Question about Varna

nanda chandran vpcnk at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Mar 5 21:55:01 CST 2002

>rajan kulena vrttena svadhyayena shrutena va
>brahmanyam kenabhavati prabruhyetatsu nishcitam
>King, how does one become a Brahmin: by birth?
>character? study of the Vedas? education? Tell me
>shrnu yaksha kulam tata nasvadhyayo nacashrutam
>karanam hi dvijatve ca vrttameva na samshayha
>Listen, Yaksha, it is neither birth nor education, nor
>even the study
>of the Vedas. Without doubt, it is character alone
>that marks a Brahmin.
>Yudhishthira's answer is crisp, clear and unambiguous
>when he replies, 'Na samshayaha ... there is no doubt
>about it: it is not birth, it is not education, it is
>not the study of the Vedas but it is vritta
>(character) alone that determines a Brahmin."

It is to be noted that attitudes and ideas were different in the days of
Yudishtra than they are today. In those days it was pretty much clear that a
brahmana is one who is born so. So Yudishtra's statement might only mean
that though one can be born as a brahmana, be educated in the scriptures
etc, still it is only due to one's character/conduct that one proves oneself
as a true brahmana - character is what cements the caste status.

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