About Brahmins: Buddha and Valluvar Think Alike!- Part 7 (Post No.3956)

Research Article Written by London Swaminathan

 

Date: 30 May 2017

 

Time uploaded in London- 20-37

 

Post No. 3956

 

Pictures are taken from various sources such as Face book, Wikipedia and newspapers; thanks.

 

contact: swami_48@yahoo.com

 

Buddha in Dhammapada and Tiru Valluvar in the Tamil Veda ‘Tirukkural’ praised the Brahmins sky-high, but defined who is a true Brahmin as well.

 

Tamil poet Valluvar lived approximately 1000 years after the Buddha. He referred to Brahmins in at least four couplets directly and another six couplets indirectly; but Buddha referred to Brahmins in at least 45 couplets; Buddha was so obsessed with the Brahmins that he wanted them to follow him like the emperor Ajata satru and others.

Let me give some examples for comparison which will show that great men think alike.

One must remember that the Brahmins of those days lived like saints; the very term meant one who seeks Brahman; Tamil words for Brahmins are also synonyms of saints such as inward looking, who sees (seer). Other Tamil names included ‘men of six tasks’ ‘Veda reciters’.

Buddha also accepted the Vedic Sanskrit word Brahmana, synonymous with a saint. But he devoted one entire chapter for Brahmins. It follows the chapter Bikshu varga (Buddhis monks). so by Brahmin he meant only Hindu Brahmins/saints.

 

In short Brahmins were saints and saints were Brahmins in those days. That is how even Viswamitra was called a Brahmin by Vasishtha after a long penance observed by him. Tamil kings and emperors of North India donated a lot to the Brahmins; Asoka mentioned Brahmins first and then Sramanas in his inscriptions.

Virtuous are called Brahmins

 

“It is the virtuous that are called Brahmins (Anthanar in Tamil) for it is they that scatter kindness towards all that breathes”- Kural 30

“And a saint, a Brahmin, is pure from past sins; even if he had killed his father and mother, had murdered two noble kings, and had ravaged a whole kingdom and its people” (294 Dhammapada).

 

He who hurts not with his thoughts, or words or deeds, who keeps these three under control – him I call a brahmin -(391 Dhammapada).

xxx

 

Don’t Hurt Brahmins

 

“Cows yield less and men of six duties forget their book (Vedas), if the king does not guard justice”- (Kural 560)

Cows and Brahmins will be paired together in most of the Tamil verses and Sanskrit hymns (E.g Bhagavad Gita 5-18 and Sambandar Tevaram)

One should never hurt a Brahmin; and a Brahmin should never return evil for evil. Alas for the man who hurts a Brahmin; Als for the Brahmin who returns evil for evil- (Dhammapada 389)

 

xxxx

Men of Character

“ A Brahmin can learn anew the Vedas even if he forgets his leaning; but if he fails in his conduct he slips down in his rank of birth”- Kural 134

Brahmins are placed first in the four castes in all the ancient books. If they lose the character they lose their birth right.

It is Manu Smrti also.

A man becomes not a Brahmin by long hair or family of birth. The man in whom truth and holiness, he is in joy and he is a Brahmin -(Dhammapada 393)

Of what use is your tangled hair, foolish man, of use your antelope garment, if within you have tangled cravings, and without ascetic ornaments-(Dhammapada 394)

 

 

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King and the Brahmins

 

As the ultimate basis of the Vedas of the sages/brahmins and the dharma of wise men

stands the straight sceptre of a just king- Kural 543

 

Here Valluvar used the Tamil word ‘book of the Anthanar’ and the word Anthanar stands for brahmins.

 

It is sweet in this world to be a mother; and to be a father is sweet. It is sweet in this world to be a monk; and to be a saintly Brahmin is sweet (Dhammapada 332)

Who clings not to sensuous pleasurers, even water clings nt to the lotus leaf, or a grain of mustard seed  to the point of a needle – him I call a Brahmin -(Dhammapada 401)

 

 

xxx

Avoidance of Killing (Non Killing)

In another Kural/couplet he mentioned the fire sacrifices of the Brahmins:

Far better and holier than a thousand oblations on the sacrificial fires is the one sacred act of abstaining from the flesh of a slaughtered animal (Kural 259)

Manu gives the same message in Manu Smrti 5-53:

“The man who offers a horse sacrifice (Asva medha Yajna) every year for a hundred years and the man who does not eat meat, the two of them reap the same fruit of good deeds” -Manu 5-53

This is about the Brahmins sacrifices; though Asva medha was done by the kings, only Brahmins performed it for them.

Who hurts not any living being, whether feeble or strong, who neither kills nor causes to kill – him I call a Brahmin- (Dhammapada 405)

 

But although a man may wear fine clothing, if he lives peacefully; and is good, self-possessed, has faith and is pure; and if does not hurt any living being, he is a holy Brahmin, a hermit of seclusion, a monk called a Bikshu (Dhammapada 142)

xxx

Brahmins – Gods on Earth!

“Those who in this world enjoy instruction which is the food of the ear, are equal to the Gods who enjoy who enjoy the food of the sacrifice”- Kural 413

Tamil words used by Valluvar ‘Kelvi’ litearlly means Sruti/Veda; ‘avi unavu’ = Havis food

Brahmins are called Busurar i.e. god among men in Tamil hymns; Satapata Brahmana call them living/walking gods.

He who lives in contemplation, who is pure and is in peace, and who has done what was to be done, who is free from passions, who reached the Supreme end – him I call a Brahmin – (Dhammapada 386)

xxxxx

In couplet 28 of Tirukkural, he mentioned Vedic mantras.

 

–Subham–

 

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