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See the list of non-Braahman who became more than Braahman;    Varn

Who is a Braahman? There are different views expressed as to who a Braahman is.

Mahaabhaarat, Anushaasan Parv, 35/1 mentions that a person becomes a Braahman by birth.
(Janmanyuva Mahaabhaag Braahman Nama Jaayate).

The same view is expressed in Chhaandogya Upanishad, 5.10.7 also. Because of this only, Vidur, Shree Raam, Bharat, Yudhishthir and Shree Krishn etc, who were such noble people were not considered as Braahman. They also respected the Braahman, but then... what do the Ved say about it? Let us see.

Rig Ved, 7.103.8 - describes a Braahman as, "Brahmanasaha Somino Vaacham krata Brahm Krinvantaha Parivatsareenam. Adhwaryavo Gharminaha Sishvidhaanaa Aavir bhavanti Guhyaa na Kchith" (fully nonviolent, engaged in good deeds and deep meditation, propagate pure knowledge through lectures etc., recognize merit in others. They do not hide anything.) Similar sentiments are expressed in some other Mantra also. - Rig Ved, 7.103.1;  Atharv Ved, 5.17.9;  Yajur Ved, 26.2, etc,

Vashishth Smriti - lays down that a Braahman's body is not for enjoyment. It is meant for difficult Saadhanaa and ultimately to attain Moksh. (Braahmanasya Tu Dehoyam Nopabhogaaya Kapate, Iha Kleshaaya Mahate Pretyaananta Sukhaaya cha)

Paatanjali Mahaabhaashya says - Tasmaat Braahmanen Nishkaarano Dharmah Shadaango Vedo Dhyetavyo Geyishcha (A Braahman should learn Ved without expecting any returns)

Rig Ved, 5.34.6  says - A Braahman should bring even a Dasyu to the good path.
Rig Ved, 2.22.2 ordains that a Braahman should move with the light of knowledge. (Jyotiragraha)

They should be good-natured, without laziness, and remain calm. (Aashav Babhravaha Somaha)

Rig Ved, 6.63.5 prescribes - that Braahman should try to increase Aatm Bal, should be efficient in work, and try to raise the standards of others.

All these have been condensed in a simple verse. "Satyam Daanam Kshamaa Sheelamaanrishamsyam Tapo Ghrinaa. Drishyante Yatra Naagendra sa Braahman Iti Smritam)

Thus it can be concluded that a person does not become a Baahman by birth alone. Braahmanism has to be earned with effort. That is why Krishna told that "Chaaturvarnyam Maayaa Srishtam Gun Karm Vibhaag Shaha".
There is a saying which goes like this - "janamanaa jaayate Shoodrah Karmanaa dwij uchyate ved pathen viprasyaat Braahmano Brahm Vednaath".

Another one says - "Janmanaa jaayate Shoodrah saskarad bhaved Dwijah Ved-pathad bhaved vipro brahma janatiti Braahmanah.
Therefore it is not the first time somebody has clarified this point. It has been there for a long time.

Regarding the second point about there being no mention about the caste Braahman in the Ved - Purush Sooktam clearly says - Braahmanosya Mukshamaaseet, meaning Braahman was born out of the Lord's face.

In the 4th chapter of Bhagavad Geetaa Krishn says that He created the Chatur Varnam. (Chaaturvarnyam Maayaa Srishtam...The four castes were created by me according to differences in aptitudes and actions). Even a Shoodra or Chaandaal can be a Braahman if he knows Brahm.

Vajrasoochik Upanishad also says that by birth alone one does not become Braahman, but birth is not an accident. Buddha also supported that when he did not approve the marriage of an untouchable girl with an associate of his.
Still - The word "Caste" is of British origin, while "Varn" is the word used in scriptures. Caste and Varn are not one and the same. If one were to be born to a Braahman parents, he continues to be a Braahman and does not lose his Varn even if he marries a girl belonging to Shoodra Varn. As long as he remains a Hindu and does not get converted to any other faith or religion, he continues to enjoy the Varn of Braahman, even though he does not observe the duties enjoined on a Braahman so say the learned Vipra. According to them Varn of parents alone decides whether one is a Braahman or not.



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Created by Sushma Gupta on 8/9/09
Updated on 04/10/12