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Hindus/conversion of caste

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QUESTION: i want to convert into a brahmin ? what are the spritual steps ? whom do i want to contact?

ANSWER: Dear Padashree,

Thank you for your question.

The characteristics of the brahman caste are determined by one's own nature, according to the Bhagavad-Gita (18:42). One becomes a brahman by manifesting the nature of a brahman in action.

"Serenity, self-control, austerity, purity, forgiveness, and also uprightness, knowledge wisdom and faith. These are the actions of a brahman, born of one's own nature."

The ritual for becoming a brahman is called upanayana, the sacred-thread ceremony. One can undergo that by being formally adopted into a brahman family or by taking the vow of brahmacarya in a religious Order. If there are other ways, I am unfamiliar with them.

Best wishes,

Brother William



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: thanks for your valuable answer sir. with your permission i would like to ask one more question.
just by birth whether a caste can be decided ? even a non brahman can be more disciplined at times than certain other brahmans

ANSWER: Dear Padmashree,

Thank you for your follow-up question.

Caste as it is now practiced is entirely hereditary. But as you rightly point out, some who are born brahmans do not exhibit the traits of an ideal  brahman as much as someone born in another caste (or in a different ethnic group).

If a born-brahman takes the yaj˝opavit, the sacred thread, and follows a spiritual path, however imperfectly, he may be considered a brahman. Other castes traditionally are expected to be disciplined, too, especially kshatriyas, so discipline alone would not automatically elevate a person to the status of brahman.

Best wishes,

Brother William

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: once again thanks sir, i believe that caste is not a hindrance attain god (moksha ) then why it is insisted for people?

Answer
Dear Padmashree,

Thank you for your follow-up question.

Caste in its original form affirms the necessity of all types of occupations for civilization to be possible. As it has come to be understood, however, caste is now merely a part of Hindu cultural life with little connection to the Vedanta philosophy that underlies deeper Hindu religious thought and practice. Traditions die hard. Caste can be a tool for social control. But this has nothing to do with deeper spiritual life.

Best wishes,

Brother William

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William Schindler, a.k.a. Brother William

Expertise

I can answer questions about Vedanta philosophy, Patanjali Yoga philosophy and practice, Tantra, Bhagavad-Gita, Upanishads, Vivekachudamani (Shankara`s Crest-jewel of Spritual Discrimination), Advaita (non-dualism), the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda tradition, Goddess worship, meditation practice, Hindu monasticism (sannyasa), and Sanskrit.

Experience

I've been studying and practicing Vedanta and Tantra since 1969.

Organizations
I'm the founder and spiritual director of Ashram West, a gay spiritual community based on traditional Hindu Tantra. I have been a member of the Vedanta Society of Southern California since 1969.

Publications
I have three books in print: GAY TANTRA, ESSAYS ON GAY TANTRA, BLOOD OF THE GODDESS.

Education/Credentials
I hold a B.A. in Sanskrit (UC Berkeley 1975) and an M.A. in clinical psychology (Antioch University 1986).

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