Introduction / History
The Saraswat Brahmins are named after a river that once flowed in their original homeland. From there they migrated to many parts of South Asia, including what is now Bangladesh.
Brahmin is the highest of the four Hindu varnas or major categories of caste communities. The English word Brahmin is an anglicised form of the Sanskrit word brahmana. "Brahman" refers to the first of the three major Hindu gods whereas "Brahmin" refers to an individual.
Brahmins typically have early morning devotional times which they call pujas which involve prayer, meditation and making offerings to their deities. Though they originated as the priestly varna, today only certain subsets of Brahmins are still involved in priestly duties for others such as teaching, preaching or performing public rituals.
The religious training of Brahmins prepares them well for advanced mathematics. In today's world, the top positions in such areas as computer programming, business, teaching, and politics are often filled by Brahmins. Though there are many wealthy Brahmins, those who perform Hindu rituals for a living are often poor.
Where are they located?
Though the Saraswat Brahmins are more numerous in northern India, there are some of them in neighboring Bangladesh where Muslims are the majority.
What are their lives like?
Brahmins have much status in the Hindu countries of India and Nepal, but they do not have it in Muslim Bangladesh. As leaders in Hindu communities, they are probably viewed as a threat by the Muslim majority.
The Saraswat Brahmins have their own linguistic distinctions. They have always been noted for helping to raise the level of civilization where they live. People associate the Saraswat Brahmins with learning.
What are their beliefs?
Saraswats have five primary gods that they worship.
Since they have the highest status of any Hindu varna, Brahmins believe that they have everything to lose by "converting" to another religious system. A Brahmin believes he is on the verge of reaching nirvana if he earns good karma in this life by doing what he is supposed to do. He believes that it took thousands of years of being reincarnated to reach the high state he now enjoys. Switching to a "different God" would surely result in an inferior reincarnation after he dies.
What are their needs?
Saraswat Brahmins in Bangladesh need believing friends who have the empathy to learn how Brahmins think and what they seek. It may take years for them to accept that Christ has the spiritual answers that all of us need.
* Brahmins are the key community who uphold Hinduism. 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.
* Pray for a disciple making movement to flourish among every Brahmin community.
Text source: Keith Carey