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Modern Meaning of a Brahmana

There is a grave need at present for Brahmanas who know and speak the truth. The problem is that even if they spoke the truth, almost nobody would accept it because the falsehoods of materialism, agnosticism, atheism, and hedonism are deeply entrenched in people’s minds. The modern education system teaches these falsehoods and advances the idea that life is an accident, there is no meaning and purpose of existence, and competing for survival is the sole aim of life. Hence, it is important for the Brahmana to not just speak the truth, but also refute the falsehoods. Without refuting the falsehoods, there is no room for the truth to be heard, let alone prevail.

The job of a Brahmana becomes harder when he has to not just speak the truth, but also refute the falsehoods. But who is going to do that, if not the Brahmana? The Brahmana well-versed only in rituals is almost irrelevant today because people don’t listen to such Brahmanas. Even if they listen, their minds are clouded with various other materialistic, agonistic, atheistic, and hedonistic ideas acquired through their education system and the society around them. Even a Brahmana who knows Vedic texts somewhat, but cannot refute the falsehoods, cannot be effective today. He will either be totally ignored or his truth will be mixed with falsehoods to reduce their worth.

This problem is not new. Alternative ideologies have appeared in India in the past, and they were challenged and defeated by reason and argument. Materialists, agnostics, atheists, and hedonists are not a new phenomenon. They have always existed, but more prominently in the last few thousand years. They were defeated by Vedic stalwarts, who learned about their ideologies, contrasted them to the truth, challenged them, and countered their claims with evidence. That system of preserving the truth, not just by repeating it unchanged, but also by protecting it against the rise of alternative ideologies, has presently been lost. It needs revival to reestablish the truth.

Human life is meant for inquiry into the deepest questions of our existence. Animals cannot ask those questions. If humans also do not ask those questions, then they are just like animals. Modernity teaches people that they are just technologically advanced animals. The modern intellectual has been transformed from one who advanced a transcendent purpose of life to one who builds an industrial economy. A specific type of knowledge system that is specifically geared toward the development of industrial economy has replaced Brahamanical knowledge.

The reality today is that even those who praise the Vedic system are attached to the industrial system of logic, mathematics, physics, biology, psychology, cosmology, medicine, economics, and legalities. They either don’t know or are not interested in knowing an alternative system of logic, alternative notions of numbers, an alternative theory of matter, an alternative conception of space and time, an alternative cosmology, an alternative idea of living organisms, an alternative system of biology and medicine, an alternative psychology, an alternative definition of money, and an alternative system of legality. We cannot superficially praise the Vedic tradition without rejecting the ideas opposed to the Vedic tradition because it amounts to intellectual dishonesty.

Real work is harder than platitudes. It involves an education system in which we learn two sets of subjects: The truth and the falsehoods. We get convinced of the truth by seeing flaws in the falsehood, and we defeat the falsehood through such conviction. Falsehood plays a constructive role for the Brahmana because by refuting it, his understanding of the truth deepens. Those who claim to know the truth, but cannot refute the falsehoods, don’t know the truth deeply. They may not be wrong. But they don’t understand what they consider to be true as profoundly as those who can use the truth to refute the falsehoods. Hence, knowing the truth has a test: The capacity to respond to challenges raised by falsehoods. That is the test of real Brahmanas.