Are we right in calling ourselves Brahmins? Try introspecting and you will know the truth. Majority of us don’t qualify. Then who is a Brahmin ? Very few, rather a handful of people may fall under the category of Brahmins. Not even the priest in the temple or the vadiyar who performs rituals at home. Surprising, isn’t it?
It is a misconception that a person becomes a Brahmin by his birth. A person becomes a Brahmin not by birth but by virtue of gaining knowledge.
Brahmins are called Dwijas or twice born – one natural and the other by education. Being learned, he is supposed to differentiate between good and evil. He is endowed with the most important duty of obtaining God’s grace for the society.
The word Brahmin is a derived from the Sanskrit word Brahmana which means – One who knows God or the one who has the knowledge of God. Hence, to become a Brahmin you need to have knowledge of God and a Brahmin should
- accept Vedas with reverence.
- recognize the fact that ways and means to attain salvation or realization of ultimate truth are diverse.
- work for the welfare of the entire society.
- know that god is one but has innumerable names and forms to worship due to varied perceptions.
- perform Sandyavandanam three times a day and chant Gayatri mantra every day without fail.
- worship ishta Devata daily.
- be a vegetarian.
- eat only one meal a day.
- eat only after providing food for other creatures that share this world with us.
- not indulge in any form of business.
- accepts as dakshina only what is paid and not negotiate and demand for more.
- not indulge in any form of violence.
- perform yoga.
- attach tremendous importance to purity of body and mind and perform daily ritual bath and cleanliness.
- not accumulate wealth more than required.
- not think, speak or do wrong.
- not speak lies.
- provide right advice based on the acquired knowledge and not mislead.
- accept students without any precondition based on caste, creed or colour.
- treat women with utmost respect and consider them incarnation of Sakthi
- should expel ego (ahamkara) and invite dispassion (vairagya).
and who would not revere such a Brahmin.
The Vedas in the purusha sooktha says
Brahmansoya mukhamseeth - The Brahmin represents the Face of the Creator ( Brahmin is the learned)
Bahoo Raajanya karitaha - The Kshtraya the Shoulders of the Creator ( Kshtraya the warrior)
Uroo tadasya yadVaysyaha - The Vysya the Thighs of the Creator (Vysya the trader)
Padbhagyam shoodro ajaayata - The Shoodras the Feet of the Creator (Shoodras the farmer)
A learned Brahmin has been elevated to represent the Gods face. Its is a very delicate position and should be handled with utmost care and reverence and any slip is fetal.
Lord Sree Krishna in Bhadvad Gita says :
Chaturvarnam maya srishtiyam, Guna, Karma, vibhagashah.
Meaning : I Created the four varnas based on their nature (Gunas – Satva, Rajas and tamas) and their past karmas.
To top it all the Manusmriti, recommends punishment for wrong doings that are directly proportional to the level of knowledge and the social Status. – 8 times an ordinary thief if he is a Shoodra, 16 times if he is a Vysya, 32 times if he is a Kshtraya and 64 times if he is a Brahmin. It could be even 100 of 128 times for a Brahmin.
And this is how a Brahmin is described in our religious texts and Vedas.
“I AM I REALLY A BRAHMIN?”
Hari Om tat sat//