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Boston Brahmin

Friday April 15 2005 09:50 IST

By Karmayogi

A Brahmin is one who worships the Brahman. The Brahman is called the Absolute in Europe. No attribute can be given to it, as it is featureless. Still, it is customary to call it Infinity and Eternity. Or sometimes it is called Silence or Peace. It is our tradition to say Silence is God or God is Peace. The Absolute Brahman is beyond even these exalted terms. It is seated in the hearts of men. He who realises that Brahman is a Jivanmukta. His is a noble calling. In favour of it, he often gives up life.

He becomes a sannyasi. It is said that knowing it, one knows everything. Only the rare soul sets out in quest of it. India is a land of Rishis. The Vedic Rishis never gave up life. They lived a full life, a life that was in balance with Nature.

In the later centuries, there was a division, a division of knowledge and rituals. Vedanta was the culmination of the pursuit of knowledge, Jnana. They became the Rishis. The others came into life and took to the priesthood. The life of the priest was a pure one. One Englishman said the Indians have made cleanliness next to Godliness. Their outer life was clean. Their inner life was Pure. The one who worshipped Brahman knew that inner purity is an essential condition to attain Brahman. He would not compromise with it, as that way he would be losing his exalted ideal. The Brahman is there in all; it is there buried even in the metal and stone. But in the one who worships it, it tries to emerge in his mind and life. It is called Agni, the fire, the fire of aspiration for the ultimate. That fire pervades his body and is pronounced in the palm of his right hand. He is not to hang it downwards, as that energy will peter out. By raising it, he blesses, sends the accumulated energy to one who seeks the blessings. It is an energy that expresses in his face as tejas.

The physical energy of the tapasvi, especially the sex energy, is converted into tejas and cast into his blood, making his body supple and soft, face bright, mind sweet. That energy in the mind is wedded to Truth. He becomes an aristocrat of the Spirit. Boston is a city on the east coast of America. It is a centre of wealth, education and culture. The gentlemen of England were mostly from the aristocratic class. The Boston aristocrats goal was to be a perfect gentleman, pleasing to his companions, inoffensive in his expression and the repository of all that is desirable on earth. He sought an exalted human status that wealth, education and culture could give. Perhaps he wanted to excel the conception of the English gentleman. He thus came to be known as the BOSTON BRAHMIN, a term that came to stay in the language and found its way into the dictionary. It is not known why the Boston aristocrat sought it, but it is a noble phrase.

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