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(1) The highest order of human beings according to Hindu religion. Brahmaa created four orders - Braahman, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shoodra and assigned specific duties to them to keep the society in order. Braahman are the highest as they were born from his mouth, and Ved also came out of his mouth, so Braahman are regarded as equal to Ved. Whenever a Braahman, especially who has observed high penance, curses another, his penance diminishes. Forgiveness is the highest virtue for a Braahman. His power lies in forgiveness. That is why normally Braahman are of very forgiving nature.

The stages in the life of a Braahman are Shoodra by birth, Dwij after the Upanayan ceremony, Vipra when he is versed in Vaidik knowledge and Braahman when he has the knowledge of the Brahm, as the case of Vishwaamitra illustrates.

8 Types of Braahman
In the Dharm Shaastra, 8 types of Braahman are described. Many of the present Braahman seem to fall in the Ist or IInd category.

(1) This Braahman is called Maatran - One who is born in Braahman Kul but has no Upanayana and no Anushthaan.
(2) Brahmanan - He has done some Adhyayan of Ved (not fully). Has Aachaar, Shaanti, Satya, Dayaa in his behavior and is intelligent.
(3) Shrotriya - He has done Adhyayan of one complete Shakhaa of Ved with Kalp Sootra or six Ang. Does 6 Karm like Yagya. (he is a Braahman by birth, Dwij by Sanskaar, and Vipra by knowledge combined)
(4) Anushaasan - Knows the meaning of Ved and Vedaant, of pure Chitta, sinless, and has qualities of a Shrotriya.
(5) Broonan : Observes Vrat, does Yagya and Ved Adhyayan, who has conquered his senses + Anushaasan qualities
(6) Rishi Kalpan : Knows all about Vaidik and Laukik, but is an householder + Broonan
(7) Rishi - Conquered sex, Tapaswee, has control on hunger, powers to give boons or curses, Satyasand.
(8) Muni - Has no desires on materials, no Kaam Krodh, attained Samaadhi, does nothing, has full control on Indriyaan, considers mud and women on equal footing.

No 6, 7 and 8 types of above approach Braahman fall into the qualities of Sthit-Pragya as told in Bhagvad Geetaa.

A Braahman's Karm
According to Geetaa 18/42, Braahman's natural Karm are - 

(1) Sham - Control on mind
(2) Dam - Control on Indriyaan
(3) Shauch - Cleanliness of inside as well as outside (Cleanliness is of two types - internal and external. In internal cleanliness a persons cleans his ideas and in external cleanliness he cleans his physical body by soap etc.)
(4) Tapasyaa - To tolerate difficulties and pain for Dharm
(5) Kshamaa - Forgiveness
(6) Saralataa - Simplicity of mind, body and Indriyaan
(7) Aastikataa - Belief in Bhagavaan
(8) Gyaan - Knowledge of Shaastra
(9) Vigyaan - Experience of Param Tattwa
According to Bhaagvat Puraan, 11/14, a Braahman's 10 characteristics are --
(1) Sham, (2) Dam, (3) Tapasyaa, (4) Kshamaaa (forgiveness), (5) plainness or simplicity, (6) Bhakti, (7) Piousness, (8) Santosh (contentment), (9) Dayaa (kindness), (10) Satya (truthfulness).
Some say that Braahman's Nitya Karm (daily actions) are seven - (1-5) Panch Mahaayagya (Brahm Yagya, Dev Yagya, Pitri Yagya, Manushya Yagya, Bhoot Yagya), (26) Agnihotra, (7) Upaasanaa. It said just like we water every day but sown seeds give grains not everyday, in order to keep the mental purity it is said we should not forego the our Nitya Karm.
Manu Smriti, 1:88 says that a Braahman has six main Dharm (duties) - learning and teaching, doing Yagya for oneself and others; accepting and giving donations.

Braahman Means Upanishad Too
See also      Upanishad

(1) Braahman is a collection of some books also. Central to the Vaidik literature was a belief in the importance of sacrifice (Yagya). After some time, after 1000 BC, a second type of literature began to take shape - that was story telling as a means to interpret the significance of sacrifice. The most famous and most important of these were the Upanishad - probably written at some time between 7th and 8th centuries BC. The composition and writing of these classics was thus taking place approximately at the same time as the epics of Homer was taking shape being recited and ultimately written on the west coast of what is now Turkey.

Each Ved has a main book called "Sanhitaa" and three other ancillary sets of books called the "Braahman", "Aaranyak", and "Upanishad". Each Ved Sanhitaa can have more than one Braahman, more than one Aaranyak and more than one Upanishad attached to it. Most of the Braahman and Aaranyak have lost their religious usefulness over time. Upanishad, however, have retained their value till now.

(2) A set of Books mostly in prose, meant to explain the relationship between the sacred text and the ceremonial. These books were composed during the period following the Vaidik period during which the 4 Ved Sanhitaa were composed. "Braahman" contain many interesting stories about the two periods which help in reconstructing the history. The more well-known Braahman are "Aitareya", "Chhandogya", "Gopath", "Jaimineeya", "Kaushitakee", "Panchvinsh", "Shadvinsh", "Shatapath" and "Taittireeya". Of these, Shatapath Braahman is the most extensive and the most important. The religious value of these works, however, is limited.
[Aangiras, p 256]

List of Braahman
The list taken from  Dharmic Scriptures

There are 22 Braahman --
1. Aitareya Braahman
2. Chhaandogya Mantra Braahman
3. Devatadhyaya Braahman
4. Gopatha Braahman (incomplete)
5. Jaimineeya Arsheya Braahman
6. Jaimineeya Braahman
7. Jaimineeya Upanishad Braahman
8. Kanveeyam Shatapath Braahman
9. Kathak Braahman
10. Kaushitakee Braahman
11. Kauthum Arsheya Braahman
12. Saamvidhaan Braahman
13. Sanhitopanishad Braahman
14. Shatapath Braahman - Madhyaandin
15. Shadvinsh Braahman
17. Shankhayaan Braahman
18. Taittireeya Braahman
19. Taittireeya Chardee Braahman
20. Tandya Braahman
21. Vadhula Anvaakhyaan Braahman
22. Vansh Braahman
23. Fragments of Lost Braahman

Aitareya Braahman
Aitareya Braahman is the Braahman of Shakal Shaakhaa (branch) of the Rig Ved. The work is ascribed to Maheedaas Aitareya. It contains 40 chapters under 8 Panchikaa (group of 5). Its outline is thus ---

Panchikaa I
Adhyaaya I: The consecration rites
Adhyaaya II: The introductory sacrifice
Adhyaaya III: The buying and bringing of the Som
Adhyaaya IV: The Pravargya
Adhyaaya V: The carrying forward of fire, Som, and the offerings to the High Altar
Panchikaa II
Adhyaaya I: The animal sacrifice
Adhyaaya II: The animal sacrifice and morning litany
Adhyaaya III: The Aponaptriya and other ceremonies
Adhyaaya IV: The cups of Indra and Vaayu, Mitra and Varun and the Ashwins
Adhyaaya V: The Aagya Shastra
Panchikaa III
Adhyaaya I: The Prauga Shastra, the Vashat call and the Nivid
Adhyaaya II: The Marutvateeya and the Nishkevalya Shaastra
Adhyaaya III: The Vaishwadev and the Agnimarut
Adhyaaya IV: General considerations regarding the Agnishtom
Adhyaaya V: Certain details regarding the sacrifice
Panchikaa IV
Adhyaaya I: The Shodashin and the Atiraatra sacrifices
Adhyaaya II: The Ashwin Shaastra and Gavam Ayan
Adhyaaya III: The Shadah and the Vishuvant
Adhyaaya IV: The Dwaadashah rite
Adhyaaya V: The first two days of the Dwaadashah
Panchikaa V
Adhyaaya I: The third and fourth days of the Dwaadashah
Adhyaaya II: The fifth and sixth days of the Dwaadashah
Adhyaaya III: The seventh and eighth days of the Dwaadashah
Adhyaaya IV: The ninth and tenth days of the Dwaadashah
Adhyaaya V: The Agnihotra and the Braahman priest
Panchikaa VI
Adhyaaya I: The office of the Gravastut and Subrahmanya
Adhyaaya II: The Shaastra of the Hotrak at Satras and Ahinas
Adhyaaya III: Miscellaneous points as to the Hotrak
Adhyaaya IV: The Sampat hymns, the Vaalkhilya and the Durohan
Adhyaaya V: The Shilp Shasatra of the third pressing
Panchikaa VII
Adhyaaya I: The distribution of the portions of the victim of the sacrifice
Adhyaaya II: Expiations of the errors in the sacrifice
Adhyaaya III: The narrative of Shunahshep
Adhyaaya IV: The preparations for the Royal consecration
Adhyaaya V: The sacrificial drink of the King
Panchikaa VIII
Adhyaaya I: The Stotra and Shaastra of the Som day
Adhyaaya II: The anointing of the King
Adhyaaya III: The great anointing of Indra
Adhyaaya IV: The great anointing of the King
Adhyaaya V: The office of Purohit

Shatapath Braahman
This is a part of Shukla Yajur Ved and is perhaps the most important Braahman among all, but most of it, like other Braahman, has lost its importance in the present-day world.



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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 01/05/13