A Brahminís Dharma:


According to Shri Shankaracharya (Gita 18.42), a man is born as a Brahmin to inculcate the following qualities:

1). Control of the Mind (Shama)

2). Subjugation of the Senses (Dama)

3). Practicing Austerities (Tapas)

4). Inner and Outer Purity (Shaucha)

5). Forgiveness (Kshama)

6). Straightforwardness (Saralta)

7). Faith in the Scriptures (Shastra Shraddha)

8). Knowledge of the Scriptures (Shastra Jnana), and finally

9). Realization of the Soul (Atman-Anubhava).

One who does not inculcate these virtues is at best termed as a mere Ďrelative of the Brahminsí (Brahma-bandhu), and not a Brahmin. Mind it, this is a derogatory form of reference. (Chandogya Upanishad 6.1.1)

The duties of a Brahmin include chanting the Vedas, teaching the Vedas, right to perform Yajnas for oneís own self, performing Yajna on behalf of others, plus he also has the right to both accept and give charity. The Kshatriyas and Vaishyas too have a duty to daily chant and memorize the Vedas, perform Yajnas, and give charity. However, and this is most important, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas do not have a right to teach the Vedas, nor can they perform a Yajna on behalf of somebody else, and also they cannot take charity.

Here it must be understood that the chanting of the Vedas is a not a mere right of the three Varnas. Instead, it is their sacred duty to do so everyday, it forming an integral part of their Nitya Karma (deeds to be performed daily), missing which is said to be an error requiring Prayashchitta. This is why women traditionally do not chant the Vedas, since they would inevitably have to give it a miss during the monthly cycle.

The scriptures actually are too strict on the Brahmins. Consider the amount of virtues expected of a Brahmin performing sacrifices for others, such a person, known as a Purohit, is supposed to possess the following qualities: He must speak sweetly, have affection for all, have equanimity, should be away from self-praise, always speak the truth, live simply, should not lend money on interest, be tolerant and non-aggressive etc. However, such a Purohit is lauded in lavish terms in the Vedas (Krishna Yajurveda, Taittriya Samhita, 1.4.10), where it is said that they would, while remaining immersed in their own Vedic Dharma, be always vigilant in inspiring others to remain steadfast towards their own.

source:This article is based almost entirely on the teachings of Param Pujya Swami Paramanand Bharati Ji.

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