[Advaita-l] Eligibility of Shudras & Outcastes to learn Hinduism

Kathirasan K brahmasatyam at gmail.com
Wed Jul 18 22:06:49 CDT 2012


I gathered a couple of references from our shastras that appear to sanction
the learning of Hinduism (which I consider both Tantrika & Vaidika or a
mix) by Shudras and outcastes.

1. Mahabharata  - Vyasa has written that the Brahmana should teach all the
four varnas and that the order of seating should be that Brahmanas to be
seated in the front and so forth.

Verse: śrāvayec caturo varṇān kṛtvā brāhmaṇam agrataḥ (Shanti Parva)

2. Saundaryalahari Bhashya by Lashmidhara - In the commentary on verse 11,
Laksmidhara mentions that Shudras are eligible for Shri Vidya initiation
and also for Vedic initiation. This is quite consistent with the Tantrika
sampradaya where Vaidika adhikara is not sufficient for one to be initiated
into the Tantrika sampradaya.

Verse: cakravidyopāsane śudrānāmapi adhikāracodanāt niṣadasthapativat
vaidike karmanyadhikārasiddheḥ na kācit ksatiḥ
Translation (by Douglas Brooks): In the case of worshipping the Shri Cakra,
the Shudras are competent. Just as (in the notion of the) priest and the
tribal barbarian (nishada) in which what applies to the priest is
applicable to the tribal outcaste, likewise what is applicable to the the
vaidikas is applicable to outcastes. Nothing is lost (in allowing this).

Kathirasan K

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