WHO IS BRAHMIN?
Om Namasivaya Nama:
I would like to present another article for your knowledge. I am sure this will help in understanding who is Brahmin or Brahmanan.
Who is Brahmanan / Brahmin?
A person, after realizing the Absolute Brahman, continues to live in the path of Brahma Ghyaan (Knowledge of Brahman or Brahmanyam or Brahmanathwam) until the mortal body perishes. He must live within that wisdom of Brahman – which is self-illuminate, self-born, ever pervading, limitless, infinite, exists forever etc.…
This Brahmanathwam is achieved in two ways, they are known as “Aantharikan” and “Baahikan”. A male child born in a Brahmin family through a Vaideeha Brahmanan’s Rethas/Bheejam (Sperm) to a preferably Brahmin woman, such a person is known as Aantharikan or Vaideeka Brahmanan. This option is also known as Janmasidha Brahmanathwam. Whereas, a male child born to anybody but due to his sheer penance or spiritual practices, attaining the knowledge of Brahman will become Baahikan or Dhaiveeka Brahmanan. In other words, any spiritually accomplished person will be a Brahmin! Brahmins are Devathas in this Earth.
To sustain and flourish the Brahmanathwam, one must follow certain strict Vaideeha Samskaraas, so that the Beejam will sprout and grow like a big tree. Those important Vaideeha Samskaras are five in numbers and they are known as “Pancha Naimithika Kriyaas” (Five inherited duties) viz. Sroutham, Smartham, Vihitham, Sadhaachaaram and Nithya Karmanushtaanam. Unless the referred Brahmin continue to perform these five Kriyas he can’t be a genuine Brahmin. Although, by birth, there is a Brahmanathwam exists in this person inherited through his ancestors’ DNA, yet he must further nurture it, failing to this, in the long run eventually he will lose his Brahmin-hood to just a namesake Brahmin!
Let me briefly explain those five Kriyas to be performed:
Sroutham: A Brahmin must study holy and religious scriptures known as Sruthi-Smruthi-Puranaas-Ithihaasa-Dharma Sastras etc. He must study under a competent Guru and complete the studies within the prescribed time under Guru-Kula system. After learning the scriptures and its instructions, he must practice those principles in his practical life. He can also teach others and give counselling to the needy including governments and rulers.
Smartham: Means the person believes in God and his/her omnipresence. Basically, he will be a devotee of God and conducts Vaideeha-Dhaiveeha kriyas to his best of knowledge in the highest amount of faith in the rituals.
Vihitham: He who acts as per the instructions given by the Vedas. Whatever said in the Vedas are to be considered as virtues and lead a righteous life. Live with full satisfaction and show no greed for anything. Vihitham means “allowed”. In other words, he must know the do’s and don’ts to lead a humble pious life.
Sadhaachaaram: One who strictly follow the Aachara-Anushtanam (Discipline and Best Practices). Among the many Aacharaas following Dharma (Righteous) is the supreme most. Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam says “Aachara Prathamo Dharma” (Aachara is first among all Dharmaas). Among many Dharmas, Swadharma is very important to know and follow. Without knowing Swadharma (one’s own hereditary duties practised by ancestors in the family) accepting or adopting or embracing other’s Dharma is prohibited as well as denounced. The one who does not follow his own Dharma but embracing others’ Dharma will be considered as misbehaved, unworthy and get no salvation to his life (Aathma). God had a reason for a person to be born in that family…if anyone tries to confuse nature’s will then it is considered as a big mistake and face the wrath of nature. Here I am taking the example of religious conversions.
Nithya Karmanushtaanam: Though there are plenty of Karmas (Actions) in one’s life. However, all of them will fall under one roof called Pancha Yathnaas. It is also known as Pancha Rinam (Five inherited subtle debts). They are known as Deva Yagnam, Pithru Yagnam, Bhootha Yagnam, Rishi Yagnam and Athidhi/Manushya Yagnam. Besides, these Thrikaala Sandhya Vandanam (Before Sunrise, Mid noon, Before Sunset) followed by Samidha Dhana Homam for Brahmacharis and Oupasanam Homam for a married couple during the late evening. Thereafter, Upasana / Ishta Devatha Pooja to be conducted. A Brahmin also allowed doing Uncha Vruthi (one of the highest class of activity) which is Biksha Yachanam i.e. requesting householders to offer him Dhana-Dhanyam (food grains). Those collected items to be used for self as well as needy’s hunger. Whatever prescribed duties of a Brahmin must be conducted with full faith and respects. Teach others, conduct Vaideeha Kriyas for others, accept Dhaanam (offerings given by others). These are some of the daily best practices for a Brahmin’s life.
Brahmmam means Ghyaan (True Knowledge). Although the Brahmmam is undefinable yet the great sages have given some understanding about Brahmman. It is also considered a network of knowledge. A Brahmin must surrender to this Brahmman and continue his life until the Aathma exit this mortal body. A Brahmin, Manasa-Vacha-Karmana should not get involved in doing Ahimsa to any beings at the same time uphold righteousness and raise voice whenever the righteousness gets a hammering from others.
Just because he was born in the brahmin family does not guarantee his Brahma Thejass would continue to be with him till his death. Being a blessed person by taking birth in a Brahmin family one should strive hard to nurture and protect it from every harmful situation so that he can claim his Brahmin hood status. It is not an easy task, but he must do as many austerities as possible.
Brahmmam has innumerable names and forms. However, all these derived from two fundamental segments called Naama Cha Roopa (Name and Form). Among all the names, the Pranava Mantra OM represent as head of Naama and Easwara (Bhagavan) as Roopa (Form). This Easwara swaroopam further classifieds into four parts and named them as Varna and off late in practical life it is referred to as Jaathi (Caste). The first portion between head and neck is called Brahmana Thejas, shoulders and hip is called Kshathriya Thejas, waist and legs are called Vaisya Thejas and finally, the feet are called Soodra Thejas – as referred in the Purusha Sooktham. I would like to stress a point here on account of Soodra Thejas. It is not exactly Soodra, in fact, the original name is Soothiran means the Planning Engineer. In the recent past, some crooked people with vested interest made this segment of people as untouchable and low class. That was a shameful act whoever involved in it. In Veda, there is a definition for Soothiran as “Sucham Dhraavayandhi Ethi Soodrah”, this means the person who quenches the sorrows of the needy. This segment of people sacrificed all their comforts and worked throughout life for the welfare of higher authorities such as Vaisya to Brahmana. At the same time, those three higher class people took advantage of the simplicity maintained by the Soodraas. God is not to be blamed for this act! who do you think God would love most? naturally the Soodraas, that is why God gave them his feet’s. They are naturally sacrificed and lived like slaves. We all know whatever type of pooja we do, all offerings are offered only to the lotus feet of God. The Veda says only through sacrifice (renounce/give up) one can attain liberation (Moksha). Whereas, without doing any specific austerities this segment of people eventually merges in God due to their simplicity and devoted lifestyle! One should not forget that human beings’ success is completely depending on the foundation segment of people. In our body, all parts are important likewise all types of people also important in society. Every person was given an opportunity to cleanse their impurities and sin through human birth at a different level of segment. This is only an allotment hence hereafter it is the responsibility of the individual to fix a mechanism that suits the person to elevate himself/herself!
This same concept can be interpreted in another way. For the upliftment of human society, we should have four important resources. They are 1. Knowledge Skills, 2. Administration Skills, 3. Business Skills, 4. Labor Skills. In this sequence, the Brahmin is the resources of Knowledge. Therefore, a Brahmin’s primary duty is to acquire knowledge and practice knowledge-based skills. The learned knowledge can be used for his own benefit as well as society’s welfare.
Brahmin’s other important Karma is to accept “offerings” (Dhaan) from the giver. There is no one better than a Brahmin to accept offerings for remedy purpose. As you know when you accept an offer given by another person, I am sure, there could be a reason or a purpose behind it. When you accept things from others you are also accepting their sin. The giver gets Punya (holy credits/merits) and the receiver gets Paapa (demerits/sin). There are only two authorities who can accept other’s sin. They are God and the other one is a Vaideeha Brahmin. Whatever offerings are given to a competent Brahmin that is as good as the offerings given to God in person. After accepting the Dhaan, the receiver must bless the giver. The blessings will have its effects only when the giver has Punya in his account otherwise no effect will be there, this is just like accounting principles. Therefore, when a Brahmin does his Sandhya Vandana Nithya Karma and Gayathri Upanasa he can nullify the sin effects as well as gain more Punya for accepting Dhaan. The receiver must show full satisfaction and not to crib and pinpoints defects of the received objects. An unworthy Brahmin is not allowed to accept offerings. The Giver and the receiver will not get the desired results. Identifying the right genuine Brahmin and seek his blessings are a must for the welfare of society.
A Brahmin should never ever get involved in Himsa Karma by Manasa-Vacha-Karmana nor he should have any type of relationship/friendship with such people (Himsaloo). In Kali Yuga (Black Era) it is very difficult to practice and be a perfect Brahmin! However, one must try his level best to accommodate as much as possible. Being Kali Yuga there are exceptions and discounts in their rituals which I don’t need to elaborate here because the purpose of this article will be defeated. In this Universe, there is no knowledge bigger than acquiring Brahma Vidhya. Therefore, a Brahmin must try his best to gather such Vedic knowledge and practice it to enrich the benefits.
Once upon a time, there were some group of people who dedicated their life exclusively to gain this precious knowledge. They isolated themselves from the crowd as a shield from getting spoiled by another way of life, such people are called “Brahmins”. They don’t hate anyone, they secluded from the other communities for self-guarding so that there will be no interruption on their austerities. Everyone cannot live like a Brahmin, there are strict guidelines to be followed. Brahmins never hate anyone but fond of wisemen from the beginning of the human era. There is say “Brahmana Bho-Jana Priya”, means Brahmins highly respect the wisemen. The modern crooks narrated this noble idea to capitalize on their selfish motives as Brahmins divided touchable and untouchable category of people in the society. Of-course, some ill-fated Brahmins might have behaved in such a low-class manner. Now, they are undergoing the punishment given by nature and God. Those genuine Brahmins may be called upon in case of any difficult situation to be handled by others. They would come and perform the right ritual to remove the misgivings and bless the needy. Whereas in today’s life anyone who attained Brahma Ghyanam (True Knowledge which is Brahma Sathyam Jagath Mithya!) can become a Brahmin. The only difference in gaining this knowledge is that a person who was born to a hereditary Brahmin family through a pious would easily acquire Brahma Vidhya as compare to others. The environment is also suitable for him to do so because the family follows austerities.
In future, this Brahmanyam will be only on the historical record because we will not find many people following these strict guidelines of a Brahmin. Moreover, by doing so, they won’t be able to sustain their family. Ideally, the rulers or government should take care of them so that they can concentrate on the welfare of the public. Today’s situation is different due to democratic and secularistic government policies in place. Never mind, no one can snatch your Brahmin DNA as long as you live perfectly within your limits. If a Brahmin follows his Vedic lifestyle nothing to worry especially the society. God is the master and ruler of all, that God has entrusted the responsibilities on Brahmin’s shoulders. So, Brahmins are directly answerable God. If a Brahmin suffers, there is no doubt neither the society nor the countries will prosper. All demons and wrongdoers are afraid of Brahmin’s power.
A Brahmin’s biggest enemy is his uncontrollable sexual urge and anger. His biggest weapon is curse and satisfaction should be his biggest close friend.
In today’s life, a Brahmin is unable to conduct his duties and lose faith in his ancestor’s activities are mainly due to his Aathma’s previous life bad karma. Knowing this, one should try to evaluate the situation and swim against all types of odds by doing good as an order of Vedic Sages and God. Since Brahmins are the head among human beings they should not wait for other’s appreciations or certificates. Simply perform your duty without any expectations, don’t forget, you are the reservoir of all true knowledge, the direct representative of God and spokesperson of God! The only issue here is that you must keep up the standard of Brahmin-hood.
Brahmins had an Aseervaada Mantram referring to Vasudaiva Kutumba Mangala Vaakhyam known as “Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu”. In ancient times this Vakhyam was exclusively narrated by Brahmins only. Whereas, nowadays in all spiritual functions every Hindu/Bharateeya started saying it as part of worship. In fact, only a true Brahmin will be able to say this Aseervadham wholeheartedly because of his Gayathri Upasana during Thri-Kaala Sandhya Vandhanam. Every true Brahmins can absorb the sins committed by others and burn it off through their Upasana. That is why he could be the most eligible person to bless the world. One needs a big heart to say this Vakhyam. People commit so many types of sins and part of that sin is given to Brahmins as parihara dhaanam (Offerings for remedy). Brahmins are knowingly accepting that sin with their both hands. Who will accept other’s sin except for God and Brahmins? That is why Brahmins are known as Devathas of earth. Don’t you think, it is everyone’s responsibility to sustain Brahmin’s life and his Bheejam?
At present, some of the Brahmins who still follow whatever said in the Sanathana Dharma Sastra, due to which we could retain our Veda-Vendantha-Mantra rituals. However, time and environment are mocking them often. Whoever can do whatever they want! but a true Brahmin cannot disobey his ancestors and God’s instructions. Even if he tries to avoid, his mano dharmam (inner consciousness) will not allow for a longer period because his DNA is still belonging to his ritualistic ancestors! We all know that the DNA can get depleted over a period, therefore be careful, it may not stay forever due to unacceptable way of living style. If a true Brahmin exists, then all Vedic rituals will be alive otherwise everything will disappear from this earth. The remedy is very important to solve an eternal problem and Brahmins are the custodians of that knowledge.
After knowing so much about Brahmins, one will conclude that Brahmins are the elder brothers of all human beings, their female born are elder sisters too. Whenever youngsters face with problems they have the right to approach elders and find suitable solutions as a remedy. At the same time, if elders are having a problem then they must directly deal with God. Now, this system is also getting changed because everyone knows many things that only Brahmins use to know. I would say hereditary knowledge is still safe and superior to acquired knowledge from open sources.
The Universal Supreme Power lives through various Gods and Goddesses, the Gods are living in Vedas and the Vedas lives in the tongues of Brahmins. It is hard to deny this truth.
Who or what should be the close friend of a Brahmin?
Brahma Ghyanam (True Knowledge), Kshama (Patience), Sam-thrupthi (Satisfaction), Suseelam (Good Conducts), Dhaanam (Accepting offerings), Sadh-Upadesam (Wise-advises), Aachara Anushtanam (Vedic duties), Saucham (Maintain purity), Ahimsa (non-violence), Dhushta Jana Visargam (Staying away from bad people in all respects), Theerthadan (Pilgrimage), Gayathri Upasana (Worship Gayathri Devi), Pasu Samrakshanam (taking care of domestic animals), Paithruka Samskaras (Respect and maintain ancestral rituals), Dharma Samrakshanam (Uphold righteousness), Bagawat Chhinna Dhaaranam (Wearing symbols or ticks of personal God), Upaveetham (Sacred Thread), Sikhi (Hair Tilt), Arghya Jala Pathram / Pancha Pathram (Sacred pot), Veda Grandhas (Vedic Scriptures), Eka Baava (Simplicity), Japa Maala (Rosery), Dhaya (Compassion), Easwara Viswas (Faith in God), Ahaara Sudhi (Pure freshly made vegetarian food) and Thrikaala Sandhya Vandanam (Worshiping Sandhya Devi at cusps).
In this Earth, it is rare to get a human birth, that too becoming a male child (due to X Chromosome, in Sanathana Dharma females are part of males hence no special mention!). Even that birth happens to be in an auspicious Brahmin family is much more adorable. One becoming Brahma Ghyaani and attain liberation (Moksha) is anytime worthy. No Brahmin should waste this great opportunity.
May be some critics may raise an inappropriate concern on this article pinpointing that I am trying to divide humans and seeing them as high and low class. I am sure you are wrong, not me! kindly note that is not my intention. I just thought of picking up this subject and elaborate it so that everyone can becoming a true good Brahmin! One truth to be accepted that in this Earth from time immemorial to date there is always three-level classes existed viz high-middle-lower. This unborn classification is not made by me, it is there from the beginning of our life and it will be there irrespective of the civilizations! I would like to stress a few examples to justify my approach to the high to the low concept so that one can stay away from misunderstanding me. Everywhere there is a rich and poor, up-countries and poor countries, trees, vegetables, animals, rivers, seas whatnot… everything in this world has a higher and lower class. Therefore, need not hesitate or shy away from mentioning that Brahmin-hood is somewhat a better class than non-brahmin-hood. Everyone must try their best to become a Brahmin as Savarni and ignore the confusing concept of Jathi Vyavastha (caste system). The Sastra says “Janmana Jaayathe Soodrah Karma Dwija Uchyathe” every human by birth is a Soodran but he/she can become a Brahmin by doing wise things in life (i.e. grow from bottom to top ladder). If a person took birth in a Brahmin family and he is not performing austerities prescribed by the Sastras, then automatically his Brahmin-hood will be disappeared and become a non-Brahmin in the society as well as in Brahmana Samooham. There are so many cases where Brahmana Samooham has denounced the Brahmin-hood of some people born in the Brahmin family due to their misconduct.
If a Brahmin happens to read this article and he feels that he has committed mistakes, then the only and immediate solution or remedy (Prayaschitham) is to do the next Sandhya Vandanam. When a Brahmin lives within his prescribed manners, naturally the other communities will change their understanding of Brahmins. When a Brahmin conducts silly mistakes due to unavoidable circumstances, such sins can be washed out when he performs next Sandhya Vandanam. This Sandhya Vandanam has so much of power that even the greatest Rishis and Mahapurushaas including God’s incarnations have conducted without fail knowing to its benefits.
Whatever I have described here is in the case of a Vaideeha (Aanthareeka) Brahmanan’s lifestyle. Whereas, whoever-wherever born does not matter, but perform a devoted Ahimsa life and live like a Vaideeha Brahmanan to become a Dhaiveega (Baahika) Brahmanan.
Brahmin-hood is a class of purity (Savarni) among human beings than a mere Jaathi (Caste). Every Avarni (Non-Brahmin) should try to become a Savarni that is what the expectation of Mahathmaas and God! So, let’s try!
R V Venkiteswaran (Venky)