[Advaita-l] mleccha-s not eligible to take Hinduism??

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Sat Jul 14 15:22:06 CDT 2012

On Thu, 12 Jul 2012, rajaramvenk at gmail.com wrote:

> We have to clearly distinguish between varna and jati.

No we don't.  A simple review of facts on the ground will show that to the 
extent that varna even exists it is equivalent to jati and is based on 

> At the time of creation, there were four varnas and hence four jatis. 
> But due to rise of desire people gave up varnashrama dharma leading to 
> the creation of the fifth class who fell out side the created four. 
> Also, the inter-mingling between varnas created new jatis, which 
> belonged to one of four varnas or the fifth.

This is the theory propounded by the shastras and like the various 
theories of creation mentioned therein it is completely divorced from 
reality.  Just as the creation theories merely explain why there is 
something rather than nothing and should not be taken as the basis of 
science etc., the varnasankara explains why there are a multiplicity of 
jatis but in practice it is useless to try and trace any jati to a 
combination of varnas.

And in the shruti itself jatis that do not clearly belong to a particular 
varna are described.  The cannonical example is the rathakara who has the 
adhikara for agnyAdhAna. (establishment of the fires.) during the 
varshartu.  This case is discussed in Mimamsa sutras 6.1.44-50.

vachanAdrathakArasyAdhAne.asyasarvasheShatvAt || 44 ||

"From the [Vedic] text the Rathakara [has the adhikara] to Adhana as he is 
apart from the others."

Whether or not the four varnas may participate in rituals has already been 
discussed but the Rathakara is not part of those four so his right is 
determined by the Vedic text mentioning him.

nyayyo vA karmasaMyogachcchudrasyapratiShiddhatvAt || 45 ||

"Or Reason suggests he [is a Dvija who] is connected by work [as a 
chariotmaker] as the Shudra is prohibited."

This is the pUrvapakSha.  It has been established that the Dvija may learn 
the Vedas and practice the rituals and the Shudra may not.  So a Rathakara 
cannot be a Shudra.  He must be a Dvija who works as a chariot maker (the 
etymological meaning of Rathakara.)

akarmatvAttu naivaM syAt || 46 ||

"But he cannot be due to the forbidden work"

This is the response.  As the purvapakshi himself will agree, chariot 
making is not one of the dharmically allowed professions for Brahmanas, 
Kshatrias, or Vaishyas.  So he cannot be a Dvija.

AnarthakyaM cha saMyogAt || 47 ||

"And the connection [to time] will become meaningless."

Shruti has said that the Brahmana should establish Agni in vasanta rtu, 
the Kshatriya in grishmartu, and the Vaishya in Sharadartu.  If a 
rathakara is one of those three anyway, it is redundant for shruti to say 
that he should establish Agni in varshartu.

guNArtheneti chet || 48 ||

"If it is argued 'because of qualities'"

If the purvapakshi claims that there is a general rule for each Varna but 
a special exception for members whose profession is chariot maker... 
[Take note those those who wish to base varna on guna.]

uktamanimittatvam || 49 ||

"[It has already been] said without [recourse to] coincidences."

The rules for Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, and Vaishyas have already been laid 
down and the rule for rathakaras is told the same way.  There is nothing 
in the text linguistically to suggest it is being mentioned as an 
exception to the previous rules.  And profession is a coincidence. 
Whether you are a Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya, or Rathakara depends on 
your _birth_ not whatever job you might coincidentally do.

saudhanvanAstu hinatvAnmantravarNAtpratIyaren || 50 ||

"But Saudhanvas [another name for Rathakaras] should be considered as 
lesser from the description in the mantras."

This is the siddhanta.  Yes Rathakaras have the right to Agnyadhana. So 
they are different from the average Shudra who doesn't have that adhikara. 
But they are less than full dvija because they cannot do any of the other 
karmas that the Dvija can.

In other words they are in an position which cannot be explained by a 
simplistic 4 varna theory.  Many of the jatis that make up the "Hindu 
fold" today are in the same situation.

> Whether a jati belonged to a varna or not 
> is determined by the guna which in turn decides karma. The guna and 
> karma of the jati is in turn decided by the guna and karma of the 
> individuals who make up the jati.

Have you heard the saying "There are some ideas so dumb that only an 
intellectual could believe them"?  Why oh why do our panditmanyas insist 
on grubbing through ancient texts to declare something at odds with the 
reality that even the most unlettered farmer in the remotest village can 
describe to you -- that ones jati is based on birth and nothing else.

The guna theory falls flat when you actually observe the diversity of 
behavior amongst individual people and to impute gunas to a whole group is 
incredibly offensive.  Do you mean to tell me that the 800 million+ Hindus 
do not wear yajnopavit, have never worn it and have no intention of 
wearing it are automatically tamasika i.e. characterized by sloth and 

> We can determine the guna and hence 
> varna of individuals astrologically. It is therefore possible for a guru 
> to make an exception for an individual on the basis of his guna. Jatis 
> have moved through varna layers and individuals were exempted also.

> Bhishma, who did not know the parentage of Karna, reserved him to take 
> the commander-in-chief role on the basis of his kshatriya guna only.

Karna is consistently referred to as Sutaputra.  His true parentage was 
unknown but he was treated according to what was assumed to be his birth. 
And did you notice that the previous commander-in-chief was Drona who is 
consistently described as a Brahmana?  What Kshatriya guna did he posess?

Even the Gita itself from where this guna theory comes from does not 
support it.  9:32 says

mAM hi pArtha vyapAshritya ye.api syuH pApayonayaH |
striyo vaishyastathA shUdrAste.api yAnti parAM gatim || 32 ||

"Partha, by refuge in Me even those born in sinful wombs such as
women, Vaishyas, and Shudras can reach the supreme goal."

(and in case you are tempted to quibble with the translation, first please 
check how Advaita acharyas have interpreted it.)

Leaving aside whether Vaishyas, Shudras, and women are born in "sinful" 
wombs, why mention wombs at all if varna is to be astrologically 
determined by gunas?  Because the womb is where one is _born_ from thats 

The Smarta theory makes more sense of shastra, is more in line with actual 
historical practice and is less offensive.  Shankaracharya says it is not 
a particular activity but the way the activity is performed that is 
important.  Whenever anyone does their svadharma with bhakti, and vairagya 
it leads to jnana the supreme goal.  Not by imitating a Brahmana.  In fact 
he specifically gives the example from the Mahabharata of Dharmavyadha who 
despite being a hunter and butcher of meat is superior in attainment to 
the Brahmana Kaushika because he practices his svadharma and has mastered 
his senses whereas the latter has not.

> Out of the 423 rishis in the vedic anukramani, 23 are women.

LOL, one can of worms is not enough for you right? :-)

>  Interesting 
> there is no apastriadhikarana

Why would there need to be?  That women also have no Vedadhikara is known 
from Shruti and Smrti and in that sense they are shUdravat.  Thus what has 
been said for the Shudras applies mutatis mutandis.  It is the same reason 
that while the Brahmasutras have extensive refutations of Samkhya, there 
is little notice of Shaivaism or Vaishnavism.  The Shaiva and Vaishnava 
agamas philosophically only teach a modified variety of Samkhya so 
whatever has already been said applies to them also and doesn't need to be 

> and Sita is said to have had upanayanam

No She isn't.  There is one reference in Ramayana to Hanuman encountering 
Her alone in the grove in Lanka as She offers arghya.  The 
reform fantasists spin this into She was practicing Sandhyavandana and 
therefore I suppose that She had Upanayana.  But that is a mighty slender 
thread to latch on.

> and this practice was present as recently as Gupta period as 
> archaelogical evidences reveal.

Archaeological evidence which you fail to cite.  I find it hard to 
believe.  If there ever was a time when women had upanayana it had passed 
long before the Guptas.

On Fri, 13 Jul 2012, rajaramvenk at gmail.com wrote:

> Is there
> any mantra in the upanayanam ritual that says it is given for persons of
> so and so parentage or gotra?

Did you not notice in the story of Satyakama that the first question he is 
asked is about his parentage.  The same question is asked in the upanayana 
vidhi we use today.

On Fri, 13 Jul 2012, Bhaskar YR wrote:

>>  prabhuji, dont you think this samskAra is required to do sAdhana in
> 'veda' mArga??

No.  Unequivocally not.  It is the gateway to vedokta karma but for
Advaitic sadhana karma is useless except in the negative sense that it
removes the obstacles that obscure jnana.  But jnana itself is totally
separate from and opposed to karma.

So why do we talk about Vedas so much?  Only because most of the frequent
posters here are Brahmanas for whom the study of Veda is svadharma.  Let
us not confuse ubiquity with necessity.

> sAdhana in veda mArga includes nitya & naimittika karma-s
> and  for that dvijatva saMskAra is required is it not??

Only for the nitya and naimittika karma of dvijas!  But for those whose
karma is different, dilligent, egoless observance of that karma is every
bit as efficacious.

> And IMHO, for the
> pratyaksha sAdhana-s like shravaNa, manana & nidhidhyAsaM, dvijatva or
> upanayana saMskAra is required as these sAdhana-s are directly related 
> vedAdhyayana & shAstra vAkya..Kindly correct me if I am wrong.

There are shastras such as itihasa and purana which are open to the
non-dvija and as they contain the essence of the Vedas they are every bit
as useful for shravana, manana, and nidhidhyasana.

> Sadhakas in Advaita Vedanta stop wearing Yagnopavita even if
> they have been rigorously orthodox their entire lives.
>>  I am really surprised to see this statement from your goodself
> prabhuji.  And it is also surprising to me that  Sri vidyA prabhuji too
> has also seemed to agree to your above statement as he said except those
> personal advice to Sri shivashankara prabhuji, he has agreed to all your
> explanations/clarifications.  Do you mean to say an advaita vedAnta
> sAdhaka, just because he started to pursue his sAdhana in jnAna mArga, can
> become the 'saMskAraheena' or 'Ashrama bhrashta'??  Can he take out his
> yagnOpaveeta without taking the formal saNyAsa by thinking wearing
> yagnOpaveeta and doing related karma-s are something 'extra stupid' & it
> is a hindrance to his adhyAtmika sAdhana in advaita vedAnta ?? I know I 
> missing something here, a line of clarification would be highly

Serious sadhakas are sannyasis.  These are the ones I was referring to as
Vidyashankar correctly surmised.  Sorry for the confusion.

On Fri, 13 Jul 2012, Kathirasan K wrote:

> If you had been Shivashankar's friend, you would have advised him in a more
> respectful manner. Your response appears to be rude, arrogant and
> disrespectful.

The bottom line is I don't respect what he is doing is or the 
reasoning given for it.  Unfortunately there is no nice way to put 
this.  But I can assure you there is no hostility at play.  If I make a 
mistake I am grateful if others point it out to me so I can improve 
myself so I extend the same courtesy to others.

> The weight of the vedic culture was not placed on your shoulders

Oh but it was.  This is the svadharma of a Brahmana.

> Jaldhar, if you have a baggage with Gurus who request cheques or 19th 
> century apologists, the right place to ventilate is with your therapist 
> and not in an august forum meant for a sacred wisdom as taught by 
> shankara.

As taught by Shri Shankara.  This is the basis from which we compare and 
contrast other views.  The baggage I have with reformers is the same 
baggage Shankaracharya had with Bauddhas, Kapalikas, Samkhyas etc.  He 
criticized the nastikas of his day, I criticize the nastikas of my day. 
Anyway _you_ brought up the whole subject of polygamy in this forum.

The other type of guru; come on now, are you seriously telling me that 
when one of the frequent scandals concerning Godmen comes up the attitude 
should be "don't be judgemental?"  We shouldn't say anything as they drag 
our religion through the mud?  We shouldn't warn innocent people who might 
be taken in by such schemes?

> Whatsoever a great man does, other commoners do the same; whatever standard
> he sets up, the world follows that. (3.21)
> That speech which causes no pain, which is true, agreeable and beneficial;
> as well as the practice of study of the scriptures,-is said to be austerity
> of speech.  (17.15)

I agree with this if for no other reason that hotheaded speach is bad for 
my atmashanti as much as anyone elses.  Several times in this thread I've 
written something and deleted it before sending.   I can't help but note 
there is a double standard that goes on.  The reformers have been spouting 
their nonsense (which is painful to the astikas) with impunity but should 
an astika get assertive suddenly everyone becomes hypersensitive about 

> Just my views as a member of this list. I am sorry if my words hurt you.

No need to feel sorry.  We are all here expressing our views in a search 
for truth.  Be as judgemental as you like, I won't be offended. :-)

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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