[Advaita-l] Thoughts of A Novice to Learned People

Navin Rajaram navinr at moschip.com
Thu Feb 17 13:43:23 CST 2005

Hari Om,

Jaldhar H. Vyas wrote:

>Let me turn that around and ask you what is gained by a Shudra giving up
>his own traditions in order to copy someone elses?
Yes, I meant to come to this question. If a shudra were to be considered 
a shudra - first by birth - then is following his svAdharma which as per 
the varna system is serving the rest of society - his only way to attain 
For example, my ancestors were priests. In this age and time, I am an 
engineer who works fulltime, while I manage to devote a small fraction 
of time to the study of shastras - something which my ancestors did full 
time. Similarly, if an individual were to find his lineage traces back 
to the shudra varna, yet he finds himself motivated to study the 
shastras by virtue of being a Hindu - what should be his course of action?

On a side note, is being born a shudra a consequence of past karmas? I 
do not know. But, if a shudra does indeed follow one's svAdharma (as 
defined by the varna system), then is that also a possible way of 
reaching the same self-realization a Brahmin seeks by performing 
karmas,tapas and sadhana?

>>dichotomies while the aim is to transcend these very dichotomies?
>Transcending dichotomies doesn't mean pretending they don't exist.  If
>anyone was really serious about transcending dichotomies they would
>immediately repair to the forest.  (Which is in fact what Advaita Vedanta
>is actually asking them to do.)

Dichotomies do exist. In fact there are more than just dichotomies. My 
question was should we get caught in them. It will be unreasonable for 
us to run away to the forests, simply because our karmas bind.

But, maybe what you are saying is that action entails discrimination, 
which again means we need to have a picture of right and wrong. Maybe in 
the process of acting again and again with discrimination, we'll reach 
the stage where none of our actions will matter or the fact that we are 
not acting shall become clear.

In the advaitic sense, I agree with Girishji in the vision that we ought 
to quit discrimination when we talk of mortals. That kind of vision 
cannot happen overnight, but if we were to discriminate like you say, 
would it not  make the process of acquiring that vision even more 

>>Agreed that it is necessary to discriminate, but if transcending was the
>>ultimate goal, how are we to judge who is what and is judgement
>>necessary at all in the event of the purpose being to even transcend
>>buddhi that leads to this judgement?
>I thinking the only way is to realize that transcendence is the
>ultimate goal and there are many little steps needed to get there.
>Ideally the actions we want are the ones that result in the need for less
>action.  That can be the working guide.

Agreed. So when we say shudras should be following their svAdharma, 
while let a Brahmin do his, a Ksatriya do his - that is the best 
recourse possible for each of these individuals to attain the Source. 
Ideally,yes but I still feel the present social order and time has 
changed things - we are all fulfilling multiple roles, governed by our 
need to survive. Where then does following the old system perfectly come 

Hari Om,

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