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For the type of media consultant, see Pundit. For an explorer, see Pundit (explorer). For other uses, see Pandita (disambiguation).
A historic pandit's statue in a museum.

A pandit (IAST: paṇḍita), also spelled pundit (both pronounced /ˈpʌndɪθ/;[1] Sanskrit: पण्डित; abbreviated as Pt. or Pdt.) is a scholar[2] or a teacher of any field of knowledge in Hinduism, particularly the Vedic scriptures, dharma, Hindu philosophy, or secular subjects such as music.[3] He may be a Guru in a Gurukul.

In Sanskrit, states Monier Williams, Pandit generally refers to any "wise, educated or learned man" with specialized knowledge.[4] The term is derived from paṇḍ (पण्ड्) which means "to collect, heap, pile up", and this root is used in the sense of knowledge.[5] The term is found in Vedic and post-Vedic texts, but without any sociological context. In the colonial era literature, the term generally refers to Brahmins specialized in Hindu law.[6]

The related term Purohit refers to a house priest.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "pandit". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.
  2. ^ Lise McKean (1996). Divine Enterprise: Gurus and the Hindu Nationalist Movement. University of Chicago Press. pp. 13–14. ISBN 978-0-226-56009-0. 
  3. ^ a b Axel Michaels; Barbara Harshav (2004). Hinduism: Past and Present. Princeton University Press. p. 190. ISBN 0-691-08952-3. 
  4. ^ Monier Monier-Williams (1872). A Sanskrit-English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. p. 527. 
  5. ^ Monier Monier-Williams (1872). A Sanskrit-English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. pp. 526–527. 
  6. ^ 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.