[Advaita-l] RE: janmana jaayate shUdraH

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Wed Feb 16 13:29:37 CST 2005

>totally under-privileged segment of the society which
>is not even having that chance. The goal is how to
>deliver that equality of humanness, in a tangible and
>practical way. I am not asking your money? The
>resources of this mother earth are equal to everyone.
>Let not people exploit the uninformed and the
>powerless. We are forming new rules of how the wealth
>and resources and opportunities are distributed to all
>the people.

It is a little amusing and a little saddening that we are talking all over 
the place here. Does traditional varNa dharma say wealth and resources and 
opportunities are to be reserved only for brAhmaNas and/or dvijas? No. Are 
non-dvijas eager today to undergo upanayana, to wear yajnopavItas and to 
perform daily rituals? No. On the contrary, even people born in upper-caste 
families are by and large not interested in these. Are people today 
exploting the uninformed and the powerless? Yes. Who is doing the 
exploiting? The rich and powerful nations of this world are exploting the 
poor nations and the rich and powerful politicians, businessmen and 
criminals in every nation are exploting their own poor. Is India a rich and 
powerful nation? No. Are the rich and powerful politicians, businessmen and 
criminals in India all divjas? Largely no. Where do the dharmaSAstras fit 
into these problems? In any case, how is all this related to this list and 
to advaita vedAnta?

>There are many free men who think that dharma needs a
>careful re-look. These people point out that there is
>a lot of mis-understanding which has probably creapt
>in in actual practice. It may not throw away the
>dharma sastras. It may throw away the distortions from
>the initial intent, as many of us are doing now. You

It is very easy to claim that such and such is a distortion and that such 
and such is the original intent. I would suggest that before making such 
judgement calls, one needs to gain a sound grounding in the original texts 
and the original language of the texts. Are we doing that? As far as I can 
see, most of us are not. We are forming opinions based on second-hand, or 
even nth-hand sources, filtered through layers and layers of 19th century 
attitudes and prejudices, both British colonial and native Indian, 20th 
century socialistic ideas and our own confused thinking. Again, how does any 
of this fit in with the purposes of this list, beyond a point?

Charity begins at home. Those of us who are worried about social justice 
should do our bit for it. However, it would be far more useful to do 
something about it practically than to be armchair philosophers and complain 
about what our SAstras say or do not say or what they mean or do not mean. 
Can social justice be delivered either by saying everyone has the right to 
wear a yajnopavIta or by abolishing it? Do such symbolic resolutions 
actually help those in need of help?

The above is my personal opinion. Now, as moderator of this list, I suggest 
that all those who want to say something in this thread should do so before 
Friday, February 18, 2005. I see no point in carrying on this discussion 
into the weekend and the next week.


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