Marginalisation of Brahminical Culture!

Introduction

According to Rig Veda the Brahmanas are the elite class in the varnashrama system consisting of people well versed in the vedic literatures. They enjoyed various rights and were patronised by the kings for their various virtuous qualities and vast learning. They used serve in various capacities like advising the kings, conducting vedic rituals for the well being of the entire population. So they were held in a high esteem by the rulers and general populace alike. But over a period of time some kind complecency had set in and the virtuous qualities slowly gave way to exploitative mentality in some of them in some parts of India. However in Today’s India, Brahmins have been reduced to an identification of a particular caste who although are hardly different from anyone else taking up regular jobs, for some reason they have become the neglected and abused lot of the Indian ruling class be it the Muslim rulers, the British or present democratic pseudo secular politicians.

As we shall see later in the article there are few historical reasons why Brahminical culture has dwindled, partly because internal decline in values within the community and complete disregard and abuse of the ruling class ignorant of vedic system. Due the decline in virtue and rampant abuse of their position and political clout by some Brahmins in the medieval India. People in general had lost respect and became illusioned with the varnashrama system and today its vestige is the much condemned and misqouted caste system. There have many social movements who had worked in the last few centuries against the caste system like Mahatma Gandhi’s Harijan movement etc to emancipate the oppressed caste. And also with the India becoming democratic republic things of discrimination and oppression is virtually non existent. Even if there are some certainly it is not due to the Brahmins.

Indian history has forgotten great tyrannical muslim rulers who have killed scores of Hindus and ruled by subjugation, but for some politically motivated agenda brahmins have somehow becoming pariah in their own land. This has resulted in Brahmins disowning their own culture and practices because their identification as Brahmin has only brought them neglect and abuse. So the tradition they have been preserving has fallen into neglect obviously there will be no question of propagating their culture. This has definitely brought about denudation of Vedic culture to great extent. Here is an article from Indian Express on the subject, Let’s analyse the same from a vedic perspective.

Brahmins the neglected

The first article published by rediff on Brahmins as an underprivileged community, brought a flurry of reactions, mostly of surprise: “What, Brahmins as toilet cleaners, coolies, rickshaw pullers, priests earning less than Rs 150 a month… How is it possible, we always thought that Brahmins were a rich, fat, arrogant community?” Many Brahmins and other upper castes expressed online their relief that someone was speaking about their plight, that for once they were not attacked, made fun of, ridiculed. Of course there were also a few hostile e-mails, accusing the author of upper casteism, of anti-Dalits bias. One would have thought however, that at a time when reservation was the hottest journalistic topic, the media would have seized this story and made it its own. After all, isn’t impartial journalism to show both sides of the story?

Don’t you think, for instance, that the discovery that all 50 Sulabh Shauchalayas (public toilets) in Delhi are cleaned and looked after by Brahmins — traditionally the task of the lowest of the lowest caste — and that this noble institution was started by a Brahmin, Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, makes a wonderful story, both for the print and electronic media? That is what I believed, at any rate. So when I discovered that the Art of Living Foundation was conducting workshops for all coolies, irrespective of their religion and caste of the Delhi railway station — and that quite a few of them were Brahmins — I thought I could share this story and the Sulabh Shauchalayas scoop, with a few journalistic acquaintances, who would jump on it with glee. Unfortunately I was very wrong. Initially, some young journalists were enthusiastic and joined us in our investigation.

Not for Secular Media

We expected the story to hit the headlines soon and be taken up by the entire press, hungry for something different than the strike of the medicos, or Arjun Singh’s adamant attitude. But nothing happened. We called them day after day, proposed some more data, but still no story came out. Then one of the young journalists, working for one of the largest media outfits in India told us off the record that the sub-editor, backed by the editor, had killed the story in true journalistic freedom. The second scenario we encountered was stone silence: the star anchors, bureau chiefs, editors of national English newspapers whom I personally contacted, either did not return my calls or were evasive. Third scenario: Downright hostility: “You’re a right winger, a pro-BJP-RSS journalist” etc. What does truth and investigative journalism have to do with the BJP (who by the way did no more than the Congress for the Kashmiri Brahmins, for instance, when it was in power)? I don’t know. Some journalists, initially willing to do a story, backed out after some time under the pretext that the data was not solid enough. Not solid enough?

Reservation Politics

Dr Ambedhkar one of the important member playing a crucial rolein framing the Indian Constitution made provisions to create reservations for the underprivileged scheduled caste and tribes. The original provision mentions that reservation should be time bound and should be ultimately discontinued. It had been done with an intention of giving the “under privileged” a chance.

The Indian democrarcy no doubt had been a liberating force for many but it had eventually became a play toy in the hands of oppurtunistic corrupt politicians. From the time of the introduction of Mandal commision in 1970′s political parties have been vying against each other to portray themselves as the champions of “oppressed class” to garner the vote banks of minorities and “under privileged”.

Although the constitution has declared that reservation in any sector shall not exceed more than fifty percent. They have repeatedly amended for political gains, and in many states they are close to 75 percentage.An after effect of this is that the quality of students in educational institutions and the performance of public sector undertakings have dropped alarmingly. This has resulted in not only rampant corruption and decline in quality. The consequence of this is the Brhamins who donot benifit from this reservation packages are in a weak position even though they come from an economically weaker background and have high qualification they can’t compete with the rests who enjoy benifits of reservation . So they have been resorting to unconventional areas like above which they have never ventured into or they have to leave the country seeking better livelihood.

Where did the rot start?

Does flimsy and unchecked data ever stop the Indian media to publish slanderous stories in the recent past? Then, I came to the conclusion that more than fifty years later, the Nehruvian culture which directly brainwashed two generations of Indians in certain thinking patterns, has survived today. Actually, you have to go farther back than Nehru. For Jawaharlal was a true end product of Macaulay’s policy of creating Indians who would be Indians by the colour of their skins, but British in their thinking.

Thus, the English outlook on India survives today in India’s intellectual class, particularly the journalists, who often cast a Westernised, anti-spiritual, pro-minority, anti-majority, un-Indian, anti-Brahmins and other upper castes — look on their own country. It is true that Nehru started from a positive volition: How to solve India’s huge class and caste disparity? How to appease a Muslim minority which ruled India ruthlessly for ten centuries and was not ready to be ruled by those who were for a long time Islam’s pliant subjects? But Nehru went overboard. He made the paupers of yesteryear the saints of modern India, allowing some states to literally hound out Brahmins and other upper castes. He twisted history and thanks to docile historians, made of cruel Muslim invaders and rulers, the benefactors of medieval India. He went to the extent of excusing the razing and sacking of thousands of exquisite temples all over India, by saying that Muslim invaders such as Babar did it because these temples were full of hidden gold and jewels, damning again indirectly the poor hapless Brahmins, who were beheaded by Muslim invaders, crucified in Goa by the Portuguese Inquisition, vilified by British missionaries, and morally crucified today by their own brothers and sisters.

Thanks to the lingering influence of Nehruvianism, ‘Brahmins’ remain today a dirty word, even in the face of reality: that Dalits have considerably come up since 1947 in Indian society, that no nation in the world has done so much for its underprivileged (India had a Dalit President).

Vedic Observer

Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita, 18.42,
Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, knowledge, wisdom and religiousness — these are the natural qualities by which the brāhmaṇas work. By saying that he has set the standard of who is a true brahmana. And he mentions that one does not become brahmana by birth but by his conditioning and activities. But he has declared himself to be the protector of brahmanical culture and emphasized the importance of its preservation.

The Vedas teach us A Brahmin was a Brahmin only if he cultivated the spiritual temperament and acquired the spiritual training which alone would qualify him for the task. But once Brahmanism became hereditary, arrogance, complacency and casteism became rampant, ultimately bringing the downfall of Brahmins. That is also predicted to happen in Kali Yuga.

Srimad Bhagavatam gives some importance to people born in brahmana family but have not acquired the qualities of a brahmana. It gives them a special name called dvija bandhu and regards them as someone having a potential for becoming a brahmana. So although the current brahmins maynot be regarded as brahmins. They at least have a potential to be dvija bandhus. And there are brahmins who try their best to live by the scriptures. So to have cynical attitude towards everyone is incorrect. And it is an irrefutable fact that the Sanatana Dharma is what it is today because of the rituals preserved by the caste brahmins. The gorgeous temples of South India especially have been maintained and run by the traditional brahmins.
Although there may have been some excesses commited by Brhamins in the past that cannot be taken as a reason to condemn Brahminical culture. Jesus Christ says condemn the sin not the sinner. In that principle we should make every effort to preserve the existing Brahminical culture.

In this spirit the Government of India should act by the constitution which guarantees equality in treatment to all. They should end the neglect of Brahmins and encourage a non-caste based brahminical culture under the supervison of learned authorities. This is the duty of kshatriyas or administrators.

References

Article adapted from Indian Express with some vedic perspective added by LNDAS.

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There is no stronger obstruction to one’s self-interest than thinking other subject matters to be more pleasing than one’s self-realization.

by Bhagavatam 4.22.32

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