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Bahun (बाहुन) is a local term for the traditional Vedic Brahmin of Indian origin. In Nepal, Brahmins are traditionally priest, educators and scholars . By tradition and civil law (until 1962), they represent the highest of the four Hindu varna, or castes.
Brahmins have historically been a caste, one of the four varnas, according to the Varna fourfold Brahminical society (वर्णाश्रम पद्धति). The Brahmin castes may be broadly divided into two regional groups: Pancha-Gauda Brahmins and Pancha-Dravida Brahmins, as per the shloka. Most of the communities find their roots from Banaras of India mentioned in much older Vedas and puranas.
The hill based indigenous ethnic groups Gurung, Magar, Tamang, Newar, Sunuwar, Rai, Limbu, Sherpa, Mananggay, Mustang-gi, Thakali, Dolpo, Walungi and similar ethnic groups comprise over 50% of the population of the Middle Hills and the Khas represent 31% of the population. By tradition (and civil law) it was the highest of four Hindu varna (or castes), making up 12.5% of the population of Nepal.
Brahmins of Nepal
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, Bavan in Kham. Brahmins are the second largest caste group in Nepal (12.18% of the population).Licchavi (also Lichchhavi, Lichavi) was an ancient kingdom in Nepal, which existed in the Kathmandu Valley from approximately 400 to 750. Centuries earlier, at the start of the Buddhist era a powerful republic known as Licchavi existed in what is today Kathmandu. There is no conclusive evidence of any ethnic or historic links between the two states. The language of Licchavi inscriptions is Sanskrit, It is believed that the Lichhavi, having lost their political fortune in India, came to Nepal, attacking and defeating the last Kirat King Gasti. In the Buddhist Pali canon, the Licchavi are mentioned in a number of discourses, most notably the Licchavi Sutta, the popular Ratana Sutta and the fourth chapter of the Petavatthu. The Mahayana Vimalakirti Sutra also spoke of the city of Vaisali as where the lay Licchavi bodhisattva Vimalakirti was residing.The term 'Licchavi' term probably derives from Rikshavi possibly Sanskritized to Rkshvavati. Riksha or Rksha in Sanskrit means Star. they built pasupati temple, chagunarayana, Various Buddha Stoopas, according to Chagunarayana Stoopa Lichhavi are From Brahmin clan and their court language is saskrit.संस्कृत The economy was agricultural, relying on rice and other grains as staples. Villages (grama) were grouped into dranga for administration. Lands were owned by the royal family, nobles, temples or groups of Brahmans. Trade was also very important, with many settlements positioned along trading routes. Tibet and India were both trading partners..It is believed that the Lichhavi, having lost their political fortune in India, came to Nepal, attacking and defeating the last Kirat King Gasti.(10)
According to ANCIENT NEPAL Journal of the Department of Archaeology, Number 147 June 2001, The Vedic-Aryan Entry Into Contemporary Nepal [A Pre-Historical Analysis Based on the Study Of Puranas]by Shiva Raj Shrestha, Some 3,500 to 4,000 years "Before Present'(B.P.) Hari-Hara Chhetra (of present-day GandakiBasins, including Mukti Nath, Deaughat and Triveni of Western Nepal), was one of the most important centers of Vedic Aryans, who had already expanded Swarswat Vedic Civilization.The Aryans could not have advanced up to this land, without the support of Lord Shiva-the supreme Lord of Kiratas of their time (who was regarded as the incarnation ofLord Rudra, the Early- Vedic God of Cosmic Energy).
Thus, from the descriptions of satpath Brahman Grantha and various Puranas, it seemsthat the Aryans from Vedic Swaraswat civilization hadentered Nepal at around 4,000-4,100 years B.P. Already by this time, there seems to be the strong presence of Yakshyas in the Central Himalayas, who were in very friendly terms with Naga Kiratas of Central Himalayas. In the latter Vedic Age, more Aryans seem to have visited Nepal. Pradhumna also visited Kathmandu Valley and Lord Krishna had cut opened the dam on the foot of Chandra Giri (Chovar Gorge or the gorge at Katuwal Daha?) and released water from the Naga-Hrada lake with a view to built the cities and villages in the present day Kathmandu Valley according to Himabata Khanda of Skanda Purana.31 This ~uranic story, if supported by archeological evidences, will show as to how the last of the Later Vedic Aryans had reached Central Nepal. Western and Eastern Nepal Terai and hills were opened-up by Bhimsena according to mythological narrations. (The Tharus of Dang Valley and Newars, even now worship Bhimsen. According to Maha- Bharata Epic and Vishnu Purana, Arjuna was the first Aryan commander, who had reached as far east as Assam and conquered the ancient kingdom of Mani Pura and married Naga Princess Ulupi. These Puranic recordsamply show that by the timeofMaha-Bharata War (some 3,000 years B.P.), the Aryans had conquered most parts of the lower Himalayas and the latter Vedic civilization was penetrating in the important population centers of Nepal. However, except in mithila, the vedic aryan civilization could not flourish and the rich and equitable indigenous Naga-Kirati (Bon) civilization could continue undisturbed till the medieval times. Only in Mithila, this great Vedic Civilization could produce great philosophers like Yagnabalka, Maitree and Gargi and Philosopher-king like Janaka (of Upanishada fame, probably not Sir-Dhoj Janak, fatherofGoddess Sita). Now, it is for the archaeologist and historians to research further and reconstruct the history of Nepal of Vedic Age.
Lichhavi Dynasty of Bramin
Licchavi (also Lichchhavi, Lichavi) was an ancient kingdom in Nepal, which existed in the Kathmandu Valley from approximately 400 to 750. Centuries earlier, at the start of the Buddhist era a powerful republic known as Licchavi existed in what is today Kathmandu. There is no conclusive evidence of any ethnic or historic links between the two states. The language of Licchavi inscriptions is Sanskrit, and the particular script used is closely related to official Gupta scripts, suggesting that the other major kingdoms of the Classical Period to the south were a significant cultural influence. This was likely through Mithila - the northern part of modern Bihar, India. The term 'Licchavi' term probably derives from Rikshavi possibly Sanskritized to Rkshvavati. Riksha or Rksha in Sanskrit means Star. A table of the evolution of certain Gupta characters used in Licchavi inscriptions prepared by Gautamavajra Vajrācārya can be found online.
The following list was adapted from The Licchavi Kings 185 Jayavarmā (also Jayadeva I) Vasurāja (also Vasudatta Varmā) c. 400 Vṛṣadeva (also Vishvadeva) c. 425 Shaṅkaradeva I c. 450 Dharmadeva 464-505 Mānadeva I 505-506 Mahīdeva (few sources) 506-532 Vasantadeva Manudeva (probable chronology) 538 Vāmanadeva (also Vardhamānadeva) 545 Rāmadeva Amaradeva Guṇakāmadeva 560-565 Gaṇadeva 567-c. 590 Bhaumagupta (also Bhūmigupta, probably not a king) 567-573 Gaṅgādeva 575/576 Mānadeva II (few sources) 590-604 Shivadeva I 605-621 Aṃshuvarmā 621 Udayadeva 624-625 Dhruvadeva 631-633 Bhīmārjunadeva, Jiṣṇugupta 635 Viṣṇugupta - Jiṣṇugupta 640-641 Bhīmārjunadeva / Viṣṇugupta 643-679 Narendradeva 694-705 Shivadeva II 713-733 Jayadeva II 748-749 Shaṅkaradeva II 756 Mānadeva III 826 Balirāja 847 Baladeva 877 Mānadeva IV
Brahmins of Indian Origin
During Mughal as well as various Muslim invasions in India, various Hindus, mostly of Rajasthani and Punjabi origin started migrating to the Himalayas. Most of the Brahmins who had migrated to Nepal got assimilated into the already existing early migrated Brahmin society from Indian to the Nepalese hills. Many aspects of Nepali bahun is different from Indians.
Brahmo-Kshatriyas of Bhutan
As early as the rule of Shabdrung Namgyal in early Bhutan, a group of Gurungs from North-East Nepal had emigrated to Bhutan. They are also called as Nepal Orgien Gurung but mostly these Gurungs were in medicine along with Warfare. Some were known to be scholars in various Buddhist scriptures. Shabdrung Namgyal was so impressed with this Aryanised group of Kirats that they gave them the title of Huig-Namtre or Warrior doctors. Though often mistaken as Lhotshampas by foreigners, the Druk-Pa and Sharchop ethnic groups of Bhutan assimilated them into their own society. Many of these Brahmo-Kshatriyas migrated out side Bhutan to North-East India as well as Gorkhaland and West Bengal, and many of them have common surnames with Bengalis, Assamese, Nepalis, and Various other eastern Indo-Aryan and Tibetan groups.
- Licchavi Sutta," translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
- Ratana Sutta: The Jewel Discourse," translated from the Pali by Piyadassi Thera (1999)
- ANCIENT NEPAL Journal of the Department of Archaeology, Number 147 June 2001
- "Licchavi Sutta," translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2004).
- "Ratana Sutta: The Jewel Discourse," translated from the Pali by Piyadassi Thera (1999).
- Thurman, Robert. "VIMALAKIRTI NIRDESA SUTRA". Retrieved 17 September 2014.
- ANCIENT NEPAL Journal of the Department of Archaeology, Number 147 June 2001,