[Advaita-l] RE: janmana jaayate shUdraH

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Sat Feb 12 13:06:13 CST 2005

>Are you saying that all the four castes can undergo
>upanayana ceremony ? It may so happen that a SUdra
>wants to undergo upanayana ceremony, and not study
>vEda like most of the other three castes do. So, we
>can generalize that upanayana is OK for all the four
>castes, and would you clarify if the all the 4 castes
>after upanayana are eligible for all the karma that a
>brAhmaNa is supposed to perform including nitya,
>naimittika karmas.

I confess I don't see the rationale behind this line of argument. If it is 
not a person's family custom to undergo an upanayana ceremony, why start 
now, especially if there is no interest in learning the veda? And without a 
modicum of veda study, where is the question of nitya or naimittika vaidika 
karma? My point is this - given an interest and sincerity in learning the 
veda and imbibing the values inculcated in them, even if birth makes one a 
non-dvija, I would say the upanayana saMskAra should be done before starting 
the study of the veda. If there is no interest to begin with and if wearing 
a yajnopavIta is only for show, I don't see any point in conducting an 

Diametrically opposite to your thinking is the following -

>            In my openion, it would be better if this just customary 
>symbol, which exibits a separatist mentality in the society must be 
>abolished as early as possible.

Sorry for being blunt, but this is falsely idealistic. I don't want to use 
harsher words. At no point of time in history have brAhmaNas (or dvijas in 
general) thought of being separate. There is no such thing as a "society" 
separate from the people who make up that society. I don't understand why 
there is so much confusion and self-loathing among Indians when it comes to 
caste. People proudly display photographs of themselves dressed up in the 
black robes, cap and colored scarf of their university graduation. Every 
doctor frames a copy of his degree on his wall, proclaiming his 
qualifications. We live in a world where one bastardized set of values is 
being imposed upon and adopted by everybody in the world due to so-called 
globalization. The vibrant variety of local traditions is being slowly 
destroyed all over and we don't even seem to have the backbone to stand up 
for our own tradition. It has come to a sorry pass.


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