Re: [INDOLOGY] Vīraśaivas and Vedas, etc. (was: bhakti)

Nityanand Misra nmisra at
Mon Nov 14 15:04:11 UTC 2016

On 14 November 2016 at 18:17, Robert Zydenbos <zydenbos at>

> (1) To begin with: there are Vīraśaivas of various kinds, who also have
> organized themselves in different ways. One significant division among the
> maṭhas is whether a maṭha is one of the so-called pañcapīṭhas (of which
> there are five) or a viraktamaṭha (innumerable). The relationship between
> these two groups is a difficult one. Depending on one's point of view, one
> may say that the section of the Vīraśaiva community that predominantly
> associates itself with the small group of five consists of (a) descendants
> of former brahmins, or (b) they are quasi-brahmins, or (c) they are brahmin
> infiltrators in the Vīraśaiva community who distort and betray the
> teachings of Basava.
View (a) needs evidence. Do we have any? Apart from genetic evidence, is
there any other way to prove it?
View (b): what exactly is meant by a quasi-brahmin?
View (c), frankly speaking, is ludicrous and borders on conspiracy theory
(I hope it is not meant to be a joke). As if the Brahmins have an
underground organization (like the Mossad) which *infiltrates* other
communities to distort their teachings!!

> > Gayatri Parivar, Svaadhyaaya, Sri Aurobindo organizations, Chinmaya
> Mission etc. Most of the 'modern' 'Hindu' organizations do not recognize
> the exclusive right of Brahmins over Veda learning.
> But please note: vedådhyayana (Veda learning) has always been open to all
> brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas and vaiśyas. Vedādhyāpana (Veda teaching) was the
> prerogative of brahmins. I.e., brahmins determined what the Vedas are and
> mean.
Vedādhyāpana is indeed done by Arya Samajis who are not Brahmin by birth.
There is an influential Arya Samaj Pandit by the name Mahender Pal Arya who
was born a Muslim and teaches Vedas (
It is also noteworthy that not only did the Arya Samaja give new meanings
to most mantra-s of Veda-s, they also gave a new definition of Veda by
restricting it to only the *mantra* (*saṃhitā*) portion, different from the
traditional definition *mantra­brāhmaṇayorvedanāmadheyam* (ā.śrau.sū.

> > Gujarat is predominantly vegetarian. Udupi Brahmin tag is not used, not
> required there.
> Perhaps because Udupi is simply too far away from Gujarat? ;-)
Still, Udupi/Udipi restaurants are common in Ahmedabad, where I lived for
four years (2000 to 2004). There is a popular one at Paldi Char Rasta which
was frequented by many students and tourists back then.

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