Introduction / History
Brahmans (often in the past spelled Brahmins) are the highest of the four varna (major caste groupings) in Hinduism. The historical developments of various Brahman castes are not clear, as the history of the caste system itself is unclear. There was perhaps a caste system based on personal merit at one time before the hereditary caste system became dominant, as is seen in modern history. Brahman castes became powerful in the early centuries of the Christian Era through alliances with kings, who granted them landed estates related to temples and temple service. There has never been a comprehensive analysis of all the different types and subgroups of Brahmans.
Traditionally Brahmans have five daily duties; to the gods, to ancestors, to all creatures, to humans, and to study. Thus daily worship (duty to gods) and chanting of sacred texts (duty to study) are an integral part of many Brahmans' lives, even if this is only a token routine for many.
Where are they located?
Saraswat Brahmans live mainly in the southern states of India, though some also live further north in Nepal.
Brahmans are disproportionately represented among overseas Nepalis due to their higher educational attainments, so those who reach out to Nepali nationals in the West are very likely reaching out to people who are extremely difficult to reach in South Asia.
What are their lives like?
Traditionally in the varna system Brahmans are considered as priests, but a temple priest is a lowly position that no Brahman family wants their sons to aspire towards. Rather, there is strong pressure for higher education. Brahmans have a strong work ethic and are often leaders, whether politically, intellectually, spiritually or socially. This is especially true for the Saraswat Brahmans. They are noted for having high paying jobs as doctors, engineers, and businessmen. They have their own cuisine, which highlights the ingredients found in southern India like coconut.
What are their beliefs?
The Saraswat Brahmans have their own family deities, and they regularly visit temples and shrines dedicated to these gods.
What are their needs?
Saraswat Brahmans as an influential and generally well-to-do community are not unlike the middle classes of most places. Their main needs involve relational strains that are usually kept behind closed doors. Modernization is breaking down family units which have been the glue to society for many generations, and loneliness is increasingly a problem. They are expected to "achieve it all," but ironically, achieving it all can be empty.
* Pray for Christ to reveal Himself to Saraswat Brahman leaders.
* Pray for the eyes of Brahman hearts to be open to Jesus Christ as Lord and king.
* Pray for Holy Spirit directed Christ followers to go to Saraswat Brahman communities.
* Pray for a disciple making movement to emerge among every Brahman community.
* Pray for many to be prompted to faithfully pray for Brahmans.
Text source: Keith Carey