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Re: Brahmin qualities and vegetarianism

From: Parthasarati Dileepan (pdileepa_at_cecasun.utc.edu)
Date: Mon Sep 23 1996 - 05:46:25 PDT

LDVR31A@prodigy.com (MR MOHAN R SAGAR) on Sun, 22 Sep 1996 03:01:01 says:
>My compliments on Mr. Tatachar's eloquent response to Ashwin Sairam's
>question on the definition of a Brahmin.  I think it is important to
>note that, based on this discusssion, the title of Brahmin should be
>based solely on individual character, and not on birthright.
       ^^^^^^

  This view is not correct.  While character is certainly 
  important, I am sure it is not stated anywhere that it is
  *the sole* criterion.  By birth you are eligible, and by 
  character you become one.  The converse is, if one is not 
  born a brahmin no amount of character will make him one.  
  There is a story in Mahabharatha to illustrate this.  
  Viswamithra is the only exception, but then he was intended 
  to be a brahmin by *birth*, but got switched.  The convertion
  was simply a matter of correcting the switch, not an outright
  change of caste.

  The term brahmin, or for that matter Kshathriya, or 
  Vaisya, or Shudra, if used, must be an indication of
  responsiblity, not rights or status associated with
  "titles".

  Emphasizing character to become a brahmin is troublesome.
  Why can't one become a shudra by exemplary behavior, say 
  like Vidura, or better yet, Nammaazhvaar.  It is this 
  Shudra's name that all Azhagiya Singars of Sri Ahobila Mutt
  adorn in their titles with great pride.

  Also, we often hear that the ultimate goal of all living
  beings is to reach the place from where "shudras" emanated! 
  (adikkeezh amarndhu pugundhEnE -- nammaazhvaar)  Thus, I
  don't know why anyone would or should want to strive hard
  to become a brahmin!

-- Dileepan