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Brahman, Brahmin, and Brahma have different meanings. Brahman refers to the Supreme Self. Brahmin (or Brahmana) refers to an individual, while the word Brahma refers to the creative aspect of the universal consciousness. The English word brahmin is an anglicised form of the Sanskrit word Brāhmana. In the Smriti view, there are four "varnas" or classes: the Brahmins, the Kshatriyas, the Vaishyas, and the Shudras.
Brahmins were engaged in attaining the highest spiritual knowledge (brahmavidya) and adhered to different branches (shakhas) of Vedas. Brahmins have taken on many professions – from being priests, ascetics and scholars to warriors and business people, as is attested for example in Kalhana's Rajatarangini. An example mentioned in mythology is the sage Parashurama who is considered an avatar of Vishnu. Sage Parashurama is portrayed as a powerful warrior who defeated the Haiheya kshatriyas twenty one times, was an expert in the use of weapons, and trained others to fight without weapons. He is said to have established the Brahmins as landowners once he destroyed the Kshatriya race. These Brahmins, after having mostly abandoned their priestly functions (although some still perform), took to land-owning (Zamindar) as a profession.
However, certain persons, though very few in number, were born into other varnas but dedicated themselves to such an austere life that they were also recognized as Brahmins in ancient India (e.g., sage Vishwamitra, attained brahmavidya and is the seer of the Gayatri mantra was venerated as "Brahmarishi").
Historically, the semantic change from a tribal state into the Hindu state of the jati-varna matrix saw the conversion and absorption of tribals into the Brahmin class, through adoption of the priestly occupation. In medieval and colonial India, people in different occupations also proselytized themselves into Brahmins, upon becoming wealthy or gaining positions of power.
The priestly class is expected to practice self-abnegation and play the role of being the custodians of Dharma (as a Brāhman who is well versed in Vedic texts). However, the fee paid to the Brahmana for performance of a sacrifice as a return for the priestly duties was material consisting of valuables such as valuable garments, kine, horses or gold.
- brAhmaNo asya mukhamAseet
- bAhoo rAjanya: krta:
- ooru tadasya yad vaishya
- padbhyAm shoodro ajAyata
- From his mouth came forth
- The men of learning
- And of his arms
- Were warriors made
- From his thighs came
- The trading people
- And his feet gave
- Birth to servants..
Most sampradayas (sects) of modern Brahmins claim to take inspiration from the Vedas. According to orthodox Hindu tradition, the Vedas are apauruṣeya and anādi (beginning-less), and are revealed truths of eternal validity. The Vedas are considered Śruti ("that which is heard") and are the paramount source on which Brahmin tradition claims to be based. Śruti texts include the four Vedas (the Rigveda, the Yajurveda, the Samaveda and the Atharvaveda), and their respective Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Upanishads.
In 1931, Brahmins accounted for around 6% of the total population of India. Today, they comprise around 5% of the total population. In West Bengal the figures stand at 5%, whereas in Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and Odisha the Brahmin population is quite near 10%.
Megasthenes writes, that Brahmins are, "philosophers who are first in rank but form the smallest class in point of number."" He also compares the Brahmins to the non-Brahmin Shramanas. Megasthenes also writes, "The philosophers are of two kinds: (I) Brachmanes and (2) Sarmanes. The Brachmanes are the best esteemed, for they have a more consistent dogmatic system."
Brahmins, basically adhere to the principles of the Vedas, related to the texts of the Śruti and Smriti which are some the foundations of Hinduism, and practice Sanatana Dharma. Vedic Brāhmaṇas have six occupational duties, of which three are compulsory — studying the Vedas, performing Vedic rituals and practicing dharma. By teaching the insights of the Vedic literature which deals with all aspects of life including spirituality, philosophy, yoga, religion, rituals, temples, arts and culture, music, dance, grammar, pronunciation, metre, astrology, astronomy, logic, law, medicine, surgery, technology, martial arts, military strategy, etc. By spreading its philosophy, and by accepting back from the community, the Brahmins receive the necessities of life.
Brahmins practice vegetarianism or lacto-vegetarianism which has been a custom for centuries, dating back to the pre-Christian era. However, some Brahmins inhabiting regions of Mithila, Assam, Manipur, Punjab, Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha and Nepal, are non-vegetarian.
Male members of all Brahmin sects wear the Yagnopaveetham (Hindi:जनेऊ or sacred thread) that is a symbol of initiation to the Gayatri recital. This ritual is often referred to as Upanayana. This marks the learning of the Gayatri hymn. Brahmin sects also generally identify themselves as belonging to a particular Gotra, a classification based on patrilineal descent, which is specific for each family and indicates their origin.
Brahmin communities 
The Brahmin castes may be broadly divided into two regional groups: Pancha-Gauda Brahmins from the Northern part of India (considered to be the region north of the Vindhya mountains) and Pancha-Dravida Brahmins from the region south of the Vindhya mountains as per the shloka of Kalhana. This shloka was composed only in the 11th century AD.
सारस्वताः कान्यकुब्जा गौडा उत्कलमैथिलाः। पन्चगौडा इति ख्याता विन्ध्स्योत्तरवासिनः || कर्णाटकाश्च तैलंगा द्राविडा महाराष्ट्रकाः। गुर्जराश्चेति पञ्चैव द्राविडा विन्ध्यदक्षिणे || (Saraswat, Kanyakubja, Gaud, Utkala and Mithila) Pancha Guada (Karnataka Telangaa Dravida Maharashtra Gurjarat) Pancha Dravida
सारस्वताः कान्यकुब्जा गौडा उत्कलमैथिलाः। पन्चगौडा इति ख्याता विन्ध्स्योत्तरवासिनः || (Saraswat, Kanyakubja, Gaud, Utkala and Mithila)
Those from Uttarapatha (Aryavarta) (northern and eastern India) approximately ordered according to geographical regions. Northern and Eastern Brahmins are divided into 5 main categories. Guad brahmins or Gaudiya comprises Kashmir to Bengal.
Saraswat Brahmins 
- Saraswat Brahmins
- Kashmiri Pandits
- Goud Saraswat Brahmins
- Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmins
- Rajapur Saraswat Brahmins
- Kudaldeshkar Gaud Brahmans
Kanyakubja Brahmins 
- Assamese Brahmins
- Kamrupi Brahmins
- Kanyakubja Brahmin
- Bhumihar Brahmin
- Saryupareen Brahmin
- Sanadya Brahmin
- Bengali Brahmin
- Manipuri Brahmins
- Garhwali Brahmins
- Sakaldwipiya Brahmins
Saryupari Sanadhyashcha Bhumiharo Jijhoutayah
Prakritashcha Iti Panchabhedastasya Prakartitah
Gauda Brahmins 
Among Gaur brahmana of Haryana, Rajasthan & west Uttar Pradesh, Adi Gaur /Pachauri, Sanadhya & Paliwal are also Gaur brahmans.
Utkala Brahmins 
The Sanskrit text Brāhmaṇotpatti-Mārtaṇḍa by Pt. Harikrishna Śāstri mentions that a king named Utkala invited Brahmins from the Gangetic Valley to perform a yajna in Jagannath-Puri in Odisha. When the yajna ended, these Brahmins laid the foundation of Lord Jagannath there and settled around Odisha, Jharkhand and Medinipur. The Utkala Brahmins are of three classes 1) Shrautiya (vaidika), 2) Sevayata and 3) Halua Brahmins.
Maithil Brahmins 
Maithil Brāhamaṇas, are a group of Brahmins typically originating from and living in and around Mithila, which is part of North Bihar. They are a community of highly cohesive, traditional Brahmins who strive to follow rites and rituals according to ancient Hindu canons. They have a reputation for orthodoxy and interest in learning. A large number of Maithil Brahmins migrated a few centuries ago to adjoining areas of South-east Bihar and Jharkhand, as well as to adjoining Terai regions of Nepal. Most of the Maithil Brahmins are Śāktas (worshippers of Śakti) . However, it is also not uncommon to find Vaishnavites among the Maithil Brahmins. Some surnames of Brahmins in Bihar include Shukla, Sharma, Mishra, Kissoon, Bhardwaj, Bhagwan, Choudhary, Jha, Bhatt, Kanojia, Kaileyas, Bhaglani, Pingal, and Lakhlani, amongst others. Maithili is their mother tongue, though many use Angika (a south-eastern dialect of Maithili) as their mother tongue.
Nepali Brahmins 
Bahun is a colloquial Nepali term for a member of the Pahari or "Hill" Brahmin (ब्राह्मण) caste, who are traditionally educators, scholars and priests of Hinduism. They are also known as Barmu in Newari. Brahmins are the second largest caste group in Nepal (12.18% of the population), with the Chhetri (Kshatriya) being the first (16.60%). Brahmins were inhabitants of Nepal in prehistoric times. Most of the Brahmin community in Nepal belongs to Kanyakubja Brahmins and rest are Kumaoni Brahmin. They moved northward and eastward along Uttar Pradesh of India , Western Tibet, the Himalayan foothills from Kashmir and Kumao/Garwal. They settled first in the Karnali River basin, then the Gandaki and finally the Kosi basin and into Sikkim and Bhutan.
There are references about Brahmins of Nepal in bansawali and purans. By tradition—and by civil law until 1962—they represented the highest of the four Hindu varna or castes. Bahuns from the "hills" have been represented disproportionately in Nepal's education system, political parties and civil service since the country was unified by Prithvi Narayan Shah and his heirs in the 18th century. The top leaders of the all the major parties are also Bahuns: the Maoist opposition (Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Baburam Bhattarai), the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) Jhalanath Khanal, Madhav Kumar (Nepal), and the Nepali Congress (Sushil Koirla).
Very often, Khas Bahuns can be identified by their middle names being Dev (देव), Nath (नाथ), Mani (मणि), Raj (राज), Prasad (प्रसाद), Devi (देवी) or Kumari (कुमारी). They never use bahadur (बहादुर) in their names because it is associated mainly with Chhetris (Kshatriya) and "martial tribes".
Kanyakubja Brahmins caste in Nepal includes numerous family names such as:
- A अ – Acharya (आचार्य), Adhikari (अधिकारी), Arjel (अर्जेल)/Arjyal (अर्ज्याल)/Aryal (अर्याल), Awasthi (अवस्थी)
- Ā आ – Atreya (आत्रेय),
- B ब – Belbase (बेलबासे), Badal (बडाल), Banskota (बास्कोटा), Baral (बराल), Bastakoti (बस्ताकोटी), Bastola (बास्तोला), Basyal/Bashyal/Basel (बस्याल/ बश्याल/ बसेल)
- Bh भ – Bhatta (भट्ट), Bhattarai (भट्टराई), Bhetuwal (भेटुवाल), Bhurtel (भुर्तेल), Bhusal (भुसाल / भुषाल)
- Ch च – Chalise (चालिसे), Chapagain (चापगाईँ), Chataut (चटौत), Chaulagain (चौलागाई)/चाम्लागांइ
- D द – Dahal (दहाल), Devkota (देवकोटा),Dawadi(दवाडी)
- D ड – Dallakoti (डल्लाकोटी), Dumre (डुम्रे)
- Dh ढ – Dhakal (ढकाल), Dhungel (ढुंगेल), Dhital (धिताल)
- G ग – Gajurel (गजुरेल), Gaudel (गौडेल), Gautam (गौतम), Gotame (गोतामे), Guragain/Gurangain (गुरागाईँ), Gaire (गैरे), Gauli (गौली)
- Gh घ – Ghimire (घिमिरे)
- H ह – Humagain (हुमगाईँ)
- J ज – Jaisi(जैसी), Joshi (जोशी)
- K क – Kafle (कफ्ले/काफ्ले), Kalakheti (कलाखेती), Kandel (कंडेल)/Kadel (कडेल), Koirala (कोइराला)
- Kh ख – Khanal (खनाल), Khatiwada (खतिवडा)
- L – Lamsal(लम्साल), Lekhak (लेखक), Lohani (लोहनी), Lamichhane
- M म – Maratha (मराठा), Mishra (मिश्र)
- N – Nepal (नेपाल), Neupane (नेउपाने/न्यौपाने), Niroula (निरौला), Nyaupane (न्यौपाने)
- O ओ – Ojha (ओझा)
- P प – Parajuli(पराजुली), Pageni (पंगेनी), Pandit (पण्डित), , Pokhrel/Pokharel (पोखरेल), Paudyal (पौड्याल)/Poudyal/Paudel (पौडेल), Pudasiani (पुडासैनी), Pyakurel (प्याकुरेल), Panthi (पन्थि)
- Ph फ – Phuyal (फुयाल)
- R र – Regmi (रेग्मी), Rijal (रिजाल), Rimal (रिमाल), Rishal (रिशाल),Ruwali(रुवलि)
- Sh श – Sharma (शर्मा),
- S स – Sapkota (सापकोटा), Satyal (सत्याल), Sigdel (सिग्देल) , Silwal (िसलवाल) , Subedi (सुवेदी),
- T त – Timilsina (तिमल्सेना/तिमील्सिना), Tiwari (तिवारी), Tripathi (त्रिपाठी)
- W व – Wagle (वाग्ले)
- U उ – Upadhyaya (उपाध्याय),
Kumaoni Brahmincaste in Nepal also includes numerous family names such as:
- Bh भ – Bhetuwal (भेटुवाल)
- Ch च – Chiluwal (चिलुवाल)
- G ग – Gyanwali (ज्ञवाली),
- K क – Kandel (कंडेल)/Kadel (कडेल)
- Kh ख – Kharel (खरेल)
- M म – Mainali (मैनाली)
- O ओ – Oli (ऑळी)
- P प - Paneru(पनेरु), Pant (पन्त), Pathak (पाठक), Pandey (पाँडे/पाण्डे),Prasai(n) (प्रसाईं),
- Sh श – Sangraula (संग्रौला), Sedhain (सेढाई),Shivakoti (शिवाकोटी)
- S स - Simkhada (सिम्खडा)
- Th थ – Thapaliya (थपलिया)
- Upreti/Uprety (उप्रेती)
कर्णाटकाश्च तैलंगा द्राविडा महाराष्ट्रकाः, गुर्जराश्चेति पञ्चैव द्राविडा विन्ध्यदक्षिणे || (Karnatakaashcha Telangaa Dravidaa Maharashtrakaaha, Gurjarashcheti panchauva dravidaa vindhyadakshine)
Brahmins who live in south of Vidhya mountains are called Pancha-Dravida Brahmins and they are divided into following groups.
- Dravida (Tamil Nadu)
Andhra Pradesh 
Vaidiki Brahmins are further divided into the following sub-categories: Dravidlu (Aadi Shaivulu, Shaivulu), Vaidiki Velanadu, Vaidiki Venginadu, Vaidiki Kosalanadu or Kasalnadu, Vaidiki Mulakanadu, Vaidiki Murikinadu, Vaidiki Telaganya (Originated from Telangana but might have migrated to other regions).
Niyogis are further divided into the following subcategories: Nandavarika Niyogi, Prathama Shakha Niyogi, Aaru Vela Niyogulu, Golkonda Vyapari, Karanaalu, Sistukaranalu, Karana kamma vyaparlu, Karanakammulu.
Kanaujiya or Kanyakumbj Brahmins migrated from Kanauj and entered the Kutch area via Sindh along with the lohanas. They are divided into the categories bhuvdiyas, vondhiyas and sandhliyas, according to their village temple. Others in Gujarat are mainly found in Jamnagar, Morbi, Junaghath and Rajkot.
They include the following : Chitpavan Konkanastha Brahmins, Daivadnya Brahmins, Deshastha Brahmins, Gaud Saraswat Brahmins, Karhade Brahmins and Devrukhe Brahmins. During the days of Maratha India, these Marathi/Konkani Brahmins primarily served as prime ministers or Peshwas, apart from taking up military jobs and converged into the sovereign or the Chhatrapati of Satara. One of the notable Peshwa families is the Bhat family, who happen to be Chitpavan Konkanastha Brahmins. They took up military jobs and ended up being the de facto head of the Maratha Dynasty. Originally the Chitpavan held a low rank in the social hierarchy amongst Marathi Brahmins, however in modern times they enjoy the same social ranking with Deshastha and Karhade Brahmins, inter-marriages between these three communities is now very common.
Kannada Brāhmans(ಕನ್ನಡ ಬ್ರಾಹ್ಮಣ): The Brāhmans of the Carnatic, or the Canarese country. The Canarese area comprises Mysore State, and the British Districts of Canara, Dharwar and Belgaum.
These are further subdivided into the following castes : Babbur Kamme Brahmins, Badaganadu Brahmins, Deshastha Brahmin, Hale naadu Karnataka Brahmins, Sirinadu Bramhins, Havyaka Brahmin, Hoysala Karnataka Brahmins, Jangam Brahmins, Karhade Brahmin, Koota Brahmins, Madhva Brahmins, , Vishwabrahmin, Niyogi Brahmins, Panchagrama Brahmins, Sankethi Brahmins, Sattada vaishnava Brahmins, Shukla Yajurveda Brahmins, Smartha Brahmins, Srivaishnava Brahmins, Sthanika Brahmins, Ulucha Kamme Brahmins
- Tuluva Brahmins, which consist of Kandavara Brahmins, Karhade Brahmins, Padia Brahmins, Saklapuri Brahmins, Shivalli Brahmins, Smartha Shivalli Brahmins, Sthanika Brahmins, Padarthi Brahmins
Tamil Nadu 
- Iyengar (sub-divided into Vadakalai and Thenkalai)
- Iyer (sub-divided further into Vadama, Vathima, Brahacharanam, Ashtasahasram, Sholiyar, Dikshitar, Kaniyalar, Prathamasaki)
- Kammalar or Viswakarma, Viswakammala
(including Thattar, Porkollar, Kannar Karumar Kollar, Thacher, Kalthacher Kamsala and Viswabrahmin)
Gotras and pravaras 
Brahmins classify themselves on the basis of their patrilineal descent from a notable ancestor. These ancestors are either ancient Indian sages or kshatriyas (warriors), who chose to become Brahmins. The major gotras that trace descent from sages are: Srivatsa, Kanva, Jamadagni, Bhrigu, Bharadvâja, Kaundinya, Gautama Maharishi, Sandilya, Bhrigu, Vashista, Parāshara, Atryasa, Harithasa, Kashyapa, Shrotriya, and Agastya gotra. Other gotras are Mitra, Vishvamitra and Chaurasia gotra.
In general, gotra denotes any person who traces descent in an unbroken male line from a common male ancestor. Pāṇini defines gotra for grammatical purposes as 'apatyam pautraprabhrti gotram' (IV. 1. 162), which means: "the word gotra denotes the progeny (of a sage) beginning with the son's son". When a person says, "I am Kashypasa-gotra", he means that he traces his descent from the ancient sage Kashyapa by unbroken male descent. This enumeration of eight primary gotras seems to have been known to Pāṇini. These gotras are not directly connected to Prajapathy or latter brama.[clarification needed] The offspring (apatya) of these Eight are gotras; and others than these are called 'gotrâvayava'.Provide Vepachedu's Sources
The gotras are divided into three tiers of ganas, then into pakshas, and finally into individual gotras. According to the Âsvalâyana-srautasûtra, there are four subdivisions of the Vashista gana, viz. Upamanyu, Parāshara, Kundina and Vashista (other than the first three). The first has survived in the Bhrigu and Āngirasa gana. According to Baudh, the principal eight gotras were divided into pakshas. The pravara of Upamanyu is Vashista, Bharadvasu, Indrapramada; the pravara of the Parâshara gotra is Vashista,Madhukalya, Shâktya, Pârâsharya; the pravara of the Kundina gotra is Vashista, Maitrâvaruna, Kaundinya and the pravara of Vashistas other than these three is simply Vashista. Therefore some define pravara as the group of sages that distinguishes the founder (lit. the starter) of one gotra from another.
There are two kinds of pravaras, 'sishya-prasishya-rishi-parampara' and 'putrparampara'. Gotrapravaras can be ekarsheya, dwarsheya, triarsheya, pancharsheya, saptarsheya, and up to 19 rishis. Kashyapasa gotra has at least two distinct pravaras in Andhra Pradesh: one with three sages (triarsheya pravara) and the other with seven sages (saptarsheya pravara). This pravara may be either sishya-prasishya-rishi-parampara or putraparampara. Similarly, Srivatsasa gotra has five sages or is called Pancharsheya and are the descendants of Jamadagni. For a sishya-prasishya-rishi-parampara marriage it is not acceptable if half, or more than half, of the rishis are the same in both bride and bridegroom gotras. If it is putraparampara, a marriage is totally unacceptable even if one rishi matches.Provide Vepachedu's Sources-
Sects and Rishis 
Due to the diversity in religious and cultural traditions and practices, and the Vedic schools to which they belong, Brahmins are further divided into various subcastes. During the sutra period, roughly between 1000 BCE to 200 BCE, Brahmins became divided into various Shakhas (branches), based on the adoption of different Vedas and different rescension Vedas. Sects for different denominations of the same branch of the Vedas were formed, under the leadership of distinguished teachers among the Brahmins.
There are several Brahmin law givers, such as Angiras, Apasthambha, Atri, Bhrigu, Brihaspati, Boudhayana, Daksha, Gautama, Harita, Katyayana, Likhita, Manu, Parasara, Samvarta, Shankha, Shatatapa, Ushanasa, Vashista, Vishnu, Vyasa, Yajnavalkya, and Yama. These twenty-one rishis were the propounders of the Smritis. The oldest among these smritis are Apastamba, Baudhayana, Gautama, and Vashista Sutras.Provide Vepachedu's Sources
Descendants of the Brahmins 
Many Indians and non-Indians claim descent from the Vedic Rishis of both Brahmin and non-Brahmin descent. For example, the Dasharna and Nagas are said to be the descendants of Kashyapa Muni. The descent of Brahmins is generally indicated by the gotra, which refers to his patrilineage. It is indicated by the name of the 'great sage' to whose descent the Brahmin is said to belong.
- The Vishwakarmas are the descendants of Pancha Rishis or Brahmarishies. According to Yajurveda and Brahmanda purana, they are Sanaka, Sanatana, Abhuvanasa, Prajnasa, and Suparnasa.
- The Panchal movement to reclaim Brahminical rights claimed that the Panchals have Brahminic culture, or sacraments, and perform their ceremonies according to Vedic Rituals.
- The Kani tribe of South India claim to descend from Agastya Muni.
- The Gondhali, Kanet, Bhot, Lohar, Dagi, and Hessis claim to be from Renuka Devi.
- The Kasi Kapadi Sudras claim to originate from the Brahmin Sukradeva. Their duty was to transfer water to the sacred city of Kashi.
- The Padmashalis, a Telugu-speaking weavers caste, claim that they descended from Maharishi Markandeya, a Brahmin devotee of Lord Shiva who wrote the Markandeya Purana. Maharishi Markandeya is from the Bhrigu clan.
- The Saini of Rajasthan (gardener) claim in one of their stories that they descended from a Brahmin and call themselves Parpadh Brahman, which in course of time became Phulmali.
- Dadheech Brahmins/dayama Brahmin trace their roots from Dadhichi Rishi. Many Jat clans claim to descend from Dadhichi Rishi while the Dudi Jats claim to be in the lineage of Duda Rishi.
- Lord Buddha was a descendant of Angirasa through Gautama. There were Kshatriyas of other clans whose members descend from Angirasa, to fulfill a childless king's wish.
- The (so-called) backward caste Matangs claim to descend from Matang Muni, who became a Brahmin through his karma.
- According to one legend, the nomadic tribe of Kerala, the Kakkarissi, were descendants of a Brahmin who came out of the mouth of Garuda, the vehicle of Lord Vishnu.
- The Roman Catholic Brahmin caste among the Goan Catholics and Mangalorean Catholics are descended from Konkani Brahmins who converted to Roman Catholicism during the Portuguese colonial rule in Goa.
Brahmin taking up other duties 
Brahmins have taken on many professions - from being priests, ascetics and scholars to warriors and business people, as is attested for example in Kalhana's Rajatarangini. Brahmins with the qualities of Kshatriyas are known as 'Brahmakshatriyas'. An example is the avatara Parashurama who is considered an avataram of Vishnu. Sage Parashurama was a powerful warrior who had defeated the Haiheya kshatriyas twenty one times, was an expert in the use of weapons, and trained others to fight without weapons. The Bhumihar Brahmins were established when Parashurama destroyed the Kshatriya race, and he set up in their place the descendants of Brahmins, who, after a time, having mostly abandoned their priestly functions (although some still perform), took to land-owning.Many brahmins took up the profession of medicine. They are Vaidya brahmins called Baidya Brahmins of Bengal [gupta, dasgupta and senguptas] are descendants of Dhanavantari, the god of medicine and father of Ayurveda.
The Brahmakhatris caste, descendants of the Khatris, however, are a business caste/community of Punjab and belong to the Vaishya caste. Khatri has often been misinterpreted as a variation of the word Kshatriya, meaning warrior, however there are no records of any Khatri kingdoms or empires in Indian history and this claim to Kshatriya is recently made in the 20th century.
Perhaps the word Brahma-kshatriya refers to a person belonging to the heritage of both castes.However, among the Royal Rajput households, brahmins who became the personal teachers and protectors of the royal princes rose to the status of Rajpurohit and taught the princes everything including martial arts. They would also become the keepers of the Royal lineage and its history. They would also be the protectors of the throne in case the regent was orphaned and a minor.
Kshatriyan Brahmin is a term associated with people of both caste's components. The Pallavas were an example of Brahmakshatriyas as that is what they called themselves. King Lalitaditya Muktapida of Kashmir ruled all of India and even Central Asia.
Lord Viswakarma was a brahmin. He is believed to be the creator of this world. His followers are now know as viswkarmas or viswabrahmins.
King Rudravarma of Champa (Vietnam) of 657 A.D. was the son of a Brahmin father.
King Jayavarma I of Kambuja (Kampuchea) of 781 A.D. was a Brahma-kshatriya.
Many Pallis of South India claim to be Brahmins (while others claim to be AgnikulaKshatriyas. Kulaman Pallis are nicknamed by outsiders as Kulaman Brahmans. Hemu from Rewari, Haryana was also a Brahmin by birth.
Brahmin Kings 
Among the Royal Rajput households, Brahmins who became the personal teachers and protectors of the royal princes rose to the status of Rajpurohit and taught the princes everything, including martial arts.
Mayurasharma a Brahmin scholar and a native of Talagunda (in modern Shimoga district), was the founder of the Kadamba Kingdom of Banavasi.
They would also become the keepers of the Royal lineage and its history. They would also be the protectors of the throne in case the regent was orphaned and a minor. The well-known Brahmin Chanakya was a Rajpurohit for Chandragupta Maurya, founder of the Mauryan empire, who helped Chandragupta get a grip on the well-established Nanand prevent was a Brahma-kshatriya. King Lalitaditya Muktapida of Kashmir ruled all of India and even Central Asia.
Medieval king Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya or Hemu, resident of Rewari, born into a family of Purohits, decendents of seers Bhrigu and Chyavana, who had initially lived at Ashrams near Dhosi Hill, part of Vedic period state of Brahmavarta in the present state of Haryana, started the manufacture of cannons for the first time in North India in 1540s, with Portuguese know-how and dealt in gunpowder supplies to Sher Shah Suri's army. Later he became Prime Minister and Chief of Army of the Suris and emperor of north India in 1556, defeating Akbar's army at Agra and Battle for Delhi at Tughlakabad Fort in Delhi. He had won 22 battles continuously against Afghans and Mughals during 1553-56, spanning from Punjab to Bengal.
Brahmins with the qualities of a Vaisya or merchant are known as 'Brahmvyasya'. An example of such persons are people of the Ambastha caste, which exist in South India.
Smartism (or Smarta Sampradaya, Smarta Tradition, as it is termed in Sanskrit) is a liberal or nonsectarian denomination of the Hindu religion. This tradition is based on the Advaithic teachings of Adi Sankaracharya. He united various sects of Hinduism under on umbrella by accepting all the major Hindu deities as forms of the one Brahman. He implored the Smarthas to have an Ishta devatha in the form of Siva, Sakthi, Vishnu, Ganesha, Murugan (Subrahmanya) or Sun. The term Smarta refers to adherents who follow the Vedas and Shastras.
One form of Vaishnavism is Madhwa (Dwaita Sampradaya), and the other is Sri Vaishnava (Vishishtadvaita sampradaya). Madhwa Brahmins are mainly located in the Carnatic plains and some of them are seen in Andhra, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. They follow the teachings of Sri Madhvacharya, who was born in South Canara district of Karnataka in the 12th Century. He preached Dvaita, which says that God and atma (soul) are different entities, which is contradictory to the teachings of Sri Adi Sankaracharya, who preached Advaita vedanta (non-duality). In South India, Sri Vaishnava sampradayam was propagated by Srimad Ramanujacharya.
Shaivism (sometimes called Shivaism) is a belief system where Lord Shiva is worshipped as the Supreme Lord. It is a derivative faith of the core Vedic tradition. Saiva sects contains many subsects, such as Asdisaivas, Rudrasaivas, Veerasiavas, Paramasaivas, etc. Ravana, the ruler of Lanka in the Hindu epic Ramayana, was a staunch Siva devotee, who was the grandson of creator Brahma.
Although the orthodox Brahmin and Sramana communities were typically opponents, Buddha admired the Brahmin attributes of 1) The Truth (Sacca or Satya), 2) Austerities (Tapas), 3) Chastity (Brahmacariya), 4) Study of Vedic lore (Ajjhena or Adhyayana), 5) Munificence (Caga or Tyaga).
In Buddha's time there were two major types of wandering ascetics, the Paribbajakas and Sramanas. Paribbajakas were exclusively Brahmins.
There were some Buddhist Brahmins that contributed much to the Brahmin communities or to Brahmin ascetic communities. Gautamiputra Satakarni, the Satavahana king, declares himself to be the sole protector of the Brahmins.
Brahmins were treated as equals to all the rest, in the eyes of the Buddha and there are countless references to Brahmins throughout the Buddhist scriptures also. Buddha rejected the notion of gradation along caste lines and of the legitimacy of the higher social status, as well as the notion of ritual purity as claimed by the Brahmins compared to others. Many of the major Buddhist followers and teachers were from Brahmins. They include Sariputra, Maudgalyayana, Mahakashyapa, Nagarjuna, Asvaghosha, Padmasambhava, Shantarakshita, Nagasena, Kumarajiva and Shantideva, all of whom were referred by their titles devoid of their caste as Arahats etc. The word Brahmin, meaning "priest class", was redefined by the Buddha and it continued to be used alongside Arahat in their relevant contexts. Max Muller points out that in the Dhamapada, Buddha etymologizes the word "Bahama", the Prakrit form of "Brahmana", by playing off the Sanskrit/Prakrit etymon -bra.
In the Ambattha Sutra, we find the Buddha debated many Brahmins who were clearly not Arahats. Also in many important dharanis, Brahmins are mentioned in an entirely different capacity from Arahats, and therefore there is a marked difference depending on the context. The Buddha insisted that Brahmins had to live up to seek the truth, hence reach liberation(Nirvana) through the Dhamma, and this could not be by ascriptive factor of birth alone. In the Dhammapada, the Buddha mentions Brahmins and Arahats in very different capacities and dedicates an entire chapter to what it means to be a real Brahmin called the Brahmana-vagga as well.
The Buddha did not believe in caste discrimination but he did endorse a fair division of labour based on merit and equality, while condemning pathological division of labour through slavery, forced labour, superstition etc. According to him, Brahmins were not to discriminate against lower castes and those of their own who joined the sangha, through the notion of purity and superior social status, which according to the buddha was false. but were to serve them wholeheartedly. Many sutras indicate that the Buddha himself was a Brahmin in a previous life and, due to his good merit as in the previous lives, was reborn as the Buddha.
The notion of ritual purity provided a conceptual foundation for the caste system, by identifying occupations and duties associated with impure or taboo objects as being themselves impure. Regulations imposing such a system of ritual purity and taboos are absent from the Buddhist monastic code, and not generally regarded as being part of Buddhist teachings On the contrary, the early Buddhist scriptures defined purity as determined by one's state of mind, and refer to anyone who behaves unethically, of whatever caste, as "rotting within", or "a rubbish heap of impurity".
There are many places in which the Buddha explains his use of the word brahman. At Sutta Nipata 1.7, Vasala Sutta, verse 12, he states: "Not by birth is one an outcast; not by birth is one a brahman. By deed one becomes an outcast, by deed one becomes a brahman."
- The first convert of Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism was Indrabhuti (aka Gautamswami) the Brahmin, who headed a group of other Brahmins and converted them to Jainism. He was from the village Gobbar (also called Govarya) near Rajgriha. It is said that the Tapsas, who were competing with Gautama to reach the top of a hill, achieved moksha by seeing Gautama win.
- Sajjambhava was another born from Rajgriha and was elected the head of the Jain temple. He is famous for his composition of the "Dasavaikalika Sutra."
- Acharya Vidyanand is a Brahmin of the Dhigambar Jain sect and compiled in the Sanskrit language, "Ashta Shahastri" with eight thousand verses.
- Acharya Shushil Kumar, known better to Jains as "Guruji", was born a Vaidik in the Shakarpur village of the Haryana province. At the age of 15, he took Diksha (became a sanyassin) into the Sthanakvasi, a Swhetambara sub-sect.
- Reputedly a wealthy Brahmin named Dhangiri, in the town of Tumbhivan, lost his interest in wealth and decided to take Diksha, after hearing the sermons of the Jain Acharya Sinhgiri.
- Umasvati was a composer who was so loved by Jains that he is considered by the Dhigambar sect to be a Dhigambar member and the Svetambara sect to be a Svetambara member.
- Akalanka of the 8th century is said to the pioneer in the field of Jain logic.
- There is a Brahmin community in South Karnataka which is traditional follower of Jainism and is known as Jain Brahmin. They have a hostel for students in Mysore, known as Jain Brahmin Hostel. This community is different from the Jain priests in Jain temples.
Miscellaneous sects 
There are additional sampradayas, which are not as widely followed:
The Mahima Dharma or "Satya Mahima Alekha Dharma" was founded by the Brahmin Mukunda Das of present-day Odisha, popularly known by followers as Mahima Swami according to the Bhima Bhoi text. He was born in the last part of the 18th century, in the former state of Baudh, a son of Ananta Mishra. He was Brahmin by caste as mentioned in Mahima Vinod of Bhima Bhoi in Vol.11. This sampradaya is similar to Vaishnavism. Although the members of this sect do not worship Lord Vishnu as their Ishta-Deva, they believe that the Srimad Bhagavatam is sacred. The founder of this sect was a Vaishnavite before founding the new order. This sampradaya was founded in the latter part of the 18th century.
There is also the Avadhoot Panth, wherein Lord Dattatreya and his forms such as Narasimha Saraswati and Sai Baba of Shirdi are worshiped. Lord Dattatreya is worshiped by many as the Hindu trinity – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva in one divine entity. Many even worship Dattatreya as an Avatar of Vishnu or of Shiva.
Burma (Myanmar) 
Historically, Brahmins, known as ponna (ပုဏ္ဏား) in modern-day Burmese, formed an influential group in Burma prior to British colonialism. Until the 1900s, ponna referred to Indians who had arrived prior to colonial rule, distinct from kala, Indians who arrived during British rule. During the Konbaung dynasty, court Brahmins were consulted by kings before moving royal capitals, waging wars, making offerings to Buddhist sites like the Mahamuni Buddha, and for astrology. Burmese Brahmins can be divided into four general groups, depending on their origins:
- Manipur Brahmins (Burmese: မုနိပူရဗြာဟ္မဏ): Brahmins who were sent to Burma after Manipur became a Burmese vassal state in the 1700s and ambassadors from Manipur
- Arakanese Brahmins (Burmese: ရခိုင်ဗြာဟ္မဏ): Brahmins brought to Burma from Arakan after it was conquered by the Konbaung king Bodawpaya
- Sagaing Brahmins: the oldest Brahmins in Burmese society, who consulted the Pyu, Burman[disambiguation needed] and Mon kingdoms prior to the Konbaung dynasty
- Indian Brahmins: Brahmins who arrived with British colonial rule when Burma became a part of the British Raj
According to Burmese chronicles, Brahmins in Burma were subject to the four-caste system, which included brahmanas (ဗြာဟ္မဏ), kshatriyas (ခတ္တိယ), vaishya (ဝေဿ), and shudra (သုဒ္ဒ). Because the Burmese monarchy enforced the caste system for Indians, Brahmins who broke caste traditions and laws were subject to punishment. In the Arakanese kingdom, punished Brahmins often became kyun ponna (ကျွန်ပုဏ္ဏား), literally 'slave Brahmins', who made flower offerings to Buddha images and performed menial tasks. During the Konbaung dynasty, caste was indicated by the number of salwe (threads) worn; Brahmins wore nine, while the lowest caste wore none. Brahmins are also fundamental in the Nine-God cult, called the Nine Divinities (Phaya Ko Su ဘုရားကိုးစု) which is essentially a Burmese puja (puzaw in Burmese) for appeasing nine divinities, Buddha and the eight arahats, or a group of nine deities, five Hindu gods and four nat spirits. This practice continues to be practiced in modern-day Burma.
Brahmins in Thailand are known as 'Phram' or 'Paahm' (Thai: พราหมณ์ ) and claim ancestry to Indian Brahmins who migrated to Thailand in the 6th century AD There are fewer Brahmins in Thailand than in Burma.
One of the theories that orthodox Brahmins of Thailand believe in is that the earth shall be destroyed by fire, and that a new Earth will be created after the destruction.
In the 19th century at Bangkok all the medical practitioners were Chinese or Cochin - Chinese, while astronomy and divination was in the hands of the Brahmins.
See also 
- Purusha Suktha  ramanuja.org Verse 13 | http://www.ramanuja.org/purusha/sukta-4.html
- Economic & Political Weekly http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/4414253?uid=2&uid=4&sid=21101949015007
- Kashyap, Rangasami Laksminarayana (2003). Kr̥ṣṇayajurvedīya Taittirīya-saṃhitā. ISBN 8179940055. Five Brahmin Gotra Names Is Sanaga, Sanatana, Abhuvana, Pratanasa, Suparna
- Saraswati, Swami Sahajanand (2003). Swami Sahajanand Saraswati Rachnawali in Six volumes (in Volume 1). Delhi: Prakashan Sansthan. pp. 519 (Volume 1). ISBN 81-7714-097-3.
- Crooke, William (1999). The Tribes and Castes of the North-Western Provinces and Oudh. 6A, Shahpur Jat, New Delhi-110049, India: Asian Educational Services. pp. 1809 (at page 64). ISBN 81-206-1210-8.
- Indian Economic and Social History Review 1987, Himanshu P Ray, 24: 443
- Ancient India: a history of its culture and civilization, Damodar Dharmanand Kosambi, p.166-170
- A social history of India, by SN Sadasivan
- Castes and tribes of Southern India, By Edgar Thurston, K. Rangachari
- Hopkins, Religions of India, p.192 states: "As to the fees, the rules are precise, and the propounders of them are unblushing. The priest performs the sacrifice for the fee alone, and it must consist of valuable garments, kine, horses, or gold; – when each is to be given is carefully stated. Gold is coveted most, for ‘this is immortality, the seed of Agni'"
- "Tiers In Heaven | Aakar Patel". Outlookindia.com. Retrieved 2013-03-23.
- "Brahmins In India". Outlookindia.com. Retrieved 2013-03-23.
- P. 184 Chandragupta Maurya And His Times By Radhakumud Mookerji
- Saraswati, Swami Sahajanand (2003). Swami Sahajanand Saraswati Rachnawali in Six volumes (in Volume 1 at p. 518, Parishist by Acharya Tarineesh Jha, 515-519). Prakashan Sansthan. ISBN 81-7714-097-3.
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- Article on Brahmins of Andhra Pradesh at Vepachedu Educational Foundation
- Sreenivasarao Vepachedu. "Brahmin, brahmana, caste, tribe, gotra, rishi, ritual, india, hindu, religion, Mana Sanskriti (Our Culture), Issue 69". Vedah.net. Retrieved 2013-03-23.
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- Manu Smriti on learning of the Vedas
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- Translation by Piyadassi Thera
- P.21 Jaina-rūpa-maṇḍana =: Jaina Iconography By Umakant Premanand Shah
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Further reading 
- Swami Sahajanand Saraswati Rachnawali (Selected works of Swami Sahajanand Saraswati), Prakashan Sansthan, Delhi, 2003.
- Baldev Upadhyaya, Kashi Ki Panditya Parampara, Sharda Sansthan, Varanasi, 1985.
- M. A. Sherring, Hindu Tribes and Castes as Reproduced in Benaras, Asian Educational Services, New Delhi, First ed 1872, new ed 2008.
- Jogendra Nath Bhattacharya, Hindu Castes and Sects, Munshiram Manoharlal, Delhi, first edition 1896, new edition 1995.
- E. A. H. Blunt, The Caste System of North India, S. Chand Publishers, 1969.
- Christopher Alan Bayly, Rulers, Townsmen, and Bazaars: North Indian Society in the Age of British Expansion, 1770–1870, Cambridge University Press, 1983.
- Anand A. Yang, Bazaar India: Markets, Society, and the Colonial State in Bihar, University of California Press, 1999.
- Acharya Hazari Prasad Dwivedi Rachnawali, Rajkamal Prakashan, Delhi.
- Bibha Jha, Bhumihar Brahmins: A Sociological Study, PhD thesis submitted to the Patna University.
- M. N. Srinivas, Social Change in Modern India, Orient Longman, Delhi, 1995.
- Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi essays.
- Apte (1965). (Fourth Revised and Enlarged ed.). New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Missing or empty
- Apte (1966). (Reprint 1997 ed.). New Delhi Missing or empty
- Macdonell (1924). (1966 ed.). New Delhi Missing or empty
- Monier-Williams, Monier (1899). Delhi Missing or empty
- Sontakke, N. S., ed. (1972). (First ed.). Pune: .