Source of Brahminhood

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan Palaniappa at AOL.COM
Fri Oct 6 22:35:18 UTC 2006

In fact, my question is based on the JIES article as well as  Sanjay Kumar's 
information that the Critical Edition of the  Mahabharata rejects as 
interpolation a verse almost identical to  the one in the Vajrasuuci. Given the 
parallel passages in Brahmanical texts and  Vajrasuuci, has anybody analyzed whether 
the verses in the Buddhist  polemical text could have inspired or led to the 
interpolation of similar  passages in the Brahmanical texts, as in the case of 
the Mahabharata? In  other words, is it possible that an element of Buddhist 
polemic is  ironically grafted on to Brahmanic texts to be the basis  for 
reconciling the later Dharmasastraic views regarding mixed descent with  the 
Brahminhood of .r.sis of mixed descent (which was originally based on the  'seed' 
and 'field' concept)? Was this one of the ways Brahmins responded to the  
challenge posed by Buddhism as  suggested by P. Lakshmi Narasu,  the author of "The 
Essentials of Buddhism" (1912) and "A Study of  Caste" (1922)? A related 
question is whether there are any such  Brahmanic passages clearly datable prior to 
By the way, the Tamil Buddhist epic, the Ma.nimeekalai (ca. 6th century  AD), 
also has a polemical passage wherein the births of .r.sis of  mixed descent 
are satirically discussed. 
S. Palaniappan
In a message dated 10/5/2006 8:45:04 P.M. Central Standard Time,  
mmdesh at UMICH.EDU writes:

While  the Vajrasuci is a Buddhist text and wants to convey a message that 
birth is  not a determining factor, the texts it cites have their own originally 
 different approaches.  Notes and parralel passages provided in the  edition 
of Vajrasuci by Sujitkumar Mukhopadhyaya (Santiniketan 1960, 2nd edn,  p. 38) 
finds many such passages in BhaviSyapurANa and other Brahmanical  texts.  
There is a seeming a divergence of opinion between purely  Dharmasastric opinions 
on progeny of mixed marriages and these Puranic  passages claiming "tapasA 
brahmaNo jAtaH".  As I have pointed out in my  article in the JIES, however, this 
difference disappears when one realizes  that in all these cases of RSis born 
from mixed unions, not only with  non-Brahmin women but also with female 
animals, the fathers are always Brahmin  males, and this fits with the ancient 
notions of the identity of the child  going by the "seed" (bIja) rather than by 
the "field" (kSetra), and this is  fully in accord with the Dharmasastric 
opinion of Manu:

jAto nAryAm anAryAyAm AryAd Aryo bhaved guNaiH / anAryAj jAta  AryAyAm anArya 
iti nizcayaH //
"A person born from an  Arya man in an an-Arya woman may become Arya by his 
virtues, but a person born  in an Arya woman from an an-Arya man is clearly an 
an-Aryan, this is the  determination."
I don't have a copy of Manu at hand,  but I have cited this verse with its 
textual reference in my  article.


-----Original Message-----
From:  Indology on behalf of Patrick Olivelle
Sent: Thu 10/5/2006 9:24 PM
Subject: Re: Source of  Brahminhood

Palaniappan and all: the Vajrasuuci is actually a Buddhist  polemical 
text ascribed to Asvaghosa, but probably much later, perhaps in  the 
6th century. So, this is not a Brahmanical position, but a Buddhist  
satirical comment on the so-called purity of Brahmins by showing that  
even Vyaasa had a problematic parentage.

>I have  found an almost identical verse in vajrasuuci  (23)
>kaivartiigarbhasambhuuto  vyaaso naama mahaamuni.h|  
>tapasaa   jaatastasmaajjaatirakaara.nam||23||
>(See  _
>(   )
>Is the presence of such verses in the Hindu texts to be  attributed to 
>interpolation due to the influence of  Buddhism/Jainism?
>Thanks in  advance.
>S. Palaniappan
>In a  message dated 10/4/2006 6:56:03 A.M. Central Standard Time,  
>sanjay.kumar at MAIL.MCGILL.CA writes:
>The  verse you  mentioned is perhaps from the Uttara-gita, published by the 
>Bhandarkar  Oriental Research Institute, Pune. The Critical Edition of the  
>Mahabharata notes a conversation between Kr.s.n.a and Duryodhana in  the 
>passage after 5.92.37, where Kr.s.n.a gives reasons for  having meals 
>at   Vidura's
>kaivarti-garbha-sambhuto vyaso nama  mahamunih. tapasa  brahman.o jatas 
>jatir na
>Sanjay   Kumar
>McGill  University

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