Q: intervocalic -k- preserved as intervocalic -g-

nanda chandran vpcnk at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Oct 26 17:47:25 UTC 1999

Dear N Ganesan,

>  I did not know that you support the hypothesis that Aryans
>originated in India. If so, did they spread westward into Iran?
>Definitely, intermarriages tookplace, in the MBh. epic - the lady
>of the fisherfolks marrying a high varNa man, etc., The swelling of
>the  number of  brahmins by intermarriages is explained in many
>scholarly  works, Eg., those by Prof. M. Deshpande of UMichigan. The
>bhargava and potter relations in Indology archives.

Basically I resist from having a personal opinion. My theories are
based on the literature that I've read, existing social
conditions in India and my perceptions of the psychology and world
view of brahmins and non-brahmins. If somebody can prove me wrong,
I'm more than willing to accept it.

> From the time of the Upanishads, it's very difficult to support
the theory that brahmins were egalitarian (in the conventional sense),
that they permitted inter marraige or induction of non-brahmins into
the brahmanic fold. For in the Upanishadic period even kshtriyas
are mocked at, for being of lower birth.

The famous case of SatyakAma JabAla is often misinterpreted by secular and
egalitarian historians and philosophers. For the actual tradition interprets
it as "only a brahmana is capable of adhering to the truth in all
circumstances". And according to the tradition, the brahmana is always a
brahmana by birth.

And in the PurAnic and the SUtrA period, the caste system had indeed
become iron clad and apparently has continued till the present day.

So if any such induction or inter marraiges had taken place freely,
it must have been before the Upanishadic period. And even then there's
not so much hard evidence that such things really happened.

Ofcourse, Veda VyAsa himself though born of a brAhmana and a fisherwoman is
recognized as a brAhmana. But even those who were born of a "higher"
combination, are not given such recognition. Such
cases are exceptions and one cannot make theories out of them.

>I vaguely remember you said once that the difference in color amidst
>Indians is due to "tropical sun". I think the color difference cannot
>be explained this way.

Just a matter of opinion, I guess. Infact since coming over to the US,
I've seen a lot of non-brahmin Tamils who have started becoming fairer
due to the colder climate. It's my firm opinion that physical attributes are
intimately linked with climatic conditions, occupation, diet and other
factors related to the environs.

>Also note that the Vadakalai don't intermarry with the Tenkalai.

>  I personally know some weddings where vaDa- & then-kalai ayyangars
>have married; In the Hindu newspaper marital ads, increasing are
>the annoucements that "kalai" difference does not matter.

Given the fact that they were numerically small, I'm surprised that
the Iyengars have been able to manage marital relations only inside
their fold for so long. So it's not surprising that the kalai
difference is breaking down. Plus modern education, secular and
egalitarian environment has also had an effect on the system.

But the differences still exist. I personally know a Tenkalai friend
who's still having a hard time finding a groom for his sister.

>>I now quote from Prof.N.Subrahmanian (The Brahmin in the Tamil

>Mr Chandran:> This is no proof for the authenticity of such claims.

>Now in his 80s, Prof. N. Subrahmanyan comes from a reputed
>family of Tamil Smarthas who have produced many Sanskrit and
>Tamil scholars; he was called Historian of the Tamils
>by K. A. Nilakanta Sastri when NS wrote the book, History of Tamil
>Nadu. N. Subrahmanyan edited a campu work in Sanskrit
>sung on Anandarangam Pillai who kept a daily diary running into
>volumes in late 1700s and served as a Dubhashi/interpreter for
>the French governor, Dupleuix. From the mother's side, Prof. NS'
>uncle is V. K. Suryanarayana Sastri.

However great a scholar might be, there's still room for error -
something overlooked, something misinterpreted.
Especially since the AI theory was once considered valid and there's
possibility that such preconceptions might have colored their views.
Plus, I've also read the book and my first gut instinct was that
the author was not sympathetic to brahmins - I initially thought
he might not be a brahmin himself.

Anyway, even if I'm mistaken, there's still room for error,
misinterpretation etc

>What generally starts out as a suggestion, generally gets blown out
>of proportion. Later the origin is forgotten and finally you have
>people suggesting Dravidian loan words in the Rg Veda!

>  Great Indologists have always written that Dravidian loans
>exist in RV, esp. in maNDalas 1 & 10.

Same defence as above.

>As for Ramanujacharya's conversions, even a milleneum later
>the smarthas still remember! And they don't accept Iyengars as
>true brahmins.

>  I do not see Aiyangars or Tamils accepting your opinion that
>Aiyangars are not brahmins.

It's not my opinion, but the general smartha opinion. Likewise,
the Iyergars don't accept the smarthas. The feeling is mutual.
But given the fact that they're the older sampradhAyam, the
smarthas have a better claim than the VaishnavAs.

>But are the SivAchAryas authenticated as brahmins? And even if they
>are, do they inter marry with non-brahmins?

>  Adhisaiva Sivacharyas are true brahmins because they preserved/added
>to the entire corpus of Saiva aagamas. Always, saiva aagama
>publications are based on the mss. from those Sivachariyar homes.
>For their marriage habits, pl. read the 12th century PeriyapuraaNam
>of Sundarar.

Can you give a brief account on this?

>  There is enough evidence, both from Skt. and Tamil sources,
>that brahmins' numbers increased manyfold by intermarrying with
>Dravidians in ancient India and later.

Please enlighten me with this evidence.

And it is my firm opinion that Western scholarship and even Indian
scholarship inspired by the former, has not really been able to grasp the
true significance of the caste system (one exception that I've come across
are the works of Ananda Coomaraswamy). Too much is read into "Aryan", "top
caste", "varna" etc. Further egalitarian, secular and democratic movements
of the last two centuries has also prevented a correct evaluation of the
system. The fundamental problem I think, which Manu would endorse, lies in
the inherent nature of the people itself. Can a tiger truly understand the
world view of a cow?

With such a misreading I'm not surprised at the prevailing attitude towards
the varnAshramadharma.

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