Image: Brahman (social class)

Brahman (social class)

Brahman (social class), also spelled Brahmin, name of the sacerdotal, or highest, class ( `varna`) in the system of Hinduism. Brahmn is the masculine form of the neuter noun `Brhman,` cosmic revelation. This revelation is the responsibility of the Brahman priest and, by extension, of the entire priestly class ( `see `Brahman (divine power)). According to the Rig-Veda, the task of the Brahman is to relate knowledge (vidya). The primary activities of this priestly elite are the study and teaching of the Veda and the performance of religious celebrations. According to the Laws of Manu, this class issued from the mouth of the god Brahma at the moment of creation. To the orthodox Hindu, the person of a Brahman is sacred; Brahmans are the chief of all created beings, and other mortals enjoy life through them. The four stages in the ideal life of a Brahman are those of student, householder, forest-dweller, and renouncer.

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