Introduction / History
Brahmin is a Hindu Indian caste. The English word brahmin is an anglicised form of the Sanskrit word Brahmana. Brahman refers to the 'Supreme Self' in Hinduism or the first of the gods. Brahmin refers to an individual.
In 1931 (the last Indian census to record caste), Brahmins accounted for 4.32% of the total Indian population. 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 sub-castes.
Brahmins perform vedic rituals but only a subset of brahmins are involved in priestly duties including teaching and preaching. They have also excelled as educators, law makers, scholars, doctors, warriors, writers, poets, land owners and politicians. Many famous Indians are Brahmins.
The history of the Brahmins is associated with the Vedic religion of early Hinduism, usually referred to as Sanatana Dharma. The Vedas are the primary source for Brahmin practices. Over time, Brahmins became a powerful and influential group in India and many discriminated against lower castes. However, in modern India some Brahmins claim reverse discrimination.
Where are they located?
Brahmins are located throughout India but mainly in the Northern states such as Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. There are small concentrations in the southern Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.
What are their lives like?
Brahmins are enjoined to offer prayers three times a day as prescribed in the Vedas. Most Brahmins today are vegetarians or lacto-vegetarians. Non-vegetarian Brahmins are mainly those in cooler mountain areas like Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Nepal. In some coastal areas like Bengal, Brahmins are fish eaters.
What are their beliefs?
Brahmins can be identified by the three Hindu paths of Devotion, Knowledge and Yoga which they espouse in order for a person to achieve 'god realization', the ultimate aim of the Hindu religion. All Brahmin teachings and writings relate to one of these paths. One is free to choose the path depending upon a person's inclination. Brahmins are Vedic priests and they have three compulsory occupations - studying the Vedas, worshiping deities and charitable giving.
* Brahmins are a key community in India who uphold Hinduism. Please pray that the light of the gospel breaks through the veil that blinds this community.
* Pray that the true God will reveal Himself to this community and use Brahmins to preach and teach about Jesus Christ.
Text source: Anonymous