Shruti Vs Smriti

Gregory Goode goode at DPW.COM
Tue Aug 12 10:04:26 CDT 1997

At 01:29 AM 8/12/97 +0000, Jaldhar H. Vyas wrote:


>The Upanishads are the jnana kanda of the Vedas.  They are meant for
>Sannyasis only.  The Karma kanda of the Vedas like the Gita is
>meant for householders and contains just as many "life-affirming"
>statements.  However the Advaita tradition is very firm that Moksha
>requires Sannyasa.  The teachings of the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads
>do not diverge on this.


>The Bhagavad Gita is hardly an argument against caste.  Krishna Bhagavan
>forces Arjuna to fight even though he doesn't want to precisely because

A couple of questions.  I read and ponder and contemplate material from the
Upanishads every day.  I wouldn't call myself a Sannyasi, but more of a
householder.  Therefore I might be doing an enterprise (jnana kanda) that
I'm not supposed to.  Should I just forget it??  (I won't of course,
just asking!)

Also, on caste, I've heard two major interpretations.  One seems to have
its basis in the Gita (no copy at work here, sorry, quotations will have to
come later).  I might be wrong here, but the Gita seems to derive one's
caste assignment from the particular distribution of sattva, rajas and
tamas in the individual.  According to your proportion of the gunas, you
belong to one of the castes, regardless of what family you were born into.
The other interpretation might be called more fundamentalist, and has to
do with the family one was born into.  So take the example of a Westerner
like myself.  Works for a living, maintains a home, has some sort of
sadhana, might study advaita, even with a teacher.  Even so, as a non-Hindu
or perhaps a non-Indian, this Westerner is an outcaste.  Perhaps in a
future birth this person might be born into an Indian family and hence into
one of the other castes.  I have no textual citation for this interpretation,
but have seen it in newsgroups, BBS's, mail-lists, etc.


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