As per the dharmasAstrAs, a vrAtya is defined as one who has (or is descended from one who has) failed to be initiated at the proper time or who has ignored chanting of the Gayatri for over three generations. HH Kanchi Periyava has attested to this below.:
"There is no such hope for a Brahmin in whose family Gayatri has not been chanted for three generations. A member of such a family ceases altogether to be a Brahmin and cannot be made one again. He is just a "Brahmana- bandhu", a kin or a friend of Brahmins. The same rule applies to Ksatriyas and Vaisyas with regard to the Gayatri mantra; they become "ksatriya-bandhus" and "Vaisya-bandhus" respectively."
Similarly, note the following in the Manu Smriti:
laśunaṃ gṛñjanaṃ caiva palāṇḍuṃ kavakāni ca | abhakṣyāṇi dvijātīnāmamedhyaprabhavāni ca ||
Garlic, leeks and onions, mushrooms and (all plants), springing from impure (substances), are unfit to be eaten by twice-born men.
chatrākaṃ viḍvarāhaṃ ca laśunaṃ grāmakukkuṭam | palāṇḍuṃ gṛñjanaṃ caiva matyā jagdhvā pated dvijaḥ ||
A twice-born man who knowingly eats mushrooms, a village-pig, garlic, a village-cock, onions, or leeks, will become an outcast.
At present, there are jAthis, or communities who have been simply continuing the upanayana right before marriage (i.e., after the proper age), who have not chanted the gayatri or practiced sandhyavandana daily for over 3 generations and eat impermissible substances such as those listed above or meat (include that of a village cock) which has not been offered to the pitris, devathAs,etc. I have provided examples and references of such instances below.:
a) The rAzus of Andhra "do not hestitate to eat poultry, something a true Kshatriya would never do" (British Gazetteer, 19th century). Also, all three of the four clans that rAzus descend from described themselves as "sUdrAs" historically. See the following reference for example: "The Kotas belonged to Dhananjaya gotra. Kota chiefs ruled Kammanadu with Dharanikota as capital. Kota Kings belonged to the Shudra varna. After they became the rulers, they came to be recognized as Kshatriyas." In fact, the upanayana of rAzus do NOT follow the proper vedic rituals.:
"Upanayanam (thread ceremony) are performed. But, instead of Vēdic chants, the purōhit recites (pouranik) slōkas specially prepared for non-Brāhman castes" (Madras Census Report, 1901).
b) Similarly, the Komatis had no evidence of upanayana prior to the 18th century where they "fought for the right." This is attested to by their own caste elders below.:
The niyOgis (rightly) campaigned against this as the Komatis were at best vrAtyas and had no tradition of upanayana samskAra. In fact, their initial upanayanAs were Telugu and later pouranik in origin. Now, they too, follow the "vaishya" vedic upanayanam, which is against scriptural injunction.
c) The Kerala Varmas of the illustrious Travancore dynasty were recorded to have performed the hiranyagarbhA ritual (first by ThirunAl Marthanda Varma). It was only then that he professed a Kshatriya lineage. However, this jAthi maintains dietary restrictions and does not partake in forbidden substances, such as unclean meat, leeks, onions, etc AFAIK. Here is the reference to it.:
d) The Ramanuja Dasa Kshatriya Vanniyas, known as Rajula Balija, or Dasa Bannajiga "are pure vegetarians...who wear the sacred thread", "do not accept food from anyone besides Sri Vaishnava Brahmins. They have gOtras such as Angirasa, Kashyapa, Janaka, etc" (Castes and Tribes of Southern India, Edgar Thurnston) (Madras Census Report, 1901). There apparently are some who still observe the upanayana samskAra as professed by ex-MLA Annayagari Sai Prathap.:
"...I was told to forgo my jandhyam (yagnopaveetham) by him [YS Rajasekhar Reddy] even though I belonged to the Rajula Balija. [Translated from Telugu]."
The women "observe gOsha" and the men wear the "sacred thread as they claim descent from some royal family" (Castes and Tribes of Southern India- Edgar Thurnston). Even if their claim of royal descent from erstwhile Jain Kings who were converted by RamanujAchArya is true- Once a jAthi becomes Jain/Buddhist for over three generations (and gives up the upanayana), they cannot be considered full dwijAs for the same reasons. There is no evidence that they performed the vrAtyastOma. Besides this fact, this jAthi must have admixture with the current sUdra "balija" clans and CANNOT be considered as full dwijAs, just as the rAzus, komatis,etc.
e) MarAthA KshatriyAs: This clan did not perform the upanayana until the 17th century as referenced here: "It seems that some Brahmins were prepared to perform Shivaji's coronation but with non-Vedic, i.e., with Pauranic rites as is done in the case of Shudras. [Unfortunate] incidents induced Shivaji to call Nischalpuri back and through him and his Brahmins, Shivaji performed afresh the ceremony of ascending the throne, not with Vedic rites, but Tantrik or magical. There are some Vedic mantras from Sama Veda as recited; but the ceremony was not Vedic" (Shivaji the Founder of Maratha Swaraj). Such non-Vedic upanayanas were described in AgamAs, such as the kAmika Agama, among others, but Chatrapathi Sivaji and his jAthi cannot be considered as dwijAs as the ritual is to be purAnik in nature.
My question is.:
Leaving aside the sath BrAhmanas of today (of whom there are those who can still trace pure descent, timely vEdic samskAras and ingestion of proper diet), would most of the jAthis professing to be "KshatriyAs" or "Vaishyas" pretty much be considered vrAtyas at best (and given the same rights as sUdrAs)? DwijAs also must have had no admixture with other varnAs. Thereby, even if there WERE some who followed the samskAras at proper times, it is inevitable that they have alliances with others in their jAthis who are considered to be vrAtyas or outcaste for the above reasons.According to the dharma sAstrAs, the progeny from such unions cannot be considered proper dwijAs.
Luckily, the sath Brahmanas have been protecting their dharma somewhat and must be encouraged to do so. But for the rest- is their duty to support and serve the brAhmanAs, given that they are most definitely vrAtyas. Given the injunction that fallen dwijas are to be viewed as outcastes, should they be counted as ShUdrAs or panchamAs for ritual purposes?
Should the priests who officiate in/upcoming generations of such jAthis who participate in such upanayanas stop? Or can they continue as the upanayanas are not entirely Vedic anyway (e.g., that of the rAzus, kOmatIs, Chatrapathi Sivaji as given above, etc)
This could also be why vYAsa maharshi declares "sUdra sAduhu" and why SudrAs are allowed to perform certain penances in Kali Yuga...since mostly everyone is a SudrA today. It must also be noted that sUdratva is not a hindrance to mOksha, so I am NOT looking for the "varna is not by birth but character" fallacy. That has been debunked several times. Please back up your answer with references from scripture or authorized heads/leaders of Sanathana Dharma.
Note.: I mean no offense to anyone belonging to the aforementioned jAthis. This question is purely to understand the implications of sAstra in today's context and rituals; examples with references were provided to better frame the question.
May the Vedic Dharma and everyone in BhAratha flourish.