- Rādhi from Radh (region south-west of the Ganges)
- Varendra, from Vārendra region (North-East) or Puṇḍra. Vārendra originally meant rain-maker magicians.
- Vaidika (migrants, originally experts of Vedic knowledge)
- Paschatya Vaidika (Vedic brahmins from west of Bengal)
- Dakshinatya Vaidika (Vedic brahmins from south of Bengal)
- Madhya Sreni (brahmins of the midland country)
- Shakdvipi/ Grahavipra (migrant brahmins of Shakdvipa in Central Asia)
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 ||
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 
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.
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 inLower 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 commonAssamese 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. In 19th century, many of the Bhumihar Brahmins were zamindars. 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. The Brahmin presence in theBengal Army was reduced in the late nineteenth century because of their perceived primary role as mutineers in the Mutiny of 1857, 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.
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:
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 orudgātṛ, 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, Pandaor 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.
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, andMirpuri Brahmins.
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.” 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Vaidiki Brahmins are further divided in to Velanadu, Venginadu, Muluknadu, Kosalanadu etc..
Brahmin communities, sub-castes and families in Gujarat include the following:
Aboti Brahmin • Anavil Brahmin • Audichya Brahmin • Baj 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 Brahmins • Shrimali 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. 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.
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.</br> In genetic studies ,the Vadakalai Iyengars have shown a high similarity of gene frequencies with the Punjabi people of Pakistan, and they are devout followers of the SanskritVedas.</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. They are ardent followers of the Tamil prabhandams.</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 aVadamal 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.
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. 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 Monkingdoms 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 theKonbaung 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. 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’.
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.
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, 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.
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 fromAgastya Muni.
The Gondhali, Kanet, Bhot, Lohar, Dagi, and Hessis claim to be from Renuka Devi.
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. TheBhumihar 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. 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.
Perhaps the word Brahma-kshatriya refers to a person belonging to the heritage of both castes. 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.
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 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.) Kulaman Pallis are nicknamed by outsiders as Kulaman Brahmans. Hemu from Rewari, Haryana was also a Brahmin by birth.
The following is an excellent site for information on Brahmins.
- Kannada Brahmin Surnames Who Is Smartha (ramanan50.wordpress.com)
- Time For Brahmins To Change At Least in Marriages (ramanan50.wordpress.com)
- Christians As Brahmins New Method Of Religious Coversion (ramanan50.wordpress.com)
- Why Caste At All? (ramanan50.wordpress.com)