Saturday, June 6, 2009

Who is a Brahmin?- T. Damu

A true Brahmin is one, who has acquired brahminhood not by

birth but through his noble actions.

He who has gained Supreme Self-knowledge is a Brahmin.

Vedas and Epics proclaim that there is no caste differentiation in the Brahminic State.

Initially, people took up occupations in tune with their aptitudes and temperaments. People dedicated to such vocations were technically classified as Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Sudras, possessing equal status in the society.

Brahmins are those who have an inclination towards acquiring and disseminating sacred knowledge; Kshatriyas are those who have an in-built capacity to provide social security and peace; Vaisyas have a born tendency for trade and agriculture; and finally Sudras are persons willing to render services as in carpentry, blacksmithy, moulding, goldsmithy, ploughing and the like requiring manual labour. These were merely trade-based nomenclatures.

In the beginnning, men were either Brahmins or Sudras, according to Brihadaranyakopanishad. In Apasthampa Sutras all are Sudras by birth. Manusmrithi declares: “Knowldege uplifts a man to brahminhood; skill in arms makes a Kshatriya; enhancement of wealth moulds a Vaisya, whereas Sudra’s qualities are congenital traits. From this it is clear that the first three states of the caste system are developed after birth as a Sudra.

The aptitudes of castes: The contention in the Shanti Parva of Mahabharata is that no caste is superior to any other. It further states that God’s creations are equal and the classification of castes is based on individual tastes.

Sri Krishna who is adored by all Hindus including Brahmins was born in Yadava caste, a backward class of the present age. Let’s take the case of Shiva, who was a hunter belonging to the Scheduled tribe. He is worshiped by all Hindus, Brahmins included. Does this mode of worship not reveal a truth that Brahmins, Sudras, Kshatriyas and Vaisyas were all equals in the bygone era?

The Vedas spoken of as the soul and supreme soul of the so-called Brahmins were classified by Veda Vyasa, the son of a fisher-woman.

Valmiki was a chandala (social outcast) prior to his attainment of sagely state. He was the author of Ramayana a sacred text of all Hindus including Brahmins. Sage Aitareya, the author of Aitareyopanishad, was the son of a Sudra woman. He was designated as a Brahmana. The legend of Viswamitra, a Kshatriya turned Brahmin through his severe penance and austerities, is well known to all. Sage Vidura was born to a palace menial. He became a Brahmin on the authority of his fathomless learning. Mythologies cite several instances of one offspring of the selfsame mother crowned as a king and another anointed as a priestly Brahmana, for excample, Santanu the king and his brother Devapi the scholar. Kshatryia Khadru adopting Brahminhood is narrated in Bhagavata Purana. Satyakama of the depressed caste was made a Brahmin when Sage Gothama accepted him as a disciple.

The very first question Sage Gothama put to Satyakama when the latter approached the former seeking discipleship was: “My boy, which family do you hail from?” Satyakama replied: “Oh, my preceptor! When I asked my mother about my ancestry, she denied any knowledge of it. She earned a livelihood in her youth by doing menial works at various households. She does not know who her father was. She is a Jabala and I am her son Satyakama. She advised me to declare my name as Satyakama Jabala, which will suffice.”

The response from Sage Gotama to the reply from the boy was this: “Only a true Brahmana can speak like this. Go and collect firewood from the woods. I have accepted you as my disciple. You have not transgressed a little from truth.” According to Yudhistira, as asserted in Shanti Parva of Maha Bharata, a Brahmin is one who is truthful, patient and compassionate.

The Sudra who can hold steadfast in spiritual practices such as integrity, forbearance, justice and the like can reach brahminhood, says Mahabharata. What all these things emphasize is that there is an immeasurable gap between a true Brahmana and the present day self-styled caste of Brahmins.

Who are these people specified as Brahmins? It is believed that a majority of them are not Brahmins in its original sense! Historian K. P. Chon records this fact as follows: “A tribe called Sami migrated from Siberia in Russia and Central Asia, later became the priests of the Aryans. The ancestry of these Samis is traced back to a tribe called Nenut or Noot in Siberia. Their trade was to ferment a drink from the juice squeezed out of some herbs like Soma, the products being branded as Soma, gouri, barooni etc.

How did they become the priests is delineated by Chon in his celebrated book. The barbaric Aryan tribes of Central Asia attacked surrounding provinces and perpetrated dacoity and homicide. The Sami tribals co-existed with the Aryans, carrying Soma concoction with them.

Meat and liquor: After the loot, the nomadic Aryans would partake of the Somarasam at night. Dinner followed the drink, consisting of cow meat, horse and the like. Before the meals they would collectively pray to the unknown Almighty. It was mandatory.

In order to encash their produce, the Samis would make a liberal supply of Somarasam to the dacoits. The inebriated Aryans found it cumbersome to say the prayers, when one among them put forward a novel idea conferring a power of attorney on a teetotaler in the Sami clan to say the prayers on their behalf! There was a general agreement on this. From then on, the Samis took up the worship in addition to their duty of filling the glasses.

The Samis accompanied the Aryan robbers when they invaded India. When the Somaras merchants were invested with the additional responsibility of conducting prayers, they grabbed the opportunity to overlord the drunkards and claim priesthood from the Aryans overtly.

About four millenniums ago, one section of the Samis migrated to India and another to Iran. They wrote two treatises describing in detail about the Somarasas etc. Those settled in India called the verses Rig Veda and their counterparts in Iran called it Avesta. Rules for conducting yagas, poojas etc., are laid down in these works in an elaborate manner. The truth is that neither of these sections now know what this ancient Soma herb is!

Historian Richard Rudgly in his book “The Encyclopedia of Psycho-active Substances”, points out that some among these groups are making a drink with some other ingredients in the name of Somarasa for pooja rituals.

Samis and temple administration: On reaching India, the Samis adopted heinous methods to confiscate temple administration. It is said that they were the perpetrators of the ‘Devadasi’ culture in India! They instigated the people that if a family aspired salvation for all its members at least one woman member should opt for illegal conjugal relationship openly in front of the God. What to tell, the practice of reciting “Poorapattu” in the Kodungallur temple was the handwork of these modern Brahmins. On those days an eccentric community owing allegiance to Buddism were the priest in that temple. The aforesaid porno songs were intended to drive away those people, according to certain historians.

Some historians opine that the advent of Hindu priesthood occurred when men learnt to make fire by percussion method. Probably men utilized forest fires in the beginning to meet their inevitable wants. The fire acquired from the forest flames had to be maintained by special arrangements. Those protectors of the much-needed fire had in a later stage come to be known as Agni Hotris, opines Dr. Sudhir Birodkar. The Agni Hotris have become the hereditary fire-keepers and their descendants became the Brahmins according to him. It was they who introduced the way of cooking food in fire. The importance of fire in the preparation of food was established and so was the fame of the Agnihotris.

In a way the homams may be explained as a demonstration of the culinary art. Milk, honey, clarified butter; pulses and cereals are used for oblation in the fire. At the conclusion, a sumptuous feast is shared by the participants.

Budha and Hindus: The priesthood must have come into vogue when the Samis, who were traditionally experts in cooking, started performance of all work in front of the deified fire. Thenceforth education became their monopoly. They prevented other castes from acquiring knowledge.

The brutes that understood fire as a weapon for destruction, started worshipping it. The opportunity was fully utilized by the Samis, who were distillers and suppliers of Somarasa to the nomadic uncivilized Aryans and became the priests of everyone. When they were elevated to the highest class, they appropriated all the power. The advent of higher and lowly caste system was at this juncture. Not only that, they recast the Vedas, mythologies and epics to suit their likes and dislikes.

“The Vedas were originally written by Mahasiva for the advancement of man in their world. The Vedas of Mahashiva were completely distorted and was filled with interpolations of Brahminic theories and concocted stories with an ulterior motive of misleading the humans.” Thus writes Mr. K. P. Chon in his book titled “The Original Mother of Nair – A Pulayi and that of Ezhava – A Cherumi”

Dr. Stevenson, the historian, says that the Brahmins destroyed numberless history books and distorted many facts.That the Brahmins in order to suit their vested interests had inserted their theories and opinions in the Vedas and Epics, was recorded by Dr. D. D. Huston in his book “Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Kushits Empire” He points out that certain theories that Brahmins added in the Vedas were copied from Buddhism.

The Brahmins who had borrowed some of Buddha’s thoughts had strived to establish Buddha as an incarnation of Mahavishnu, Huston says.