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Re: another question

From: Vaide Venkatakrishnan (vv_at_mail.grove.ufl.edu)
Date: Thu Mar 09 1995 - 20:09:05 PST

By definition a brahmin is supposed to be a seeker of truth and pursue 
knowledge and wisdom for that purpose - even the priesthood that nowadays has to
for practical reasons work for a job is truly no longer under that category.
By and large even in India a lot of the brahmin class indulge in non-veg food
and by profession have become more material minded, and many would even like to
start or be part of a business!  However, whether here or in India, most are
satisfied perhaps that they come from a brahmin family and are proud of it, with
absolutely no desire to study scriptures or pursue a spiritual goal - and very
often believing that following some rituals now and then ( and sometimes when
it suits their convenience) entitles them to this category.  In my opinion, there are very few who pose this question to themselves.  So by definition, most of
us will not fit in this category - the same is true of all other divisions in
caste that were identified with a category of work./goals.  Quite a few years
ago Cho had a lenghthy  lengthy series I understand in Tuglak titled "eNGE
brahmaNaNn?" - I have read some of that an dis very thought provoking.

On a different note, in Jan of this year the TamilNadu CM announced the
renovation and maintenance of 40 historically and culturally important places
in TamilNadu with a donation of 10 lakhs each and many are temple cities or
towns, an dquite a few SriVaishnavite temples.  The plan is quite comprehensive-including the temple, temple tank, surrounding area, approach, tourist
facilities and removal or relocation of small shops obstructing the roads etc.,
Also apparently, the CM has launched a massive effort in the past couple of years to return wherever possible temple land and property to the respective
authorities sothat the daily pooja and other functions distcontinued in many for lack of funds have restarted again.  This is not to say all temples are well
funded or at the required level of funding.

The present Jeeyar seems to be more in grip of the pace of the changing views
and society that  than his predecessors.  He tries to convey to the common
crowd intellectual concepts of religion/philosophy with a down to earth view-
point and a sense of humour.  But the caste system exits  exists and 
protocols are maintained for his visits - I think either individually or 
jointly we all should make an effort to write or if possible talk to our
Jeeyar about this.  The only way to break the caste issue in my opinion apart
from individual changes is that a clear directive or leadership from our
Jeetyar is
Jeeyar be given.  Majority of the problem lies in the minds of the brahmin
community, who by the sheer fact taht they are born into a brahmin family,
think they are superior.  Politically atleast in TN the brahmin community in
a few years will take the ss  seat of SC?ST  SC/ST few years before and if
they don't move out of TN also economically.

Such enormous chnages can't be expected in a shoert  short span, but if the
present Jeeyar is willing to listen to these problems and takes an initiative
in the right direction, the brahmin community will rebel even against him
perhaps but will come around sooner or later.  The question is someone has to
find out what His Holiness our Jeeyar ( and counterparts for Iyers Sankaracharyas) and other religious heads think about this an dwhat they really want to do
about it.  Not all the alwaars are brahmins by birth - if they can be worshipped
for their exemplary devotion to Lord Narayana and be integrated as part of a

the Sri Vaishnavite culture, I am sure there is room in everybody's heart to
look at another as just another human being without the connotation of caste
attached.  It may come naturally to some, readily to some and certainly
should not be difficult to surface if efforts are taken.  I strongly suggest
conveying our opinions to His Holiness and wait for his suh  suggestions.  

It will be interesting to hear that the bifurcations as Iyer, Iyengar etc.,
is just a few decades old.  

Kindly bear with me for the typos and ofcourse a long mail.  I feel quite
strongly about this issue and was not about to pass an a  opportunity to
express some of my opinions.

Vaidehi V. Raja