Friday, December 24, 2010

Brahmin By Convenience - A few thoughts on carefully crafted hypocrisy


I am a Brahmin...


in wearing a sacred thread around my torso, primarily to scratch my back easily.

in expecting my wife, my sister and my daughter to wear only traditional attire like saris and salwars.


not when I roam about in Jeans, Cargos and Shorts myself.

in visiting a Perumal Kovil every Vaikunda Ekadasi to reserve my ticket to paradise.


not when I try to get a special ticket by bribing someone in the temple, to convert my normal reservation to a tatkal reservation.

in not eating non-vegetarian food out of compassion for all living things

not when I carry a leather wallet, wear suede shoes, a leather belt or drape myself in a saree made of the skin of dead insects.


in eating a Satvic diet designed to keep my temperament right.

not when I gulp more ghee than was poured into the sacrificial oblation or when I eagerly take another serving of Veg. Pulao with Panner Butter Masala.


in not having any bad habits or addictions.

not when I am addicted to filter coffee, pure ghee sweets, sleeping pills.


in refusing to take dowry for my son's wedding.

not when I lay down sovereign terms for the jewelry - anda, gundaa, taxes, etc exclusive.


in making sure my daughter sings Carnatic music or dances Bharathanatyam.

not when I expect her to get married to an insensitive rich brute...to ensure her happiness.


in getting married, with a 3 day traditional wedding as per the scriptures.

not when I blindly utter mantras asking for many male children even in this day and age.


in living with one spouse all through my life, a tradition of bonds celebrated in our Shashtiabthapoorthi.

not when I do it rejecting love, the one thing that can hold two people together, without actually binding them.


in shaying that the shong was shuper ensuring I speak my Brahmin Bashai perfectly.

not when I repeat every word that the priest says without knowing a letter in Sanskrit.


in completing my engineering/medicine and duly travelling abroad, maintaining the great Brahmin tradition of knowledge seeking.

not when I diligently pursue only material goals, not doing Sandhyavandhanam (or Sandhi, if you will), or any of those other unnecessary traditions that have crept into true Brahminhood.


in praying to the million Gods in my prayer room, trying hard to realize that truth is beyond the three natures, formless, attribute less, nameless...and so on.

not when I encourage discrimination in my own family in subtle ways by gifting fairness creams or commenting on people's height.


in chanting 'Asau adityau brahmaiva brahma aham asmi bo'.

not when I say that within the four walls of my posh prayer room, where there is no Adithya, no Brahmam and no Aham either.


in practising equality amidst all castes and religions, by talking to my neighbours and sharing with them the treats of my festival so that they can sample my skills.

not when I have a separate tumbler from which my maid has to drink her coffee, after she enters the home via the back door, or when I subtly push aside treats that come back from my non-brahmin neighbour's house

.

in working very hard to attain that bliss of union that sheep attain by belonging to a herd.

not when I constantly run away from the bliss that the sun feels when he embraces the universe with his million golden arms.


So...

Aham Brahmasmi *

* - Conditions Apply