What are the different types of brahmins


Brahmin, Brahmin (Sanskrit: ब्राह्मण brāhmaṇa Brahmanam.) is a brahmin, a priest, member of the priest caste. Brahmin is actually not a Sanskrit word. Brahmin is an English spelling for Brahmin that has become so popular that Indian yoga masters and Indian authors also speak of Brahmin. So when you read "Brahmin" in an English book, you mean a Brahmin, a member of the Brahmin caste.

The Brahmin - the Brahman aspirant

In a broader sense, Brahmin is of course any kind of priest. Brahmana is actually someone who strives for Brahman and who is anchored in Brahman. In this sense, Brahmana would be any spiritual aspirant who aspires to the highest, and even more, anyone who experiences the highest. But from a practical point of view, when Brahmin or Brahmana is mentioned in India, then the member of the Brahmin caste is meant.

The Indian Brahmin caste

The Brahmin caste is one of the priestly castes in the country. In Hinduism, there is the Varna system, in which society is divided into four Varnas or castes - Brahmins, Kshatriya, Vaishya, and Sudras. The Brahmins form the highest caste in the Varna system and are considered the priestly caste in the Varna system of ancient India. In the Hindu Varna system, the members of the Brahmins are the spiritual leaders of society.

The strict caste system in India has divided society into four classes, with the Brahmins occupying the highest position. They are responsible for performing religious rituals as they are considered the scholars. Brahmins, the privileged in ancient India, usually held important positions at the royal court and received generous rewards for performing rituals and ceremonies.

The classification of this ancient Hindu caste system developed during the occupation. The history of the Brahmin community begins with the Vedic religion in ancient India. In chapter ten of the Rig Veda, the Brahmins arose from the mouth of Purusha. The original source of knowledge in both the Orthodox and the heterodox Brahmanic tradition is the Vedas. The name Brahman is derived from brih or vrih, which means "to grow". The origin of the Brahmins is around 6000 BC. BC, the earliest mentions are in the Vedas. Brahmins are known to be Vedic people. In the Vedas they are represented as people who originally came from northern India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Wise people like Vishwamitra, Agastya, Brihaspati, Daksha, Kashyapa, Manu, Parasara, Vashishta, Vyasa, Yamaand and some others appear in the mythological texts of the Vedas. They taught and lived simple lives. The life of an Indian Brahmin has four parts - Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha and Sannyasa.

Historical sources show that Brahmins were not only priests, scholars, and emeritus, but also worked as warriors and businessmen when necessary. One of the greatest and wise warriors was Parashuram. However, the image of the Brahmins changed over time. Nevertheless, they still held important positions at the royal court. They were either teachers or advisers to the kings.

There are numerous groups among the Brahmins. Because of their high prestige and long tradition of teaching, they dominated Indian science for centuries. The many Brahmanic castes are Chitpavana Brahmin, Dadhich Brahmin, Dayama Brahman, Daivajna Brahmin, Deshastha Brahmin, Dravida Brahman, Gaud Brahmin, Gouda Saraswat Brahman, Havyaka Brahman, Brahmin Brahman, Kaymanhaen Brahman, Brahmin Brahman, Kaymanha, Karhavar Khandelwal Brahmins, Kota Brahmin, Konkanastha Brahman, Koteshwara Brahman, Maithil Brahmin, Nagar Brahman, Namboothiri Brahmin, Niyogi Brahman, Padia Brahman, Rajapur Saraswat Brahmani, Brahmani Shaman, Brahmani Brahmani, Brahmani Brahmani, Brahmani, Brahmani, Brahmani, Brahmani Sthanika Brahmin, Thenkalai Iyengars, Tuluva Brahmin, Vadagalai Iyengars, Vaidiki Brahmin, and Vaishnava Brahmin. On the Indian subcontinent, the Brahmanic castes are divided into the two regional groups Pancha-Gauda Brahmins and Pancha-Dravida Brahmins. In northern India, Pancha-Gauda has the five castes Saraswata, Kanyakubja, Gaudra, Utkala and Maithil. In South India, Pancha-Dravida has five castes.

In Andhra Pradesh the Brahmins are divided into two groups - Vaidika and Niyogi and in Bihar into the two large groups of Bhumihar Brahmins and Maithili Brahmins.

There are three major groups of Brahmins in Karnataka - namely Smarthas, Madhvas (or Vaishnavas) and Sri-Vaishnavas (Iyengars). There are two groups of Brahmins in Kerala. While most priestly activities are carried out by the Namboothris, the Pushpaka Brahmins do all other work in a temple. In Rajasthan, the Brahmins are divided into Dahima Brahmins, Gaud Brahmins, Sri Gaud Brahmins, Khandelwal Brahmins and Gujar-Gaud Brahmins. There are eight sages in whom one believes - Vishwamitra, Jamadagni, Bharadwaja, Gautama, Gatri, Vashishta, Kashyapa and Agastya and the descendants of these sages are said to be the gotras, which are divided into the four subgroups Upamanyu, Parashara, Kundina and Vasishtha. Unlike the Gotras, the Pravaras have two groups, namely Sishya-Prasishya-Rishi-Parampara and Putrparampara.

Being a priestly caste, Brahmins are expected to control their emotions and senses, live pure and celibate, be honest and tolerant, live simple lives, believe in God, and study and teach scriptures. In ancient India, the Brahmins performed rituals such as Snana (bathing), Sandhyavandana, Japa, Puja, Aupasana and Agnihotra. In addition to Hinduism, there are Brahmins also in Buddhism. Dhammapada has a list of the Brahmin part in Buddhism. The bhikshus brahmins were quite familiar with this religious tendency. There is also evidence of the existence of Brahmins in other currents such as Jainism, Islam and Sikhism.

Different brahmin sects

The Brahmins are represented by seven sects, each of which has a known penitent as its patron saint. They are also divided into four classes, each of which feels that it belongs to one of the four Vedas. Accordingly, there are Brahmins of the Yajur Veda, the Sama Veda, the Rig Veda and the Atharva Veda. It is said that the latter are already extinct. In fact, however, they still exist, even if only a few of their representatives have remained. They are more exoteric than other castes as they allow bloody sacrificial rituals and do not even shy away from human sacrifices. Furthermore, they teach the belief in witchcraft and anyone who follows the art acquires the despicable reputation of a sorcerer. Brahmins of all four Vedas are usually present in Yajna sacrificial rituals. Prayers offered at Sandhya are quoted from all four Vedas. Brahmins are differentiated according to their sects, as well as their names and according to the signs they wear on their foreheads and other parts of the body. Furthermore, one differentiates between them on the basis of their affiliation to the sphere of influence of a certain high priest.

The four basic sects of the South Indian Brahmins are the Vaishnava, the Smarthas, the Tatuvadis, and the Utrassas. The main characteristic of the Vaishnava Brahmins is the Namam. Her Simhasana, the place where her high priest resides and where her high school is also located, is hobbala, in northern Karnatik (southern India). The Smartha Brahmins wear three horizontal lines of sandalwood paste on their foreheads. Your Simhasana is in northwest Masur. In addition to the horizontal lines that they wear above their brows, the Atuvadi Brahmins use indelible symbols that are burned into certain areas of the body with a red-hot iron. Her Simhasana is in Sravenur. The Utrassa Brahmins draw a straight line from the highest point of their forehead to the bridge of their nose.

Others more or less look down on those known as Cholias Brahmins. These direct their attention to the realization of their own inferiority. For this reason they distance themselves from the other Brahmins. All of the lower activities in the temples are performed by them, such as washing or decorating the statues of the gods, preparing candles, incense, flowers, fruits, rice and other similar objects from which offerings are made.

In many temples even sudras (untouchables) are allowed to perform these functions and representatives of this caste are always selected to fill the office of sacrificial priest in pagodas, where billy goats, pigs, roosters and other live sacrifices are offered. A Brahmin would never consent to participate actively in rituals in which blood is shed. It is perhaps because of these activities that they condescend to do that the Choline Brahmins are viewed with such contempt. According to the general view of the Brahmins not to do any work that could be left for the lowest of the Untouchables, this would be to go to their level. That would be seen as a humiliation. In any case, people don't think much of the work of a pujari, and some consider it humiliating. However, because of their poverty, some Brahmins have to accept these activities, which they do with the greatest dislike. It is a common saying among them that there are many roles to play for the sake of your own gut.

There are other brahmins derided as meat and fish brahmins. There are, for example, the Konkani Brahmins, who come from Konkana, who eat fish and eggs without the slightest hesitation or remorse, but would never touch meat. And there are many Brahmins from the northern provinces who make no secret of eating meat. When these Brahmins visit South India and their habits become known, all other Brahmins keep them at a distance and refuse to trade with them.

The story of the greedy brahmin

Excerpt from the book "Jnana Yoga" by Swami Sivananda (Ed .: Divine Life Society, 2007), pp. 175-178

A rich, greedy and suffering Brahmin lived in Avanti. He was so stingy that he never ate fine food and never wore good clothes. He never helped his friends and relatives. His only joy was hoarding money. His wife and children were disappointed in him.

Over time, he lost his wealth. The king took a part, the relatives part. His wife, sons, daughters, relatives and friends did not care about him. He was now penniless and in an awkward position.

Vairagya now awoke in him. The world disgusted him. He regretted his actions and thought to himself, 'I fell under the illusion of useless prosperity. I haven't done anything good until today. I have not done the PanchaMahaYajnas. I haven't given my body the slightest comfort. I did not help my friends and relatives. I have not developed any virtues. Prosperity can hardly bring happiness to people. It brings him suffering while alive and hell after death. Even one iota of avarice is enough to ruin a person's reputation and overlook their excellent qualities. Just as a small patch of white skin on the face spoils the grace of a beautiful woman.

Theft, hurting others, mendacity, hypocrisy, lust, anger, pride, arrogance, fragmentation, hostility, suspicion, rivalry and the three types of tapa, adhyatma, adhidaiva and adhibhauta, these fifteen misdeeds are the result of prosperity. So whoever wants to attain ultimate bliss, distance oneself from the devil's stuff of prosperity. Money is the realm of the devil.

By the grace of Hari, I developed Vairagya. I will practice tapas until the end of my life. I will cross the ocean of samsara on the raft of Vairagya and I will experience satisfaction in self by gaining knowledge of self. ‘

The Brahmin from Avanti became a sannyasin, wandered the world alone and lived on alms. He kept his mind and senses under control. Vile people humiliated him in various ways. Some spat at him, others stole his rosary and his water jug, they tore his blanket and his clothes; he was mocked, insulted and mocked. Some said, 'He's not really a sannyasin. He lost his property and took sannyasa to make a living. He is a hypocrite and a thief. ”The sannyasin endured everything with patience and said,“ All of this is predetermined. I have to endure with strength. Only in this way can I attain immortality and eternal bliss.

Not the body, not the atman, not the gods, not the planets, not the work, not the time are the cause of joy and suffering. This wretched mind gives joy and sorrow and creates samsara. This terrible mind creates desires, selfishness, sankalpas, trishnas, likes and dislikes. Man acts through his ego and seeks the fruits of his actions. Therefore, he is born again and again, depending on the nature of his actions.

The silent Sakshi, Paramatman, looks from above on the activities of the mind of the individual soul. He is indifferent and unaffected. It is not touched, just as the water does not touch the lotus. The individual soul identifies with the body, the mind, the work and enjoys the sense objects with greed and stupidity and is thereby bound.

Control of the mind is the highest yoga. Generosity, selfless action, vows, agnihotra, sravana, listening to sruti, virtuous deeds, japa, pranayama, meditation, vichara, the question 'Who am I?', All of which help bring the mind under control. Whoever controls the mind is the god of gods.

This unclean body is a phantom of the mind. Fools mistake the body for the real self and say, 'This is my body. This body is the true self. I am this body. I am Lord so and so. I am a brahmin. I am king. She is my wife. This is my son. This is my house. This is my country'. These thoughts are misleading, those who think so wander in the infinite wilderness of ignorance and are caught in the wheel of birth and death.

If the body is the cause of joy and sorrow, the atman remains unaffected because they belong to the subtle and gross body, which is a creation of the Prakriti. The Atman is always the silent witness of the activities of the Prakriti. If you bite your tongue, who should you blame for the pain?

If the gods are the cause of joy and suffering, then it certainly does not affect the Atman, but the gods, who are affected by it alone. If your limbs are fighting, which one should you blame for the pain?

Nothing exists besides the atman. If the Atman is the cause of joy and sorrow, there can be no external cause for it. Joy and sorrow are made up of themselves because there is nothing besides the Atman. And if it does, then it is a misconception. So what should you be angry about? There is neither joy nor sorrow.

If the planets are the cause of joy and sorrow, the atman, which is without birth, is not affected because the planets exert their influence only on the body. The planets work in the zodiac depending on their position. The Atman is completely different from body and planet. So what should you be angry about?

If work is the cause of joy and sorrow, then the silent, non-acting Atman has nothing to do with it, because work can only be done by a conscious doer. The body is not conscious (Achit), but the Atman is pure and intelligent. Work is not the cause of joy and sorrow. So what should you be angry about?

If time is the cause of joy and sorrow, how can it touch the atman? Atman and time are one. The flame is not touched by the fire, the hail is not touched by the cold. The Atman is beyond the Prakriti and cannot be affected by opposites. So what should you be angry about?

I will practice devotion to the Supreme Self and worship the feet of God, so I will cross the ocean of samsara and experience immortality and the eternal bliss of the self. ‘

The sannyasin, who had lost his prosperity and was disgusted with the world, gained knowledge of the self, traveled over the earth without fear or worry. He walked steadfastly on his way of duty and righteousness, although the wicked tormented him. This world consists of friends, neutrals and enemies, heat and cold, hunger and thirst, joy and sorrow, praise and blame, honor and contempt, gain and loss, victory and defeat. All of this arises in the mind due to ignorance.

Therefore give up prosperity, it is the cause of all suffering. Give up attachment to wealth. Give up the desire for wealth. Cultivate Vairagya, the cure for all suffering.Take refuge in God. Sing about His glory. Sing his name. Meditate. Connect with Brahman. Control the mind. Rise above opposition. That is the essence of yoga.

See also


  • Swami Sivananda, The Power of Thought (2012)
  • Swami Sivananda, Gods and Goddesses in Hinduism (2008)
  • Swami Sivananda, Jnana Yoga, Ed .: Divine Life Society, 2007
  • Swami Sivananda, Inspirational Stories (2005)
  • Swami Sivananda, Japa Yoga (2003)
  • Swami Sivananda, Divine Knowledge (2001)
  • Swami Sivananda, autobiography by Swami Sivananda (1999)
  • Swami Sivananda, Shrimad Bhagavad Gita. Explanatory text and commentary by Swami Sivananda (1998)
  • Swami Sivananda, Thoughts on Contemplation (1996)
  • Swami Sivananda, Hatha Yoga. The Safe Path to Good Health, Long Life, and Awakening of the Higher Forces (1964)
  • Swami Sivananda, Sadhana - A textbook on techniques for spiritual perfection
  • Swami Sivananda: Festivals and Lent Days in Hinduism, Yoga Vidya Verlag
  • The yoga wisdom of Patanjali for people of today

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