(Last Updated on : 31/08/2017)
Brahmin is considered as a member of the priestly caste
of the country. In Hinduism
, there is the concept of Varna system where the society is stratified into four Varnas or castes - Brahmin, Kshatriya
. The Brahmin occupies the highest level in the Varna system and is considered to be the priest class in the Varna system of ancient India
. The word Brahmin has been derived from the Sanskrit
word Brahmana. Besides Hinduism, Brahmins are also found in Buddhism
has a list on the Buddhist Brahmin section. Brahmin Bhikshus were quite common with this religious sect. Other sects like Jainism
also bear testimony to the existence of Brahmins within their religious sects.
History of Brahmin
Some parts of India were also ruled by Brahmin Kings. From Vedic
times on, the Kings acted in close relationship with Brahmins and relied on them as their advisors. The Brahmins had become an influential and powerful group in India and were famous for discriminating against 'lower' castes. The history
of the Brahmin community in India starts with the Vedic religious conviction of early Hinduism which is now frequently referred to by Hindus as Sanatan Dharm. Vedas
are the main source of knowledge for Brahmin practices. Most sampradayas of Brahmins have taken motivation from the Vedas.
The Brahmins only show up in the historical evidence around the time of the Gupta Empire
, which ruled from the 4th to the 6th century CE. The caste system has clearly been more flexible, in terms of suitable work for Brahmins, than one might anticipate. With the sovereignty of the Maratha Dynasty
, members of the Brahmin caste served as administration and military leaders, occupations more characteristically associated with the Kshatriya
The Muslim rulers of the Mughal Dynasty
also used Brahmins as advisors and government officials, as did the British Raj in India
. The ancient Hindu caste system is divided on the basis of occupation. With the Vedic religion
in ancient India
the history of the Brahmin community actually begins. In chapter ten of the Rig Veda
, Brahmins were created from the mouth of Purusha
. The primary source of knowledge for all Brahmin tradition, both orthodox and heterodox lies in the Vedas. The origin of the Brahmins can be traced back to 6000 B.C. the earliest references are found in Vedas. Brahmins are known as Vedic People. Vedas depict them as a population originating in North India
Pakistan and Afghanistan. Sages
, Brihaspati, Daksha
and Yamaand and several others are mentioned in the mythological
texts and Vedas. They imparted education and led a life of simplicity. The life of an Indian Brahmin is divided into four stages - Brahmacharya
, Vanaprastha and Sannyasa
Culture of Brahmin
The Brahmins conventional occupation is that of a priest. In Odisha
, West Bengal
, and Uttar Pradesh
, many Brahmin have land and practice agriculture
with the administration facility, business, household industry and astrology. No one apart from a Brahmin can be a socially accepted priest. Brahmins were the foremost to act in response to English education
and the first to benefit from political and managerial power.
The Brahmin caste is mainly the strict vegetarians. In Punjab
and Himachal Pradesh
, the younger generation eats meat. Rice
are the staple cereals. In dry regions such as Rajasthan
, coarse cereals like bajra and jowar, seasonal vegetables
and dairy products are staple food for Brahmins.
The adequate age for marriage
is 18 and older for men. Marriages are in order by the parents and monogamy is the standard. The family property is inherited equally by sons only, the eldest son following to the head of the family. Wives spread vermilion powder known as sindur along with the hair parting and wear toe rings. Payment of dowry is both in cash and goods. Divorce is rare and remarriage for widows is forbidden. Widowers however, are allowed to remarry.
The Brahmans are alienated into 10 major protective divisions, 5 of which are connected with the north and five with the south. The northern group consists of Sarasvati, Gauda
, and Utkal
Brahmans, and the southern group comprises of Maharashtra
, Dravida, Karnata, and Malabar. The various Brahmin castes are Chitpavana Brahmins
, Dadhich Brahmins, Dayama Brahmins, Daivajna Brahmins, Deshastha Brahmins, Dravida Brahmins, Gaud Brahmins, Gouda Saraswat Brahmins, Havyaka Brahmins, Hoysala Karnataka Brahmins, Iyers, Kandavara Brahmins, Karade Brahmins, Karhada Brahmins, Kayastha Brahmins, Khandelwal Brahmins, Kota Brahmins, Konkanastha Brahmins, Koteshwara Brahmins, Maithil Brahmins, Nagar Brahmins, Namboothiri Brahmins, Niyogi Brahmins, Padia Brahmins, Rajapur Saraswat Brahmins, Saklapuri Brahmins, Sanketi Brahmins, Saraswat Brahmins, shree gaud brahmins, Shivalli Brahmins, Smarta Brahmins, Sthanika Brahmins, Thenkalai Iyengars, Tuluva Brahmins, Vadagalai Iyengars, Vaidiki Brahmins and Vaishnava Brahmins.
Brahmin in different states
In Andhra Pradesh, the Brahmins are categorized into two groups - Vaidika and Niyogi, Bihar Brahmins are divided into two broad groups namely Bhumihar Brahmins and the Maithili Brahmins. In Karnataka
, the Brahmins are divided into three major groups namely Smarthas, Madhvas (or Vaisnavas) and Sri-Vaishnavas (Iyengars).
Brahmins are classified into two groups in Kerala
, while the major priestly activities are performed by Namboothris and the other activities associated with the temple is performed by Pushpaka Brahmins. In Rajasthan, Brahmins are mainly classified into Dahima Brahmin, Gaud Brahmin, Sri Gaud Brahmin, Khandelwal Brahmin, Gujar-Gaud Brahmins.