The feelings of ‘most’ of the Brahmana parents of current times, who have lived their lives fairly comfortably, by the benefits of modern education and well paid jobs, and have been able to raise their children fairly well by providing them with modern comforts, perhaps, who themselves have not adhered to Brahmana traditions strictly, are similar. Most of them focused on advancing in the worldly pursuits without giving due place to their own adherence to what they are expecting now from the newer generation.
They all have concerns of identity of their own Brahmana community and struggle encouraging their children to marry within the Brahmana community. They all wish that their children retain their community identity, by following some minimum set of Brahmana values, most important of which is marrying within their own community.
This is in contrast to their own upbringing where the previous generations of parents could not have similar ‘good’ lives and could not provide ‘good’ lives to their children, in spite of their desire to do so, because their social and economic circumstances did not permit. This has been the story of the Brahmana community who lost their foundation and vision, in the previous 500+ years, slowly, because of social pressures. The parents of previous generations did not have the opportunity to put their children in this Brahmana ideal, because for them social and economic success meant everything, and they lacked proper training and discipline, in their own lives.
So, do not cut this off thinking that it is only my personal cry.
When I am harping on being born as a Brahmana and remaining / living as a Brahmana, and raising a child as Brahmana, it is not merely for name sake. Of course, you ought to start with that name identification, but grow into that ideal of ‘Being a Brahmana’, for what it is ‘truly’ meant.
It is the ‘final ideal of man’s living’ and man’s endeavor to reach that ‘final ideal’ that the Brahmana and Brahmanism originated and evolved and fructified. So, all the rules and regulations of a Brahmana’s life are not mere imaginations. They are meant to provide the perfect training ground to realize that ideal ‘in this life’. Please do not be short sighted. Once you understand it ‘rationally’, you may take it up more enthusiastically. If I had this clarity when I was young, perhaps, my own life would have been different.
Every man is born alike. Every man has the same opportunity and temptation to live life in comfort, by satisfying the sensory organs. In fact man lived that way, perhaps for millennia. Out of the collective experience of such living, ‘Culture’ evolved. Man discovered, over centuries, the most rewarding way of living this life on this planet. They aspired to communicate that ideal and rewarding life to their future generations. Religion, as it is called now, was born.
So, if I die and disappear without that ‘religious experience’, if you die and disappear without that ‘religious experience’, whose loss is it? So, if I caution you against such grand loss, you owe it to yourself to investigate further. The message is so worthy that you should ignore all personalities and take the benefit of the message.
I should admit, even the current generation of parents have not achieved ‘all happiness’, in spite of riches. Their ‘core sadness’ remained. Some are still pursuing wealth. Some others have been investigating the reason for their ‘core sadness’. A few have started taking a look at what they have lost, as the basic burden of living has been removed from their lives.
Some have found the link.
This writing is a reflection of the cry of their heart.
Because the current generation is growing up in a more ‘rational’ world, than submission to ‘heart’, and their contact with the ‘psyche’ of the past has reduced, I will take a chance to lay out the map once again.
As an intelligent generation, born devoid of poverty and many social limitations of the past, you ought to give yourself a chance to investigate what is said here, and you ought to refine further, and make your own lives the fountain of joy.
Learn from others’ failures, and avoid all such failures from your lives, so that you may make rapid progress, and reap the benefits that are only reserved for a man aspiring to reach the perfection of ‘True Understanding’.
First answer to yourself, do you consider yourself to be a Hindu or not? What is your religious identity? Of course, you can try to carve out a ‘new religious identity’. But then the burden is on you to support your own pursuit. You ought to have the courage to discard all the comfort you are now enjoying from ‘vile’ use of the present Hindu identity and security, derived from your parents, family, and society. Then you can be on your own. If you are dishonest, my writing will not serve any purpose in your life. You are born a sheep and camouflaged in tiger’s skin!
You can’t have ambivalent answers here.
Then answer what traits and beliefs make a true Hindu. Then try to discover the essential characteristics of a Brahmana. Unless you have value for those values, nothing will change in your life. Like many other sheep, this sheep also will be sacrificed in butchery, even though it is camouflaged in tiger’s skin.
Without going into a huge philosophical debate, let me remind you of the basic tenets of understanding of Life as we know on this planet, as per Hindu thought.
The life of each one of us, as we know today, is a mixed bag of joys and sorrows, occasional successes and many disappointments. Each such life span is full of discord and frustrations, for we do not know what the ’cause’ is. We continuously try to improve our circumstances, we try to game the system, but still remain unfulfilled. We live a life of ‘limitations’. Are we to remain clueless for the happenings of our life?
We spend our entire life trying feverishly, to gain security, being blind to the fact that countless Rajas and Maharajas have come and gone. We don’t even pause and question where our real security lies, before death consumes us.
We may have consolation, if the problems of ‘our life’ are to ‘end’ truly, with our physical death. So, many have attempted to answer this mysterious question, ‘Is the physical death, end of all problems?’. The Hindu thought is that, the physical death is not the final resolution! So, the conclusion is that we must find the ‘real cause’ of our sufferings and find a permanent solution.
The permanent solution is to escape from this cycle of birth and death, sukha and dukha, caused by punya and papa, merit and demerit, the effects of actions we perform and the attitude with which we perform those actions, which in turn are reflected as the three gunas, Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas, of our psyche, which form the material of our tendencies and prompt us to behave according to our in built tendencies, thus causing the cycle of birth and death of miseries with occasional joys to perpetuate. (see notes 1).
Re-birth until man achieves ‘perfection’ is inevitable. Play of samskaras, tendencies, of the psyche is the cause of this cycle of birth and death. So, it is inferred and discovered that until such samskaras of the man are refined and purified, and their real ‘true’ relationship to ‘me’ is known, ‘eternal happiness’ is not possible.
Living life as a Hindu, as a Brahmana is to alter those samskaras, and make man fit for that Understanding, which will free the man from the cycle of Birth-and-Death, free the man from the life of ‘limitations’ imposed by the psyche.
So, if you are a Jew, or a Christian, or a Muslim, or a Confused, this writing is not going to be palatable to you. You may be the material for ‘imperfect living’ now, and re-birth and refinement in unknown future. That is a slow process. But, you have a chance to understand rationally, adapt, and get release in this birth.
The ‘tough and rigorous’ life of thought and deeds, prescribed for a Brahmana, whose main aim in life is to realize the Truth, the Reality of this unfathomable manifestation, is not for everyone. Such life is not for every creed and community who is willing to concede easily, when faced with the limitations of life, even though they will inevitably be slaughtered by time in time. They don’t have the ‘makeup’ to take up the highest challenge. While being in queue to be devoured by Death, they are content to ‘suck’ joy worshiping the God of Ignorance, in ignorance.
A man of high ideal, to know, directly, the fabric which makes this world, nay, the thread that makes this cloth of the universe, a man of such highest courage of intellect, who can be inspired to climb that peak of the mountains, him I consider a Brahmana. Being born in a home and parentage of such a Brahmana is the admission into the samurai’s ranks! With admission, the training only begins.
You can continue with the training or run away. But, it is said, you trained yourself in your past lives, built your aspirations in a way that you landed here. You may make rapid progress with one-pointed devotion to SvaDharma, or adopt ParaDharma and die miserable. The choice is yours! (see notes 2).
Following the SvaDharma and avoiding ParaDharma, is to ultimately remove samskaras which are already separating us from the Reality of who we are, making us feel as suffering ‘individuals’, pitting one against the other. So, following ParaDharma and avoiding SvaDharma is counterproductive, as it is not cutting off your accumulated samskaras. It is only going to reinforce the false notion, ignorance, of ‘individuality’. You experience daily in your deep sleep that the ‘individuality’ does not exist. So, you need no other theory or proof for it.
Getting rid of this false notion, of ‘individuality’, the cause of misery and feeling of insecurity, forever, is the ultimate aim of a Brahmana.
Once again! Don’t need to be overly philosophical, here. In your present state, you may not be able to even imagine that state which is reserved only for a select few in this universe.
Trust your loving parents, who are on the same path of discovery, who have no other ulterior motives, and your ancestors who struggled on the same endeavor to perfection, and attain the glory of those Rishis and sages who attained perfection out of such courageous enquiry, discovered the Truth and spoke at the peak of their joy!
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1. Notes on Gunas
a. Gunas: fundamental / primary qualities/characteristics of the mind stuff, the subtle material of which the mind is made (not brain stuff; mind is subtle and is different from the brain).
b. Sattva: quality / state of peace, joy, calm, reflection, contemplation
c. Rajas: quality / state of activity / worry / fear / agitation / impulsiveness / aggression / lacking-proper-thinking
d. Tamas: quality of dullness / stupidity / laziness / indifference / stupor / lack of comprehension / unable to respond / unable to make any sort of effort
2. Notes on SvaDharma and ParaDharma:
Dharma Sastras determined and proclaimed that human birth in a specific environment is not by fluke. Their conclusion is that it is because of Karma of individual beings. Karma is a (self-created, inevitable) product / result / fruit of physical and mental Karmas (actions) of our own past lives, called by the same name Karma.
Each action creates samskaras, some form of storage of psychic impressions, which can self-manifest when it is conducive.
Net effects of all the samskaras is spoken of by aggregating as Gunas (as we save different crops such as paddy, corn etc. as generic Gold, silver etc., so also psychic-effects-of-all-actions (samskaras) are stored / represented / spoken of as Gunas) of the mental world, which self-actualize, manifest, de-aggregate again, in some unknown, conducive future, and express as Karmas (actions).
Only what is inside can come out, so the manifested Karma is samskara itself, and not different. The tendency to manifest is samskara itself, it is not different, similar to oneness of what is in the womb, what is attempting to come out, and what comes out finally, the same baby.
The English word ‘tendency’ seems to represent only the potential state, or while in the process of expression. Discard that language dependent confusion.
So, samskaras are qualities which have the ability to self-actualize. This cycle continues, unless more powerful samskaras / tendencies are created by effort, by working in tandem with the in-born samskaras / tendencies, which tendency is also self-created by abhyasa (practice), which fact is quoted by Srikrishna in the Gita.
So, Dharma Sastras prescribe, the values and life-style which are conducive to inculcate the requisite progress in the psyche, which will lead the individual to the ultimate happiness and fearlessness, and lasting security.
Dharma Sastras advocated different life-styles, considering the Guna-s and Karma-s of different classes of individuals, grouped as Varna-s (castes).
1. SvaDharma (practicing the values and life-style prescribed by the Dharma Sastras by accepting the inevitability of the cycle of Karma, and living with an attitude of trust in Isvara)
2. ParaDharma (which is contrary to SvaDharma, i.e practicing the values and life-style prescribed for other Varna-s, which even though practiced well, will not give growth in Psyche because they do not bring about the requisite destruction of the in-built samskaras / tendencies, getting rid of which alone can make one closer to Reality)
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This writing is meant to address the basic aim of human life.
Though emphasis is in addressing the youth, it is urgently necessary for the aged, because less time is available for them in the present life. It will serve well if one pays deep attention to the intent and seek Truth as per one’s capability.
Grace of God, Gurus, and Scriptures, and well-wishers do not become helpful until their instructions are practiced in good faith and with staunch devotion.”
If we remove the word ‘Brahmana’ from the entire message above, it is still valid, and is applicable for everyone.
The word Brahmana is representative, in some sense. Now-a-days, Brahmana Youth is thoroughly confused and sees no place for the old values in his/her life. So, the message is directly applicable to them.
What to talk of other communities! Unfortunately, the Youth from other communities seem to think, the fundamental questions of life and death are not applicable to them! They seem to think they need no discipline or practices!
I wish others ponder over their own situation and ask what is in this message for them, and brave to inculcate the desired samskaras.
Written by Srikrishna Ghadiyaram.
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