Birth and Caste (was Re: [Advaita-l] RE: Vedic Shakhas ...)

Ravisankar Mayavaram abhayambika at
Wed Feb 9 18:38:11 CST 2005

On Wed, 9 Feb 2005 12:32:33 -0800 (PST), S Jayanarayanan
<sjayana at> wrote:

> The final conclusion is:
> For being a BrAhmaNa-K, the requirements are conduct, saMskAra,
> the GAyatrI mantra, and not birth.

May be  using the word dviija would make the discussion better. A
person who has not undergone the ceremony of upanayana is shuudra
(janmana jaayate shuudraH - by birth all are shudra-s only) and
through  the samskara of upanayana one becomes a dviija (karmaNaa
dvija uchayte).   In his lectures* on sandhyavandanam, Swami
Paramarthananda refers to those who have not undergone upanayana as
prAkRta puruShaH and one who has gone through that as samskRta

So the question then becomes "who can become a dviija?"  
Traditionally, father of the aspirant acts as the guru during the
upanayana ceremony. But that need not be the case. But there are other
requirements such as the one who initiates should be married (not a
widower) etc. and should be a practising dviija by himself.   Also a
sannyaasin/renunciant cannot perform this ceremony.
Probably someone in shrouta list can clarify these requirements (I may
be wrong).  So the aspirant has to find the right teacher (assuming
his father or his siblings do not qualify for initiating).   Now if we
punt the question from "who can chant veda-s, etc." to "who can become
a dviija" -- I think things become concrete.  It becomes concrete
because the guidelines for the upanayana ceremony as quite concrete.
And we can leave this matter to the teacher and his disciple.

This is one topic we never get bored :-)) going it over and over and
over and over again.

Thanks. Comments and corrections are welcome.


* 10 hrs in MP3 format. Swamiji goes over the mantra-s in smArta
sandhyAvandanam and explains the meaning word by word. And also
supports it with quotes from shruti  etc. You should get the details
from or sending them an e-mail.

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