As I discuss in this question, by far the most popular school of Hindu philosophy is the Vedanta school, which bases its tenets on the doctrines laid out in the Brahma Sutras, a work by the sage Vyasa that summarizes and systematizes the philosophical teachings of the Upanishads. (You can read the Brahma Sutras here.) But the Vedanta school didn't always have the dominant position in Hindu philosophy; before the time of Adi Shankaracharya the dominant school of Hindu philosophy was the Purva Mimamsa school, which I discuss here. In contrast to the Vedanta school, which is devoted to analyzing the Jnana Kanda of the Vedas, i.e. the Upanishads, Purva Mimamsa focuses on analyzing the Karma Kanda of the Vedas, i.e. the Samhitas and Brahmanas.
Now Jaimini's Purva Mimamsa Sutras, the defining text of the Purva Mimamsa school, focuses on the proper performance of Yagnas. In this excerpt from the Purva Mimamsa Sutras, Jaimini discusses who is eligible to perform Yagnas. Specifically he says that only Dvijas, members of the first three castes, can perform them. As I discuss here, in the Brahma Sutras Vyasa similarly says that only Dvijas are eligible for Jnana:
- To him (ie., Janasruti) occurred grief on hearing his (ie., swan’s) disparaging utterance, as is evident from his (Janasruti’s) approaching him (Raikva), for this is hinted at (by Raikva by using the word Sudra).
- And because his Kshatriyahood is known later on from the indicatory mark of his mention along with a descendant of Citraratha
- Because purificatory rites are mentioned (for others) and absence of these is declared (for the Sudra).
- And because (Gautama’s) inclination arose (to initiate and instruct Satyakama) when the absence of the (Sudrahood) had been ascertained.
- And because the Smriti prohibits for the Sudra the hearing, study and acquisition of the meaning (of the Vedas).
All the commentators on the Brahma Sutras, including Adi Shankaracharya, Ramanujacharya, Madhvacharya, etc. are in agreement that low-caste people are ineligible for Jnana.
But my question is about another excerpt from the Mimamsa Sutras, which gives an exception to this general rule about only Dvijas being eligible for Yagnas. Jaimini says that two sets of low-caste people, the Nishadas or hunters and the Rathakaras or chariot-makers, are authorized by the Vedas to perform certain types of Yagnas. So my question is, what else can Nishadas and Rathakaras do that other low-caste people cannot?
One of the arguments Jaimini makes for why low-caste people in general are ineligible for Yagnas is that the instructions for performing Yagnas is given in the Vedas, and low-caste people are not allowed to study the Vedas. So since Nishadas and Rathakaras can perform certain Yagnas, does that mean they can also learn the Vedas in order to learn the requisite instructions?
Also, in the Brahma Sutras Vyasa's main argument for why low-caste people are ineligible for Jnana is that they're not allowed to learn the Vedas and thus that they can't read the Upanishads which are the means of acquiring Jnana. So assuming that Nishadas and Rathakaras are allowed to learn the Vedas, are they also eligible for Jnana?
Note that I'm not looking for answers about the nature of the caste system and the like, I'm looking for answers that take these statements in the Mimamsa Sutras and Brahma Sutras for granted.