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Names of Hindu Deities, Sages and Saints Who Were Not Braahman
1. Shree Raam : He was a Kshatriya belonging to the Soorya Vansh. His life is the theme of the popular Hindu epic Raamaayan. He is considered the 7th incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who in turn represents the ‘Preserver’ aspect of God. He is considered an ideal son, an ideal king and so on. Hindu Utopia is often called ‘Raam Raajya’, i.e., ‘the kingdom of Shree Raam’.
2. Shree Krishn : He to the belonged to the Yaadav sub-caste. The Yaadav are currently enumerated amongst the ‘Other Backward Castes’ (OBC’s) in India. He is considered the most popular deity of Hindu, and revealed the Bhagvad Geetaa, which is the bedrock of modern Hinduism, and summarizes the philosophical teachings of all Hindu scriptures in a masterful manner. He is considered as the 8th incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
3. Lord Shiv : He is often termed as a ‘Kiraat’ in the Puraan. The Kiraat would currently fall in the ‘Scheduled Tribes’ (ST) category in modern India. He is considered as a representation of the ‘Destroyer’ aspect of God and is one of the chief Hindu deities. He is the chief subject of numerous Hindu scriptures like the Shiv Puraan, the Koorm Puraan and so on.
4. Maharshi Aitareya Maheedaas : According to tradition, his mother was a maid named ‘Itara’. This Rishi is credited with the compilation of the Aitreya Braahman and sections 1-3 of the Aitreya Aaranyaka (the latter contains the Aitareya Upanishad - one of the 10 canonical Upanishads for Hindu) belonging to the Rig Ved.
5. Rishikaa Lopaamudraa : She was a Kshatriya Princess from Vidarbh, who married to Maharshi Agastya. She is the Seer of some verses of the Rig Ved. Several edifying dialogs between her and Sage Agastya are recorded in Puraan.
6. Maharshi Vishwaamitra : He was originally a Kshatriya named Vishwarath. He is credited with revealing the Gayatri Mantra, the Hindu prayer par-excellence. He was elevated to Braahmanhood because of his spiritual luster.
7. Maharshi Ved Vyaas : He was the son of a fisher-woman named Satyavatee, from Rishi Paraashar. Considered the greatest Rishi of classical Hinduism, he is believed to have given the 4 Ved ( = the most authoritative scriptures of Hindu) their present form. He also compiled the Mahaabhaarat and the Puraan, which are the mainstay of popular Hinduism. He also authored the Brahm Sootra - a text considered as one of the triple canon of Vedaantik Hinduism (the other two being the Geetaa and the Upanishad). His birthday is celebrated as Guru-Poornimaa by Hindu monks every year. All Hindu monastic orders trace their lineage from him and a popular saying goes : "vyaasocchishtam jagat sarvam" meaning that so great was the learning Rishi Ved Vyaas, that even his voluminous writings represent only the periphery of his knowledge.
8. Maharshi Matang : He was the son of a Shoodra mother and a Vaishya father. In fact, Chaandaal are often addressed as Matang in passages like Varaah Puraan 1.139.919.
9. Maharshi Vaalmeeki : He was a descendant from Sages but had become a Chaandaal (= an outcaste) named Ratnaakar, because he took to murder and highway robbery. He was reformed by Prajaapati Brahmaa and was inspired by the divine Sage Naarad to compose the Hindu epic par excellence - the Raamaayan.
10. Rishika Sulabhaa Maitreyee : She was a Kshatriya lady who promulgated the Saulabhaa Shaakhaa of the Rig Ved. She is counted among the revered teachers of Rig Ved to whom respects are offered in texts like the Kaushitakee Braahman. The Saulabhaa Braahman is now lost but is mentioned in the Kashikaa - a commentary on the grammatical text named Ashtaadhyaayee. A dialog of Rishikaa Sulabhaa with King Janak of Videh on spirituality is recorded in the Shaanti Parv (12th book) of the Mahaabhaarat.
11. Mahaatmaa Vidur : He was the son of Maharshi Ved Vyaas and a maid of King Dhritraashtra (the father of Kaurav in the Mahaabhaarat). He is a wise man in the Mahaabhaarat and counseled many towards truth. His teachings are collected in the Vidur prajaagar section of the Udyog Parv (5th book) of Mahaabhaarat.
12. Gautam Buddha : The founder of Buddhism belonged to a marginal Kshatriya tribe called Shaakya. He lived and died as a Hindu, although his followers founded a new religion in his name. He advocated the supremacy of good ethics and morality over philosophical speculation and ritualism. He is considered the 9th incarnation of Lord Vishnu by devout Hindu.
13. Mahaaveer : The 24th and the last great Teacher of Jainism. He belonged to the Kshatriya Lichchhivi tribe of Bihaar. He advocated vegetarianism and the centrality of compassion in Dharm.
14. Bhakt Nammalvar : The foremost of the Alvar Vaishnav saints, he was a Shoodra by birth. His composition Tiruvayamolee, which is in the Tamil language, is considered at par with the Ved by the Sri Vaishnav Hindu.
15. Sikh Gurus : All the Sikh Gurus, from Guru Nanak to Guru Gobind Singh, were Kshatriya. The teachings of the first 5 and the 9th Guru are compiled in the Aadi Granth - the Sikh scripture. In the face of Islaamik persecutions, they revitalized the Hindu community of what is now Paakistan and parts of Northern India and preached the simple path of performance of good deeds, devotion to God by recitations of His names and singing of His glory and sharing of one another’s joys and sorrows without regard to caste.
16. Saint Kabeer : He was brought-up by a Julaahaa (cloth weaver) couple. Julahaa are a Muslim caste of weavers. He preached in the language of the masses and many of his verses are common proverbs in North India.
17. Narsee Mehtaa : He was born in a Vaishya family is a renowned Vaishnav saint of Gujaraat. One of his compositions - "Vaishnav Jan to tene kahiye..." was a favorite song of Mahatma Gandhi. According to some, however, he was a Braahman.
18. Saint Tukaaram : He was a Vaishya who composed touching poems called the "Abhng" on devotion to God. These compositions are recited with great fervor by numerous Hindu, especially in Mahaaraashtra by the members of the Warakaree community.
19. Saint Raidaas : He was a cobbler, and therefore of Shoodra origin. He advocated Bhakti and 16 of his compositions were incorporated in the Aadi Granth - the Sikh scripture.
20. Saint Meeraa : She was a Raajpoot Kshatriya princess of Mevaar and devoted her life to the service of Lord Krishn. Her beautiful poetical compositions addressed to Lord Krishn are recited with great fervor by Hindu down to this day.
21. Swaamee Vivekaanand : One of the foremost reformers and teachers of modern Hinduism, he was of Kaayasth sub-caste of Bangaal. He spread the message of Vedaant in the United States and Europe and his writings and speeches are contained in “The Collected Writings of Swaamee Vivekaanand". He founded the Raamakrishna Mission - a religious organization to propagate the teachings of his Guru Swaamee Raamakrishn Paramahans. In Bangaal, Kaayasth are considered as Shoodra.
22. Vatsa : a descendant of Kanva, Rig Ved 6.1; and 8.8 etc; was called a Shoodra-putra (Panchvinsh Braahman 14.66).
23. Kakshivat : a Brahmvaadee, was the son of Deerghtamaa by a Shoodra maid servant (Brihaddevataa 4.24-25).
24. According to Mahaabhaarat, Anushaasan Parv, 53.13-19, Sage Kapinjalada was a Chaandaal and Sage Madan Paal was the son of a boatwoman.
25. According to Mahaabhaarat, Shaanti Parv, King Sudaas was also a Shoodra. Sudaas is one of the most celebrated kings of the Rig Ved, being the hero of the Dasarajnawar.
Created by Sushma Gupta on 5/27/04
Updated on 02/22/13