[Advaita-l] Did Sankara have non-brahmin disciples?

Satish Arigela satisharigela at yahoo.com
Thu Oct 14 04:51:20 CDT 2010

>4.With regards to point 3 however, shastrically can a Braahmana be a spiritual 
>disciple or take mantra >deeksha, etc from a Non-Braahmana grihastha or sanyasi 

Yes. But of-course not any mantra from the veda. Example a non-brAhmaNa or a 
shUdra teacher cannot obviously teach people of any varNa let us say vaidika 
mR^ityunjaya mantra.

Can he teach the tAntrIka mR^ityunjaya? Yes. But the qualification is that he 
should have the appropriate tAntrIka dIkSha and the correct AchArya abhiSheka 
etc and other qualifications.

So is there evidence that a shUdra teacher ever initiated brAhmaNa-s into 
tAntrIka mantra-s?
Yes there is. However this is not common. There were cases like that in the last 
1500 years among traditional brAhmaNa-s but it must be admitted that is rare.

So any examples?
1)The saiddhAntika IshAna shiva mishra took dIkSha under a shUdra shaiva teacher 
by name mUrtigaNa
IshAna shiva went on to become a great shaiva teacher and coposed a work by name 
IshAna-shiva gurudeva paddhati which is still followed by some orthodox 
brAhmaNa-s & non-brAhamaNa-s from Kerala.
2) The orthodox brAhmaNa gajapati, a sAmavedin similarly took dIkSha into many 
tAntrika mantra-s from an avarNa i.e. outcaste.

There is at-least one person in this list whose head must be spinning as he sees 
this.. :-) Dont worry I got hold of you.. you are not falling  :)

Apastamba says that other vidya-s/skills can be learnt from shUdra-s & women. 
What are other vidya-s? Of-course by vidya he means the traditional education in 
the veda-s. By other can be meant anything like for example.. any of the 64 
arts, or coming to modern days, science, engineering, etc etc and one can put 
the tAntrIka vidya-s also in this category?

However this is not the only opinion: Many tAntrIka grantha-s themselves 
strictly say that a shUdra can never initiate people of his own varNa, let alone 
a brAhmaNa. But this IMHO should be understood as meaning those shUdra-s who do 
not have the proper, tAntrIka yaGYopavIta, AchArya abhiSheka etc.

When one sees a person who has some vidya and is accomplished in the same and 
capable to teach it, one should just learn it. Or one can be a loser and just 
miss the opportunity with obscure and outdated notions. So whatever one is meant 
for I guess...


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