Sunday, March 7, 2010

Chapter 77- People from All Castes Can Study Vedas

Swami said, “Hey twice born ones! I’ll explain you now that people from all castes and creeds are eligible to study Vedas. Listen to be carefully! Yogasaaram says:

द्विजवत क्षत्रियास्योक्तः प्राणायामोदाह मुने
विराक्ताणाम प्रबुद्धाचा वैश्याणाम च तधैव च
शूद्राणाम च तथा स्त्रीणाम प्राणसम्यमनम मुनेह
Which means, whatever rights a twice born Brahmana has on vedic rituals, same rights apply for even renunciant and wise Vaishyas, Sudras and also it applies equally to women also; as expounded by scripture called ‘Yogasaaram’. Moreover Lord Maheshwara in one of his discourses to goddess Parvati in Santi Parva chapter 143 says that high and low castes are decided based on the qualities.

ज्ञान, विज्ञान संपन्न संस्कृतो वेदपारङ्गः
विप्रो भवति धर्मात्मा क्षत्रियः सेवकर्मणा
Which means, any human who is full of knowledge and wisdom and understands Vedas is called as a Brahmana. A virtuous kshatriya possessing the aforesaid qualities is also considered a Brahmana. Hence to become a Brahmana, the perquisites are virtues and qualities, but not the birth.

एतैः कर्मफलैर्देवि न्यून्जाति कुलोद्भवा
शूद्रो व्यागम संपन्नो द्विजोभवति संस्कृता
Means, Hey Parvati, the aforementioned virtues are the cause for attaining Brahminhood but in no case the birth makes a caste. A Sudra who has a cleansed soul when attains knowledge, becomes known as a Brahmana”.

Swami continued to explain, “To get tonsured in any temple doesn’t make eny sense. To shave your head from the clutches of illusion and renounce your attachments in the form of hair and sacrifice them to the lord is the actual tonsuring. In the Supreme Lord everything is decked as like as the beads remain decked in a necklace. Hence the ones who deck their mind on the Paramatma (supreme Soul), only they are eligible to study Vedas”.

Swami’s nectar like words entered like poison in the ears of the Brahmins of Pushpagiri village. They said, “Those quotes from Smritis and Srutis are not new to us. We know all such scriptures. And if you think you can change our minds by preaching such verses then that’s something unachievable. You may better stop preaching and go back”.

Swami replied, “Respected Sirs! You have asked only about the castes right? Let me explain that with few more examples. “Manishapanchakam” tells us that in olden days, even Adi Shankaracharya had a misconception of castes like you in the beginning. But lord Paramashiva himself came in the disguise of a ‘Chandala’ and debated with him in the city of Kasi and erased such misconceptions from his mind. Once upon a time when Shankaracharya was travelling across Kasi, Sri Paramashiva appeared in front of him as a Chandala (sweeper, a Shudra). Shankara asked him to move aside. Parameshwara asks him whether he wanted the body made up of food to move away from another body made up of food? Or whether he wanted consciousness to move away from consciousness? And then the discussion happened between those two was a great piece of learning for the world”.

चण्डालदेहे पशुपक्ष्यादिस्थावरे ब्रह्मविग्रहे
अन्येषुतारतंयेन सिद्धेषु न तधाम्यंहं
In the body of a chandala, and in the body of all flora & fauna, equally resides the Parabrahma without any discrimination. This is also stated in Varaha Purana.

नमोनिर्णापि संस्कारो, न श्रुतं च वन संततिः
कारणादि द्विजस्वत्वम्, सत्यमेवतु कारणं
To take birth from a the womb of a Brahmana woman, studying Vedas doesn’t mean attainment of Brahminhood. Truthfulness, righteousness and virtuous conduct is what decides the eligibility for the same.

ज्ञान यग्न्योतपोनैवा ब्रह्मणोवात्त्वाजोपिवा
संसार सागरं गत्वामुक्तिसारहि गच्छति
One who uses the divine knowledge obtained from realization as his instrument to sail across the ocean of samsaara (world), irrespective of his caste, whether he is a Brahmana or a Sudra he is bound to attain salvation

ब्रःमभेदे नजानाति मुक्तिम्वदैववद्यते
समानं सर्वजन्तुनां ब्रःमसूत्रेण कध्यते
ParaBrahma is present in all living beings without any descriminations. One who discriminates, can never attain salvation

अन्त्यजाति द्विजातिस्चेकयेव सहोदरः
एक योनिविप्रसूतत्वात एकशाखे नजायते
Hhigh caste, low caste etc all are same. All of them take birth from vagina only. And all of them grow up alike in the same world and nature and finally become one with the parabrahma one day alike. So all these tasks they do alike and hence they all are siblings”.

Swami continued, “Due to the corruption of mind, due to utterance of lies, due to indulgence in anger and lust, due to being filled with laziness, due to staying away from spirituality and due to lack of cleanliness, people have been called as ‘Sudra’. In this manner if you analyze, even in the “Vipra Jaati” (twice born) itself there are Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya ahd Sudra based on the levels of good and bad qualities they possess. One who is above all such bad qualities, is termed as Brahmana in real sense. Even that Gitacharya Lord Krishna’s message on the Varnas was the same. He also preached that irrespective of the varnas everyone is equally eligible for salvation. One who works towards it firmly, attains it!”.

Whatever ways Swami explained to them, it looked like they turned a deaf ear to him. Swami again continued, “Alright! If you don’t believe my words, then let me give some examples from the history where people from all Varnas have attained salvation. Jaigeesha, Janaka, Astika and other brahmanas, Maitreya, Gargi, Shandavi, Sulabha, etc who were women attained higher abodes and salvation by being virtuous and attaining knowledge. Whosoever earns the wealth og knowledge, attains salvation

  • Sage Rishyashringa who was born to a deer attained brahminhood and glory
  • Sage Vishwamitra who was born as a King attained the position of ‘Brahma Rishi’
  • Sage Gautama who was born to rabbit attained the position of one of the saptarishi
  • Sage Valmiki who was born from an anthill and was a robber attained knowledge and became worshippable
  • Sage Agastya was born from a pot but became one of the Saptarishis
  • Sage Vyasa was born from a fisherwoman who arranged scriptures
  • Sage Vashishtha was born due to a dancing girl Urvasi but attained ‘Brahma Rishi’ position
  • Sage Mandavya was born from a frog, but he became venerable sage
  • Sankhya muni was born to a chandala woman, and became venerable
  • Sage Jambhuka was born and raised by a jackal, and attained fame
  • Saint Gargeya was born from a donkey, and became highly adorable for his knowledge
  • Saunaka monks were all born from the womb of dogs, and they are well known in any puranic story they are of prime importance
Swami continued, “So children! There are many examples of great saints who did not know in
what circumstances they took birth. Therefore birth does not make a brahmana. It is the karmas (actions) performed by us which makes us a Brahmana.Hence we can easily understand that castes are not based on the body and birth, they are based on the mind, nature and work”.

“Now let me also tell the various types of Brahmanas. There are three categories of Brahmanas as well. They are,
  1. Sadbrahmana (Brahmana of Virtuous nature)
  2. Karma Brahmana (Brahmana based on actions/job)
  3. Vesha Brahmana (Brahmana in appearance)
The way a dancer girl puts on makeup on her face and dresses in the suitable attire till the time she needs and then removes all the ornaments when task is achieved, similarly the class of Brahmana who put façade for some purpose, and showoff themselves by applying Vibhuti (ash), having Rudraksha chains around neck and speaking with scriptural references to show off their knowledge, are as good as the dancing girl since their appearance is nothing but fake and they are full of ostentations. Such Brahmana class is called as ‘Vesha Brahmana’.Karma Brahmana are that class of Brahmanas who make themselves visible with brahminical marks but they remain under Maya and always condemn each other looking down upon other castes, asking them not to appear before them when they are studying Vedas, create meaningless rules which remain comfortable for their class but for other castes they remain unachievable. Such Brahamanas can neither worl religiously towards their betterment nor can they even see others attaining the path of knowledge. These kind of Vipra (twice born) are Karma Brahmana”.

Swami continued, “Now the third category of Brahmana is ‘Sadbrahmana’. These are the ones who alwys dwell in the thoughts of ParaBrahman. They not only work towards their realization, but also try to uplift the fellow beings as well. Such pious souls are termed as ‘Sad Brahmana’. The wat Vishnu’s devotees are Vaishnavas, Shiva devotees are Shaivas, Shakti worshippers are Shaktas, those Vedantis and Gyana Yogis who follow ParaBrahman also also known as Brahmana”.

Swami’s words of wisdom were recognized as truth and one old Brahmin came out of the crowd and said, “Sir! Whatever you have spoken, everything is true. But as the saying goes ‘Yatharthavaadi Lokavirodhi’ (Truth is bitter), these arrogant people would not understand the value of your speech. They are as adamant as a diamond. Why do you waste your time debating with them? Please leave them with their arrogance and ignorance, and kindly go back. There is no value of your knowledge in this village”.

When that old man spoke in favor of Swami, and supported him, all other Brahmins became enraged with that act, started shouting on that old Brahmin and were about to beat him when Swami asked them to stop. Swami said, “Alright! It’s already late for our lunch so let us free. Allow us to go on our way”.

But all those arrogant villagers surrounded his bullock cart and stood firmly. They started shouting and were reluctant to allow Swami and his team to move even an inch.


FOOTNOTES

Good thing is, in today’s world many social reformers have established equality among all castes. But the down side is, in order to uplift low castes, they have implemented ‘reservations’. This is a new disease which is called as ‘reservations’ and is infecting the general caste people now. Unless and until the govt. dismisses all reservations and gives equal importance to all castes, nation cannot erase unhappiness from the faces of the citizens.

4 comments:

  1. Sir,
    I completely agree with you in the "FOOTNOTES" section.
    Until now even I have been under the impression that birth determines the varna. But now after reading this post, I got enlightened upon this aspect. Thank you Veerabrahmendra Swami and Santosh garu. One more small doubt still lingers within me: Suppose a person has all the right knowledge and conduct required to be called a Brahmana except that he eats eggs or non-veg, can we still call him a brahmana?
    I'm a pure veg, I don't eat even eggs, but I just want to know.

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Sai,

    One who is a Brahmana in real sense, would gain the vision of equality among all creatures. he would realize the fact that "Eshwara sarva bhootaanaam" (The same eshwara resides in all creatures". In such a stage of enlightenment a Brahmana would never try to harm other fellow beings. So, the case of eating non-veg (obtained from killing creatures) and egg 9which is a to be born foetus), doesn't arise.

    So, a real Brahmana would not eat non-veg. but unfortunbately some idiots are propagating things saying that ancient age brahmins used to eat meat including cow meat where Vedas condemn killing cows. Scriptures are very metaphorical and hence interpretations differ. In sanskrit "maamsa" means flesh but same word can also be used to refer to Rajasic foods. e.g--> Say u r eating curd rice,a dn i am eating masala veg-pulao. Your food is satvik and mine is rajsic. Although mine is also veg food but one can use "maamsa" as a comparative term there. That's how scriptures play the game of words and people fail to get the real meaning.

    Having said that, i would also stress on one imp. point that, an enlightened being who has attained his self realization, who ahs beocme one with Brahman, wouldn't get touched by any sin whatever he does. e.g-> to kill Vatapi sage Agastya ate deer meat offered by Vatapi's brotehr demon. So, to do some task which is "loka kalyanaardham", whatever u do, u wouldn't be touched by sins. Brahmajnanam once attained, that person doesn't gets tained even if he does heinous acts also, sicne he always remains dettached.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Respected Sir (Santosh garu),
    I thank you profoundly for patiently clarifying all of my doubts (including those posted on other articles) by sparing your valuable time and enlightening me with your thorough replies.

    I've gained good spiritual insight after reading all your posts about Swami's teachings. By Swami's grace I have been able to complete reading the blog and I must say it's a wonderful enlightening experience :)

    Thank you Santosh garu for making this wholesome blog about Lord Veerabrahmendra Swami's Life and Teachings in a plain and simple English that everyone can understand.
    (I know it takes a lot of pain and effort to translate those (ancient) Telugu sentences into simple and easy English)

    A Hearty Thanks once again :)

    "Om hreem kleem sreem namah sivaya sree veerabrahmendra swamine namaha"

    "Om hreem kleem sreem sivaya brahmane namaha"

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dear Sai,

    Thanks a zillion for liking Swami's life history so much. It's all the grace of Swami and i am just an instrument in his hands. So, i divert all your 'thanks' to Brahmamgaru since he is the actual recipient.

    May your favourite forms of the almighty viz. lord Venkateswara, mother Aluvelumanga, mother Padmavati bless you with all the tools needed to gain Brahmagyanam and guide you towards Salvation. May they always treat you like their new born infant and always be seated in your heart.

    God bless!

    ReplyDelete