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the question of conversion into the "brahmin fold"

From: Srikant Sadagopan (
Date: Thu Nov 15 2001 - 15:33:27 PST

Dear Sri Varadhan,
As usual your lucid presentation made for delightful reading. I pray that 
you continue translating such important scriptures and make to known to 
'pamara jana' like adiyEn.

I seek a small clarification w.r.t the taking some "ithara janas" into our 
fold. I have a friend who is an Iyengar from Hassan. His great grandfather 
seems to have told him they were "Jain converts" and that they joined the 
gothram of their "Acharya" who was a gruhastha(a Swayamaacharya swamy). He 
however, does not have any documentation supporting this belief. Could this 
be a myth..? The family ofcourse observes Vaishnava austerities.


Message: 5
   Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001 19:24:53 -0800 (PST)
   From: <>
Subject: the question of conversion into the "brahmin fold"

srImathE SaTakOpAya namah
srImathE rAmAnujAya namah
srImathE anantArya mahAguravE namah
srImathE vara vara munayE namah

dear bhagavathas,

the question that was raised by a member of the list
"whether it is true that ramanuja converted many
non-brahmins into brahimns" needs further discussion.

First of all, the classification "brahmin" is
birth-based only (in practice - in this context,
it does not matter what srI bhagavad gIta says).
Given that as a qualification, there can be
no "conversions" into the brahminical caste.

The important question that naturally arises is
being a brahmin is in anyway better/worse with
respect to the goals that devotees pursue. Our
srIvaishNava AcAryAs, starting with the AzhvArs
(only 3 out of 11 are known to have been born into
a brahmin community) through svami maNavALa
mAmunigaL have taught us, and demonstrated to us
through their actions that there are no differences
whatsoever among srIvaishNavas, let alone narrow
caste based differentiation.

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