ಬ್ರಾಹ್ಮಣ, ಬ್ರಾಹ್ಮಣ್ಯ : ಒಂದಿಷ್ಟು ಚಿಂತನ-ಮಂಥನ – responses to Dr. Natarajs article on Brahminism
Please find my findings on the topic of Brahmana from various texts. Your article is well written and should receive favourable response from like minded people. Also I forgot to mention the use of Vagnopayeetham in the vedas. The use is not restricted to Brahmins only. Any person with a deeksha or purpose can wear it.
Vagnopayeetham paramam pavithram prajapathe yath sahajam purasthath;
Aushyamagram paramuncha shubram yagnopayeetham balamastu thejah;
My understanding is everey varnas work has to be done with a deeksha. Hence are entitled to wear it. However the responsibilty to keep the pavithrathe (pavithram) which gives strength (Balamastu) and thejus is on the individual.
– Nagaraja Rao
ಅಂಕಣ ಓದಿದೆ. ಚಾಂದೋಗ್ಯೋಪನಿಷತ್ತಿನ ನನಗೆ ಇಷ್ಟವಾದ ಕತೆ ಜ್ಞಾಪಕಕ್ಕೆ ಬಂದಿತು.
Enjoyed reading your excellent article. I used to have many such discussions with my late grandfather during my teen years. Here! Here!
Writing to you after reading this article.
What youve discussed on the article is pretty much fine. But I couldnt make out what your stands for, over there. Can you please explain what youre referring to, by saying “nInaarigaadeyO ele braahmaNa” ?
– Hari Prasad Nadig
Namaskara Dr. Nataraj,
This is a response to your article in thatskannada.com website with title “Neenaarigadheyo ele brahmana?”.
That girl has asked the right question. One will not become Brahmin by birth. According to the profession one chooses will make one Brahmin/Kshatriya/Shudra/Vaishya. Eventhough I belong to Brahmin family, I cant call myself a Brahmin as Im working under another person. I can also be called as Vaishya as I invest money. But, I cant be called Brahmin nor Kshatriya.
Also, to add to it, there are some swamijis who are doing business through educational institutions. So, they are Vaishyas.
In your article, you have mentioned about the website of that Brahmin Sangha. Can you please give me that website address?
Thanks & Regards,
The article by Dr. M.S. Nataraj titled Neenarigadeyo ele Brahmana should have been appropriate if it had been Neenu yava Brahmano?, because the lady has questioned the very basic definition of word Brahmana and the appropriateness of calling ourselves as Brahmins.
My children born in Canada have asked the same question, for which I gave the usual answer that I am a Brahmin because I was born in a Brahmin Madhwa family . They did not understand one word I said and went away unconvinced. Now they are married and gone, the question is still not answered.
After reading several books published by Bharatheeya Vidya Bhavans Gandhi centre,I am asking myself as to what kind of Brahmin I am?. Am I a Jathi Brahmana or Guna Brahmana or Karma Brahmana.
As Sri Krishna defines the category of chaturvarna as “Chaturvarnam Maya Srusnam, Guna Karma Vibhagatah”. Lord Krishna did not define Brahmanas by this verse, but said, the whole human race is divided into four categories based on guna and karma. Further in Purusha Suktha, the verse “Brahmanosya Mukha Maasit Bahu Rajanya Kruthah” is stated. This verse only states that Brahmana was born from the face of Purusha, i.e. Bhaghavan etc. It does not answer the basic question asked by the lady in the conference.
“Janmajayathe Shudrah Karmate Viprah” . Meaning one is a Shudra by birth and Brahmana by deeds. Then all of us who call ourselves as Brahmana remain shudras all our life because of the malina (asudha) associated with birth and not doing our karma during the rest of our lives..
In Veda-Vedanta, Brahmana is defined in terms of a time phase Bhattabhaskara divides Brahmanayam as two types. “Dvividam Brahmanyam Karma Brahmanyam and Kalpa Brahmanyam “. Karma Brahmanyam is the one which defines different karmas and mantra vidhana viniyogas. Kalpa Brahmanyam is the one which has mantra pata only. Both Brahmanas deals with explanation of mantras as well as yagnas and adhyatma chintas.
How and when yagnas are to be performed is illustrated in Brahma Granthas or books. In the absence of this knowledge.
“Yagno yagnapathiryagna yagnagno yagna vahanah;
Yagnabrudyagnakrudhyagni yagnabhu yagna sadhanah;
Yagnantha krudyagna guyhya manna mannada yevacha:”
“Atmayonihi swayam jatho vykhana samagayanah” -are all the names for Lord Vishnu .
Jathi Brahmana cannot be called as Brahmanas by born into a perticular alone.
Going back to the verse “Chaturvarnam Maya Srusnam etc.”, if the father has guna and karma with the knowledge of granthas to perform yaga and yagna then he is a brahmin. If the childern does not have it, then they are not brahmins. Jathi Brahmana alone does not qualify to be guna karma Brahmana.
Vedas contain diferent shakas or groups of Brahmanas. The four vedas are Rigveda,Yajur veda,Samaveda and Atharvanaveda.
Rigveda contains Iytareya Brahmana, Kaushithaki Brahmana.
Yajurveda contains Thytherya Brahmana, Shathapatha Brahmana.
Samaveda contains Thandya Maha Brahmana, Shadvimsha Brahmana,Arsheya Brahmana, Daivatha Brahmana, Upanishad Brahmana, Samhitopanishad Brahmana, Vamsha Brahmana,Jaiminiya Brahmana.
Atharvanaveda contains Gopatha Brahmana.
Mahipathi dasa illustrates in his Charanavyuha commentary on maharanva as follows:
Kaushithaki Brahmana was practiced in south india.
Tunga krishna thatha godha syhadri shikarvadhi;
Achandhra deshaparyantham bahruhu chalchalayini:
also in north india, Uttare gurjare deshe vedo bahruhucha erithah;
Kaushithaki Brahmanam chashakha shankayini sthitha:
Sayanacharya defines Iytareya as itareya. A maharshi had many wives, one was illtreated by him and was called as itara or “beryavalu in Kannada. The son born to this illtreated wife was hurt by this treatment and did thapas and devathas granted him the knowledge of Iytareya Brahmana,Iytareya aranyaka,Iytareya upanishad.
Madhya Pradesh of todays India was the centre of Iytareya Brahmana. During this time of Brahmana, many famous kshtriya names like Janamejaya,Parikshita,Sharyarthamanava, Shathanika sathrarjitha,Dushyantha and the most famous Bharatha. All the people lived under Bharatha were called Bharathiyas of todays Hindusthan.
Offering animals as yagnapashu was in vogue during the time of this Iytareya brahmana.Later on this was rejected at the time of Kaushithaki brahmana. All the three great Acharyas (Shankara, Ramanuja, Madhwa)accepted this theory and yagnapashu made out of dhanya (hittu in kannada) was offered as a symbolic gesture during yagna.The argument put forth was that ” Amushmin loke pashuvo manushyan ashyanthi” – meaning that the live pashu offered during yagna will come back as manushya in next life and offer the manushya as yagna pashu,so that this cycle should be stopped.
The concept of Vishnu and Rudra came into existence during the time of Kaushithaki brahmana.
Followers of Vishu called Vyshnavas considered Vishnu as the greatest and Agni as the lowest of devathas ” Agniravaradhyah, Vishnu paradhyah”.
Followers of Rudra called Saiveites considered Rudra (shiva is another name) as the greatest .
Rudro yaijeshtascha, shreshtadevanam”.
Thus started the war of supremacy between Vyshnavas and Saivas. Some extremists even went to the extent as calling Saivas as equivalent to Shavas (no life) and calling Vyshnavas as (Visheshana or exemplary).
Thytherya Brahmana is part of Krishna Yajurveda.It contains names of different yagas
The illustration of Bharadwaja muni is in this Brahmana. He got three lives and remained brahmachari. Indra offered him one more life after Bharadwaja became old and asked how he is going to spend his life. Bharadwaja replied that he will learn vedas and remain brahmachari. Indra showed three mountains and said the Vedas are like these mountains and what you have learnt in three centuries is equivalent to three fistful of mud from these mountains. This shows that achievement of Gnana is endless (anantha).
Yagna yagas were plenty during this Brahmana time.Gold,Silver coins and Cows were offered as gifts. The respect for women is illustrated in this Brahmana and treating all women as janani (mother) except the ones chosen for procreation is mentioned. The so called Chaturvarna with delegation of work came during this time.There is proof that in addition to Chaturvarna, a fifth varna called Sankaravarna due to mixing of the four varnas is mentioned. So todays mixing of Chaturvarna is nothing new and todays society of intermixing is of the Sankaravarna type. The offsprings of this group belong to the fifth varna and their duties are not defined.
Hence the ladys question of varnas is answered here.
Shathapatha Brahmana is part of Shukla yajurveda.This Brahmana has 100 chapters and emphasizes the fact that learning of vedas is like a yagna and the devathas or supreme beings will be pleased and grant ones wish. Due to incessant rain and earhquakes, jalapralaya (sunami) and bhumi pralaya will happen. If this happens in a infinite scale the Bhumi will be consumed by water (Anthya pralaya). Manu or man will be saved by a big fish. The water will recede and there is life born again from the bijas collected by Man. This theory is illustrated as Noahs Ark in old testment.
Thandya,Shadvimsha,Arsheya,Daivatha,Upanishad, Samhitopanishad, Vamsha, Jaiminiya Brahmana are part of. Samaveda which is the veda of music.
During this Brahmana time music was given predominence. Yagnas conducted by Anaryas (tribals) is referred to as Sarpayagnas.Idol worship is mentioned. Cleansing of mind by yagnas and thrikala sandhya vandana is also mentioned. The importence of yagnas seems to be in the decline during this brahmana time.
Indra,Prajapathi,Soma,Varuna ,Thrusta,Angirasa,Poosha,Sarswathi devatha worship is illustrated.
Upanishad (come sit close) and Brahmana mix followed to hail the supremacy of one devatha over the other. However there is also harmony between the two calling one God Narayana (Vishnu). Narayana suktha ( Sa Brahma, Sa Shiva, Sa Hari). Narayanopanishad (Brahma Narayana, Shivashcha Narayana, Rudrashcha Narayanaya etc.) identifying Brahma and Shiva came from Narayana (Vishnu).(Narayanath Brahma Jayathe, Rudro Jayathe,Indrao jayathe etc.). Upanishads are the last chapters of Vedas and are twleve (12) of them.
Rudras were recited by Saivetes during Yagna time.
Gopatha Brahmana time is illustrated in Atharvanaveda.This Brahmana time is the latest of all the vedas.This is divided into two parts. Purva Gopatha,Uttara Gopatha.
In the Purva Gopatha the greatness of pranava mantra “OM“, the “Gayathri“, the practice of “Brahmacharya” (absentence from sex) to preserve energy (Dhatu) is illustrated.Mention of purnahuti( symbolic offering everything at the end of yagna).Ashwamedha, Purushamedha etc. is mentioned.
In the Uttara Gopatha, the struggle of Rudra to get all the benifit of yagna is mentioned. The kind of arpana (ahuti) for various devathas is given and the discretionary time of doing karma such as prataha(morning), madhyanha (afternoon), sandhya (evening) is mentioned.
“Thasmadh Brahmano naiva gayenanritheth” – Brahmana forbids the person doing yagna from singing or dancing during the time of doing yagna. That means only Veda Manthras should be recited and will go to Swarga (heaven). The followers of Atharvanaveda go to Brahma Loka. The person who has taken Dheeksha (oath) to do yagna is called Dheekshita.
Note: The above illustrations are taken from authenticated texts and not the interpretation of the author and given to clarify the role of Brahmanas to the present time .Ommisions and mistakes are the authors responsiblity and not the texts and hence be forgiven.Verbal translation to Kannada is not advised to prevent misinterpretation.
Please limit the comments based on your own sources
– Nagaraja Rao, Toronto, Canada
Again, you said it. Vyasa is another example. Other examples are Parashurama and Ravana, who were jati bhahmanas.
Just last week my son (11 years) asked me what is the difference between a panjabi and kshatria. I was surprised and asked why this question. He said that he thought that his friend was a punjabi. But, his friend told him that he is a kshatriya. I explained him this Chaturvarna, and concluded that a person can be all the 4, or can be more one one of these 4, etc. He responded back saying that to run this world we need all these 4!
Then came an interesting question: Dad, then What are you?
I asked him to think and let me know. He replied back saying that day time I am a (software) shudra 🙂 Sometimes when I sing, and when I sit for reading, I become brahmana. When I shout at him and his sister, I am a Kshatriya, and when I write checks to pay the bills, I am a vaishya 🙂 Then, he told that as of now, both he ahd his sisters are brahmana, and he doesnt know the future, but has promised to kepp me updated 🙂 I didnt have courage to ask what about his mom!
– Nagaraj Patil
Namaskara Nataraj avarige
nimma lekhana ninarigadeyo ele brahmaNa lekhana odide, chennagi mudi bandide..
bahushaha aa tharuNi mandisiruva abhipraya arthapurnavaagide haagu sathyakke saniha vaagide,. i ondhu vaadavanu naanu sumaru 15 varshada hinde mandisalu prayathna pattu yashasvi aagidde, aadre bahumana mathra 10-15 etugaLu hiriyarinda. 🙂
1) Huttininda vyakati brahmaNa,, aadre idu eshtu sathya? brhamana annodhu kevala ondhu jaathi maatra alla , idhu ondhu jeevana shaili antha nann abhipraya. Nammalle eshtu jana nijavaada brahamaNatvana paalisitha idivi? bahushaha idhu uttara sikada prashne.,.,,
2) Nijavaada brhamaNa yaru? idakke uttara sigabekidre bahusha modalu naavu artha maadikollabekada vishaya brahamana karthavya enu? nijavada brahmanathva andre enu?
naanu i vishayavaagi sumaru janara baLi charche nadesiddini, kelavara abhipraya,, devara pooje maadodhu, sadnhyavandane maadodhu,, innu kelavara drushtili nijavada brahamana andre manavateya moolavanna arithu adakke thakkante nadeyodhu. bahushaha eradane abhipraya sari antha nanna anisike
3) Brahamana bhojana priyaha antha heLthare, aadre adhu brahmaNa bahu-jana-priya ,, andre janara prithige patraradonu,, yaru manavanagi, itararige prithi, vatsalya thoristhano avanu ellarigu prithipatranagthane,, bahushaha avane brahaMana…
4) vishayana artha maadikondu, adanna bereyorige bodhisi, agathya biddaga charhce nadesi, chinthane mandisi, nijavada sathyamsha tiLisodhu brhamanara inondhu nijavaada guna.
Sari sir, nanna e-patra doddadayitu ankothini,, nimma comments/suggestions ge nanna athmiya swagata
– Bhaskara maisuru
Nimme lekhana thumba chennaagi mooDi bandide. I liked the part where you discuss about the 4 sectors in the present day situation, which makes some of us Shudras by way of work and BraahmaNas by way of birth. Also, the part about how to attain real BraahmaNism by way of learning from a Guru and furthering that knowledge with your experiences to come up with your own theories in life to become a Brahmagnaani, this made me think about our kids. I would really like to translate the whole article in english and let my kids read. Hopefully they will understand where they come from and where they stand in the present day. Thank you for an important and thought provoking article.
– Meena Jois
Mr. Natarajs article on Brahmanya was very informative. I also loved reading about a simple wedding he wrote about a couple of months ago. The wedding vows were beautiful. Ironically, I read about it the day after Mr. Dharam Singhs sons wedding which had 70,000 guests. The latter took place in Gulbarga only 3 weeks after the area was hard hit by the floods!
Can we have an English translation of the two articles, on your website? I would like to share both with the younger generation as well as others. (We could benefit also). I look forward to them. Please let me know when you would be publishing them.
– Namita, NY