brahman by birth or guna and karma

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vidya at CCO.CALTECH.EDU
Thu Nov 21 15:30:32 CST 1996

> Vidya - can you give actual reference to this in Mahabharata.  Ekalavya and

Nahusha, an ancestor of the Pandavas, captures Bhima in the form of a
serpent, and asks a few questions of Yudhishthira. If I remember right,
both in this dialogue and in the Yaksha Prasna, there are references to
brAhmaNa-hood being determined by conduct/knowledge.

> Karna were denied education because they are neither brahmans nor
> kshatrayas, obviously refereing to their birth.  The practice of casticism
> was going on by birth in the Mahabharata time.

Of course, but the point is that the responses given by Yudhishthira can
hardly be said to be Buddhist-influenced.


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