Vivekananda &c.

Viktor V. Sukliyan madhava at CH1.VSNL.NET.IN
Mon Mar 23 16:14:33 UTC 1998

Does anybody have references from Vedic or Puranic literature which
support following statement " In Kaliyuga everyone is zUdra"???


On Mon, 23 Mar 1998  John Richards wrote
I wonder if there is not a confusion here. I do not have access to the
texts quoted below, but it seems to me, in quotation, that the reference
here may well be to SCHOLARLY ERUDITION rather than what we would call
"spiritual knowledge". Obviously, Shudras could hardly become
knowledgeable about the scriptures if they were precluded from
reading/hearing them. At the same time, I see that Shankara makes no
attempt to water down verse 9.32 of the Bhagavad Gita in his commentary.
This verse explicitly asserts that the "supreme state" (paraa.m gati.m)
is open to women and Shudras too, and Shankara merely rephrases the
assertion, substituting "gacchanti" for "yaanti" and "prk.rshtaa.m" for
"paraa.m". He was undoubtedly a man of his time - as we all are! - but I
feel that one can over-emphasise his arid traditionalism, unless, of
course, one includes such verses as the above from the Bhagavad Gita in
his "tradition". Ramakrishna too behaved rather unbecomingly to our eyes
in leaping away when his feet were touched in devotion by an
ex-courtisan. But these are surely minor warts on great men, who could
afford a few little conditioned weaknesses from their past environment.
Would that we all had such minor blemishes!

John Richards
jhr at
Stackpole Rectory, Pemboke, UK

>I do not think this is right. Commenting on Brahmasutra 1.3.34,
responding to
>the opponents' view that "smRti moreover speaks of vidUra and others who
>born from zUdra mothers as possessing eminent knowledge.-Hence the zUdra
has a
>claim to the knowledge of Brahman", zankara says:
>"To this we reply that the zUdras have no such claim, on account of
their not
>studying the Veda. A person who has studied the Veda and understood its
>is indeed qualified for Vedic matters; but a zUdra does not study the Veda,
>for such a study demands as its antecedent the upanayana-ceremony, and that
>ceremony belongs to the three (higher) castes only. The mere
circumstance of
>being in a condition of desire does not furnish a reason for
qualification, if
>capability is absent. Mere temporal capability again does not constitute a
>reason for qualification, spiritual capability being required in spiritual
>matters. And spiritual capability is (in the case of the zUdras)
excluded by
>their being excluded from the study of the Veda.-The Vedic statement,
>moreover, that the zUdra is unfit for sacrifices intimates , because founded
>on reasoning, that he is unfit for knowledge also; for the argumentation is
>the same in both cases."
>One cannot be more emphatic than this w.r.t to denying spiritual
knowledge to
>the zUdras.

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