Q: Manu on Pouring Lead in Sudra Ears

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan Palaniappa at AOL.COM
Thu Feb 3 02:31:59 UTC 2000

In a message dated 2/2/00 1:39:13 PM Central Standard Time,
zydenbos at BIGFOOT.DE writes:

> On 1 Feb 00, at 0:31, Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan wrote:
>  > Didn't Virazaivism have many vizvakarma-brAhmaNa followers who were
>  > anti-brahminical unlike the Tamil zaivism where brahmins and vellALas
>  > amicable?
>  Not that I know of. The Viswakarmas are another interesting group
>  of unclear position in the caste system: while they are thought of
>  plainly as a collective of five groups of craftsmen by other
>  communities, they claim brahmin status for themselves and at
>  times call themselves "Viswakarmabrahmana's" or
>  "Viswabrahmana's".

In a message dated 2/2/00 2:39:00 PM Central Standard Time,
vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM writes:

>  The brAhmaNas associated with vIrazaivism are called ArAdhyas, mostly found
>  in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
>  The vizvakarmas don't seem particularly vIrazaiva in character.

In the book, "ziva's warriors: the basava purANa of pAlkuriki somanAtha",
Velcheru Narayana Rao writes, "Among the craftsman, kamsAlis (goldsmiths),
kammaris (blacksmiths), vaDraGgis (carpenters)-castes that are usually
included among the pAJcAlas (five artisan castes)-and sAles (weavers) in
particular felt themselves in conflict with brahmin claims to superiority,
for they themselves had aspirations to priestly status. The goldsmiths even
called themselves vizvabrAhmaNas, the universal brahmins. The artisan castes
have historically competed with brahmins in that jealously guarded skill,
literacy. Many poets and scholars from the artisan castes have composed
poetry and have claimed knowledge of religious texts. Because they were
competing with brahmins, these poets and scholars imitated brahminic styles,
but were in conflict with the brahmin ideology, often adapting antibrahminic
religious doctrines. A large number of vIrazaiva poets emerged from this
group, and as evidence of the importance of the artisan castes in medieval
Andhra, BP includes a number of stories of bhaktas from these castes." (p.9)

At least as far as South India was concerned, initially, the smRti texts seem
to reflect a world some brahmins wished for. Social conflicts seemed to have
originated when these imaginary worlds were later imposed on a real society
which had different operating rules.

S. Palaniappan

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