What is AdhikAra?
ramkisno at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Nov 4 20:28:32 CST 1999
I was researching the aspect of adhikAra in the Advaita-L archives when I
came across this post from Jaldhar. Sorry about this blast from the past!
>On Tue, 16 Jun 1998, Jaldhar H. Vyas wrote:
>On Wed, 3 Jun 1998, Prashant Sharma wrote:
>A few years ago when I was starting to learn about Dharma in earnest, the
>sister of one of my Mothers friends asked me to say Satyanarayana Katha at
>her house right here in NJ. I usually refuse such requests because I want
>to wait till I really know Karmakand well but she insisted and as it is a
>fairly simple puja I said what the hell. The lady who wanted the katha
>was a Patel which is a caste traditionally ranked amongst Shudras though
>it should be noted they are the politically and economically dominant
>caste in the region.
>Well there was a good crowd and things went rather nicely and as I was
>finishing up I could smell the delicious smell of the prasad wafting in
>from the kitchen. Afterwards I was led to the kitchen by that time I was
>salivating in anticipation. So imagine my surprise when I was presented
>with an envelope of and a bag of groceries and sent on my way. When I got
>home I asked my Mother in puzzlement what the bag was for and she said
>"It's called sidhu in Gujarati and they gave it because they didn't think
>a Brahman would eat in their house."
>Now this encounter was obviously casteist and unequal. But who exactly
>got oppressed here?
you probably know the answer but the same thing happened with me. IN our
ancestoral village in UP, I had gone for a visit when I was around 10 years
of age. A Harijan lady had come to our house and given raw grains and
pulses. I had enquired of my Taiji (Father's elder brother's wife) as to why
she had given us puslses and grains? She had told me that this was because
we would not eat food cooked in their house. To this I had asked why not and
I distinctly remember that she had said that that was the custom. No one had
any hangups about it. I don't remember anyone feeling hurt that we didn't
eat the food cooked in their houses but the idea still doesn't appeal to me.
Afterwards, when the lady had left, my Taiji had said that the grains and
pulses would either be given away or would be fed to the animals. The
practice continues to this day without ryhme or reason.
Being brought up in a city, I had criticized the practice as "all were
equal" etc. etc. The elders of the house seemed rather amused and I remember
my Tauji (father's elder brother) remarking that if anything, my views would
atleast enable me to become the Pradhaan of the village through the local
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