Goud Saraswat Brahmin

Gowd (also spelt as Goud or Gaud) Saraswat Brahmins are a Hindu Brahmin community in India and a part of the larger Saraswat Brahmincommunity. They are popularly referred to as GSBs. They are Konkani people and primarily speak Konkani as their mother tongue. They are the first Rigvedic Brahmins.
They claim their origin to the Brahmins who lived on the banks of the now-extinct river Saraswati of upper Punjab or Kashmir. They derived their name from either the river Saraswati or from their spiritual leader, the sage Saraswat Muni(sage) who lived on the banks of Saraswati. These Brahmins were one of the Pancha Gowda Brahmin groups who lived north of the Vindhyas. They belonged to Smarta tradition and primarily worshiped the five deities: Shiva, Vishnu, Devi, Surya and Ganesha. Throughout the course of history, the Saraswat Brahmins have migrated to a variety of locations and are found mostly in Western coast of India.
Saraswat Muni (who was a devotee of goddess Saraswati) once needed disciples to spread his teachings and knowledge to the world. However, he could not get students who were capable of the task. So he prayed to Goddess Saraswati to help him. Pleased with his devotion the Goddess gave him fourteen sons. Each of them had a name and the same is used by his descendents as their surname. The sons had characteristics according to their names. They were taught by the sage and sent around the world with certain objectives. 
The Saraswat Brahmins are mentioned in the Vedas, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Bhagavata and the Bhavisyottara Purana. They may have come from Central Asia and Southern Germany to the Indian sub-continent through the Hindu-Kush mountains and the Khyber pass to south in about 2000–1500 BC or they were indigenous. The meaning of 'Saraswat' has more than one origin. One refers to 'offspring of Saraswati' the goddess of learning applied usually to learned and scholarly people. It may denote the residents of Saraswati river basin. The Brahmins of this region who are referred to as 'Saraswats' in Mahabharata and Puranas were learned in Vedic lore. They concentrated on studying subjects like astronomy,metaphysics, medicine and allied subjects and disseminating knowledge.  To trace the Gauda Saraswat Brahmins' ancestry from Kashmir to Goa, story of famous seer "Saraswata" is considered: When there was a famine in north India, he continued to recite Vedic texts by consuming fish. 
Due to geo-morphosis in the Himalayas, the Saraswati began to dry up and the Saraswats were forced to migrate to greener pastures. Some went to Kashmir in the north, others went eastward. Few made their way to the Konkan and Goa. These came to be recognised as Goud Saraswats or Dakshinatya Saraswats, to distinguish them from other Saraswat groups of the north. 
The new immigrants were called 'Goud' because they were followers of Monism or Advaita as preached by Gaudapada, who was guru of Govinda Bhagavatpada whose direct disciple was Shankaracharya, who resurrected Hinduism or Vedic religion in India. Shri Gaudapadacharya Math, firstmatha of Saraswats dedicated to the memory of Goudapadacharya was established in Keloshi (Quellosim) in Goa in the 8th century AD. He later moved to Kaivalyapura or Kavale in Goa as the mathaa at Keloshi was destroyed in 1564 AD by the Portuguese rulers. To this day, the swamis of Kavale matha are known as Goudapadacharyas. Kavale Math is the Goud Saraswat community's Adimatha (first matha) and three main sub-sects of Dakshinatya Saraswats — Sashtikar, Shenvis (Karbharis), and Chitrapur Saraswats (Bhanaps) — were known as Goud Saraswats or Konkani Brahmins until 300 years ago. Other Saraswat subsects include Rajapur Saraswat Brahmins Balavalikars also known as Bardeskars, Pednekars and kudaldeshkars - Saraswats of Kudal Desh. 
In the 13th century, Dwaita (Vaishnava) philosophy advocated by Madhvacharya became popular and many Saraswats adopted Vaishnavism. They continued to worship the deities they brought with them from the north. These were 'Mahan Girish' or MangueshiShakti or ShantadurgaVishnu,Ganesh and Surya. They form the 'Panchayatan' or five deities, sacred to all Saraswats.
Goud Saraswats were in all the kingdoms of the western coast under different dynasties right from 6th century A.D. KadambaRashtrakutaHoysala,Chalukya Shilahara and Vijayanagara kings had given important posts to Saraswats. There were admirals, treasurers, ambassadors, army chiefs and foreign language interpreters among them. They were famous traders, who conducted maritime trade with Eastern and Western countries of the contemporary world. The spoken language of Saraswats is Konkani. 
Many people migrated to Kerala and built temples mainly dedicated to Vishnu and his avatars. The first Vaishnava Saraswat Math of Gokarna Math lineage was established in the year 1475 in Varanasi. The origin of Gokarna Math comes from the lineage of Sri Palimar Math, one of the eight Maths established by Sripad Madhwacharya in Udupi.Kashi Math at Kochi came up in 1560 A.D. All the Vaishnav Saraswats (Madhwa) are Kulavis (followers) of either Kashi Math or Gokarna Math. 'Smarth' Saraswats owe allegiance to either Kavale Math or Chitrapur Math. 
Saraswats continued to hold important posts under Keladi or Nagar rulers. Many families who emigrated from Goa settled down in smaller towns and villages in Shimoga, South and North Kanara districts. Saraswats were the first beneficiaries of English education introduced in 1840. 
Goud Saraswat Brahmins primarily speak Konkani as their mother tongue. The Konkani they speak is slightly different from the Konkani spoken by other communities such as the Catholics,Navayaths, and Siddis. The Konkani spoken by Goan Saraswats, Karnataka Saraswats and Kerala Saraswats is also different. The Konkani spoken by Karnataka Saraswats has borrowed loan words from Kannada while the Konkani spoken by Kerala Saraswats has borrowed loan words from Malayalam. This was due to several centuries of domicile by the Saraswats in these areas.
The usage of the language by the community is on the decline:
  • In Goa, the Portuguese discouraged the usage of Konkani in Goa and imposed the Portuguese language as official, leading to Konkani's decline in Goa 
  • In Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala, the usage of Marathi, Kannada and Malayalam respectively was preferred in place of Konkani.
  • The need for usage of English and Hindi languages has also contributed to this decline.
The Goud Saraswat Brahmins, in the course of their migration settled on a small strip on the west coast of India in the present day Goa. This is evident with many of the temples of the Kuladevas being located in Goa. Over time, facing religious persecution by the Portuguese, they moved further south to coastal Karnataka and Kerala. They are found all over the west coast of India ranging from Goa, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala, most of them having their deities in Goa. They are all linked together by the common Konkani language. Konkani has been substantially influenced by local languages in each of the regions.
Gauda Saraswat Brahmins are categorised by surname (indicating profession), gotra (lineage) or matha (spiritual guru).
The Goud Saraswat Brahmins wherever they migrated mingled with the local people, but kept their identity by their surnames. GSB surname are generally based upon:
  • The village of Gomantak where the family originally settled or migrated.
  • Names indicating the traditional profession of the family. Today many GSB no longer have links with their namesake profession. 
Every GSB belongs to a particular gotra, similar to a "clan". The gotras are named for noted Hindu sages or rishis, thus the gotra's name indicates what sage its members pertain to. Marriage within the same gotra is prohibited, which may be a method to avoid inbreeding. 
  • Shri Gaudapadacharya Math (Kavale, Ponda, Goa), Advaita school with Gaudapadacharya as Adi Guru
  • Gokarna Partagali Jeevottam Mutt (Partagali-Cancona, Goa), Dvaita School with Madhva Sampradaya
  • Sri Kashi Math (Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh), Dvaita Sampradaya
  • Sri Chitrapur Math (Shirali, Karnataka), Advaita School with Gaudapadacharya as Adi Guru
  • Sri Dhaboli Math (Kudal, Maharastra), Advaita School with Shankaracharya as Adi Guru
During the eighth month of pregnancy, a woman moves to her mother's house, especially during the birth of her first child. The expecting mother also performs Ganapathi Pooja for a successful delivery and a healthy child. On the 6th day, a pen and lamp are kept near the child's head, symbolic of a wish for an intelligent child. On the 12th day, the naming and cradling ceremony is performed wherein the paternal grandmother whispers the child's name into his/her ear and a horoscope is cast.  When the child turns three months old, they are taken to the temple, and thereafter the child goes to the father's abode. 
On eleventh day following a child's birth barso is held. If done with homa (holy fire – havan), it is called barso homa. Childs ears are pierced, child is named and cradled on this day.
When a child is two years old, before he completes third year the chaula (child's first haircut) ceremony is held.
When the male child turns eight years old, the munji (Konkani word for upanayanam) is performed. In this ceremony, the jannuvey (sacred thread) is placed on the left shoulder of the child. From that day on, he becomes an official member of his caste, and is called a dwija ("twice-born"). In ancient times, the boy was sent to gurukula to learnVedas and scriptures. The boy was expected to practice extreme discipline during this period known as brahmacharya. He was expected to lead a celibate life, living on alms, and surviving on selected vegetarian saatvic food and observing considerable austerity in behaviour and deeds. On completion of the thread ceremony the boy will be eligible to go to gurukula which is available in four places across India: Kashi Mutt Gurukula, Patashala at Mangalore and Mulki, Gokarn Mutt Gurukula at Partagali and Kavale Mutt Gurukula at Goa. Priests will be studying at any one of these gurukulas, as do lay GSBs. The thread is changed every year in a festival known as Sutta Punav in the Hindu month of Shravan and under different circumstances such as Suthige. Some of the main rituals in a GSB munji are Devatha Prarthana, Ganapathi Puja, Udada Murthu, Matrubhojan, Yajnopavita Dharana, Brahmachari Agnikaryam, gayitri Upadesha, Danda Dharana,Matrabiksha etc.
A typical GSB marriage consists of the following events – Varan Appoche, Nandi, Nishchaithambul, Yedur Kansnani, Urdha Murthu, Kashi Yatra, Lagna, Havan Purnavati, Chautanan, Tulsi Pujaand Mandal Virajan.
All GSBs are cremated according to Vedic rites, usually within a day of the individual's death. The death rites include a 13-day mourning period. The ashes of the departed are immersed at a confluence of two rivers (sangam) or in the sea. Like all other Hindus, they prefer the ashes to be immersed in the rivers GangesGodavari, or Kaveri. For the first twelve months following, monthly rituals called masik are performed, as well as an annual remembrance ceremony (shraddha) to be performed by male descendants (preferably the eldest son) of the departed. The family members will observe honle for 12 days, wherein a family member will not visit temples or any functions in the family.
GSB's celebrate almost all festivals in Hinduism, and follow the Hindu lunar calendar (Panchang in Konkani) that gives the days on which the fasts and festivals should be observed.
Most of the GSB's including Chitrapur Saraswats and some Rajapur Saraswats are vegetarian. Their food is usually without onion and garlic. However some GSB's from North Kanara, Goa and Maharashtra are piscovegetarian (fish eaters). The inclusion of fish in the diet is not looked upon as non-vegetarian. Legend has it that when the Saraswati River dried up, the Saraswats who could not farm were permitted to eat seafood and fish. The fish were euphemistically called "sea vegetable". However they too eat only vegetarian food without onion and garlic on festival days and on Mondays, which is auspicious for Shiva. The recipes use large amounts of coconut and spices, and rice is the staple food.
Pathrodo, a vegetarian dish made from colocasia leaves is a GSB specialty; it is commonly eaten with rice or curd. The dish is threatened due to a lack of colocasia leaves due to urbanisation.
Kuldevtas(family deities) are considered of utmost importance to the GSB's. Normally Saraswats who follow the Advaita Sampradaya believe in the concept of "Panchayatan" – worshipping five gods like form of Shiva, Vishnu, Durga, Surya and Ganapati. Some GSB temples still maintain this concept, while others which follow Madhva Sampradaya believe in Lord Hari being supreme and parivara devatas being the Lords Devotees and hence they have main deity installed in the main sanctorum with four parivara devatas around. "Kuldev" or "kuldaivat" are the deities which a set of families primarily worship. Their temples are built and maintained by these families, also called "Mahajans" (or Kulavis) of their respective temple.
Many Kuldevs/Kuldevatas are situated in Goa. However, during the early Portuguese persecutions, many Saraswats fled Goa along with their Kuldevs to nearby regions of Maharashtra & Karnataka. Hence, besides Goa, there are many GSB Temples in Maharashtra (Konkan side like Malwan, Vengurla, Savantwadi, Kudal, Ratnagiri, etc.). The Saraswats of Goa are predominantly the worshipers of Shiva and Durga, though many of them have got converted to Vaishnavites but they still retain their worship to their ancestral shavaite and vedic deities.
Many Saraswats have a strong faith in Durga and continue to pay respect and tribute by either taking part in festivals or some other occasions relating to Durga. Every Saraswat Brahmin has a system of worshipping two deities amongst which one is a Pallavi or supporting deity. Majority of the Saraswats have some or the other aspect of Durga included in their family deity. It can be Shantadurga, Aryadurga, Mahamaya, Vijayadurga or Mahalakshmi. Besides the Kuladevta, Saraswats also offer their prayers to their Ishta Devta. The Vaishnavite Saraswats consider Venkatraman - Padmavati, Vithoba - Rukmini and Shri Vishnu as their Ishta Devta, similarly the Smartas consider Durgaparameshwari and Bhavani Shankar as their Ishta Devta. However many of the Ishta Devta's are in turn the presiding deities of their respective Mutts.

Kashmiri Pandit

The Kashmiri Pandits are the indigenous community originating from Kashmir, a mountainous region in South Asia.The Hindu caste system of the Kashmir region was influenced by the influx of Buddhism from the time of Asoka, around the third century BCE, and a consequence of this was that the traditional lines of varna were blurred, with the exception of that for the Brahmins, who remained aloof from the changes. Another notable feature of early Kashmiri society was the relative high regard in which women were held when compared to their position in other communities of the period. 
A historically contested region, Northern India was subject to attack from predatory Turkic and Arab regimes from the eighth century onwards, but they generally ignored the mountain-circled Kashmir Valley in favour of easier pickings elsewhere. It was not until the fourteenth century that Muslim rule was finally established in the Valley and when this happened it did not occur primarily as a consequence of invasion so much as because of internal problems resulting from the weak rule and corruption endemic in the Hindu Lohara dynasty. Mohibbul Hasan describes this collapse as
The Dãmaras or feudal chiefs grew powerful, defied royal authority, and by their constant revolts plunged the country into confusion. Life and property were not safe, agriculture declined, and there were periods when trade came to a standstill. Socially and morally too the court and the country had sunk to the depths of degradations. 
The Brahmins had something to be particularly unhappy about during the reign of the last Lohara king, for Sūhadeva chose to include them in his system of onerous taxation, whereas previously they appear to have been exempted. 
Zulju, who was probably a Mongol from Turkistan,  wreaked devastation in 1320, when he commanded a force that conquered many regions of the Kashmir Valley. However, Zulju was probably not a Muslim.  The actions of Sultan Sikandar Butshikan (1389–1413), the seventh Muslim ruler in Kashmir were also significant to the area. The Sultan has been referred to as an iconoclast because of his destruction of many non-Muslim religious symbols and the manner in which he forced the population to convert or flee. Many followers of the traditional religions who did not convert to Islam instead migrated to other parts of India. The migrants included some Pandits, although it is possible that some of this community relocated for economic reasons as much as to escape the new rulers. Brahmins were at that time generally being offered grants of land in other areas by rulers seeking to utilise the traditionally high literacy and general education of the community, as well as the legitimacy conferred upon them by association, Moving away from areas where they were under threat of forced religious conversion, the Brahmins were in turn imposing their own religion on their new locales. The outcome of this shift both in population and in religion was that the Kashmir Valley became a predominantly Muslim region. 
Butshikan's heir, the devout Muslim Zain-ul-Abidin (1423-74), was tolerant of Hindus to the extent of sanctioning a return to Hinduism of those who had been forcibly converted to the Muslim faith, as well as becoming involved in the restoration of temples and of Hindu rituals such as sati, which his father had banned. He respected the learning of the Pandits, to whom he gave land as well as encouraging those who had left to return. He operated a meritocracy and both Brahmins and Buddhists were among his closest advisors. 
Akbar conquered Kashmir in 1587 A.D. During his mughal rule the Hindus enjoyed security of person & property & were alloted high government posts. It was he, who pleased with their intelligence, gave them the surname Pandit. The Mughals rule was followed by that of Afghans. The 500 years of Muslim rule in Kashmir coupled with the missionary work of Sufis led to the conversion of the majority of the Kashmiri Pandits to Islam, leaving only a small population of Kashmiri Pandits who still practiced the Shaivite religion 
The Hindus of Kashmir established themselves in the Northern area of India, first in the Mughal courts and then in the service of the Dogra rulers of Kashmir. This cohesive community, highly literate and socially elite, were one of the first to discuss and implement social reforms. 
The Kashmiri Pandits, who had stably constituted approximately 4 to 5 per cent of the population of the valley during Dogra rule (1846–1947), and 20 per cent of whom had left the Kashmir valley by 1950,  began to leave in much greater numbers in the 1990s. According to a number of authors, approximately 100,000 of the total Kashmiri Pandit population of 140,000 left the valley during that decade.  Other authors have suggested a higher figure for the exodus, ranging from the entire population of over 150,000,  to 190,000 of a total Pandit population of 200,000,  to a number as high as 300,000. The US government has reported on the terrorist threat to Pandits still living in the Kashmir region. 
There are zones set up with offices for relief.  Many Orders, Circulars and recommendations have been issued for relief of Kashmiri Pandits. 
The Jammu And Kashmir Migrant Immovable Property (Preservation, Protection And Restraint On Distress Sales) Act, 1997, provides that "Any person who is an unauthorised occupant or recipient of any usufruct of any immovable property of the migrant shall pay to the migrant such compensation for the period of unauthorised occupation and in such a manner as may be determined by the District Magistrate." 
The community had hoped to return after the situation improved, but have not been able to do so for 20 years because normalcy has yet to return to the valley and they fear a risk to their lives. 
The estimated population of Kashmiri Pandits in the Kashmir Valley in 2011 was around 2,700-3,400. Majority of the approximately 1,00,000 pandits that migrated out of Kashmir during the exodus of the 1980s are now scattered throughout India, with majority populations in Jammu region and the NCR while others have settled across the country and abroad. 
Kashmiri Hindus are all Saraswat Brahmins, known by their exonym Pandit. The endonym used within the community is Bhatta. Kashmiri Pandits are chiefly followers of Shiva. Their favourite goddess is Khir Bhawani. The spring of Khir Bhawani at the mouth of Sind Valley is considered one of their most sacred places. Their branch of Shiva worship is known as Kashmir Saivism. The primary tenet of Kashmir Saivism is that the individual soul is one with the universal spirit, and each person has to experience and discover this for themselves. 
Song is an integral part of several Kashmiri Pandit religious ceremonies. This style of choral singing is called Wanvun.
Early records and archaeological evidence such as terracotta sculptures do not record the present-day dress, which comprises items such as the turban,taranga, and pheran. Instead, records indicate that attire was varied and included leather doublets, woollen cloaks, and clothes made from hemp, cotton, linen and different types of silk. Many items of clothing reflected the cold winter climate of the area.
Kshemendra's detailed records from the eleventh century describe many items of which the precise nature is unknown. It is clear that tunics known askanchuka were worn long-sleeved by men and in both long- and half-sleeved versions by women. Caps were worn, as well as a type of turban referred to as a shirahshata, while footwear consisted of leather shoes and boots, worn with socks. Some items were elaborate, such as the peacock shoes – known asmayuropanah – worn by followers of fashion, and steel-soled shoes adorned with floral designs, lubricated internally with beeswax. 
There are many references to the wearing of jewellery by both sexes, but a significant omission from them is any record of the dejihor worn on the ear by women today as a symbol of their being married. Kaw has speculated that this item of jewellery may not have existed at the time. The texts also refer to both sexes using cosmetics, and to the women adopting elaborate hairstyles. Men, too, might adopt stylish arrangements and wear flowers in their hair, if they had the financial means to do so. 

Harmukh is traditionally revered by Kashmiri Pandits and in 2009 there was an attempt by them to revive pilgrimages to the site. The Mata Khirbhawani temple shrine in Srinagar, considered one of the holiest Hindu shrines, saw the largest gathering of Kashmiri Pandits in the Kashmir valley in 2012. The shrine is located in Tullamulla village, 24 km from Srinagar in Ganderbal district.  Some holy sites of Kashmiri Pandits include the Martand Sun Temple at Mattan, Mahakali shrine in Srinagar on the banks of vitasta, & above all theAmarnath cave shrine, the pilgrimage to which is conducted during shravan purnima. 
The religious festivals of the Hindus of Kashmir have Vedic and Proto-Indo-Iranian roots. The Kashmiri Pandits share many of their festivals with other Hindu communities and some with Zoroastrians and Shin of Hindukush, and other Persian and Central Asian peoples, the pre-Islamic elements of whose cultures are derived from the Proto-Indo-Iranian religion from Kashmir. Shivratri (or Herath as it is known in Kashmiri language) is one of the major festivals of Kashmiri Pandits. Navreh or the Kashmiri lunar new year is also an important Pandit festival and has some link to the Persian festival of Nowruz. 

Saraswat Brahmin

The Saraswats are a Brahmin sub-caste of India.According to legend, Saraswat Brahmins are Central Asians who lived along the regions of the former Saraswati River that once flowed parallel to theIndus in present day Pakistan, Kashmir and Northern India. The Saraswat Brahmins are the most revered and esteemed amongst all the Brahmin subcastes and form the absolute Apex amongst all the Brahmins subcastes, particularly because they were the original teachers and propagators of the Vedas and they are mentioned in ancient historical texts such as the Bhagwat Gita, Mahabharat, Ramayan & Vedas. They are considered descendants of the revered Brahmin, Sage Saraswat Muni, who lived on the banks of the ancient river Saraswati.[1] Around 1900 BC, the river Saraswati started vanishing under ground and the people on its banks started migrating to other parts of Central Asia and South Asia thus forming sub-communities. There are many sub-communities in Saraswats, including
  • Rajasthan Saraswats
  • Saraswats from haryana
  • Saraswats from Uttar Pradesh
  • Saraswats from Konkan
  • Kashmiri Pandits
  • Dogra Saraswats (Brahmins from Jammu)
  • Punjabi Saraswats
  • Sindhi Saraswats
  • Bengali Saraswats(Vaidyas)[2]
  • Oriya Saraswats


As per several renowned historians, the Saraswati-Sindhu river was existent in parts of Kashmir, Punjab and Sindh. Punjabi Saraswat Brahmins are one of the most influential communities in Punjab[citation needed]. Approximately 45% of Punjabi Brahmins belong to the Bharadwaja Gotra, a Saraswat Brahmin group which is the same as the one found in Kashmir.The other prominent Gotra in Punjab is Lakhanpal.In addition to main Saraswat gotras such as Bharadawaja and Vashistha, Punjab is also home to the small 'Mohyal' minority, a sub-community within Punjabi Saraswat Brahmins have traditionally been landlords, Dewans, Shahs, and Kings in Northern areas,being the descendants of Dronacharya and were warriors.
The Brahmins of Jammu are known as "Dogra" Saraswats and they too are a sub-category of the larger Saraswat Brahmins. Though ethnically they are similar to the other Saraswats, but culturally and linguistically they are closer to Punjabi Brahmins than to the Kashmiri Brahmins because the Dogra Brahmins speak in Dogri (a language similar to Punjabi) and Kashmiri(Koshur) language and culture is completely different from the Dogra/Punjabi cultures.
Saraswat Brahmins form a great proportion of the Vedic followers in Kashmir, called the Kashmiri Pandits. These Kashmiri Brahmins are thought to be the descendants of Rishi Kashyap and have named Kashmir in his honour. The Kashmiri Brahmins are a mixture of various Pre-Islamic Central Asian, Middle Eastern and Saraswat Brahmin communities. Kashmiri Pandits identify their deity with the Goddess Saraswati, who has been mentioned in the Vedas as the Goddess of learning. Their path to Hinduism is known as Kashmir Shaivism, which also been significantly influenced by the BuddhistZoroastrian and Sufi faiths. The surname of "Pandit" is invariably a Saraswat Brahmin surname and most of them are the Kashmiri Pandits though some Saraswats with this surname are found in other parts of India as well. There are many Muslims in the Valley of Kashmir with surname of Pandit/Pandith as well, indicating that they are fairly more recent converts to Islam (from Hinduism). Many Kashmiri Muslims have still kept their Brahmin surnames of Bhat, Dhar, Reshi (Kashmiri way of saying Rishi), Mattoo, Pandit/Pandith, Raina, Kaul and Reshi.
The Bengali Saraswats (Vaidya-Brahmins) have surnames like Sen Sharma(or Sengupta), Dash Sharma etc. and they are traditional practitioner and teachers of Ayurveda.

[edit]Contribution to Sikhism

In Guru Granth Sahib, there are Hymns of 11 Bards who were all Sarswat Brahmins.


Brahmin (also called Brahmana; from the Sanskrit brāhmaṇa ब्राह्मण) is a term in the traditional Hindu societies of India and Nepal.
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 the creative aspect of the universal consciousness. The English word brahmin is an anglicised form of the Sanskrit wordBrāhmana. In the Smriti view, there are four "varnas" or classes: the Brahmins, the Kshatriyas, the Vaishyas, and the Shudras.
Brahmins were engaged in attaining the highest spiritual knowledge (brahmavidya) and adhered to different branches (shakhas) of Vedas. This was described to be a difficult path of discipline of body, mind, and intellect. 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. An example mentioned in mythology is the sageParashurama who is considered an avatar of Vishnu. Sage Parashurama is portrayed as a powerful warrior who defeated the Haiheya kshatriyas twenty one times, was an expert in the use of weapons, and trained others to fight without weapons. He is said to have established the Brahmins as landowners once he destroyed the Kshatriya race. These Brahmins, after having mostly abandoned their priestly functions (although some still perform), took to land-owning (Zamindar) as a profession. 
However, certain persons, though very few in number, were born into other varnas but dedicated themselves to such an austere life that they were also recognized as Brahmins in ancient India (e.g., sage Vishwamitra, attained brahmavidya and is the seer of the Gayatri mantra was venerated as "Brahmarishi",).
Historically, the semantic change from a tribal state into the Hindu state of the jati-varna matrix saw the conversion and absorption of tribals into the Brahmin class, through adoption of the priestly occupation.  In medieval and colonial India, people in different occupations also proselytized themselves into Brahmins, usually upon leading an austere life, gaining positions of power or upon becoming wealthy. 
The priestly class is expected to practice self-abnegation and play the role of being the custodians of Dharma (as a Brāhman who is well versed in Vedic texts). The fee paid to the Brahmana for performance of a sacrifice was considered as a return for the priestly duties.
Most sampradayas (sects) of modern Brahmins claim to take inspiration from the Vedas. According to orthodox Hindu tradition, the Vedas areapauruṣeya 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 Brahmin tradition claims to be based. Śruti texts include the four Vedas (the Rigveda, the Yajurveda, the Samaveda and the Atharvaveda), and their respective BrahmanasAranyakas and Upanishads.
In 1931, Brahmins accounted for around 6% of the total population of India. Today, it comprises around 5% of the total population.  In West Bengal the figures stand at 5%, whereas in Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and Orissa the Brahmin population is quite near 10%. 
Megasthenes writes, that Brahmins are, "philosophers who are first in rank but form the smallest class in point of number.""  He also compares the Brahmins to the non-Brahmin Shramanas. Megasthenes also writes, "The philosophers are of two kinds: (I) Brachmanes and (2) Sarmanes. The Brachmanes are the best esteemed, for they have a more consistent dogmatic system." 

Brahmins, basically adhere to the principles of the Vedas, related to the texts of the Śruti and Smriti which are some the foundations of Hinduism, and practise Sanatana Dharma. Vedic Brāhmaṇas have six occupational duties, of which three are compulsory — studying the Vedas, performing Vedic rituals and practicing dharma. By teaching the insights of the Vedic literature which deals with all aspects of life including spirituality, philosophy, yoga,  religion, rituals, temples, arts and culture,  music, dance, grammar, pronunciation, metre, astrology, astronomy,  logic, law, medicine, surgery,   technology, martial arts,  military strategy, etc. By spreading its philosophy, and by accepting back from the community, the Brahmins receive the necessities of life. 
Brahmins practice vegetarianism or lacto-vegetarianism which has been a custom for centuries, dating back to the pre-Christian era.  However, some Brahmins inhabiting regions of MithilaPunjabKashmirHimachal PradeshWest BengalOrissa andNepal, are non-vegetarian.
Most Brahmin sects wear the Yagnopaveetham (or sacred thread) that is a symbol of initiation to the Gayatri recital. This ritual is often referred to as Upanayana. This marks the learning of the Gayatri hymn. Brahmin sects also generally identify themselves as belonging to a particularGotra, a classification based on patrilineal descent, which is specific for each family and indicates their origin.
The Brahmin castes may be broadly divided into two regional groups: Pancha-Gauda Brahmins from the Northern part of India (considered to be the region north of the Vindhya mountains) and Pancha-Dravida Brahmins from the region south of the Vindhya mountains as per the shlokaof Kalhana. This shloka was composed only in the 11th century AD. 
Those from Uttarapatha (Aryavarta) (northern and eastern India) approximately ordered according to geographical regions. Northern and Eastern Brahmins are divided into 5 main categories. Guad brahmins or Gaudiya comprises Kashmir to Bengal.
  • Saraswat Brahmins
  • Kashmiri Pandits
  • Goud Saraswat Brahmins
  • Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmins
  • Rajapur Saraswat Brahmins
  • Kudaldeshkar Gaud Brahmans
  • Mohyals

Kanyakubja Brahmins

  • Saryupareen Brahmins
  • Assamese Brahmins
  • Kamrupi Brahmins
  • Kanyakubja Brahmins
  • Bhumihar Brahmins
  • Sanadhya Brahmins
  • Bengali Brahmins
  • Bahun
  • Goswami
  • Manipuri Brahmins
  • Garhwali Brahmins
  • Sakaldwipiya Brahmins
"Kanyakubj Vanshavali" mentions five branches of Kanyakubja Brahmins as Saryupareen, Sanadhya, BhumiharJujhautiya and Prakrit Kanaujia:
Saryupari Sanadhyashcha Brahmino Jijhoutayah
Prakritashcha Iti Panchabhedastasya Prakartitah

Gauda Brahmins

  • Gaur brahmin
Among Gaur brahmana of Haryana, Rajasthan & west Uttar Pradesh, Adi Gaur /Pachauri, Sanadhya & Paliwal are also Gaur brahmans.

Utkala Brahmins (Orissa)

  • Utkala Brahmin
The Sanskrit text Brāhmaṇotpatti-Mārtaṇḍa by Pt. Harikrishna Śāstri mentions that a king named Utkala invited Brahmins from the Gangetic Valley to perform a yajna in Jagannath-Puri in Orissa. When the yajna ended, these Brahmins laid the foundation of Lord Jagannath there and settled around OrissaJharkhand and Medinipur. The Utkala Brahmins are of three classes 1) Shrautiya (vaidika), 2) Sevayata and 3) Halua Brahmins.

Maithil Brahmins (Mithila)

  • Maithil Brahmins
Maithil Brāhamaṇas, are a group of Brahmins typically originating from and living in and around Mithila, which is part of North Bihar. They are a community of highly cohesive, traditional Brahmins who strive to follow rites and rituals according to ancient Hindu canons. They have a reputation for orthodoxy and interest in learning. A large number of Maithil Brahmins migrated a few centuries ago to adjoining areas of South-east Bihar and Jharkhand, as well as to adjoining Terai regions of Nepal. Most of the Maithil Brahmins are Śāktas (worshippers of Śakti) . Maithili is their mother tongue, though many use Angika (a south-eastern dialect of Maithili) as their mother tongue.

Nepali Brahmin


कर्णाटकाश्च तैलंगा द्राविडा महाराष्ट्रकाः, गुर्जराश्चेति पञ्चैव द्राविडा विन्ध्यदक्षिणे || (Karnatakaashcha Telangaa Dravidaa Maharashtrakaaha, Gurjarashcheti panchauva dravidaa vindhyadakshine)
Brahmins who live in south of Vidhya mountains are called Pancha-Dravida Brahmins and they are divided in to following groups.
  • Karnataka
  • Telugu
  • Dravida (Tamil Nadu)
  • Maharashtra
  • Gujarat

Andhra Pradesh

Brahmins of Andhra Pradesh known as Telugu Brahmins are broadly classified into four groups: Vaidiki BrahminsNiyogiDravida Brahmins, and Vaikhānasa. 
Vaidiki Brahmins are further divided into the following sub-categories: Dravidlu (Aadi Shaivulu, Shaivulu), Vaidiki Velanadu, Vaidiki Venginadu, Vaidiki Kosalanadu or Kasalnadu, Vaidiki Mulakanadu, Vaidiki Murikinadu, Vaidiki Telaganya (Originated from Telangana but might have migrated to other regions). 
Niyogis are further divided into the following subcategories: Nandavarika Niyogi, Prathama Shakha Niyogi, Aaru Vela Niyogulu, Golkonda Vyapari, Karanaalu, Sistukaranalu, Karana kamma vyaparlu, Karanakammulu.  Each Rishi's name is mentioned in the Yajurveda (4.3.3). Sanaga (Son of Manu (Shiva)) Sanatana (Son of Maya (Vishnu)) Abhuvana (Son of Tvashta (Brahma of four faces)) Pratanan (Son of Shilpi (Indra))
Dravida Brahmins are yet another sub-section of Andhra Pradeshi brahmins.


Gurjara Brāhmans refer to the Brahmins of Gujarāt, and are subdivided into many groups and subcastes. Many of them have origins in Rajasthan. Some of the sub-categories are:  Bardai BrahminAboti BrahminGirinarayan Brahmin, Shrigod Brahmin, Sachora BrahminAnavil BrahminSidhra-Rudhra Brahmins, Prashnora Brahmins, Vadadra BrahminSree gauda Brahmin,Trivedi Mewada BrahminPalival Brahmin (Dasha and visha)Modh Brahmin, Tapodhan Brahmin, Audichya BrahminSahastra Audichya Gorwal BrahminNagar BrahminPushkarna BrahminSaurashtra Bhatt Mewada BrahminSaurashtra Trivedi Mewad BrahminChauriyasi Mewada BrahminRajgor Brahmin (Gujarat Origin), Bajkhedawal Brahmins (origin Kheda in central Gujarat or Khedbrahma in north Gujarat), Jangid BrahminRajgor BrahminBhatt Mewada BrahminShrimali Brahmins and Chvyan Brahmin (or bharah gaon Brahmin), Adhyagoud Brahmins (Rajasthan origin) and Jaiswal Brahmin (North-Indian origin), Rayakwad Brahmin(Kubabthal region)
Kanaujiya or Kanyakumbj Brahmins migrated from Kanauj and entered the Kutch area via Sindh along with the lohanas.  They are divided into the categories bhuvdiyas, vondhiyas and sandhliyas, according to their village temple. Others in Gujarat are mainly found in Jamnagar, Morbi, Junaghath and Rajkot. Surnames like Bhatt, Kaileyas, Bhaglani, Pingal, Lakhlani, Ghediya etc. are common among them.


They include the following : Goud Saraswat BrahminsChitpavan Konkanastha BrahminsDaivadnya BrahminsDeshastha BrahminsKarhade Brahmins and Devrukhe Brahmins. During the days of Maratha India, these Marathi/Konkani Brahmins primarily served as prime ministers or Peshwas  and converged into the sovereign or the Chhatrapati of Satara. One of the notable Peshwa families is the Bhat family, who happen to be Chitpavan Konkanastha Brahmins.  They took up military jobs  and ended up being the de facto head of the Maratha Dynasty. 


Kannada Brāhmans(ಕನ್ನಡ ಬ್ರಾಹ್ಮಣ): The Brāhmans of the Carnatic, or the Canarese country. The Canarese area comprises Mysore State, and the British Districts of Canara, Dharwar and Belgaum. 
  • Kannada Brahmins : 
These are further subdivided into the following castes : Babbur Kamme Brahmins, Badaganadu Brahmins, Deshastha BrahminHale naadu Karnataka Brahmins, Sirinadu Bramhins,Havyaka BrahminHasan IyengarsHebbar IyengarsHoysala Karnataka Brahmins, Jangam Brahmins, Karhade BrahminKoota BrahminsMadhva BrahminsMandyam IyengarsMysore Iyengars,VishwabrahminNiyogi BrahminsPanchagrama BrahminsSankethi BrahminsSattada vaishnava BrahminsShukla Yajurveda Brahmins, Smartha BrahminsSrivaishnava BrahminsSthanika BrahminsUlucha Kamme Brahmins
  • Mysore Iyers
  • Ashtagrama Iyer
  • Tuluva Brahmins,  which consist of Kandavara BrahminsKarhade BrahminsPadia BrahminsSaklapuri BrahminsShivalli BrahminsSmartha Shivalli BrahminsSthanika Brahmins, Padarthi Brahmins

Tamil Nadu

  • Iyengar (sub-divided into Vadakalai and Thenkalai)
  • Iyer (sub-divided further into VadamaVathimaBrahacharanamAshtasahasramSholiyarDikshitar, Kaniyalar, Prathamasaki)


Kerala Brahmins include the following categories of Brahmins: Namboothiri BrahminEmbranthiriPushpaka Brahmin (subdivided into Nambissans and Unnis), Sharada Brahmins
Brahmins classify themselves on the basis of their patrilineal descent from a notable ancestor.[citation needed] These ancestors are either ancient Indian sages or kshatriyas (warriors), who chose to become Brahmins.[citation needed] The major gotras that trace descent from sages are: SrivatsaKanvaJamadagniBhriguBharadvâjaKaundinyaGautama MaharishiSandilyaBhrigu,VashistaParāsharaAtryasaHarithasaKashyapa, and Agastya gotra. Other gotras are MitraVishvamitra and Chaurasia 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'. Provide Vepachedu's Sources 
The gotras are divided into three tiers of ganas, then into pakshas, and finally into individual gotras. According to the Âsvalâyana-srautasûtra, there are four subdivisions of the Vashista gana, viz.UpamanyuParāsharaKundina and Vashista (other than the first three). 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 Vashista, Bharadvasu, Indrapramada; the pravara of the Parâshara gotra is Vashista, Shâktya, Pârâsharya; the pravara of the Kundina gotra is Vashista, Maitrâvaruna, Kaundinya and the pravara of Vashistas other than these three is simply Vashista. Therefore 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, 'sishya-prasishya-rishi-parampara' and '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. For a sishya-prasishya-rishi-parampara marriage it is not acceptable if half, or more than half, of the rishis are the same in both bride and bridegroom gotras. If it is putraparampara, a marriage is totally unacceptable even if one rishi matches. 
Due to the diversity in religious and cultural traditions and practices, and the Vedic schools to which they belong, 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 the Brahmins.
There are several Brahmin law givers, such as AngirasApasthambhaAtriBhriguBrihaspatiBoudhayanaDakshaGautamaHaritaKatyayanaLikhitaManu,  ParasaraSamvarta,ShankhaShatatapaUshanasaVashistaVishnuVyasaYajnavalkya, and Yama. These twenty-one rishis were the propounders of the Smritis. The oldest among these smritis are Apastamba, Baudhayana, Gautama, and Vashista SutrasProvide Vepachedu's Sources[citation needed]
Many Indians and non-Indians claim descent from the Vedic Rishis of both Brahmin and non-Brahmin descent.  For example, the Dasharna and Nagas are said to be the descendants of Kashyapa Muni.  The descent of Brahmins is generally indicated by the gotra, which refers to his patrilineage. It is indicated by the name of the 'great sage' to whose descent the Brahmin is said to belong.
The Vishwakarmas are the descendants of Pancha Rishis or Brahmarishies. According to Yajurveda and Brahmanda purana, they are Sanaka, Sanatana, Abhuvanasa, Prajnasa, and Suparnasa. 
The Panchal movement to reclaim Brahminical rights claimed that the Panchals have Brahminic culture, or sacraments, and perform their ceremonies according to Vedic Rituals. 
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. 
The Padmashalis claim they came from the Maharishi Markandeya, who wrote the Markandeya Purana. 
The Saini (gardener) community claim in one of their stories that they descended from a Brahmin and call themselves Parpadh Brahman, which in course of time became Phulmali. 
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 lineage of Duda Rishi. 
Lord Buddha was a descendant of Angirasa through Gautama. There were Kshatriyas of other clans whose members descend from Angirasa, to fulfill a childless king's wish. 
The (so-called) backward caste Matangs claim to descend from Matang Muni, who became a Brahmin through his karma. 
According to one legend, the nomadic tribe of Kerala, the Kakkarissi, were descendants of a Brahmin who came out of the mouth of Garuda, the vehicle of Lord Vishnu. 
The Roman Catholic Brahmin caste among the Goan Catholics and Mangalorean Catholics are descended from Konkani Brahmins who converted to Roman Catholicism during the Portuguese colonial rule in Goa.
In Andhra Pradesh the Panchanamvaru, the artisan caste of five groups (goldsmith, carpenters, blacksmiths, brasiers and stone-cutters) claim to descend from Vishwakarma and his five sons (Manu, Maya, Silpa, Tvastra and Daivagna), and claim to be Vishwa-Brahmin.  The Vipravinodins also claim the status. 
In Bengal (West Bengal State and Bangladesh) the Namasudras, now named as Namasudra (Namassej) also claimed Brahmin status. It is claimed  that King Ballal Sen expelled them from society and declared them as out-castes. A Vyavastha   was signed in 1901 by forty odd Brahmin pundits, headed by Chief Brahmin pundit (Nabadwip) of Bengal. This is supported by Dr. Nihar Ray in "The History Of Bengali People , Ancient Period", published in "Desh", The Famous Bengali Literary Magazine in 1951, and included in the special issue of "Articles of One Century". It is claimed that the 1931 census of India shows that the two states of the Ganga River Valley basin, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, had a 10% Brahmin population and adjacent Orissa also had a 10% population, but Bengal had exactly half, 5%. Dr. N.R. Ray mentions in his book that Namasudra (Namassejas) are the Lost Tribe. 
In Gujarat, the BrahmbhattsBrahmakshatriyasPanchals, and Shrimali Sonis claim Brahmin status.
In Haryana, the Tagas claim to be a Brahmins who had abandoned the priestly profession and taken to agriculture. 
In Karnataka, the Sthanika Brahmins claim to be Saiva Brahmins. 
In Punjab, the Misari of the Multan Langrials claim descent from Brahmins of Bikanir.  Both the Langrail and Golia claim that they were Brahmin Charans. 
In Uttar Pradesh the Oudh Belwar also claim descent from the Sanadhya Brahmin caste. 
Even in the time of the Buddha there were a few Brahmins who took up laboring professions. For example, Subhadra, the loast convert of the Buddha, and a Brahmin by caste was a barber by profession in Atuma village. 
Brahmin sects that have taken up the profession of medicine include the Vaidya (or Baidya) Brahmins of Bengal, with surnames Gupta, Dasgupta and Senguptas.  They are considered descendants of Dhanvantari, the Hindu god of medicine and father of Ayurveda. 
Kshatriya Brahmin   and Brahma-kshatriya   are terms associated with people of both the Brahmin and Kshatriya caste components.

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. The well-known Brahmin Chanakya was a Rajpurohit for Chandragupta Maurya, founder of the Mauryan empire, who helped Chandragupta get a grip on the well-established Nanda Empire and prevent Alexander the Great from invading India. The Pallava kings also claimed to be Brahmakshatriyas.  King Jayavarma I of Kambuja (Kampuchea) of 781 A.D. was a Brahma-kshatriya.  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. 
Medieval king Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya or Hemu, born into a family of Purohits, started the manufacture of cannons for the first time in North India in 1540s, with Portuguese know-how and dealt in gunpowder supplies to Sher Shah Suri's army. Later he became Prime Minister and Chief of Army of the Suris and Emperor of North India in 1556, defeating Akbar's army at Agra and Battle for Delhi at Tughlakabad Fort in Delhi. 
Brahmins with the qualities of a Vaisya or merchant are known as 'Brahmvyasya'.  An example of such persons are people of the Ambastha  caste, which exist in South India.  They perform medical work, and claim that from ancient times they have practised Ayurveda and have been Vaidyas (or doctors).  During British rule, when the government desired to promote caste mobility, they started bearing the sacred thread also, but neither the government nor the Hindu oligarchs supported any such sanction 
The three sampradayas (sects) of Brahmins, mostly 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. This tradition is based on the Advaithic teachings of Adi Sankaracharya. He united various sects of Hinduism under on umbrella by accepting all the major Hindu deities as forms of the one Brahman. He implored the Smarthas to have an Ishta devatha in the form of Siva, Sakthi, Vishnu, Ganesha, Murugan (Subrahmanya) or Sun. The term Smarta refers to adherents who follow the Vedas and Shastras. 
One form of Vaishnavism is Madhwa (Dwaita Sampradaya), and the other is Sri Vaishnava (Vishishtadvaita sampradaya). Madhwa Brahmins are mainly located in the Carnatic plains and some of them are seen in Andhra, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. They follow the teachings of Sri Madhvacharya, who was born in South Canara district of Karnataka in the 12th Century. He preached Dvaita, which says that God and atma (soul) are different entities, which is contradictory to the teachings of Sri Adi Sankaracharya, who preached Advaita vedanta (non-duality). In South India, Sri Vaishnava sampradayam was propagated by Srimad Ramanujacharya.
Shaivism (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 subsects, such as Asdisaivas, Rudrasaivas, Veerasiavas, Paramasaivas, etc. Ravana, the ruler of Lanka in the Hindu epic Ramayana, was a staunch Siva devotee, who was the grandson of creator Brahma.
Brahmins(caste) were treated as equals to all the rest, in the eyes of the Buddha and there are countless references to Brahmins throughout the Buddhist scriptures also. Buddha rejected the notion of gradation along caste lines and of the legitimacy of the higher social status, as well as the notion of ritual purity as claimed by the Brahmins compared to others. Many of the major Buddhist followers and teachers were from Brahmins. They include SariputraMaudgalyayanaMahakashyapaNagarjunaAsvaghoshaPadmasambhavaShantarakshitaNagasenaKumarajivaand Shantideva, all of whom were referred by their titles devoid of their caste as Arahats etc. The word Brahmin, meaning "priest class", was redefined by the Buddha and it continued to be used alongside Arahat in their relevant contexts. Max Muller points out that in the Dhamapada, Buddha etymologizes the word "Bahama", the Prakrit form of "Brahmana", by playing off the Sanskrit/Prakrit etymon -bra.
In the Ambattha Sutra, we find the Buddha debated many Brahmins who were clearly not Arahats. Also in many important dharanis, Brahmins are mentioned in an entirely different capacity from Arahats, and therefore there is a marked difference depending on the context. The Buddha insisted that Brahmins had to live up to seek the truth, hence reach liberation(Nirvana) through the Dhamma, and this could not be by ascriptive factor of birth alone. In the Dhammapada, the Buddha mentions Brahmins and Arahats in very different capacities and dedicates an entire chapter to what it means to be a real Brahmin called the Brahmana-vagga as well. 
The Buddha did not believe in caste discrimination but he did endorse a fair division of labour based on merit and equality, while condemning pathological division of labour through slavery, forced labour, superstition etc. According to him, Brahmins were not to discriminate against lower castes and those of their own who joined the sangha, through the notion of purity and superior social status, which according to the buddha was false. but were to serve them wholeheartedly. Many sutras indicate that the Buddha himself was a Brahmin in a previous life and, due to his good merit as in the previous lives, was reborn as the Buddha. 
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 On 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". 
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." 
  • 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 the Tapsas, who were competing with Gautama to reach the top of a hill, achieved moksha by seeing Gautama win. 
  • 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.
  • Reputedly a wealthy Brahmin named Dhangiri, in the town of Tumbhivan, lost his interest in wealth and decided to take Diksha, after hearing the sermons of the Jain Acharya Sinhgiri.
  • 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.
  • Akalanka of the 8th century is said to the pioneer in the field of Jain logic. 
  • There is a Brahmin community in South Karnataka which is traditional follower of Jainism and is known as Jain Brahmin. They have a hostel for students in Mysore, known as Jain Brahmin Hostel. This community is different from the Jain priests in Jain temples.
There are additional sampradayas, which are not as widely followed:
The Mahima Dharma or "Satya Mahima Alekha Dharma" was founded by the Brahmin Mukunda Das of present-day Orissa, popularly known by followers as Mahima Swami according to theBhima Bhoi text.  He was born in the last part of the 18th century, in the former state of Baudh, 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.  This sampradaya was founded in the latter part of the 18th century. 
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 – BrahmaVishnu and Shiva in one divine entity. Many even worship Dattatreya as an Avatar of Vishnu or of Shiva.
Bahun is a colloquial Nepali term for a member of the Pahari or "hill" Brahmin (ब्राह्मण) caste, who are traditionally educators, scholars and priests of Hinduism. They are also known as Barmu in Newari. Brahmins are the second largest caste group in Nepal (31% of the population), with the Chhetri (Kshatriya) being the first (42%).  Brahmins were inhabitants of Nepal in prehistoric times.  The Brahmin community is the major part of the indigenous Khas community of Nepal.  They moved eastward along Xinjiang province of China, Western Tibet, the Himalayan foothills from Kashmir and Kumao/Garwal. They settled first in the Karnali River basin, then the Gandaki and finally the Kosi basin and into Sikkim and Bhutan. 
Some Jaiswal Brahmins are Chaurasi Brahmins from Nepal or North India. There are references about Brahmins of Nepal in bansawali and purans. By tradition—and by civil law until 1962—they represented the highest of the four Hindu varna or castes.  Bahuns from the "hills" have been represented disproportionately in Nepal's education system, political parties and civil service since the country was unified by Prithvi Narayan Shah and his heirs in the 18th century. The top leaders of the all the major parties are also Bahuns: the Maoist opposition (Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Baburam Bhattarai), the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) Jhalanath Khanal, Madhav Kumar (Nepal), and the Nepali Congress (Sushil Koirla).
Very often, Khas Bahuns can be identified by their middle names being Dev (देव), Nath (नाथ), Mani (मणि), Raj (राज), Prasad (प्रसाद), Devi (देवी) or Kumari (कुमारी). They never use bahadur (बहादुर) in their names because it is associated mainly with Chhetris (Kshatriya) and "martial tribes".
The Brahman caste in Nepal includes numerous family names such as:
  • A अ – Acharya (आचार्य), Adhikari (अधिकारी), Arjel (अर्जेल)/Arjyal (अर्ज्याल)/Aryal (अर्याल), Awasthi (अवस्थी)
  • Ā आ – Atreya (आत्रेय),
  • B ब – Badal (बडाल), Banskota (बास्कोटा), Baral (बराल), Bastakoti (बस्ताकोटी), Bastola (बास्तोला), Basyal/Bashyal/Basel (बस्याल/ बश्याल/ बसेल)
  • Bh भ – Bhandari (भन्डारी), Bhatta (भट्ट), Bhattarai (भट्टराई), Bhetuwal (भेटुवाल), Bhurtel (भुर्तेल), Bhusal (भुसाल / भुषाल)
  • Ch च – Chalise (चालिसे), Chapagain (चापगाईँ), Chataut (चटौत), Chaulagain (चौलागाई)/चाम्लागांइ, Chiluwal (चिलुवाल)
  • D द – Dahal (दहाल), Devkota (देवकोटा)
  • D ड – Dallakoti (डल्लाकोटी), Dumre (डुम्रे)
  • Dh ढ – Dhakal (ढकाल), Dhungel (ढुंगेल), Dhital (धिताल)
  • G ग – Gajurel (गजुरेल), Gaudel (गौडेल), Gautam (गौतम), Gotame (गोतामे), Guragain/Gurangain (गुरागाईँ), Gyanwali (ज्ञवाली), Gaire (गैरे), Gauli (गौली)
  • Gh घ – Ghimire (घिमिरे)
  • H ह – Humagain (हुमगाईँ)
  • J ज – Jaisi(जैसी), Joshi (जोशी)
  • K क – Kafle (कफ्ले/काफ्ले), Kalakheti (कलाखेती), Kandel (कंडेल)/Kadel (कडेल), Koirala (कोइराला)
  • Kh ख – Khanal (खनाल), Kharel (खरेल), Khatiwada (खतिवडा)
  • L – Lamsal(लम्साल), Lekhak (लेखक), Lohani (लोहनी), Lamichhane
  • M म – Mainali (मैनाली), Maratha (मराठा), Mishra (मिश्र)
  • N – Nepal (नेपाल), Neupane (नेउपाने/न्यौपाने), Niroula (निरौला), Nyaupane (न्यौपाने)
  • O ओ – Ojha (ओझा), Oli (ऑळी)
  • P प – Prasai(n) (प्रसाईं), Parajuli(पराजुली), Pageni (पंगेनी), Pandey (पाँडे/पाण्डे), Pandit (पण्डित), Pant (पन्त), Pathak (पाठक), Pokhrel/Pokharel (पोखरेल), Paudyal (पौड्याल)/Poudyal/Paudel (पौडेल), Pudasiani (पुडासैनी), Pyakurel (प्याकुरेल), Panthi (पन्थि)
  • Ph फ – Phuyal (फुयाल)
  • R र – Regmi (रेग्मी), Rijal (रिजाल), Rimal (रिमाल), Rishal (रिशाल),Ruwali(रुवलि)
  • Sh श – Sharma (शर्मा), Shivakoti (शिवाकोटी)
  • S स – Sangraula (संग्रौला), Sapkota (सापकोटा), Satyal (सत्याल), Sedhain (सेढाई), Sigdel (सिग्देल), Simkhada (सिम्खडा), Subedi (सुवेदी),
  • T त – Timilsina (तिमल्सेना/तिमील्सिना), Tiwari (तिवारी), Tripathi (त्रिपाठी)
  • Th थ – Thapaliya (थपलिया)
  • W व – Wagle (वाग्ले)
  • U उ – Upadhyaya (उपाध्याय), Upreti/Uprety (उप्रेती)
The Audichya Brahmin community is connected with Parashurama (Bhargava-Gotra), and are said to have earned a good deal of confidence and respect among kings. 
Historically, Brahmins, known as ponna   in modern-day Burmese, formed an influential group in Burma prior to British colonialism. Until the 1900s, ponna referred to Indians who had arrived prior to colonial rule, distinct from kala, Indians who arrived during British rule. During theKonbaung dynasty, court Brahmins were consulted by kings before moving royal capitals, waging wars, making offerings to Buddhist sites like theMahamuni Buddha, and for astrology.  Burmese Brahmins can be divided into four general groups, depending on their origins:
  • Manipur Brahmins  : Brahmins who were sent to Burma after Manipur became a Burmese vassal state in the 1700s and ambassadors from Manipur
  • Arakanese Brahmins,   Brahmins brought to Burma from Arakan after it was conquered by the Konbaung kingBodawpaya
  • Sagaing Brahmins: the oldest Brahmins in Burmese society, who consulted the PyuBurman  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  , kshatriyas  , vaishya  , and shudra.  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  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    which is essentially a Burmese puja (puzaw in Burmese) for appeasing nine divinities, Buddha and the eight arahats, or a group of nine deities, five Hindu gods and four nat spirits. This practice continues to be practiced in modern-day Burma.
Brahmins in Thailand are known as 'Phram' or 'Paahm' and claim ancestry to Indian Brahmins who migrated to Thailand in the 6th century AD   There are fewer Brahmins in Thailand than in Burma.
One of the theories that orthodox Brahmins of Thailand believe in is that the earth shall be destroyed by fire, and that a new Earth will be created after the destruction. 
In the 19th century at Bangkok all the medical practitioners were Chinese or Cochin - Chinese, while astronomy and divination was in the hands of the Brahmins.