The Brahmanas in retrospect

The Brahmanas; a traditional name given for certain qualities.
What are they? What are we now?

When I started thinking about my own community as "Karhaadaa Brahman", I first started considering the common name i.e. "Braahmana" and I found there is a lot of reference in our traditional literature. I started collecting the same.

Studying any Sanskrit word to understand the meaning in usage at that time, requires one to go through etymology of the same. The word "Braahmana" is a compound of two roots "Brimh" and "An" - "Brimh" means to expand and "An" to breathe. From this root "Brimh" alone, the word "Brahma"="expanded" is formed; and Brahma is "expanded universe". The meaning therefore, of Brahmana is "he, in whose breathing, there lies constant thinking about the very cause 'Brahman' out of which the whole universe has sprung". In short, it means a thinker, a philosopher, contributing great thoughts useful for the graceful existence of the community / society.

One would find the qualities enumerated about these Brahmanas, as described or stated are mostly considering his position, as a philosopher, giving a graceful and useful thought to humanity for its progress in one's practical life as well as in his spiritual life.

The Vasisthadharmasootra says:

Dharmam charata maa adharmam,
Satyam vadata maa anritam |
deergham pashyata maa rhasvam,
param pashyata maa aparam ||

Walk always on the righteous path,
Speak always the truth only and not untruth;
Look always beyond and not be short sighted,
Visualise the trancendent and not which is unlike that;

I need not give any commentary on this, it is so vivid in meaning.

The Gautamadharmasootra says (2.2.12):
Brahmanam Purodadheeta - Vidyabhijanawaagroopa
vayassheela sampannam nyayavrittam tapasvinam

"A Brahmana should be leading" - but how and with which qualities is he expected to be adorned?
"He must be learned and coming from a very respectable family. His speech, his form, age, illustrious behaviour etc. all should be enriched in him. His behaviour should be just and known for his mortifications".

He further stressed - as to how a Brahmana should be "dayaa, shanti, anasooyaa, shaucha, akaarpanya, aspriha, vidvaan, mangalaachaari, sadaachari, samyamee, gunawaan, ..."
"Compassionate, contended, having no jealousy, pure, having no word of pity, erudite, following only that which is auspicious in his daily practice, never considering himself to create mental agony for others or engineering loss for others, accomplishing only the proper things, always restraint, a conglomeration of illustrious qualities".

The Gautama dharmasootra while stressing importance bringing all these things into day-to-day practice says, if a Brahmana does not accomplish these things as his DUTIES, he should never be invited for taking food!
We have come a long distance and away from the general qualities expected of a Brahmana. We are today hundred miles away from these!

Quality and disquality wise lists of Brahmanas of present day, prepared by me during last several decades tell me in confidence, that, we are not those Brahmanas who were described by seers like "Vasistha and Gautama".

It is but natural, that the great codifier Manu, while describing punishment, categorically states that, the Brahmana should be eight times more punished if found committing the same offense. Suppose a shoodra is punished for Rs. 10/- for an offence, then the vaishya twice of shoodra, the Kshatriya twice that of Vaishya and the Brahmana should be twice to that of a Kshatriya ... i.e. Rs. 80/- in our example.

Comparison is odious but a qualitative and learned one is expected to follow the rules strictly compared to that of ignorant, common folk. That was the principle adapted and in that, people about 1500 years prior to today appear to have more progressive thoughts.

On this background, it is interesting to see the Brahmanas in general, existing today. Exceptions are exceptions for all time and they exist today also. But in general, what do we experience today? While giving below the list of disqualities which have been earned through centuries because of sticking to practical gains only and forgetting the spiritual values which is the real wealth of Brahmanas, I would like to point out that it is my own study of about three decades which made me enlisting qualities and disqualities of Brahmanas and every minus or plus quality has minimum 25 names. Let us see them:

  1. Ego-centric and Egoists: All practicality depends upon the ego, it turns a person into a selfish being and this further trains him to be arrogant by the help of which even really great people keep mum! These people could treat others with indignity and contempt. The mind-set of these people, right from their childhood is ill-nourished and inhumanly impractical.
  2. Excessively selfish: These people are dangerous to the existance of any community as such. When the percentage of this type is on the increase, then the community in the process earns a bad name. But those who consider the community as a tool for their selfish ends do not bother for this; and nowadays we have become so selfish that people are unmindful of the so-called community or society or goodness or the family earned in the past; and now it does not carry any regulative force. When everything in hand is nothing but a tool, nobody bothers as to what would people say. And if the culture of so-called people is a sum total of these type of people only, then there will be competition in deceiving others and enjoy life! Even such ugly culture produces intelligent philosophers as pleaders for this behaviour.
  3. Conditioned mentality: Human being is a continously inwardly changing phenomenon. The outward situation is also changing fast. The outward phenomenon creates lasting impressions on our minds; which create thicker thought blocks and these very blocks become obstacles for clear and right apprehension. Conditionality of mind is useful for day-to-day practical business but seldom is it useful to apply for the patterns of human behaviour. The situation created by such a conditioned mind is not conducive for ever changing self nor even good for keeping enliven relations with other people.
  4. Overbearing and disdainful: These people are thoroughly devoid of attaining the peace of mind even slightly. Always eager as it were, to display their superiority which is borrowed or assumed. These people expect more importance than they deserve due to their imagined assumption and which becomes their contemptuous property. Poor people, they do not know where they really are!
  5. Short sighted, fear based arrogance: It is exactly opposite as what the great seer Vasistha had said and quoted earlier. The people of the country are fortunate to get a leader capable of weighing the situation forming in the future before time; and able to take decisions fruitful for the future. It is very unfortunate to have a leader whose functioning originates from his conditioned mind and who is taking decisions through fluctuating conveniences, under the garb of politics. We did get very short sighted people as our representatives. No doubt they appeared to be strong through media, but failed to acquire the desired effect on political, social, cultural life for a sustained period. Many Brahmanas are propagated as possessing the quality of being outspoken. This quality is highly appreciated if based on and caused by some cherished principles. But if the same is based on fear, the value of this quality comes down and these people are being used by those who are in power, and are eventually packeted. In order to show the people that they are still representatives of the people they keep up their business keeping an eye on the situation and thus earn their livelihood. This fear is basically about the would be loss of fruit of desires which are concerned with purse and position; if by enacting this quality, a person gets both, why not enact? These unprincipled, fear based and enacted outspokenness bestow upon many their desired purse and maybe even the position, but it had brought down their standard and credibility. People in general do possess the ability to understand who is what, but people also possess the quality of forgetfullness and have affinity for community person. On these ever durable pillars the construction of our seemingly great culture stands.
    I salute the honorable exceptions, whose number is limited.
  6. Double standard and hypocracy: It is hence, but natural that for centuries past, people earned the minus quality of keeping double standard i.e. being standard beef and hypocrites. Cultivated and not real behaviour enacted for centuries has seriously affected human virtues and many of them lost it totally. Today we are living in a society wherein cheating is termed as intelligence, hypocrisy is termed as adjustment, sinful act is eulogised as boldness, insulting attitude is termed as outspoken, calling other people casteist when he himself is sunk in dirty business of subcastism. The attitude of prosecuting others is eulogised as endeavouring to bring up poor people; after indulging in deceitful acts caused due to generated hyena-mentality, publicise self as to 'how I deceived him'. To attain expertise in philosophising any sinful act when convenient, never mentioning any intellectually surpassing person, the would be surpassing person should be eliminated at any cost, creating everything as issue, expertise in creating quarelling groups glorifies cruelty as service to the nation or religion or society ... I am really fed up to give the list here, which is incomplete due to space constraints. But if one thinks seriously about the present condition of society, one has to really be thorough enough in studying all these things.
  7. Untruthfulness: In our tradition, untruthfulness is described as a big sinful act; but I have seen many well placed Brahmins cultivate this seed in their children and become happy in seeing their children able to speak lies.
  8. Skilfull in philosophising any misdeeds. This requires no commentary. The so called intelligence is the tool for this.
  9. Convenient flexibility: Apparently look like principled, till the time gain is in sight; when gain is in hand, immediately become people of praise, exhibiting flexibility.
  10. Cultivated expertise in finding only faults with others especially those surpassing in quality. To some it has become their cell-property!
  11. Boastfully praising self for not being helpful to others on the plea stating the principle that everyone should try to find a progressive path for self
  12. Jealous, Lazy: Laziness comes out of condition of being un-inclined to work and when he sees that contemporary people have gone ahead, they become jealous.
  13. Gaining expertise in deceiving others; and go on boastfully narrating about it.
  14. Linking to create injurious mental/physical condition or loss for others. Even to own people.
  15. Expertise in twisting. The so-called intelligence is exhibited in using various examples to twist facts.
  16. The so-called intelligence is borrowed, imposed, enacted, carried ... all that is deceptive and not true.
  17. Excessive egotist, pupils of egotism.
  18. Lost self esteem and capability of arriving at a decision which is their own.
  19. Self centered activity. Irritating behavioral pattern.
  20. Always possessing negative thoughts, insincerety, irrational passivity.
  21. Even after knowing downward trend of market value in society, always declaring self possessing higher market value with skillful and cultivated deceptive ways and with media help.
  22. While surrendering to bad elements in society, outwardly showing fighting against the same.
  23. Expertise in eliminating the qualitative people by hundreds of ways, especially those capable of exposing self.
  24. Raising the standard of bad elements like sledging and slandering. There is a dynamic expertise in both of these. Just peep into a group and you will come to know as to when one should appreciate (in private) for taking over Banks in your community and when the Bank is gone due to mismanagement, how to cast the mistake on the name of Institute having cultural base and not the community.
  25. Excessive expertise in discordance. Creating a quarrelsome atmosphere everywhere, and play pressure tactics through that.

If there are some sincere efforts, people would start thinking about oneself as to why and how are we bring thrown out. It is a easy job to criticise other communities including non-Brahmanas, but difficult to address our own community people to introspect and without twisting my words, if my intention in writing this is understood, then people would become conscious and then only he/she will try to mend their own ways and methods. In behavioural patterns, thinking at the bottom that all human beings are my bretheren irrespective of his caste, creed, country, community, religion, time, gender, etc... all these barriers would vanish and true human would emerge. Let our journey be in that direction.

What am I, as a Brahmana, to do for achieving this?

  1. We should have insight, strong faith in our own self. If not, let us cultivate it.
  2. Let us initiate our mind to shoulder responsibility and accomplish our duty very sincerely.
  3. My own nature and act should be inspiration for people.
  4. I have to cultivate a mind-set to get involved in my duties totally to my own satisfaction.
  5. Let me constantly keep the ideal to utilise or apply my intellectual abilities for novelty or improvisation.
  6. Let me not be mere sticking up following any leader. I have my own path, which I will make clean and let people follow me. I have to develop my individuality. Leaders creating destructive feelings in me are not my leaders.
  7. Dynamism & perseverence could be the stronger tools for imbibing in me the appreciable constructive humane qualities.
  8. I have to search my own essential self for which I have to improve upon the virtuous nature. I have to eschew from the tendency of constantly changing self as per my new thought waves for which alone, I have to cultivate my true intelligence free from conditionality.
  9. Let all good qualities and powerful thoughts useful to make me stand as an illustrious human being come onto me for all time.

Request to all Karhade people

By Awadhoot R. Hardikar
5 December 2007


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