Definition - What does Brahmin Varna mean?
Brahmin varna is the name of a social class as defined by such texts as the "Rig Veda" and other Hindu texts. From Sanskrit, varna means “type,” “class,” “order” or “color.” Brahmin varna includes priests, scholars and teachers, and is mostly considered the highest class. They are expected to cultivate qualities of integrity, honesty, purity and wisdom.
The varna system is often interpreted as a caste system, but some say that this is inaccurate as it is more to be thought of as a system which classifies people by their idealized human callings.
Yogapedia explains Brahmin Varna
Brahmin is one of four varnas, the other three being:
- Kshatriya varna - warriors, rulers and administrators
- Vaishaya varna - merchants, cattle herders, agriculturists and artisans
- Sudra varna - laborers and service providers
The Brahmins were traditionally considered responsible for worshiping, reading and studying the Vedas. Their dharma, or duty, was to share their knowledge with the rest of society through preaching and teaching. They may also have been expected to offer spiritual and even medical advice and support. According to some sources, they were expected to work without pay and live frugally.
It is said that the Hindu god, Sankara, was born into the Brahmin varna because he needed the weapon of knowledge in order to combat evil. Early in life he entered the renunciate order of Sannyasa.