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A historic pandit's statue in a museum.

Pandit (Sanskrit: पण्डित, romanizedpaṇḍita; Hindi: पंडित;[1] also spelled pundit, pronounced /ˈpʌndɪt, ˈpændɪt/;[2] abbreviated as Pt. or Pdt.; Pandita or Panditain can refer to a female pandit or the wife of a pandit) is a Brahmin scholar[3] or a teacher of any field of knowledge in Hinduism,[1] particularly the Vedic scriptures, dharma, Hindu philosophy, or secular subjects such as music.[4] He may be a Guru in a Gurukul.

In Sanskrit, Pandit generally refers to any "wise, educated or learned man" with specialized knowledge.[5] The term is derived from paṇḍ (पण्ड्) which means "to collect, heap, pile up", and this root is used in the sense of knowledge.[6] The term is found in Vedic and post-Vedic texts, but without any sociological context. In the literature of the colonial era, the term generally refers to Brahmins specialized in Hindu law.[7]

The related term Purohit refers to a house priest.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Pundit" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 22 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 649.
  2. ^ "pandit". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.
  3. ^ Lise McKean (1996). Divine Enterprise: Gurus and the Hindu Nationalist Movemen. University of Chicago Press. pp. 13–14. ISBN 978-0-226-56009-0.
  4. ^ a b Axel Michaels; Barbara Harshav (2004). Hinduism: Past and Present. Princeton University Press. p. 190. ISBN 978-0-691-08952-2.
  5. ^ Monier Monier-Williams (1872). A Sanskrit-English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. p. 527.
  6. ^ Monier Monier-Williams (1872). A Sanskrit-English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. pp. 526–527.
  7. ^ Timothy Lubin; Donald R. Davis Jr; Jayanth K. Krishnan (2010). Hinduism and Law: An Introduction. Cambridge University Press. p. 8. ISBN 978-1-139-49358-1.