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With little to no knowledge of our scriptures now, can a person born in a brahmin family can rightfully be called a brahmin just by the virtue of his birth in that family?

marked as duplicate by sv., Parabrahman Jyoti, Surya Kanta Bose Chowdhury, Community Mar 27 at 6:15

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    There are two apects:brahmin by birth and brahmin by activity(karma). One born in a brahmin family is brahmin by birth but if he chooses some other professin except yajana, yaajana, adhyana and adhaapanaa, he is not brahmin by karma. – user17294 Mar 25 at 8:10
  • Thank you. I wanted to know whether there was a hierarchy of caste as in Brahmin> Kshatriya and so on? – Nayan Mishra Mar 25 at 8:58
  • yes there is but that includes both birth and acfivities – user17294 Mar 25 at 9:52
  • head is above the heart does not mean that the imprtance of the heart is lesser than than that of the head for a human being – user17294 Mar 25 at 9:54
  • Birth (to Brahmana parents, or at least brahmana father), Samskaras (vedic rituals done at right time) including Upanayana, Study of Vedas, Itihasa, Puranas - all 3 are Necessary conditions to be called a Brahmana, but not Sufficient. The 4th one - Character/Conduct, or how he behaves in daily life in accordance with what he learned in above Vedas - is very important. If a person has first 3, but not the 4th, he is brahmana in Name & Looks alone, not in Character, so he is not to be respected a lot. If a person has 4th, but not first 3, he can be respected, but not fit for doing vedic rituals. – ram Mar 25 at 15:16
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Was there really a caste system in vedic period as it is perceived today by many?

Yes, there was a birth based caste system in the Vedic period. This section of the Yajur Veda talks about it:

From the breast and arms he meted out the Pañcadaça Stoma. After it the god Indra was created, the Tristubh metre, the Brhat Saman, of men the Rajanya, of cattle the sheep. There fore they are strong, for they were created from strength.

With little to no knowledge of our scriptures now, can a person born in a brahmin family can rightfully be called a brahmin just by the virtue of his birth in that family?

Caste is based on birth. Based on karmas done in previous lives, one is born in a particular caste. A Brahmana who doesn't know the scriptures is a bad Brahmana who has failed his Varnashrama Dharma, but he is still a Brahmana.

The idea that caste is determined by quality is entirely fallacious and impractical. Take for example, a person who is religious and very strong. If we go by the theory that caste is solely determined by qualities, then what caste would you assign this person? One can say that since he is religous, he is a Brahmana who happens to be very strong like a Kshatriya. But at the same time, one can say that since he is very strong, he is a Kshatriya who happens to be religious like a Brahmana. So since most people have qualities that belong to every caste, it is not possible to determine their caste through qualities.

  • to answer your example - yes, they are a hybrid. varna-sankara is very common. – ram Mar 26 at 1:48
  • 'The idea that caste is determined by quality is entirely fallacious and impractical. Take for example, a person who is religious and very strong. What caste is he then? A Brahmana-Kshatriya hybrid?' --why is he not a brahmin? Is it said anywhere that a brahmin can not be very strong? What about Parasurama then? – user17294 Mar 26 at 4:18
  • Also, Vishvamitra was born in a Kshatriya family and became a brahmin later on. – Nayan Mishra Mar 26 at 9:23
  • Do we have any historical evidence regarding atrocities committed on the people from lower castes before the colonial era? Or is it safe to say that 'hierarchy' in caste system was created during the colonial era as they saw our society through the colonial lens? – Nayan Mishra Mar 26 at 9:27
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    @Pratimaputra, i guess we are all in agreement then. birth is necessary, but not sufficient to perform all duties/rights of brahmana. other 3 are also required - samskara, veda-adhyayana, charitra (conduct according to scripture). and Iksvaku - yes i never said we should determine it by their action, for e.g. dronacharya fought in war - so we call him brahmana by janma and kshatriya by karma (at least during the war). any varna is allowed to take up the occupation of another varna during emergency. but if they continue other karma for long, they lose original strength and become misfits – ram Mar 26 at 13:26

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