the stories of the Puranas which every illiterate peasant could listen to at the festivals. No need for the arduous and taxing discipline required to study Vedas.

     

     

    A person needs to approach a Brahmin and ask him to teach Vedas. Remember The Brahmins were focused on their own practice (ācāram) and affairs, never caring what the others were doing unless they came into their ghettos (agrahārams). And most Hindus never listen to what the priests have to say anyway!!

     

    the vast majority of people simply follow custom and tradition to the degree that they can negotiate the complexities of daily life to their satisfaction. Thos rare individual that were dissatisfied by their academic condition would seek out a guru and humbly request teaching. The gurus would invariably test the prospective disciple to assess their worthiness and readiness to receive the teaching and then would do the needful.

     

    there were spiritual acharyas throughout India which were killed or they escaped during Islamic rule Categories of acharyas The acharyas are described as belonging to one of two categories;

    1. anuvrtti-prasanna-acharya — those who have to be sought out and persuaded with much perseverance to impart their knowledge. It is only after rigorous testing of the prospective disciples that they consent to teach. Most of the acharyas prior to Ramanuja were of this category.

    2. kripa-matra-prasanna-acharya — these acharyas teach their disciples out of compassion for their plight as ignorant and lost Selves, and are constantly seeking an opportunity to impart their knowledge, and are willing to teach anyone who will but listen. Ramanuja and most of the acharyas who came after him are of this class.

     

     

    Hinduism by its very nature was never oppressive or discriminative since there was not one set of rules and regulations or standards that were applied to everyone. There was never any command and control structure and no one was ever in charge. The sacred law only applied to orthodox Brahmins and for them it was indeed be exceedingly oppressive The social disabilities and restrictions Brahmins submit to are overbearing for commoners and the Brahmins were forbidden to superimpose their values on others.reason why Hinduism can never be oppressive is because there never was any supervising and enforcing bureaucracy like in the Abrahamic religions.

    It is also important to note the the severest restrictions were placed on brahmins and the restrictions decreased as you descended the hierarchy. Sudras are completely free of all restrictions and can eat, drink, and travel about as they please. There are no rules of purity/impurity to ceaselessly and pedantically observe.

    Hinduism never had a “Church power-hierarchy” since there was never a central religious authority but rather thousands of different sects. The Brahmins never had any power other than over their own disciples and followers. The Kings may have enforced certain aspects of the varna-jāti system which suited them economically. But as the rajas lost power, which the priests never had, it is the population themselves who have kept the system going till today. Anyone who served in military prior to British era was a Khsatriya. They used to pledged their weapon to their ishta Devta.

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  • suyash95 6 days ago | +0 points

    WHY NON-BRAHMINS NOT ALLOWED TO BECOME PREISTS ,NOT ALLOWED IN SANCTUM SANTORUM

    Becoming temple priests is a vexed issue because they are so poorly paid, work long hours in harsh condition, arise at 3am and stand on their feet all day and deal with an undisciplined and rowdy public!! Why on earth would anyone choose this as a career unless they had some hereditary compulsion!!

    What most people don’t seem to realise is that all the major temples of South India have hereditary priestly families that have been serving the temples for over a thousand years. There are not enough jobs in the temple for the hereditary families, the sons of which are now found in the IT industry in silicon valley!

    Every sacerdotal duty in the temple has already been allotted to a family. For example in Tirupati there is one family whose privilege it is to read the panchang (almanac) every day to the deity. Only they can do it and no one else.

     

    Hindu temples are either Alaya or Mandir - as I have already described in a previous post.

    IN a Mandir - the sculptor can produce an Icon applying his/her artistic skill as long as he/she abides by some basic principles of aesthetics and symbology. Icons in Mandirs are usually of painted and gilded marble. An ICON is just as statue unless and until it is consecrated with sacred rituals. It can be kept in a museum or as a garden ornament, or in your hall. Anybody can become a Brahmin in this.

    In an Alaya the ICONS have to be sculptured according to exact principles and measurements as mentioned in the Shilpa Shastra - the artist does not have much room for displaying personal creativity. So if an icon is absolutely perfectly carved but is defective in proportions for example, it is rejected for a less perfect specimen which has the correct proportions. In an Alaya the principle ICON is invariably of black granite

     

    In an Alaya the principle ICON has 9 gems and a copper, silver or golden yantra placed in a cavity underneath it. The Deity is invoked and requested to be present in the ICON for bestowing grace and beneficence upon the devotees — through elaborate ceremonies lasting for several days. Thereafter the ICON is considered as representing the presence of the Deity and is offered worship as such every single day - whether devotees are present or not. (Their presence is irrelevant to the functioning of an Alaya.)

     

     

    In order to become a priest of a “high-profile” temple one needs to study for 8 to 12 years in an Agama college and memorise entire texts and procedures. in most cases one needs to belong to a lineage associated with that particular temple (Chidambaram for example).

    All temples (in South India) have the organisation of hereditary functions. Specific functions have been allocated to families and their descendants and not all functions are in the hands of Brahmins. In Tamil Nadu many of the senior managerial posts in the temples are held by Chettiars and Vellalas.

    And if the career of a temple priest were opened up to everyone - how many applicants do you think there would be lining up? As Noted Hindu Guru Rami Sivan told -In my 50 years of being a priest I have found perhaps 2 or 3 vaguely interested in becoming a priest but when they are given the syllabus and actually begin to study basic Sanskrit and are compelled to start memorising texts they all gracefully fade away!

    THE ROLE OF AGAMIC PREIST is very imp.

    In the āgamas (regarding Alayas) there is a sūtra which says:–

    bhagavad sānnidhyam arcakasya tapo-balāt — the presence of the deity is dependent upon the spiritual discipline and meditative powers of the attendant (learned & consecrated) priests.

    In order for the Deity to be present (sānnidhyam) it has to have the same representative three bodies which we have.

    1.       sthūla śarīra — gross physical body - sculptured form.

    2.       sūkṣma śarīra — subtle body i.e. mental/emotional body - geometrical yantra placed beneath it.

    3.       kāraṇa śarīra — causal body i.e. ātman associated with its karma - the sacred and secret mūla-mantras which are used in the daily pūjā.

     

    If any of these elements is lacking then the sacrality of the temple (Alaya) is compromised.

     

    So perhaps the Marxists should leave the temples and priests alone and focus on struggling for equality in the corporate and manufacturing sector which is their true remit. Lower the outrageous salaries of the management and raise the standards of the workers - this would be most beneficial to society rather than constantly attacking Hinduism, temples and the poor priests!

     

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  • suyash95 6 days ago | +0 points

    BRAHMINS are BIRTH BASED ONLY ?

    There is also a MYTH about Brahmins, Anybody can become a priest or priestess in Hinduism there is no Governing body that oversees training and appointments nor regulates and monitors KPI’s. There have been non-brahmin priests for 2000 years. — you can build your own temple and become a priest — no questions asked..In Hinduism there are no “elite” or “chosen ones” in terms of spiritual practice and final Liberation (moka) — every human has the same ability to engage in spiritual practice and potential for enlightenment and liberation — limited only by their personal Karmic conditioning.

    True Brahmins are those who learn, memorise and teach the Veda — all other so-called “Brahmins” are cardboard cutouts according to Manu. Brahmins are indeed born with “privilege.” but with privilege come obligations and responsibilities — both are co-dependant.

    By birth a Brahmin is privileged with direct access to religious learning and to the Law (Dharma). But their onerous responsibility is the preservation and transmission of the Hindu cultural heritage and obligations to conduct themselves in a manner befitting the status of a such a conduit of learning.

    So if a Brahmin does not undergo religious study, does not perform his obligatory duties of cultural preservation and does not conduct himself in a manner befitting his status then he, by default loses all privilege and is treated like a commoner.

    ANYBODY can make his own Temple and become a Preist, No Questions asked -

    Previously all prayogas (ritual manuals) were in Sanskrit with no instructions, and in order to study the rituals one had to take an apprenticeship under a Purohit or domestic priest. Nowadays all the ritual manuals are available from Giri Trading company, Chaukhamba, Gita Press Gorakhpur etc.

    In local languages with instructions. All you need to do is to study the rituals, attend a few ceremonies and watch how the priests do it, or go to youtube and watch a few videos, and then set yourself up as a ritual technician. Start with doing pujas for your family members and then expand your services to others in your sphere of influence. If you are talented and good at what you do, you could become a famous priest with hundreds of yajamāna families and gather a large herd of cattle in donations.

    Traditionally a person is considered as BRAHMIN if he has knowledge of VEDAS.There was no printing press in ancient times to print book in large number .Today The Vedas have been in print and available for public consumption since the invention of the printing press. Vedic chanting classes were started for ALL — by the venerable Tirumalai Krishnamacharya in the early 20th century. Chinmaya mission has been running such classes for over 30 years. Books have been published on the subject and there are now many gurukulas which will teach Vedic chanting indiscriminately. With the invention of recording devices many Vedic scholars were delighted to have their voices recorded and publically sold and played.

    The entire Veda is now available on CD (Nowadays MP3) and in South India one can frequently hear Vedic chanting played over PA systems. In the 21st century the great teachers of Veda are Swami Gooogle-ananda and Swami Youtube-ananda. So any one and everyone can learn Veda without let or hindrance. The notion that Sudras are forbidden to the learn or chant the Vedas is pre-modern — Vedic chanting is now being taught in Yoga Schools across the globe. The Vedas are now in the Public Domain since the majority of the traditional custodians have given up their exclusive rights to its transmission over 200 years ago!

     




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  • suyash95 6 days ago | +0 points

    Why are non-Brahmins not allowed inside the temple sanctum?

     

    No one is allowed into the temple sanctum except the consecrate priests. Brahmins or non-brahmins.

    The temple priests (archakas) undergo certain elaborate mandala dikshas after which they are permitted access to the sanctum.

     

    Some temples the are built according to Sthapatya Ved? The innermost center of a building is thought to be as if the hollow center of one’s spinal cord, the sushumna and to be kept pure and silent. No wonder only a silent mind would be allowed into such a sanctum filled with being. There is no such restrictions in North India. Even we can touch the deity and offer pooja by himself.there are two types of temples. Some are called Dhuli Dharshana, meaning they are created for anyone to touch them and have a relation with the deity on a physical level. Not all temples are exactly the same. Each temple is built for a different purpose. So knowing the significance via Sthalapurana will help what is the purpose of this instrument (temple).

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  • suyash95 6 days ago | +0 points

    Allegation - Brahmins wielded immense respect in ancient times because they were the teachers who taught in gurukuls and universities and imparted knowledge of science and technology, yoga, grammar, astronomy, mathematics, medicine etc. Some Brahmins wielded great power and respect, example Maharishi Parshuram and Aadi Shankaracharya.

    This teaching was only available to a small section of society. Using todays’s model in which historically more people attend university than 100 years ago - still what is the percentage of people attending university? Teachers and lecturers only have power over their students - not society at large - do you think the riksha-walla or chai-walla is concerned about the views of Romila Thapar?



    One can go on with any number if recorded examples in history. Brahmins' had the most rigorous lifestyle, that began with waking at 2am to recite the Vedas, involved doing Sandhya vandanam and Agnihotram three times a day, taking multiple cold water baths in a day, and fasting very frequently in the name of many gods and sacred occasions.

    The most egregious example of a Brahmin can be had if one ever read the story of the famous Kamaskshi deity in Kanchi. This deity was in the worship of the family ancestors of the famous Carnatic 18th century musician Syama Sastry. His ancestors, for nearly a period if 500 years, kept on saving their family deity's idol from political upheavals, wars and temple destructions. They dared every hardship to preserve their devotion to this deity, before finally resting Her in Kanchi in the 18th century.

    The famous Ahalyabai Holkar of Gwalior sentenced her own son to death by elephant when he was found guilty. Show me this degree of honesty in any leader. She was a Brahmin. The British could not close on their ambition of occupying all of India so long as Nanasaheb Peeshwa of the Maratha kingdom was alive. It was only after his natural death at 80 years in 1820, could they finally annex their last occupation in India.

    These people discovered the formulas for the movement of planets, the precession of the earth, calculated Pi accurately, stated a syntactically derived framework for language, stated the undecidability of natural language expressions, codified semantics and metres, performed surgeries, invented how to discover the inner self, computed the speed of light, invented yoga, codified music and dance - all of this at times when the rest of the world had been busy butchering one another, and probably was not wearing adequate clothing to protect from nature.

    This did not come about by oppressing others. Quite opposite, it came about by devaluing material existence and even one's body, and dedicating their lives generation after generation to the pursuit of divinity within and without.

    Those who decry the success of Brahmins in the intellectual world do not give adequate thought to the reasons behind it. Instead of demonizing them, they will be better served by exploring the sociocultural history behind them.

    Divide and Rule” was the mantra of every destructive political force. Hitler rallied his majority support by spreading hate about Jews. Pakistan keeps its population under perpetual poverty and control by teaching hatred about India. The British empire played the Hindu-Muslim divide very skilfully to deny political freedom if India. Successive political parties have created the Brahmin bogeyman to keep their vote blocks in control without demonstrating real progress at the ground level for 70 years. [A new master stroke in this divide-rule policy that has come to play in the political games more recently is the male-female divide. By demonizing all male population, the parties are competing for the female voter block. The ability to brand any sizable group of people collectively as a victim class has a disproportionate political leverage in all electoral systems].

    (When the system of democratic voting was invented, the idealistic view was that voters are rational thinking individuals who look out for the common good. But electoral politics have proven that people act like biological groups and value their racial, gender, caste, communal attributes over their capacity to think and act rational. Once politicians figured this law of human nature, there is no turning back. This degree of elitist faith in the electorate proved misplaced time and again. Berating castes is a useful idealistic talk meant for image building. Perpetuating them in policy is more useful for electoral gains).

     

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  • suyash95 6 days ago | +0 points

    Why did Brahmins lose power in society?

     

    The Brahmins as a group never had any real power, as individuals they did. The Brahmins have never been an homogenous group - they are disparate and motivated by and large by self-interest.

    The tendency due to western colonisation is to analyse India through western lenses and it doesn’t work. One cannot compare the “clergy” of ancient India to the clergy of Europe who themselves had absolute power through very rigid organisational structures and even over the King himself who was subject to the Pope.

    Power in ancient India was a binary of temporal power - (kṣatra) which was invested in the absolute monarch and spiritual power (brahma) which was invested in the Brahmins. In the Catholic system the power of the clergy derives from their essential role in the salvation of an individual - extra ecclesiam nulla salus - “outside the Church there is no salvation”. In Hinduism the Brahmins play no role whatsoever in the spiritual progress or liberation of the individual they are irrelevant. The only power-role they had in Vedic times was to bolster the power and legitimacy of the Kings through their yajñas.

    Kings were seen as incarnations of Vishnu (they still are in Thailand) and thus were the autocratic rulers. Power was then divulged among ministers, advisors, commissioners, chiefs, etc. (all of which are described in Kautilya’s Artha Shastra) at the discretion of the King.

    Ideally kings were supposed to employ Brahmins as advisors and judges - how far this arrangement worked was also at the discretion of the king himself. Emperor Dhṛtarāṣṭra in the Mahābhārata employed the Sūdra Vidūra as his chief advisor.

    The power of the Brahmins was and still is, limited to those who invested them with power i.e. their client families known as yajamānas. Traditionally well-to-do families would have domestic priests (purohitas) who would guide them in their religious obligations and duties - but the yajamānas could dismiss a purohita who failed to fulfil their expectations! So again - no power! Some would say their power was in their ability to curse -Durvāsa is the classical example, but true Brahmins would never curse anyone.

    There are hundreds of Hindu communities that don’t even use the services of Brahmin priests at their marriages and funerals - Konkanis, Nairs are notable examples but almost the majority of South Indian Sūdras use their own elders and priests (paṇdārams). So again no power to the clergy.

    The real politic situation is that the vast majority of members of the Brahmin community which accounts for about 4% of the population do not work as priests.

    Now in any economy the tool of power is the ability to withhold goods and services. And as every young socialist knows the more essential the services the greater the power! But this requires the solidarity of the workers - united we stand divided we fall! (Socialism 101!) Now imagine a scenario - the sweepers, garbage collectors, drivers, merchants, clerks, doctors, nurses et al - go on strike - will this impact your life or not? Now imagine all the Hindu priests going on strike (that would like harnessing cats to a cart!) - how will your day be? (I can see most of you falling off your chairs laughing!!) So from a socialist perspective garbage removers and drain-cleaners have far more real power than Brahmins whose services are negligible.

    Power requires SOLIDARITY and the Brahmins of India have never ever had any concept of solidarity! They speak dozens of different languages, have diverse customs (some are non-veg and some are veg) they follow different Vedas and Sūtras, and belong to hundreds of different clans (gotras) - they chant the Vedas differently and their ceremonies are different. Even among the Brahmins themselves there is a hierarchy of meritocracy - with Vedic Brahmins (ahitagnis) at the top and temple priests (devalaka) at the bottom - actually funeral priests (apara-prayogis - mahāpātras) and even lower. They have divisions about inter-dinning and certainly don’t intermarry. They have sectarian differences and even intra-sectarian differences and conflicts and even riots! They all regard each other with suspicion and sometimes outright hostility. So in this morass where is the solidarity? And if no solidarity where is the power comrades?

    In ancient India as in Europe the most dreaded punishment was excommunication from caste for Hindus, and in the case of Catholics - the denial of sacraments and thus certain damnation. In India only caste panchayats themselves could excommunicate members of their own caste and not that of others. And even if one Brahmin excommunicated someone - all he needs to do is go to another Brahmin who, for a generous fee will cancel the excommunication order!

    So from an insider point of view the notion of the Brahmins as a group having any power whatsoever is completely ridiculous. So they never had any real power to lose.

     

     

    Are Indian Hindus really following Hinduism, or are they following Brahminism?

     

    Actually Brahmanism was the name given by the early European Indologists to the ancient Vedic religion based on the texts known as the Brāhmaṇas.

    Historical Vedic religion - Wikipedia

    Modern Hinduism emerged from a syncretism of Vedic, Puranic and Tantric streams of thought and practices.

    There seems to be a lot of confusion about terms on this site regard the B word.

    Brahma is derived from the root bṛh (brihat) which means the great, huge, expanse, etc. from this root we get the following derivatives:–

    1.       Brahman (neuter) refers to the Absolute Reality which is the field of existence.

     

    2.       Brahmā (m) refers to the personified creator god.

     

    3.       Brahmaṇa or Brahmin means a person of the priestly caste - one who follows or knows Brahmā. (Ideally applied to one who follows the strict code of learning and virtuous conduct set down for one following this sacred vocation and not to a ritual technologist who simply uses it as a means of livelihood.)

     

    4. Brāhmaṇa is the name given to the 2nd section of the Vedas (Samhita, Brāhmaṇa, Araṇyaka and Upaṇiṣad)

    The Brāhmana texts expound the Vedic rituals known as yajñas which the Brahmins practiced - hence the religion based on the Brāhmaṇas was called Brahmanism.

    The term is sometimes used academically to differentiate between the “Higher” Hinduism of the elites (the mahā-yāna - the higher vehicle) characterized by orthodoxy and adherence to Shastra, and the “Lower” Hinduism of the masses (hīna-yāna - the lower vehicle) characterized by heterodoxy and adherence to Custom and Usage while ignoring the Shastras.

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  • suyash95 6 days ago | +0 points

    Who are Brahmins in the Indian caste system?

     

    The Brahmins are the “priestly” class theoretically but nowadays 95% of them do not practice priestcraft - they are all employed in secular professions.

    And those 95% do not really qualify as “priestly class” because the 6 functions of the Brahmin caste is to study Vedas and teach others, to perform rituals for themselves and for others and to give charity and to accept gifts.

    Most Brahmins nowadays do not study the Vedas or perform their daily rituals even for themselves let alone for others. The key ritual to maintaining Brahminical status is the daily performance of a rite known as Sandhya Vandana (Kshatriyas and vaishyas are also compelled to perform this rite to maintain their status too) — if this ritual is missed for 48 hours the Brahmins, along with the Kshatriyas and Vaishyas all revert to being a commoners (sudras). By this very fact, most Brahmins have no right to identify themselves as such and 90% we can say, of the Hindu community are all commoners (sudras).

    The so-called Kshatriyas and Vaishyas have long ago given up their study of the Vedas and the performance of their daily ritual of Sandhya and the wearing of the sacred thread (yajñopavīta) — so they too have lost their “twice-born” (dvija) status.

    Janmanā jāyate śūdra saṃskārāt dvija ucyate — by birth everyone is a sudra - it is through the sacraments of initiation and so forth that one attains “twice-born” status.

     

     

    Are people from religion other than Hinduism say Muslim, Christian, Jew, etc. are Shudra according to Hinduism?

     

    The four Varnas are a general professional classification of human society - the same four categories can be found in every complex society.

    1.       All politicians, governing agencies, law-enforcement, border protection, armed forces etc. are “Kshatriyas”.

     

     

    2.       All those who work in the teaching, consulting and legal profession are categorised as “Brahmins”

     

    3.        Those who work in finance, investment, banking, entrepreneurs and investors, owners of the means of production etc. are “Vaishyas”

     

    4. And all those who work in service professions and vocations are “shudras”.

     

    But in modern society there is absolutely no point or benefit to be gained from classifying people according to Varna.

    Hierarchy is natural to human societies and now in Western Academia and social sciences new hierarchies have been created based on Gender, Race and Class Intersectionality, and oppression/victimhood. (Marxist social theory)

    What are the permitted vocations for Brahmins according to the Dharma Shastra?

     

    For this answer I will give an extended and very informative quote from The History of the Dharma Shastras by V. Kane.

    The avocations practised by brāhmaṇas in the pursuit of wealth were many and varied, so much so that from very ancient times the lists of brāhmaṇas not eligible for invitation at sraddhas because they followed unworthy callings were formidable. Atrī (Anan. ed.) verses 373-383 names ten kinds of brāhmaṇas and briefly defines them, viz.

    1. deva-brāhmaṇa (who daily performs bath, sandhya, japa, homa, worship of gods and honouring of guests and vaiśvadeva),

    2. muni-br. (who is given up to staying in a forest, subsists on roots, fruits and vegetables and performs daily sraddhas),

    3. dvija-br. (who studies the Vedānta, gives up all attachments and is engaged in reflecting over Saṅkhya and Yoga),

    4. kṣatra-br. (who fights - is employed in the military or security and defence industries),

    5. vaiśya-br. (who engages in agriculture, rearing cattle and the economy),

    6. śūdra-br. (who sells lac, salt, dyes like kusumbha, milk, ghee, honey, meat or is an artisan),

    7. niṣāda-br. (who is a thief and robber, a backbiter and always fond of fish and meat),

    8. pasu-br. (who knows nothing about Vedānta and is only proud of his wearing the sacred thread),

    9. mleccha-br. (who obstructs or destroys wells, tanks, gardens, without any qualm)

    10. caṇḍāla-br. (who is a fool, devoid of prescribed rites, beyond the pale of all dharma and cruel).

    Atrī (384) rather humorously adds ‘those who are devoid of Vedic lore, study the sastras (like grammar, logic etc.), those devoid of sastric lore study Purāṇas (and earn money by reciting them), those who are devoid even of Purāṇa reading become cultivators, those who are devoid even of that become bhāgavatas (pose as great devotees of Siva or Viṣṇu i.e. become what is called in modern Marathi 'buvā')

    Devala quoted by Aparārka (pp.284-285) speaks of eight kinds of brāhmaṇas (of whom each succeeding one is superior to each preceding one) viz.

    1. mātra — (one who is only born in a brāhmaṇa family but has not studied any part of the Veda nor performs the actions appropriate to brāhmaṇas),

    2. brāhmaṇa — (who has studied a portion of the Veda),

    3. śrotriya — (who has studied one vedic śākha with the six angas and performs the six duties of brāhmaṇas),

    4. anūcāna — (who knows the meaning of the Veda and the Vedangas, is of pure heart and has kindled the sacred fires),

    5. bhruṇa — (who besides being anūcāna always performs yajñas and eats what is left after performing yajñas),

    6. ṛṣikalpa — (who has gained all worldly and Vedic knowledge, and has his mind under control),

    7. ṛṣi — (one who is celibate, of austere life, of truthful speech and able to curse or favour),

    8. muni — (to whom a clod of earth and gold are the same, who has ceased from all activity, is devoid of desires and anger etc.).

    Śātātapa quoted by Aparārka (pp.286-287) speaks of six classes of persons who, though born brāhmaṇas, are really not brāhmaṇas viz.

    1. one who has taken service with a king (government),

    2. one who engages in sale and purchase (of commodities),

    3. one who officiates for many yajamanas,

    4. one who is the officiating priest for the whole village,

    5. one who is in the service of a village or town,

    6. one who does not perform sandhya adoration in the morning and evening at the proper time.

    The Anuśāsanaparva (33.11 ff) shows that some brāhmaṇas were great rogues, others engaged in austerities, some resorted to agriculture and rearing cattle, others subsisted by begging, some were thieves and others were false, some were acrobats and dancers (but it yet recommends that brāhmaṇas must still be honoured).

    The smṛtis teach that brāhmaṇas doing certain things are to be treated as śūdras. For example, Baud. Dh. S. (II.4.20) requires a religious king to employ brāhmaṇas who do not perform the morning and evening adoration (sandhya) in doing work appropriate to śūdras. Vas. Dh. S. J(III.1-2) says that brāhmaṇas who are not srotriyas (learned in the Veda), who do not teach the Veda or who do not kindle the sacred fires become reduced to the status of śūdras and quotes a Manava sloka (Manu II.168)

    ‘that a brāhmaṇa who without studying the Veda works hard to master something else is quickly reduced while still living to the status of a śūdra together with his family.’

    Manu (VIII.102 = Baud. Dh. S. I. 5.95) asks the king to treat as śūdras brāhmaṇas who engage in rearing cattle, in the sale of commodities, who are artisans and actors, who are mere servants and money-lenders.

    Parasara (VIII, 24) says that a brāhmaṇa who does not repeat the Gayatri mantra is more impure than even a śūdra and that brāhmaṇas who do not offer oblations to sacred fires, who are bereft of sandhya adoration and who do not study the Veda are all śūdras and that therefore one should study at least a portion of the Veda if he cannot study the whole.

    Manu (V.4) 295 sums up in one place the reasons why brāhmaṇas are seized by Death before the allotted span of human life 'on account of not studying the Vedas, on account of giving up the rules of conduct prescribed for them, through idleness and through the faults arising from (partaking forbidden) food, Death desires to kill brāhmaṇas.'

     

     

    When does one lose Brahminhood?

    There are many reasons that cause a Brahmin to lose caste and become a “patita”.

    In all the following cases the culprit loses all “Brahminical privilege” - the remdy is to perform an expiation of some sort which involves a complex fast, he then has to have his Upanayana (initiation) redone and then he has to provide a feast for all his clan and to provide them with new sets of clothing as way of a fine.

    1. Neglect of the study of the Veda.

    2. Failure to perform Sandhya Vandana

    3. Drinking or even smelling all intoxicating drinks

    4. Consuming the milk or cheese from sheep, camels, donkeys or deer.

    5. Eating garlic, onions or leeks

    6. Eating the meat of dogs, camels, village pigs, village chickens, beef and carnivorous animals

    7. Eating turnips or carrots

    8. Riding on a donkey, bull, buffalo or camel

    9. Eating food provided by a dog-eater

    10. Eating left-overs from anyone except gurus.

    11. Theft of gold

    12. Causing or in any way being involved in abortion

    13. Incest with uncles, aunts or cousins or any number for forbidden connections.

    14. homicide

    So if you are guilty of any of the above transgressions you are an outcast and cannot be invited to dinner or socialized with, and definitely cannot be considered for a marriage liaison until the offense has been atoned for.

     

    What is the ceremony for becoming a Brahmin, like Hiranyagarbha is there to become a Kshatriya?

    To become a Brahmin one needs to undergo the UPANAYANA ceremony - but Brahminhood is not just acquiring social status its about observing rules.

    So before you even think of undergoing an Upanayana ceremony reflect upon the following duties and obligations which you must undertake. Failure to follow will result in loss of status and social devaluation and degradation.

    Duties of a Brahmin.

    • Must rise at 4am everyday and never sleep during the day.

    • Bathe twice every day and perform Sandhya-vandana - a lapse of 3 days require reinitiation.

    • Offer tarpana (water libations) to ancestors and rishis daily and special sessions on the new and the full-moon.

    • Daily study and memorization of a portion of the Veda to which he belongs.

    • To teach some portion to others.

    • After marriage - twice daily to perform agnihotra (fire oblations)

    • To strive towards the complete performance of the 40 samskāras incumbent upon Brahmins during the course of a lifetime.

    • After Sandhya, Tarpana and Veda study he has to perform the daily puja to his deities.

    • He must grow shikha (topknot)

    • Must have his ears pierced and wear earrings

    Then there are all the rules regarding maintaining ritual purity and restrictions such as

    • Not using public transport

    • Bathing after walking on a highway

    Rules about eating.

    • The food to be eaten has first to be offered to the house deities.

    • A stranger must be fed everyday

    • No eating cooked food or taking water from any source outside the house.

    • No pre-prepared, processed or packaged food.

    • No eating in front of other people

    • Not using any eating utensils used by others

    • No eating mushrooms, onions, garlic or leeks

    • No eating the food cooked for an assembly of people – such as a wedding feast or house party or canteen.

    • No eating of food in a ship or boat but must be on land.

    • Not drinking any beverage containing alcohol and not even smelling alcohol

    • No tobacco or drug usage other than for health reasons.

    • He cannot eat the food given by one employed in the military

    or by a landlord

    or by someone who works in the medical field

    or food offered by an artisan

    or of a non-reproductive male

    or of an ascetic

    or of another Brahmin who neglects the daily worship of the sacred fire

    or a Brahmin who himself does not follow the food rules.

    Livelihood

    Trade is forbidden except in dire straits, if he does take to trade then the following is forbidden – human trafficking, condiments and liquids, dyes, perfumes, food, skins, heifers, substances used for gluing [such as lac], water, young cornstalks, substances from which alcohol may be extracted, red and black pepper, corn, meat products, weapons and the trading in indulgences i.e. receiving money for chanting mantras, taking ceremonial baths and doing pious deeds for others — in these cases the merit is said to be transferred to the sponsor.

    If you are prepared to follow all these rules then please apply for Upanayana.

    For being a Kshatriya, Vaishya or Sudra no induction or ceremony is required or rules need to be followed, you can eat whatever you want, do whatever work and travel freely and attend parties and drink alcohol and have a great time. If you want to you may follow any of the rules pertaining to Brahmins and you will gain merit.

    BUT make sure you harm no one in the act. Harm minimisation is the basic requirement.

    Does Brahmanism preach and believe in a religion different from Hindu or traditional religion? What is the name of their scripture? Are there any followers of Brahmanist in the world even today?

    “Brahmanism” was a term coined to describe the ancient Vedic religion of the texts known as the Brahmanas which are a section of the Vedas following the Samhitas.

    The Brahmana texts deal with the Karma-Kanda (Ritual Practice) as applied in the various prescribed yajnas of the Vedas. So in brief Brahmanism was the Vedic religion centred on YAJNA. Over time this complex and expensive arrangement fell into desuetude and the focus moved to the fourth of the textual groups of the Vedas.

    The latter portions of the Vedas are known as the Upanishads or Vedanta and these texts constitute the collections of Jnana and Upasana Kandas - Wisdom and Spiritual practice. So this system of spiritual enquiry and practice which is simply known as VEDANTA took over from the yajna business.

    “Hinduism” was a relatively late term coined by the British to conveniently categorise the non-Abrahamic religious practices in India - and it includes both the orthodox and the heterodox religious systems as well as indigenous animism.

    “Brahmanists” i.e. those who still follow and practice the Vedic Karma Kanda are still available in India in drastically reduced numbers.

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  • suyash95 6 days ago | +0 points

    What is the power of Brahmins?

    There are two types of Brahmins connected with “Power.” Secular/political and Spiritual/religious.

    a. Those born into Brahmin families who have achieved political power - these are “ethnically” Brahmins who are working for themselves and ideally for their constituents who elected them - they are secular public servants and do not represent Hinduism per se, some of their values may be informed by Hinduism. Their power is purely secular and is conferred upon them by their voting constituents who pay their salaries via taxes.

    b. Those who are not necessarily Brahmin by birth but serve the community as priests. Their power is purely “spiritual” and is conferred upon them by their client families (yajamānas). Priests belong to two categories:– 1. Temple Priests (archakas) who are employed by the temple and 2. Domestic Priests (purohitas) who are independent sole operators.

    It must be remembered that Hindu domestic priests are not salaried and are entirely dependent upon their client families for their livelihood. The power over them lies with their client families! Hindus in general never listen to, or obey their priests. If an individual wants a ceremony done in a particular way, he or she will simply shop around until they find a priest who agrees to their demands and is within their “budget”. There are many priests who will do whatever the client families want in order to secure an income. The income of the purohitas fluctuates with the religious calendar and their popularity.

    So the idea that “Brahmins” in general have independent power is a total fiction.

    [reply]

  • suyash95 6 days ago | +0 points

    the role of the Brahmin community in preserving our holy texts during Mughals and when foreigners attacked India?

    It was the sole responsibility of Brahmins to protect and teach our holy texts. It is because Brahmins all over India were so dedicated and devoted to Sanatana Dharma that it has survived to the present day. In the history of conversions to Islam and Christianity, the least number of conversions have happened among Brahmins, because they have been able to resist and withstand the attacks of conquerors (Islam) and missionaries (Christianity).

    This resilience of the Brahmin community was a big threat to the British as well. So they systematically denigrated the Brahmins, did propaganda that other communities were suppressed and oppressed by Brahmins, created the Aryan-Dravidian theory, just to divide and conquer India.

    Great Brahmins like Chanakya, Vidyaranya and others from ancient and medieval times devoted their lives to uniting and defending India against invaders. They gave a framework within which all sections of society could function and prosper. The Brahmins themselves were never in positions of power or wealth - the orthodox Dharma Shastras (law books) prohibited Brahmins from accumulating wealth or power. They were supposed to guide the king and society in the right path, while themselves have minimum possessions. They were not allowed to engage in any business so that they don't get money-minded and forget their svadharma.

    When kings acted selfishly due to their ambition to conquer more land, they jeopardized India's unity. Kings invited foreign armies to fight for them against other kings. Often, the foreign armies deceived the king and attacked instead. This weakened the defences at India's frontiers. All through those tumultuous times, Brahmin families preserved Sanatana Dharma.

     

    [reply]

  • suyash95 6 days ago | +0 points

    Is there a class hierarchy between different Brahmin communities?

    There are several different hierarchies among the orthodox practicing brahmins.

    On the top are the Vaidikas - those who have memorised the Vedas and are still living and practicing and performing yajñas according to the ancient codes of law.

    Then we have the Purohitas - the family priests who are scholars in the tradition of the Gṛihya sūtras and perform the service of priests at all the domestic rituals and sacraments. They too are sub-divided into two tiers.

    Those who perform rituals only for Brahmin families (elitist)

    Those who perform rituals for the rest of the community (commoners)

    Third tier are the Brahmin priests - Archakas - who serve in the major temples - they are divided on a sectarian basis.

    There are also in-house divisions among them as to hereditary priestly families of “real” Brahmins and those who are “faux” Brahmins i.e. achieved their position through class-mobility. These are the Kovilars (Vaishnava)and the Gurukals (Shaiva) - a very contentious and sensitive matter.

    Then at the bottom of the Brahmin hierarchy and the “untouchable” but most essential among the Brahmins are those who perform funeral ceremonies and partake of funeral meals and accept post-mortem gifts - they are known as the Apara-prayogis or Mahā-pātras - and they are shunned even by the Dalits!

    These groups generally all observe social-distancing from each other, do not inter-dine or inter-marry.

     

    Claim - Then there are Brahmins who took over the kingship, became kings, became big landlords and undertook military duties (specially north india and west india) and became separate class alltogether.

     

    Truth - Correct - but they are not the “practicing” Bramins having neglected their caste-duties.People have a very simplified vision of the caste system and its complexities. The Brahminical community is a parallel system of internal discrimination, just like the Sudra community with its own internal division and micro-hierarchies. Most of the notorious discrimination against Dalits is by Sudras who think they are higher up on the pecking order. So there is not a single Hindu social hierarchy - there are many.

     

    Claim - hindu is nothing but hierarchy of castes

     

    Truth - That’s a very simplistic and shallow observation - judging a book by its cover.

    VEDANTA is the heart of Hinduism - if you don’t know about Vedanta then you know noting about Hinduism.

    [reply]

  • suyash95 6 days ago | +0 points

    Can lower caste person  reach moksha in the caste system (like the Brahmins, Kshatriyas, etc.)?

     

    The following section is a quote is from Srivachanabhūṣana by the great Srivaishnava Acharya — Pillai Lokacharya (1264-1369 CE)

    The benefit of birth in a lower caste

    213. adukku svarūpa prāptamāṇa naicyam bhāvikka veṇum.

    213. In order to realise one's true nature there needs to be a humble disposition.

    The true and essential nature of a jīva is enveloped and obscured by the 6 hindrances known as ṣaḍari; kāma – self-referrent desires, krodha – anger, moha – delusion or identification with the body-mind complex, mada – arrogance or hubris, lobha – not sharing resources with others and mātsarya – malicious envy. All of these have their basis in the delusive identification with the mind/body complex.

    214. apakruṣṭamāka pramitta urkruṣṭa janmattukku iraṇḍu doṣamum illai.

    214. Birth in the lower castes is really better as it does not entail the two defects.

    The two defects are:—

    1) fear of falling from one's caste status and

    2) the constant need to impose a false notion of oneself — projecting that image which does not belong to the jīva by nature.

    215. naicyam janma siddham.

    215. [For the low-born] abjection is consistent with birth.

    The ahaṅkāra (ego-sense) is the greatest obstacle in spiritual progress and the realisation of one's true nature. Those who are high born are more likely to have an over-developed and reinforced ego whereas those who are born in the low castes have a less developed ego. They are also used to being exploited and discriminated against and thus have a more pervasive sense of helplessness. This feeling of abjection is the only pre-requisite for Taking Refuge.

    216. āgaiyālē utkruṣṭa janmamē śreṣṭam.

    216. Therefore, birth in a lower caste is better.

    In order to take refuge and to practice the virtues of unconditional friendliness and compassion, humility and service it is better to be born in a low caste, than in family of great learning, wealth and status/caste-consciousness. A person who is used to being discriminated against will, after having taken refuge be able to empathise with the plight of those who are less fortunate and will hopefully be more ready to assist and to serve without self-reference. Whereas for one who has been a member of the “in-group” or mainstream and has always found acceptance and support will generally be less sensitive to the sufferings of others — never having personally experienced vilification and discrimination.

    217. “śvapaco’pi mahīpāla”

    217. Even one who cooks dogs, O king!” (Bhāgavata Purāṇa)

    “Even one who cooks dogs (a caṇḍāla), O king, who has devotion to Lord Viṣṇu, is higher than a twice-born one; a brāhmin without devotion to Viṣṇu is lower than one who cooks dogs,”

    However low be the parentage and social status of a Vaiṣṇava he is nevertheless superior to a mere caste brāhmin who is devoid of the love of God.

    Śāstra reiterates again and again that everyone is born a śūdra, one earns the right to the status of twice-born (dvijatva) through the samskāras or sacraments and through study of the Vedas. All study of the Vedas should rightly culminate in the love of God (bhakti) and the service of all sentient beings (loka-saṅgraha). If this is not the result then dvijatva is useless.

    Until 19th century in India, there was a group of selfless scholarly Brahmins whose job was treating people during Pandemic.They used to travel village to village & vaccinate everyone without ever caring for their personal safety. Their failure rate was just one in a million!

    The British banned these Brahmins and their profession in 1861.The banning led to an increase of smallpox epidemics and plague in 20th century.This is how traditional health ecosystem was destroyed during the modern colonization era. And such institutions never recovered!

    Screenshots excerpted from Susantha Goonatilake's "Toward a global science : mining civilizational knowledge" who inturn quotes Dharmapal's citation of Holwell's report

    [reply]

  • suyash95 6 days ago | +0 points

    Traditionally, are Brahmins not meant to work as employees beneath someone else?

     

    Brahmins also work as employees under wealthy Sudras that build and control temples which employ them.

    Since the Middle Ages and the decline of the Vedic Yajñas under the patronage of kings and wealthy merchants, Sudras - particularly the land-owners and the primary producers of valued commodities became the nouveau riche - and the Brahmins began extending their sacerdotal services to them as well.

    So today the majority of the patrons of the Brahmins who are still practicing their traditional occupation of priesthood are Sudras - a thing which is condemned by the earlier Dharma Shastras.

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  • suyash95 6 days ago | +0 points

    Is There any Transition from Shdura to Brahmin

    Viswakarma descendants today are called Viswa Brahman, and they were previously  Sudras , they assumed brahminical status - social mobility because of their economic power - there is no provision in Dharma Shastras for Brahmins to work as artisans.

    can a Dalit become Brahmin.

    What do you mean by “Brahmin”? A priest or a person knowledgeable in spirituality? Dalits are already becoming priests and anybody who is literate can become learned in spirituality.

     

    [reply]

  • suyash95 6 days ago | +0 points

    BRAHMINS Wrote SMRITIS n DHARMASHASTRAS to oppress SHUDRAS -

    social theories (called Smritis) were not divine revelations as was the case in the Abrahamic religions, but were constructed by human lawmakers who were analogous to today’s public officials. Hence, all Smritis are amendable, and indeed are intended to be modified for each era and by each society. This is a very progressive social mandate, and to freeze Indian social norms is, in fact, a travesty based on ignorance.

    each and every Jaatis had their own take on marriage which was governed by Custom & Usage. So some Jaatis were matriarchal, some sanctioned child-marriage and some repudiated it, some allowed serial marriages, some allowed polygamy and some encouraged widow remarriage. Multi-culturalism and Diversity have been the hallmarks of the Varna-Jaati system.

    the difference between Custom and Usage and Dharma Shastra. The former is transmitted through the vernacular and the latter through Sanskrit.



    Kings ruled - they were the supreme adjudicators in matters of law. Kings made up their own laws. They were running the show. Brahmins were a tiny minority and never had any real power. They were kept as advisors and judges or as in the case of King Dhritarashtra - he kept a Sudra advisor who was the wisest man in the land — Vidura.

    Sudras, who form the majority of the population are free from all the rules and restrictions and through their caste syndicates created their own laws and regulations. The castes were all autonomous and conducted their own investigations, trials and punishments. Only in the cases of irreconcilable conflicts and capital crimes was the intervention of the state sought.

    When the British were seeking a legal framework to rule India they chose Manusmriti because of its wide ranging legislation - covering state affairs, crime and punishment as well as social and religious matters. Manusmriti even at that time was to be found only in dusty libraries. So the British asked their native informers if there was any code of Hindu law like the Sharia which they applied to their Muslim populations. Their native informers, who were Brahmins said - “Yeah well, boss, there is this ancient code of laws called Manusmriti - we’ll have to search out a palm-leaf manuscript copy for you!” ….. the rest is history.

    Remember it was the British that conducted a census on caste in 1865 for the purpose of social engineering. After gathering all the caste data, they then gazetted the castes according to a hierarchy so they could then more efficiently recruit staff to manage the empire. For example soldiers were recruited from the warrior castes, scribes and clerks from the Kayastha caste, teachers and advisors from the Brahmins, economic management recruits were Vaishyas and servants and foot soldiers came from the Sudras. etc. There were hundreds of legal challenges to the hierarchical gazetting at the time, because of the complexity of the system which the administrators wanted to simplify and had unjustifiably elevated and demoted some castes.



    Swami Tulsidas . One of his most quoted chaupai or verse is “Dhol,ganwar,shudea,pashu,nari,ye sab taaran ke adhikari” -translated as ( so-called lower castes, animals, widows/whores and women are fit only for abuse/chastisement) to justify the misbehavior with the group as mentioned.

    This is Tulsidas’ own opinion - Dharma Shastra strictly forbids hitting a girl or a woman at any time for any reason.

    [reply]

  • suyash95 6 days ago | +0 points

    Are Shudras allowed to do Upanayanam?

     

    It must always be remembered that there were hundreds of Vedic Acharyas and Vedic schools - they did not all agree on every point. For every 3 Indians you meet they will have at least 5 different opinions! It has always been thus on the sub-continent. The argumentative Indian is axiomatic!

    Hinduism accepts differences of opinion, belief, practice and is accommodating of diversity and inclusivity.

    So what is UPANAYANAM?

    ·         It is a ceremony in which a youth is formally initiated into Vedic studies.

    ·         He is taught the gāyatri mantra and promises to protect the Spiritual treasure of the brahmins i.e. the Vedas.

    ·         During this ceremony the youth will take vows - to observe strict discipline, to study the Vedas, to perform daily Sandhya vandana and worship of the fire (samidhā-dānam), to serve his guru, observe chastity, beg for his food.

    So what is done nowadays is an embarrassing charade - because most often the father himself doesn’t know the gāyatri mantra and has never done sandhya and has no idea about the Vedas. The youth himself will only enjoy the ceremony in order to receive gifts and attention and will never fulfill any of the vows he takes.

    So what does the Veda say about Spiritual Learning?

    yathemāṁ vācaṁ kalyāṇīṁ avadāni janebhyaḥ | brahma rājanyābhyāṁ śūdrāya caryāya ca svayāya caraṇāya ca ||

    Just as I have revealed this salutary auspicious teachings to all humans, so should you. I have revealed the Vedic truth to brahmins, kshatriyas, sudras and Aryas, to personal servants and to the lowest of servants (araṇāya) also. (Sukla Yajur Veda 26:2)

    So according to this verse everyone is entitled to and eligible for Spiritual Knowledge.

    vidyate caturthasya varṇasya agnyādheyam ityeke

    Some say that all four varnas are eligible to consecrate the 3 sacred fires (Bhāradvāja śrauta sutra 5:2.8.)

    So Bhāradvāja clearly says that some acharyas are of the opinion that all four Varnas can establish and consecrate the 3 sacred fires and therefore must have access to Upanayana and vedic learning in order to do this.

    dānaṁ yajño'tha śuśrūṣā dvijātināṁ tridhā mayā |

    vyākhyātaḥ śūdra dharmo'pi jīvikā kāru-karmajā |

    tadvad dvijāti śuśrūṣā poṣaṇam kraya vikrayaiḥ |

    The religious duties of a Sudra are works of charity and the performing of yajñas and serving others. They earn a living from being artisans, tradesmen, craftsmen etc. from service professions, from nurturing and from selling and buying. (Markaṇḍeya Purāṇa 25:7-8)

    So here again the Sudras are given entitlement to perform yajñas which requires initiation and some level of spiritual education.

    The way these teachings have actually been applied is through the popularization of the Puranas through which all the knowledge contained in the Vedas is transmitted through the medium of anecdotes, stories, discourses and conversations - everyone without prejudice has access to the Puranas without initiation or the taking of vows.

    In the matter of yajñas the domestic priest usually does the yajña on behalf of the Sudra yajamāna (host) who formally gives him power of attorney before the ceremony.

    In those ceremonies such as funeral or wedding ceremonies in which the yajamāna himself has to perform ritual acts, the sacred thread (yajñopavīta) is given to him prior to the ceremony (tat-kālika) and very often it is made of either silver or gold.

    Currently there are a few Hindu organizations that offer Upanayana and spiritual tuition to everyone regardless of their birth circumstances - the Arya Samaj and ISKCON are outstanding in this matter.

    This custom of initiating women into Vedic studies has further been supported by such law-givers as Yama and Harita.

    'In olden days it was prescribed for maidens the wearing of the sacrificial thread, the teaching of the Vedas and the utterance of the Savitri (= Gayatri Mantra). (Yama Samhita)

    'Women are of two kinds, Brahma-Vadinis and Straightway married. The Brahma-vadinis can be initiated in the lighting of the (sacred) fire, reading of the Vedas and begging in their own houses; the brides have to be married after a sort of initiation, so says Madhavacharya”. (Harita Samhita)

    In the Rāmāyana is mentions the Sītā would perform daily Sandhya Vandana and Kausalya is described as performing daily homa (offerings into the sacred fire).

    So these verse would clearly indicate that some acharyas definitely approved of women and Sudras receiving Upanayana, studying the Vedas and performing their religious and ritual duties.

     

    Are Sudras required to follow the Dharma Shastra rules, regulations, and laws?

    NO!

    All the rules, regulations and laws apart from the civil and criminal law are meant only for Dvijas - Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas who have been initiated by the process of Upanayanam, who study the Vedas and perform Sandhya vandana daily.

    All others are exempt - which means the vast majority of Hindus.

    na śūdre pātakam kiñcin na tasya saṁskāram arhati |

    nāsya adhikāro dharme’sti na ca dharmāt pratiṣedhanam ||

    A Sudra cannot commit an offence causing loss of caste (pātaka), and he is not obligated to receive the sacraments; he has no obligation to (fulfil) the sacred law (yet) there is no prohibition against (his fulfilling certain portions of) the law. (Manu 10:126)

    “Loss of caste” is the greatest fear of the twice-born, since they are required to undergo all the sacraments (samskāras) again and be reinitiated at great cost. The fine by the caste-community is to provide a lavish feast for the entire community.

    A Sūdra cannot cause any offence or transgression which would result in loss of caste because Sudratva is already the default status of everyone.

    There are 16 Sacraments for Kshatriyas and Vaishyas and 40 for Brahmins which are obligatory. A Sudra has no need of them but can undergo 10 if he or she so desires - they are optional and voluntary. The two saṁskāras to which they are entitled are marriage and funeral sacraments.

    All the other rules and regulations and commands are optional and a Sudra is not prohibited from choosing which ones he or she wishes to follow and which not. Sudras have complete freedom of choice in the matter and are not guilty of a transgression or offence if they decline to follow them.

    dharma ipsavas tu dharmajñāḥ satāṁ vṛttam anuṣṭhitāḥ |

    mantra varjyaṁ na duṣyanti praśaṁsāṁ prāpnuvanti ca ||

    (Sudras) who are desirous to gain merit, and know (their) duty, commit no sin, but gain praise, if they imitate the practice of the examples of Dharma without reciting Vedic mantras. (Manu 10:127)

    So in this verse Manu says that the more a Sudra follows Dharma and applies himself to spiritual practice - the more esteemed and elevated in status he gains. But Manu’s proviso is that he not recite Vedic Mantras.

    So what actually happens in practice is the Brahmin Purohit (priest) who officiates for a Sudra will recite the Vedic mantras on his behalf. At the commencement of the ceremony there is a statement of appointment

    ācārya tvām vṛṇe - yathā vihitam karma kuru - “I appoint you as my guide - please perform the ceremony according to the protocols.”

    Some from indignation raise the objection “why should a Sudra not recite Vedic mantras?”

    In fact in all my ceremonies I recite the mantras even for Brahmins because none of them have studied Sanskrit nor are the familiar with the Vedic chanting notation so their pronunciation is horrendous!! Some Indian linguistic groups who I will not name torture Sanskrit and make her weep in pain!

    So the recitation of Vedic mantras is only for those who have studied the Vedas.

    [reply]

  • suyash95 6 days ago | +0 points

    SMRITIS were written by Individual BRahmins and they were not the opinion of entire BRahmin Community ,Different BRahmins follow different Smritis n Dharmashastra

    SHUDRAS HAVE ACCESS TO VEDAS -

    This was just an opinion of person at that time,not actual thing. Buy and try to read them, U will get the point .They are too big and Boring.

      The same knowledge that is found in the Vedas was always available to Sudras and women through the stories and myths of the Puranas.

     Vedic Purohits r traditionally labelled as Brahmins, To become vedic purohits one must study in veda patshalas, and this can vary from place to place.Some pathshalas may have give admission solely on based on birth n others r open for everyone who want to enroll. When we compare our current modern world with old,ancient world,we should understand time,place,context.the conditions r vastly different.Learning one single Vedas required a time period of 12 years.n a strict observance of rules .very few people were inclined for this. There was no printing Press to book in large numbers.

     

    Writing was only developed in India in about 300 - 200 BCE. The entire sacred literature - i.e. Vedas had been transmitted orally for thousands of years before then. The primary function of the Brahmins was to learn the Vedas by heart and to transmit them to their disciples in an unbroken and perfect succession. So they were like walking libraries containing the entire culture in their heads.

     

    In order to be the custodians and living vehicles of the Vedas they had heavy responsibilities and duties imposed on them

     

    As national cultural treasures they were to be protected and given special privileges.

     

    If they neglected the study of the Vedas they were to be deprived of their privileges and treated as commoners.  No one was intersted in LEarning Vedas.the knowledge contained in Vedas was passed in form of Puranas. EVen today when Vedas are available in print, no one is interested in learning them.  

     

    NOTE - Sudras are majority 85% of society and they were Engineers, Metal Works, Potters, Carpenters, Artisans, Craftsmen, Tradesmen, Peasants, Weavers, Cart-builders

    and other Service Professions . If they stopped all works to build society and study Vedas how will society run? Study of each Veda takes 12 years with lots of

    restrictions on food, wealth etc. The special duty of a Brahmacarin is begging for alms, service to the preceptor, study, sacrificial rites, and renunciation.”

    (Garuda Purana 1.49.5). Does this sound appealing to everyone? Who can't wait to spend their entire childhood living a hand-to-mouth existence, begging for food,

    carrying out menial tasks just to learn something you can never make money doing? The Bramhin path was never a materially lucrative one. Who wants to live 12+ years

    as a celibate student, tonsured, begging for food? Our Rishis were always compassionate to give the same knowledge in form of Epics and Puranas.

     

    It is also imp to note that after 5 century BC during Gupta period , a New Model developed apart from Vedic System called AGAMAS.

    The concept of Varna is not applicable in Agamas becoz the God/Goddess to which the person is attached will grant him/her Moksha known as concept of Prapaptti/Sharnagati . The Vedic varna is non applicable

    So from Vedic point of view,a person can be Sudra but that will not matter

     

     

     

     

    According to the Pañcarātra Āgamas every annual 10 day temple festival must include a procession around the town or village every day. The processional protocol demands that the Vedic Brahmins should follow behind the deity loudly chanting the Sanskrit Vedas for all to hear. In front of the deity walk the choristers chanting the Tamil Vedas. This protocol has been observed right up the the current day. And the fact is the MAJORITY of attendees at the temple festivals are by de fault Sūdras and women. So there is incontrovertible evidence that for the past 1000 years Sudras have freely listened to the public chanting of the Vedas.

     

    In addition there is the annual adhyayanotsava - a public festival in which daily communal chanting of the Vedas takes place for ALL to hear and enjoy.

     

     

    In the Panchartra Agama - Isvara Samhita – it states that every temple festival must include all four varnas and the procession through the streets is to be accompanied by Vedic chanting and of course courtesans dancing. The palanquin of the deity is always carried by Sudras who walk in front of the Veda chanting Brahmins.

     

    Catur vedamayod-ghoṣaiḥ stotra ghoṣa samanvitaiḥ || I.S. 10:363

     

    [The procession] must be accompanied by the chanting of the Vedas & Prabandhas [Tamil Vedas].

     

    So for at least the past 1000 years every temple festival in South India has included the public chanting of the Vedas - this is proven by the fact that Rāmānujācarya himself instituted the Pañcarātra procedures in all the major Vaishnava temples bar a few.

     

    There is also an annual festival called the Adhyayanotsava in Vishnu Temples of the South where a pavilion is setup and the public chanting of the Vedas takes place during the day and the Prabandha (Tamil Vedas) are chanted at night.

    Similar Things were happening in North before Islamic Invasion.

     

     

     

    [reply]

  • suyash95 6 days ago | +0 points

    the Brahmins were not unlike priestly communities world over and their class was not closed. We know from modern times that communities can just declare themselves to be Brahmins (like the Saurashtras) and the same process doubtlessly occurred in the past.

    [reply]

  • suyash95 6 days ago | +0 points

    BRAHMIN Power is a FICTION-

    Contrary to popular Post-modern ideologues, Brahmins never had sustained political power (there were very few Brahmin kings). Brahmins were focused on their own practice (ācāram) and affairs, never caring what the others were doing unless they came into their ghettos (agrahārams). And most Hindus never listen to what the priests have to say anyway!!

    This will be shocking to many.90% of Indian Kings have come from OBC/SC.

    Kings ruled — they were the supreme adjudicators in matters of law. Kings made up their own laws. They were running the show. Brahmins were a tiny minority and never had any real power. They were kept as advisors and judges or as in the case of King Dhritarashtra — he kept a Sudra advisor who was the wisest man in the land — Vidura.

    Hindus were notorious for their lack of religious bureaucracy and indifference to the religious practices of others and since there were no compulsory catechisms to study, daily masses and confessions to attend and no way to test or to monitor the knowledge of dogma and practices of the converted it would be impossible to forcibly convert anyone.

    There has never been a clerical hierarchy like in Christianity and the Brahmin priests have had zero power over the masses and even less interest to forcing them to become generic Hindus.


    The idea that “Brahmins” in general have independent power is a total fiction.

    The Brahmins as a group never had any real power, as individuals they did. The Brahmins have never been an homogenous group — they are disparate and motivated by and large by self-interest.

    The tendency due to western colonisation is to analyse India through western lenses and it doesn’t work. One cannot compare the “clergy” of ancient India to the clergy of Europe who themselves had absolute power through very rigid organisational structures and even over the King himself who was subject to the Pope.

    Power in ancient India was a binary of temporal power — (kṣatra) which was invested in the absolute monarch and spiritual power (brahma) which was invested in the Brahmins. In the Catholic system the power of the clergy derives from their essential role in the salvation of an individual — extra ecclesiam nulla salus — “outside the Church there is no salvation”. In Hinduism the Brahmins play no role whatsoever in the spiritual progress or liberation of the individual they are irrelevant. The only power-role they had in Vedic times was to bolster the power and legitimacy of the Kings through their yajñas.

    Kings were seen as incarnations of Vishnu (they still are in Thailand) and thus were the autocratic rulers. Power was then divulged among ministers, advisors, commissioners, chiefs, etc. (all of which are described in Kautilya’s Artha Shastra) at the discretion of the King.

    Ideally kings were supposed to employ Brahmins as advisors and judges — how far this arrangement worked was also at the discretion of the king himself. Emperor Dhṛtarāṣṭra in the Mahābhārata employed the Sūdra Vidūra as his chief advisor.

    The power of the Brahmins was and still is, limited to those who invested them with power i.e. their client families known as yajamānas. Traditionally well-to-do families would have domestic priests (purohitas) who would guide them in their religious obligations and duties — but the yajamānas could dismiss a purohita who failed to fulfil their expectations! So again — no power! Some would say their power was in their ability to curse -Durvāsa is the classical example, but true Brahmins would never curse anyone.

    Power requires SOLIDARITY and the Brahmins of India have never ever had any concept of solidarity! They speak dozens of different languages, have diverse customs (some are non-veg and some are veg) they follow different Vedas and Sūtras, and belong to hundreds of different clans (gotras) — they chant the Vedas differently and their ceremonies are different. Even among the Brahmins themselves there is a hierarchy of meritocracy — with Vedic Brahmins (ahitagnis) at the top and temple priests (devalaka) at the bottom — actually funeral priests (apara-prayogis — mahāpātras) and even lower. They have divisions about inter-dinning and certainly don’t intermarry. They have sectarian differences and even intra-sectarian differences and conflicts and even riots! They all regard each other with suspicion and sometimes outright hostility. So in this morass where is the solidarity? And if no solidarity where is the power comrades?

    It is also imp to note those Brahmins who perform funeral ceremonies (mahāpātras) were considered as “untouchable” by all castes even the untouchables themselves. This was why there was a division between those priests who perform auspicious ceremonies (weddings, births, house-blessings etc.) and those that deal with cremations and Shrāddhas. Orthodox Brahmins would never invite a funeral priest to perform their daughter’s wedding!

    In ancient India as in Europe the most dreaded punishment was excommunication from caste for Hindus, and in the case of Catholics — the denial of sacraments and thus certain damnation. In India only Jaati panchayats themselves could excommunicate members of their own Jaati and not that of others. And even if one Brahmin excommunicated someone — all he needs to do is go to another Brahmin who, for a generous fee will cancel the excommunication order!

    The education and Sastras of brahmins were largely deemed unfit for making a living, up until McCaulay started the system of white collar jobs for ruling the empire cheaply, without having to pay high salaries to natives of Britain. Brahmins, with their traditional mastery over literary, linguistic and mathematical skills and a heridity wedded to poverty, jumped first to become the salaried employee class in the British Raj. In fact, some brahmins mistook the British empire as relief from centuries of Islamic oppression of Hindu religion and Brahmins’ in particular. The people who started with lowly clerical posts in courts, magistrate and accounting offices, within two generations, went on to become senior bureucrats, lawyers, judges, professors. The other Hindus labelled as upper castes by British with access to British education pretty much followed the same socioeconomic trend.

    This was than used by BRITISHERS against them.

    The primary function of the Brahmins was to learn the Vedas by heart and to transmit them to their disciples in an unbroken and perfect succession. So they were like walking libraries containing the entire culture in their heads.In order to be the custodians and living vehicles of the Vedas they had heavy responsibilities and duties imposed on them As national cultural treasures they were to be protected and given special privileges.If they neglected the study of the Vedas they were to be deprived of their privileges and treated as commoners. There were no printing presses to print books in large numbers in ancient timess.People wrote manuscripts by Hands n Vedas are very huge corpus consisting of 1000 of pages.There were very few books to be given to everyone to study.They certainly gave the ideological support but it was the kings and the society itself that supported and maintained the system. Remember Manu was a King not a brahmin.

    “At the expense of others” is not true — social relations in India were never a zero-sum game. The brahmins had very little economic power — being about 3% of the population who lived by teaching and doing rituals

    True Brahmins are those who learn, memorise and teach the Veda — all other so-called “Brahmins” are cardboard cutouts according to Manu. So seeing that I have only learnt a few useful Suktas from the Veda and have never memorised the entire Veda nor do I teach Veda, I cannot lay claim to Brahminhood. That would be the ultimate in chicanery.

    Brahmins are indeed born with “privilege.” but with privilege come obligations and responsibilities — both are co-dependant.

    By birth a Brahmin is privileged with direct access to religious learning and to the Law (Dharma). But their onerous responsibility is the preservation and transmission of the Hindu cultural heritage and obligations to conduct themselves in a manner befitting the status of a such a conduit of learning.

    So if a Brahmin does not undergo religious study, does not perform his obligatory duties of cultural preservation and does not conduct himself in a manner befitting his status then he, by default loses all privilege and is treated like a commoner.

    One of the misconceptions of the caste system is that the hierarchy was based on economic power. It was not. The Brahmins in fact were an economically disadvantaged community because they could only live by teaching, performing rituals and by begging/charity. This is accorded by both Buddhist,Jain Chronicles .The Kshatriyas earned through wages and taxes, the Vaishyas through business and mercantile activities and the Shudras were land owners, farmers, skilled artisans and craftsmen and musicians who were highly respected and commanded very large incomes, as well as being the menial workers. Infact The Vaisha-Sudra merged as a single socio-economic bloc during the gupta period

    [reply]

  • suyash95 2 days ago | +0 points

    Shankracharya ji highest authority in Hinduism?

     

    Only for Smartas not Vaishnavas or Shaivaites or Tantrikas.

    other faiths are based of elective and selective group membership - Hinduism is geared for personal practice, self-exploration and self-direction with no oversight committee defining and superimposing KPI’s on its members.

    what books are fundamental to my religion?

    We have over a thousand sacred texts - so you are telling me this in one book is central to my religion? Its like me saying I believe the Arabian Nights is fundamental to islam!

    The core texts of Hinduism are Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita - everything else can be discarded.

    We Hindus are COMMANDED to cherry pick our religion - to take the best parts and discard the rest. Unlike Islam were you have no choice and have to swallow the good and the bad.

    Who is the highest priest in Hinduism?

    That’s like asking - “who is the highest minister in the Protestant Church?” Or “who is the highest monk of Buddhism?”

    There are thousands of Protestant Churches with hundreds of thousands of ministers - for each Church there is a hierarchy and a “chief minister”.

    Likewise under the umbrella of “Hinduism” there are thousands of religions and sects - each with their own clerical hierarchy and “High Priest” for that community alone. And every sect is independent and autonomous and even sub-sects are independent.

    Can a non-Brahmin be a priest?




    Of course. Anyone can become a priest or a priestess if they’re prepared to do the study and live the lifestyle and earn the pittance.

    claim - Shankaracharyas are the highest priests in hinduism

    Response - The Shankaracharyas preach Advaita as propagated by Adi Shankaracharya, so only Advaitins, particularly Smarthas, my sect, pay heed to them as the highest authorities. Madhvas have their own high leaders, as do Shrivaishnavas. The most orthodox Hindus deal in absolutes- there is no way that someone following Dvaita or Vishishtadvaita or the various other conceptions would acknowledge the authority of someone who considers Advaita superior, especially someone with the force, vocality, and controversy of the Puri Shankaracharya. And in turn, Tantrik Sampradayas may also diverge from the Shankaracharyas, as may bhakti sects such as the Varkaris and Mahanubhavas, as well as few-century old ones like the Swaminarayan and Inchigeri Sampradayas, not to mention ISKCON and the Brahmakumaris. The idea of the “highest authority” in Hinduism is ultimately only useful for an outsider. For an insider, the idea of an ultimate earthly spiritual authority is… very out of place to begin with.

    The Shankaracharyas are the highest pontiffs only for Smartas not for Vaishnavas and Shaivas.

    Some consider The Shankaracharyas as the highest pontiffs of Hinduism.However, the followers of various religious sects of Hinduism consider their own Religious Heads as the High Priests.

    Also, unlike other religious denominations of the world, Santana Dharma is not too focussed on a hierarchical clergy; but on individual seekers seeking the Truth.

    In my limited understanding, Gurus annointed as Paramhamsa by their respective Spiritual Gurus are the ‘Realized’ Ones and of the Highest Spiritual significance.

    Govardhan Peetha Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati is another such fraud & a charlatan who is trying to make a claim on representing entire Hinduism



    Is Nithyananda creating more new followers or critics of Hinduism? Is he following the exact Hinduism traditions or his own new minority tradition?

    Nithyananda is a fraud and is not following a single rule of the Sanyāsa program laid down in the Shastras. He is his own man claiming to represent Hinduism and alleging that he belongs to the order of Shankaracharya.

    Hinduism is not a monolithic or homogenous organisation with one single pope and management team - it is an umbrella organisations of hundreds of religions and sects. So by definition there is no single person, guru or acharya that represents “Hinduism”. But there are a number of well known exemplars who do represent Hinduism at ints best. I would say the greatest ambassador for Hinduism to the west was the inimitable Swami Vivekananda.

    One of the best examples of current Hindu leadership is H.H. Chinna Jeeyar Swami of the Srivaishnava sect.


    If there were to have been a Hindu pope then I would have voted for the late Swami Dayananda Sarasvati of Coimbatore - but he and Chinna Jeeyar follow different philosophies but are both considered orthodox Hindus.


    Another example of outstanding Hindu leadership is


    Mata Amritanandamayi - Wikipedia


    And of course there is the erudite, intelligent and very witty Sadhguru.


    Official Website of Sadhguru, Isha Foundation | Australia





    These and hundreds of others, are the true representatives of Hinduism and are THE NORM - not the Nithyananda joker - he just gets the most press coverage.

    But of course critics of Hinduism are operating on their own intrinsic negativity biases and cannot see any good in Hinduism, for them Hinduism is defined by the worst of frauds and criminals.

    [reply]

  • suyash95 1 day ago | +0 points

    India’s subaltern scholars have ignored the spirituality of the subaltern people, while claiming to champion them. This has to do with Marx’ use of Eurocentric categories in his analysis of “religion.” Unfortunately, he, and subsequently the Indian Marxists, blindly applied the conclusions that were based on Abrahamic religions, as being universal to all faiths worldwide. Consequently, most subaltern scholars neither have the interest nor the training to be able to understand that the true transmitters and preservers of adhyatma-vidya were the rishis, siddhas, natha yogis, tantrikas, sadhus and bhakti sants, many of whom were from non-Brahmin and non-Kshyatriya varnas The Brahmin priesthood did preserve oral and written textual works of importance, but in terms of adhyatma-vidya, the prize goes to the renunciant/yogic lineages. Unfortunately, since European religions were, indeed, dominated by elitist interests, the same lens was superimposed on the study of Indic traditions, and remains the academic practice even today.

    [reply]

  • suyash95 1 day ago | +0 points

    The Indian State is anti-Hindu & its justification for being so hinges of vilification of Brahmins. The State controls Hindu Temples because if they don't, Brahmins would discriminate against others in the Temple. Govt officials of Temple boards of TN & Kerala explicitly say this 

    The old Christian colonial caricature of Brahmins which the British used to dismantle Hinduism has been further amplified and promoted post-1947.

    Tamil Nadu has tradition of community temples with priests from those communities which manage them. Temples where priests are not Brahmin exceed those where they are Brahmins. But still the State controls those Temples. Anti-Brahminism is pretext to dismantle Hinduism itself.

    The clear goal is to dismantle Hinduism itself. In the name of social justice, TN govt passed a law where people of all castes can be appointed as priests. This was again cloaked as preventing discrimination by Brahmins. But affected are Temples run by non-Brahmin priests.

    For example, a Temple run by Thevar priests would have Vanniyar priests appointed by the govt after "crash course", thus bringing a jāti clash between the 2 communities. Eventually Hindu disunity and dismantling.

    [reply]

  • suyash95 1 day ago | +0 points

    Accusation of denial of Vedas learning is same as some people raising demands in 22nd century about Denial of Artificial Intelligence learning in 21st century

    [reply]

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