Following are the six Duties enjoined upon Brahmins.
Yajanam Yaajanam Tathaa
Daanam Pratigraham Chaiva
Teaching the Vedas to others, Learning Vedas through out one’s Life,Performing Yagnas/Yaagas, have these performed for others, Accept Alms and Donate o others.
In addition , there are 13 additional duties/ codes of behaviour set forth for the Brahmins.
- Capability to forgive
- Kindness towards one and all
- Holiness (External as well as Internal) & pure vegetarian
- Follower of Truth
- Control over all temptations
- Hatred towards sin
- always be in pursuit of knowledge,
- Educating others
- Appropriate knowledge of Vedas
- Meditation (Manan or Chintan)
- Knowledge of Primal Brahma
Lord Krishna says that control of mind, control of senses, undergoing hardships for sake of duty, purity (both internal and external), forgiveness, straightness of mind and body, belief in God, the scriptures and the world, knowledge of the sacred lore, knowledge of the God based on direct experience are the natural duties of Brahmin. (42nd Shloka, 18th Chapter)
The Sandhyas are the roots of the tree Brahma, four Vedas are branches and Karmas are its leaves, so roots must be cared always, means Sandhyas are must for Brahmin. LordBrahma has defined six essential duties to Brahmins;
Duty of A Brahmin is to pray for All.
Learn Vedas and inspire others for it, Yajna by self and inspire others.
Get donations and donate further to others.
Daily Routine of A Brahmin.
Get up two hours before the Sunrise (Five Nazhikais before the Sunrise,One Nazhikai=24 minutes).-Panca -panca-usatkale.
Cleans the teeth, take bathes in cold water and perform sandhyavandana and japa.
There are Mantras to be recited during cleaning the teeth(Danta Daavana Mantra), Bathing.
One must take Bath in a River 0r Pond a well at Home, the well water must be used only for Veda Kriyas.
Next, aupasana and agnihotra. the”devayajna”, sacrifices to the gods, followed by “Brahmayajna”, the daily study and chanting of the Vedas.
As part of this rite there are some tarpanas or libations to be offered. (For people following certain sutras these come later).
Then, the Brahmin must teach his disciples the Vedas, adhyapana, gather flowers himself for the puja he is to perform.
He must seek for his food (Bhikshai) and for the materials for the conduct of various sacrifices.
The Brahmin has the right to seek alms, but it is a restrictive, it means that he can take only the minimum needed for the upkeep and what is required for the performance of the rituals.
A considerable part of what he receives as gifts is to be paid as daksina to the priests officiating at the sacrifices he performs.
Of the six “occupations” of the Brahmin one is “pratigraha” or accepting gifts. Another is “dana”, making donations to others.
It is asked why Brahmins alone have the right to receive gifts.
The answer is that they are also enjoined to make gifts to others.
Indeed, the Brahmin accepts gifts for the purpose of the charity he has to render.
This apart, he has also to make gifts during the rites to be mentioned next, “atithya” and “bhutayajna”.
The Brahmin must bathe again and perform madhyahnika, followed by pitr-tarpana, that is he offers libations to the fathers.
This is followed by homa and puja.
Of the panca-mahayajnas, two remain- manusyayajna or honouring and feeding the guests and “bhutayajna” which includes bali to the creatures of the earth and feeding the poor (vaisvadeva).
Rice is offered in the sacrificial fire and as bali( that is without being placed in the fire).
In bali, food is placed in different parts of the house to the chanting of mantras food meant for outcastes, beggars, dogs, birds, etc.
In the manusya-yajna, guests are entertained and it is also known as atithya.
The Brahmin can eat only after going through these rites.
Until then he must not take anything except perhaps some milk or buttermilk, but never coffee or any snacks.
If he has any other sacrifices to conduct, paka, havir or soma, his mealtime will be further delayed.
If he has a sraddha to perform also he will have to eat later than usual. A sraddha ceremony must be commenced only in the “aparahna”:
Rites meant for the gods may be performed only after the completion of the sraddha.
After his meal, the Brahmin must read the Purans.
Then teach members of other castes their hereditary vocations, arts and crafts.
He does not have a moment for rest or relaxation.
Take evening bath, sandhyavandana, sacrifices and japa.
Vaisvadeva has to be performed at night also before the Brahmin has his meal and retires to bed.
On most nights he takes only light food consisting of fruits, milk.(Pakahaara)
Or as an exception , he can take fresh food prepared out of Rice, like Idli, Dosa or Upma
On Ekadasi he has to fast the whole day.
There is not a moment without work.
The sastras thus impose on him a life of hardship and austerity, a life of utter physical and mental discipline.
Even today Brahmins who work in offices or other establishments must try to live according to the sastras.
They must get up at 4 a. m. (Brahma muhurta), perform aupasana, agnihotra, Brahmayajna, etc, in the traditional manner.
They may perform puja and madhyahnika during the sangava time (8. 24 a. m. to 10. 48 a. m. ).
“Madhyahnika” as the name suggests is a midday rite but, making allowances for present-day life, it may be performed during the sangava kala.
In the evening , the rites may be gone through in the sastric manner.
Even those who are on the morning shift and have to rush to their places of work must perform the rites as best they can.
In the evening the Gayatri-japa be extended to compensate for non-performance in the morning.
If it is morning shift for a week, will it not be mid-shift or night shift in the subsequent weeks?
There could be adjustments made to suit these timings.
Brahmins must feel repentant if they fail to perform the rites they are duty-bound to perform.
They must devote the years of their retirement to the pursuit of their dharma instead of feeling sorry for not going out to work.
There are rare cases —perhaps one in a lakh—of people who have learned the Vedas during their retirement and lived the rest of their life according to the tenets of the sastras.
The rites of our religion go back to a time when no other faith was prevalent.
We must make every effort to ensure that they do not cease to be performed.
They are not meant for our sake alone [as individuals] but for the welfare of all mankind.
The Speeches of Kanchi Mahaperiyava.
“Kanyakubja Vanshawali” written by Pandit Manni Lal Misra, Chowk, Kanpur. 1 2 3
Publisher: Sri Krishna Pustakalaya, Chowk Kanpur, Year 1966