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Brahmin (Brāhmaṇa, ब्राह्मण) is the class of educators, law makers, scholars and preachers of Dharma in Hinduism[1][2][3][4], where Brahmins are said to predominantly sātvic in nature with little signs rajas and tamas[5] among the four varnas of India.

The English word brahmin is an anglicised form of the Sanskrit word Brāhmana; (Brahman also refers to the supreme self in Hinduism). Brahmins are also called Vipra "inspired",[6] or Dvija "twice-born".[7] Brahmins also perform vedic rituals[citation needed]. It is a misunderstanding that brahmins are only priests. Only a subset of brahmins were involved in the priestly duties. They also took up various other professions since late vedic ages like doctors, warriors, writers, poets, land owners, ministers, etc. Some parts of India were also ruled by Brahmin Kings.

From Vedic times on, the Kings acted in close relationship with Brahmins (brahmakṣatra) and relied on them as their advisors, the Brahmins had become a powerful and influential group in India, and were known for discriminating against 'lower' castes.[8][9] In modern India, some Brahmins claim to have experienced reverse discrimination.[10][11]

Contents

History

The history of the Brahmin community in India begins with the Vedic religion of early Hinduism, now often referred to by Hindus as Sanatana Dharma. The Vedas are the primary source of knowledge for brahmin practices. Most sampradayas of Brahmins take inspiration from the Vedas. According to orthodox Hindu tradition, the Vedas are apauruṣeya and anādi (beginning-less), but are revealed truths of eternal validity. The Vedas are considered Śruti (that which is heard) and are the paramount source of Brahmin traditions. Shruti includes not only the four Vedas (the Rigveda, the Yajurveda, the Samaveda and the Atharvaveda), but also their respective Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Upanishads.

Brahman and Brahmin (brahman, brahmán, masculine) are not the same. Brahman (bráhman, neuter), since the Upanishads, refers to the Supreme Self. Brahmin or Brahmana (brahmán, brāhmaṇa) refers to an individual. Additionally, the word Brahma (brahmā, masculine) refers to first of the gods.

In 1931 (the last Indian census to record caste), Brahmins accounted for 4.32% of the total population. Brahmins even in Uttar Pradesh, where they were most numerous, constituted just 12% of the recorded population. In Andhra Pradesh, they formed less than 6%, in Tamil Nadu they formed less than 3% and in Karnataka, less than 2%.[12] In Kerala, Nambudiri Brahmins make up 0.7% of the population.

Brahmin communities

The Brahmin castes may be broadly divided into two regional groups: Pancha-Gauda Brahmins from Northern India and considered to be North of Vindhya mountains and Pancha-Dravida Brahmins from South of Vindhya mountains as per the shloka, however this sloka is from Rajatarangini of Kalhana which is composed only in 11th CE. कर्णाटकाश्च तैलंगा द्राविडा महाराष्ट्रकाः,
गुर्जराश्चेति पञ्चैव द्राविडा विन्ध्यदक्षिणे ||
सारस्वताः कान्यकुब्जा गौडा उत्कलमैथिलाः,
पन्चगौडा इति ख्याता विन्ध्स्योत्तरवासि ||[13]

Translation: Karnataka (Kannada), Telugu (Andhra), Dravida (Tamil and Kerala), Maharashtra and Gujarat are Five Southern (Panch Dravida). Saraswata, Kanyakubja, Gauda, Utkala (Orissa), Maithili are Five Northern (Pancha Gauda). This classification occurs in Rajatarangini of Kalhana and earlier in some inscriptions [14]

Pancha Gauda Brahmins

Panch Gaur (the five classes of Northern India): (1) Saraswat, (2) Kanyakubja, (3) Maithil Brahmins, (4) Gauda brahmins (including Sanadhyas), and (5)Utkala Brahmins . In addition, for the purpose of giving an account of Northern Brahmins each of the provinces must be considered separately, such as, Kashmir, Nepal, Uttarakhand, Himachal, Kurukshetra, Rajputana, Uttar Pradesh, Ayodhya (Oudh), Gandhara, Punjab, North Western Provinces and Pakistan, Sindh, Central India, Tirhut, Bihar, Orissa, Bengal, Assam, etc. The originate from south of the (now-extinct) Sarasvati River.[15]

Bihar

In Bihar, majority of Brahmins are Kanyakubja Brahmins, Bhumihar Brahmins and Maithil Brahmins with a significant population of Sakaldiwiya or Shakdwipi Brahmins. With the decline of Mughal Empire, in the area of south of Avadh, in the fertile rive-rain rice growing areas of Benares, Gorakhpur, Deoria, Ghazipur, Ballia and Bihar and on the fringes of Bengal, it was the 'military' or Bhumihar Brahmins who strengthened their sway.[16] The distinctive 'caste' identity of Bhumihar Brahman emerged largely through military service, and then confirmed by the forms of continuous 'social spending' which defined a man and his kin as superior and lordly.[17] In 19th century, many of the Bhumihar Brahmins were zamindars.[18] Of the 67000 Hindus in the Bengal Army in 1842, 28000 were identified as Rajputs and 25000 as Brahmins, a category that included Bhumihar Brahmins.[19] The Brahmin presence in the Bengal Army was reduced in the late nineteenth century because of their perceived primary role as mutineers in the Mutiny of 1857[19], led by Mangal Pandey. The Kingdom of Kashi belonged to Bhumihar Brahmins and big zamindari like Bettiah and Tekari belonged to them.

Maharashtra

In Maharashtra, Brahmins are classified into five groups: Chitpavan Konkanastha Brahmins, Gaud Saraswat Brahmin, Deshastha Brahmin, Karhade Brahmin, and Devrukhe. As the name indicates, Kokanastha Brahmin are from Konkan area. Gaud Saraswat Brahmins are from Konkan region or they may come from Goa or Karnataka, Deshastha Brahmin are from plains of Maharashtra, Karhade Brahmins are perhaps from Karhatak (an ancient region in India that included present day south Maharashtra and northern Karnataka) and Devrukhe Brahmins are from Devrukh near Ratnagiri.

Gujarat

In Gujarat,the Brahmin are classified in mainly Nagar Brahmin, Anavil Brahmin, Khedaval Brahmin, Aavdhich Brahmin, Dadhichi Brahmin, Vadadra Brahmin and Shrimali Brahmin. bhatt mevada brahmin(http://www.astrowebindia.com/BHATTMEVADABRAHMIN.htm)

Haryana

In Haryana, the Brahmin are classified in mainly dadhich Brahmin, adi gaur Brahmin, Khandelwal Brahmin. But large proportion of Brahmin in Haryana are adi gaur. Approximately all Brahmin in west U P and Delhi are adi gaur.

Madhya Pradesh

In Madhya Pradesh, the Brahmins are classified in NAGDAH AGNIHOTRY BRAHMIN are found in the Malwa region Indore,Ujjain,Dewas, BHOPAL ratlam and all over MP.,mainly Shri Gaud, Sanadhya brahmin, Gujar-Gaud Brahmins. Majority of Shri Gaud Brahmins are found in the Malwa region (Indore, Ujjain, Dewas). Eastern MP has dense population of Sarayuparain Brahmins. Hoshangabad and Harda Distt. of MP have a considerable population of Jujhotia (a clan of Bhumihar Brahmins, e.g. Swami Sahajanand Saraswati) and Naramdiya Brahmins (khandwa,harda,timarni,hoshangabad,bhopal and nimar region).

Nepal

In Nepal, the hill or Khas Brahmins are classified in mainly Upadhaya Brahmin, Jaisi Brahmin and Kumain Brahmins. The Newari speaking Upadhaya Brahmins are supposed to have settled in Nepal long before the other two groups. The majority of hill Brahmins are supposed to be of Khasa origin.

Punjab

In Punjab, they are classified as Saraswat Brahmins.

Karnataka

In Karnataka, Brahmins are mainly classified into Madhwas ( followers of Sri Madhwacharya)who speak either Kannada or Tulu and Smarthas (followers of Sri Shankaracharya) further categorised as Havyaka speaking Havigannada, Hoysala Karnataka speaking Kannada, Shivalli, Sthanika Brahmins and Kota speaking Tulu, Karahada speaking Marathi and have their own tradition and culture.

Rajasthan

In Rajasthan, the Brahmins are classified in mainly NAGDAH AGNIHOTRY BRAHMIN Bagda Brahmin,Dadhich Brahmin, Saraswat Brahmin, Pareek, Gaur Brahmin,Sanadhya brahmins, Purohit Brahmins, Sri Gaur Brahmin, Khandelwal Brahmin, Gujar-Gaur Brahmins. Purohit Brahmins are mainly found in Marwar and Godwad region of Rajasthan.Shakdwipiya Brahmins are also found at many places in rajasthan they are the major pujari in many temples of western rajasthan.

Sindh

In Sindh, the saraswat Brahmins from Nasarpur of Sindh province are called Nasarpuri Sindh Saraswat Brahmin. During the India and Pakistan partition migrated to India from sindh province.

Kashmir

In Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, the Bhardwaj, the Dogra from Himalayan region of Indian subcontinent.

Uttar Pradesh

In Uttar Pradesh from west to east: Sanadhya, Gauda & Tyagi (western UP), Kanyakubja (Central UP), Sarayuparin (Central Uttar Pradesh, Eastern, NE,& SE UP) and Maithil (Varanasi & Agra region), Suryadhwaja Brahmins (Western UP), the South western UP, i.e. Bundelkhand has thick population of Jujhotia brahmins (branch of Kanyakubja brahmins: ref. Between History & Legend:Power & Status in Bundelkhand by Ravindra K Jain). On the Jijhoutia clan of Bhumihar Brahmins, William Crooke writes, "A branch of the Kanaujia Brahmins (Kanyakubja Brahmins) who take their name from the country of Jajakshuku, which is mentioned in the Madanpur inscription."[20] Mathure or mathuria Brahmins 'choubeys' are limited to Mathura area.

Bengal

In West Bengal the Brahmins are classified in Barendra & Rarhi corresponding to the ancient Barendrabhumi (North Bengal) and Rarhdesh (South Bengal) making present day Bangladesh & West Bengal. It is also said that Barendras are traditional Brahmins who practiced the art of medicinal science and surgery rather than the traditional function of being the teacher or the priest, and so many a times they are not considered true brahmins by the Rarhis, although they are their own offshoots.

The traditional accounts of the origin of Bengali Brahmins are given in texts termed Kulagranthas (e.g., Kuladīpīkā), composed around the 17th century. They mention a ruler named Ādiśūra who invited five Brahmins from Kanyakubja [7], so that he could conduct a yajña, because he could not find Vedic experts locally. Traditional texts mention that Ādiśūra was ancestor of Ballāl Sena from maternal side and five Brahmins had been invited in AD 1077. Historians have located a ruler named Ādiśūra ruling in north Bihar, but not in Bengal. But Ballāl Sena and his predecessors ruled over both Bengal and Mithila (i.e., North Bihar). It is unlikely that the Brahmins from Kānyakubja may have been invited to Mithila for performing a yajña, because Mithila was a strong base of Brahmins since Vedic age. Another account mentions a king Shyamal Varma who invited five Brahmins from Kānyakubja who became the progenitors of the Vaidika Brahmins. A third account refers to five Brahmins being the ancestors of Vārendra Brahmins as well. From similarity of titles (e.g., upādhyāya), the first account is most probable.

Besides these two major communities there are also Utkal Brahmins, having migrated from present Orissa and Vaidik Brahmins, having migrated from Western and Northern India.

After bettle of Mahabharat King Jamejay organised The Yagya to Killing all the snakes but there was no pandits in the area to agree perform as purohit in the said yagya. Adi Gour bramin belongs to Bengal was agreed in the condition that they do not accept any kind of dakshina (remuneration) for that. They came and perform as purohit in Indraprath after they permanently shifted around the indrapastha city

Pancha Dravida

Paara Thrivikraman Namboothiri, Head Priest of Guruvayoor Temple in Kerala, 1960's

Panch Dravida (the five classes of Southern India): 1) Andhra, 2) Dravida (Tamil and Kerala), 3) Karnataka, 4) Maharashtra and Konkon, and 5) Gujarat.[15]

In Andhra Pradesh, Brahmins are broadly classified into 2 groups: Vaidiki Brahmins (meaning educated in vedas and performing religious vocations) and Niyogi (performing only secular vocation). They are further divided into several sub-castes. However, majority of the Brahmins, both Vaidika and Niyogi, perform only secular professions.[21]

In Tamil Nadu, Brahmins belong to 2 major groups: Iyer and Iyengar. Iyers comprise of Smartha and Saivite Brahmins and are broadly classified into Vadama, Vathima, Brhatcharnam, Ashtasahasram, Sholiyar and Gurukkal. There are mostly followers of Adi Shankaracharya and form about three-fourths of Tamil Nadu's Brahmin population. Iyengars comprise of Vaishnavite Brahmins and are divided into two sects: Vadakalai and Thenkalai. They are mostly followers of Ramanujar and make up the remaining one-fourth of the Tamil Brahmin population. Iyengar Brahmins also follow the routes of Aazhwars and their 4000 Divya Prabandhangal, where Aandal's Thirupaavai being the most sacred.

In Karnataka, Brahmins are broadly classified into 2 groups: Madhwa (followers of Shri Madhwacharya) and Smartha (followers of Shri Adi Sankaracharya). They are further divided into several sub-castes.

Other than these groups, there are other brahmin communities viz, Havyaka, Kota, Shivalli, Saraswata etc.

In Kerala, Brahmins are classified into three groups: Namboothiris, Pottis and Pushpakas. (Pushpakas are commonly clubbed with Ampalavasi community). The major priestly activities are performed by Namboothiris while the other temple related activities known as Kazhakam are performed by Pushpaka Brahmins and other Ampalavasis. Sri Adi Shankara was born in Kalady, a village in Kerala, to a Namboothiri Brahmin couple, Shivaguru and Aryamba, and lived for thirty-two years. The Namboothiri Brahmins, Potti Brahmins and Pushpaka Brahmins in Kerala follow the Philosophies of Sri Adi Sankaracharya. The Brahmins who migrated to Kerala from Tamil Nadu are known as Pattar in Kerala.Ezhavathy are also brahmin of Kerala concerned to Chera dynasty. They possess almost same status of Potti Brahmins in Kerala.

In Madhya Pradesh the descendants of Somnath temple priests, Naramdev Brahmin, Who migrated from Gujrat to Madhyapradesh after the Mohd. Ghazni notorious forays in Saurashtra and desecration of Somnath, and sedenterized along the coast of Narmada River hence derived their name i.e. Narmdiya brahmin or Naramdevs. Guru of Adi guru Shankaracharya, shri Govindacharya claimed to belongs to this community who initiated him in the Omkareshwar in the bank of river Narmada. Naramdevs are in high concentration in Nimar (Khandwa and Khargone)and Bhuvana region (Harda) of Madhyapradesh.

In Gujarat, Brahmins are classified into eight groups: Anavil Brahmin, Audichya Brahmins, Bardai Brahmins, Girinarayan Brahmins, Khedaval, Nagar Brahmins, Shrimali Brahmins, Sidhra-Rudhra Brahmins and Modh Brahmins. The Modh Brahmins worship Matangi Modheshwari mata (Modhera) and are mostly found in North Gujarat and in the Baroda region. Brahmin division like this janmano jāyte shudra sankarat dvij uchyate vedpathi bhavet vipra brahmam janati brahmana by birth brahmins are shudra.but when he accept janoi 9a sacred thread culture) then he is dwij! and when he be ved student he is vipra and when he knows brahma then he is brahmin !!

Burma

This article contains Burmese script. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Burmese characters.

Historically, Brahmins, known as ponna (ပုဏ္ဏား) in modern-day Burmese (Until the 1900s, ponna referred to Indians who had arrived prior to colonial rule, distinct from the kala, Indians who arrived during British rule), formed an influential group prior to British colonialism. During the Konbaung dynasty, court Brahmins were consulted by kings for moving royal capitals, waging wars, making offerings to Buddhist sites like the Mahamuni Buddha, and for astrology.[22] Burmese Brahmins can be divided into four general groups, depending on their origins:

  • Manipur Brahmins (Burmese: မုနိပူရဗြာဟ္မဏ) - Brahmins who were sent to Burma after Manipur became a Burmese vassal state in the 1700s and ambassadors from Manipur
  • Arakanese Brahmins (Burmese: ရခိုင်ဗြာဟ္မဏ): Brahmins brought to Burma from Arakan after it was conquered by the Konbaung king Bodawpaya
  • Sagaing Brahmins: oldest Brahmins in Burmese society, who had consulted the Pyu, Burman and Mon kingdoms prior to the Konbaung dynasty
  • Indian Brahmins: Brahmins who arrived with British colonial rule, when Burma became a part of the British Raj

According to Burmese chronicles, brahmins in Burma were subject to the four-caste system, which included brahmanas (ဗြာဟ္မဏ), kshatriyas (khettaya), vaishya (beisha), and shudra (thottiya). Because the Burmese monarchy enforced the caste system for Indians, Brahmins who broke caste traditions and laws were subject to punishment. In the Arakanese kingdom, punished Brahmins often became kyun ponna (ကျွန်ပုဏ္ဏား), literally 'slave Brahmins', who made flower offerings to Buddha images and performed menial tasks. During the Konbaung dynasty, caste was indicated by the number of salwe (threads) worn; brahmins wore nine, while the lowest caste wore none. Brahmins are also fundamental in the Nine-God cult, called the Nine Divinities (Phaya Ko Su ဘုရားကိုးစု) which is essentially a Burmese puja  (puzaw in Burmese) of appeasing nine divinities, Buddha and the eight arahats, or a group of nine deities, five Hindu gods and four nats.[22] This practice continues to be practiced in modern-day Burma.

Gotras and pravaras

In general, gotra denotes any person who traces descent in an unbroken male line from a common male ancestor. Pāṇini defines gotra for grammatical purposes as ' apatyam pautraprabhrti gotram' (IV. 1. 162), which means 'the word gotra denotes the progeny (of a sage) beginning with the son's son. When a person says ' I am Kashypasa-gotra' he means that he traces his descent from the ancient sage Kashyapa by unbroken male descent. According to the Baudhâyanas'rauta-sûtra Viśvāmitra, Jamadagni, Bharadvâja, Gautama, Atri, Vasishtha, Kashyapa and Agastya are 8 sages; the progeny of these eight sages is declared to be gotras. This enumeration of eight primary gotras seems to have been known to Pāṇini. These gotras are not directly connected to Prajapathy or latter brama. The offspring (apatya) of these eight are gotras and others than these are called ' gotrâvayava '.[23]

The gotras are arranged in groups, e. g. there are according to the Âsvalâyana-srautasûtra four subdivisions of the Vasishtha gana, viz. Upamanyu, Parāshara, Kundina and Vasishtha (other than the first three). Each of these four again has numerous sub-sections, each being called gotra. So the arrangement is first into ganas, then into pakshas, then into individual gotras. The first has survived in the Bhrigu and Āngirasa gana. According to Baudh., the principal eight gotras were divided into pakshas. The pravara of Upamanyu is Vasishtha, Bharadvasu, Indrapramada; the pravara of the Parâshara gotra is Vasishtha, Shâktya, Pârâsharya; the pravara of the Kundina gotra is Vasishtha, Maitrâvaruna, Kaundinya and the pravara of Vasishthas other than these three is simply Vasishtha. It is therefore that some define pravara as the group of sages that distinguishes the founder (lit. the starter) of one gotra from another.

There are two kinds of pravaras, 1) sishya-prasishya-rishi-parampara, and 2) putrparampara. Gotrapravaras can be ekarsheya, dwarsheya, triarsheya, pancharsheya, saptarsheya, and up to 19 rishis. Kashyapasa gotra has at least two distinct pravaras in Andhra Pradesh: one with three sages (triarsheya pravara) and the other with seven sages (saptarsheya pravara). This pravara may be either sishya-prasishya-rishi-parampara or putraparampara. When it is sishya-prasishya-rishi-parampara marriage is not acceptable if half or more than half of the rishis are same in both bride and bridegroom gotras. If it is putraparampara, marriage is totally unacceptable even if one rishi matches.[24] sandilya gotra one a gotra of brahmins.

Sects and rishis

Due to the diversity in religious and cultural traditions and practices, and the Vedic schools which they belong to, Brahmins are further divided into various subcastes. During the sutra period, roughly between 1000 BCE to 200 BCE, Brahmins became divided into various Shakhas (branches), based on the adoption of different Vedas and different rescension Vedas. Sects for different denominations of the same branch of the Vedas were formed, under the leadership of distinguished teachers among Brahmins.

There are several Brahmin law givers such as Angirasa, Apasthambha, Atri, Bhrugu, Brihaspati, Boudhayana, Daksha, Gautam, Harita, Katyayana, Likhita, Manu,[25] Parasara, Samvarta, Shankha, Shatatapa, Ushanasa, Vashishta, Vishnu, Vyasa, Yajnavalkya and Yama. These twenty-one rishis were the propounders of Smritis. The oldest among these smritis are Apastamba, Baudhayana, Gautama, and Vasishta Sutras.[26]

Descendants from Brahmins

Many Indians and non-Indians claim descent from the Vedic Rishis of both Brahmin and non-Brahmin descent. For example the Dash and Nagas are said to be the descendants of Kashyapa Muni. Visvakarmas are the descendants of Pancha Rishis or Brahmarshies. According to Yajurveda and brahmanda purana They are Sanagha, Sanathana, Abhuvanasa, Prajnasa, Suparnasa. The Kani tribe of South India claim to descend from Agastya Muni.

The Gondhali, Kanet, Bhot, Lohar, Dagi, and Hessis claim to be from Renuka Devi.

The Kasi Kapadi Sudras claim to originate from the Brahmin Sukradeva. Their duty was to transfer water to the sacred city of Kashi.[27]

Dadheech Brahmins/dayama brahmin trace their roots from Dadhichi Rishi. Many Jats clans claim to descend from Dadhichi Rishi while the Dudi Jats claim to be in the linear of Duda Rishi.

Lord Buddha of course, was a descendant of Angirasa through Gautama. There too were Kshatiryas of other clans to whom members descend from Angirasa, to fulfill a childless king's wish.[28]

The backward-caste Matangs claim to descend from Matang Muni, who became a Brahmin by his karma.

The nomadic tribe of Kerala, the Kakkarissi according to one legend are derived from the mouth of Garuda, the vehicle of Vishnu, and came out Brahmin.[29]

Brahmins taking up other duties

Brahmins have taken on many professions - from being priests, ascetics and scholars to warriors and business people, as is attested for example in Kalhana's Rajatarangini. Brahmins with the qualities of Kshatriyas are known as 'Brahmakshatriyas'. An example is the avatara Parshurama who destroyed the entire Haiheyas 21 times. Not only did Sage Parashurama have warrior skills but he was so powerful that he could even fight without the use of any weapons and trained others to fight without weapons. The Bhumihar Brahmins were established when Parashurama destroyed the Kshatriya race, and he set up in their place the descendants of Brahmins, who, after a time, having mostly abandoned their priestly functions (although some still perform), took to land-owning.[30]

Today there is a caste, Brahmakhatris, who are a clan of the Khatris, however this is suspicious since Khatris are a business caste/community of Punjab and belong to the Vaishya caste. Khatri has often been misinterpreted as a variation of the word Kshatriya, meaning warrior, however there are no records of any Khatri kingdoms or empires in Indian history and this claim to Kshatriya is recently made in the 20th century.

Perhaps the word Brahma-kshatriya refers to a person belonging to the heritage of both castes.[31] However, among the Royal Rajput households, brahmins who became the personal teachers and protectors of the Royal princes rose to the status of Rajpurohit and taught the princes everything including martial arts. They would also become the keepers of the Royal lineage and its history. They would also be the protectors of the throne in case the regent was orphaned and a minor.

Kshatriyan Brahmin is a term associated with people of both caste's components.[32]

The Pallavas were an example of Brahmakshatriyas as that is what they called themselves. King Lalitaditya Muktapida of Kashmir ruled all of India and even Central Asia.

King Rudravarma of Champa (Vietnam) of 657 A.D. was the son of a Brahmin father.[31]

King Jayavarma I of Kambuja (Kampuchea) of 781 A.D. was a Brahma-kshatriya.[31]

Brahmins with the qualities of a Vaisya or merchant are known as 'Brahmvyasya'. An example of such persons are people of the Ambastha[33] caste, which exist in places like South India and Bengal. They perform medical work - they have from ancient times practiced the Ayurveda and have been Vaidyas (or doctors).

Many Pallis of South India claim to be Brahmins (while others claim to be Agnikula Kshatriyas.)[34] Kulaman Pallis are nicknamed by outsiders as Kulaman Brahmans.[34] Hemu from Rewari, Haryana was also a Brahmin by birth.

Practices

Brahmins, Vedic priests, adhere to the principles of Brahmanism, Sanatana Dharma, and can be found in any of the different religions of Hinduism, such as acceptance of the Vedas. Brāhmaṇas have six occupational duties, of which three are compulsory—namely, studying the Vedas, worshiping the Deity and giving charity. By teaching, by inducing others to worship the Deity, and by accepting gifts, the brāhmaṇas receive the necessities of life. This is also confirmed in the Manu-saḿhitā:

ṣaṇṇāḿ tu karmaṇām asya

trīṇi karmāṇi jīvikā

yajanādhyāpane caiva

viśuddhāc ca pratigrahaḥ

Of the six occupational duties of the brāhmaṇas, three are compulsory—namely, worship of the Deity, study of the Vedas and the giving of charity. In exchange, a brāhmaṇa should receive charity, and this should be his means of livelihood. A brāhmaṇa cannot take up any professional occupational duty for his livelihood. The śāstras especially stress that if one claims to be a brāhmaṇa.[35] Brahmins believe in Sarvejanāssukhinobhavaṃtu—Let the entire society be happy and prosperous and Vasudhaika kuṭuṃbakaṃ—the whole world is one family. Many Brahmins are reformers. Most Brahmins today practice vegetarianism or lacto-vegetarianism. There are some Brahmins who are non-vegetarians, mainly the Brahmins of cold mountain areas like Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Nepal, and coastal areas like Bengal, who are fish eaters. However, even the meat eating Brahmins shun beef.

Sampradayas

The three sampradayas (traditions) of Brahmins, especially in South India are the Smarta sampradaya, the Srivaishnava sampradaya and the Madhva sampradaya.

Vaishnavism

Srivaishnava sampradaya and the Madhva sampradaya are the two major Vaishnavite sects. From these two were influenced several other Vaishnavite sects such as the Ramananda Sampraday, and Ramdassi Sampraday. The chief propounder of the Sri Vaishnava Sampradaya was Ramanuja while Madhava was the founder of the Madhav Sampraday. The Pushtimarg Sampraday, founded by Vallabha Acharya is yet another sect influenced by the other two major Vaishnavite sects.

The most well know branch of Vaishnavism is that of Brahma Gaudiya Vaishnavism from Bengal.[citation needed] This was founded by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. This branch of Vaishnavism was the first opened the status Brahmin to those who were not of Indian decent. These brahmin are part of the Gaudiya Vaishnava branch known as International Society for Krishna Consciousness, or ISKCON

Vaishnavism included many sects such as the Swaminarayan Sampraday.

There are many members of the Swaminarayan Sampraday founded by Bhagwan Swaminarayan, born as Ghanshyam Pande a Vaishnavite Brahmin of present-day Uttar Pradesh. He later settled in Gujarat, wherein the highest density of sampraday members live. This is a Vaishnavite sect. This sect was founded in the latter part of the 18th century.

There is also the Varkari Sampraday, which worships Sri Krishna as "Vithal". The word "Varkari" means travelers because members of this sect travel from their home towns on a pilgrimage to Pandharpur, almost always on foot! Important saints of this movement were the Brahmins Dnyaneshwar, Muktabai as well as several non-Brahmin icons.

There is also the Mahanubhava sampraday founded by King Cakradhara, known popularly to members as Sri Chakradhar Swami, in the 12th century. The members of this sect worship Lord Vishnu in His five forms; Lord Krishna, Lord Sri Dattatreya, Lord Sri Chakrapani, Lord Sri Govindaprabhu, and Lord Cakradhara (the founder Himself).

Shaivism

The Shaiva Brahmins have important icons such as, Basava Swami of Karnataka, Kungiliya Kalaya Nayanar or Tamil Nadu, and Lakulisa of Gujarat.

Miscellaneous sects

There are additional sampradayas as well which are not as widely followed as the rest.

The Mahima Dharma or "Satya Mahima Alekha Dharma" was founded by the Brahmin Mukanda Das of present-day Orissa, popularly know by followers as Mahima Swami according to the Bhima Bhoi text.[36] He was born in the last part of 18th century in Baudh ex-state as a son of Ananta Mishra. He was Brahmin by caste as mentioned in Mahima Vinod of Bhima Bhoi in Vol.11. This sampradaya is similar to Vaishnavism. Although the members of this sect do not worship Lord Vishnu as their Ishta-Deva, they believe that the Srimad Bhagavatam is sacred. The founder of this sect was a Vaishnavite before founding the new order.[36] This sampradaya was founded in the latter part of the 18th century.[36]

There is also the Avadhoot Panth, wherein Lord Dattertaya and his forms such as Narasimha Saraswati and Sai Baba of Shirdi are worshiped. Lord Dattatreya is worshiped by many as the Hindu trinity - Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva in one divine entity. Many even worship Dattatreya as an avatar of Vishnu or of Shiva.

Buddhism

Brahmins feature extensively in Buddhist canonical texts i.e. the Tripitaka, and are found among the chief disciples of the Buddha. The Brahmana Varga (section on Brahmins) contained in the Dhammapada lists down the Buddha's views on Brahmins[37]

Peter Masefield writes, "The canonical texts show the early Buddhists seeking their sustenance mostly from brahmin families, and the dhamma-cakkhu (the insight into the Four Truths) that led to liberation was given almost exclusively to men of brahmin descent."[38]

Scholar Asim Chatterjee goes further to write, "No one can deny that the Brahmin pupils of Gautama had save the Sangha in its hour of peril. The rebellion of Devadatta was foiled by Sariputta, and after the demise of the teacher, Mahakassapa, by convening the first council, at Rajagrha, practically rescued the entire Buddhist Sangha from sinking into oblivion."[39]

"The canonical texts show the early Buddhists seeking their sustenance mostly from brahmin families, and the dhamma-cakkhu (the insight into the Four Truths) that led to liberation was given almost exclusively to men of brahmin descent."[38]

"Also brahmans appear to have been taken up; but they were the distinguished representatives of a cultured laity - a secular strata of nobles who formed the majority of Buddha's disciples."[40]

Brahmin bhikshus

  • Abhaya Raja (built Mahabouddha temple with his descendants in Patan, Nepal in year 1604)[41]
  • Asvaghosa (wrote the 'Buddhacharita' and is considered along with Nagarjuna to have founded the Mahayana). His philosophy was favored in the court of King Kanishka.
  • Atapa
  • Bakula[42]
  • Bhitka (Buddha's fifth successor)
  • Cuda Panthaka[43]
  • Dignaga
  • Gopaka[43]
  • Guhyashila[44]
  • Harita[45] (wrote the "Harita Dharmasutra")
  • Humkara[46]
  • Jnanadharma[47]
  • Kacanna[48]
  • Kamashila (Kashmiri Pandit)
  • Kalika[43]
  • Kumarajiva (was imprisoned in China for spreading Buddhism)
  • Kanaka (Yamantaka Tantra)
  • Kukuraja[49]
  • Manjushri (The mentor of Asoka)[50]
  • Padma (woman)
  • Palden Dekyong[51]
  • Pingala-Koccha (preached to the Buddha the Cūlasāropama Sutta, after which he became a dedicated student of the Buddha)
  • Radhasvami (another mentor of Asoka)[50]
  • Majnushrimitra[52]
  • Nagasena[53]
  • Narpola [Naropa](student of Tipola/tilopa]
  • Sahara/saraha (master of Tipola/Tilopa)
  • Sariputra
  • Shantideva
  • Shantarakshita (Kashmiri Pandit)
  • Subha
  • Subhadra
  • Subrahman (coming father of Bodhisattva Maitreya)
  • Tipola [Tilopa](Mahasiddha, from modern-day Bangladesh)
  • Vakkali
  • Vanavasi[43]

Brahmin Bodhisattvas

Aryadeva (successor of Nagarjuna) Asangha (from Hinayana sect and Peshwar city founded the Yogacarya and established the Classical age of Buddhism)

  • Nagasena (the famous teacher of the milindapanha)
  • Brahmadatta
  • Nagarjuna (founded the Shunyata concept and considered along with Asvaghosa to have founded the Mahayana)
  • Vasubandhu (Brother of Asanga and one of founders of the yogacara school - only historical Buddhist to be called the 'second Buddha')
  • Dignaga (5th century Buddhist logician from Kanchipuram)
  • Dharmakirti (7th century Buddhist logician from Andhra)
  • Buddhaghosa (5th century Pali scholar who led the revival of the Theravaada)
  • Kusanda Buddha
  • Konagamana Buddha
  • Kasyapsa Buddha
  • Kshitagarbha
  • Padmasambhava (founder of Vajrayana Buddhism)

Scriptures dedicated to Brahmin bhikkhus

Because of the aim of the Brahmins, and the Buddha following on their path, several Buddhist texts have been dedicated to them.[54]

  • Annatara Brahmana Sutta: To a Brahmin
  • Aññatra Sutta: To a certain Brahman (SN XII.46), To Unnabha the Brahman
  • Cankii Sutta: To the Brahmin Cankii
  • Esukaari Sutta: To the Brahmin Esukari
  • Janussoni Brahmana Sutta: To the Brahmin Janussoni
  • Ganakamoggallaanasuttam B: To the Brahmin Ganakamoggallaana
  • Paccha-bhumika Sutta: To Brahmins of the Western Land (SN XLII.6)
  • Saleyyaka Sutta A: The Brahmins of Sela
  • Saleyyaka Sutta B: The Brahmans of Salahar"

Kingdoms

There have been Brahmin Buddhists too in Buddhist kingdoms.

  • In Cambodia (Sanskrit Kamboja) there is an edict saying that King Jayavarman and his son Rudravarman build a monument in dedication of Lord Buddha and appointed a Brahmin to protect it.[55]... Cambodia Used to be a Hindu Kingdom before converting to Buddhism!
  • In Sri Lanka, Maha Adigar was the first Buddhist emperor of Sri Lanka, converting many to Buddhism.[56]

Jainism

  • The first convert of Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism was Indrabhuti (aka Gautamswami) the Brahmin, who headed a group of other Brahmins and converted them to Jainism. He was from the village Gobbar (also called Govarya) near Rajgriha. It is said that at the sight of Gautama, the tapsas who were competing with him to reach the top of a hill once, by seeing the winner Gautama at the top, achieved moksha.[57]
  • Sajjambhava was another born from Rajgriha and was elected the head of the Jain temple. He is famous for his composition of the "Dasavaikalika Sutra."
  • Acharya Vidyanand is a Brahmin of the Dhigambar Jain sect and compiled in the Sanskrit language, "Ashta Shahastri" with eight thousand verses.
  • Acharya Shushil Kumar, known better to Jains as "Guruji", was born a Vaidik in the Shakarpur village of the Haryana province. At the age of 15, he took Diksha (became a sanyassin) into the Sthanakvasi, a Swhetambara sub-sect.
  • There is also a story about a wealthy Brahmin named Dhangiri in the town of Tumbhivan, who, when heard the sermons of the Jain Acharya Sinhgiri, while he regularly listened to but later lost his interest in wealth and decided to take the Diksha.
  • Umasvati was a composer who was so loved by Jains that he is considered by the Dhigambar sect to be a Dhigambar member and the Svetambara sect to be a Svetambara member.

Indian kingdoms

  • The Jain Acharya Bhadrabahu of Pundravardhana is said to be the preceptor of Chandragupta Maurya of the Mauryan dynasty, grandfather of Ashoka the Buddhist ruler.
  • A copperplate grant from the Gupta period found in the vicinity of Somapura mentioned a Brahmin donating land to a Jain vihara at Vatagohali.
  • A Brahmin general by the name of Vasudeva in the army of Kamadeva in the Vijayaditya dynasty had built a temple to Lord Parshvanath.
  • The Kadamba kings of Palasika were Jain Brahmins who supported Jainism and gave land grants and erected many temples and hence, patronised Jainism. This supports the view that Jainism entered South India through the West and perhaps from Ujjayini itself.
  • King Mrigesavarman of the Kadamba dynasty of palasika further went on to give grants to Yapaniyas, Nigranthas and Kurchakas.
  • The Brahmin Haribhadra was a pupil of Jinabhadra (or Jinabhata) and Jinadatta and later received the title of "Suri" (an honorable epithet of learning Jain monks.)

Sikhism

Sikhism recognized the three main bhagats before the life of Guru Nanak; they are Bhagat Ramananda, Bhagat Surdas, Bhagat Jayadeva.

During the governorship of Iftikar Khan (1672-1675 A.D.) in the reign of Aurangzeb the Kashmiri Brahmins were treated in a harsh manner. Aurangzeb was convinced that if he could convert the Brahmins of Kashmir, Varanasi, Prayag, Hardwar, etc. to Islam the conversion of the rest of the people of India would be a trivial task. According to the famous expert on Sikhs Max Arthur Macauliffe, "The experiment of conversion was first tried in Kashmir. There were two reasons for this. In the first place, the Kashmiri Pandits were supposed to be educated, and it was thought, if they were converted, the inhabitants of Hindustan would readily follow their example. Secondly, Peshawar and Kabul, Muhammadan countries, were near, and if the Kashmiris offered any resistance to their conversion, the Muhammadans might declare a religious war and overpower and destroy them". Like everything else the thinking of Aurangzeb was simple and practical on this subject. Iftikar Khan being a fanatic Muslim himself was more than delighted to have been selected for this purpose. He used the method of persuasion coupled with the might of the sword for the conversion of Kashmiri Pandits. The Kashmiri Brahmins were initially alarmed and decided to meet Guru Teg Bahadur and explain to him their situation. Luckily for the Brahmins of Kashmir Pandit Kripa Ram of Mattan of the Bharadwaj Gotra was a friend of Guru Teg Bahadur as the former had been a teacher of Govind Rai (later Guru Govind Singh). This made the meeting of the Kashmiri Brahmins with Guru Teg Bahadur rather easy. According to the authentic records of that period, namely Bhat Vahi Talanda Pargana Jind, Pandit Kripa Ram and his delegation met Guru Teg Bahadur on 25 May 1675 A.D. at Chak Nanaki in Parghana Kehlur and informed him of their plight. This great Guru threw a challenge to Aurangzeb to convert him first to Islam and then he could try to convert the Brahmins of Kashmir. Eventually Aurangzeb had Guru Teg Bahadur imprisoned and subsequently Guru Teg Bahadur was publicly beheaded on 11 November 1675 A.D. Prior to this three of Guru Teg Bahadur's companions, namely Bhai Mati Das, Bhai Sati Das and Bhai Dayal Das were killed cruelly by the orders of Aurangzeb. Eventually Pandit Kripa Ram took up arms and joined Guru Govind Singh in fighting the Mughals and attained martyrdom in the battle of Chamakor in 1705 A.D.

Moreover, after the death of Guru Govind Singh on 7 October 1708 A.D. from wounds following a cowardly attack, the loyal follower of Guru Govind Singh namely Banda Bahadur a Brahmin from Rajapuri (as is well known that Rajapuri or modern Rajauri has for most of its history been a part of Greater Kashmir) took up arms against the Mughals. Banda was born in to a Brahmin family (not a Rajput one as some authors have erroneously mentioned). Banda's original name was Lakhsman Dev Bharadwaj and all authentic records indicate that he was a Brahmin. This is also corroborated by the noted scholar Gyani Budh Singh of Poonch the author of the famous work Chhonwen Rattan. It is not an exaggeration to mention that probably never in the history of mankind has a person fought tyranny as did Lakhsman Dev Bharadwaj. He wreaked havoc in the Mughal Empire from the year 1709-1715 A.D. till he was captured and put to death. Later on it was also a Kashmiri Pandit namely Pandit Birbal Dhar who convinced Maharaja Ranjit Singh to capture Kashmir from the Afghans. Eventually following the advice of Pandit Birbal Dhar this stupendous Maharaja succeeded in capturing Kashmir in the year 1819 A.D.

The court of Maharaja Ranjit Singh was also full of Kashmiri Brahmins such as Diwan Dina Nath, Colonel Badri Nath, Pandit Ayodhya Prasad, etc. The Maharaja trusted Dina Nath in all sensitive matters and by 1838 A.D. Dina Nath was given the title of Diwan. Even after the disintegration of the Sikh Empire Pandit Dina Nath displayed total allegiance to the Maharaja's descendants.[58][59]

Many of the other icons of Sikhism are disciple of Brahmins such as Bhagat Kabir, Bhagat Dhanna, Bhagat Ravidas, Bhaga Pipa, Bhagat Sain. The writings and sayings of these icons are preserved in the Sikh text, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

Many writers of the Guru Granth Sahib are of the Bhatt surname.[60] The Sikh composed Mathura Bhatt's fourteen verses are seven each in praise of Guru Ram Das and Guru Arjan.

There are also several Mohyals (Brahmin warriors) in the Sikh community.

Although Sikhism takes some inheritance from these Brahmin saints, latter day Sikhs had many on-going struggles with Brahmins for society's control. Sikhs fought and defeated many Brahmin kings for their territory in the Punjab.

Islam

Apart from figures in the Dharmic religions, there are many Brahmins in the religion of Islam, especially those western-Born Indian Brahmin converts to Islam.

The group known as "Hussaini Brahmins" are the disciples of Imam Hussian, grandson of the prophet Mohammad.

A popular saying about the Hussainis has it thus:

But there is also another version of how the Dutts of Punjab came to be known as Hussaini Brahmins. One of the wives of Imam Hussain, the Persian princess Shahr Banu, was the sister of Mehr Banu, the wife of an Indian king called Chandragupta. When it became clear that Yazid was adamant on wiping out the Imam, the Imam's son Ali ibn Hussain rushed off a letter to Chandragupta asking him for help against Yazid. When Chandragupta received the letter, he dispatched a large army to Iraq to assist the Imam. By the time they arrived, however, the Imam had been slain. In the town of Kufa, in present-day Iraq, they met with one Mukhtar Saqaffi, a disciple of the Imam, who arranged for them to stay in a special part of the town, which even today is known by the name of Dair-i-Hindiya or ‘the Indian quarter’.

Some Dutt Brahmins, under the leadership of one Bhurya Dutt, got together with Mukhtar Saqaffi to avenge the death of the Imam. They stayed behind in Kufa, while the rest returned to India. Here they built up a community of their own, calling themselves Hussaini Brahmins, and although they did not convert to Islam they kept alive the memory of their links with Imam Hussain.

The Hussaini Brahmins believe that Krishna had foretold the event of the Imam's death at Karbala in the Gita. According to them, the Kalanki Purana, the last of eighteen Puranas, as well as the Atharva Veda, the fourth Veda, refer to Imam Hussain as the divine incarnation or avatar of the Kali Yug, the present age. They hold Imam Ali, Imam Hussain's father, and son-in-law and cousin of the Prophet Muhammad, in particular reverence, refer-ring to him with the honorific title of Om Murti.

This group applies the tilak on their forehead just like many other Hindus.[61]

Contributions of the Brahmin community

Politics

During the Indian independence movement, many Brahmins, including Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya also called Hemu, Mangal Pandey, Nana Sahib Peshwa, Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi, Tatya Tope, Baikuntha Shukla, Chandrashekar Azad, Yogendra Shukla, Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee, Swami Sahajanand Saraswati, Adyakrantikarak Vasudev Balvant Phadke, Chaphekar Brothers, Anant Kanhere, Vinayak Deshapande, Vishwanath Vaishampayan (famous as "Bacchan", worked with Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad, Basawon Singh (Sinha), Balgangadhar Tilak, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, (Rajguru, Ramprasad Bismil,Chandrashekhar Azad,Vanchinathan, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Ganesh Damodar Savarkar, Prativadi Bhayankara Venkatacharya "Bhayankachari",Tanguturi Prakasam, C. Rajagopalachari, Sri Krishna Sinha, Gobind Ballabh Pant, Kamalapati Tripathi, Sheel Bhadra Yajee, Ravishankar Shukla, Kailashnath Katju, Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru, Motilal Nehru, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and others were at the forefront of the struggle for freedom and later Indian politics. Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India and Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, the first Vice President of India, were also Brahmins. Communist leaders like E.M.S. Namboodiripad, Hiren Mukherjee, S. A. Dange, P.C.Joshi, Acharya P. K. Atre and many others were Brahmins. Presently finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of Paschim Bangal West Bengal Budhadev Bhattacharya are brahmins.

Brahmins who became Prime Ministers of India include Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Morarji Desai, P.V. Narasimha Rao and Atal Behari Vajpayee. Brahmin Presidents of India include V. V. Giri, R. Venkataraman, S. Radhakrisnan and Shankar Dayal Sharma.

Military

Medieval period Hindu king, Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya, also called Hemu, who had established 'Hindu Raj' in North India after defeating Akbar's forces at Agra and Delhi, and had his coronation or Rajyabhishake at Purana Quila in Delhi on 7th Oct. 1556, after winning 22 battles continuously, without losing any, was a Bhargava and Dhusar Brahmin.

Several chiefs of the Indian Army have been brahmins, including General Krishnaswamy Sundarji, General T.N. Raina, General Bipin Chandra Joshi, General Sundararajan Padmanabhan,General V. N. Sharma.

In the Indian Air Force too, brahmins have reached the apex rank of Air Chief. Among these, are Air Marshal Subroto Mukherjee, Air Chief Marshal Swaroop Krishan Kaul, Air Chief Marshal Srinivasapuram Krishnaswamy, Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi. India's first and only cosmonaut, Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma is also a brahmin.

In the Indian Navy, Admiral A.K. Chaterji, and Admiral J.G. Nadkarni are brahmins who rose to the heights of their service. Captain Mahendra Nath Mulla, a Kashmiri Pandit, commander of the INS Khukri received the Maha Vir Chakra during the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971, for his gallantry at the helm of his stricken ship.

Scholars and Writers

Among Brahmin scholars and writers are Pāṇini,Satyabrata Nath, Patanjali, Kalidas,Satya Sandhani Haridutta Dash Chanakya, Banabhatta, Goswami Tulsidas, Sur Das, Keshav das, Behari Saint Dnyaneshwar, Eknath, Samarth Ramdas. Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore and others like Mahapandit Rahul Sankrityayan, Ramdhari Singh 'Dinkar', Jiddu Krishnamurthy, Hazariprasad Dwivedi, Sumitranandan Pant, Subramanya Bharathy, Tarashankar Bandopadhyay, Ramvriksh Benipuri, Caitanya MahaprabhuSuryakant Tripathi Nirala, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Srilal Shukla and Manohar Shyam Joshi. Other Brahmin scholars include Pandurang Vaman Kane, Ram Sharan Sharma and Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya. Modern writers include R. K. Narayan, as well as the famous cartoonist R. K. Laxman.

Sciences

Scientists from the Brahmin fold include Aryabhatta, Varahamihira, Brahmagupta, Nobel Laureates Sir C.V.Raman and his nephew Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, the agricultural scientist M. S. Swaminathan, Prof. A K Joshi(Molecular Plant Breedar. the ethno-sociologist M. N. Srinivas, and the modern genius of mathematics Srinivasa Ramanujan, Shakuntala Devi and C. P. Ramanujam. Raja Ramanna, who was instrumental in making India a nuclear weapons state, was also a Brahmin. PVN Acharya (1924–1993), a "Sri-Vaishnava" Brahmin received his PhD in Biochemistry with highest honors from the University of Paris-Sorbonne, and published papers with his professor, the famous French scientist Edgar Lederer. As a student in Paris and later as a biochemist in Madison, Wisconsin, Acharya conducted groundbreaking work in Tuberculosis and was the first scientist to propose that "Irreparable DNA Damage" is caused by low dose ionizing radiation, environmental pollutants and the food additives nitrites and nitrates and such damage to the DNA is a causal factor for pre-mature aging and cancer.

Sports

In sports,Cricket major names include Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, Sunil Manohar Gavaskar,Dilip Balwanth Vengsarkar,Ajit Wadekar,Srinivasan Venkatraghavan,Erapalli Anandrao S Prasanna,Bagawath Subramania Chandrashekhar,Gundappa Vishwanath,Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, Chetan Sharma,Parthasarathy Sharma,Ravi Shastri,Krishnamachari Srikkanth, Saurav Chandidas Ganguly, Rahul Sharad Dravid, Vangipurappu Venkata Sai Laxman, Anil Radhakrishna Kumble,Javagal Chandrashekhara Srinath, Venkatesh Prasad,Ajay Sharma,Dinesh Kaarthik,Murali Kartik, Rohit Sharma, Ishant Sharma,Amit Mishra, Subramaniam Badrinath,suresh raina, maneesh pandey ,Sadagoppan Ramesh, Ajit Agarkar, Hrishikesh Kanitkar and many more.the world chess champion Vishwanathan Anand, Kirti Azad (Criketer & M.P.)

Arts

Saint musicians include Thyagaraja, Muthuswami Dikshitar and Shyama Sastri. In entertainment, LATA MANGESHKAR, ASHA BHOSALEUsha Uthup, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Hema Malini, Basu Chatterjee, Sudhir PhaDke, Balgandharva, Dr. Vasantrao Deshpande,Ashok Kumar, Kishore Kumar, Udit Narayan jha, Shantanu Mukherjee (Shaan), Abhijeet,kumar sanu[kedarnath bhattacharya], Alka Yagnik, Madhuri Dixit, Amrita Rao, Sharmila Tagore, Padmini Kolhapuri Deepika Padukone, Aditi Govitrikar, Gayatri Joshi, Sonali Bendre, Rani Mukherjee,Kajol, Vidya Balan, Sonali Kulkarni, Sadhana Saragan (original surname is 'Ghanekar') are prominent names. Tansen, Baiju Bawra the musician of Akbar's court was born a Brahmin. Anupam Kher, Arjun Rampal, Rati Agnihotri, Apurva Agnihotri,Sanjay Dutt, Hrithik Roshan, Kamal Hassan, Mausumi Chatterji, Chunki Pande, Rekha and Meenakshi Sheshadri are also Brahmins.

Saints

Brahmin saints include Adi Shankaracharya, Madhwacharya, Mandana Mishra,Chaitanya Mahaprabhu,Dnyaneshwar, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Ramakrishna Paramhansa, and Ramana Maharshi. Modern business leaders include the founder of Infosys, N. R. Narayana Murthy, Dr. Gururaj "Desh" Deshpande, the founder of the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at MIT.

Several notable names in Indian classical music belong to the Brahmin community, such as Bhimsen Joshi, Pandit Ravi Shankar, M. S. Subbulakshmi, Veena Doreswamy Iyengar, Mangalampalli Balamurali Krishna (popularly Dr. Balamurali Krishna), Pandit Jasraj, Shivkumar Sharma etc.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ For definition of the noun brāhmaṇaḥ as "1. A man belonging to the second of the four classes (varṇas instead of castes in Apte's Skt-Hindi dictionary) of the Hindus, a Brāhmaṇa(priest) (born from the mouth of the Purusha)"; and the adjective ब्राह्मण brāhmaṇa as "a. 1. Belonging to a Brāhmaṇa", and other meanings, see: Apte 1965, p. 707, Apte 1966, p. 724-25; on p.901 of the latter, Apte gave one of the meanings of varṇa as caste but qualified it with a statement: "mainly people of four varṇas of brāhmaṇa (scholars, priests), kṣatriya (warriors), vaiśya (merchants), śudra (artisans)", and did not permit use of the term varṇa for any caste other than these four.
  2. ^ For definition of ब्राह्मण brāhmaṇa, with last syllable showing a Vedic accent, used as a noun as "m. (having to do with Brahman or divine knowledge), one learned in the Veda, theologian, priest, Brāhman, man of the first four castes"; and definition of ब्राह्मण brāhmaṇa, with only first syllable showing a Vedic accent, used as an adjective as "a. (i) belonging to a Brāhman, Brāhmanic", see: Macdonell 1924, p. 199.
  3. ^ For definition of brāhmaṇa, with last syllable showing Vedic accents, as a noun, "m., one who has divine knowledge, a Brāhman. a man belonging to the 1st of the 3 twice-born classes and of the 4 original divisions of the Hindū body", and the adjective brāhmaṇa, with first syllable showing a Vedic accent, as "relating to or given by a Brāhman, befitting or becoming a Br., Brāhmanical", see: Monier-Williams, p. 741, middle column. Cf. Rgveda, Pune Edition, vol-5 (index), p.408 in which all occurrences of brāhmaṇa as first person singular show anudātta (absence of accent) on first two syllables.
  4. ^ For definition of the neuter noun brahman (with Vedic accent on first syllable) as "n. the class of men who are the repositories and communicators of sacred knowledge, the Bramānical caste as a body (rarely an individual Brāhman)"; and the masculine noun brahman (with Vedic accent on final syllable) as "one who prays, a devout or religious man, a Brāhman who is a knower of Vedic texts or spells, one versed in sacred knowledge", see: MW, pp. 737-738.
  5. ^ Vedic Management, Dr. S. Kannan Ph.D (Sanskrit-Management), Page 168. ISBN 81-7496-900-4
  6. ^ Monier-Williams: inspired, inwardly stirred, wise, learned, etc.
  7. ^ 'Dvija was used more frequently for Brahmins, but it also included Kṣatriyas and Vaiśyas who were "reborn through investiture with the sacred thread" - Monier-Williams.
  8. ^ Manoranjan Mohanty. Class, Caste, Gender‎. 2004. "During the period of Brahminical domination, treating Brahmins unfairly and discrimination against non-Brahmins were both widespread."
  9. ^ S. N. Sadasivan. A Social History of India. Page 229. APH Publishing, 2000. ISBN 817648170X, .
  10. ^ Reversal of Fortune Isolates India's Brahmins. The Wall Street Journal
  11. ^ Are Brahmins the Dalits of today?. May 23, 2006. Rediff.com.
  12. ^ A detailed article on Brahmins at Vepachedu Educational Foundation
  13. ^ Brāhmanotpatti Martanda, cf. Dorilal Sharma, p.41-42
  14. ^ Mentioned by Jogendra Nath Bhattacharya in "Hindu Castes and Sects." A detailed article on various castes and groups of Brahmins at www.vedah.net [1]
  15. ^ a b P. 849 Gujarat State Gazetteers By Gujarat (India), 1984
  16. ^ Bayly, Christopher Alan (1983). Rulers, Townsmen, and Bazaars: North Indian Society in the Age of British Expansion, 1770-1870. Cambridge University Press. p. 489 (at p 18). ISBN 9780521310543. 
  17. ^ Bayly, Susan (2001). Caste, Society and Politics in India from the Eighteenth Century to the Modern Age. Cambridge University Press. p. 440 (at p 203). ISBN 9780521798426. 
  18. ^ Jaffrelot, Christophe (2003). India's silent revolution: the rise of the lower castes in North India. New York: Columbia University Press. pp. 68. ISBN 978-0231127868. OCLC 50064516. 
  19. ^ a b The Boxers, China, and the World. Rowman & Littlefield. 2007. p. 231 (at p 63). ISBN 978-0742553958. 
  20. ^ Crooke, William (1999). The Tribes and Castes of the North-Western Provinces and Oudh. 6A, Shahpur Jat, New Delhi-110049, India: Asian Educational Services. ISBN 8120612108. 
  21. ^ A detailed article on Brahmins of Andhra Pradesh at Vepachedu Educational Foundation [2]
  22. ^ a b Leider, Jacques P.. "Specialists for Ritual, Magic and Devotion: The Court Brahmins of the Konbaung Kings". The Journal of Burma Studies 10: 159–180. 
  23. ^ A detailed article on Gotras of Brahmins at Vepachedu Educational Foundation [3]
  24. ^ A detailed article on Gotras and pravaras of Brahmins at Vepachedu Educational Foundation [4]
  25. ^ Manu Smriti on learning of the Vedas
  26. ^ A detailed article on various sects and rishis of Brahmins at Vepachedu Educational Foundation [5]
  27. ^ (Bhanu, B. V., P. 948, People of India)
  28. ^ P. 17 Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology and Religion, Geography, History and Literature By John Dowson
  29. ^ (P. 227 History of Indian Theatre By Manohar Laxman Varadpande)
  30. ^ Crooke, William (1999). The Tribes and Castes of the North-Western Provinces and Oudh. 6A, Shahpur Jat, New Delhi-110049, India: Asian Educational Services. pp. 1809 (at page 64). ISBN 8120612108. 
  31. ^ a b c P. 201, Professor A.L. Basham, My Guruji and Problems and Perspectives of Ancient ...By Sachindra Kumar Maity
  32. ^ P. 29 Cultural History from the Matsyapurāṇa By Sureshachandra Govindlal Kantawala
  33. ^ P. 37 Asian Medical Systems: A Comparative Study By Charles Leslie
  34. ^ a b P. 13 Castes And Tribes Of Southern India By Edgar Thurston, K. Rangachari
  35. ^ http://vedabase.net/sb/7/11/14/en | Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 7.11.14
  36. ^ a b c "Mahima Dharma, Bhima Bhoi and Biswanathbaba"
  37. ^ Brahmanavagga - The Holy Man
  38. ^ a b Peter Masefield, Divine Revelation in Pali Buddhism
  39. ^ P. 41 A comprehensive history of Indian Buddhism By Asim Kumar Chatterjee
  40. ^ Western sociologists on Indian society: Marx, Spencer, Weber, Durkheim, Pareto By Gurmukh Ram Madan
  41. ^ http://www.catmando.com/casinosnepal/july/buddhist.htm Mahabouddha temple
  42. ^ http://www.luxlapis.co.za/arahats.htm Arhants
  43. ^ a b c d arahats
  44. ^ Contents
  45. ^ From the Caves and Jungles of Hindustan Chapter III
  46. ^ Glossary from The Great Image - RangjungYesheWiki
  47. ^ Manjushri
  48. ^ Babad Gumi
  49. ^ Dog
  50. ^ a b A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms, by Fa-hsien (chapter27)
  51. ^ shambhala.com
  52. ^ Keith Dowman / Dzogchen Masters
  53. ^ Nagasena presented in Non Famous section
  54. ^ Web Page Under Construction
  55. ^ http://www.deccanherald.com/deccanherald/Mar/ac2.asp
  56. ^ Peoples of Art
  57. ^ P.21 Jaina-rūpa-maṇḍana =: Jaina Iconography By Umakant Premanand Shah
  58. ^ http://dr-upinder-fotadar.sulekha.com/blog/post/2008/06/the-kashmiri-pandits-an-important-component-of-the.htm
  59. ^ http://gurbani101.net/GURUS/GURUTEGBHADURJI/tabid/149/language/en-US/Default.aspx
  60. ^ Bards/Bhatts in Adi Granth: Bhatt Mathura
  61. ^ P. 270, "THE MUSLIM WORLD"

References

External links


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010
(Redirected to brahmin article)

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Contents

English

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Wikipedia

Etymology

Anglicised from Sanskrit ब्राह्मण (brā́hmaṇa).

Noun

Singular
brahmin

Plural
brahmins

brahmin (plural brahmins)

  1. a Hindu priestly caste; one of the four varnas or social groups based on occupation in ancient Hindu society
  2. one who has realized or attempts to realize Brahman, i.e. God or supreme knowledge
  3. scholar, teacher, priest, intellectual, researcher, scientist, knowledge-seeker, or knowledge worker
  4. social and cultural elite, especially in the New England region of the USA
  5. a learned person of refined taste and mild manners

Synonyms

  • brahmana

Related terms

Adjective

brahmin (not comparable)

Positive
brahmin

Comparative
not comparable

Superlative
none (absolute)

  1. of or relating to the caste of brahmins
  2. scholarly

Synonyms

  • brahminic
  • brahminical

Genealogy

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Familypedia

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Facts about BrahminRDF feed

This article uses material from the "Brahmin" article on the Genealogy wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

Simple English

Brahmin is a division of the caste system. A brahmin is a teacher, doctor, scholar, and/or religious person.








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