[Advaita-l] Brahmin bridegrooms not getting brides

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Wed Jun 27 12:27:09 CDT 2012

> This is all happening because the Brahmin women are becoming more and
> more modern looking and thinking like Westerners. If this situation
> continues the Vaidika Brahmin tradition will become very weak and die.

While on this subject, let us be very honest and acknowledge that a lot of
this situation is self-made by brAhmaNa communities all over. Traditional
conceptions of strIdharma vary a lot from region to region, but over the 
last century, no effort has been made to educate boys and girls about the
requirements of dharma. When brAhmaNa men who are supposed to be
exemplars of certain qualities have, by and large, abandoned their own
heritage for other pursuits, and do not even do the basic minimum, how
fair is it to expect that only their women should follow all the rules in strict
conformity? Swami Vivekananda made the observation that we relegate
 our dharma to the kitchen. More than a hundred years later, women do
not want to be relegated to the kitchen either, so if anybody is to share
the major portion of the blame, it is the category of brAhmaNa males,
nobody else.
> One Badaganadu Brahmin named Vasudeva Murthy told me Sringeri Swami
> Sri Bharati Teertha has given advice to Brahmin boys to marry
> vegetarian brides from other castes if they don't get Brahmins. Is
> this a correct approach? What is the Dharma Sastra support for this
> approach? Kindly explain.

Well, one can sit around wringing one's hands and bemoaning the fall of
brAhmaNa dharma, or one can make use the dharmaSAstra rule that allows
marriages between brAhmaNa men and women of any caste. It is called
anuloma vivAha, while the marriage of a brAhmaNa born woman with a
man of another caste is called pratiloma. There are lots of instances going
back all the way to the very beginning of the brAhmaNa gotras - jamadagni's
wife, the mother of paraSurAma, was a kshatriya girl. sukanyA, who married
cyavana, was also the daughter of a king. Every brAhmaNa today who belongs
to a gotra beginning with bhRgu in the pravara has had a kshatriya female
ancestor in the remote past. satyavatI, the mother of veda vyAsa, was a
fisherman's daughter, while dhRtarAshTra and pANDu, biological sons of
vyAsa, were kshatriya and vidura, another biological son of vyAsa, was
considered SUdra. The varNa of a person has always been a complicated
matter and there has really never ben anybody who could have claimed
that all his relatives belonged to the same varNa as himself.
In one of the 8 recognized forms of marriage, a yajamAna could offer a
daughter in marriage to the purohita, as part of the dakshiNA for the ritual.
There is no specification in the dharmaSAstra-s that such a yajamAna also
had to be a brAhmaNa. In the upanishad that teaches the samvarga vidyA,
jAnaSruti pautrAyana gave his daughter to raikva. jAnaSruti was a kshatriya
too. raikva called him a SUdra, but did not reject his offer of a daughter in
marriage. There is one well known instance of pratiloma marriage in the
epics - yayAti, a king, married devayAnI, the daughter of Sukra, and they
were the ancestors of almost everybody in the mahAbhArata, including the
pANdava-s, the dhArtarAshTra-s, karNa, bhIshma and kRshNa too.

All this shows that there is a long dhArmika history behind what the Sringeri
Acharya has suggested. Having said this, let me say something else. Asking
the question, "is this a correct approach?" is superfluous and the paragraphs
I've written above are totally unnecessary. If Sringeri Acharya recommends
a course of action, you can rest assured that it is in accordance with dharma,
by default. There is no need to second guess it and seek further justification.
I have only offered the above details for the sake of the general discussion.
At a personal level, if one has a question about dharma and one approaches
a guru for advice, then one needs to have the requisite SraddhA in the guru
and the advice that he gives. The words of a Sankaracharya are not things
in the market place to be bought, tested and returned or thrown away if one
doesn't like them.
In Tamil, we say, this is not "kattarikkai vyApAram". 
As a practical matter for today, let me just add this. I sincerely hope that a
brahmAna boy who is observant about his duties and the girl he marries from
another community really work at keeping their marriage intact and make it
work through the long years they have to live together, rather than resort to
the easy legal option of divorce that is used willy-nilly nowadays, when the
going gets tough, as it invariably will, at one time or the other.

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