Puranic encyclopaedia

by Vettam Mani | 1975 | 609,556 words | ISBN-10: 0842608222

This page describes the Story of Brahmana included the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani that was translated into English in 1975. The Puranas have for centuries profoundly influenced Indian life and Culture and are defined by their characteristic features (panca-lakshana, literally, ‘the five characteristics of a Purana’).

Story of Brāhmaṇa



Brāhmaṇas, Kṣatriyas, Vaiśyas, and Śūdras are the caturvarṇas or the four castes. The Purāṇas say that the four castes originated from different parts of the body of Brahmā. See Manusmṛti, Chapter 1, Stanza 87

"sarvasyāsya tu sargasya guptyarthaṃ sa mahādyutiḥ mukhabāhūrūpajjānāṃ pṛthakkarmāṇyakalpayat."

(With a view to sustain the world, Brahmā ordered activities, for the four castes (Brāhmaṇa Kṣatriya, Vaiśya, and Śūdra) who were born from his face, arms, thighs and feet). From this statement it is seen that the Brāhmaṇas were born from the face, Kṣatriyas from the arms, Vaiśyas from the thighs and Sūdras from the feet of Brahmā.

The activities of a Brāhmaṇa.

The duties of a Brāhmaṇa are, performing sacrifice, and encouraging others to perform sacrifice, learning Vedas and teaching Vedas, giving gifts and getting remuneration. A Brāhmaṇa has two births in one life. Till the time of investiture with the sacred string is one birth and from that period onwards is the second birth. So a Brāhmaṇa is called 'dvija' or twice-born.

The Brāhmaṇas were allowed to do the works of agriculture, keeping cows, trade and commerce and Kusīda (money-lending). Living on the interest of money giving out as loan is Kusīda. But they should not trade on products from cow, jaggery, salt, lac and flesh. The suffix 'Śarmā' should be added to the name of Brāhmaṇa. A Brāhmaṇa can have four wives.

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