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A Brahmin (also Brahman; Brāhmaṇa) (Sanskrit: ब्राह्मण) [Note 1] is a member of the priestly class in the Indian subcontinent and belongs to the upper caste society. According to ancient Vedic texts (Rigveda) or later, in the Manusmṛti, there are four "varnas", or classes: the Brahmins (poets, priests, teachers, scholars), the Kshatriyas (kings, agriculturists and nobility), the Vaishyas (merchants), and Shudras (artisans, service providers and laborers). In Hinduism, Brahmins were charged with performing religious duties as priests and preaching Dharma (as "one who prays; a devout or religious man; a Brāhman who is well versed in Vedic texts; one versed in sacred knowledge"). The Brahmins held authority over interpretation of Vedic and Puranic spiritual texts like the Vedas, Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita, and were the teachers of the Vedic period.

The English word brahmin is an anglicised form of the Sanskrit word Brāhmana. Brahmins are also called Vipra ("inspired"),[1] or Dvija ("twice-born").[2]

Due to the diversity in regional religious traditions and the Vedic schools (shakhas), which they belong to, Brahmins, in modern usage of the term, are further divided into various sub-castes. Not all Brahmins are priests; only a subset of brahmins are involved in the priestly duties, with Vedic learning, ascetic and humble living. Brahmins have practised other professions from the late Vedic ages onward, becoming doctors, lawyers, engineers, warriors, writers, poets, landlords, ministers, etc. Many Brahmins have emigrated to other parts of the world in sizable numbers, first to South East Asia, and more recently to the USA, UK, Canada and Australia.


According to mythology,the Brahmin community started from Brahma creation, husband of Saraswati, the supreme Hindu Goddess of knowledge and education in ancient Indian mythology and adopted in their religion (Vedic religion of early Hinduism, now often referred to by Hindus as Sanatana Dharma). The Vedas are said to be the primary source of knowledge for brahmin practices. Most sampradayas (religious practices) of modern Brahmins claim to take inspiration from the Vedas. According to orthodox Hindu tradition, the Vedas are apauruṣeya and anādi (beginning-less), and are revealed truths of eternal validity.

The Vedas are considered Śruti ("that which is heard") and are the paramount source on which modern Brahmin tradition claims to be based. Shruti includes not only the four Vedas (the Rigveda, the Yajurveda, the Samaveda and the Atharvaveda), but also their respective Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Upanishads.

In 1931 (the last Indian census to record caste), Brahmins accounted for 9% of the total population. Even in Uttar Pradesh, where they were most numerous, Brahmins constituted just 15% of the recorded population. In Andhra Pradesh, they formed less than 2%; in Tamil Nadu they formed less than 3%.[3] In Kerala, Nambudiri Brahmins make up 0.7% of the population. In west bengal too the figures stand the same. According to the 2001 census, Brahmins constitute less than 9% of the Indian population.

Brahmin communities

Brahmin and genetic communities

Y-Haplogroup R1 distribution

Distribution of R1a (purple) and R1b (red).

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%)[4][5][6][7] and in the Central India among the saharia tribe of Madhya Pradesh R1a*(22.8%) and R1a1(28.07%). It is also found in relatively high frequencies in several South Indian Dravidian-speaking tribes including the Chenchu and Valmikis of Andhra Pradesh.[8]

R1a has been variously associated with:

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.[10]

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. 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 ||[11]

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 Kalhana and earlier in some inscriptions [12]

Pancha Gauda Brahmins

Panch Gaur (the five classes of Northern India): (1) Saryupareen Brahmins, (2) Kanyakubja Brahmins, (3) Maithil Brahmins, (4) Saraswat Brahmins and (5) Utkala Brahmins. In addition, for the purpose of giving an account of Northern Brahmins each of the provinces must be considered separately, such as Uttar Pradesh, Ayodhya (Oudh), Kashmir, Nepal, Uttarakhand, Himachal, Kurukshetra, Rajputana, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gandhara, Punjab, Bengal, Orissa, Bihar, North Western Provinces and Pakistan, Sindh, Central India, and Tirhut, among others. They originate from south of the (now-extinct) Sarasvati River.[13]


In Assam, out of many sects of Hindu people which include Brahmins (Assamese: অসমীয়া ব্ৰাহ্মণ, Hindi: आसामी ब्राह्मण or Hindi: असमिया ब्राह्मण or Hindi: असमी ब्राह्मण), Kalitas, and Ahoms among others, the Brahmin community is comparatively small. Assamese Brahmins are found mostly in Lower Assam, Upper-Assam and throughout the entire Brahmaputra Valley. Assamese Brahmins are believed to have their origins in Kannauj, Uttar Pradesh, who generally migrated during Kamarupa Kingdom period to Lower Assam and then to rest of Brahmaputra Valley and some migrated also from far off Rajasthan to that of Karnataka. Brahmins in Assam are same as per their faith and customs with that of any other Brahmin community across India. Each Brahmin family within the community carries a specific Gotra (Proper Brahmin Identity Surname) which is specific for each family, thereby indicating their origin. Sarma, Barooah, Goswami, Sharma, Chakravarty, are a few common Assamese Brahmin surnames, among many others. (See also: Assamese Brahmins)


In Bihar, majority of Brahmins are Kanyakubja Brahmins, Saryupareen Brahmins, Bhumihar Brahmins, bhatt brahmins and Maithil Brahmins with a significant population of Sakaldiwiya or Shakdwipi Brahmins. The distinctive 'caste' identity of Bhumihar Brahman emerged largely through military service, and then confirmed by the forms of continuous 'social spending' which defined a man and his kin as superior and lordly.[14] In 19th century, many of the Bhumihar Brahmins were zamindars.[15] Of the 67,000 Hindus in the Bengal Army in 1842, 28,000 were identified as Rajputs and 25,000 as Brahmins, a category that included Bhumihar Brahmins.[16] The Brahmin presence in the Bengal Army was reduced in the late nineteenth century because of their perceived primary role as mutineers in the Mutiny of 1857,[16] led by Mangal Pandey.


The Brahmins of Haryana & delhi are Gaur Brahmin belongs to Panch Gaurs of north India, belongs to Vedic Aryan tribes.Kaushik Kaushik/Koushik(कौशिक) is a ancient Indian'Gotra'. Origin of Kaushik can be referenced to an ancient Hindu text. There was a Rishi (saint) by the name of "Vishvamitra" literally meaning 'friend of the universe','vishwa' as in universe and mitra as in 'friend', he was also called as Rishi "Kaushik".kaushik is the biggest gotra in Gaur Brahmins of Haryana. Bhargavas also called 'Dhusar' Brahmins, part of Gaur Brahmins are originally from South Haryana. They have migrated to various places in the world from 'Dhosi' Hill area and Rewari district.Also in them Tyagi brahmins who shifted to gurgaon region.

Madhya Pradesh

In western Madhyapradesh, especially in the "malwa" region, there are many "shrigoud" brahmins. "Shrigoud Brahmins" (श्रीगौड़ ब्राह्मन) are the root of all the other classified Brahmins. "Gaud" means Root. The word "Brahman" emerges out from Lord Brahma. Some clan of highly esteemed Upreti Brahmins are also found in this state. They were originally migrated from Kumaon regions. The people have surname like Mandlik, Joshi, Vyas, Rawat, Pathak, Dubey comes under Shrigoud Brahmins.


Brahmins are the second largest caste group in Nepal, Chhetri(Kshatriya) being the first. Several subgroups(usually following the Sukla Yajurveda) are attested: the Newari speaking Rajopadhyaya, the Nepali speaking Purbe, Kumai, etc. Brahmins have been inhabitants of the Kathmandu Valley since at least the Lichavi dynasty (c. 300-750 CE) Nepal. References in the Vamsavalis and some Puranas such as the Himavatkhanda, pointing to earlier times, are of legendary nature. The situations is different for the plains (Tarai), where Brahmins have been attested since the early Upanisads and the Buddhist Pali canon.


The Sanskrit text Brāhmaṇotpatti-Mārtaṇḍa by Pt. Harikrishna Śāstri mentions according to which a king named Utkala invited brahmins from Gangetic Valley for performing a yajna in Jagannath-Puri; when the yajna ended the invited brahmins laid the foundation of the Lord Jagannath there and settled there for serving the Lord

The Utkala Brahmins are of two classes 1) Shrotriya (vaidika) and 2) Sevaka (doing accessory rites) Brahmin. Again, there are many sub-classes in these two classes.

1) Shrotriyas are mainly adherents of Vedas, especially:

a) Shakalya shakha of Rigveda b) Kanva shakha of Shukla Yajurveda c) Ranayana/Kauthuma shakha of Samaveda d) Paippalada shakha of Atharvaveda

2) Sevakas generally belong to brahmins doing accessory rites like cooking in temples, helping in procession of temple deity. They generally follow any of the Veda of their choice for family rites but they cannot perform Vedic sacrifices.

Utkala or Oriya Brahmin surnames include: Acharya, Mishra, BhattaMishra, Tripathi, Dash, DashSharma, Dwivedi, Udgata or udgātṛ, Hota or Hotṛ, Dikshit, Satapathy, Chaturvedi, Debata (Devta), Kar, Bishi, Suara, Mahasuara, Garabadu, Sharma, Nath, Choudhury, Sahu, Dyansamantray, Panigrahi, Guru, Rajguru, Rayguru, Mahapatra, Pani, Mohapatra (some of them), Rath, RathSharma, Sharma, Patra, Sadangi, Pani, Thakur (found mostly in Kalahandi and Sambalpur), Pati, Bahinipati, Vedi, Trivedi, Sarangi, Pattajoshi, Joshi, Gantayat, Behera (found mostly in Kalahandi and Sambalpur), Sar (Found mostly in Hindol, Dhenkanal), Sabat, Swain (some of them), Shukla, Panda or Pandit, BadaPanda, PujaPanda, Sabata, Nanda, Purohit, Pujari, Padhiary, Pathi, Nepak, Devasharma, Praharaj, Padhi, Otta, Khadenga, and Pradhan (some of them)senapati.


The Brahmins of the Punjab region are chiefly Saraswat Brahmins. They have a special association with the Punjab since they take their name from the river, Saraswati.

In Punjab, the Saraswat Brahmins are further divided into following main sections.

1. Panja jati (five families), the highest subgroup of Punjabi Brahmins whose surnames are Jaitly, Trikha, Kumoria, Jinghan, and Mohla.

2. Barahis (twelvers), who marry among twelve castes only. This group belongs to the Shakadweepi Brahmins/ Maga Brahmins.

3. Bawanjais (fifty-twoers), who marry among fifty-two houses only.

4. Athwans (seven families/seveners) and include Joshis, Kurals, Bhanots, Sands, Pathaks, Bharadwajs, Shouries. These eight families marry among each other.

5. Mohyals- the warrior brahmin race. They are a distinct category of Brahmins who combine military knowledge with learning. They strictly refrain from performing priestly duties, often to the point of excommunicating anyone who violates that rule. They are a group of seven clans (Bali, Vaid, Chhibber, Datt, Mohan, Lau and Bhimwal). They generally own lands and are mostly involved in military and administrative services. They eat meat and are not very strict in the observance of religious taboos. They also marry within the seven clans.

6. Bhaskars Gotra Vashisht originating from a place "Badu ki Gusaiyaan" now in Pakistan.


There are lots of type of Brahmin in Rajasthan. Bhardwaj, Bhargava, Dadhich, Gaur, Upreti, Gujar gaur, Kaushik, Pushkarna, Vashishta, Jangid Brahmins. Most Brahmins in India are strict vegetarians. One group is Brahmin Swarnkar, which developed from Shrimal Nagar's brahmins (now known as Bhinmal). They are called "Brahmin Swarnkars" because a group of Brahmins adopted a swarnkar business for their enhancement of life style, and so these brahmins are called as Brahmin Swarnkars. Being a brahmins, brahmin swarnkar, have main 9 Rishi gotras.

1. Atri, 2. Kashyap, 3. Kaushik, 4. Gautam, 5. Parashar, 6. Bharadwaj, 7. Vatsat, 8. Vashisht, 9. Haritas, 10. Bhrugu. Upreti / Uprety(देवनागरी:उप्रेती), 11. Saraswat Brahmin, is a community of highly regarded Brahmins living in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand state of India. A few are also found in Rajasthan and the Konkan/Goa area. According to their traditions, they are the descendents of the sage Bharadwaj.[1]

There are subgotras in each Rishi Gotras, and total gotras are about 84 which were developed by Shri Dharmsi ji at Keradu during the 7th century.

Jammu and Kashmir

The Brahmins of the mountains and valleys of Kashmir, north of the Pir Panjal Range, are called Kashmiri Pandits. They are a Dardic community with a very complex and ancient culture. The Brahmins of the Jammu region, south of the Pir Panjal Range, are known as Dogra Brahmins. There are also other Brahmin communities in some sectors of the uplands of Jammu and Pir Panjal, including Kishtwari Brahmins, Bhaderwahi Brahmins, Poonchi Brahmins, and Mirpuri Brahmins.

Uttar Pradesh

In Uttar Pradesh from west to east: Saryupareen Brahmins-(Central, Eastern, Northeast, and Southeast Uttar Pradesh), Kanyakubja (Central Uttar Pradesh), Bhatt(Eastern and Central uttar prdesh) and Maithil (Varanasi and Agra region), Sanadhya, Gauda and Tyagi (Western Uttar Pradesh),Suryadhwaja Brahmins (Western Uttar Pradesh), Southwestern Uttar Pradesh, i.e. Bundelkhand has a dense population of Jujhotia brahmins (branch of Kanyakubja brahmins: ref. Between History & Legend: Power & Status in Bundelkhand by Ravindra K Jain). On the Jijhoutia clan of Brahmins, William Crooke writes, "A branch of the Kanaujia Brahmins (Kanyakubja Brahmins) who take their name from the country of Jajakshuku, which is mentioned in the Madanpur inscription."[17] Mathure or mathuria Brahmins 'choubeys' are limited to Mathura area. ))Upreti / Uprety(देवनागरी:उप्रेती),is a highly esteemed community of Brahmins living in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. Some branches of Upreti / Uprety brahmins are also found in Uttar Pradesh (mainly in Agra), Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan & now in Gujrat, they were originally migrated from Kumaon region. According to their traditions, they are the descendants of the sage Bharadwaj.[1]

According to Pandit Badri Datt Pandey's legendary book History of Kumaon, the Upretis were originally inhabitants of Maharashtra region of western India, or from Kannauj from where they migrated to the hills. They migrated to Nepal along with other Brahmins from Almora under the royal patronage of the Hindu kingdom when the Kumaon region was under the control of the Gurkhas till the early 19th Century.


There are many sub-castes, including Rarhi, Barendra, Saiba (Rudraja) and Agradani. Some of the gotras are Savarna, Sandilya, Bharadwaj, Kashyap and Vatsya.

Pancha Dravida

The Panch Dravida (the five classes of Southern India) are: 1. Andhra, 2. Dravida (Tamil and Kerala), 3. Karnataka, 4. Maharashtra and Konkon, and 5. Gujarat.[13]

Andhra Pradesh

Most of the Brahmins in Andhra Pradesh belong to smaarta Brahmin group, i.e., the followers of smritis and followers of Adi Sankaracharya. The smaarta Brahmins follow Apastambasmriti or Apastambasutra (not Manusmriti). Apasthamba (~600 BC) was one of the earliest lawmakers of south India who lived on the banks of River Godavari. Boudhayana, Parasara, Yajnvalkya sutras and other laws were also important in the past, e.g., in the courts of Srikrishnadevaraya. Pradhamasakha Niyogi Brahmins follow Yajnavalkya sutras and Kanva sutras. The smaarta Brahmins in Andhra Pradesh can be grouped into two major divisions formed about a thousand to about 700 years ago (most probably during Kakatiya rule), Niyogi and Vaidiki. However, in addition to smaarta Brahmins, there are other Brahmin groups such as Sri Vaishnavas, Madhavas and Aradhyas.[18]

Niyogi Brahmins are those brahmins who were mostly scholars and officials under kings of different dynasties in ancient India. While Vaidiki Brahmins are the brahmins who undertook the religious vocation with vedik learning. They are considered to be experts in Sanskrit and Telugu (the state language of Andhra Pradesh) literature. See List of Telugu Brahmins and Telugu Brahmins.

Brahmins are broadly classified into 2 groups: Vaidiki Brahmins (meaning educated in vedas and performing religious vocations) and Niyogi (performing only secular vocation). They are further divided into several sub-castes. However, majority of the Brahmins, both Vaidika and Niyogi, perform only secular professions.[19]

Vaidiki Brahmins are further divided in to Velanadu, Venginadu, Muluknadu, Kosalanadu etc..


Brahmin communities, sub-castes and families in Gujarat include the following:

Aboti BrahminAnavil BrahminAudichya BrahminBaj Khedawal Brahmins (Khedaval Brahmin) • Bardai Brahmins . Trivedi Mewada Brahmin• Bhattmewada Brahmins • Chauriyasi Mewada Brahmin • Tapodhan Brahmin • Modh Brahmins • Nandwana Brahmins • Shrigaud Brahmins • Nagar Brahmins • Sachora Brahmins • Sidhra-Rudhra BrahminsShrimali Brahmins • Swarnkar Brahmins • Rajya purohit Brahmins • Sompura Brahmins • Kapil Brahmin (known to be descended from Kapil muni) originally residents of Kavi village in Jambusar Taluka, now most of them residing in Bharuch, Vadodara and Surat • Kanojiya • Kandoliya Brahmin • Unevad Brahmin – and many others including: Chhariya, Nathadiya, Badhiya, Bhaglani, Lakhlani, Bhuvadiya, Kailaya, Sardavarti, Ramani, Pingal, Kutch Bhatt Kanojiya Bramin Mandal, Kutch, Morbi, Jamnagar, Rajkot, Saradiya, Nagalpar and Medhpar-Junagadh • Upreti. Garo,guru,bhrahmin,ratnottar-DANGARVA(MEHSANA) FROM-MAHARSHI TEJANDSWAMI.

Maharashtra,Goa and Konkan

According to the Census of 1931, the population of the Brahmins in Maharashtra was 781,448, which constituted 2.39% of the total population.[20] Maharashtra Brahmins have several sub-castes. The Census Report of the Bombay Province of 1911 lists all the sub-castes of the Maharashtra Brahmins, which are as follows:

1.Chitpavan Konkanastha Brahmins , 2.Deshastha Brahmins , 3. Devrukhe , 4.Golak or Gowardha , 5.Jawal or Khot , 6. Kanva ,7.Karhade Brahmin , 8. Kuwant or Kramavant , 9. Maitrayani , 10. Palshikar , 11. Samavedi , 12. Savvashe , 13. Trigul or Trigartha , etc.

In Maharashtra, Panch Dravid Brahmins are dravids from Maharastra. They are classified into five groups: Chitpavan Konkanastha Brahmins, Deshastha Brahmins, Karhade Brahmin, and Devrukhe. As the name indicates, Kokanastha Brahmins are from Konkan area. Deshastha Brahmins are from plains of Maharashtra, Karhade Brahmins are perhaps from Karhatak (an ancient region in India that included present day south Maharashtra and northern Karnataka) and Devrukhe Brahmins are from Devrukh near Ratnagiri. Gaur Saraswat Brahman though found in Maharashtra belong to Panch Gaur brahman. Their origins are in Saraswat desh identified as Punjab and Kashmir region. The name Saraswat derives from Saraswati river that flowed through Punjab into Rajasthan into Kutch.Unlike other Maharashtra Brahmins, Saraswats traditionally eat fish and meat.Mrs. Irawati Karve has recorded a sub-caste called Charak Brahmins around Nagpur, belonging to the Krishna Yajurved branch. However, these several sub-castes are broadly grouped into three main divisions, namely Deshastha, Konkanastha and Karhade Brahmins. Devarukhe and Kramvant Brahmins inhabit Konkan, but originally they were Deshasthas. They are the priests for the lower castes. The Kramvant Brahmins migrated to Kokan from Paithan in historic times.

Daivadnya is another caste, claiming its descent from Maga Brahmins, and is found all along the west coast of India. Though Sringeri Shankaracharya recognizes them as Dravida, this claim is not always accepted by other orthodox creeds.

The Maharashtrian Brahmins are amongst the very few in India who took up military roles and hence, some of them belong to the warrior Brahmin category.

Tamil Nadu

The brahmins of Tamil Nadu are identified to be having the purest form of vedic knowledge. Although very small in number, they have the most perfect form of Sanskrit pronunciation and still carry out the most elaborate of the vedic rituals. Brahmins form two main groups, Iyengars - the vaishnavites who follow the Visishtadvaita (qualified non-dualism) philosophy ,and Iyers - who follow the Advaita (non-dualism) philosophy.

The Iyengars are subdivided into two major subgroups:</br> 1. Vadakalai Iyengars: This subsect of Iyengars are believed to be an Indo-Aryan people who once migrated from North India.[21][22]</br> In genetic studies ,the Vadakalai Iyengars have shown a high similarity of gene frequencies with the Punjabi people of Pakistan,[23] and they are devout followers of the SanskritVedas.[24]</br> 2. Thenkalai Iyengars: This subsect of Iyengars are believed to have admixed with the non-brahmins by bringing within its fold many of the low sudra castes.[21][25][26][27] They are ardent followers of the Tamil prabhandams.[24]</br>

The Iyers are subdivided into four major subgroups:</br> 1. Vadama Iyers: This subsect of Iyers are believed to be of Northern origin which is known to be Varanasi and Kashmir. l. Freedom fighter V.V.S. Aiyer is also known to be a Vadamal Iyer.</br> 2. Vathima Iyers: The Vathima are few in number and are confined mostly to eighteen villages in Thanjavur district.</br> 3. Brahacharanam Iyers: Brahacharanam are a subsect of Iyers who are more Saivite than Vadamas ,and are known for well travelled people with mostly scientific background. Sir C.V. Raman and S. Chandrasekhar are also known to be of this subsect of Tamil Iyers. Their families are also known to give the most respect to the elders of the family.</br> 4. Ashtasahasram Iyers: They are a subsect of Iyers who are Saivite ,just like the Brahacharanam branch.

In modern age, Tamil brahmins have made a mark in India for their administrative brilliance and globally for their scientific brilliance.


There are many sub sects among brahmins (Brahmana in Kannada) of Karnataka state, India. Perhaps it has largest number of subsects in brahmins in India. The main subsects are Hoysala Karnataka Brahmins ,Shivalli Brahmins,Madhva Brahmins, Daivadnya, Deshastha Brahmins, Karhade Brahmin, Goud Saraswat Brahmin, Saraswat Brahmin, Havyaka, Sthanika, Rajapur Saraswat Brahmin, Iyer, Iyengars and Vishwakarma. Again many subsects have been divided on philosophy like Dwaita or Adwaita they follow.

Hoysala Karnataka Brahmins:

Hoysala Karnataka Brahmins are one of the prominent communities of Kannada-speaking Smartha Brahmins. The community has many eminent scholars, musicians, philosophers, generals and religious pontiffs. This sect of Brahmins are spread over the Southern Districts of the Indian state of Karnataka such as Shivamogga, Davanagere, Chitradurga, Chikmagalur, Hassan, Tumkur, Mysore, Mandya, Bangalore and Kolar. Kannada is the mother tongue of Hoysala Karnataka Brahmins.

Contents [hide] 1 Origin of Name 2 Prominent Persons 3 See also 4 External links 5 References

Origin of Name Of the two parts of the name of the community, viz. Hoysala and Karnataka, the second part i.e., Karnataka is derived from the fact that the mother tongue of the community, and the region where the community resides are called, respectively, Kannada, and Karnataka. The first part of the name, Hoysala is derived from the Hoysala empire of Karnataka. The Hoysala dynasty was the ruling dynasty of Karnataka for over three centuries, beginning in 950 A.D. The earliest mention of the name "Hoysala" occurs in an inscription of the middle of the tenth century, and the origin of the family name is given for the first time in an inscription of 1117 A.D as follows: "In the lineage of Yadu there was born a certain Sala. In company with a Jain ascetic, who was versed in all the science of incantation, he was worshipping the goddess Padmavati of Sasakapura with a view to bringing her into their power and so acquiring sovereignty for Sala. A tiger sprang out threatening to interrupt and spoil the efficacy of their rites. On the appeal of the ascetic who cried our `Poy-Sala-`slay, oh Sala`, Sala slew the tiger. And from this exclamation and the slaughter of the tiger he and his descendants acquired the name of Poysala".

The Hoysalas rose to power as feudatory of the Chalukyas, and as their subordinates began to rule over a small tract of territory, with their capital first at Sosevur (now Angadi in Mudagere Taluk), then at Belur, and finally at Dwarasamudra (now Halebid) and acquired control over the Talekad region. The Hoysalas continued the tradition of patronage to men of letters etc. Due to the generosity and broad mindedness of these rulers, the area comprised in the former Mysore State became the home of many non-kannada Brahmins such as the Velandus, Mulakanadus, and the Aravelu Niyogis of the Andhra Country, the Karahadis , Konkanansthas and Desasthas of the Maharashtra Country and the Vadamas of the Tamil Country. There were many sub-sects among the Kannada speaking brahmins such as the Badaganadu, the Babbur Kamme sect, the Seeranadu, and Hoysala Karnatakas. The Havyaka, the Kota and the Sivalli sects of Kannada speaking brahmins were localized to the western coastal region. It will be readily seen that these names indicate the geographical divisions from which these people hailed. In order to maintain their own customs, rituals, language (dialectal peculiarities), traditions, and individuality, each sub-sect called itself by a distinctive name, usually a town or geographical division of their origin. (This tendency is not very marked and rigid after the Muslim invasion of the South). Thus the Badagandu Karnatakas came from the northern parts of former Mysore State - Bellary and Anantapur districts; the seeranadu Karnatakas from the region, around Sira in Tumkur district.

As noted above, the sphere of authority of the Hoysalas, when they rose to power, was in the region of their birth place - Sosevur, and expanded to Belur, Dwarasamudra and Talakad, situated in the modern districts of Kadur, Hassan and Mysore respectively. This tract of Karnataka was the home province of the Hoysalas and the Brahmins who were residing in this area were therefore called Hoysala Karnatakas.


The brahmins are Nambudiri and Pushpaka brahmins.

Burma (Myanmar)

Template:Burmese characters Historically, Brahmins, known as ponna (ပုဏ္ဏား) in modern-day Burmese (Until the 1900s, ponna referred to Indians who had arrived prior to colonial rule, distinct from the kala, Indians who arrived during British rule), formed an influential group prior in Burma to British colonialism. During the Konbaung dynasty, court Brahmins were consulted by kings for moving royal capitals, waging wars, making offerings to Buddhist sites like the Mahamuni Buddha, and for astrology.[28] Burmese Brahmins can be divided into four general groups, depending on their origins:

  • Manipur Brahmins (Template:Lang-my) - Brahmins who were sent to Burma after Manipur became a Burmese vassal state in the 1700s and ambassadors from Manipur
  • Arakanese Brahmins (Template:Lang-my): Brahmins brought to Burma from Arakan after it was conquered by the Konbaung king Bodawpaya
  • Sagaing Brahmins: oldest Brahmins in Burmese society, who had consulted the Pyu, Burman and Mon kingdoms prior to the Konbaung dynasty
  • Indian Brahmins: Brahmins who arrived with British colonial rule, when Burma became a part of the British Raj

According to Burmese chronicles, brahmins in Burma were subject to the four-caste system, which included brahmanas (ဗြာဟ္မဏ), kshatriyas (ခတ္တိယ), vaishya (ဝေဿ), and shudra (သုဒ္ဒ). Because the Burmese monarchy enforced the caste system for Indians, Brahmins who broke caste traditions and laws were subject to punishment. In the Arakanese kingdom, punished Brahmins often became kyun ponna (ကျွန်ပုဏ္ဏား), literally 'slave Brahmins', who made flower offerings to Buddha images and performed menial tasks. During the Konbaung dynasty, caste was indicated by the number of salwe (threads) worn; brahmins wore nine, while the lowest caste wore none. Brahmins are also fundamental in the Nine-God cult, called the Nine Divinities (Phaya Ko Su ဘုရားကိုးစု) which is essentially a Burmese puja (puzaw in Burmese) of appeasing nine divinities, Buddha and the eight arahats, or a group of nine deities, five Hindu gods and four nats.[28] This practice continues to be practiced in modern-day Burma.

Gotras and pravaras

Brahmins classify themselves on the basis of their patrilineal descent from a notable ancestor. These ancestors are either ancient Indian sages or kshatriyas (warriors) who chose to become Brahmins. The eight major gotras that trace descent from sages are: Kanva, Jamadagni, Bharadvâja, Gautama, Atri, Vasishtha, atryasa, Kashyapa, Agastya gotra. Two gotras that trace descent from kshatriyas are Mitra and Vishvamitra gotra.

In general, gotra denotes any person who traces descent in an unbroken male line from a common male ancestor. Pāṇini defines gotra for grammatical purposes as 'apatyam pautraprabhrti gotram' (IV. 1. 162), which means: "the word gotra denotes the progeny (of a sage) beginning with the son's son". When a person says, "I am Kashypasa-gotra", he means that he traces his descent from the ancient sage Kashyapa by unbroken male descent. This enumeration of eight primary gotras seems to have been known to Pāṇini. These gotras are not directly connected to Prajapathy or latter brama. The offspring (apatya) of these Eight are gotras and others than these are called 'gotrâvayava'.[29]

The gotras are arranged in groups, e. g. there are according to the Âsvalâyana-srautasûtra four subdivisions of the Vasishtha gana, viz. Upamanyu, Parāshara, Kundina and Vasishtha (other than the first three). Each of these four again has numerous sub-sections, each being called gotra. So the arrangement is first into ganas, then into pakshas, then into individual gotras. The first has survived in the Bhrigu and Āngirasa gana. According to Baudh., the principal eight gotras were divided into pakshas. The pravara of Upamanyu is Vasishtha, Bharadvasu, Indrapramada; the pravara of the Parâshara gotra is Vasishtha, Shâktya, Pârâsharya; the pravara of the Kundina gotra is Vasishtha, Maitrâvaruna, Kaundinya and the pravara of Vasishthas other than these three is simply Vasishtha. It is therefore that some define pravara as the group of sages that distinguishes the founder (lit. the starter) of one gotra from another.

There are two kinds of pravaras, 1) sishya-prasishya-rishi-parampara, and 2) putrparampara. Gotrapravaras can be ekarsheya, dwarsheya, triarsheya, pancharsheya, saptarsheya, and up to 19 rishis. Kashyapasa gotra has at least two distinct pravaras in Andhra Pradesh: one with three sages (triarsheya pravara) and the other with seven sages (saptarsheya pravara). This pravara may be either sishya-prasishya-rishi-parampara or putraparampara. Similarly, Srivatsasa gotra has five sages or is called Pancharsheya and are the descendants of Jamadagni. When it is sishya-prasishya-rishi-parampara marriage is not acceptable if half or more than half of the rishis are same in both bride and bridegroom gotras. If it is putraparampara, marriage is totally unacceptable even if one rishi matches.[30]

Sects and Rishis

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 subcastes. During the sutra period, roughly between 1000 BCE to 200 BCE, Brahmins became divided into various Shakhas (branches), based on the adoption of different Vedas and different rescension Vedas. Sects for different denominations of the same branch of the Vedas were formed, under the leadership of distinguished teachers among Brahmins.

There are several Brahmin law givers, such as Angirasa, Apasthambha, Atri, Bhrigu, Brihaspati, Boudhayana, Daksha, Gautama, Harita, Katyayana, Likhita, Manu,[31] Parasara, Samvarta, Shankha, Shatatapa, Ushanasa, Vashishta, Vishnu, Vyasa, Yajnavalkya and Yama. These twenty-one rishis were the propounders of Smritis. The oldest among these smritis are Apastamba, Baudhayana, Gautama, and Vasishta Sutras.[32]

Descendants of the Brahmins

Many Indians and non-Indians claim descent from the Vedic Rishis of both Brahmin and non-Brahmin descent. For example, the Dash and Nagas are said to be the descendants of Kashyapa Muni. Vishwakarmas are the descendants of Pancha Rishis or Brahmarishies. According to Yajurveda and Brahmanda purana, they are Sanagha, Sanathana, Abhuvanasa, Prajnasa, and Suparnasa. The Kani tribe of South India claim to descend from Agastya Muni.

The Gondhali, Kanet, Bhot, Lohar, Dagi, and Hessis claim to be from Renuka Devi.

The Kasi Kapadi Sudras claim to originate from the Brahmin Sukradeva. Their duty was to transfer water to the sacred city of Kashi.[33]

Dadheech Brahmins/dayama brahmin trace their roots from Dadhichi Rishi. Many Jat clans claim to descend from Dadhichi Rishi while the Dudi Jats claim to be in the linear of Duda Rishi.

Lord Buddha was a descendant of Angirasa through Gautama. There too were Kshatriyas of other clans to whom members descend from Angirasa, to fulfill a childless king's wish.[34]

The backward-caste Matangs claim to descend from Matang Muni, who became a Brahmin by his karma.

According to one legend, the nomadic tribe of Kerala, the Kakkarissi, are derived from the mouth of Garuda, the vehicle of Lord Vishnu, and came out a Brahmin.[35]

Brahmins taking up other duties

Brahmins have taken on many professions - from being priests, ascetics and scholars to warriors and business people, as is attested for example in Kalhana's Rajatarangini. Brahmins with the qualities of Kshatriyas are known as 'Brahmakshatriyas'. An example is the avatara Parashurama who is considered an avatara of Vishnu. Sage Parashurama was a powerful warrior who had defeated the Haiheya kshatriyas twenty one times, was an expert in the use of weapons, and trained others to fight without weapons. After Sage Parshuram destroyed the Kshatriya race, he was excluded by other Brahmin communities and denied to perform any religious ceremonies for him. At the coast of Arabian sea i.e. the Western Ghats he decided to create a new brahmin community where he found dead bodies of people came out floating from the sea. He purified them with Agni and brought back to life. Then he taught them all the veda's, weapons, religious knowledge and made the Brahmin known as Chitpavan Konkanastha Brahmins. Chitapavan means Chit + Pavan the Brahmins whose chit/soul was purified, Konkanastha means belong to Konkan region. Chitapavan Konkanastha Brahmin's did not had their own land hence were insulted by other rulers & Brahmins. Hence Sage Parshurama asked the Sea Lord to go back and give some land which he denied. Sage Parshurama got angry and made ready the Brahmastra to destroy the Sea Lord. Sea Lord frightned and asked to forgive him. Sage Parshurama said that as he has made Brahmhaastra on the arrow ready to launch he cannot return the arrow backwards but he will remove the Brahmaastra and wherever the arrow will land till that point sea will leave the Land for his followers Chitpavan Konkanastha Brahmins. The place from where Sage Parshurama released the arrow is there in Konkan area known as Lote Parshuram and has a temple of Sage Parshuram. The Bhumihar Brahmins were established when Parashurama destroyed the Kshatriya race, and he set up in their place the descendants of Brahmins, who, after a time, having mostly abandoned their priestly functions (although some still perform), took to land-owning.[36] Many brahmins took up the profession of medicine. They are Vaidya brahmins called Baidya Brahmins of Bengal [gupta, dasgupta and senguptas] are descendants of Dhanavantari, the god of medicine and father of Ayurveda.

The Brahmakhatris caste, descendants of the Khatris, however, are a business caste/community of Punjab and belong to the Kshatriya caste.

Perhaps the word Brahma-kshatriya refers to a person belonging to the heritage of both castes.[37] However, among the Royal Rajput households, brahmins who became the personal teachers and protectors of the royal princes rose to the status of Rajpurohit and taught the princes everything including martial arts. They would also become the keepers of the Royal lineage and its history. They would also be the protectors of the throne in case the regent was orphaned and a minor.

Kshatriyan Brahmin is a term associated with people of both caste's components.[38]

The Pallavas were an example of Brahmakshatriyas as that is what they called themselves. King Lalitaditya Muktapida of Kashmir ruled all of India and even Central Asia.

King Rudravarma of Champa (Vietnam) of 657 A.D. was the son of a Brahmin father.[37]

King Jayavarma I of Kambuja (Kampuchea) of 781 A.D. was a Brahma-kshatriya.[37]

Brahmins with the qualities of a Vaisya or merchant are known as 'Brahmvyasya'. An example of such persons are people of the Ambastha[39] caste, which exist in places like South India. They perform medical work - they have from ancient times practiced the Ayurveda and have been Vaidyas (or doctors).

Many Pallis of South India claim to be Brahmins (while others claim to be Agnikula Kshatriyas.)[40] Kulaman Pallis are nicknamed by outsiders as Kulaman Brahmans.[40] Hemu from Rewari, Haryana was also a Brahmin by birth.


Brahmins, adhere to the principles of the Vedas, Manu Smriti, Sanatana Dharma, and can be found in any of the different religions of Hinduism, such as acceptance of the Vedas. Brāhmaṇas have six occupational duties, of which three are compulsory—namely, studying the Vedas, worshiping the Deity and giving charity. By teaching, by inducing others to worship the Deity, and by accepting charity back, the brāhmaṇas receive the necessities of life. This is also confirmed in the Manu-saḿhitā:

ṣaṇṇāḿ tu karmaṇām asya

trīṇi karmāṇi jīvikā

yajanādhyāpane caiva

viśuddhāc ca pratigrahaḥ

A brāhmaṇa cannot take up any professional occupational duty for his livelihood. The śāstras especially stress this, if one claims to be a brāhmaṇa.[41] Brahmins believe in Sarvejanāssukhinobhavaṃtu—Let the entire society be happy and prosperous and Vasudhaiva kuṭuṃbakaṃ—the whole world is one family. Many Brahmins are reformers. Brahmins practice vegetarianism or lacto-vegetarianism which has been a custom since several centuries dating back to B.C. Following this custom is mandatory in brahmin culture. However, some among the Brahmins inhabiting cold regions of Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Nepal, and coastal areas like Bengal etc., eat fish and other locally available non-vegetarian foods and hence are pesco-vegetarians.

Brahmins have a "choti", a braid that was grown on the back of their heads- the main purpose of this was to help differentiate Bhramins from other Hindu Castes, as well as to show that they possess sacred knowledge, unlike others. As a result of this, modern Bhramins often have no choti, or a seriously shortened one, and go on performing their duties as such, showing an inclined respect towards other people.


The three sampradayas (traditions) of Brahmins, especially in South India are the Smarta sampradaya, the Srivaishnava sampradaya and the Madhva sampradaya.


Smartism (or Smarta Sampradaya, Smarta Tradition, as it is termed in Sanskrit) is a liberal or nonsectarian denomination of the Hindu religion who accept all the major Hindu deities as forms of the one Brahman in contrast to Vaishnavism, for example. The term Smarta refers to adherents who follow the Vedas and Shastras.


In south India Srivaishnava sampradayam was propagated by Srimad Ramanjuacharya Which has Given as bhakti marga by azhwar saints.


Saivism (sometimes called Shivaism) is a belief system where Lord Shiva is worshipped as the Supreme Lord. It is a derivative faith of the core Vedic tradition. Saiva sects contains many sub-sects, such as Rudrasaivas, Veerasiavas, Paramasaivas, etc. Ravana the Ruler of Lanka in the Hindu Epic Ramayana was a Devgan Brahmin Grand son of Sage Pulastya & So of Sage Visharva

Miscellaneous sects

There are additional sampradayas as well which are not as widely followed as the rest.

The Mahima Dharma or "Satya Mahima Alekha Dharma" was founded by the Brahmin Mukanda Das of present-day Orissa, popularly know by followers as Mahima Swami according to the Bhima Bhoi text.[42] He was born in the last part of 18th century in Baudh ex-state as a son of Ananta Mishra. He was Brahmin by caste as mentioned in Mahima Vinod of Bhima Bhoi in Vol.11. This sampradaya is similar to Vaishnavism. Although the members of this sect do not worship Lord Vishnu as their Ishta-Deva, they believe that the Srimad Bhagavatam is sacred. The founder of this sect was a Vaishnavite before founding the new order.[42] This sampradaya was founded in the latter part of the 18th century.[42]

There is also the Avadhoot Panth, wherein Lord Dattatreya and his forms such as Narasimha Saraswati and Sai Baba of Shirdi are worshiped. Lord Dattatreya is worshiped by many as the Hindu trinity - Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva in one divine entity. Many even worship Dattatreya as an avatar of Vishnu or of Shiva.

Brahmins in other religions


The Buddha redefined the word "brahman" so as to become a synonym for arahant, replacing a distinction based on birth with one based on spiritual attainment.[43][44]

A defining feature of the Buddha's teachings is self-sufficiency, so much so as to render the Brahminical priesthood entirely redundant.[45]

The notion of ritual purity provided a conceptual foundation for the caste system, by identifying occupations and duties associated with impure or taboo objects as being themselves impure. Regulations imposing such a system of ritual purity and taboos are absent from the Buddhist monastic code, and not generally regarded as being part of Buddhist teachings[46] To the contrary, the early Buddhist scriptures defined purity as determined by one's state of mind, and refer to anyone who behaves unethically, of whatever caste, as "rotting within", or "a rubbish heap of impurity".[47]

There are many places in which the Buddha explains his use of the word brahman. At Sutta Nipata 1.7 Vasala Sutta, verse 12, he states: "Not by birth is one an outcast; not by birth is one a brahman. By deed one becomes an outcast, by deed one becomes a brahman."[48] An entire chapter of the Dhammapada is devoted to showing how a true brahman in the Buddha's use of the word is one who is of totally pure mind, namely, an arahant.[49]


  • The first convert of Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism was Indrabhuti (aka Gautamswami) the Brahmin, who headed a group of other Brahmins and converted them to Jainism. He was from the village Gobbar (also called Govarya) near Rajgriha. It is said that at the sight of Gautama, the tapsas who were competing with him to reach the top of a hill once, by seeing the winner Gautama at the top, achieved moksha.[50]
  • Sajjambhava was another born from Rajgriha and was elected the head of the Jain temple. He is famous for his composition of the "Dasavaikalika Sutra."
  • Acharya Vidyanand is a Brahmin of the Dhigambar Jain sect and compiled in the Sanskrit language, "Ashta Shahastri" with eight thousand verses.
  • Acharya Shushil Kumar, known better to Jains as "Guruji", was born a Vaidik in the Shakarpur village of the Haryana province. At the age of 15, he took Diksha (became a sanyassin) into the Sthanakvasi, a Swhetambara sub-sect.
  • There is also a story about a wealthy Brahmin named Dhangiri in the town of Tumbhivan, who, when heard the sermons of the Jain Acharya Sinhgiri, while he regularly listened to but later lost his interest in wealth and decided to take the Diksha.
  • Umasvati was a composer who was so loved by Jains that he is considered by the Dhigambar sect to be a Dhigambar member and the Svetambara sect to be a Svetambara member.


Many writers of the Guru Granth Sahib are of the Bhatt surname.[51] The Sikh composed Mathura Bhatt's fourteen verses are seven each in praise of Guru Ram Das and Guru Arjan.

There are also several Mohyals (Brahmin warriors) in the Sikh community.

Contributions to society


During the Indian independence movement, many Brahmins were at the forefront of the struggle for freedom and later Indian politics, some of the popular ones are: Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya(Hemu), Mangal Pandey, Nana Sahib Peshwa, Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi, Tatya Tope, Baikuntha Shukla, Chandrashekar Azad, Yogendra Shukla, Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee, Swami Sahajanand Saraswati, Adyakrantikarak Vasudev Balwant Phadke, Chapekar brothers, Anant Kanhere, Vinayak Deshapande, Vishwanath Vaishampayan,Sri Satyanarayana Shukla, Basawon Singh (Sinha), Pandit Bhola Shukla, Balgangadhar Tilak, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Madan Mohan Malaviya, Surendranath Banerjee, Mahadev Govind Ranade, Rajguru, Ramprasad Bismil, Vanchinathan,Vinayak Damodar Savarkar,Ganesh Damodar Savarkar, Prativadi Bhayankara Venkatacharya ("Bhayankarachari"), Mahavir Tyagi,anand sharma, Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu, S. Srinivasa Iyengar, C. Rajagopalachari, Pattabhi Sitaramayya, P. V. Narasimha Rao, R.V.Krishna Iyer, Laxmi Raman Acharya, Sri Krishna Sinha, Gobind Ballabh Pant, Kamalapati Tripathi, Sheel Bhadra Yajee, Ravishankar Shukla, Kailashnath Katju, Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru, Motilal Nehru, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, E. M. S. Namboodiripad, Hiren Mukherjee, S. A. Dange, P. C. Joshi, Acharya P. K. Atre, Baba Amte and Vinoba Bhave Gangadharrao Deshpande - Lion of Karnataka

Present Brahmins in Indian politics:

Brahmins who became Prime Ministers of India include:

Brahmin Presidents of India include:

Pakistani politician Mahesh Kumar Malani, a Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan from the Pakistan Peoples Party, is also Brahmin.


  • Chanakya was the chief architect of the Maurya empire of Chandragupta Maurya and later his mentor, adviser and strategist. His masterpiece was Arthasastra, one of the greatest treatises on economics, politics, foreign affairs, administration, military arts, war and religion ever produced in India.
  • Ramchandra Pant Amatya, called as one of the six pillars of the Maratha empire by none other than Shivaji himself, and later Peshwa Baji Rao I who led the Marathi army to 41 battle victories, without ever losing one, contributed greatly to the Maratha empire's stability and expansion.
  • Birbal,[52] the most trusted, admired and loved minister of Akbar, and the incharge of the military and administration, was a Brahmin.

When Sikandar (Alexander) came to India after defeating the rest of the world, he had to retreat from INDIA because first he met King Porus in a fierce battle field which gave him and his soldiers a taste of valour of the Indians and second CHANAKYA focused his efforts on establishment of a grand invincible empire ... BRAHMANS are those by meeting whom even the winner of whole world fears.... they are the BRAHMANS. Now INDIA stands because of brahmins, even though people may or may not realize it.

Brahmins did a great job, they divided the community into different aspects even Sir Edfard Shootika described in his theory "My Aim to Life". As per the study they have the potential to bring back the distributed community into one. [Est 12-562, scholaka 65]

Scholars and writers

Brahmin scholars and writers include Pāṇini, Satyabrata Nath, Patanjali, Kalidas, Satya Sandhani Haridutta Dash,Chandrasekhar pranava (Indian yoga Mentore) Chanakya, Banabhatta, Goswami Tulsidas, Sur Das, Keshav das, Behari Saint Dnyaneshwar, Eknath, Samarth Ramdas. Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, Prativadi Bhayankara Annangaracharya (Sanskrit scholar and composer of the Suprabhatam in the mid-1400s), Melpathur Narayana Bhattathiri, Mahapandit Rahul Sankrityayan, Ramdhari Singh 'Dinkar', Jiddu Krishnamurthy, Hazariprasad Dwivedi, Sumitranandan Pant, Subramanya Bharathy, Tarashankar Bandopadhyay, Ramvriksh Benipuri,chatanya Mahaprabhu, Suryakant Tripathi Nirala, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Srilal Shukla and Manohar Shyam Joshi. Other Brahmin scholars include Pandurang Vaman Kane, Ram Sharan Sharma and Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya. Modern writers include R. K. Narayan, Chandramani Brahmdutt, cartoonist R. K. Laxman, Sanskrit scholar Kundalam Rangachariar, Yoga exponent B.K.S. Iyengar, journalist Indra Kant Mishra, and traditional Vedic astrologer Srirangam Ramesh Guru.

There have been many eminent scholars and writers like Maasti Venkatesh Iyengar and Viswanatha Satyanarayana and Sitakant Mahapatra who produced great literary master pieces in their local languages and won the highest literary award of India, the Jnanapith award.


Scientists from the Brahmin fold include Varahamihira, Brahmagupta, Aryabhatta, Bhaskaracharya, Madhava of Sangamagrama, Neelakanta Somayaji, Paramesvara and others of Kerala school of astronomy and mathematics whose findings and discoveries predated those of many eminent European scientists and mathematicians like Newton by centuries,[53] Nobel laureates Sir C. V. Raman and his nephew Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, agricultural scientist M. S. Swaminathan, Prof. A. K. Joshi, (molecular plant breeder), ethno-sociologist M. N. Srinivas, the most talented legendary mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, eminent physicist Suri Bhagavantam, eminent engineer M. Visvesvarayya (whose birthday is celebrated as Engineers' day in India), eminent chemist and material scientist C.N.R. Rao, Nobel laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, C. P. Ramanujam and Shakuntala Devi. Raja Ramanna, who was instrumental in making India a nuclear weapons state, P. K. Iyengar, Vulimiri Ramalingaswami, who served as the director of AIIMS and later as director general Indian Council of Medical Research, U. R. Rao and K. Kasturirangan, former chairmen of ISRO, Prem Chand Pandey and Narendra Karmarkar. There were/have been many directors, distinguished world renowned faculty members, students and alumni like for instance A.Narasimhachari [54] and his elder brother A.Raghavachari (topper of IITJEE 88) etc. who have contributed and continuing to contribute immensely to the world wide esteem of premier Indian institutes like IITs, IIMs, AIIMS and IISc. They (brahmins) also hold many academic, scientific, R&D and industry positions in prestigious establishments in India and abroad, like for example the 2007 "mathematician's Nobel prize" laureate S.R. Srinivasa Varadhan of NYU. Unfortunately because of the socio political and economic challenges they are confronting in the country, India is unable to fully utilize the talents and services of the younger generations of brahmins, who are preferring to migrate away in large numbers in pursuit of better opportunities and recognition outside the country leading to a massive brain drain.

PVN Acharya(1924–1993), of the Prativadi Bhayankara family, received his PhD in Biochemistry with highest honors from the University of Paris-Sorbonne, and published papers with his professor, the famous French scientist Edgar Lederer. As a student in Paris and later as a biochemist in Madison, Wisconsin, PV Narasimh Acharya conducted groundbreaking work in tuberculosis and was the first scientist to discover that "irreparable DNA damage" is caused by low-dose ionizing radiation, environmental pollutants and the food additives nitrites and nitrates, and that such damage to the DNA is a causal factor in premature aging and cancer.[55][56][57][58][59][60][61][62][63] Prior to pursuing his doctorates at the Sorbonne, PVN Acharya graduated from Benares Hindu University, where he studied Oil Technology, and worked at the Shri Ram Institute for Industrial Research and the National Council of Applied Economic Research (New Delhi), where he developed commercial applications for castor oil including detergents and synthetic materials, including Nylon products.


In cricket, major names include Sunil Manohar Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, Dilip Balwanth Vengsarkar, Ajit Wadekar, Srinivas Venkatraghavan, E. A. S. Prasanna, Bagawath Subramania Chandrashekhar, Gundappa Vishwanath,M.L.Jaisimha, Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, Chetan Sharma, Parthasarathy Sharma, Ravi Shastri, Krishnamachari Srikkanth, Anjali Vedpathak, Vangipurappu Venkata Sai Laxman, Anil Kumble, Javagal Srinath, Venkatesh Prasad, Ajay Sharma, Dinesh Karthik, Murali Kartik, Rohit Sharma, Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra, Subramaniam Badrinath, Suresh Raina, Maneesh Pandey, Sadagoppan Ramesh, Ajit Agarkar, Hrishikesh Kanitkar, Sunil Joshi and many more. Other sports names include the world chess champion Vishwanathan Anand, Kirti Azad (cricketer and M.P.), and 1890s national tennis champion Narumanchi Narayanamurthy from Tenali, Andhra Pradesh.


Saint musicians include Thyagaraja, Vyasatirtha, Raghavendra Swami, Muthuswami Dikshitar and Shyama Sastri. Several notable names in Indian classical music belong to the Brahmin community, such as Mysore Vasudevacharya, Bhimsen Joshi, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Veena Doraiswamy Iyengar, Mangalampalli Balamurali Krishna, Pandit Jasraj, Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan and Shivkumar Sharma.

In entertainment, prominent names include Ghantasala Venkateswara Rao, S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, Ghazal Srinivas Vishnuvardhan, Usha Uthup, Mithun Chakraborty, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Vyjayantimala, Hema Malini, Basu Chatterjee, Sudhir PhaDke, Balgandharva, Dr. Vasantrao Deshpande, Ashok Kumar, Kishore Kumar, Mukesh, Shreya Ghoshal, Udit Narayan, Shantanu Mukherjee, Abhijeet, Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik, Madhuri Dixit, Ajay Devgn, Amrita Rao, Sharmila Tagore, Aditi Govitrikar, Gayatri Joshi, Sonali Bendre, Rani Mukherjee, Kajol, Vidya Balan, and Sonali Kulkarni. Tansen, Baiju Bawra the musician of Akbar's court was born a Brahmin. Rati Agnihotri, Apurva Agnihotri, Sunil Dutt, Sanjay Dutt, Kamal Hassan, Suhasini, Mausumi Chatterji, Chunki Pande, Rekha, Hrithik Roshan, Arjun Rampal, Shankar Mahadevan, Hariharan, Mani Sharma, Shruti Hassan, Meenakshi Sheshadri, [Indian Idol winners Sandeep Acharya, Sreeram chandra and finalist N.C. Karunya are also Brahmins.

Hindu Saints

Brahmin saints include Adi Shankara, Ramanuja, Madhwacharya, Mandana Mishra, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Goswami Tulsidas, Surdas, Vallabhacharya, Dnyaneshwar, Samarth Ramdas , Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Ramana Maharshi,Rameshbhai Oza and Shree Kripaluji Maharaj.

Hindu avatarams

Some incarnations (avatarams) of Lord Vishnu were Brahmins. Parashurama, the son of sage Jamadagni, is considered a redeemer of virtue and set the stage for nobility to manifest as Lord Rama, the divine king, by ridding the world of unscrupulous and unjust rulers - Haiheyas. As Vamana, a dwarf Bramhin, Vishnu who vanquished Bali, an ancient king of Kerala who became more powerful than the Devas


T.T. Krishnamachari, TTK group, T. V. Sundaram Iyengar, TVS and sons, Sundram Fastners, Arun Pudur of Celframe , Infosys, N. R. Narayana Murthy, SHREE BINDUKSHINI Advisory Services(, Nitin Omprakash Bohra, UB Group Vijay Mallya,Dr. Gururaj "Desh" Deshpande, the founder of the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at MIT, Jaypee group, The Cognizant,Atre Group,Garware Industries,Kingfisher,Airdeccan,Deccan Aviations,Amrutanjan LTD,Baidyanath,Vicco,Sahara Group,L&T,Amalagamations,TAFE tractors,TIME Institutes,ICFAI institutes,Manipal Institutes,Ashida Electronics,Agri gold,India Cements,Sanmar Group,Kirloskar,Shriram chits,AXIS Bank,ICICI bank,Dhanalaxmi Bank,Karnataka bank pvt ltd,Indus Airways,The Hindu,Seshasayee group,Sankhya Infotech,United Infotech,Gammon Infratech,Camlin Products,Uninor,Vilas rao deshmukh,Jaypee Group,Malladi Pharmaceuticals,Orchid Pharmaceuticals,Orchid hotels,Kamat Hotels,Kohinoor Group,Colorchips animations, Indra Nooyi, C.E.O. of Pepsico, C. K. Prahalad, Nandan Nilekani,Dyaneshwar of ITC,Kiran Majumdar of Biocon etc.

Social/Public Service

Dhondo Keshav Karve, Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar (RSS founder), Shri. M.S.Golwalkar (Guruji), Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Kandukuri Veeresalingam, Durgabai Deshmukh, Baba Amte, Pandurang Shastri Athavale, Sudha Murthy/Infosys Foundation are some of the well known social reformers/activists.

Most of India's Chief Justices are Brahmins to name few Justice M. N. Venkatachaliah, etc., C.D. Deshmukh, H.V.R. Iyengar, C. Rangarajan, C.R. Krishna Swamy Rao, T.N. Seshan, T.N. Chaturvedi, B. K. Chaturvedi, Raju Narayanaswamy and many distinguished civil servants of India who rose to the highest positions of Chiefs of Indian civil services/Cabinet Secretaries of India,[64] comptroller and auditor generals of India, principal secretaries of various ministries of the Union government and chief secretaries of many Indian states.

See also


  1. ^ Brahman, Brahma and Brahmin,

    Brahman, Brahmin and Brahma have different meanings. Brahman refers to the Supreme Self. Brahmin or Brahmana refers to an individual, while the word Brahma refers to God in the aspect of creator.


  1. ^ Monier-Williams: inspired, inwardly stirred, wise, learned, etc.
  2. ^ 'Dvija was used more frequently for Brahmins, but it also included Kṣatriyas and Vaiśyas who were "reborn through investiture with the sacred knowledge" - Monier-Williams.
  3. ^ A detailed article on Brahmins at Vepachedu Educational Foundation
  4. ^ a b Wells et al. (2001)
  5. ^ a b c Semino et al. (2000)
  6. ^ High-Resolution Phylogenetic Analysis of Southeastern Europe Traces Major Episodes of Paternal Gene Flow Among Slavic Populations - Pericic et al. 22 (10): 1964 - Molecular Bi...
  7. ^ Behar et al. (2003)
  8. ^ The Autochthonous Origin and a Tribal Link of Indian Brahmins: Evaluation Through Molecular Genetic Markers, by S. Sharma (1,2), E. Rai (1,2), S. Singh (1,2), P.R. Sharma (1,3), A.K. Bhat (1), K. Darvishi (1), A.J.S. Bhanwer (2), P.K. Tiwari (3), R.N.K. Bamezai (1) 1) NCAHG, SLS, JNU, New delhi; 2) Department of Human Genetics, GNDU, Amritsar; 3) Centre for Genomics, SOS zoology, JU, Gwalior, Page 273 (1344/T), Published in The American Society of Human Genetics 57th Annual Meeting, October 23–27, 2007, San Diego, California.
  9. ^ Passarino et al. (2002)
  10. ^ Underhill et al. (2009)
  11. ^ Brāhmanotpatti Martanda, cf. Dorilal Sharma, p.41-42
  12. ^ Mentioned by Jogendra Nath Bhattacharya in "Hindu Castes and Sects", a detailed article on various castes and groups of Brahmins
  13. ^ a b P. 849 Gujarat State Gazetteers By Gujarat (India), 1984
  14. ^ Bayly, Susan (2001). Caste, Society and Politics in India from the Eighteenth Century to the Modern Age. Cambridge University Press. p. 440 (at p 203). ISBN 9780521798426. 
  15. ^ Jaffrelot, Christophe (2003). India's silent revolution: the rise of the lower castes in North India. New York: Columbia University Press. pp. 68. ISBN 978-0231127868. OCLC 50064516. 
  16. ^ a b The Boxers, China, and the World. Rowman & Littlefield. 2007. p. 231 (at p 63). ISBN 978-0742553958. 
  17. ^ Crooke, William (1999). The Tribes and Castes of the North-Western Provinces and Oudh. 4. 6A, Shahpur Jat, New Delhi-110049, India: Asian Educational Services. ISBN 8120612108. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ Article on Brahmins of Andhra Pradesh at Vepachedu Educational Foundation
  20. ^ Maharashtra State Gazetteers
  21. ^ a b Article on Iyengars
  22. ^ History of Madras by James Talboys Wheeler
  23. ^ Prevalence of phenotypes & genes (pdf file) - Last page 10th line to the left
  24. ^ a b Pg 31 Std 7 Social Science textbook printed by the TamilNadu textbook corporation
  25. ^ Book pg.40 - The world of the weaver in the Northern Coromandel
  26. ^ Pg.443(Snippet View) - The Indian economic and social history review, Volume 22
  27. ^ Pg.61(Snippet View) - Textiles and weavers in medieval South India
  28. ^ a b Leider, Jacques P.. "Specialists for Ritual, Magic and Devotion: The Court Brahmins of the Konbaung Kings". The Journal of Burma Studies 10: 159–180. 
  29. ^ Article on Gotras of Brahmins at Vepachedu Educational Foundation
  30. ^ Article on Gotras and pravaras of Brahmins at Vepachedu Educational Foundation
  31. ^ Manu Smriti on learning of the Vedas
  32. ^ Article on various sects and rishis of Brahmins at Vepachedu Educational Foundation
  33. ^ Bhanu, B. V., People of India, p. 948.
  34. ^ Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology and Religion, Geography, History and Literature, by John Dowson, p. 17.
  35. ^ History of Indian Theatre, by Manohar Laxman Varadpande, p. 227.
  36. ^ Crooke, William (1999). The Tribes and Castes of the North-Western Provinces and Oudh. 6A, Shahpur Jat, New Delhi-110049, India: Asian Educational Services. pp. 1809 (at page 64). ISBN 8120612108. 
  37. ^ a b c P. 201, Professor A.L. Basham, My Guruji and Problems and Perspectives of Ancient, by Sachindra Kumar Maity
  38. ^ P. 29, Cultural History from the Matsyapurāṇa, by Sureshachandra Govindlal Kantawala
  39. ^ P. 37 Asian Medical Systems: A Comparative Study By Charles Leslie
  40. ^ a b P. 13 Castes And Tribes Of Southern India By Edgar Thurston, K. Rangachari
  41. ^ | Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 7.11.14
  42. ^ a b c "Mahima Dharma, Bhima Bhoi and Biswanathbaba"
  43. ^ Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Handful of Leaves Vol 1, 2nd edition, page 391.
  44. ^ See for example Dhp XXVI, Brahmanavagga, or Majjhima Nikaya 3.24, or especially MN 98 for three of many examples.
  45. ^ Sue Hamilton, Early Buddhism: A New Approach: The I of the Beholder. Routledge 2000, page 49.
  46. ^ (Robinson, Johnson & Thanissaro 2005, p. 51)
  47. ^ Sue Hamilton, Early Buddhism: A New Approach: The I of the Beholder. Routledge 2000, pages 47, 49.
  48. ^ Translation by Piyadassi Thera
  49. ^ Dhammapada XXVI, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
  50. ^ P.21 Jaina-rūpa-maṇḍana =: Jaina Iconography By Umakant Premanand Shah
  51. ^ Bards/Bhatts in Adi Granth: Bhatt Mathura
  52. ^ About Birbal
  53. ^ Indians predated Newton by 250 years
  54. ^ A. Narasimhachari
  55. ^ Acharya NPV (PVN Acharya's Phd thesis at Universite de Paris, Sorbonne) Senn M and Lederer E (1967). "Sur la presence et structure de mycolate d'arabinose dans les lipides lies de deux souches de Mycobacteries". Compte Rendu Acad Sci Hebd Acad Sci D. 264: 2173–2176. 
  56. ^ Migliore D, Acharya NPV and Jolles P (1966). "Characterization of large quantities of glutamic acid in the walls of human virulent strains of mycobacteria.". Compte Rendu Acad Sci Hebd Acad Sci D. 263 (11): 846–8. PMID 4958543. 
  57. ^ Acharya, PV and Goldman DS (1970). "Chemical composition of the cell wall of the H37Ra strain of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.". J Bacteriol 102 (3): 733–9. PMID 4988039. 
  58. ^ Acharya, PVN; The Effect of Ionizing Radiation on the Formation of Age-Correlated Oligo Deoxyribo Nucleo Phospheryl Peptides in Mammalian Cells; 10th International Congress of Gerontology, Jerusalem. Abstract No. 1; January 1975. Work done while employed by Dept. of Pathology, University of Wisconsin, Madison.
  59. ^ Acharya, PVN; Implicatons of The Action of Low Level Ionizing Radiation on the Inducement of Irreparable DNA Damage Leading to Mammalian Aging and Chemical Carcinogenesis.; 10th International Congress of Biochemistry, Hamburg, Germany. Abstract No. 01-1-079; July 1976. Work done while employed by Dept. of Pathology, University of Wisconsin, Madison.
  60. ^ Acharya, PV Narasimh; Irreparable DNA-Damage by Industrial Pollutants in Pre-mature Aging, Chemical Carcinogenesis and Cardiac Hypertrophy: Experiments and Theory; 1st International Meeting of Heads of Clinical Biochemistry Laboratories, Jerusalem, Israel. April 1977. Work conducted at Industrial Safety Institute and Behavioral Cybernetics Laboratory, University of Wisconsin, Madison.
  61. ^ Acharya, PV Narasimh; The Effects of Industrial Pollutants on DNA Mechanisms, 1977.
  62. ^ Acharya, PV Narasimh; Environmental Carcinogens: A Critical Appraisal, 1988.
  63. ^ Acharya PVN; The isolation and partial characterization of age-correlated oligo-deoxyribo-ribonucleotides with covalently linked aspartyl-glutamyl polypeptides. (June 1971). Johns Hopkins Med J Suppl, p254-260. PMID 5055816.
  64. ^ Heads of Indian Civil Services

Further reading

External links

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