Update: 2016-04-25 07:17 AM -0400


The Brahmins


by U Kyaw Tun (UKT) M.S. (I.P.S.T., U.S.A.) Based on Wikipedia and other sources. Not for sale. No copyright. Free for everyone. Prepared for students and staff of TIL Research Station, Yangon, MYANMAR : 
- http://www.tuninst.net , www.romabama.blogspot.com
#1. Wikipedia: - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahmin 160421

 index.htm | |Top

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Not to be confused with Brahman – a metaphysical concept in Hinduism, Brahma – a Hindu god, or Brahmana – a layer of text in the Vedas, most likely introduced much later - a creation of {braah~ma.Na.poaN~Na:} to promote their own interest.

UKT 160424: There are 3 words which have always confused me, because of English transliterations:
¤ Brahman ब्रह्मन् 'supreme, universal Spirit'
  -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahman 120913
¤ Brahma ब्रह्मा (= ब ् र ह ् म ा) {brah~ma} 'Hindu god of creation' -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahma 120913
  To the Buddhists, who do not believe in Creation, he (she, or it) is just one the higher forms beings still connected to the Material world {ru-pa.brah~ma-lau:ka.}. Many of them became the disciples of Gautama Buddha, but there are others who opposed him.
¤ Brahmin aka Brahman {braah~ma.Na.poaN~Na:} - from «brāhmaṇa» ब्राह्मण 'member of a caste'
  -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahmin 120913
The word Brahmana {braah~ma.Na.} means a layer of text in the Vedas. 

If you use the Skt-Dev or Bur-Myan spellings, there is no confusion. In the above, the first two are not human, but the third Brahmin aka Brahman is human, a member of Ponna {poaN~Na:}-caste. The males are {poaN~Na:}, and the females are {poaN~Né:ma.}.

01. Introduction

02. Vedic sources
02.1. Purusha Sukta
02.2. Shrauta Sutras
02.3. Caste system and the Veda - UKT 060425: addition from my old notes

03. Dharmasutras and Dharmashastras

04. Normative occupations of a Brahmin
04.1. Brahmin and renunciation tradition in Hinduism

05. History
05.1 Actual occupations of Brahmins
05.2. Brahmins, bhakti movement and social reform movements
05.3. Modern demographics and economic condition

06. Brahmins outside India: Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia
06.1. Brahmana-Ponna - UKT 060425: addition from my old notes

07. See also
08. References
09. Further readings
10. External links

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01. Introduction

Brahmin is a varna (caste) in Hinduism - an Axiomatic religion: exactly the opposite of Buddhism which is a Non-axiomatic faith. The Brahmins specialising as priests, teachers (acharya) and protectors of sacred learning across generations. [1] [2] [3]

Brahmins traditionally were responsible for religious rituals in temples, as intermediaries between temple deities and devotees, as well as rite of passage rituals such as solemnising a wedding with hymns and prayers. [3] [4] However, Indian texts suggest that Brahmins were often agriculturalists and warriors in ancient and medieval India. [4] [5]

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02. Vedic sources

02.1. Purusha Sukta

Main article: Purusha Sukta

The earliest inferred reference to "Brahmin" as a possible social class is in the Rigveda, occurs once, and the hymn is called Purusha Sukta. [6] According to this hymn in Mandala 10, Brahmins are described as having emerged from the mouth of Purusha, being that part of the body from which words emerge. [7] [8]

यत् पुरुषं व्यदधुः कतिधा व्यकल्पयन् ।
मुखं किम् अस्य कौ बाहू का ऊरू पादा उच्येते ॥११॥

ब्राह्मणो ऽस्य मुखम् आसीद् बाहू राजन्यः कृतः ।
ऊरू तद् अस्य यद् वैश्यः पद्भ्यां शूद्रो अजायत ॥१२॥

11 When they divided Puruṣa how many portions did they make?
What do they call his mouth, his arms? What do they call his thighs and feet?

12 The Brahmin was his mouth, of both his arms was the Rājanya made.
His thighs became the Vaiśya, from his feet the Śūdra was produced.

—  Rigveda 10.90.11-2, Translation by Ralph TH Griffith [9]

This Purusha Sukta varna verse is now generally considered to have been inserted at a later date into the Vedic text, possibly as a charter myth. [10] Stephanie Jamison and Joel Brereton, a professor of Sanskrit and Religious studies, state, "there is no evidence in the Rigveda for an elaborate, much-subdivided and overarching caste system", and "the varna system seems to be embryonic in the Rigveda and, both then and later, a social ideal rather than a social reality". [10]

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02.2 Shrauta Sutras

Main article: Yajna

Ancient texts describing community-oriented Vedic yajna rituals mention four to five priests: the hotar, the adhvaryu, the udgatar, the Brahmin and sometimes the ritvij. [11] [12] The functions associated with the priests were:

• The Hotri recites invocations and litanies drawn from the Rigveda. [13]

• The Adhvaryu is the priest's assistant and is in charge of the physical details of the ritual like measuring the ground, building the altar explained in the Yajurveda. The adhvaryu offers oblations. [13]

• The Udgatri is the chanter of hymns set to melodies and music (sāman) drawn from the Samaveda. The udgatar, like the hotar, chants the introductory, accompanying and benediction hymns. [13]

• The Brahmin recites from the Atharvaveda. [12]

• The Ritvij is the chief operating priest. [12]


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02.3. Caste system and Veda

UKT 130601, 130721, 160425

¤ Brahma ब्रह्मा (= ब ् र ह ् म ा) {brah~ma} 'Hindu god of creation'

The caste system was devised by the {braah~ma.Na. poaN~Na:} to perpetrate themselves as mouth-piece of the ब्रह्मा (= ब ् र ह ् म ा) {brah~ma} styled by {braah~ma.Na. poaN~Na:} as the Creator. Because of their learning, they styled themselves as the top or first class, the kingly class as the second, the tradesman the third, and the militarily conquered original natives of the land as Shudras or slaves and servants. They classed the females including their own into the same class as the Shudras and would denied them the chance to learn the Veda {wé-da.}. Apart from the four, are the Chandalas {sûN~dð-la.} the 'out caste'.

Curiously, if you are to judge the importance of the gods in the Vedas by the number of hymns dedicated to them, none of the 3 gods of the {braah~ma.Na. poaN~Na:}, the Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva are of importance. This has led me to believe that the Vedas did not belong to the {braah~ma.Na. poaN~Na:} originally, but to the original inhabitants of the land who had been now classed as Sudras. See Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rigvedic_deities 130721.

The top three gods are: Indra 289, Agni 218, Soma 123. The prominent deities of later Hinduism (Rudra being an early of form of Shiva) are present as marginal gods. The number of hymns being:  Vishnu 6, Brahmanaspati 6, Rudra 5.

The caste system is very much against the views of Gautama Buddha who came from the kingly class. Because of the Buddha's ancestry, the word {hkût~ti.ya.} is well known to the Myanmar Buddhist. From this word, and its 'negative' {a.hkût~ti.ya.}, we can conclude that the conjunct {kSa.} is used in अक्षत्र «a-kṣatra» with {a.} as negation.

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03. Dharmasutras and Dharmasatras

The Dharmasutras and Dharmasatras text of Hinduism describe the expectations, duties and role of Brahmins. The rules and duties in these Dharma texts of Hinduism, states Patrick Olivelle, are primarily directed at Brahmins. [14] [15]

The Gautama's Dharmasutra, the oldest of surviving Hindu Dharmasutras, for example, states in verse 9.54-9.55 that a Brahmin should not participate or perform a ritual unless he is invited to do so, but he may attend. Gautama outlines the following rules of conduct for a Brahmin, in Chapters 8 and 9: [16] [17]

1. Be always truthful
2. Conduct himself as an Aryan
3. Teach his art only to virtuous men
4. Follow rules of ritual purification
5. Study Vedas with delight
6. Never hurt any living creature
7. Be gentle but steadfast
8. Have self-control
9. Be kind, liberal towards everyone

Virtues more important than rituals

A [Brahmin] man who has performed the forty sacramental rites, but lacks eight virtues does not obtain union with or residence in the same world as Brahman. A man who may have performed just some rites, but possesses these eight virtues, on the other hand, does. — Gautama Dharmasutra 9.24-9.25 [18]

Chapter 8 of the Dharmasutra, states Olivelle, asserts the functions of a Brahmin to be to learn the Vedas, the secular sciences, the Vedic supplements, the dialogues, the epics and the Puranas; to understand the texts and pattern his conduct according to precepts contained in this texts, to undertake Sanskara (rite of passage) and rituals, and lead a virtuous life. [19]

The text lists eight virtues that a Brahmin must inculcate: compassion, patience, lack of envy, purification, tranquility, auspicious disposition, generosity and lack of greed, and then asserts in verse 9.24-9.25, that it is more important to lead a virtuous life than perform rites and rituals, because virtue leads to achieving liberation (moksha, a life in the world of Brahman). [19]

The later Dharma texts of Hinduism such as Baudhayana Dharmasutra add charity, modesty, refraining from anger and never being arrogant as duties of a Brahmin. [20] The Vasistha Dharmasutra in verse 6.23 lists discipline, austerity, self-control, liberality, truthfulness, purity, Vedic learning, compassion, erudition, intelligence and religious faith as characteristics of a Brahmin. [21] In 13.55, the Vasistha text states that a Brahmin must not accept weapons, poison or liquor as gifts. [22]

The Dharmasastras such as Manusmriti, like Dharmsutras, are codes primarily focussed on how a Brahmin must live his life, and their relationship with a king and warrior class. [23] Manusmriti dedicates 1,034 verses, the largest portion, on laws for and expected virtues of Brahmins. [24] It asserts, for example,

A well disciplined Brahmin, although he knows just the Savitri verse, is far better than an undisciplined one who eats all types of food and deals in all types of merchandise though he may know all three Vedas.
— Manusmriti 2.118, Translated by Patrick Olivelle [25]

John Bussanich states that the ethical precepts set for Brahmins, in ancient Indian texts, are similar to Greek virtue-ethics, that "Manu's dharmic Brahmin can be compared to Aristotle's man of practical wisdom", [26] and that "the virtuous Brahmin is not unlike the Platonic-Aristotelian philosopher" with the difference that the latter was not sacerdotal. [27]

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Normative occupations of a Brahmin

The Gautama Dharmasutra states in verse 10.3 that it is obligatory on a Brahmin to learn and teach the Vedas. [28] Chapter 10 of the text, according to Olivelle translation, states that he may impart Vedic instructions to a teacher, relative, friend, elder, anyone who offers exchange of knowledge he wants, or anyone who pays for such education. [28] The Chapter 10 adds that a Brahmin may also engage in agriculture, trade, lend money on interest, while Chapter 7 states that a Brahmin may engage in the occupation of a warrior in the times of adversity. [28] [29] Typically, asserts Gautama Dharmasutra, a Brahmin should accept any occupation to sustain himself but avoid the occupations of a Shudra, but if his life is at stake a Brahmin may sustain himself by accepting occupations of a Shudra. [29] The text forbids a Brahmin from engaging in the trade of animals for slaughter, meat, medicines and milk products even in the times of adversity. [29]

The Apastamba Dharmasutra asserts in verse 1.20.10 that trade is generally not sanctioned for Brahmins, but in the times of adversity he may do so. [30] The chapter 1.20 of Apastamba, states Olivelle, forbids the trade of the following under any circumstances: human beings, meat, skins, weapons, barren cows, sesame seeds, pepper, and merits. [30]

The 1st millennium CE Dharmasastras, that followed the Dharmasutras contain similar recommendations on occupations for a Brahmin, both in prosperous or normal times, and in the times of adversity. [31] The widely studied Manusmriti, for example, states:

Except during a time of adversity, a Brahmin ought to sustain himself by following a livelihood that causes little or no harm to creatures. He should gather wealth just sufficient for his subsistence through irreproachable activities that are specific to him, without fatiguing his body. – 4.2-4.3 He must never follow a worldly occupation for the sake of livelihood, but subsist by means of a pure, upright and honest livelihood proper to a Brahmin. One who seeks happiness should become supremely content and self controlled, for happiness is rooted in contentment and its opposite is the root of unhappiness. – 4.11-4.12
—  Manusmriti, Translated by Patrick Olivelle [32]

The Manusmriti recommends that a Brahmin's occupation must never involve forbidden activities such as producing or trading poison, weapons, meat, trapping birds and others. [33] It also lists six occupations that it deems proper for a Brahmin: teaching, studying, offering yajna, officiating at yajna, giving gifts and accepting gifts. [33] Of these, states Manusmriti, three which provide a Brahmin with a livelihood are teaching, officiating at yajna, and accepting gifts. [34] The text states that teaching is best, and ranks the accepting of gifts as the lowest of the six. [33] In the times of adversity, Manusmriti recommends that a Brahmin may live by engaging in the occupations of the warrior class, or agriculture or cattle herding or trade. [34] Of these, Manusmriti in verses 10.83-10.84 recommends a Brahmin should avoid agriculture if possible because, according to Olivelle translation, agriculture "involves injury to living beings and dependence of others" when the plow digs the ground and injures the creatures that live in the soil. [34] [35] However, adds Manusmriti, even in the times of adversity, a Brahmin must never trade or produce poison, weapons, meat, soma, liquor, perfume, milk and milk products, molasses, captured animals or birds, beeswax, sesame seeds or roots. [34]

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04.1. Brahmin and renunciation tradition in Hinduism

The term Brahmin in Indian texts has signified someone who is good and virtuous, not just someone of priestly class. [36] Both Buddhist and Brahmanical literature, states Patrick Olivelle, repeatedly define "Brahmin" not in terms of family of birth, but in terms of personal qualities. [36] These virtues and characteristics mirror the values cherished in Hinduism during the Sannyasa stage of life, or the life of renunciation for spiritual pursuits. Brahmins, states Olivelle, were the social class from which most ascetics came. [36]

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According to Abraham Eraly, "Brahmin as a varna hardly had any presence in historical records before the Gupta Empire era" (3rd century to 6th century CE), and "no Brahmin, no sacrifice, no ritualistic act of any kind ever, even once, is referred to in any Indian text" dated to be from the first century CE or before. [37] Their role as priests and repository of sacred knowledge, as well as their importance in the practice of Vedic Shrauta rituals grew during the Gupta Empire era and thereafter. [37] However, the knowledge about actual history of Brahmins or other varnas of Hinduism in and after 1st-millennium is fragmentary and preliminary, with little that is from verifiable records or archeological evidence, and much that is constructed from a-historical Sanskrit works and fiction. Michael Witzel writes,

Toward a history of the Brahmins: Current research in the area is fragmentary. The state of our knowledge of this fundamental subject is preliminary, at best. Most Sanskrit works are a-historic or, at least, not especially interested in presenting a chronological account of India's history. When we actually encounter history, such as in Rajatarangini or in the Gopalavamsavali of Nepal, the texts do not deal with brahmins in great detail.
—   Michael Witzel, Review (1993) [38]


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Actual occupations of Brahmins

Pix on right: Adi Shankara a proponent of Advaita Vedanta, was born in a Brahmin family, and is credited with unifying and establishing the main currents of thought in Hinduism. [39] [40] [41]

UKT 160425: See also Viśvákarma in India
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vishwakarma_caste 160425
"The Vishwakarma (sometimes Visvakarma) community refer to themselves as the Viswabrahmin, and are sometimes described as an Indian caste. The community comprises five sub-groups—carpenters, blacksmiths, bell metalworkers, goldsmiths and stonemasons — who believe that they are descendants of Vishvakarman, a Hindu deity.
  "They worship various forms of this deity and follow five Vedas — Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda, Atharvaveda, and Pranava Veda"

Historical records, state scholars, suggest that Brahmin varna was not limited to a particular status or priest and teaching profession. [4] [5] [42] Historical records from mid 1st millennium CE and later, suggest Brahmins were agriculturalists and warriors in medieval India, quite often instead of as exception. [4] [5] [UKT ¶]

Donkin and other scholars state that Hoysala Empire records frequently mention Brahmin merchants "carried on trade in horses, elephants and pearls" and transported goods throughout medieval India before the 14th-century. [43] [44]

The Pali Canon expresses Hindu Brahmins as the most prestigious and elite non-Buddhist figures. [42] These and other Buddhist texts record the livelihood of Brahmins to have included handicrafts and artisan work such as carpentry and architecture. [42] [45] Buddhist sources extensively attest, state Greg Bailey and Ian Mabbett, that Brahmins were "supporting themselves not by religious practice, but employment in all manner of secular occupations", in the classical period of India. [42] Some of the Hindu Brahmin occupations mentioned in the Buddhist texts such as Jatakas and Sutta Nipata are very lowly. [42]

During the days of the Deccan sultanates, Telgu Niyogi brahmins from present day Telangana and Andhra region served the muslim sultans in many different roles such as accountants to being high level ministers of the sultans. Brahmins from present day Maharashtra effectively ran the revenue administration of the Bijapur Adilshahi. Later they also ran the local judicial service of the Bijapur state [46]

During the days of Maratha Empire in the 17th and 18th century, Marathi Brahmins played a leading part in formation and administration of the empire. For example, most of Shivaji's principal officers were Deshastha Brahmins. [47] [UKT ¶]

Some important contributors were warriors like Neelkanth Sarnaik, Keso Narayan Deshpande, Rahuji Somanath, Balaji and Chimnaji Deshpande of Pune, Ragho Ballal Atre, Moropant Pingale, Annaji Dato Sabnis and Melgiri Pandit. [48] [UKT ¶]

At one point in Maratha Empire, seven of eight Ashtapradhans came from the community which included important posts of Panditrao (ecclesiastical head) and Nyayadhish (chief justice). The Deshasthas were the natural leaders in the era of the foundation of the Maratha empire. [49] [UKT ¶]

Most importantly, all of the Peshwas during Shivaji's time were Deshasthas. [50] In 1713, Balaji Vishwanath Bhat was appointed as the fifth Peshwa by Shivaji's grandson, Chhatrapati Shahu and the seat of Peshwa went to the other Marathi sub-caste of Konkanastha brahmin until the fall of the Maratha Empire. Balaji Vishwanath was succeeded by his son Bajirao I who greatly expanded the empire. From Bajirao I's time, actual power gradually shifted to the Kokanastha Peshwas. The 18th century saw a great many number of Generals and administrators who came either from the Peshwa's family or the broader Kokanstha community. [51] [52] They took up military jobs in the Maratha Dynasty. [53] [54] [55]

Eric Bellman says that during and after the Islamic Mughal Empire era Brahmins served as advisers to Maharajas and the Mughals. [56] [UKT ¶]

The East India Company recruited from the Brahmin communities of the present day Uttar pradesh and Bihar regions for the Bengal army [57] [UKT ¶]

Later Brahmins served as administrators for the British Raj. [56] Many Brahmins, in other parts of South Asia lived like other varna, engaged in all sorts of professions. Among Nepalese Hindus, for example, Niels Gutschow and Axel Michaels report the actual observed professions of Brahmins from 18th- to early 20th-century included being temple priests, minister, merchants, farmers, potters, masons, carpenters, coppersmiths, stone workers, barbers, gardeners among others. [58]

Other 20th-century surveys, such as in the state of Uttar Pradesh, recorded that the primary occupation of almost all Brahmin families surveyed was neither priestly nor Vedas-related, but like other varnas, ranged from crop farming (80 per cent of Brahmins), dairy, service, labour such as cooking, and other occupations. [59] [60] The survey reported that the Brahmin families involved in agriculture as their primary occupation in modern times plough the land themselves, many supplementing their income by selling their labor services to other farmers. [59] [61]

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Brahmins, bhakti movement and social reform

Sheldon Pollock states that the Bhakti movement, which moved away from Vedic rituals and emphasised love of god by anyone without barrier to gender, class or caste, was a movement whose prominent thinkers and earliest champions were Brahmins. [62]

Among the many Brahmins who nurtured the Bhakti movement was Ramananda, a 14th-century devotional poet sant. [63] [64] Born in a Brahmin family, [63] [65] Ramananda welcomed everyone to spiritual pursuits without discriminating anyone by gender, class, caste or religion (such as Muslims). [65] [66] [67] [UKT ¶]

UKT 160424: Though Bhakti movement could welcome Christians and Muslims, who believe in a Creator and Creation, it could not welcome Buddhists whom people like Adhi-Shankara and Ramananda think do not accept the Creator. What these God-loving people do not understand is that, Buddhism could not accept Axioms. Buddhism is non-Axiomatic just like modern Science. If people must have Axioms such as God to worship, they could go on worshipping. In Myanmarpré, many Theravada-Buddhist monks and elders, could tolerate the local Nat {nût} worshippers. Now remember the Bur-Myan word Nat {nût} means someone (like the Roman Man'es) worth worshipping, whether out of fear, love, or for receiving protection and help, in times of danger. To them, Allah, God, and YHVH are just like many other worship-ables. We don't worship the even the Buddha, we pay the highest form of respect out of love but not of fear.

He composed his spiritual message in poems, using widely spoken vernacular language rather than Sanskrit, to make it widely accessible. His ideas also influenced the founders of Sikhism in 15th century, and his verses and he are mentioned in the Sikh scripture Adi Granth. [68][UKT ¶]

The Hindu [religion] tradition recognises him as the founder of the Hindu Ramanandi Sampradaya, [69] the largest monastic renunciant community in Asia in modern times. [70] [71]

Other medieval era Brahmins who led spiritual movement without social or gender discrimination included Andal (9th-century female poet), Basava (12th-century Lingayatism), Dnyaneshwar (13th-century Bhakti poet), Vallabha Acharya (16th-century Vaishnava poet), Ramprasad Sen (18th-century Shakta poet), among others. [72] [73] [74]

Many 18th and 19th century Brahmins are credited with religious movements that criticised idolatry. For example, the Brahmins Raja Ram Mohan Roy led Brahmo Samaj and Dayananda Saraswati led the Arya Samaj. [75] [76]

UKT 160424: The second misconception - the first being Theravada Buddhism being anti-religion - is idolatry. The Buddha's statutes and paintings in Myanmarpré are not idols. They are icons to remember our teacher, Gautama Buddha, by. We don't worship idols, we pay our highest form of respect!


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05.3. Modern demographics and economic conditions

According to 2007 reports, Brahmins in India are about five percent of its total population. [56] [77] The Himalayan states of Uttarakhand (20%) and Himachal Pradesh (14%) have the highest percentage of Brahmin population relative to respective state's total Hindus. [77]

65 percent Brahmin households in India, with about 40 million people, live on less than $100 a month, according to a 2007 Wall Street Journal report. [56] Brahmins have also included wealthier and politically successful members. [78]

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Brahmins outside India:
Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia

Pix on right: Among the Hindus of Bali, Indonesia, Brahmins are called Pedandas. [79] The role of Brahmin priests, called Sulinggih, [80] has been open to both genders since medieval times. A Hindu Brahmin priestess is shown.

Some Brahmins formed an influential group in Burmese Buddhist kingdoms in 18th- and 19th-century. The court Brahmins were locally called Punna. [81] During the Konbaung dynasty, Buddhist kings relied on their court Brahmins to consecrate them to kingship in elaborate ceremonies, and to help resolve political questions. [81] This role of Hindu Brahmins in a Buddhist kingdom, states Leider, may have been because Hindu texts provide guidelines for such social rituals and political ceremonies, while Buddhist texts don't. [81]

The Brahmins were also consulted in the transmission, development and maintenance of law and justice system outside India. [81] Hindu Dharmasastras, particularly Manusmriti written by the Brahmin Manu, states Anthony Reid, [82] were "greatly honored in Burma (Myanmar), Siam (Thailand), Cambodia and Java-Bali (Indonesia) as the defining documents of law and order, which kings were obliged to uphold. They were copied, translated and incorporated into local law code, with strict adherence to the original text in Burma and Siam, and a stronger tendency to adapt to local needs in Java (Indonesia)". [82] [83] [84]

The mythical origins of [the name] Cambodia are credited to a Brahmin prince named Kaundinya, who arrived by sea, married a Naga princess living in the flooded lands. [85] [86] Kaudinya founded Kambuja-desa, or Kambuja (transliterated to Kampuchea or Cambodia). Kaundinya introduced Hinduism, particularly Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and Harihara (half Vishnu, half Shiva), and these ideas grew in southeast Asia in the 1st millennium CE. [85]

Brahmins have been part of the Royal tradition of Thailand, particularly for the consecration and to mark annual land fertility rituals of Buddhist kings. A small Brahmanical temple Devasathan, established in 1784 by King Rama I of Thailand, has been managed by ethnically Thai Brahmins ever since. [87] The temple hosts Phra Phikhanesuan (Ganesha), Phra Narai (Narayana, Vishnu), Phra Itsuan (Shiva), Uma, Brahma, Indra ([UKT note: Sakka is Buddhist, whereas Indra is Hindu) and other Hindu deities. [87] The tradition asserts that the Thai Brahmins have roots in Hindu holy city of Varanasi and southern state of Tamil Nadu, go by the title Pandita, and the various annual rites and state ceremonies they conduct has been a blend of Buddhist and Hindu rituals. [87] [88]

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-- UKT 120913, 160423

Reference to this word {braah~ma.Na. poaN~Na:} is found in Traditional Calendar of Myanmar (Burma) by K. J. Chatterjee, in Indian Journal of History of Science 33(2) 1998,

"... it is said, the king got abducted some Brahmins, learned in astronomy, from Manipur, and settled them in his territory. These Brahmins and their descendants, who were known in Myanmarpré as "Ponnas" (Ind: Purohits), were responsible for spreading the knowledge of astronomy and the Indian system of calendar keeping."

The following is an excellent Brahmin aka Brahman {braah~ma.Na. poaN~Na:} website:
Note: It relies mostly on Wikipedia for its sources.

The following is an excerpt from:
#1. - http://shrigaurbrahmanmahasabhabikaner.webs.com/ 130222, not available on 160425
#2. Abstract: The phylogenetic and geographic structure of Y-chromosome haplogroup R1a , by Peter A Underhill, et.al. , in European Journal of Human Genetics (2015) 23, 124–131, published online 2014 Mar 26,
- http://www.nature.com/ejhg/journal/v23/n1/full/ejhg201450a.html 160425

Brahmin and genetic communities

#1. - http://shrigaurbrahmanmahasabhabikaner.webs.com/ 130222

R1a is typical in populations of Eastern Europe, Indian Subcontinent and parts of Central Asia. It has a significant presence in Northern Europe, Central Europe, Iran, Altaians and Xinjiang (China) as well as in Siberia. R1a can be found in low frequencies in the Middle East, mostly in Indo-European speakers or their descendants.[4]

The highest levels of R1a (>50%) are found across the Eurasian Steppe:
West Bengal Brahmins (72%), and
Uttar Pradesh Brahmins, (67%) ,
the Ishkashimi (68%),
the Tajik population of Khojant (64%),
Kyrgyz (63.5%),
Sorbs (63.39%),
Poles (56.4%),
Ukrainians (50%) and
Russians (50%) [5][6][7][8]
and in the Central India among the Saharia tribe of Madhya Pradesh R1a*(22.8%) and R1a1(28.07%). [9]

R1a has been variously associated with:

• the re-colonization of Eurasia during the Late Glacial Maximum.[6][10]

• the expansion of the Kurgan people from the Pontic-Caspian steppe, which is associated with the spread of the Indo-European languages. [5] [6]

The Modern studies for R1a1 (M17) suggest that it could have originated in South Asia. It could have found its way initially from Western India (Gujarat) through Pakistan and Kashmir, then via Central Asia and Russia, before finally coming to Europe"..."as part of an archaeologically dated Paleolithic movement from east to west 30,000 years ago [11].

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.

UKT 160424: Vindhya Range ¹. A chain of hills in central India extending east-northeast for about 965 km (600 mi) and rising to approximately 915 m (3,000 ft). (from AHTD). They divide the subcontinent of India into northern-India, and southern-India. At present the northern part is mainly Hindi (and its dialects)-speaking, and the southern Tamil (and its dialects)-speaking. Phonemically, Bur-Myan and Pali-Myan is comparable to Hindi-group, whereas Mon-Myan is comparable to Tamil-group. However, the actual picture is more complex than the foregoing summary.

However, this sloka is from Rajatarangini of Kalhana, which was composed only in the 11th century CE.

कर्णाटकाश्च तैलंगा द्राविडा महाराष्ट्रकाः,

गुर्जराश्चेति पञ्चैव द्राविडा विन्ध्यदक्षिणे ||

सारस्वताः कान्यकुब्जा गौडा उत्कलमैथिलाः

पन्चगौडा इति ख्याता विन्ध्स्योत्तरवासिनः || [12]

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 Kalhanaand earlier in some inscriptions [13]

#2. Abstract: The phylogenetic and geographic structure of Y-chromosome haplogroup R1a , by Peter A Underhill, et.al. , in European Journal of Human Genetics (2015) 23, 124–131, published online 2014 Mar 26,
- http://www.nature.com/ejhg/journal/v23/n1/full/ejhg201450a.html 160425

R1a-M420 is one of the most widely spread Y-chromosome haplogroups; however, its substructure within Europe and Asia has remained poorly characterized. Using a panel of 16244 male subjects from 126 populations sampled across Eurasia, we identified 2923 R1a-M420 Y-chromosomes and analyzed them to a highly granular phylogeographic resolution. Whole Y-chromosome sequence analysis of eight R1a and five R1b individuals suggests a divergence time of ~25000 (95% CI: 21300–29000) years ago and a coalescence time within R1a-M417 of ~5800 (95% CI: 4800–6800) years. The spatial frequency distributions of R1a sub-haplogroups conclusively indicate two major groups, one found primarily in Europe and the other confined to Central and South Asia. Beyond the major European versus Asian dichotomy, we describe several younger sub-haplogroups. Based on spatial distributions and diversity patterns within the R1a-M420 clade, particularly rare basal branches detected primarily within Iran and eastern Turkey, we conclude that the initial episodes of haplogroup R1a diversification likely occurred in the vicinity of present-day Iran.

Contents of this page

See also

Boston Brahmin
Caste system in India
Brahmin gotra system
Vedic priesthood
List of Brahmins
Brahmana Jain

Contents of this page


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Further reading

Baldev Upadhyaya, Kashi Ki Panditya Parampara, Sharda Sansthan, Varanasi, 1985.
Christopher Alan Bayly, Rulers, Townsmen, and Bazaars: North Indian Society in the Age of British Expansion, 1770–1870, Cambridge University Press, 1983.
• Anand A. Yang, Bazaar India: Markets, Society, and the Colonial State in Bihar, University of California Press, 1999.
M. N. Srinivas, Social Change in Modern India, Orient Longman, Delhi, 1995.


External links

[1], Andhra Pradesh Brahmin Welfare Corp., Ltd.,
Brahmins and Pariah, An appeal and record of colonial era conflict in Bengal
The wisdom of the Brahmin, Friedrich Ruckert (Translated from German by Charles Brooks)