I am not a Brahmin by caste but I want to become a Brahmin – not the classical variety with a tuft of hair on the head or a couple of threads worn around the body. The intended or actual meaning of Brahmin is one who has knowledge about Brahman, the ultimate and impersonal divine reality of the universe from which all being originates and to which it returns. The very concept of Brahmanism is so noble and attractive that it is time that we decided to keep it above dispute. There have always been deliberate attempts to confuse the concept of Brahmanism with the caste of Brahmins in India. Let us understand the simple fact that all members of the Brahmin caste are NOT Brahmins. Similarly, all Brahmins need not necessarily belong to the Brahmin caste. This is very important especially when we notice the hatred against Brahmin caste that stood out so prominently in the recent events in the south of India.
In India, we have always revered legendary figures like Valmiki, Vyasa, Vidura and Viswamitra who were not born into the Brahmin caste. The fact that these names carry an aura of respect clearly shows that Brahmanism was not a controversial concept in ancient India. It was an elevated status attained only by highly intelligent men through hard work. It became a confusion and controversy only when a particular set of people hijacked the title for their own selfish ends. Even then, we continued to respect the evolved amongst us as Brahmins irrespective of their caste of birth. This is clearly evident in the case of our contemporaries like Mahatma Gandhi, Babasaheb Ambedkar, Mahatma Phule, Sree Narayana Guru and scores of others. Even in the present day world, we do the same with many truly great personalities living among us. Thus the cultural strand of accepting the deserving ones as Brahmins is still not dead in India. This is exactly what we have to rekindle in our society for the sake of its growth and glory.
Inequality of human beings by birth is a fact that most of us wish to reject. Man ‘invented’ so many social concepts like socialism, communism, communalism and fascism to alter or subvert the natural hierarchy that exist among us. But all of them failed miserably. It is true that in every society, irrespective of the colour, race or ethnicity, there exists a natural hierarchy in terms of physical strength, intelligence and other capabilities. The original concept of caste system in India is a practical application of this natural phenomenon for the benefit of a society. I do not think there can be any dispute or controversy in this approach adopted by our forefathers. The best among us in terms of positive capabilities must be given due respect. Going by our classics and epics, it is very clear that the original Brahmins were definitely the ones that would command respect in any society. Brahmanism is all about respecting the Brahmins and the real Brahmins are the ones that deserve all the respect of the society. So where is the scope for any controversy and dispute at all?
The current confusion that exists in our society about the caste system and Brahmanism is a direct fall out of the deliberate action by external agencies utilising the grievance of a few non-achievers. For any impartial social scientist, the theory of Karma and castes goes hand in hand as the best ‘justice and reward’ system mankind has ever invented. Being a reward that depends on your deeds, it is clear that your caste cannot be hereditary. It has to be something by design, not by accident. Each one of us will have to struggle and attain a higher position in the hierarchy of castes as we pass on from one life to another. Brahmins are at the apex of caste system and it should be attainable only by a minute few. In a society of a billion, I expect only a few hundreds to be eligible for Brahminhood.
There are at least two ways to bring about uniformity among a set of numbers – either reduce them to the Least Common Multiple or bring them up to the Highest Common Factor. In a society, our objective should be to raise all the members, in both material and spiritual terms, to the highest level ie.Brahmin and not to the lowest level for the sake of achieving uniformity very easily. There are ideologies that thrive on poverty and misery of human beings. Though humanity have experimented, failed and rejected such ideologies that depend so much on bloody revolutions and charity, remnants are still active in Asia and African continents. It is high time that such failed concepts are forgotten forever. In India, we need a LABB (Let’s All Become Brahmins) movement to take our country back to its old status as the light of mankind.